GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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v. dentata
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GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby v. dentata » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:11 am

Hello all-

I keep hitting a wall with this addendum. I realize it is long, but I am not sure what to take out. Also, what do you think overall? THANKS!



I wish to make the admissions committee aware of the circumstances that contributed to my 2.5 GPA from (school). While I considered discussing this in my personal statement, I chose not to because it is a part of my past, rather than my present and future.
My low GPA was the result of a previously undiagnosed social anxiety disorder that I have since resolved. In college, this anxiety manifested/produced/resulted in panic attacks, low self-esteem, sleep problems, and depression, which were caused not by academics, but self-consciousness in and avoidance of certain situations. This was compounded by the events surrounding my parents’ divorce my freshman year of college, the culmination of an unhappy childhood, and the subsequent bad acne that often made it difficult for me to leave the house. My anxiety hit an all-time high when I was charged with a DUI in 2003. Too ashamed to tell my parents or my friends, I was determined to take full monetary and administrative responsibility. I was embarrassed of my poor judgment, and my self-esteem dropped to a new low. While I was interested in my classes, my anxiety prevented me from reaching my academic potential. I was confident speaking in front of groups or arguing a point, and I was excellent under pressure; but my class attendance and courage to seek academic help were limited, and my grades suffered accordingly. I had no problem comprehending my course material, however, which was reflected in a poem I wrote for a class to make up for my low participation grade. My professor made 200 copies of it and distributed it to our entire introductory Sociology class, calling it a valuable tool for reference.
After graduation, I took some time off from school to work in (city) and address these issues, which I was determined to alleviate before beginning law school; and it worked. I regained my confidence with the help of close friendships, self-analysis, and research on the nature of this learned disorder. My anxiety drastically decreased. I began therapy to completely eliminate the symptoms upon discovering their source when I examined the fear surrounding certain events from my childhood. Thanks to one year of continuing therapy and the understanding of myself that came with maturity, I have broken my old habits and developed new ones that will serve me well as a lawyer. I am pleased with how much I have matured and developed in the three years since I graduated college. I knew my issues with anxiety were a thing of the past when I made a long-term commitment to the (volunteer organization), where involvement was crucial. I am eager to participate, using my own personal challenges as an asset that allows me to empathize with co-workers and clients I am more than ready to begin law school; and I say with no uncertainty that I would not make such a commitment if I doubted my ability to be effective in reaching my goals. I am confident that my grades in law school will reflect this.

ConsideringLawSchool
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:30 am

v. dentata wrote:Hello all-

I keep hitting a wall with this addendum. I realize it is long, but I am not sure what to take out. Also, what do you think overall? THANKS!



I wish to make the admissions committee aware of the circumstances that contributed to my 2.5 GPA from (school). While I considered discussing this in my personal statement, I chose not to because it is a part of my past, rather than my present and future.
My low GPA was the result of a previously undiagnosed social anxiety disorder that I have since resolved. In college, this anxiety manifested/produced/resulted in panic attacks, low self-esteem, sleep problems, and depression, which were caused not by academics, but self-consciousness in and avoidance of certain situations. This was compounded by the events surrounding my parents’ divorce my freshman year of college, the culmination of an unhappy childhood, and the subsequent bad acne that often made it difficult for me to leave the house. My anxiety hit an all-time high when I was charged with a DUI in 2003. Too ashamed to tell my parents or my friends, I was determined to take full monetary and administrative responsibility. I was embarrassed of my poor judgment, and my self-esteem dropped to a new low. While I was interested in my classes, my anxiety prevented me from reaching my academic potential. I was confident speaking in front of groups or arguing a point, and I was excellent under pressure; but my class attendance and courage to seek academic help were limited, and my grades suffered accordingly. I had no problem comprehending my course material, however, which was reflected in a poem I wrote for a class to make up for my low participation grade. My professor made 200 copies of it and distributed it to our entire introductory Sociology class, calling it a valuable tool for reference.
After graduation, I took some time off from school to work in (city) and address these issues, which I was determined to alleviate before beginning law school; and it worked. I regained my confidence with the help of close friendships, self-analysis, and research on the nature of this learned disorder. My anxiety drastically decreased. I began therapy to completely eliminate the symptoms upon discovering their source when I examined the fear surrounding certain events from my childhood. Thanks to one year of continuing therapy and the understanding of myself that came with maturity, I have broken my old habits and developed new ones that will serve me well as a lawyer. I am pleased with how much I have matured and developed in the three years since I graduated college. I knew my issues with anxiety were a thing of the past when I made a long-term commitment to the (volunteer organization), where involvement was crucial. I am eager to participate, using my own personal challenges as an asset that allows me to empathize with co-workers and clients I am more than ready to begin law school; and I say with no uncertainty that I would not make such a commitment if I doubted my ability to be effective in reaching my goals. I am confident that my grades in law school will reflect this.


Congratulations on all that you have overcome! It sounds as though you had a lot of challenges and impressively conquered them.

I think your addendum is excellent. It may be longer than average, but I'm not sure that you need to shorten it all that much.

One sentence perhaps you could remove is: I began therapy to completely eliminate the symptoms upon discovering their source when I examined the fear surrounding certain events from my childhood. (you refer to the helpful effects of therapy in the next sentence)

I'm also not sure to what extent the poem illustrates your comprehension of course material. It shows that you were an excellent writer, but I'm not totally clear about the connection (unless your poem was a synopsis of the course in some way--in which case you may want to specify more details)

Overall, looks great

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v. dentata
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby v. dentata » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:35 am

Thank you! I'll change those sentences.

