Preparing for College

Explaining Drop in Grades Due to Internet Addiction

Question: In my sophomore year, I got 3 Cs in a subject that I am usually strong in: science. The reason for this particular grade drop across all my subjects was Internet addiction.I have not discussed this with my guidance counselor and have never been diagnosed by a professional. Now, I have dealt with the "addiction" (myself) and am back on track my junior year. Next year when I am applying, should I mention this in my college application or should I have my guidance counselor explain it? I do not want to have my grade drop to go unexplained.

Yes, this is definitely a situation that calls out for explanation at application time, and this should come from both you and your guidance counselor. (So it’s time for a sit-down with your counselor to come clean.) Your explanation is well suited for the “Additional Information” that you’ll find on most applications. It’s possible, too, that you might write your primary essay about this issue (more on that in a minute). However, by focusing instead on an unrelated topic and saving the Internet-addiction problem for elsewhere (e.g., a supplementary essay, letter, or “Additional Information”), you are sending a message to admission committees that suggests, “Yes, I did struggle with this problem, but it doesn’t define me.”

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