Poor GPA as a motivating factor

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objection_your_honor
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Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby objection_your_honor » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:10 pm

I've seen some personal statements here that directly address a poor UGPA in order to build a theme of having reformed and learned discipline. This is something I feel like I could write about with honesty and conviction — but is it acceptable, or is this seen as a faux pas?

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cinephile
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby cinephile » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:55 pm

Do you have a story to tell about how you've reformed? Did something change? It could be a good topic, but it all depends on how you write it. I wouldn't think of it as really an essay focusing on a poor GPA, but rather a story about how you got out of a rut and changed your life and gained focus and grew and matured. Like, the story would be whatever you did that demonstrates growth. The GPA portion isn't really relevant unless that was the wakeup call to you that you needed to take control.

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objection_your_honor
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby objection_your_honor » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:26 pm

I won't focus on it, but I plan on opening with it and then moving into the trajectory it has taken me on professionally (I do billable work in biglaw), which in turn has lead to my interest in being a lawyer. It does feel like a delicate line to walk.

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cinephile
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby cinephile » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:00 pm

Sounds like a good story. Good luck!

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PrizeFighter
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby PrizeFighter » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:54 am

That is kinda the gist of the PS I just finished. PM if you'd like to read it to get an idea of how I approached it (full disclosure: It's directed at Berkeley, so it's four pages), and I'd be happy to read yours when you get a draft.

daryldixon
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby daryldixon » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:00 am

This is usually a terrible topic for a PS. But so many people try it anyway. The problem is that it just sounds like you are making excuses. Unless you truly had to deal with some real tragedy or hardship and overcame that with some super level of achievement (think: Rhodes Scholar, Made Scientific Breakthrough, etc) then it will probably be a shitty topic.

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objection_your_honor
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby objection_your_honor » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:12 pm

daryldixon wrote:This is usually a terrible topic for a PS. But so many people try it anyway. The problem is that it just sounds like you are making excuses. Unless you truly had to deal with some real tragedy or hardship and overcame that with some super level of achievement (think: Rhodes Scholar, Made Scientific Breakthrough, etc) then it will probably be a shitty topic.


Thank you for your input. This is exactly my concern. Unfortunately, I've lived an unremarkable life and I can't blame my poor grades on any terrible situation. My achievements are also not at the level of being a Rhodes Scholar, etc. I still think my GPA (sub-3.0) needs to be addressed as a character issue. My GPA will leave adcomms with serious doubts and briefly discussing it as a regret would introduce how I've grown in the years since school. I won't be offering any excuses, because I have none. This profile on LSN has the following advice for splitters:

Unlike our reverse-splitter comrades, we don't have the option of improving our GPA. I've been very happy with my solution, which is to get some successful work experience for at least a couple years, and then in your essays, addenda, and interviews, hammer home how you've developed discipline and self-accountability (otherwise, you would've just gotten fired!). In other words, while you can't wipe away your GPA, you hope to be judged as much as possible by your present accomplishments which highlight your growth.


Thoughts?

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Ramius
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby Ramius » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:52 pm

I think it's wishful thinking that people want to discount their embarassing parts by discussing it directly. You're not proud of your GPA? I can understand that. The only reason you should ever use a poor metric/aspect of your application to frame your PS is if you can use it as context to discuss how you overcame that and how you grew from it.

Don't let your embarassment over your GPA bleed over into other parts of your application. Harping on it typically does more harm than good unless you have an excellent reason to point it out. The PS is supposed to highlight your successes, triumphs and strongest qualities, not shine a spotlight on your weaknesses. I'm not saying you CAN'T use this as a topic, I just want you to cut through your own BS to make sure you're putting your best foot forward intentionally. The real question is: do YOU think this is the right topic for you?

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objection_your_honor
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby objection_your_honor » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:26 pm

OK, I avoided this issue. My PS does address personal and professional growth in ways that are not apparent on a resume.

Now, a follow up question: should I submit a GPA addendum for this purpose? I keep reading how important it is for splitters to sell a "reform" narrative. I have no upward trend, no legitimate excuse.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:31 pm

objection_your_honor wrote:OK, I avoided this issue. My PS does address personal and professional growth in ways that are not apparent on a resume.

Now, a follow up question: should I submit a GPA addendum for this purpose? I keep reading how important it is for splitters to sell a "reform" narrative. I have no upward trend, no legitimate excuse.

Without a legit excuse, anything you try to say will sound pointless and inadequate. GPA addenda are for addressing whether part of your academic record doesn't properly reflect your capabilities. You have no evidence in support of that claim and just stating "my crappy GPA isn't the best I can do!" doesn't help. It might not be the best you can do, but it's the best you did.

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objection_your_honor
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Re: Poor GPA as a motivating factor

Postby objection_your_honor » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:47 pm

Got it. Thanks.




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