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FromRussiaWithLove
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby FromRussiaWithLove » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:52 am

I threw this into Word and it is almost two pages double-spaced. Could you really not work this into your PS? You mention that you didn't because it is part of your past...I imagine the majority of Personal Statements are about the author's past, mine was...I think it would be a good topic to discuss. A hardship that you overcame..classic topic.

I understand you want admissions to know about these things, but I am afraid they might not even read it carefully since it is a long ass addendum. Just my .02

ConsideringLawSchool
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:15 am

FromRussiaWithLove wrote:I threw this into Word and it is almost two pages double-spaced. Could you really not work this into your PS? You mention that you didn't because it is part of your past...I imagine the majority of Personal Statements are about the author's past, mine was...I think it would be a good topic to discuss. A hardship that you overcame..classic topic.

I understand you want admissions to know about these things, but I am afraid they might not even read it carefully since it is a long ass addendum. Just my .02


At least, if they don't read it all, the first sentence really tells the most important information. Beyond that, they are basically reading on to decide whether or not they are convinced that the first line is accurate.

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v. dentata
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby v. dentata » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:58 pm

Russia- I know, seriously, I could probably submit it as a PS to at least one law school. My PS actually talks about sexism and my experiences as a woman. The anxiety I'm sure was exacerbated by it, but discussing it would take away significantly from the strength and fluidity of the paper.

As Denise Richards says, "It's complicated."

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AngryAvocado
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby AngryAvocado » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:20 pm

It's much too long, and there are also a number of grammatical issues (especially the overuse of semi-colons). This is just my opinion, but I would cut it at least in half and take out a lot of the introspective comments and opinions. Focus on the diagnosis of the anxiety disorder and examples of how you've overcome it.

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v. dentata
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby v. dentata » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:31 am

What grammatical issues did you notice? I need specifics here. Thanks!

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AngryAvocado
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby AngryAvocado » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:10 am

v. dentata wrote:What grammatical issues did you notice? I need specifics here. Thanks!


Primarily the usage of semicolons with conjunctions like "and," which is a no-no.

Stylistically, there are more issues. Just count the number of times you use "I" in the second paragraph. It might not be grammatically incorrect, but it's agonizing to read. The overuse of semicolons is also painful for the reader, particularly since they are often misused.

Reading it again, however, I really believe you need to rethink this entire thing. To me, this addendum raises more issues than it solves.

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vanwinkle
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:18 am

This is far too incredibly long. An addendum should be no more than one page, and usually shouldn't even fill the whole page. You're not trying to persuade there so much as just disclose; if you want to be persuasive, make it the theme of your PS or a DS. It should be brief and to the point. For example, this part:

I wish to make the admissions committee aware of the circumstances that contributed to my 2.5 GPA from (school). While I considered discussing this in my personal statement, I chose not to because it is a part of my past, rather than my present and future.


Should become this:

This addendum is to identify and explain circumstances that contributed to my 2.5 GPA from (school).


I recommend reading this: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=86526 Read the whole thing. In some parts it talks about kinds of addendums you're not writing, but those will still show you how to write a brief yet effective addendum in general.

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v. dentata
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby v. dentata » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:21 pm

I will read that-- thank you. I become totally lost when required to write about myself, unless it's humorous.

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v. dentata
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby v. dentata » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:13 pm

Okay, here is what I re-wrote during my lunch break. I feel that it's still a little too PS/story-like, but I can work on refining it later. What do you think?:


This addendum is to identify and explain circumstances that contributed to my 2.5 GPA from (school).
My low GPA was the result of undiagnosed social anxiety disorder that was a product of a difficult childhood. Anxiety disorders consist of learned habits which become worse the longer they go untreated. My symptoms included panic attacks, low self-esteem, sleep problems, and depression. My parents’ divorce and my subsequent bad acne exacerbated these symptoms, which varied in severity daily or weekly. I was interested in my classes and had no problem comprehending the material, but my attendance and participation fluctuated with my confidence. I sought help from school psychologists but was unwilling to believe that I had a social anxiety disorder, because I did not consider myself a shy or nervous person. Left untreated by effective means, my anxiety hit an all-time high when I was charged with a DUI in 2003. I was deeply ashamed of my poor judgment. My self-esteem dropped to a new low, bringing my grades with it.
My time in (city) allowed me to regain much of the confidence I had lost. I began therapy immediately upon moving back to the (area). After one year of continuing therapy, I have broken my old habits and developed new ones that will serve me well as a lawyer, using self-talk, re-framing, and EMDR, and meditation. I am pleased with how much I have matured and developed since college.
I am more than ready to begin law school, and I say with no uncertainty that I would not make such a commitment if I doubted my ability to be effective in reaching my goals. I am confident that my grades in law school will reflect this.

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v. dentata
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby v. dentata » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:28 am

Can anyone give me tips on the draft I submitted in my last post? I need to finalize this by the end of the night. Thanks!

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vanwinkle
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:30 am

v. dentata wrote:Can anyone give me tips on the draft I submitted in my last post? I need to finalize this by the end of the night. Thanks!


It's better.

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Shlonster
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby Shlonster » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:10 am

The revised version is much better, in terms of an addendum. Clearer, more to the point, and ultimately more informative -- while I understand your desire to adequately explain the situation, shorter is better when a committee of people who don't really care are evaluating it.

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bees
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Re: GPA Addendum, near-final draft-- what do you think?

Postby bees » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:16 am

I don't think you need to define Anxiety Orders and could just cut out that 3rd sentence - further shortening your addendum.




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