Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

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Jacq2212
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Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby Jacq2212 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:10 pm

I'm hoping someone can shed some light on how courses 'Withdrawn in good standing' are perceived by admissions committees. I had a semester where I was struggling with emotional problems after a relationship breakup which is a stupid excuse but it really caused me huge amounts of anxiety and distress that probably should have resulted in therapy and made me almost fail all my classes. What I ended up with, was three classes Withdrawn in good standing and a 3.36 GPA for the other three classes I still maintained throughout the semester. After this semester my grades went up to 3.5GPA, 3.5GPA, and 3.67GPA at which point I graduated. I am trying to figure out if I should write an addendum or not and if so how to phrase it. Here is my draft currently:

In my spring 2010 semester I was struggling with personal emotional issues that temporarily affected my academic performance leading to three classes that were withdrawn in good standing on my transcript. I still managed to keep above a 3.3GPA in my other three classes that semester and spent the next year balancing the increasing difficulty level of my classes with a rising GPA compared to that low semester. In addition I would like to point out that while I withdrew from XYZ Philosophy in Fall 2009, I re-took the class in Fall 2010 and received an A-.


P.S. There is also another class I got a W in from the same semester as the philosophy class that I dropped because I felt it was dumbed down and got more out of the textbook than staying in the class. Obviously I'm not going to mention that attitude, but if I explain all the other Ws and not that one will that beg them to ask questions?

Thanks for your help!

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TripTrip
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby TripTrip » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:14 pm

Do not write an addendum for a W.

The adcom will only look at your LSDAS GPA, not your actual transcript. If the W didn't negatively affect your GPA, writing an addendum will only bring attention to something you don't need them to notice.

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jetsfan1
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby jetsfan1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:14 pm

I'm in a similar scenario, interested to see some answers here...

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Jacq2212
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby Jacq2212 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:09 pm

I was under the impression from everything I've read from adcom people that they analyze your transcript, note grade trends, question shifts and changes, and that if you have anything that would leave a question on their mind you should answer and quell their concerns in an addendum...

elblufer
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby elblufer » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:52 pm

I was also under the impression that while you shouldn't write an addendum for one or two throughout 3-4 years of college, withdrawing for so many classes during one semester probably should require an addendum.

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jetsfan1
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby jetsfan1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:17 pm

Not to hijack the thread, but what if you have 2 Ws, one of which is for a legitimate reason (concussion, missed 2 weeks of school, fell way behind) and the other can't be explained other than the fact that I bit off more than I could chew and had too much work? Addendum for just the concussion? Neither? Both? Thanks

SPerez
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby SPerez » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:37 am

TripTrip wrote:Do not write an addendum for a W.


It is correct to say you don't have to write an addendum for a SINGLE withdrawal.

TripTrip wrote:The adcom will only look at your LSDAS GPA, not your actual transcript. If the W didn't negatively affect your GPA, writing an addendum will only bring attention to something you don't need them to notice.


However, this is definitely NOT the credited response. This idea is out there because in cases where a student's numbers are way above a school's medians, yes, they may only glance at the LSAC report. The report is broken down roughly by years so if there is a bad semester in there somewhere it can usually be detected on the coversheet and signal the reviewer to look at the transcripts. That said, most of you will have your file reviewed by more than one person at the same school and it's possible one could really like examining transcripts in detail while the other doesn't care. You have no way of knowing.

If there is a blemish on your academic record, we WILL notice whether you point it out or not. One of my biggest annoyances is applicants who don't explain obvious issues with their grades, e.g. consistently poor grades, bad semester(s), grades that decline, etc. Without an explanation from you, there is a good chance the AdCom is not going to make an assumption that is favorable to you. You need to take control of that and submit an explanation that puts things in the best light for you.

To the OP's...In your situation, a cluster of Ws in the same semester, you should definitely submit something. I wouldn't separate out the other W, though. The draft explanation you provided is on the right track, but have someone review the final version. What you typed has some grammar and sentence structure issues. I know people don't post on here they way they would write for their applications, but some of the issues in that paragraph are of a type that-in my experience-writers don't realize are incorrect so I thought I'd point it out.

Dean Perez
Asst. Dean of Admissions
Texas Tech School of Law

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cahwc12
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby cahwc12 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:48 am

SPerez wrote:
TripTrip wrote:Do not write an addendum for a W.


It is correct to say you don't have to write an addendum for a SINGLE withdrawal.

TripTrip wrote:The adcom will only look at your LSDAS GPA, not your actual transcript. If the W didn't negatively affect your GPA, writing an addendum will only bring attention to something you don't need them to notice.


However, this is definitely NOT the credited response. This idea is out there because in cases where a student's numbers are way above a school's medians, yes, they may only glance at the LSAC report. The report is broken down roughly by years so if there is a bad semester in there somewhere it can usually be detected on the coversheet and signal the reviewer to look at the transcripts. That said, most of you will have your file reviewed by more than one person at the same school and it's possible one could really like examining transcripts in detail while the other doesn't care. You have no way of knowing.

