Addressing Sexual Assault in Personal Statement

Hi! To preface, if anyone can answer this, please don’t respond with sympathy, skepticism, etc. I’m stating my experience as a matter of fact, and I’m genuinely asking how to handle this part of my application.

I am a non-trad pre-med. Up until my junior year, my undergrad GPA was 3.6. At the end of my junior year, I was raped. I had a really hard time dealing with it, and my academic performance suffered. I finished my senior year with a 1.1, which brought my overall down to 2.9.

The drop in my senior year GPA is significant, and I feel like I need to offer an explanation. The topic of sexual assault is not always received well, and I’m not exactly comfortable talking about it. I also don’t want it to seem like I’m just trying to use that as an excuse. I’m fully aware that my actions after the fact were the reason my grades tanked. I’m inclined to just say that I was struggling with things in my personal life and unfortunately didn’t prioritize school. I can then explain why I’m now a better student. Is that too vague? In an interview, would schools ask what personal issue I was dealing with? Should I briefly explain what happened, how it affected me, and how I’ve moved on? As a non-trad, should I not even mention my senior year grades? (I have a unique work experience, 518 MCAT, and 4.0 post-bac. I’m hoping I have enough to make up for the 2.9.)

I know I’m not the only one who has dealt with extraneous challenges during college. Any perspective would be much appreciated.

Dr. Gray has talked about this on several of his podcast episodes and says that if you don’t feel comfortable with talking about it that most often times if you say something similar that you used as an example (I had a really hard time during my final semester of school because of personal things that were going on in my life) that it will be fine and most medical schools won’t try to comment more on it.

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Thank you! That helps.

I did look through the forum topics before posting this, but I didn’t see anything that really answered my question. Since you said that though, I did some more digging through his podcasts. In case anyone else is looking, I found this one:

There is also a paragraph on “Traumatic Events” in his personal statement guide: