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Family issue and GPA? Should I let the colleges know?

MrDiazMrDiaz 85 replies38 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hi so here is my situation. Starting from my junior year, my GPA started declining. now i am in senior year and my senior year grades are included in my transcripts since im doing IB (international). although my gpa was ok from freshman year too sophomore year, I had a huge family issue (possible divorce) from junior year. It involved a lot of chaos and i even had to have chat with lawyers to support one of my family member. this issue is still going on and i dont think it will stop until i go to college.

I am hearing a lot saying that I shouldnt explain my low GPA to colleges because a lot of applicants have experienced it but i feel that I could have done a lot better or at least maintain my gpa if it wasnt for this case. Should I explain? Or at least include it in my application?

P.S. college im applying: NYU SCU and Northeastern (early round:EA and ED)

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Replies to: Family issue and GPA? Should I let the colleges know?

  • CottonTalesCottonTales 1266 replies21 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 21
    Considering half of all marriages end in divorce, I can't see a reason that adcoms will give you slack for a dip in your grades because you had to deal with this and had a chat with a lawyer. Many applicants have gone through the same thing, or worse.
    edited September 21
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5715 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your GC or a recommender can mention it, but you should not. If you explain it, it is likely that you come across as someone who doesn't take full responsibility for his academics.

    It's not that unusual for IBD students to experience a dip in grades junior year. The fact that you have pulled them up is what matters.
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  • MrDiazMrDiaz 85 replies38 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    but is there any significant impact if GC writes it? obviously I don't want to sound irresponsible to colleges and so i have not mentioned of that on my app but it was just so unfortunate to happen during IB year. dealing with court cases and talking to lawyers was just something that I have never done before.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6712 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Family issues are hard on students, and colleges know that. And, AOs see a *lot* of issues, from divorce & custody issues to moves to serious illnesses (student or family member) to abuse to homelessness to deaths.

    Nobody can tell you if there will be a 'significant' impact if the GC writes it- but it is much more likely to have any / some / a good deal of impact if the GC writes it than if you write it. When you write it, it can come across as an excuse. The GC, who will have seen all kinds of family issues, and will have seen *you* (or can get from your teachers) and how you have been affected, will be seen as more objective. For example, if the GC says 'Mr.Diaz's grades were lower than expected in Year 11, which we believe reflected the serious family issues he was dealing with at home. His teachers are impressed with his return to his usual high standard this year, and we feel they reflect the kind of college student he will be'.


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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The very best thing that during these difficult times was if you had excelled. Considered test of character and great accomplishment if you had. That you did not, is expected as it is typical. Ask your GC to mention. Not going to make much difference but at least AdCom at schools will know situation and you weren't just having a frolic that year.

    Yes, divorce and difficult life situations very common
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  • MrDiazMrDiaz 85 replies38 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse thanks for your advice but i dont quite get what you mean by "was if you had excelled." do you mean excelling during those difficult times?
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4227 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Have your adcom mention as mentioned above. There is typically an area of "is there anything else we should know about you" on the application. Find two things. One about your grades slipping due to your home situation but like a one liner, quick. Then find one positive thing that is interesting but relevant to you. For my son even though he already put down that he participated in track he got to let them know after 4 years of hard work he hit his personal best in shot put and came in second at a regional meet. Not first BTW.. Lol.....this actually fit with his application of exceeding, going the extra mile, determination kinda feel. Trying to do your best..... Just another way to show it and light hearted.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    MrDiaz wrote: »
    @cptofthehouse thanks for your advice but i dont quite get what you mean by "was if you had excelled." do you mean excelling during those difficult times?

    There are those with near perfect records AND the counselor will write s note that the homelife was difficult those years. That death, illness, disaster, catastrophe hit the kid’s life but kid got through it with great grades. Those are the kids top colleges want.

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34123 replies377 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The point in the GC handling this is that he or she, as an adult educator, can then say how you sprang back and triumphed, despite the problems. (Has anything improved in school grades? You seem to imply not.) No extra points for you telling them your grades dropped but you have some explanation.

    If your grades didn't come up, make sure you're looking at the right colleges for the record you do have.

    Colleges like to feel you're prepared for their rigor, have the resilience to get past personal issues. Once you're in college, you'd be away from family, but you'll still have the family situation.

    And be sure NYU is affordable, considering the issues between your parents.
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  • MrDiazMrDiaz 85 replies38 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    i would say overall it fluctuated
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  • MrDiazMrDiaz 85 replies38 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    fluctuated grades
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  • happy1happy1 22859 replies2248 threadsVerified Member Senior Member
    Agree, at most I would have your guidance counselor note that you had some family issues junior year and leave it at that. I would not write anything yourself as it will likely come off as making an excuse.

    Be sure to have colleges on your application list that are matches and safeties both financially (run net price calculators) and for your actual academic stats.
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