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Explanation for poor grades during study abroad program and GRE - Extenuating situation statements.


ekngen22 1 / 2  
Nov 27, 2017   #1

MY Decrease of Academic Performance



Hello all,

I recently wrote an explanation for bad grades during a semester abroad and the reasons for this performance.Please tear it apart. Any feedback is much appreciated. The essay is below:

I would like to take this opportunity to address the sudden drop in my academic performance in the fall of 2013.
As indicated in my transcript, I studied at Otago University, New Zealand in the fall of 2013 as part of an optional study abroad program. This program involved living and attending classes just like any other student at Otago University. While the orientation prepared me for the culture shock of being in a new school and a new country, it did not prepare me for different academic curriculum in the new school. Furthermore, I entered the fall of 2013 at the peak of my academic performance and this might have made me a little overconfident hence picking classes that were beyond my experience as a junior. I took on two classes that were meant for seniors on the final year of their time at Otago and realized too late that I might have bitten more than I could chew.

The curriculum at Otago also involved one final test at the end of the semester that accounted for more than 80% of my grade. The test covered everything we had learned all semester. This was very different from what I was used to at St. Lawrence where we had about 3 tests per semester on average which all counted to one's grade. Due to this factors, I do believe that my performance during this semester is not a true reflection of my capabilities as a student.

I can, however, confirm that this experience has made me a much better person. Studying abroad in the US for my undergraduate pushed me out of my comfort zone but the study abroad experience pushed me even further out of my comfort zone and

I would also like to address my performance in the GREs I submitted. This is indeed the first time taking my GREs and I would like to state that I was not very impressed with by my performance. I believe that I could have done much better that. I did plan to retake the GRE tests to prove I could be better but couldn't due to financial limitations. I would, however, like to attest that my performance doesn't provide a very clear picture of my full potential
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 11,926 3851  
Nov 27, 2017   #2
Emmanuel are you supposed to be addressing 2 topics in this essay or just one? The reason I am asking is because the GRE section of your explanation is highly under developed and does not even offer a sound explanation as to your under performance in the test. The explanation regarding your low semester grade is well presented though. Some grammatical issues exist though:

1. The part about the Fall of 2013 should be presented as: " I attended the Fall 2013 semester at the peak of my academic performance at St. Lawrence. This made me cocky and overconfident about my abilities as an exchange student. That is why I picked classes meant for Senior students at Otago. I was trying to show off and it backfired. I took on 2 classes..."

Now, you are talking about a semester abroad in New Zealand right? So that is just one semester. Where does the US timeline for your studies and the GRE test fall into the prompt requirements? It seems out of place as you seem to be responding only to a bad grade situation essay and not an explanation for all your academic mistakes. If you are to speak of only the semester abroad, then the US and GRE discussion should be removed. Without the original prompt requirements, I can't really tell if these 2 other topics should stay in the essay or not.
OP ekngen22 1 / 2  
Nov 27, 2017   #3
@Holt
Thank you so much for your quick response. I was hoping to do both. I did not exactly perform poorly in my GREs but that doesn't mean I was satisfied with my results. Any suggestions on how I can make it better?

Thanks for your suggestions, I just took the GRE a couple of months ago. I graduated 2 years ago from college. I am trying to integrate the two together so that I can explain my bad grades during that semester (The rest of my grades at school are fine and my GPA is fine as a result) and also explain that I am not satisfied by my GRE results as well. I hope this gives a little perspective.
admission2012 - / 481 90  
Nov 29, 2017   #4
If I were reading your application, I would literally throw the entire application in the garbage. Your application should always come from a standpoint of strength. Not only did you try to explain away bad grades, but also a bad GRE. This is a double wammy and will 100% kill your chances for admissions at any top 10 program. A good application uplifts the applicant. There is absolutely never a need to discuss bad grades or GRE scores unless the bad grades occurred towards the end of a student's academic career. All this will do is cause the admissions committee to actually pull your record and go through it with a fine tooth comb. - Admissions Track
OP ekngen22 1 / 2  
Nov 30, 2017   #5
@admission2012
Thanks for the feedback. That definitely gives me an absolutely new point of view to how I to look at my application.


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