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I got a bad grade during undergrad, which I thought was very unfair, which lowered my gpa by a couple points (it was the only grade I got below an A-). The course instructor had me form a proposal with a university counselor to do extra work in hopes to increase the grade. I submitted extra work after some time and this was instead sent to the assistant dean to mark, who after receiving the work didn't change my grade because she thought the work wasn't good enough. I was never told about a formal appeal process until it was too late.

Is there anything I can do about this, as I apply to medical schools in the fall. Can I add an academic explanation essay to my medical school apps (ex. omsas) to explain my situation? Any advice would be helpful. Has anybody else been in this situation? I am trying to figure out my options. Thank you.

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Been there done that haha. I got two grades under 80 which severely dragged down my GPA for my first two years. I surprised they gave you an option to submit extra work to increase your grade because our grades were firm with no chance of alteration but maybe it depends from university to university. 

My advice is to learn from why this happened, reflect on how you can improve in the future, and then move forward. I got in this year without writing an academic explanation essay but feel free to write one if the grade is severely deflating your GPA and you have a valid reason why this happened. One bad grade doesn't make or break your ability to get into medicine - U of T drops some courses, Queens/Western look at your top 2 years. As long as you make sure the rest of your application is amazing you'll still have a fighting chance.

Goodluck!

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I already graduated and completed undergrad, and there isn't really much to take away from it. It only happened this one time and it was kinda bizarre. Everyone does well in the class but for some reasons the course instructor gave me a very bad grade, and its odd to get a very bad grade in this course. It only affects me for uOttawa (my gpa crosses the threshold, but I think gpa is assessed competitively post-interview) and McMaster and I'm not sure about schools in the maritimes or Alberta and Calgary, it affects me for UBC but only by a bit I think .

Maybe I deserved a lesser grade but no where close to the grade the instructor gave me. It just feels really unfair, almost like there was something personal between me and her. I think about it all the time. I am looking to see what else I can do other than write an academic explanation letter. I would need to articulate what exactly happened and I hope explaining my circumstance is valid. Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it. 

 

 

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I would strongly advise against writing a "the instructor was unfair" academic explanations essay. It comes off as grade grubbing, especially if the assistant dean also agreed with the instructor. Not to devalue your experience (I'm sure it wasn't pleasant), but I don't think the academic explanations essay you would write would have the effect you want it to have. If for some reason both the instructor and assistant dean are in cahoots and have it out for you that's unfortunate, but beyond complaining at progressively higher levels at your university, I'm not sure how the essay would go over. 

Picture this, you're sitting at home/work reviewing essays, and mixed in between heartbreaking tales of loss and recovery, overcoming mental health issues, etc... Is someone complaining that their instructor, and the assistant dean, was unfair and they actually deserve a higher mark. You could write a moving essay about how the instructor had it out for you, but in the end, it's going to be hearsay, it's not like you're going to get the instructor/assistant dean/school to say "Yes, we dislike ajhienz and deliberately lowered their grade to be mean". At it's worst the essay reflects negatively on you and makes you look arrogant and petty (the person reviewing the essay only has a paper understanding of you, they don't know how humble you are in everyday life), which may backfire in the end. 

Remember, how you're perceived is how the person evaluating you sees you in reality, so try to avoid doing things that could be perceived negatively. 

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16 minutes ago, MedicineLCS said:

I would strongly advise against writing a "the instructor was unfair" academic explanations essay. It comes off as grade grubbing, especially if the assistant dean also agreed with the instructor. Not to devalue your experience (I'm sure it wasn't pleasant), but I don't think the academic explanations essay you would write would have the effect you want it to have. If for some reason both the instructor and assistant dean are in cahoots and have it out for you that's unfortunate, but beyond complaining at progressively higher levels at your university, I'm not sure how the essay would go over. 

Picture this, you're sitting at home/work reviewing essays, and mixed in between heartbreaking tales of loss and recovery, overcoming mental health issues, etc... Is someone complaining that their instructor, and the assistant dean, was unfair and they actually deserve a higher mark. You could write a moving essay about how the instructor had it out for you, but in the end, it's going to be hearsay, it's not like you're going to get the instructor/assistant dean/school to say "Yes, we dislike ajhienz and deliberately lowered their grade to be mean". At it's worst the essay reflects negatively on you and makes you look arrogant and petty (the person reviewing the essay only has a paper understanding of you, they don't know how humble you are in everyday life), which may backfire in the end. 

