How to explain a bad year on a college transcript? Are my chances ruined?

<p>One of the short essay topics my top choice school, Virginia Tech, offers is to explain anything that would be beneficial for the Admissions Committee to know as they review my academic history. </p>

<p>I have always taken AP/honors classes- I am a senior this year and I will have taken a total of 7 AP classes (1 sophomore year, 2 junior year, 4 this year) and 9 honors classes. I will also have taken five years of French. </p>

<p>At the beginning of junior year, I had a 4.0 cumulative GPA. By the end of junior year, my GPA for all of high school had dropped to a 3.6. I was having a really tough time last year, and I have a legitimate reason (close friend had leukemia/I wasn't getting along with my dad very well.) I am wondering, should I take advantage of the essay topic and explain how I dropped significantly from two years of mostly As? Or will it wind up sounding like a sob story? I definitely don't want to sound like a whiner. I just know that if I could redo my junior year, I would have done much better. How can I/Should I explain this? </p>

<p>My average SAT score is 620, and I think this is pretty good for VT. I have strong ECs, including a varsity sport and leadership positions. My GPA for my senior year right now is a 3.9, and Tech will see my mid year transcript. I am applying regular decision. Are my chances of getting accepted ruined because of my messed up junior year? Any help is appreciated. Thank you :)</p>

<p>Lots of people mess up junior year.
I messed up junior year too :( yeah a combination of 4 APs, 1 honors, weird sickness that baffled Stanford doctors and made me hospitalized, parents stress has dropped my GPA too.
However, I don't think we're the only ones messing up on junior year grades. Lots of ppl can't handle the sudden increase in the workload...
but explain. it shouldn't hurt your chances too much.
good luck with applications! :D</p>

<p>zephyr: i think livinglife was talking about virginia tech XD</p>

<p>Re-writing prior post.</p>

<p>Your SATs are significantly above the average for VT. Your grades are perhaps slightly below though still in the range for acceptance.</p>

<p>So, based on your grades now, VT is probably still a 'match' for you.</p>

<p>Yuhiko is correct, you're not the first student to mess up JR year, and you won't be the last. People who do so still go to great colleges. The fact that your grades have bounced back should help A LOT.</p>

<p>If you can get your GC to write about the reasons you had a rough JR. year, it would be the best. Otherwise, a teacher, clergyman, etc. would also be helpful. If all else fails, maybe a short paragraph somewhere about dealing with your friend's illness. I wouldn't devote an essay to why your grades declined. Certainly you can mention it in an interview. In general, I wouldn't mention your problems with your dad, unless there was something truly exceptional.</p>

<p>Thank you both so much! YuhikoJay, I hope your illness has gotten better since then! Yes, I am talking about Virginia Tech. Zephyr15, I think I will take your advice and ask my counselor about this. Tech doesn't request a letter of recommendation, and I don't want to be that annoying student who wants to send one in anyways to brag about themselves. </p>

<p>I'm just so stressed out with this! It really sucks to hear people complain about their 4.1 GPAs, you know what I mean?</p>

<p>LOL i totally get that feeling... like all the chinese boys (i'm chinese too so i'm not being racist - hopefully) are like the following in my face:
"Oh my gpa is 4. 3 i have a 2350 i had an internship with PhD students at stanford over the summer my rec letter is from a stanford professor my mom graduated from stanford but i'm so worried cuz i'm not going to get into stanford!"
<em>sob</em> i feel so bad everyday... why are my friends (just the boys thank god) like that :(</p>

<p>lol my illness was gone without a cure :D
stanford children's (yes childrens T_T) hospital still tries to make me go back for checkups but i'm just like hell no you guys tortured me with so many needles</p>

<p>but anyways:
good luck! good luck good luck good luck. we need it for college apps</p>

<p>Exactly!! I guess people just like bragging about themselves. Thank you very much :)</p>

<p>I don't know if I would write the essay about it unless you feel that's how you want to come across to the colleges and change it into a creative way that you can connect to other instances in your life showing you persevere. Ask your GC to mention it in her recommendation, or just send in an explanation. I honestly think you'll be fine though.</p>

<p>Answer mine? <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/1260515-chance-senior-georgetown.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/1260515-chance-senior-georgetown.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Yuhiko</p>

<p>Normally I agree that it's not a good idea to be the annoying student. However, in your case, you're trying to get your GC to present information that is relevant to your applicationn. I think a school wants this information.</p>

<p>PS.</p>

<p>After I wrote my original post (since deleted), I read your entire original post and realized it was Virginia Tech you were talking about. Reading is fundamental!!!</p>

<p>sorry XD i prolly wasn't clear enough XD
I agree with zephyr... my annoying student example was completely irrelevant i just wrote it there XD
having a counselor write about it isn't bragging XD haha colleges will take what a counselor says more seriously than what we high school kids yap about XD</p>

<p>Thank you all so much. I will talk to my counselor about it. I just hope the admissions board can see from my freshman, sophomore, and current grades that my junior year grades are not typical for me at all, and maybe they won't toss my app into the "no" pile. Do you think I have a chance at Virginia Tech? I hope so; I'm really freaking out about it. Any thoughts are appreciated.</p>