Crisis that affects Grades

I was wondering, during my worst term in high school, my grandmother passed away during exams week. It had been a time of deep anxiety and depression during the week of exams. During that hardship, my grades faltered from poor exam performances. From my standpoint, I am not sure what to do as to integrate a personal tragedy affecting my grades. Does anyone have any ideas? Also, do colleges feel sympathetic in these matters when it comes to deal with the grades of that term?

Another question, I had made a transition from a regular private school freshman year where I got a 98.5 average and a 4.2/4.2 GPA as one of the top three students in the class, and I moved to a top boarding school in the country, Deerfield Academy, where it had been difficult to adjust in all aspects coming from my background to where I was at school all my life. Though I have maintained a solid 90 average the past junior year, there had some some downs my sophmore year. I was wondering if something like this should be mentioned to colleges or whether if there is a point as to how much colleges can get sympathetic with an applicant that I should only talk about one issue or problem I had during my high school career.

Personally, I am looking to apply to difficult universities - Cornell, Duke, and JHU- and I am not sure whether they understand something like this from the thousands of applications they receive.

<p>This topic has been covered many times in these forums-- if you do a search you'll find tons of info.</p>

<p>Bottom line-- death is part of anyone's life, and is usually not an outstanding excuse. However because it happened during exams, you might be able to get a little bit of pull out of it.</p>

<p>The best course of action is to have your GC explain to the college why your grades suffered. DO NOT TELL THEM YOURSELF. If you tell them yourself it looks like you're scrounging for excuses and desperate for some special attention.</p>

<p>As for your switching schools, this is also something your GC should mention, not you. I think schools should understand the difference in your gpa since you changed schools, but at the schools you're looking at, it may not change their opinion.</p>

<p>A 90 avg. at Deerfield is very good. What would you estimate your class rank is?</p>

<p>Well Deerfield doesnt rank but rather has quintiles. For my most recent (junior year) I would be in the first quintile. But the other two years I had been in the second quintile. So, I had that not too good early performance.</p>

<p>If you mention that you went through depression, colleges will reject you without even looking at your grades.</p>

<p>The reason for this is that they know there will be students who will be stressed by the workload in university, so they try to avoid many of these cases beforehand as possible.</p>

<p>All in all, you have strong grades throughout high school. I don't even know why you would even consider telling them about those issues when you are rank is so stellar.</p>