Critique my GPA addendum?

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olsonl
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Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby olsonl » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:23 pm

I'm writing this addendum for a bad senior year that caused a drop in my gpa. Does this seem like an ok topic for an addendum/will it make any difference? Any thoughts are extremely helpful!

Dear Law School Admission’s Committee,

During my senior year of college at xxxx University, my brother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder. He would go in and out of episodes for weeks at a time, during which he was inconsolable. As his oldest brother, he confided his struggles in me. His condition quickly worsened as the doctors struggled to find him the proper medical dosage, and with threats of suicide, my brother’s emotional health became my biggest priority. As a result, my studies suffered during my senior year. However, prior to my senior year, I maintained a xxx GPA with an upward trend, not including a xxx GPA obtained during my year studying in Italy. My brother’s situation has since improved as the doctors approach the proper dosage to control his episodes, and I am now fully committed to my academics and my future legal career. I therefore hope that the committee will take my LSAT score as a better indication of my academic potential than my undergraduate GPA.

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jks289
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby jks289 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:28 pm

olsonl wrote:I'm writing this addendum for a bad senior year that caused a drop in my gpa. Does this seem like an ok topic for an addendum/will it make any difference? Any thoughts are extremely helpful!

Dear Law School Admission’s Committee,

During my senior year of college at xxxx University, my brother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder. He would go in and out of episodes for weeks at a time, during which he was inconsolable. As his oldest brother, he confided his struggles in me. His condition quickly worsened as the doctors struggled to find him the proper medical dosage, and with threats of suicide, my brother’s emotional health became my biggest priority. As a result, my studies suffered during my senior year. However, prior to my senior year, I maintained a xxx GPA with an upward trend, not including a xxx GPA obtained during my year studying in Italy. My brother’s situation has since improved as the doctors approach the proper dosage to control his episodes, and I am now fully committed to my academics and my future legal career. I therefore hope that the committee will take my LSAT score as a better indication of my academic potential than my undergraduate GPA.


Too much detail about your brother I think. I would try:

During my senior year of college at xxxx University, my brother was diagnosed a significant mental disorder. Due to the severity of his illness, and his need for near constant supervision and support, I was unable to prioritize my studies above his health and safety. As a result, my studies suffered during my senior year. However, prior to my senior year, I maintained a xxx GPA with an upward trend, not including a xxx GPA obtained during my year studying in Italy. My brother’s situation has since improved and he is now under the care of physicians. I am fully committed to my academics and my future legal career. I therefore hope that the committee will take my LSAT score as a better indication of my academic potential than my undergraduate GPA.

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Joga Bonito
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby Joga Bonito » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:30 pm

It's sounds reasonable I guess. It's good you had an upward trend. If you talked more about your relationship with your brother(the depth of it etc. perhaps his age) then perhaps that would help show why his condition would impact you the way it did.

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jks289
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby jks289 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:34 pm

Joga Bonito wrote:It's sounds reasonable I guess. It's good you had an upward trend. If you talked more about your relationship with your brother(the depth of it etc. perhaps his age) then perhaps that would help show why his condition would impact you the way it did.


I disagree. Less is more. The point is not to justify the grades, it is just to explain that a significant event precipitated the bad semester.

pollaclc
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby pollaclc » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:35 pm

+1 less is more.

olsonl
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby olsonl » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:38 pm

I do want to keep it as concise as possible, so that it doesn't come off as an excuse. But you don't think simplifying the details of the situation take away the gravity of it? I don't want it to sound like a trivial problem that shouldn't have distracted me from school.

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jks289
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby jks289 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:42 pm

olsonl wrote:I do want to keep it as concise as possible, so that it doesn't come off as an excuse. But you don't think simplifying the details of the situation take away the gravity of it? I don't want it to sound like a trivial problem that shouldn't have distracted me from school.


No I think less detail adds to the gravity. I think saying "serious mental illness" can be taken at its word. Too many details feel irrelevant and a little more like an excuse. I think saying he needed support and supervision for his health and safety implies he was a risk to himself or others. It doesn't get more serious. The only additional detail you might need is to state why you were the person who was primarily tasked with his care (deceased or ill parents, his mental illness meant he only trusted you, etc).

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Joga Bonito
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby Joga Bonito » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:45 pm

jks289 wrote:
Joga Bonito wrote:It's sounds reasonable I guess. It's good you had an upward trend. If you talked more about your relationship with your brother(the depth of it etc. perhaps his age) then perhaps that would help show why his condition would impact you the way it did.


I disagree. Less is more. The point is not to justify the grades, it is just to explain that a significant event precipitated the bad semester.


