Addendum - GPA

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BrownBears09
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Addendum - GPA

Postby BrownBears09 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:22 am

I would love a bit of peer review. Does this properly explain a low GPA due to a heavy athletic time commitment?

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ADDENDUM - GPA
During my freshmen year at Brown University, I concentrated in Computer Science. Despite a poor performance in these courses, and a continual decreasing interest in the subject matter, I continued the pursuit until the end of my freshman year. The result was academic probation and a 2.33 GPA. Before sophomore year, under self discretion and counsel from our deans, I elected to modify my concentration to Economics. After recognizing my weaknesses and realigning my goals, I saw a gradual upward trending in my GPA (2.33, 3.00, 3.38, 4.00, and a 3.50) over the next semesters. However, courses taken at ____ University (and not at Brown University) did not count towards improving academic standing and my academic probation remained. I would have been removed from academic probation had these courses counted towards Brown’s academic standing.

Additionally, I was a 3-year starter for the Brown University Varsity Football Team. As a student-athlete at Brown, the time commitment was extensive. In-season commitments normally involved 1-2 days of traveling and over 40 hours per week of daily commitments. Even off-season commitments totaled over 40 hours per week with less traveling. Football is a heavy fall sport and my grades suffered greatly due to the balance of athletic time commitments and academic work. Although I had athletic obligations throughout the year, the time commitment in September through December was especially large. A comparison of my fall and spring semesters on my transcript exemplifies this discrepancy. During the lighter (in terms of athletic commitments) spring semesters I was able to achieve significantly better grades as opposed to the heavier fall semesters.

I believe the best indicator of my academic performance is my final semester at Brown. During this semester, I had no athletic obligations. Without the heavy commitment of athletics, I had the time necessary to devote myself completely to academics. With this newly allocated time, I was able to obtain a perfect 4.0 GPA.


Edit: Revision
Last edited by BrownBears09 on Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:55 pm

You won't like my first reaction, which is that your two reasons given explain the lower GPA, but don't really excuse it. It comes off a bit whiny "my major was too hard and it takes up a lot of time being a privileged college athlete, wahhhh!"

And I'm speaking as a former D1 athlete, too. I fully understand giving up every moment of free time to the team, being too exhausted to stay up past dinnertime to get any studying done, and staying sick for literally months at a time every time I got a stupid headcold because my body was so run down from training. We also got free tutors (if we needed them) and free books and priority class registration and institutional pressure on professors to work exams around our travel schedules (which, let me tell you, my engineering profs did not care for). I would never try to use my 2 years as an athlete as an excuse for bad grades.

So I think there's a risk the addendum might backfire on you. Especially if it gets read by any of the anti-sport crowd that thinks NCAA athletics are a waste of university money and athletes are too coddled already. Athletics at an Ivy are a little different than at my Pac-10 school because of the lack of scholarships, but I'm sure you were still in a special class within the student body and treated accordingly.

As for the major change, if you can phrase it so that it sounds more like you were competent but uninspired in the 1st major, and more passionate about the 2nd major and thus began to excel, you might be ok. You did pull off an improvement freshman year, after all, so apparently you weren't totally hopeless in major #1. Talk less about identifying weaknesses and more about recognizing a passion.

But if you switched from majoring in Applied Theoretical Mathematics to basket weaving (or the favorite major of academically-disinclined varsity athletes at my school: Nutrition & Exercise Science), it could backfire too. Because who isn't going to get better grades when they downgrade their major from something actually hard to an obvious gimme? If the majors are more equivalent, I think you'd be ok.

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3|ink
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby 3|ink » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:58 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:You won't like my first reaction, which is that your two reasons given explain the lower GPA, but don't really excuse it. It comes off a bit whiny "my major was too hard and it takes up a lot of time being a privileged college athlete, wahhhh!"

And I'm speaking as a former D1 athlete, too. I fully understand giving up every moment of free time to the team, being too exhausted to stay up past dinnertime to get any studying done, and staying sick for literally months at a time every time I got a stupid headcold because my body was so run down from training. We also got free tutors (if we needed them) and free books and priority class registration and institutional pressure on professors to work exams around our travel schedules (which, let me tell you, my engineering profs did not care for). I would never try to use my 2 years as an athlete as an excuse for bad grades.


I wrote a response this morning that pretty much mirrors what you say here but I was afraid of looking like a jerk. In hindsight, it's better he hear it now. I too was a D1 athlete. My GPA suffered big time. That's why I quit sports to focus on school. That's probably what people will say you should have done if you valued your education over sports. It would seem you value your education since you're looking to add to it.

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BrownBears09
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby BrownBears09 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:58 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:You won't like my first reaction, which is that your two reasons given explain the lower GPA, but don't really excuse it.


I'm glad you phrased it as "explain" and not as "excuse". I want the addendum to appear as an explanation, rather than an excuse.

rinkrat19 wrote:I would never try to use my 2 years as an athlete as an excuse for bad grades.


