I have completed 2 undergraduate degrees. I did poorly my first time around but did exceptionally well the second time around. I’ve been asked to complete an adversity questionnaire and disclose anything that I feel may provide additional context to my previous poor performance. I was dealing with some personal health problems at the time but I can’t help but feel that disclosing such information would prejudice my application. Admissions is clearly fishing for something but should I take the bait. Depending on how I disclose the nature of the past issues, it could be the kiss of death. I think it one would be delusional to think that we live in a society where people are not judgemental. Essentially I don’t want to give anyone ammunition that could be used to take down my application if I’m already on the borderline as it would appear given my past academic history.
Does anyone have any advice on how best to proceed?
Given that you did "exceptionally well" in your second degree I take it that you are over these health problems? Am I also right in assuming that they were mental health problems? Tbh I'd probably disclose the nature of the problem you had previously provided it wasn't still there. Did you see a psychiatrist /take medication? You could include letters from professionals you saw confirming it is not still an issue, you are not still on medication, and they believe your exceptional 2nd degree results are a much better indication of your true abilities. I think you do need to submit some kind of explanation definitely because other wise it'll just look even worse.
Actually I would say that medical schools are extremely supportive and this is your opportunity to explain why there’s such a difference rather than theirs to find an excuse to not take you. My friend managed to take three years out for mental health reasons no problem. Another has been allowed to resist two separate years, and I’ve recently been allowed to rearrange two exams to attend a funeral. They will do what they can to help you out when they can, but they can’t if they don’t know.