lostpuppy Posted September 20, 2016 Share Posted September 20, 2016 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. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now