GPA Addendum Draft

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cmdcmd
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GPA Addendum Draft

Postby cmdcmd » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:32 am

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Last edited by cmdcmd on Wed May 29, 2013 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SullaFelix
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby SullaFelix » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:45 am

cmdcmd wrote:I have a precipitous decline in my GPA. I start with like a 3.9 my first semester and end with a cumulative average in the range of 3.0-3.1. Do I strike the right tone in this addendum? Obviously, I don't want to sounds like I'm just making excuses for myself.

My college transcripts show a significant decline in my GPA after my freshman year. During the summer of 2007, my parents' marriage began to fall apart. Contemporaneously, my mother began undergoing interferon treatment for hepatitis. For a year she was largely bedridden and unable to work. This contributed to my parents' marital difficulties, which culminated in their separation in 2009. Following their separation, my mother entered rehabilitation for the alcohol dependence she developed during her unemployment and separation from my father. I did not handle my turbulent family situation as well as I should have. My priorities and academic focus suffered, and this is reflected in both in my grades as an upperclassman and in my impulsive and unwise decision to transfer to the University of _____________ in 2009, following my then-girlfriend.
I was diagnosed with and began treatment for depression in the spring of 2010. Subsequently, I started working in a small law office as an assistant to a pair of attorneys. The opportunity to spend some time outside of school working in a professional environment has helped me clarify my goals and reestablish my sense of direction and purpose. I have re-enrolled for the spring semester at ______________ and anticipate graduating in May. I believe that my performance during my first year of college, during which I maintained a 3.84 GPA while taking a heavier than average credit load which included significant honors track coursework, best reflects my academic ability.


It's just too much information, and will seem like a mess of excuses. Just a lot of unnecessary revelations about your parents' marriage and other items (it's irrelevant that you transferred to follow a girlfriend).

andedom
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby andedom » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:29 pm

If you want to go to a school that your GPA doesn't qualify you for, I would suggest that you possibly wait a couple years and get some work experience or grad school experience before going to law school.

All this drama in your life seems like it has occurred very recently, and most admissions officers will probably still think you are not ready to perform at your peak levels.

If your GPA won't be a hinderance to the law schools, then just don't mention any of this stuff. It won't help you because you haven't shown that you have managed to overcome this stuff yet.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:28 pm

I sort of agree with the above, but if you are committed to applying to law school this year, I think the thing to stress in your addendum is that (and why) the problems that have plagued you in the past won't be an issue anymore. You should also cut down on the number of different dramatic things you discuss and/or the time you spend discussing them - you could just say there were several family issues going on at once, from separation to illness to addiction, without getting super-specific about each - as others have suggested. But it would also be worthwhile to add a sentence on why your parents' troubles affected you so much - were you living at home and exposed to the drama every day? Did you have to take on monetary or other responsibilities? Were you on the phone with your mother for an hour every day, coaxing her through issues?

But again, the most important thing is to convincingly show that the issues are over and would not affect your law school performance.

Good luck.

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Barbie
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Barbie » Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:02 pm

I kind of think your application might be stronger without the addendum... If I were an adcomm (I obviously am not, haha, just my 2cents) it would make me wary of your current stability. And to say that your freshman year most indicates your academic ability is a huge stretch, because some would argue that freshman classes are the easy-breezy ones and as you worked your way into upper levels... thigns went downhill... I would at the least take out that part I suppose.

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WhatSarahSaid
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby WhatSarahSaid » Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:59 pm

What you have now is some pretty good reasoning for why your grades suffered. Unfortunately, if I were someone who gets to decide who should and shouldn't be admitted to my law school, I would hesitate to accept you based on this.

You might just not want an addendum. If you do, try something like:

"After my first semester of college, my parents experienced numerous marital hardships and difficulties that led to their separation in 2009. The pressures placed upon me during and after these turbulent times in my life contributed to a lowered academic focus, which was reflected in my grades. I believe that my performance during my first year of college, during which I maintained a 3.84 GPA while taking a heavy credit load with honors coursework, best reflects my academic ability."

