Colorado State University Academic Explanation Essay

Colorado State University offers applicants the opportunity to write an essay that addresses any low grades or academic discrepancies on their records. These essays give admissions officers the chance to take into account any circumstances that may have affected your academic performance throughout high school in an effort to review your application in the best light.

These essays have always presented a rare opportunity for students to elaborate on academic performance in their own words, and we always recommend that students take the opportunity to address any academic discrepancies on their own terms.

Here is the academic explanation essay prompt from Colorado State University:

Colorado State University Academic Explanation Essay Prompt:

Academic Explanation

When making an admission decision, we consider things like your cumulative GPA, the rigor of your coursework, your trends in grades across subjects and over time, and, for freshmen, the balance between your GPA and test scores.

If we notice that you’ve struggled in a particular subject, that your grade trends have varied, or that your test scores are a little low (less than 20 ACT or less than 1030 SAT), we look to your Academic Explanation to get more information.

Here’s the specific prompt you’ll see in the application:

If your cumulative GPA is less than a B average or if you have any D or F grades, this is your opportunity to explain. Be sure to address the following questions when responding:

• What factors caused or contributed to your performance, including your own choices/actions?

• What actions did you take or are you taking to address these factors in order to be academically and/or personally successful?

• What have you learned from the experience that has changed or will change how you approach your academics and/or personal challenges?


Admissions Mentoring has worked with students who have been able to write these essays and subsequently gain admission to CSU. If you are interested in applying to Colorado State and need help getting started with either the common application essay or the academic explanation essay, feel free to reach out to us for guidance, and follow our blog for more tips!

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