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How should I address a lower GPA in my personal statement?

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I created this thread for anyone who may be struggling to address a lower GPA/lower grades within their personal statement. Feel free to explain your circumstances below for some advice!


I'm planning on applying in the 2021 CASPA cycle straight out of my undergrad degree, and I am struggling on how I should address my lower-than-average GPA. Currently, I have a GPA of 3.217 at my university. Yet, I am extremely involved in many pre-professional, activism, and volunteerism organizations that take up the majority of my time. Additionally, I am working part time at a local hospital to get over my goal of 1000 PCE hours. All of this adds up to the main reason why I have a lower GPA: I may have over-committed, but I want to find the best way that I can explain this in my personal statement. Any suggestions?

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While being in plenty of extracurriculars is great,  It will be hard to spin that in a way that puts positive light on the GPA. Most of the low GPAs are looked positively due to a low to high trend, and the whole "bettering myself" stance. My opinion is that being pre professional and activism organizations will not be the best excuse. If that was the only reason for the GPA, and you truly want to explain, then I would just say it and hope the admissions committee will give the benefit of the doubt. Although, keep in mind that a lot of people are active and work while in school. 

Your GPA and PCE are two of the heavily weighted sections off the app. I wouldn't want to come off as my academics came after everything else. Even if the other things are also important. 

Again, just the *opinion* of an internet stranger. 

Also, why a goal of 1000 PCE? Since your GPA is statistically low why would your goal be statistically low on PCE. If you don't get in this round just keep in mind that good PCE can help offset.

Edited by KuchiKopi
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You can't do everything in life, no matter how hard you may try. Your goal as a pre-PA is to do well on your grades and to get PCE time to prove you know what you are getting into. (And to continue to have some modicum of a work-life balance.) Pretty much everything else is gravy. If you aren't doing well in school, then less gravy for you!

For the most part, schools tend to have grade cutoffs for applicants. If you make it past the cut-off, you will probably be considered. Your personal statement can help here, but I'm not sure how you could spin saying that your lower grades were because you focused on the gravy rather than your real mission.

You could potentially help yourself with your personal statement but you'll have to think it through to figure out how. You could also take a challenging course (and do well!) to demonstrate your academic competence. To me, pathophysiology is the most representative of PA school.

Good luck!

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