CanadianWolf
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:07 pm

Although you have compelling circumstances, they are better stated in brief as suggested by WhatSarahSaid.

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Barbie
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Barbie » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:11 pm

WhatSarahSaid wrote:What you have now is some pretty good reasoning for why your grades suffered. Unfortunately, if I were someone who gets to decide who should and shouldn't be admitted to my law school, I would hesitate to accept you based on this.

You might just not want an addendum. If you do, try something like:

"After my first semester of college, my parents experienced numerous marital hardships and difficulties that led to their separation in 2009. The pressures placed upon me during and after these turbulent times in my life contributed to a lowered academic focus, which was reflected in my grades. I believe that my performance during my first year of college, during which I maintained a 3.84 GPA while taking a heavy credit load with honors coursework, best reflects my academic ability."


This (bolded) is the part I would most likely leave out. Most students take classes like english 1 & 2, a simple math, a science, a computer class, etc freshman year. These classes aren't very challenging. It's also (assumingly) 4 years ago. Someone's getting good grades in introduction type courses isn't really impressive, even if the classes were honors. Adcomms take more seriously the upper levels anyways. Idk, it just doesn't seem to be a good idea to me.

CanadianWolf
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:16 pm

The reason that the OP should consider highlighting freshman year GPA of 3.84 is that subsequent years were near or below 3.0 during troubled times. The contrast suggests that without extenuating circumstances beyond OP's control, the OP is a serious & capable student. Several private universities engage in harsher grading during the first two "weed-out" years and use easier grading curves in the upper years. This trend is sometimes used for typical pre-med majors & hopeful economics majors at some universities.

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Barbie
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Barbie » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:22 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The reason that the OP should consider highlighting freshman year GPA of 3.84 is that subsequent years were near or below 3.0 during troubled times. The contrast suggests that without extenuating circumstances beyond OP's control, the OP is a serious & capable student. Several private universities engage in harsher grading during the first two "weed-out" years and use easier grading curves in the upper years.


I suppose it would depend on the classes, but to tell me (as an adcomm) that I should take a 2000 level course as serious as a 4000 level course I think is pushing it.

By the way, I understand the reasoning. I'm giving my opinion (as these threads request) as to why I think that (because it is so long ago and a different level of courses) it wouldn't make a strong case. I think it is like saying I succeeded at my waitressing job four years ago, but because I have had problems arise, I haven't done well at a job relating to my major the past 3 years. My ability to succeed as my waitressing job should thus show I am capable of being a strong worker without these problems.

CanadianWolf
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:27 pm

Then you may not be familiar with the same universities. Admissions officers should be, though. Granted this typically applies to engineering, pre-med & economics tracks at universities. I prefer not to name them, but I am not referring to large state Southern universities, for example.

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Barbie
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Barbie » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:29 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Then you may not be familiar with the same universities. Admissions officers should be, though. Granted this typically applies to engineering, pre-med & economics tracks at universities. I prefer not to name them, but I am not referring to large state Southern universities, for example.


Okay so you are sure, then, that he is within this group? I am speaking in a general sense, and you are defending a case based solely on the assumption that OP is within this minority.

CanadianWolf
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:32 pm

I don't know, but in this case it is important to highlight freshman grades regardless of whether or not OP fits into this group.

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Barbie
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Barbie » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:33 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:I don't know, but in this case it is important to highlight freshman grades regardless of whether or not OP fits into this group.


Yes, I understand you think so. And I think the complete opposite. This is called a difference in opinion :)

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Jack Smirks
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Jack Smirks » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:53 pm

WhatSarahSaid wrote:What you have now is some pretty good reasoning for why your grades suffered. Unfortunately, if I were someone who gets to decide who should and shouldn't be admitted to my law school, I would hesitate to accept you based on this.

You might just not want an addendum. If you do, try something like:

"After my first semester of college, my parents experienced numerous marital hardships and difficulties that led to their separation in 2009. The pressures placed upon me during and after these turbulent times in my life contributed to a lowered academic focus, which was reflected in my grades. I believe that my performance during my first year of college, during which I maintained a 3.84 GPA while taking a heavy credit load with honors coursework, best reflects my academic ability."


