GPA & DUI Addendum, are they appropriate?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Duramax80
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GPA & DUI Addendum, are they appropriate?

Postby Duramax80 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:18 pm

GPA ADDENDUM:

During my earlier years as an undergraduate, I had little concern for my grades, and found adjusting to college life to be difficult. Then, in 2008, I encountered a major hurdle in my life, losing two close friends in the span of a few short months. It began with losing one, (NAME 1), to a painful struggle with leukemia, ending his life at the age of 21 years old. Shortly after, (NAME 2), another young man I had grown up with, died due to a drug overdose by accidentally mixing incompatible medications. Coping with the loss of two close friends caused me to isolate myself and ignore my academic responsibilities. I ended up failing two classes and withdrawing from three, as the impact from these losses was too much. In the following semester, I was diagnosed with mononucleosis, and was forced to medically withdraw from an entire semester of school. Medical information can be provided upon request.
However, after dealing with the loss of my friends and successfully recuperating from my illness, I entered back into my undergraduate career to continue my education the following semester. As my academic career progressed, I enrolled into a law class (Spring 2010), and found my drive and direction I had been lacking thus far. Ignited by a passion for law, I transformed myself into a disciplined and motivated student, ready for new challenges. From spring 2010 until graduation in June of 2011, I earned a cumulative GPA of 3.7, and was even awarded a place on the Deans List honor roll. It is important to note that during the time span between 2010 and graduation, I was enrolled in the highest level and most demanding courses my institution offered, which I believe demonstrates my true capabilities as a student.


DUI ADDENDUM:

On December 12, 2007, I was arrested for DUI in (CITY, STATE), citation number XXXXXX. After being arrested, I enrolled myself into a defensive driving course on my own accord, which I completed. When I appeared in court, I was given the opportunity to plead guilty to reckless driving, and paid a fine of $ 1,271.00. Aside from the judicial fines, I was also forced to appear before the Student Judicial Board at my university. I completed an online alcohol program as well as forty hours of community service.
Looking back, being arrested for DUI is the most embarrassing and shameful experience of my life. However, it undoubtedly allowed me to recognize my faults and reevaluate my life and actions. Since that time, I have grown and matured as an individual, and I look back at that instance as a painful lesson learned. I can proudly say that I have realized the seriousness of my DUI, learned from it, and successfully moved on. I fully realize the severity of my past actions, and from that point on, my history has been clean and without any sort of violation.

MrAnon
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Re: GPA & DUI Addendum, are they appropriate?

Postby MrAnon » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:24 pm

GPA - no

DUI - cut it to 2 sentences. "In 2xxx I got a DUI. I took the courses required and the record was expunged."

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Duramax80
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Re: GPA & DUI Addendum, are they appropriate?

Postby Duramax80 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:29 pm

So I shouldnt include any sort of addendum for my GPA? I feel like the adcoms will look at my 2008 year and think, "WTH happened?" In 2008, I literally withdrew from 3 courses and failed the other two because I was in a seriously depressed mindset, and the following semester i withdrew from all 5 due to medical reasons. Also, in 2010, I earned a cumulative GPA of 3.7, but graduated with a 2.87 (LSDAS GPA of 2.68)... not worth mentioning?

MrAnon
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Re: GPA & DUI Addendum, are they appropriate?

Postby MrAnon » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:32 pm

Duramax80 wrote:So I shouldnt include any sort of addendum for my GPA? I feel like the adcoms will look at my 2008 year and think, "WTH happened?" In 2008, I literally withdrew from 3 courses and failed the other two because I was in a seriously depressed mindset, and the following semester i withdrew from all 5 due to medical reasons. Also, in 2010, I earned a cumulative GPA of 3.7, but graduated with a 2.87 (LSDAS GPA of 2.68)... not worth mentioning?


Okay fine. But make it really really short. "I was struggling with depression in 2008 because several close friends of mine died. Later on was very physically sick and had to withdraw from school completely. I've made a full and complete recovery from both issues." They have your transcripts; they know about the 3.7.

JasonR
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Re: GPA & DUI Addendum, are they appropriate?

Postby JasonR » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:46 am

MrAnon wrote:GPA - no

DUI - cut it to 2 sentences. "In 2xxx I got a DUI. I took the courses required and the record was expunged."


This is not great advice. It's not even average advice.

If your GPA troubles span most of your career, an addendum is going to be a lot less effective than if you were just explaining one bad semester. But you should still say something. Leave out all of the "ignited by a passion for law" stuff. The addendum is normally only for explaining bad stuff, not describing good stuff. In your case, though, it couldn't hurt to draw a little extra attention to your improved performance in your later semesters -- in one sentence -- since the bad stuff is so very prominent. The GPA addendum should be very matter-of-fact and no more than four sentences: (1) early lack of dedication; (2) deaths of friends (no details) in semester A and mono in semester B seriously impacted performance (exact impact already clear on transcript); (3) committed to taking studies seriously in later semesters, significant improvement in performance (grades/GPA already clear on transcript).

As for the DUI...the more serious the offense, the more details are necessary and the more you need to make an effort to show that you are vastly more responsible now. Trying to skate by with a two-sentence disclosure of a serious offense, as was suggested above, makes you look really sketchy. Anyway, the second paragraph of the DUI addendum is kind of weak. You spend almost all of it saying some variation of "I learned from it and matured." You just say it in different ways. What did you change about your behavior? Take out "embarrassing." "Embarrassing" is not serious enough; it's based more on getting caught than anything else. "Shameful" is better. It goes a bit more to the nature of the action.

Scroll to the bottom of the current Yale 203 law blog for one dean's view of someone who tries to disclose their DUI in a few words and be done with it. Not good.

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Duramax80
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Re: GPA & DUI Addendum, are they appropriate?

Postby Duramax80 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:59 pm

Thank you for your advice. Have I still displayed too much information?

DUI ADDENDUM:
On December 12, 2007, I was arrested for DUI in (CITY, STATE), citation number XXXXXX. After being arrested, I enrolled myself into a defensive driving course on my own accord, which I completed. When I appeared in court, I was given the opportunity to plead guilty to reckless driving, and paid a fine of $ 1,271.00. Aside from the judicial fines, I was also forced to appear before the Student Judicial Board at my university. I completed an online alcohol education program as well as forty hours of community service. All of the requirements associated with my offense have been successfully completed.
Looking back, being arrested for DUI is the most shameful and dishonorable experience of my life. However, it undoubtedly allowed me to recognize my faults and reevaluate my life and actions. Since that time, I have grown and matured as an individual, and I look back at that instance as a painful lesson learned. I no longer see operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol as an option, and if I do not have a safe method home, I abstain from drinking. I fully realize the severity of my past actions, and both my criminal and driving history has remained free from any sort of violation whatsoever.

GPA ADDENDUM:
Starting college in 2006, I lacked direction in what field of study I wanted to partake in, causing me to essentially test out several different courses. Then, in 2008, I suffered from depression upon the death of two very close friends. The following semester, I was diagnosed with mononucleosis, and had to medically withdraw from all of my classes. Medical documentation can be provided upon request. However, after fully recuperating from both of these factors, which severely impacted my performance, I entered back into my undergraduate career to continue my education. In the spring of 2010, I enrolled into a law class, and found my drive and direction I had been lacking thus far. I transformed myself into a disciplined and motivated student, and committed myself to taking my studies seriously, which led to a significant improvement in my performance as a student, and which I believe, demonstrates my true academic capabilities.




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