To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

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SumStalwart
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To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:56 am

Hello TLS,

I know that there are a bunch of questions on addenda floating about TLS, however, I would like to have information that is more tailored to my situation.

Because my high school didn't have AP courses, I ended up having to take college classes concurrently with my high school ones... unfortunately, I wasn't quite prepared for the rigors of college level courses and my GPA suffered, as a result (around a 3.0). Once I began attending undergraduate courses, my GPA was significantly higher, with one exception.

My 4th term in undergrad, I was taking 4 classes through my university and 2 online classes with UC Berkley. Once again, I wasn't prepared, and my GPA was super shitty at my undergraduate institution (2.66), however, I got a 4.0 with Berkley.

I would like to submit a grade addendum for this stuff, urging the admissions council to look at my multiple transcripts. What do you guys think?

Best,

S.S.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:31 pm

Image

Does anyone have an opinion on this subject? I think that I might just play it safe and include one...

bp shinners
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:17 pm

It seems like your addendum would say, in essence, "I wasn't ready for these classes, and they were hard/a lot of work." If that's the case, then I would not write an addendum.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby NoodleyOne » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:24 pm

Maybe something about the online environment was one that he didn't adapt well too? I don't know... sounds like a tough addendum to pull off.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:41 pm

Yeah, that was what I was concerned about.

Okay, to provide more background... I graduated in 3 years from undergrad, with 2 degrees: BA/BS. After that 2.66 (with over 20 credits--8 of which were from Berkley), I continued to take increasingly heavy loads: 21, 36, 25, 25, and 21. Each of those subsequent terms, my GPA was, at its lowest, a 3.5x.

My purpose, in writing this addendum, is to have the committee actually look at ALL of my transcripts and to notice what I was doing. That initial grades that I got from high school and the 2.66 were anomalous, considering that I was able to get 4.0's with upper division course loads and large amounts of credits.

Does it need an addendum? I read that if you show a dramatic increase or decrease, you should write an addendum. And I consider this to be a bit dramatic-- both with the downswing and the subsequent upswing.

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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby toothbrush » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:59 pm

SumStalwart wrote:Yeah, that was what I was concerned about.

Okay, to provide more background... I graduated in 3 years from undergrad, with 2 degrees: BA/BS. After that 2.66 (with over 20 credits--8 of which were from Berkley), I continued to take increasingly heavy loads: 21, 36, 25, 25, and 21. Each of those subsequent terms, my GPA was, at its lowest, a 3.5x.

My purpose, in writing this addendum, is to have the committee actually look at ALL of my transcripts and to notice what I was doing. That initial grades that I got from high school and the 2.66 were anomalous, considering that I was able to get 4.0's with upper division course loads and large amounts of credits.

Does it need an addendum? I read that if you show a dramatic increase or decrease, you should write an addendum. And I consider this to be a bit dramatic-- both with the downswing and the subsequent upswing.



Write an addendum Imo saying you something along the lines of you sought to challenge yourself academically in your senior year and continued to do so throughout your education. However, the first semester was not characteristic of your ability and X Y Z semesters are more representative of your ability and how you will do in law school.

Just explain it. No pity. Don't say it was too hard or you took too many classes, just point out you sought to challenge yourself and expanded interests and while some are not great, in all your cumgpa is more representative of your ability and not certain semesters?

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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:10 pm

Is the message you want to send to admissions committees:

"My low GPA isn't my fault because I made poor choices and shouldn't be held accountable for them?"

If so, go ahead and write the addendum. If not, skip it. Your transcripts will speak for themselves and anything you say will only hurt you, except in exceptional circumstances (like serious illnesses). If you want schools to excuse your GPA then dominate the LSAT.

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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:13 pm

Also, what is your LSAC GPA? I seemed to have missed it. That's the only number schools care about.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:47 pm

Thanks, toothbrush. Haha, honestly, I would argue that it isn't given the circumstances. But that's a valid point.

My LSAC GPA is 3.46.

I know, sexy.

It's not a horrible GPA, I would just like to actually have the committee look at all of my transcripts, and the work load. The point is really to explain away the GPA, but to showcase my transcripts. I am concerned that my 7 different transcripts will not really be understood (I have several transcripts overlapping one another-- both while I was in high school and in college).