I dont think he should take out the small amount of info he has on his brother, then he would def. not establish the significance of the relationship-aside from it being his brother which could look like a lot of things, ex. I have brothers i hardly talk to, but a sister i'm really close with. Also, I don't think less is necessarily more( we're only talking one more sentence or two anyway-that won't be the difference in being admitted or rejected unless you say something stupid.)

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jks289
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby jks289 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:50 pm

Joga Bonito wrote:
jks289 wrote:
Joga Bonito wrote:It's sounds reasonable I guess. It's good you had an upward trend. If you talked more about your relationship with your brother(the depth of it etc. perhaps his age) then perhaps that would help show why his condition would impact you the way it did.


I disagree. Less is more. The point is not to justify the grades, it is just to explain that a significant event precipitated the bad semester.


I dont think he should take out the small amount of info he has on his brother, then he would def. not establish the significance of the relationship-aside from it being his brother which could look like a lot of things, ex. I have brothers i hardly talk to, but a sister i'm really close with. Also, I don't think less is necessarily more( we're only talking one more sentence or two anyway-that won't be the difference in being admitted or rejected unless you say something stupid.)


My take on these addenda (and it's only my opinion) is that these should be seen as a small example of your advocacy abilities. You are advocating for yourself, and it should be concise, informative, and stick only to the relevant facts. Appeals to emotion, etc I think end up making a weaker argument. An ideal addendum should serve two purposes, to answer a question an adcom might have and to briefly preview your "legal writing" abilities.

narkizopoint
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby narkizopoint » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:51 pm

I agree with the more info, I like the "confide in me" part but as an outside observer the thought of "doesn't this kid have parents? Why was his brother's problem his problem aside from regular familial stresses?" I think a little embellishment as to why (confide in me) his brother's problems affected the OP's GPA.

olsonl
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby olsonl » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:53 pm

Joga Bonito wrote:
jks289 wrote:
Joga Bonito wrote:It's sounds reasonable I guess. It's good you had an upward trend. If you talked more about your relationship with your brother(the depth of it etc. perhaps his age) then perhaps that would help show why his condition would impact you the way it did.


I disagree. Less is more. The point is not to justify the grades, it is just to explain that a significant event precipitated the bad semester.


I dont think he should take out the small amount of info he has on his brother, then he would def. not establish the significance of the relationship-aside from it being his brother which could look like a lot of things, ex. I have brothers i hardly talk to, but a sister i'm really close with. Also, I don't think less is necessarily more( we're only talking one more sentence or two anyway-that won't be the difference in being admitted or rejected unless you say something stupid.)


That's my concern. I'm worried that "serious mental illness" could be interpreted along a broad spectrum, so that the adcomms could interpret it as not a good reason for a dip in performance. Maybe a little less information on his condition, and a little more on my relationship with him? Thoughts?

mjs92983
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby mjs92983 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:55 pm

I agree with less is more. Admissions people read hundreds of these, just give the plausible reason and move on.

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Joga Bonito
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby Joga Bonito » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:57 pm

narkizopoint wrote:I agree with the more info, I like the "confide in me" part but as an outside observer the thought of "doesn't this kid have parents? Why was his brother's problem his problem aside from regular familial stresses?" I think a little embellishment as to why (confide in me) his brother's problems affected the OP's GPA.


Thats my point.
Plus, more info about the relationship is not an appeal to emotion, its descrbining the significance of the relationship, relational depth is partially, if not primarily defined by emtional commitment, feelings toward that person as a result of time spent togther etc. In this case describing your emotions toward your brother is not a logical fallacy, you don't decide you love/care about people because of logical deductions and adcomms are human not computers with no emotions or feelings.

If your brother were 5 years old and your 22, you can't be that close to him so it shouldn't have effected you the same way, however, if he's 2 years younger than you and you grew up togther thats a big deal.
Last edited by Joga Bonito on Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

narkizopoint
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby narkizopoint » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:59 pm

I think it comes down to answering the very specific, "Why did your brother's illness affect your GPA?"

Concrete things like "I had to drive him to and from 2 hour therapy sessions 3 times a week before class" or "I had to work full time to get health benefits because my parents did not have health insurance" would indicate a very tangible reason for hindered academic performance.

Stating that you made his health your priority wouldn't be enough for me personally, but I am not the adcom. I would wonder why you couldn't see it as your parent's priority and place school first. If this was impossible, then why (see examples above)?

olsonl
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Re: Critique my GPA addendum?

Postby olsonl » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:08 pm

This is all really good info. Thanks for the help.




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