Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'extenuating circumstances'.
I am applying to some competitive PHD programs in my field and my GPA is less than desirable for a masters student (3.65). This is in part due to the fact that my adviser "doesn't believe in A's or grade inflation" and consistently gives me B+ grades in courses, but is also writing a letter of support for my PHD applications. Can I use this to frame my GPA as maybe no so bad? Most of my other classes I have at least gotten an A- in.. I also anticipate finishing up next term with a GPA closer to 3.8 since one my thesis is complete my research credits will be submitted. A few of my programs allow me to submit an extenuating circumstances essay, not that this is extenuating but it might give me a chance to explain. Any ideas of how to frame this? Thanks!!
Sorry posted this by accident elsewhere. I am applying to some top tier PHD programs in my field, but my GPA isn't where it should be for a masters student(3.65). This is primarily due to to the fact that my adviser, who doesn't believe in A's or grade inflation, has repeatedly given my B+ grades in her courses. She is also writing a letter of support for my applications, so hopefully that is an indication that she doesn't think I am completely incompetent. I have the opportunity for at least one of the schools to explain low GPA's etc, is there a way to frame this so that it isn't so bad? I also anticipate increasing my GPA by at least a full point (3.7-3.8) by the time I finish in March when my thesis credits are cleared. Any ideas on how to frame this?
I guess I'll just launch right into this... So, long story short(ish), my dad died from cancer in the fall of my freshman year. After wanting to be a doctor for as long as I can remember, this finally made me realize that it was just not the right thing. Unfortunately, I'd never thought about a back-up plan, so I spent my first couple of years in majors unrelated to my current one, trying to figure out what to do with my life. I was depressed (never diagnosed; that would have required actually getting help...) and suicidal and, all in all, a complete mess, though I don't think I'll be mentioning any of those things in my applications. My GPA wasn't awful, certainly (I think a 3.45 one semester was the lowest), but it has not exactly done me any favors. In addition to all of that, my mom was diagnosed with a treatable cancer, though one with an awful and drawn-out treatment, this past spring. Again, my GPA didn't suffer terribly, but it was a noticeable drop. Currently, I'm applying to environmental chemistry PhD programs, plus the GRFP and other fellowships. My GPA is at a 3.64, my GRE is average for the programs to which I'm applying, I have no publications (though that may change), but good LORS, good research experience, and good connections. So not a stellar applicant, but not a terrible one either. I realize that explaining my circumstances won't magically make me a top applicant, but I do not want them dragging me down, as usual, and so I think I will explain either way. So, how do I go about this? Is it just a detached, one sentence explanation in my SOPs/personal statements? My experiences did not consciously influence me to choose my current field (and that explanation would probably be too sentimental for a hard science application essay, anyway), but they certainly influenced my trajectory, so do I frame it in that way? I've seen advice about having someone mention it in a LOR, but I don't think I'll ever have the guts to tell any of them.
How low should GRE scores be, do you guys suppose, to make them worth noting on an application? I'm considering noting mine- my "extenuating circumstance" being that I really suck at math, and that math isn't important to my career- although I'm not sure how much this will help me. I think that the rest of my application is pretty strong, but my GRE score is mediocre at best (159 verbal, 147 quant). Is this worth trying to explain away on my applications (particularly if I don't have anything more to say than "I really hate circles and I really hate squares and I really really hate triangles... don't make me find their areas), or should I just let it be?