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Would this be a bad idea for my common app essay?

moduhmcnicmoduhmcnic 18 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
So basically I got pretty terrible grades in 9th and 10th grade, in 10th grade, they were awful because I had a really terrifying situation happen to me at school which prompted lots of anxiety at school for the rest of the year and a decline in my grades. 9th grade wasn't as bad but my grades could've been better. However, I transferred schools and took very rigorous AP courses in my junior year and did a lot better than I was at my past school. I also found a new passion of mine by stepping out of my comfort zone and taking an AP Computer Science course. My question basically is: should my common app essay be centered around all this? I want a chance to explain to colleges the reason why I had such terrible grades at the beginning of high school, but I also don't want my essay to sound bad.
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Replies to: Would this be a bad idea for my common app essay?

  • AcalynAcalyn 8 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I don't think you should necessarily write about the bad grades, this seems too negative in the essay. Maybe you should focus more on the AP Computer Science course and how it affected you intellectually. That seems like a slightly better essay topic than trying to explain your transcript to them, you want to talk about things that aren't already on your applications and help the college get to know you.
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  • BellaMorganBellaMorgan 104 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 19
    Focus more unto the positive side, you would want to sell yourself in a good way. I have seen some friends that have failed their essays after saying how bad their grades are at school. Also, you can give your chosen school a hint on which field you want to study about if you talk about computer science.
    edited September 19
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  • moduhmcnicmoduhmcnic 18 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34060 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The common app includes what your like to major in. Not the point of the personal statement. Nor is it drawing their attention to poor grades and writing an explanation.
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  • ChidXIIChidXII 8 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I wouldn't include the bad grades part. It is an unnecessary negative to your essay. You don't really want your readers to see that.

    You could tell them about how your terrifying situation sparked a period of anxiety for you. Did this anxiety create that "comfort zone" that you said you got out of? If so, then afterwards tell them how that Computer Science class made you step out of your comfort zone and formed that passion you said it did.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34060 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 22
    Over-emphasizing anxiety leads to the question: and what if something makes you anxious once in college?

    No need to say grades improved. It's on the transcript, they will see it.

    And the thing about stepping out is in what you did, beyond improving grades. How did it otherwise activate you? What new impact, for others or a situation around you?

    Show, not just tell.
    edited September 22
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