quizivex wrote:Every committee member is different. Who knows what each person will think! It's possible that some of them would by sympathetic to the situation. Though note that "excuses" might be better if they're applied to explain one unusually bad grade or semester... not 3 semesters. It'd probably be better if you have your recommender(s) point out the issues in their letters. It'd be better that way.
Good suggestion, thanks.
I agree with everyone that bringing up reasons, whether it be medical or a mental/behavioral/neurological disorder, can be a tricky subject. I myself suffer from two neurological disorders and I definitely
mentioned them in my SOP. I think it is more important that you think long and hard about how you talk about these issues.
If you only talk about them as these negative things that have made life so hard for you, then yeah the review committee will most likely think of it as a negative thing too. But if you talk about how you've overcome the obstacles that these issues have presented and how dealing with them has made you a stronger individual, then the committee will see your past problems as something that makes you stand out.
To summarize, if you are going to mention them (which I would) make sure to focus on the positives from them.
You can still mention that they have caused problems maybe by saying something like 'it took me a while to figure out how to cope with -xyz- and I struggled academically during that period, BUT throughout my experiences dealing with/managing -xyz- I have learned a lot about (managing my time, the importance of taking the time to be healthy both physically and mentally, approaching roadblocks from different avenues, etc.).' If you focus on how these things have made you stronger and a more qualified applicant, then they won't fault you for that.