Please critique an addendum for bad grades

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jimchuck99
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Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby jimchuck99 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:22 pm

Thank you for any advice!


Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to you to explain several semesters of bad grades.
In Spring 2003, I began drinking heavily, rarely attending classes. At the end of that semester, I moved to Dallas to live with my parents. I did not realize at that time that I had anxiety issues, largely related to diet and exercise, that probably contributed to my drinking. After moving to Dallas, I stopped drinking. I attended a community college and the University of Texas at Dallas during 2004, although I did not take a full course load, and my grades improved greatly.
However, when I moved back to Austin in 2005, my anxiety issues remained. While I was heavily involved in outside activities, and did well in some classes, I found that when I fell behind in a class, I was completely unable to catch up. I was literally paralyzed by anxiety. In retrospect, I should have seriously addressed my personal issues and considered not attending university at that time. However, I did afterward take time to address these issues, improving my diet and health considerably, and I no longer face the anxiety problems that I had.
I am personally ashamed of my behavior during these semesters, and I wish greatly that I could repeat them. In the last four years, I have had no similar problems, and I am much happier on a personal level. I have become significantly more responsible, and I have no problems with work attendance or commitment. I have also not had a return to problem drinking, although I do not take that for granted. I am aware that to be healthy and happy requires personal effort on my part, and I work hard to maintain that.

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plenipotentiary
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Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby plenipotentiary » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:35 pm

Don't tell them more than they need to know. I would cut out all the references to drinking.

In the Spring of 2003, I was dealing with anxiety issues which contributed to my poor academic performance. At the end of that semester, I moved to Dallas to live with my parents. In 2004, I attended a community college and the University of Texas at Dallas; although I did not take a full course load, my grades improved greatly. However, when I moved back to Austin in 2005, my anxiety returned. While I did well in some classes, I found that when I fell behind in a class, I was completely unable to catch up. In retrospect, I should have seriously addressed my personal issues and considered not attending university at that time. I regret my behavior during this time. Afterward, I did address these issues, improving my health considerably. In the last four years, I have not dealt with similar problems. I have become significantly more responsible and committed to my work.

Even the above could stand to be pared down.

I don't know whether you should write this addendum at all. How do you spin it so that you don't sound emotionally unstable, overly attached to your parents, or like an alcoholic? None of these are really good excuses.

jimchuck99
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Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby jimchuck99 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:42 pm

Yeah, I am really unsure whether I should write one at all.

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paratactical
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Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby paratactical » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:46 pm

The conclusion makes it unclear if you sought professional help or how you've improved the situation. It doesn't come across well to say that you have had relapses before without mentioning what you've done to rectify your problems.

jimchuck99
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:50 am

Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby jimchuck99 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:00 pm

What about this?

In the Spring of 2003, I was dealing with anxiety issues which contributed to my poor academic performance. At the end of that semester, I moved to Dallas to live with my parents. In 2004, I attended a community college and the University of Texas at Dallas; although I did not take a full course load, my grades improved greatly. However, I still had unaddressed anxiety issues when I moved back to Austin in 2005. While I did well in some classes, I found that when I fell behind in a class, I was completely unable to catch up. In retrospect, I should have seriously addressed my personal issues and considered not attending university at that time. I regret my behavior during this time. With the help of my doctor, I now know that maintaining a healthy mental state requires maintaining myself physically, eating well and exercising. I am committed to that, and in the last four years, I have not dealt with similar problems. I have become significantly more responsible and committed to my work.


The statement above is true, but I understand the risk of bringing up mental issues to the application committee.

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paratactical
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Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby paratactical » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:01 pm

Definitely much better, but you still might want to think about how bad your GPA is and if it's worth it.

jimchuck99
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Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:50 am

Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby jimchuck99 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:02 pm

Basically, the first semester mentioned I got Fs in 3 of 4 classes, the other semesters, I did well except for one F each semester.
Last edited by jimchuck99 on Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jimchuck99
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:50 am

Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby jimchuck99 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:03 pm

But I do have a really good LSAT, so maybe I should just ignore it.

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plenipotentiary
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Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby plenipotentiary » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:05 pm

jimchuck99 wrote:What about this?

In the Spring of 2003, I was dealing with anxiety issues which contributed to my poor academic performance. At the end of that semester, I moved to Dallas to live with my parents. In 2004, I attended a community college and the University of Texas at Dallas; although I did not take a full course load, my grades improved greatly. However, I still had unaddressed anxiety issues when I moved back to Austin in 2005. While I did well in some classes, I found that when I fell behind in a class, I was completely unable to catch up. In retrospect, I should have seriously addressed my personal issues and considered not attending university at that time. I regret my behavior during this time. With the help of my doctor, I now know that maintaining a healthy mental state requires maintaining myself physically, eating well and exercising. I am committed to that, and in the last four years, I have not dealt with similar problems. I have become significantly more responsible and committed to my work.


The statement above is true, but I understand the risk of bringing up mental issues to the application committee.


I think mentioning diet and exercise is not advisable. How about this:

In the Spring of 2003, I was dealing with anxiety issues which contributed to my poor academic performance. At the end of that semester, I moved to Dallas to live with my parents. In 2004, I attended a community college and the University of Texas at Dallas; although I did not take a full course load, my grades improved greatly. However, I still had unaddressed anxiety issues when I moved back to Austin in 2005. While I did well in some classes, I found that when I fell behind in a class, I was completely unable to catch up. In retrospect, I should have seriously addressed my personal issues and considered taking a break from college. I regret my behavior during this time. Afterward, I sought out professional help. In the last four years, I have not dealt with similar problems. I have become significantly more responsible and I am committed to maintaining a healthy mental state.

jimchuck99
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:50 am

Re: Please critique an addendum for bad grades

Postby jimchuck99 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:12 pm

That does sound much better. Thanks a lot for your help.




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