GPA Addendum advice please!

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onionskin
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:57 pm

GPA Addendum advice please!

Postby onionskin » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:18 am

So I have a pretty poor UG academic record which I put down to three things:
- Shoddy (IMO) assessment design (every class was assessed by one single closed book exam)
- Over-commitment to co-currics (student societies, varsity sports)
- Depression, which developed half-way through, and made it very difficult for me to do just about anything.

Which of the three should I focus on in the addendum, if any, and how should I frame it? I feel like a lot of GPA addenda are about owning your mistakes and then discussing how you overcame and learned from those mistakes, so I feel like #1 and #3 might be seen as making excuses, but the depression was very real and quite debilitating. And as for #1 there's a very clear pattern on my transcript that the more coursework or continuous assessment any course had, the better I performed in it. Is that something I should try to draw attention to?

Penny for your thoughts, please.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: GPA Addendum advice please!

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:20 am

You realize law school classes assess you based entirely on one exam at the end of the semester, right? I wouldn't talk about that.

onionskin
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: GPA Addendum advice please!

Postby onionskin » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:29 am

Nope I assumed it would be like liberal arts colleges, all continuous assessment and pop quizzes.

Another point I forgot to raise was I didn't really have any elective choices so I was pretty much told what to study. I assume to a certain extent that is true for 1Ls but I only had one class outside my major. It's mostly my fault for choosing the school, which is what I want to address as my mistake, and how it taught me to persevere...

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A. Nony Mouse
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: GPA Addendum advice please!

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:00 pm

There is no continuous assessment in law school. And at most schools, your 1L curriculum is entirely fixed (some schools then also have a lot of requirements for the 2L and 3L, although generally speaking, the higher up the food chain, the fewer requirements). So I don't think you want to go in either of those directions.

I don't know what the best way to handle the depression is. Personally, I think it's a valid reason for poor performance, and if you can demonstrate that you've got treatment and you're now able to handle the work fine (especially helpful if you have any kind of upward trend/improvement after treatment), it might be relevant. But I think many here would say don't talk about something like that because it's just drawing adcomms' attention to problems. I tend to think education professionals are aware of/sensitive to the problems of depression among their constituencies, but am not at all willing to say it's therefore a good idea to write about it. (Also, lawyers have incredibly high rates of depression, so suggesting you're susceptible to it might not be a good move.)

So that leaves over-commitment? I'm not sure how compelling an addendum you could write based only on that. And I'm not sure talking about choosing the wrong school would be helpful.

(But hopefully others more familiar with the GPA addendum will chime in...)

onionskin
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: GPA Addendum advice please!

Postby onionskin » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:07 pm

Thanks for your thoughts. I've mainly centered it around the over-commitment, reflecting on how I made a a series of poor decisions, how I rectified it, and what I learned from it. I've been working for almost two years now with excellent LORs (I think) so hopefully that will lay to rest any concerns about residual mental health problems.




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