Horrible Mid-Year Report

FEEL FREE TO ONLY SKIM THIS My mid-year grades were awful, and that is completely due to my second-quarter performance. But my second quarter grades sucked for a reason…

The quarter began with my mother and stepfather of six years violently arguing every night. While I do not live with my mom, I still received phone calls about whatever insults or misbehavior he dished out that night. While their divorce itself was time-consuming, the emotional impact of their split was devastating. My teachers understood my predicament and gave me extensions/leeway.

When the heat of their divorce finally died down, I finally found the energy to reinvest myself in my seven AP classes. I had one/two productive weeks before I received the worst news of my life. My seventy-year-old father (who has been my custodial parent since I was two) was taken to the hospital for acute renal failure, and I honestly thought that would kill him. I visited him every day (for two and a half weeks) after class for four hours. I was elated when he was discharged. We had one happy day, and suddenly the looming test results meant nothing.

Then, my father was diagnosed with a rare and irreversible precursor to a particularly aggressive form of leukemia. On average, most people live nine months after diagnosis. I was devastated, but my dad needed me more than ever. College, school, sports, clubs; all of it was meaningless. My reckoning happened during finals week, which happened to be my last chance to turn all of my missing work in. Your future becomes so trivial when a loved one is sick. The one week to turn in work seems infinitely longer than the nine months you have by their side.

All of that was a long way to say I messed up. I received several C’s on my semester report while I earned straight A’s first quarter. My teachers agreed to change my grades to A’s if I get fours/fives on their AP exams (which I am confident I can do since I have passed ten with fours and fives).

Do you think colleges will give me any leniency? I know everyone had a particularly tough 2020, and I am afraid that my struggle may seem insignificant. I think it is also worth noting that I took seven APs last semester (completely online) while participating in a variety of ECs.

I know this doesn’t answer your question, but I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you’ve been going through such a rough time. You sound like a wonderfully compassionate person and your father is lucky to have your support during his health struggles.

I’m sending you a “mom hug” through the computer screen!


I would retool what you’ve written above and contact your admission’s officer for each school. I think you get a pass & as you’re trying to redeem yourself on AP tests in the future, you’re also showing that you’re still trying. Hang in there & just communicating your situation to your chosen schools will ease a lot of this stress you’re having right now.
So sorry you are going through all of this right now! More virtual Mom hugs coming your way!


Make sure your HS Guidance Counselor is aware of everything that has happened. They can address it in their recommendation to the colleges.


Please don’t say you messed up, this was not your fault. Like others suggested, contact your HS GC and email admissions saying you have some circumstances you’d like to discuss with an admissions offer. If you have any schools you haven’t applied to yet but will, be sure to write about this in the “extenuating circumstances” optional essay on the Common App.

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