Should I write a GPA addendum?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
haydee
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby haydee » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:01 pm

My LSDAS GPA is 3.48, but my degree GPA is 3.3 (I transferred 2.5 years in). Not terrible, but not great.

There are no overwhelming trends in either direction, but at my degree school I have one F (I retook the class for an A) and two or three Cs, which obviously brought down my cumulative. The rest of my grades are As and Bs.

I don't have any major extenuating circumstances for the F; there was a death in the family and I was denied an extension, but tbh, I should've done my work anyway. I don't have a good explanation for the Cs; I just didn't "apply myself" in those classes because they were boring and I was at kind of a weird time in my life. The sub-awesome grades aren't isolated to one semester, they're all over the place.

I've been out of UG for three years.

Should I bother with a GPA addendum? I'm thinking "NO."

Confirm? Deny?

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18402
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby bk1 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:02 pm

For a death I might say yes, but it seems like you are trying to make an addendum to address your degree GPA. They don't care about your degree GPA anyways, just your LSDAS. So I'm thinking no.

User avatar
haydee
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby haydee » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:08 pm

Exactly. I'm reluctant to write an addendum over a single grade -- that'll just draw attention to it, right? And besides, people have endured far worse than a death in the family. I don't want adcomms to think that I'm a big baby who will shirk my responsibilities every time I have a personal problem.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18402
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby bk1 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:13 pm

haydee wrote:Exactly. I'm reluctant to write an addendum over a single grade -- that'll just draw attention to it, right? And besides, people have endured far worse than a death in the family. I don't want adcomms to think that I'm a big baby who will shirk my responsibilities every time I have a personal problem.


I think that a death in the family is actually one of the few things that is addendum worthy (deaths, serious personal illness, etc). However, it is only one grade and not a semester's worth of grades so its impact is more marginal. It feels hard to justify an addendum for a single grade.

Also, writing an addendum saying why your degree GPA is low is pointless. As I noted they care only about your LSDAS GPA and nothing about your degree GPA. If it was why your LSDAS GPA is lower because of the grade, I could understand it, but I think still that 1 grade is hard to justify an addendum.

In the end, what matters is whether the AdComms will think much differently whether you have an addendum or you don't. In this case, I don't see them making any radically different decisions based on one grade so I don't think it is worth it.

User avatar
northwood
Posts: 4872
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 7:29 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby northwood » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:14 pm

if the grades occurred in the semester of or right after the death in the family and you had depression, that would be ajustifiable reason to explain it. Otherwise i wouldnt write it.

User avatar
2ofspades
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby 2ofspades » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:21 pm

I completely disagree. An F draws attention to itself, and in your case it appears to be an aberration. If you are in the maybe-yes/maybe-no pile at a particular school, your readers will be looking to see whether it actually is a fluke grade or if you were simply irresponsible. If you offer no explanation, they will assume the latter, but if you briefly point out the death in the family and the retake-with-an-A, then I think they will believe you.

User avatar
gdane
Posts: 12317
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby gdane » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:23 pm

Dont bother. Its a waste of any admissions committees' time. Just do super awesome on the LSAT and you'll be fine.

User avatar
haydee
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby haydee » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:42 pm

... Conflicting... Advice.... :shock:

Here's more information, I don't know if it helps.

The death occurred in the middle of the semester. The rest of my grades that semester were A, A, and B. As for the F, something like 60% or 70% of the course grade was drawn from a single term project. It was a sudden and unexpected death, and it freaked out my entire family. I should've buckled down and worked on my project anyway, but I was in a weird place and didn't. I was denied the extension I asked for; the professor felt it would be "unfair to the other students". Rather than turning in something half-assed or very very late and probably failing anyway, I decided I'd just retake the class the following semester (with a different professor).

I don't want to waste the adcomm's time or imply that I've got a history of mental illness, nor do I want to suggest that I will collapse like a quivering lump of Jello every time I have a personal problem.

FWIW: 3.48/180

User avatar
gdane
Posts: 12317
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby gdane » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:43 pm

haydee wrote:... Conflicting... Advice.... :shock:

Here's more information, I don't know if it helps.

The death occurred in the middle of the semester. The rest of my grades that semester were A, A, and B. As for the F, something like 60% or 70% of the course grade was drawn from a single term project. It was a sudden and unexpected death, and it freaked out my entire family. I should've buckled down and worked on my project anyway, but I was in a weird place and didn't. I was denied the extension I asked for; the professor felt it would be "unfair to the other students". Rather than turning in something half-assed or very very late and probably failing anyway, I decided I'd just retake the class the following semester (with a different professor).

I don't want to waste the adcomm's time or imply that I've got a history of mental illness, nor do I want to suggest that I will collapse like a quivering lump of Jello every time I have a personal problem.

FWIW: 3.48/180


Uhh.. you got a 180 on the LSAT?

User avatar
haydee
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby haydee » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:46 pm

gdane5 wrote:Uhh.. you got a 180 on the LSAT?


Yes.

