Appropriate Addendum Topics?

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Cuneiform
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:11 am

Appropriate Addendum Topics?

Postby Cuneiform » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:39 am

Hey all, I'm new here. I've been working on my PS for a few weeks now, but it's nowhere near being done. My question concerns appropriate topics for an addendum.

Long story short, I experienced a lot of personal and family problems in the four years it took me to get through community college and into a four-year. About a year and a half in, I had to significantly reduce my course load and work full-time to help support my family because my father was laid off. With his overabundance of free time, he soon discovered that about $100,000 was "missing" and my mother racked up an additional $35,000 in credit card debt. Other family issues came out of the woodwork, and soon all four members of my immediate family were severely depressed and more than somewhat suicidal or otherwise prone to self-harm. The following spring, my grandfather died and my mother moved out. I had to revoke my intent to register at UCSB because I needed to stay home and take care of my father and brother (and still contribute financially).

I'm torn on how much to include in the addendum. These events aren't the whole story, but I'm hoping they are sufficient to explain my haphazard schedule and lackluster grades. I'm hesitant to throw everything in there, though, even directly connecting each event to a specific semester. I don't want to come across as throwing in the kitchen sink just to evoke sympathy or make excuses. My rough draft makes it clear that these events facilitated growth even while hindering my immediate performance. What do you guys think?

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ogman05
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:02 pm

Re: Appropriate Addendum Topics?

Postby ogman05 » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:48 am

This is appropriate. All depends on how you tell the story though. If it is a lot of information you may want to base a PS or DS around it. I did something like that in a similar situation. No one was over and above suicidal but you get the point. Financial issues can be a real burden. Adcoms know this. I feel like talking about your mom moving and the emotional crises (suicide) would be a little overboard, but keep it about the finances. Ignore why $100,000.00 was missing unless it was no ones personal mistake and emphasize that you were working through school to help.

FYI: this would most likely help to mitigate/explain a poor or average gpa. It will not give you extra lsat points.

-OG

narkizopoint
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:33 pm

Re: Appropriate Addendum Topics?

Postby narkizopoint » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:53 am

Sounds like a tough PS to write because of all the events occuring over a period of time. I would try scrapping whatever you have written (it will make a great reference for your next draft though).

Then sit down and in the shortest, most simplest sentences you can think of (keep it about 3-7) say straight out why your GPA was bad (don't think they'll care about the schedule so much).

Hopefully without all the distractions of trying to write flowery, impressive prose you can clearly and concisely convey what happened clearly. Once you've done that you can probably flesh it out a little more easily.

When your done, read it and make sure it sounds more like "reasons" and not "excuses" (I know, I know, they are the same thing but still, they sound different.)

Cuneiform
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:11 am

Re: Appropriate Addendum Topics?

Postby Cuneiform » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:02 am

Thanks for the advice! But I am well aware that LSAT scores are not going to be explained away by talking about why I had a lower GPA, thanks.

Also, I don't want to scrap anything; this is not the text I have in my actual addendum, nor is it in my PS. I'm trying to use my PS to focus on my honors thesis and research experience because I think those are much more relevant. My professor said that my opening to my PS was "beautiful" so I'm hesitant to stray from that.

Anyway, actual numbers don't need to be included, but I'll probably reword the "missing" 100K as my mother siphoning away my father's savings, or something like that.

Another thing is that I see addenda for GPA's of 2.5, 3.0, that range. Even with all the crap my lower division GPA was 3.6, but my upper division GPA is 3.9. Would it make that much a difference to the adcomm anyway?

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ogman05
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:02 pm

Re: Appropriate Addendum Topics?

Postby ogman05 » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:24 am

Cuneiform wrote:Thanks for the advice! But I am well aware that LSAT scores are not going to be explained away by talking about why I had a lower GPA, thanks.

Also, I don't want to scrap anything; this is not the text I have in my actual addendum, nor is it in my PS. I'm trying to use my PS to focus on my honors thesis and research experience because I think those are much more relevant. My professor said that my opening to my PS was "beautiful" so I'm hesitant to stray from that.

Anyway, actual numbers don't need to be included, but I'll probably reword the "missing" 100K as my mother siphoning away my father's savings, or something like that.

Another thing is that I see addenda for GPA's of 2.5, 3.0, that range. Even with all the crap my lower division GPA was 3.6, but my upper division GPA is 3.9. Would it make that much a difference to the adcomm anyway?


Sounds like youve made up most of your mind. If youre gpa is high enough where it is not an issue fo rthe schools you are applying to just write a short addendum. Wasnt trying to be snoody but had a feeling that you didnt have a terrible gpa. You want to boost a not bad gpa to begin with. You may just want to emphasize that you had an upward trend in your last year of upper division and say you learned to work through the stress and overload of working and filial prblems. goodluck

narkizopoint
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:33 pm

Re: Appropriate Addendum Topics?

Postby narkizopoint » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:43 am

reading comp fail on my part dude. Sorry got the whole PS/Addendum mixed up.

I got the feeling that you were having trouble because of the sheer amount that you wanted/needed to include about what was going down and I was suggesting taking a different approach to get a fresh take. I am a fan of really short addenda because they strike me as more authentic and if you put yourself in the shoes of the adcom who has to read through 4000 bullshit addenda something that goes right to the core of whatever your problems were might be appreciated. I still think sitting down and starting with something super simple and short will distill your reasons down to something clear and meaningful (not only to the adcoms but to yourself as well.) Then fleshing it out-if your PS was well written like the prof. said then your writing must be pretty good so you wont be able to resist fleshing it out.

edit: Should really answer your question and take own advice- Yes, they are appropriate addendum topics but only write one if you feel your GPA is below median at the school you want to gain admittance to and you honestly feel that the GPA you recieved does not accurately depict your ability as a student.




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