As long as the addendum is explaining the grade discrepancy, it served its purpose.

rinkrat19 wrote:As for the major change, if you can phrase it so that it sounds more like you were competent but uninspired in the 1st major, and more passionate about the 2nd major and thus began to excel, you might be ok. You did pull off an improvement freshman year, after all, so apparently you weren't totally hopeless in major #1. Talk less about identifying weaknesses and more about recognizing a passion.


Thank you for the advice. I think this is a great way to phrase the situation and will adjust the addendum accordingly.

rinkrat19 wrote:But if you switched from majoring in Applied Theoretical Mathematics to basket weaving (or the favorite major of academically-disinclined varsity athletes at my school: Nutrition & Exercise Science), it could backfire too. Because who isn't going to get better grades when they downgrade their major from something actually hard to an obvious gimme? If the majors are more equivalent, I think you'd be ok.


For clarification, it was a move from Computer Science to Economics.
Last edited by BrownBears09 on Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BrownBears09
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby BrownBears09 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:01 pm

3|ink wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:You won't like my first reaction, which is that your two reasons given explain the lower GPA, but don't really excuse it. It comes off a bit whiny "my major was too hard and it takes up a lot of time being a privileged college athlete, wahhhh!"

And I'm speaking as a former D1 athlete, too. I fully understand giving up every moment of free time to the team, being too exhausted to stay up past dinnertime to get any studying done, and staying sick for literally months at a time every time I got a stupid headcold because my body was so run down from training. We also got free tutors (if we needed them) and free books and priority class registration and institutional pressure on professors to work exams around our travel schedules (which, let me tell you, my engineering profs did not care for). I would never try to use my 2 years as an athlete as an excuse for bad grades.


I wrote a response this morning that pretty much mirrors what you say here but I was afraid of looking like a jerk. In hindsight, it's better he hear it now. I too was a D1 athlete. My GPA suffered big time. That's why I quit sports to focus on school. That's probably what people will say you should have done if you valued your education over sports. It would seem you value your education since you're looking to add to it.


I would prefer to keep the thread on pace by merely critiquing the addendum and not divert into other subject matter.

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Flips88
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby Flips88 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:22 pm

My brother is a starter on a top 10 football program and has a 4.0 as a Zoo major. Granted, it's not Ivy, but it's not that hard to do school work as a D-1 athlete. I'd cut that whole part out of your addendum.

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BrownBears09
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby BrownBears09 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:55 pm

Flips88 wrote:My brother is a starter on a top 10 football program and has a 4.0 as a Zoo major. Granted, it's not Ivy, but it's not that hard to do school work as a D-1 athlete. I'd cut that whole part out of your addendum.


You're right. The situations are not similar.

The purpose of this thread is not to create a debate regarding whether or not the reasoning is valid. Rather, it was created to critique to the clarity of addendum's message. Please understand that each circumstance is unique, and the experiences at other universities is not necessarily representative of my university.

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Flips88
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby Flips88 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:26 pm

BrownBears09 wrote:
Flips88 wrote:My brother is a starter on a top 10 football program and has a 4.0 as a Zoo major. Granted, it's not Ivy, but it's not that hard to do school work as a D-1 athlete. I'd cut that whole part out of your addendum.


You're right. The situations are not similar.

The purpose of this thread is not to create a debate regarding whether or not the reasoning is valid. Rather, it was created to critique to the clarity of addendum's message. Please understand that each circumstance is unique, and the experiences at other universities is not necessarily representative of my university.


Well like other people have said, I think it explains things, but doesn't excuse it. Lots of students have large extracurricular commitments and still succeed. Your circumstances don't seem to mitigate your performance in school that much. From what I've seen, most GPA addenda deal with unforeseen circumstances, i.e. death of a parent, major illness, accidents, etc. You chose to play football and chose to stick with that major for the full year. So i don't know if your message is as clear as it needs to be.

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Flips88
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby Flips88 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:40 pm

BrownBears09 wrote:
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[ In-season commitments normally involved 1-2 days of traveling and over 40 hours per week of daily commitments. Even off-season commitments totaled over 40 hours per week with less traveling.


Also unless I'm mistaken, the NCAA regulations limit practice to 20 hrs maximum per week. Now, I'm sure things might go over a bit, but I doubt it was twice the legal limit. Not trying to nitpick, but these will be lawyers reading this.

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BrownBears09
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby BrownBears09 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:07 pm

Flips88 wrote:
BrownBears09 wrote:
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[ In-season commitments normally involved 1-2 days of traveling and over 40 hours per week of daily commitments. Even off-season commitments totaled over 40 hours per week with less traveling.


Also unless I'm mistaken, the NCAA regulations limit practice to 20 hrs maximum per week. Now, I'm sure things might go over a bit, but I doubt it was twice the legal limit. Not trying to nitpick, but these will be lawyers reading this.


I don't feel the need to justify the figures stated. That is out of the scope of the addendum. You would not ask another "family-death" individual to prove that their family member passed away, or prove the amount of mental burden the situation caused them.