Remember, how you're perceived is how the person evaluating you sees you in reality, so try to avoid doing things that could be perceived negatively. 

I agree with what you are saying, as it becomes a "he said, she said" scenario. The assistant dean didn't agree with the instructor but marked the work according to her standards. She was mostly not involved till the very end. She was the one that told me that I would have had to appeal beforehand for a thorough review of what had happen regarding my performance in the course (ex. participation in class, etc.), the course instructor never mentioned an appeal process. Are you saying I should complain to higher levels at the university? I don't think that is possible or wise and probably too late. If you looked at my transcript you would probably see how odd it is to see, by the title of the course, such a low grade in a singular, seemingly easy upper year course. I feel like I should explain myself and hope that it is valid. But I definitely see what you are saying. Thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it. 

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5 hours ago, Meningocoele said:

Was it only one grade? Is your gpa good otherwise? 

 

If yes to both, chill. Don't draw attention to it. You'll be fine. 

I see what you are saying, maybe it's best not to highlight it. But its the only really bad mark on my transcript, so I see some advantage to explaining myself. In terms of my GPA being good otherwise, I think it matters more on how the school assesses GPA and if it meets their cutoff and is competitive. Since it is an upper year course, Queens will calculate the grade in the most recent 2yr GPA, but unless their cutoff is 3.9+ then I would meet the cutoff. It mostly affects me for uOttawa my cGPA would be high 3.8 versus low 3.9. As per what is presented on their site, I believe I reach their cutoff but they look at GPA competitively post-interview. Thanks for the advice.

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23 hours ago, ajhiienz said:

I got a bad grade during undergrad, which I thought was very unfair, which lowered my gpa by a couple points (it was the only grade I got below an A-). The course instructor had me form a proposal with a university counselor to do extra work in hopes to increase the grade. I submitted extra work after some time and this was instead sent to the assistant dean to mark, who after receiving the work didn't change my grade because she thought the work wasn't good enough. I was never told about a formal appeal process until it was too late.

Is there anything I can do about this, as I apply to medical schools in the fall. Can I add an academic explanation essay to my medical school apps (ex. omsas) to explain my situation? Any advice would be helpful. Has anybody else been in this situation? I am trying to figure out my options. Thank you.

What is a bad grade to you? Like, if it's a B-, it's nothing, don't worry about it. If it's a D, maybe it's worth an explanation? But seriously I would not worry for ONE bad grade, especially if you've always been consistent before. It's going to be fine. Don't unnecessarily bring attention to it.

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1 hour ago, Mel96b said:

What is a bad grade to you? Like, if it's a B-, it's nothing, don't worry about it. If it's a D, maybe it's worth an explanation? But seriously I would not worry for ONE bad grade, especially if you've always been consistent before. It's going to be fine. Don't unnecessarily bring attention to it.

Don't draw attention to it.

I have a D, and a couple shit C's. I'm in med. Granted mine were in 1st/2nd year, but still. Leave it alone. It's a blip and they'll see that.

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7 hours ago, Bambi said:

Ignore it, we were all there, just move on and put it behind you. It’s not going to control your life unless you make it that way.

 

4 hours ago, Mel96b said:

What is a bad grade to you? Like, if it's a B-, it's nothing, don't worry about it. If it's a D, maybe it's worth an explanation? But seriously I would not worry for ONE bad grade, especially if you've always been consistent before. It's going to be fine. Don't unnecessarily bring attention to it.

 

3 hours ago, Meningocoele said:

Don't draw attention to it.

I have a D, and a couple shit C's. I'm in med. Granted mine were in 1st/2nd year, but still. Leave it alone. It's a blip and they'll see that.

The grade was a B. I don't know why but it bothers me, especially because it wasn't a hard course at all and it wasn't my fault. Most of the advice I have been getting is to let it go, but I can't come to terms with it (especially with how it all happened), but I might just have to since not doing so might reflect badly on me as one poster said. I guess, the fact that it can be perceived as not a big deal was probably why the staff weren't motivated to change the grade after looking at my overall transcript. But once again thanks for the advice everybody, I think I am beginning to look at it a little differently.