Edit: Because I am a ponce.
Last edited by SumStalwart on Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

toothbrush
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby toothbrush » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:36 pm

SumStalwart wrote:Thanks, toothbrush. Haha, honestly, I would argue that it isn't given the circumstances. But that's a valid point.

My LSAC GPA is 3.46.

I know, sexy.

It's not a horrible GPA, I would just like to actually have the committee look at all of my transcripts, and the work load. The point is really to explain away the GPA, but to showcase my transcripts. I am concerned that my 7 different transcripts will not really be understood (I have several transcripts with one another-- both while I was in high school and in college).

Well to be honest, they will atleast notice all 7. Apparently the cover page of your app is your LSAC gpa separated by year. I'd assume someone with 7 transcripts stands out on the face of things - and they will investigate / look into it further.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:51 pm

Ah, I didn't realize that it was the cover page. That's interesting. I asked my law school advisors about the presentation, and they left me with the feeling that my transcripts wouldn't be very obvious.

Thanks! That's great information.

WhiskeynCoke
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:38 pm

I asked my law school advisors about the presentation, and they left me with the feeling that my transcripts wouldn't be very obvious.


Pre-law advisors have been credited with some of the worst, potentially life-ruining advice regarding the admissions process. They seem, more often than not, to be completely out of touch with the current state of legal education and employment statistics.

An acquaintance of mine was told ber her "pre-law advisor:"

- Not to retake her 150's LSAT score because it was "good enough"
- To seriously consider Vermont Law School because it was "the best at environmental law"
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=vermont

This is the sort of advice that, when combined with the supposed "expertise" such an advisor supposedly possesses, could utterly destroy someone's future.

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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby bp shinners » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:33 am

SumStalwart wrote: I am concerned that my 7 different transcripts will not really be understood (I have several transcripts overlapping one another-- both while I was in high school and in college).


Ah, OK, so here's what you do - don't write it as a GPA addendum, write it as a purely explanatory essay. Just explain what happened that caused you to have 7 transcripts. Instead of explaining away a bad semester, you're instead helping the adcomms navigate your crazy academic history. That way, you can both focus them (subtly) on the upswing AND make their lives easier by providing a (very brief) narrative of your education history.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:55 am

Yeah, I have just about finished drafting it. There are a few other things that explain the lower grades that I am adding. I will post it when I am done "making it pretty." It's about a page, double spaced, and I plan on making it more concise. Thanks for your advice, bp shinners.

By the way, what do you think that I should title it? "Addendum of Academic History?"

I guess that we'll figure that one out, after I finish drafting it.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:12 pm

Okay, this is what I am going to be submitting:


Throughout my undergraduate career, I have attended a total of seven distinct institutions, and had varied results, with respect to my GPA.

Between the years 2006 and 2007, I was a high school senior. Hillbilly High School did not offer advanced placement credits, so I endeavored to enrich myself by taking as many college-level courses as I could. As a result, I was almost a sophomore in college by the time I graduated from high school. In addition to the undergraduate courses, I also had my high school responsibilities. A 2.63 cumulative GPA was the aftermath of that year.

In the fall of 2007, I concluded my first and last semester at Private College with a disappointing 2.89 GPA. Being a State swimmer in high school, I felt compelled to continue as a Division X Collegiate Athlete. It was during this period that I was diagnosed with having an arrhythmia. As per the doctors’ advice, I withdrew from swimming and began the scheduled diagnostic battery. After a month of monitoring, the conclusion was that I have a mitral valve prolapse. Generally, it is not a very serious condition, however, the doctors cautioned me about engaging in excessive exertion. The stress from the examinations and the subsequent loss of my place on the athletic team acted as disincentives to my motivation in a variety of aspects, including my academics.

Since attending the TT University, I have taken courses, at other institutions, concurrently with my primary classes, in order to live within my means and expedite my graduation. This has resulted in some terms, like Fall 2010, where I significantly underperformed. Despite the few challenged terms that I had, I still believe that the latter portion of my undergraduate experience more accurately illustrates my academic sagacity.

Edit: Format.

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eyescream
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby eyescream » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:59 pm

You have a lot of things going on in this addendum. That's not a problem, it's just when we try to write about a lot of discrete things, we typically try to explain each one and the gist of what you're going for is lost in the information. Also, it helps to unify each of these things with a theme of some sort (beyond bad grades).

