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Rick120020

Should I mention my financial difficulties in my personal statement in order to help explain a few bad grades?

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When iI first enrolled in college, I withdrew within the first semester because my parents couldn't afford it as my parents were struggling to pay the mortgage. I then worked full time for the rest of the year in order to save to go to college again. I enrolled in a new college that was far less expensive but the financial issues continues. We were basically losing our home to the bank and my parents were even being threatened with legal charges so it goes without saying that this became a very stressful time for me and it was hard to focus on my school work. I was also a biology major on a premed track at the time due to pressure from my parents to become a doctor. Anyway, I ended up with a 2.9 for my first two years of college. However, since then, our financial issues have been mostly resolved and i switched my major to something I genuinely enjoy - psychology -  and I've earned a 4.0 for my last two years in college; although my overall is still only a 3.45. I plan to apply to a clinical PhD program and I'm worried about my initial grades and GPA. Would it be ok to mention my circumstances somewhere in my application (not so much as an excuse but just to give them a bit of context around the situation)? or do they not want to hear it?

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If you do then I wouldnt go into details.. I would say something like "despite personal issues experienced in my first 2 years of colllege, I dedicated myself to school work and earned a 4.0 for the last 2 years. "

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Since your upward trend is fairly dramatic, I think it's not a bad idea to mention your circumstances. Just keep the discussion of your circumstances brief. I wouldn't mention the difficulty of your pre-med coursework, but you should absolutely discuss how everything fell into place once you changed your major to psychology.  

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Yes, I would mention about the difficulties I had to face, but only in subtle manner. Donot write negatively about parental pressure. Leave them out of it. Just stress something along the lines- 'loosing roof from your head was the most challenging thing you faced and overcame, and you are ready to take on future challenges with optimisim and some other good adjectives :) "

 

Make sure you write something to get them interested in you and not to gain their sympathy. Your profile should make them feel confident about selecting you and giving you a chance to follow your interest.

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