You may not be trying, but it is pretty nitpick-y. Since lawyers are reading this, they will know that the definition of "practice" can be loose. Meetings, while not counting towards "practice" time, do count as mandatory athletic obligations. We may not have exceeded the 20 hours of on-field practice time, but that does not necessarily mean that there were not other mandatory obligations that did not involve on-field practice exercises.

Example: (2 hours of meetings + 4 hours of "practice" time + 2 hours of weight training) * 5 days = 40 hours (but 20 hours of "practice" time)
-Additionally, these figures do not include travel and prep time.

Now if the message of the addendum does not explicitly convey the image of having these commitments, then that is a problem that needs to be corrected. Treat this like a "Must Be True" LSAT question, where all statements made in the addendum are factual.

inaporia
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby inaporia » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:18 pm

May I please have some feedback on my addendum, too? don't know how long it's supposed to be......

Most of my family is either studying or working in the fields of science and technology, and that trend has definitely influenced my academic pursuits in the past. I chose chemistry as a major because it sounded comfortable and familiar, and then I started planning for a career in medicine or research. While working toward these goals, though, my outlook about the future was not sincerely enthusiastic. Ignoring this, I tried to immerse myself in chemistry classes, although there was no viable other choice since even the introductory coursework was dense and truly difficult. The science classes in which I struggled to keep up were generally “weed-out” classes, as some like to call them, and I guess the weeding-out process did its job in eliminating at least one student who did not whole-heartedly want to be there. My grades in those subjects are a pretty reliable reflection of my ambivalence about the future, combined with the toughness of the material. Another factor was the great amount of time I spent as a sophomore and junior doing biochemistry research—not just in the lab, but also trying to teach myself the relevant biochemistry topics from textbooks, on top of my actual homework. In retrospect, it was an ill-considered decision to take on those responsibilities when I had a demanding course load; still, I do not regret the experience because it led to valued friendships and lessons in patience, meticulousness, and problem solving.
As I matured and spent more and more time on my own, I became accepting of the idea that I could be happier and much more successful in a different career path that complemented my passion for reading and writing. A new focus on anthropology and Latin let me exercise those particular strengths of mine, resulting in better grades.
I will always have an intense appreciation for the logic and deductive character of the physical sciences, but they do not ultimately satisfy the appetite for cultural expression that makes up a significant share of my intellectual curiosity. I fully expect that law school classes are rooted in analysis, similar to the physical sciences, but I also expect that they will require the kind of subjective and intuitive skills which were stressed in my more recent areas of concentration. I am confident that my science background, however much it did not help my GPA, has greatly enhanced my analytical thinking ability to make me more fit than I would otherwise be for the rigors of a legal education.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:22 pm

inaporia wrote:May I please have some feedback on my addendum, too? don't know how long it's supposed to be......

Most of my family is either studying or working in the fields of science and technology, and that trend has definitely influenced my academic pursuits in the past. I chose chemistry as a major because it sounded comfortable and familiar, and then I started planning for a career in medicine or research. While working toward these goals, though, my outlook about the future was not sincerely enthusiastic. Ignoring this, I tried to immerse myself in chemistry classes, although there was no viable other choice since even the introductory coursework was dense and truly difficult. The science classes in which I struggled to keep up were generally “weed-out” classes, as some like to call them, and I guess the weeding-out process did its job in eliminating at least one student who did not whole-heartedly want to be there. My grades in those subjects are a pretty reliable reflection of my ambivalence about the future, combined with the toughness of the material. Another factor was the great amount of time I spent as a sophomore and junior doing biochemistry research—not just in the lab, but also trying to teach myself the relevant biochemistry topics from textbooks, on top of my actual homework. In retrospect, it was an ill-considered decision to take on those responsibilities when I had a demanding course load; still, I do not regret the experience because it led to valued friendships and lessons in patience, meticulousness, and problem solving.
As I matured and spent more and more time on my own, I became accepting of the idea that I could be happier and much more successful in a different career path that complemented my passion for reading and writing. A new focus on anthropology and Latin let me exercise those particular strengths of mine, resulting in better grades.
I will always have an intense appreciation for the logic and deductive character of the physical sciences, but they do not ultimately satisfy the appetite for cultural expression that makes up a significant share of my intellectual curiosity. I fully expect that law school classes are rooted in analysis, similar to the physical sciences, but I also expect that they will require the kind of subjective and intuitive skills which were stressed in my more recent areas of concentration. I am confident that my science background, however much it did not help my GPA, has greatly enhanced my analytical thinking ability to make me more fit than I would otherwise be for the rigors of a legal education.
Way too long and entirely ineffective. "I didn't like my major" is a terrible excuse. A good addendum explains a bad semester or year with a serious illness or family crisis.

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twinkletoes16
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Re: Addendum - GPA

Postby twinkletoes16 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:39 pm

Also, LS adcoms know very well that Brown grade-inflates, so you're not helping your case at all. Trying to whine/make excuses for yourself doesn't come across well. Might as well not include this addendum- IMO, they're more for serious illnesses, death in the family, etc. Playing sports isn't addendum-worthy. This will hurt you more than help you in a cycle.




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