MagicNMedicine
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#21
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#21
I agree with the posts here that say things like this should be in the reference and not the personal statement.

You need to be careful with extenuating circumstances because, rightly or wrongly, they are nearly always seen as a negative. The more they tend towards the sob story angle the worse they are. This is true both with admissions tutors at uni and with employers.

The problem comes from tutors/employers previous experience of people with these stories before. At uni for instance the tutors will find that they spend inordinate amounts of time and effort on a small number of students with problems who end up wanting special circumstances exemptions, remarks, special consideration, requests to repeat the year and so on. It tends to be the same students that have a pattern - the ones who do this in first year will do it in second and third etc. Some of them are blagging it but some are genuine as well and they just have problems because they find it hard to cope with stressful things due to underlying anxiety issues or other problems. This is why especially where there are demanding courses or demanding jobs, people get put off by stories of extenuating circumstances: they don't want to put someone on a course or job where they are going to put that person in to a breakdown.

Now when they read stories of extenuating circumstances from somebody before they even take them on it will ring alarm bells....is this going to be one of those students who is going to have problems for 3 years...

So extenuating circumstances stories look better if they are explaining a unique set of circumstances that happened at one point in time and that aren't going to affect the student going forwards. Anything that makes the tutor think - hmm this could happen again, is going to be a negative.

But consider hard whether you really want to bring things up because admissions tutors and employers sometimes get put off by anyone with 'baggage', that may be harsh but it's true especially on anything competitive where they have a lot of other options to pick from.
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Interrobang
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#22
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As a PS advisor, I can say that I agree with the people who say that you should focus on the positive things in your PS and get your referee to explain the extenuating circumstances
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