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Personal Statement advice, Clinical Psychology PhD applicant

pshamupshamu Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
Hi I'm a senior in undergrad looking to apply to some PhD programs! HOWEVER, this past summer I had some problems with drinking (and depression/anxiety) and ended up withdrawing from the term, so I have two W's on my transcript for linear algebra and intro to computer programming. How should I address this in my personal statement? Also, if you have any comments on my chances I would appreciate that as well. Here are my credentials:

- GPA: 3.5, major GPA 3.9
- worked in university's LGBT center for past year and continuing this year
- worked in neuroscience lab for one year, presented poster
- worked in clinical psychology lab for 21 months, presented poster
- worked in child neuropsychology lab for a summer
- worked with a professor at the school of social work for her poster and publications
- presented at MBGLTACC, an LGBT conference for college students/staff on the intersection of hinduism and being LGBT+
- presented at a LGBT POC conference on an independent research project
- currently working in a social psychology lab that is related to my honors thesis, which is related to both social and clinical psychology
- GRE scores: 162 verbal, 167 math, 5.0 on the essay. above the 90th percentile for all 3.

Replies to: Personal Statement advice, Clinical Psychology PhD applicant

  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 11,672 Super Moderator
    You have a couple of different options, but you have to decide which is better for you:

    1) Say nothing in your personal statement. In your case, you're a relatively strong applicant and your overall and major GPA didn't take a major hit from these. You're in a position where you could, potentially, say nothing and allow the committee to come to their own conclusions.

    2) Say nothing in your personal statement, but ask one of your letter writers to address it for you. The upside to this is that it comes off less self-serving and more credibly - you have an outside person vouching for your abilities and the fact that this one semester is a blip on your record. (This is the route I took when applying to PhD programs).

    3) Do both - write a short sentence or two in your statement AND have one of your letter writers address it.

    4) Don't address it in your statement, but if you have the room to write/submit a supplement then submit a short one.

    If you do decide to address it in your statement, you need no more than two sentences about this, which should be some variation of "Over the summer of 2017, I became ill and had to withdraw from some classes to deal with my illness. Thankfully, I've recovered fully, and was able to bounce back academically by achieving straight As in the semester after/maintaining a 3.9 major GPA/[some other great accomplishment that puts the focus back on you being an awesome student.]"
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