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20 minutes ago, ajhiienz said:

 

 

The grade was a B. I don't know why but it bothers me, especially because it wasn't a hard course at all and it wasn't my fault. Most of the advice I have been getting is to let it go, but I can't come to terms with it (especially with how it all happened), but I might just have to since not doing so might reflect badly on me as one poster said. I guess, the fact that it can be perceived as not a big deal was probably why the staff weren't motivated to change the grade after looking at my overall transcript. But once again thanks for the advice everybody, I think I am beginning to look at it a little differently.

in medicine lots of things are going to "happen" to you which won't be your fault ... this is a good lesson to get ready to deal with this if you one day get in.

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43 minutes ago, anonymouspls said:

in medicine lots of things are going to "happen" to you which won't be your fault ... this is a good lesson to get ready to deal with this if you one day get in.

exactly!  when things "happen", it's important to control your reaction as much as possible - part of that is knowing when/how to focus your energy.

In this case the grade is at it stands - nobody will know (or care) whether it was easy/hard/etc. course, or who the instructor was.  The grade will now be part of automatic GPA calculations and that's where it should end.  There's nothing further you can do to change that.   

Like others have mentioned, drawing any more attention at this point could even be seen as a negative - yes it "bothers you", but accepting that there's nothing you can change and moving on is the best thing you can do - that's part of learning how to react constructively.   

 

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You should learn to take responsibility. All I hear in this thread is that it was the instructors fault that you got a bad mark.

I find it very unlikely that your instructor would give you a bad mark for no reason....

You probably underestimated the course, thought it would be easy, and got a reality check.

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On 8/27/2020 at 8:05 PM, ajhiienz said:

 

 

The grade was a B. I don't know why but it bothers me, especially because it wasn't a hard course at all and it wasn't my fault. Most of the advice I have been getting is to let it go, but I can't come to terms with it (especially with how it all happened), but I might just have to since not doing so might reflect badly on me as one poster said. I guess, the fact that it can be perceived as not a big deal was probably why the staff weren't motivated to change the grade after looking at my overall transcript. But once again thanks for the advice everybody, I think I am beginning to look at it a little differently.

It’s a B. You’re going to be okay.

Take this grade as a lesson. Don’t underestimate things that seem easy. Learn what you did wrong and improve on it.

Did you ask your instructor why you got a bad grade? Get their explanation and use it to grow. 

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On 8/30/2020 at 5:35 PM, takasugi said:

You should learn to take responsibility. All I hear in this thread is that it was the instructors fault that you got a bad mark.

I find it very unlikely that your instructor would give you a bad mark for no reason....

You probably underestimated the course, thought it would be easy, and got a reality check.

 

On 8/30/2020 at 6:37 PM, Butterfly_ said:

It’s a B. You’re going to be okay.

Take this grade as a lesson. Don’t underestimate things that seem easy. Learn what you did wrong and improve on it.

Did you ask your instructor why you got a bad grade? Get their explanation and use it to grow. 

Man just when I thought I was over the grade I came back to check this thread and started thinking about it again....I don't know if I mentioned this in my earlier posts but I guess I'll explain further. I never got a grade this low during my undergraduate career, this was a one-off experience. I have already graduated and my undergraduate career is over, I'm afraid there is nothing to take away from this experience for me, since this was the only time this happened. I have simply never got a grade this low. This was something even the dean noted when she saw my transcript.

The course I took is a notable upper year 'bird' course in my program. It's a course with a small class size offered as a part of a small program, and almost everyone gets an A+. When I asked the instructor why I got the grade I got, most of the explanation I got was extremely weak (ex. regarding my participation which was on par with my classmates), some of the explanation was reasonable but even then, I felt she was reaching (or there was a misunderstanding). As a result, the instructor gave me a breakdown of my grade, where she took bunch of marks off across sections. Late in to the course, we had a very odd exchange over email, where I felt the instructor's tone was very hostile, I didn't suspect anything at that time. Later on when I got my grade, I felt like the instructor was almost taking it out on me, for whatever reason. I didn't expect an A+ but not less than an A-, especially taking into account the course rubric. Also, the instructor wouldn't have agreed accepting extra work if they knew they were being reasonable. 

Overall, I guess it's not that bad, but I want to know if there is anything I can do about it at this point. Looking to here from people who might have gone through the same thing (even though this is a very unique experience). I appreciate all the comments. 

