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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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What does 'Personal Circumstances' mean on college apps?

I've seen the term 'personal circumstances' used in some college applications, but I'm not sure what it's referring to. Can anyone explain what they mean and if it's important for me to include it in my application? Thanks!

6 months ago

'Personal circumstances' refers to any factors, events, or obstacles in your life that you believe have had a significant impact on your academic performance or personal growth. Colleges provide a space for discussing personal circumstances in your application so you can provide context for any challenges you've faced that might not be immediately apparent in your transcript or other application materials.

Typical examples of personal circumstances include significant financial hardship, severe illness or injury, a death or serious illness in the family, natural disasters affecting your home or school, or other challenges that have affected your ability to fully participate in school or extracurricular activities.

Whether or not you should include personal circumstances in your application depends on the relevance of these experiences to your overall story and potential for success in college. If you feel that there is a specific circumstance that has had a significant impact on your academic journey, it's worth mentioning it in your application. Keep in mind, though, that your application should still focus on your strengths and accomplishments; mention personal circumstances only to provide context and explain any irregularities or gaps in your record.

If you decide to include personal circumstances, explain them concisely and focus on how you've overcome or adapted to these challenges. This can show your resilience and ability to succeed despite difficult situations, which can be a positive attribute in the eyes of admissions officers.

6 months ago

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