User avatar
2ofspades
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby 2ofspades » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:49 pm

haydee wrote:I don't want to waste the adcomm's time

Including pertinent information is not wasting time.

haydee wrote:or imply that I've got a history of mental illness

Grief makes you human, not mentally ill

haydee wrote:FWIW: 3.48/180

Have fun at CCN

User avatar
haydee
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby haydee » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:00 pm

2ofspades wrote:Have fun at CCN


I see what you did there. :D

User avatar
2ofspades
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby 2ofspades » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:07 pm

Sorry, but I realized I got a bit carried away :lol:

CCN is your best shot unless money is an issue. In that case, make sure you apply to Michigan. From LSN, it doesn't look like the others of MVPB gave $$ to ~3.5 and 175+.

User avatar
gdane
Posts: 12317
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby gdane » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:18 pm

This situation's become a little sticky. If you had the GPA you did with a 165 or whatever, I would say dont do it. but with a 180 I say do it. With that score the sky is the limit and it would suck if you couldnt get into your school of choice because of that GPA. Do it son.

User avatar
haydee
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby haydee » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:25 pm

So we now think that perhaps it might be wise to include a very brief addendum explaining that in X semester of 200X a member of my family passed away, leaving us very stunned and confused, and in this one particular class I was unable to make up the resulting missed work?

Side note: I mentioned this F to my LoR writer / valued mentor, and he said he'd try to cover any holes in my transcripts. What do we think this means?

2ofspades wrote:Sorry, but I realized I got a bit carried away :lol:

CCN is your best shot unless money is an issue. In that case, make sure you apply to Michigan. From LSN, it doesn't look like the others of MVPB gave $$ to ~3.5 and 175+.


Keep eyes peeled for off-topic PM!

User avatar
gdane
Posts: 12317
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby gdane » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:39 pm

Dont pay attention to spades. LSN is NOT indicative of those schools complete applicant pool.

Apply to every school that you want. You NEVER know what could happen. Great things could happen.

Good luck!

User avatar
2014
Posts: 5831
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:53 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby 2014 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:20 pm

I see nothing wrong with a very short addendum. Nothing says they have to be a page long...Just write them a paragraph that explains the nature of the class and the death in your family and leave it at that. I don't think an adcomm will be irritated about reading one extra paragraph from a student who has a 180.

User avatar
northwood
Posts: 4872
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 7:29 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby northwood » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:16 pm

explain the class, and explain the death and how it affected your performance in the class. Keep it short. Your LSAT will carry your in a lot of schools, so apply where you want to go. Before you make the final decision about the addendum, average out what your gpa will be with the A instead of the F. ( Your transcripts most likely did this). If it is a big difference, then write it. If the difference is minimal ( it doesnt bump you up .3 or higher) your gpa may not be strong enough. However, your LSAT is a great equilizer, so you should get in ( I realize i am going in circles) so depending on what schools you are looking at will help a lot.

User avatar
haydee
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby haydee » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:51 pm

northwood wrote:explain the class, and explain the death and how it affected your performance in the class. Keep it short. Your LSAT will carry your in a lot of schools, so apply where you want to go. Before you make the final decision about the addendum, average out what your gpa will be with the A instead of the F. ( Your transcripts most likely did this). If it is a big difference, then write it. If the difference is minimal ( it doesnt bump you up .3 or higher) your gpa may not be strong enough. However, your LSAT is a great equilizer, so you should get in ( I realize i am going in circles) so depending on what schools you are looking at will help a lot.


My school included the F when calculating my cumulative GPA, regardless of the retake. If they hadn't, my degree GPA would've been 3.44 instead of 3.29. Is that what you're asking? I'm not sure how it would affect my LSDAS GPA.

I'm now leaning towards including a very brief addendum, but I'm still a little torn. On the one hand, as long as it's brief and to the point, what could it hurt? On the other hand, I'm concerned about seeming whiney and fragile and irritating adcomms with superfluous attachments.

User avatar
northwood
Posts: 4872
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 7:29 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby northwood » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:02 pm

where are you considering applying? Depending on the school, you may not need to write it.
Also, if you are still torn, call the admissions for a school or 2 that is on your list and talk to them over the phone. Ask what they would do/ suggest.

User avatar
haydee
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:57 pm

Re: Should I write a GPA addendum?

Postby haydee » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:17 pm

northwood wrote:where are you considering applying? Depending on the school, you may not need to write it.
Also, if you are still torn, call the admissions for a school or 2 that is on your list and talk to them over the phone. Ask what they would do/ suggest.


Michigan, UVA, Cornell, Vandy, Emory, BU, UC-Davis, UNC...

... and an ill-advised Hail Mary to HLS :D

I'm not worried about the half hour I might spend putting an addendum together, I just don't want to submit any application that's got a major weakness in it, no matter where it's going.

For my part, I don't particularly trust admissions staff to be 100% honest with me about their selection process. Even if it's true, it's unlikely that anyone is going to come right out and say "Don't bother, after the first 800 applications we barely read that stuff anyway."




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], MSNbot Media, sanibella and 1 guest