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13 minutes ago, offmychestplease said:

This thread and your posts show you that you clearly are not mature enough to enter medicine now. Everyone was being nice above and trying to be constructive and you are still posting like this...sorry, but someone had to say it. 

Yes I understand, its probably best just to move on from it. I also don't want to keep recollecting details.

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6 hours ago, ajhiienz said:

 

Man just when I thought I was over the grade I came back to check this thread and started thinking about it again....I don't know if I mentioned this in my earlier posts but I guess I'll explain further. I never got a grade this low during my undergraduate career, this was a one-off experience. I have already graduated and my undergraduate career is over, I'm afraid there is nothing to take away from this experience for me, since this was the only time this happened. I have simply never got a grade this low. This was something even the dean noted when she saw my transcript.

The course I took is a notable upper year 'bird' course in my program. It's a course with a small class size offered as a part of a small program, and almost everyone gets an A+. When I asked the instructor why I got the grade I got, most of the explanation I got was extremely weak (ex. regarding my participation which was on par with my classmates), some of the explanation was reasonable but even then, I felt she was reaching (or there was a misunderstanding). As a result, the instructor gave me a breakdown of my grade, where she took bunch of marks off across sections. Late in to the course, we had a very odd exchange over email, where I felt the instructor's tone was very hostile, I didn't suspect anything at that time. Later on when I got my grade, I felt like the instructor was almost taking it out on me, for whatever reason. I didn't expect an A+ but not less than an A-, especially taking into account the course rubric. Also, the instructor wouldn't have agreed accepting extra work if they knew they were being reasonable. 

Overall, I guess it's not that bad, but I want to know if there is anything I can do about it at this point. Looking to here from people who might have gone through the same thing (even though this is a very unique experience). I appreciate all the comments. 

If you're struggling with having received a B, I think you will struggle with feedback from peers, preceptors, residents, attendings, patients, patient families... 

5 hours ago, offmychestplease said:

This thread and your posts show you that you clearly are not mature enough to enter medicine now. Everyone was being nice above and trying to be constructive and you are still posting like this...sorry, but someone had to say it. 

In line with this comment: your neuroticism will be your own undoing.

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On 9/2/2020 at 1:04 AM, ajhiienz said:

 

Man just when I thought I was over the grade I came back to check this thread and started thinking about it again....I don't know if I mentioned this in my earlier posts but I guess I'll explain further. I never got a grade this low during my undergraduate career, this was a one-off experience. I have already graduated and my undergraduate career is over, I'm afraid there is nothing to take away from this experience for me, since this was the only time this happened. I have simply never got a grade this low. This was something even the dean noted when she saw my transcript.

The course I took is a notable upper year 'bird' course in my program. It's a course with a small class size offered as a part of a small program, and almost everyone gets an A+. When I asked the instructor why I got the grade I got, most of the explanation I got was extremely weak (ex. regarding my participation which was on par with my classmates), some of the explanation was reasonable but even then, I felt she was reaching (or there was a misunderstanding). As a result, the instructor gave me a breakdown of my grade, where she took bunch of marks off across sections. Late in to the course, we had a very odd exchange over email, where I felt the instructor's tone was very hostile, I didn't suspect anything at that time. Later on when I got my grade, I felt like the instructor was almost taking it out on me, for whatever reason. I didn't expect an A+ but not less than an A-, especially taking into account the course rubric. Also, the instructor wouldn't have agreed accepting extra work if they knew they were being reasonable. 

Overall, I guess it's not that bad, but I want to know if there is anything I can do about it at this point. Looking to here from people who might have gone through the same thing (even though this is a very unique experience). I appreciate all the comments. 

Sounds like the instructor gave you explanations but instead of taking them to heart, you still think you did fine and that she was the one who wasn’t right.

Attitude like that won’t get you very far in life. 

Giving you extra work is giving you an extra chance. It’s not because she feels that she was unreasonable. In fact, if it were me, you wouldn’t get any extra chances to make up anything.

Back when I went to school, we NEVER argued grades with the prof. You get what you get. Anything more is basically entitlement. 

Just accept that you screwed up and do better next time. Next time, meaning, your next life situation.

this sentence “ there’s nothing to take away from this experience” is bs.

Just because you finished school doesn’t mean you can’t  take away learnings from this experience to apply to other aspects of your life and future. 
 

