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Whether to get creative in essays explaining low grades

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to Quantnet and would like to ask a question about explaining low grades in my essays. I have a 2.9 from a top-ranked undergrad engineering program in a top public school, but I know that's still not cutting it. I've noticed previous threads have suggested for/against explanations of low undergrad grades, but I'm choosing to make explanations where some colleges explicitly ask you to address shortcomings in your application.

The questions I have are as follows:

- Would it be imprudent for me to explain my low grades in a crazy, but creative manner? (I have this idea to correlate how my grades nose-dived to how the US economy performed in the same period in 08-09. I made a conservative recovery in my GPA over 09-10, but of course the message is to convince colleges to take that leap of faith and have confidence in my future academic performances in 2012-2014.)
- Are Fin Math institutions generally more conservative on their expectations of what you write?
- I do have a strong GRE (95 pct. for quant and verbal), excellent recommendations from employers and a professor who can vouch for my analytical skills, work experience in risk management for a year in a large credit firm, and experience in training colleagues in English-language skills. Would actively promoting these help universities overlook my GPA?

I know some of you guys have some very valuable and honest feedback out there. Thanks in advance for all your help.

I think adcoms are generally conservative and your idea would be like shooting yourself in the foot. If you really want to try it then do it on one application and follow a more traditional approach on the others.

My advice is to forget your low GPA and focus on the strengths you mentioned (GRE, recommendations, etc).


Quant Headhunter
I agree with Connor that this is a really bad idea.

You don't share the real reason for your grades and I guess I draw the job of asking why you believe that you will do well in this line of work ?
Thanks for your advice DominiConnor and Connor.

I suppose I'll leave out that idea and continue focus on my strenghs instead. I didn't mean to be disengenuous with this idea, but I did want to point the blame at my science-based engeering courses in a more creative way. I did much better in mathematics and programming courses and I do hope universities delve into my transcript to see the improved performances.

To answer your question DominiConnor, I'm confident with my experience in quantitative analytics and the recommendations coming from my directors. My company is very supportive of me in applying and are encouraging me to consider their nascent financial mathematics team after completing my degree.
Explaining a low grade should be done in an addendum. Google "low grades addendum law school" and read all those articles.

And yes, the creative idea you have in mind doesn't seem like a good idea.