It seems to me, from reading, that you got poor grades due to taking college classes in high school, a medical condition, being removed from the swim team, and something about taking courses at other universities.

When writing about multiple things, I'd advise trying to be as concise and succinct as possible so that the reader isn't overwhelmed. That involves the removal of fluff like, "Since attending the TT University, I have taken courses, at other institutions, concurrently with my primary classes, in order to live within my means and expedite my graduation."

I don't exactly know what this means. I'm assuming you were taking a lot of courses from other universities and did poorly. But is this worth adding to the addendum?

Anyway, these seem to be your main points.

1) Poor freshman year grades because classes were taken while in high school.
It seems what you were going for was, "Overachieving high school student who ended up doing poorly due to all the work he took on." Maybe add in a bit about how you wanted to achieve as much as possible, but you didn't (THEN) realize your own limitations and it cost you your GPA. This could tie in nicely to the next idea.
2) Diagnosis of arrhythmia.
From what I know (due to a quick Google search) there are different types of arrhythmia. Maybe describe which type you were diagnosed as to make it more concrete and why that prevented you from being on the swim team. Talk some about how much that fucking sucked and try to draw the reader in as much as possible to your plight. "I always wanted to be on a college swim team, but my dreams were crushed etc etc." Obviously, don't lie and don't make it too sappy, but this is where you can apply a good degree of pathos. In keeping with the theme, this could be a moment where you realized your own limitations.

What follows would be the whole, "Moving forward, I learned a great deal about myself... etc etc...I ended up raising my grades."

Just my thoughts. Good luck, man.
Last edited by eyescream on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:50 pm

Thank you eyescream, that's great feedback. I'll take your comments into consideration, and post an updated version.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:15 pm

Okay, here is what I am going to submit:

Throughout my undergraduate career, I have attended a total of seven distinct institutions, and had varied results, with respect to my GPA.

Between the years 2006 and 2007, I was a high school senior. Hick High School did not offer advanced placement credits. Striving to achieve as much as possible, I took college courses alongside my high school classes. As a result, I was almost a sophomore in college by the time I graduated from high school. Consequently, the additional responsibilities left me with a 2.63 cumulative GPA and an understanding of my personal limitations.

In the fall of 2007, I concluded my first and last semester at Private College with a disappointing 2.89 GPA. Being a State-qualifying swimmer in high school, I was drawn to Private College's strong NCAA Division X Collegiate Swimming program. It was during this period that I was diagnosed with having an arrhythmia. As per the doctors’ advice, I abstained from participating in practice and began the scheduled diagnostic battery. After a month of being monitored, the conclusion was that I have mitral valve prolapse. Generally, it is not a very serious condition, however, the doctors cautioned me about engaging in excessive exertion. Concerned about my health, I completed my formal withdrawal from the swimming program. Having lost an avenue in which I was passionate about—swimming competitively—I became disinterested with academics.

Since returning to school, in 2009, at the TT University, I have taken courses at other institutions concurrently with my primary classes. The rationale is twofold: 1) exploit cheaper credits at other institutions, so that I can afford the tuition, and 2) take larger credit loads, in order to expedite my graduation. This has resulted in some terms, like Fall 2010, where I significantly underperformed. Despite the few challenged terms that I have had, I have learned how to account for my skillsets and how to balance my life with academics. Following this growth, in spite of the heavy course loads and expanded duties, my GPA has been substantially higher in the latter part of my undergraduate career. Given the nature of my GPA rise, I believe that these later terms are more representative of my academic sagacity.

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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:31 pm

If were an adcom I would ding you just for "academic sagacity."

But seriously I think it's longwinded, filled with silly excuses, and a bit pretentious and I don't think it casts you in a positive light at all. If your gpa is a 3.4x I would just roll with that and kill the LSAT. If you must write an addendum I would write something much shorter along the lines of "my early gpa sucked because I was in high school and a freshman, now my gpa doesn't suck so we cool." Then again I am not an adcom so I probably don't know what I'm talking about.

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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:00 pm

BigZuck wrote:If were an adcom I would ding you just for "academic sagacity."

But seriously I think it's longwinded, filled with silly excuses, and a bit pretentious and I don't think it casts you in a positive light at all. If your gpa is a 3.4x I would just roll with that and kill the LSAT. If you must write an addendum I would write something much shorter along the lines of "my early gpa sucked because I was in high school and a freshman, now my gpa doesn't suck so we cool." Then again I am not an adcom so I probably don't know what I'm talking about.