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Just to clarify for any premeds reading this thread who may misunderstand... a B is not a career ending grade. You are allowed to get a bad mark on your transcript and medicine is full of people who did not get perfect A+ grades in all of their classes. Worry about things you can change, not those you can’t.

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12 hours ago, Butterfly_ said:

Sounds like the instructor gave you explanations but instead of taking them to heart, you still think you did fine and that she was the one who wasn’t right.

Attitude like that won’t get you very far in life. 

Giving you extra work is giving you an extra chance. It’s not because she feels that she was unreasonable. In fact, if it were me, you wouldn’t get any extra chances to make up anything.

Back when I went to school, we NEVER argued grades with the prof. You get what you get. Anything more is basically entitlement. 

Just accept that you screwed up and do better next time. Next time, meaning, your next life situation.

this sentence “ there’s nothing to take away from this experience” is bs.

Just because you finished school doesn’t mean you can’t  take away learnings from this experience to apply to other aspects of your life and future. 
 

Its crazy to me how people feel like they know more about the experience I went through than me, who actually went through it…but yeah…I wish I had requested the aforementioned formal appeal process, it would have cleared up a lot (its also pointless to keep explaining more and more about the situation, it only puts my anonymity in danger), because this is becoming a lot of “he said, she said”, but I don't think I will write an academic explanations essay because I see how I can be misunderstood or whatever the case, and it may backfire like MedicineLCS said. It will only reflect badly on me.

11 hours ago, QuestionsAbound said:

Just to clarify for any premeds reading this thread who may misunderstand... a B is not a career ending grade. You are allowed to get a bad mark on your transcript and medicine is full of people who did not get perfect A+ grades in all of their classes. Worry about things you can change, not those you can’t.

Yeah, I think it is best to understand this and move on and accept what happened, many of the comments above are in the same vein as this  (also crazy people saying I'm not fit for medical school, which I think is a little uncalled for, I have been taking every comment into account and most of them have been very helpful and useful)…. I think its best to leave it at that, thanks guys and I wish everyone all the best

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/27/2020 at 8:05 PM, ajhiienz said:

 

 

The grade was a B. I don't know why but it bothers me, especially because it wasn't a hard course at all and it wasn't my fault. Most of the advice I have been getting is to let it go, but I can't come to terms with it (especially with how it all happened), but I might just have to since not doing so might reflect badly on me as one poster said. I guess, the fact that it can be perceived as not a big deal was probably why the staff weren't motivated to change the grade after looking at my overall transcript. But once again thanks for the advice everybody, I think I am beginning to look at it a little differently.

B is NOT a bad grade. It's an average grade. It only means that, once in your life, you were average. It's totally fine & actually very normal! I got a couple of Bs during undergrad and still here I am. I did not justify myself and never thought that they would care about whether was my fault or not. I would have taken the blame if I was asked about it though. I wanna show that I am capable of accepting constructive criticism & improve, rather that be the person who always put the blame on external circumstances... 

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On 9/3/2020 at 1:47 PM, ajhiienz said:

Its crazy to me how people feel like they know more about the experience I went through than me, who actually went through it…but yeah…I wish I had requested the aforementioned formal appeal process, it would have cleared up a lot (its also pointless to keep explaining more and more about the situation, it only puts my anonymity in danger), because this is becoming a lot of “he said, she said”, but I don't think I will write an academic explanations essay because I see how I can be misunderstood or whatever the case, and it may backfire like MedicineLCS said. It will only reflect badly on me.

Yeah, I think it is best to understand this and move on and accept what happened, many of the comments above are in the same vein as this  (also crazy people saying I'm not fit for medical school, which I think is a little uncalled for, I have been taking every comment into account and most of them have been very helpful and useful)…. I think its best to leave it at that, thanks guys and I wish everyone all the best

I think the others are being too credulous in the idea that professors will always be beacons of justice and unbiasedness and what you got is what you deserve. I have certainly seen professors take a disliking to many students, especially in smaller classes, and their grades do suffer as a result. Yes, most professors do not have the time or energy for silly vendettas and personal biases, but they're still human in the end and it's possible you got treated unfairly. 

However, please understand that you will look foolish and overly neurotic (to the point of self-detriment, not in the cutesy premed way) if you write an academic explanation essay for ONE B. Come on. Almost every friend I went to undergrad with and went on to med has several Bs and even Cs. Don't let this get to you, and good luck with your applications.

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