If your grades were weak during a particular semester or year, it is important that you address this somewhere in your application or in a letter to the admissions committee.
Do not leave it up to the admissions committee to determine what was going on in your life during that time. The committee will notice the inconsistency in your grades. They will wonder whether you are trying to hide something, and may question your ability to perform consistently well academically. Do not make excuses about what was going on, just be honest and straightforward.
Admissions committees look for a progression of grades. They want to be sure that, as you take more challenging courses each year, your GPA continues to rise. When evaluating applications, in an effort to select students for their next incoming class, the admissions committee wants to be assured that if you are accepted, you will consistently work hard and be successful in medical school. If there was any extenuating circumstance that affected your academic performance, such as an illness or the loss of a close family member, share this information.
- Tips for Medical Students with a Low GPA, a blog post.
- Five Fatal Flaws (and how to avoid them in your personal statement)
- Write Your Way to Medical School, an ebook.
This post is excerpted from 101 Tips on Getting Into Medical School by Jennifer C. Welch, who has served as the Director of Admissions at SUNY Upstate Medical School since 2001.