This. You just want to get the info across. You go into way too much detail, and throw in flairs that will hurt instead of help you. Being diagnosed with a serious medical condition is the only valid reason you have in there for a poor semester of grades - keep that, trim the other reasons, and just get the info across.

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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:02 pm

How is it that you think wasting admissions committees' time and patience with an entire page of excuses about your GPA is going to help you? Your last paragraph is especially a turnoff. This is how it comes off.

"My GPA is lower than it should be because I took way too many credits all over the place in order to cheaply and carelessly rush my way through college. Despite consistently underperforming due to overloading myself, I refused to learn from my mistakes and continued to make poor decisions, even as recently as Fall of 2010, which was especially bad."

Your upward trend will speak for itself. Don't ramble, it's unprofessional. Admissions committees can see your grades and how many credits you took, will notice the fact that you have a bazillion transcripts, and will only care to look this far for one reason: YOU GOT A GOOD LSAT SCORE.

The best way to emphasize your "Academic Sagacity" (LOL... seriously?) is to rock the LSAT.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:37 pm

Okay guys,

I have gone ahead and taken out all of the bad reasons, and left the medical condition. Do you guys have any other comments or concerns?

Thank you for your time.

In the fall of 2007, I concluded my first and last semester at Private College with a disappointing 2.89 GPA. Being a three-year State-qualifying swimmer in high school, I was drawn to Private College's strong NCAA Division X Collegiate Swimming program. During this period, my doctors detected an arrhythmia. As per the doctors’ advice, I abstained from practice and began the scheduled diagnostic battery. After a month, I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse. It is typically not a very serious condition, however, the doctors cautioned me about engaging in excessive exertion. Concerned about my health, I completed my formal withdrawal from the swimming program. Having lost an avenue in which I was passionate about—swimming competitively—I became disinterested with academics.

BigZuck
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:43 pm

How much academic sagacity could you possibly have if not being able to physically compete in something makes you lose your drive to do well in school? I don't see the connection between not playing a sport and not doing well in school. Isn't the excuse that athletes always use that the time commitment to a sport means their grades had to suffer? Using that logic, wouldn't the fact that you were unable to compete mean that your grades should have been better?

I wouldn't write an addendum, I don't see the point.

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SumStalwart
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby SumStalwart » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:08 pm

Much like "acumen," I was initially using "sagacity" to indicate knowledge or skill. I think that you might be mistaking it for "drive."

That being said, there isn't any reference to the other stuff-- so the committee will not see "my superfluous mess," nor be able to derive pugnacious remarks.

Yes, many athletes typically use that excuse. However, imagine declining many other offers to go to a specific school, and have that reason taken away from you. There were other things that occurred during that term-- the significant other that I was with at the time's family was suffering from a lot of financial hardship. I didn't want to cover it in this addendum, because I also am submitting a "Academic Sabbatical Addendum," which covers why I took a two year break from academia.

Perhaps, I am not able to fully convey myself. If that's the case, perhaps, you could help me not sound so pretentious.

daisyrita
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Re: To GPA Addendum or Not to GPA Addendum?

Postby daisyrita » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:32 am

To be honest, I think it is a really bad idea to say that you became "disinterested with academics” on account of not being able to swim. I’m not faulting you for feeling that way or saying that it doesn’t sound like a very difficult situation, but I don’t think that adcomms will like that. It comes off sounding whiney/snobby (and I’m sure that is not your actual sentiment behind it). I agree with X that it the adcomms will think that having fewer athletic obligations should give you more time to succeed academically. Additionally, “Having lost an avenue in which I was passionate about…” makes it sound like you are not at all passionate about academics in themselves, which is obviously makes a very bad impression.

If you’re going to do an addendum about this, I would frame it more like your poor health/stress over your poor health had a negative impact on you that extended to your academic performance. I definitely wouldn’t use the word “disinterested.” But, I think doing the addendum at all will have a net negative effect on your apps. The adcomms are going to look at your poor performance in other semesters, too, and think “well, if he/she didn’t have health problems during these other semesters, why should we think his/her poor performance was due to that?”

Sorry! I’m sure you’re a nice person and it sounds like you’ve had a stressful undergrad experience, but the only thing that matters is how the adcomms will view it.




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