CanadianWolf wrote:Although you have compelling circumstances, they are better stated in brief as suggested by WhatSarahSaid.


I disagree with both of these posts. Why would OP want to reduce his mother's alcoholism and hepatitis diagnosis to something vague like, "my parents experienced numerous marital hardships and difficulties". This completely trivializes his hardships and puts less weight on his addendum.

OP: Keep everything but the line about following your girlfriend to a different school and add something at the end about why the issues of the past will not effect your future performance at law school.

Edit: Then we can work on trimming it down a bit because it is too long.

cmdcmd
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby cmdcmd » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:08 am

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Last edited by cmdcmd on Wed May 29, 2013 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

andedom
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby andedom » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:00 pm

cmdcmd wrote:I appreciate everyone's input, including those of you telling me not to bother. I realize that I have to balance the risk of admissions folks thinking I may be unstable against the potential of getting some slack on my GPA. It's embarrassing to have put myself in a position where I need to explain poor performance. But I have a strong LSAT, and I figure that it's better than letting them just think I was just lazy. Here's my slightly edited draft:

During the summer of 2007, my parents' marriage began to fall apart. At the same time, my mother started undergoing interferon treatment for hepatitis; she was largely bedridden and unable to work. My parents' marital difficulties gradually worsened, eventually culminating in their separation. Subsequently, my mother entered rehabilitation for alcohol dependence and I began treatment for depression. The effect of my family situation on my priorities, academic focus and well being is reflected in my grades as an upperclassman.
This year, I started working as an assistant to a pair of attorneys. Working outside of school in a professional environment has helped clarify my goals and reestablish my sense of direction and purpose. I have re-enrolled for the spring semester at ______________ and anticipate graduating in May. I believe that my performance during my first year of college, during which I maintained a 3.84 GPA while taking a heavy credit load (which included honors and upper level coursework), best reflects my academic ability. Moreover, my personal life has stabilized significantly - the factors which impacted my academics these last few years will not affect my future performance.


Specific comments:

andedom wrote:If you want to go to a school that your GPA doesn't qualify you for, I would suggest that you possibly wait a couple years and get some work experience or grad school experience before going to law school.

I understand the putting some distance between my GPA and myself would be for the best. But I figure that in the worst case scenario - schools say "no" to me, and I apply again in a couple years anyways.

Barbie wrote:And to say that your freshman year most indicates your academic ability is a huge stretch, because some would argue that freshman classes are the easy-breezy ones and as you worked your way into upper levels...

I also understand that I have more or less the exact reverse of the kind of trend schools are looking for. However, I wasn't taking honors intro chem or something - I'd finished my geneds with AP credits, and I was taking 300 and 400 level philosophy and linguistics courses. I'm hoping that might lend some credibility to the account I'm giving.


This is a much better addendum. The other one was complaining about a lot of trivial stuff, but this is much better. The parents issue seems serious and it is good that you are showing that turning it around

noahzak
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby noahzak » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:51 pm

I agree that it is getting better, and as for people who are telling you not to bother: I visited the LA law school forum and every single admissions counselor told me to attach an addendum explaining my situation. It is different than yours, but still, it seems they like hearing explanations? Just my thoughts.

Anyways, I have a horrible undergrad GPA of 3.03, but I was in the College of Communication within my university, and my COM GPA is 3.9. I keep trying to figure out a way to explain this, but what can I really say?

The purpose of this addendum is to explain my grades during my time at _____ University. I was a student in the College of Communication (COM) and there is a large discrepancy between my aggregate grade point average (3.03) and my COM GPA (3.9). My higher in-major GPA is more representative of my abilities as a student. It is an indication of what I can and will do when fully engaged. It was taking arbitrary classes that did not contribute to my major’s requirements that brought my overall GPA down. Furthermore, my success in a graduate journalism class later on indicates my potential for academic achievement.

That doesn't really explain anything...Does anyone have any tips?

Thanks in advance!

