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Should I fill out the "Extenuating Circumstances" portion of the application?


YellowSubmarine

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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?

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I think you should just let it be. I am also applying in Psychology. I have terrible first year grades and I originally noted them on my SoP but my Honours advisor (who has been helping me with the application process) told me to cut that section out.

The point is that you want to focus on your strengths. 159/147 is not that bad, but I think by trying to explain why you didn't ace it eyou are drawing attention to your weaknesses. I'm sure your application is very strong and you should feel confident in who you are and what you've done. For Counselling especially, they will care more about your volunteer experience and reference letters (about your character) than your GRE scores. Good luck!!

An afterthought: Also, I think the "extenuating circumstances" section is meant for very serious discrepancies in your application, like failing all your classes in 3rd year or something. Your GRE score is perfectly fine.

Edited by Cosmos
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I am not sure that hating math is an extenuating circumstance.I mean a lot of people hate math and study their ** off to get good points. If the adcoms take this in the wrong way it may even hurt you. I think if you do not need math in your field (subfield) probably your math score will not be that important.

Edited by kalapocska
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I found your explanation of your low score very entertaining -- might be worth including just for that reason :-)

Who knows, your application might be read by someone who also hates cricles and squares and really, really hates triangles.

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Thanks, everyone.

Yeah, I'm aware that sucking at math definitely isn't an extenuating circumstance. ;) Some of my applications are a little vague in that portion (and just say, "if your grades and/or test scores are not strong, and you'd like to provide an explanation, please do so here"), so I figured it might be worth asking. Sounds like the best route is to leave that blank.

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I suggest you address it. I know a number of the people who sit and read apps all day, they are trained to note all of your weaknesses. Trust me, you won't be "drawing attention to them" like another poster said. You are smart enough to recognize your weakness AND SO ARE THEY. It is to your advantage to explain, in a more eloquent manner, why math is an issue for you. Do not leave any stones unturned in your app, squeeze in what you can. Talk about your struggles with math (don't just say you hate it), why are you bad at it? Did you have a bad teachers? etc. Analyze this carefully and make a case for yourself. Perhaps even note that you would be willing to take more math courses over the summer/on the side upon being admitted.

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