Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

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Swimp
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Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby Swimp » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:59 pm

My cumulative UG GPA was 3.49.

My GPA within my major, however (English, FWIW), was 3.73.

The reason for the disparity is what most people would probably presume--I did much better in classes I was interested in than classes that I wasn't, and classes within my major were generally the ones that interested me most. As a matter of fact, until the second semester of my last year in college, I was planning on taking the GRE and getting applications together to go on to get a PhD in Lit and become a professor somewhere. I became disillusioned with literary scholarship while writing an honors thesis and abandoned that plan.

Could that story cast my 3.49 in a more favorable light? Or would it make me seem high-maintenance and/or lazy?

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top30man
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby top30man » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:01 pm

I wouldn't write an addendum. This is relatively common and addendums don't really matter. Better to just do nothing.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:03 pm

I would just not worry about it.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:15 pm

Nope, not a good reason for an addendum.

Bear in mind that it could also be interpreted as your major classes being easier than the gen ed requirements, which isn't a thought you want to pop into their heads. So I wouldn't point out the discrepancy.

rglifberg
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby rglifberg » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:46 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:Nope, not a good reason for an addendum.

Bear in mind that it could also be interpreted as your major classes being easier than the gen ed requirements, which isn't a thought you want to pop into their heads. So I wouldn't point out the discrepancy.


I don't agree with this statement, but since there isn't a huge gap it probably doesn't warrant an addendum. If it was say a 2.4 with a 3.7 major GPA I would say definitely write one.

Swimp
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby Swimp » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:01 pm

Okay, that makes sense. Thanks, all.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:03 pm

rglifberg wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:Nope, not a good reason for an addendum.

Bear in mind that it could also be interpreted as your major classes being easier than the gen ed requirements, which isn't a thought you want to pop into their heads. So I wouldn't point out the discrepancy.


I don't agree with this statement, but since there isn't a huge gap it probably doesn't warrant an addendum. If it was say a 2.4 with a 3.7 major GPA I would say definitely write one.
I didn't say I interpreted the difference that way; I said it's a possibility that someone might. And it is. Best to remove as much of that possibility, slim as it is, as possible.

bp shinners
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby bp shinners » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:17 pm

rglifberg wrote:If it was say a 2.4 with a 3.7 major GPA I would say definitely write one.


But what would that addendum say? "I do well in classes in which I have an interest, but I'm an idiot/don't try in classes that aren't my focus."? That would reflect poorly on you.

I honestly can't imagine an addendum here that would make you come across in a positive manner to an admissions officer. And it's certainly not going to have them consider only the higher, major GPA.

rglifberg
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby rglifberg » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:07 pm

bp shinners wrote:
rglifberg wrote:If it was say a 2.4 with a 3.7 major GPA I would say definitely write one.


But what would that addendum say? "I do well in classes in which I have an interest, but I'm an idiot/don't try in classes that aren't my focus."? That would reflect poorly on you.

I honestly can't imagine an addendum here that would make you come across in a positive manner to an admissions officer. And it's certainly not going to have them consider only the higher, major GPA.


It could say I was young and stupid at one point and never tried until I took some time off from school and got my act together, or something like that. I don't think it would necessarily imply that you only perform well in classes that interest you.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:12 pm

rglifberg wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
rglifberg wrote:If it was say a 2.4 with a 3.7 major GPA I would say definitely write one.


But what would that addendum say? "I do well in classes in which I have an interest, but I'm an idiot/don't try in classes that aren't my focus."? That would reflect poorly on you.

I honestly can't imagine an addendum here that would make you come across in a positive manner to an admissions officer. And it's certainly not going to have them consider only the higher, major GPA.


It could say I was young and stupid at one point and never tried until I took some time off from school and got my act together, or something like that. I don't think it would necessarily imply that you only perform well in classes that interest you.
The 'young and stupid' claim is a terrible idea. There are plenty of freshmen just as young who do just fine. It makes you look bad in comparison to them.

rglifberg
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby rglifberg » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:18 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
rglifberg wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
rglifberg wrote:If it was say a 2.4 with a 3.7 major GPA I would say definitely write one.


But what would that addendum say? "I do well in classes in which I have an interest, but I'm an idiot/don't try in classes that aren't my focus."? That would reflect poorly on you.

I honestly can't imagine an addendum here that would make you come across in a positive manner to an admissions officer. And it's certainly not going to have them consider only the higher, major GPA.


It could say I was young and stupid at one point and never tried until I took some time off from school and got my act together, or something like that. I don't think it would necessarily imply that you only perform well in classes that interest you.
The 'young and stupid' claim is a terrible idea. There are plenty of freshmen just as young who do just fine. It makes you look bad in comparison to them.


I don't think so. People are different and people mature at different times. Just because person "A" got better grades as a freshman than person "B", that does not make person A a better student than person B, assuming they both got the same grades during sophomore-senior year. Perhaps person "B" had trouble adjusting or something like that, not to take anything away from person "A's" accomplishments, but I don't think that would make "B" look bad in comparison to person "A."

sequins
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Re: Major GPA higher than cumulative GPA -- addendum?

Postby sequins » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:06 pm

Yea, I have pretty much the same story - except I had an even bigger disparity - 3.46 overall, and 3.96 I think in major (I had one b+ and that was the only non A/A+ grade in my major) and yes - I was planning on and did apply in fact to phd programs - with jd as more of a back up. But English phd's were even harder to get into and had even worse employment prospects, and I warmed up to law a lot more the more I looked into it.
My grade discrepancy was also for a more specific reason than simply being bored in other classes - I did a double major, and got an economics major too. However my maths skills are pretty abysmal and I did really badly in the beginning until I found areas of economics I was actually good at and enjoyed. Rather than an addendum - I had a short line or two in my personal statement about it, worked into general paragraph about what I learned and took away from undergrad. Oh and put both gpa's on resume.
I think the risky thing of saying that you don't do well in classes you're bored in, or have trouble adjusting to new subject areas is that for a 0l Law is a completely new different subject. Even if you think you'll really enjoy it, you'll have no way of knowing. And adcoms probably won't want to accept someone who they think will flunk out if they get into law school and realise reading cases =/= reading shakespeare. I framed my experience as more, struggling with econ in the beginning but I stuck with it because I don't take commitments lightly, and I was focused on finishing what I started - to hell with gpa- and instead I worked my way through and did a lot better by my third and fourth year (mostly A's vs B's/c's in first 2 years) by finding areas within the field that suited me and finding my right niche in the subject.

So see if there's any way you can frame it better? Ir you had an upward trend in the final years you could claim something similar to my story? Or maybe you can frame it as a deep desire to spend your undergraduate time on meaningful broadening of your academic horizons and learning about as many different subjects as possible irregardless to gpa? Like, learning about the world trumps grades alone.




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