PS. I have no problem saying the name of my undergrad university, but it seems most people don't do that on the forum?

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Barbie
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Barbie » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:01 pm

noahzak wrote:I agree that it is getting better, and as for people who are telling you not to bother: I visited the LA law school forum and every single admissions counselor told me to attach an addendum explaining my situation. It is different than yours, but still, it seems they like hearing explanations? Just my thoughts.

Anyways, I have a horrible undergrad GPA of 3.03, but I was in the College of Communication within my university, and my COM GPA is 3.9. I keep trying to figure out a way to explain this, but what can I really say?

The purpose of this addendum is to explain my grades during my time at _____ University. I was a student in the College of Communication (COM) and there is a large discrepancy between my aggregate grade point average (3.03) and my COM GPA (3.9). My higher in-major GPA is more representative of my abilities as a student. It is an indication of what I can and will do when fully engaged. It was taking arbitrary classes that did not contribute to my major’s requirements that brought my overall GPA down. Furthermore, my success in a graduate journalism class later on indicates my potential for academic achievement.

That doesn't really explain anything...Does anyone have any tips?

Thanks in advance!

PS. I have no problem saying the name of my undergrad university, but it seems most people don't do that on the forum?



THe trouble with this is that even though you may be genuinly interested in law in general, the chances of you being engaged in all of your law classes are very slim. I think this addendum points out that in those classes, which may be plentiful, you would do poorly, which defeats the purpose of an addendum, really.. :(

noahzak
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby noahzak » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:16 pm

I know! That's why I'm trying to "spin" this addendum in some way that would be to my benefit. I mean, I do want them to know I had a 3.9 in my major, because it is so much better than a 3.0, but how can I make that sound good?

*Sigh* Thanks for the feedback :)

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Flett
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Flett » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:54 pm

noahzak wrote:The purpose of this addendum is to explain my grades during my time at _____ University. I was a student in the College of Communication (COM) and there is a large discrepancy between my aggregate grade point average (3.03) and my COM GPA (3.9). It was taking arbitrary classes that did not contribute to my major’s requirements that brought my overall GPA down. / something needs to go here to make this transition work / Furthermore, My success in a graduate level journalism class later on in my academic career indicates my true potential for academic achievement. This is why my higher, in-major GPA is more representative of my abilities as a student. It is an indication of what I can and will do when fully engaged.


Maybe something like this would work?

Barbie may have a good point about the idea of "engaging classes." I feel like you need a different reason for the GPA discrepancy to fill in the gap between the "/... /". Were the arbitrary classes in a subject you struggled but overcame? Extremely different than your major and required a new way of thinking, which, again, your struggled with but overcame in the end?

But then again, I could be way out in left field. :)

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Barbie
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Barbie » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:20 pm

noahzak wrote:I know! That's why I'm trying to "spin" this addendum in some way that would be to my benefit. I mean, I do want them to know I had a 3.9 in my major, because it is so much better than a 3.0, but how can I make that sound good?

*Sigh* Thanks for the feedback :)


They will get a copy of your transcript and it will say your major GPA...

noahzak
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby noahzak » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:44 pm

Thanks for the feedback...I will try to work my way around it, but no, none of my "other" classes were subjects that I improved in, so I can't go that angle. As far as them getting my transcript, I think they will see the journalism classes I took, but they probably won't see my singled out major GPA or calculate that themselves...

I'm really trying to decide whether I should just scrap the whole thing altogether.

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Barbie
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby Barbie » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:52 pm

noahzak wrote:Thanks for the feedback...I will try to work my way around it, but no, none of my "other" classes were subjects that I improved in, so I can't go that angle. As far as them getting my transcript, I think they will see the journalism classes I took, but they probably won't see my singled out major GPA or calculate that themselves...

I'm really trying to decide whether I should just scrap the whole thing altogether.


maybe. the transcript from my UG has my major GPA. it might be different from school to school, but they will recognize the trend. theyre pretty smart people :)

noahzak
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Re: GPA Addendum Draft

Postby noahzak » Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:40 pm

True, I think I am giving up on it...Thanks guys!




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