If there is a blemish on your academic record, we WILL notice whether you point it out or not. One of my biggest annoyances is applicants who don't explain obvious issues with their grades, e.g. consistently poor grades, bad semester(s), grades that decline, etc. Without an explanation from you, there is a good chance the AdCom is not going to make an assumption that is favorable to you. You need to take control of that and submit an explanation that puts things in the best light for you.

To the OP's...In your situation, a cluster of Ws in the same semester, you should definitely submit something. I wouldn't separate out the other W, though. The draft explanation you provided is on the right track, but have someone review the final version. What you typed has some grammar and sentence structure issues. I know people don't post on here they way they would write for their applications, but some of the issues in that paragraph are of a type that-in my experience-writers don't realize are incorrect so I thought I'd point it out.

Dean Perez
Asst. Dean of Admissions
Texas Tech School of Law


I respect you a lot for coming on here and giving honest advice, but everything I've read on this forum and advice that I've seen from other deans, adcoms, etc all suggest an addendum about non-punitive Ws is best left to a few sentences re:medical illness or personal tragedy, not a lengthy paragraph about boyfriend problems.

And again, I'm not an admissions officer, nor am I dean of admissions of a law school, but as a human being making a rational decision, seeing the addendum OP wrote would reflect much more poorly than having none at all because it's laden with excuses rather than accepting responsibility.

In this case, the actual reasons for the W's don't reflect positively on OP, and I think you would agree that while a good, brief addendum would be best, no addendum would be better for OP's admissions prospects than the one presented.

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NoodleyOne
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby NoodleyOne » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:03 am

UVA asked me about my Ws (had three ij one semester and one in another). For the three I explained family issues and the individual I said I decided a gainst taking latin. She laughed at the latin quip and nothing came of it. I don't think it had an adverse effect for UVA, but I'm wishing I submitted nand addendum anyway.

SPerez
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby SPerez » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:08 am

cahwc12 wrote:
I respect you a lot for coming on here and giving honest advice, but everything I've read on this forum and advice that I've seen from other deans, adcoms, etc all suggest an addendum about non-punitive Ws is best left to a few sentences re:medical illness or personal tragedy, not a lengthy paragraph about boyfriend problems.

And again, I'm not an admissions officer, nor am I dean of admissions of a law school, but as a human being making a rational decision, seeing the addendum OP wrote would reflect much more poorly than having none at all because it's laden with excuses rather than accepting responsibility.

In this case, the actual reasons for the W's don't reflect positively on OP, and I think you would agree that while a good, brief addendum would be best, no addendum would be better for OP's admissions prospects than the one presented.


That's a good example of why I try to tell people not to get too worked up about small things. There are few "rules" that apply to all schools in all situations, and you can drive yourself crazy trying to find them.

I am an admissions dean, and I wouldn't look at OPs explanation as reflecting poorly on them. Stuff like that happens in college. Is there a way to write it that doesn't make it sound like a Taylor Swift song? Sure. That's where an applicant's writing ability comes into play.

But personally, I view people who don't even try to explain things more negatively than those that do.

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jetsfan1
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby jetsfan1 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:12 am

Thanks for the advice Dean Perez very much appreciated!

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Jacq2212
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby Jacq2212 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:03 pm

SPerez wrote:Stuff like that happens in college. Is there a way to write it that doesn't make it sound like a Taylor Swift song? Sure. That's where an applicant's writing ability comes into play.


LOL

Like I said, I'm working on a succinct straightforward brief addendum because I think the semester will stand out under a brief scan of my transcript. I appreciate the advice and will work on making sure it is grammatically correct.

My last question is merely whether the phrase 'personal emotional issues' or the like is appropriate. I don't want to and don't need to go into detail but I don't want to write something that leaves them begging more questions.

Thank You!

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TripTrip
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Re: Do Withdrawn Classes require an Addendum?

Postby TripTrip » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:55 pm

SPerez wrote:
TripTrip wrote:The adcom will only look at your LSDAS GPA, not your actual transcript. If the W didn't negatively affect your GPA, writing an addendum will only bring attention to something you don't need them to notice.


However, this is definitely NOT the credited response. This idea is out there because in cases where a student's numbers are way above a school's medians, yes, they may only glance at the LSAC report. The report is broken down roughly by years so if there is a bad semester in there somewhere it can usually be detected on the coversheet and signal the reviewer to look at the transcripts. That said, most of you will have your file reviewed by more than one person at the same school and it's possible one could really like examining transcripts in detail while the other doesn't care. You have no way of knowing.

If there is a blemish on your academic record, we WILL notice whether you point it out or not. One of my biggest annoyances is applicants who don't explain obvious issues with their grades, e.g. consistently poor grades, bad semester(s), grades that decline, etc. Without an explanation from you, there is a good chance the AdCom is not going to make an assumption that is favorable to you. You need to take control of that and submit an explanation that puts things in the best light for you.

To the OP's...In your situation, a cluster of Ws in the same semester, you should definitely submit something. I wouldn't separate out the other W, though. The draft explanation you provided is on the right track, but have someone review the final version. What you typed has some grammar and sentence structure issues. I know people don't post on here they way they would write for their applications, but some of the issues in that paragraph are of a type that-in my experience-writers don't realize are incorrect so I thought I'd point it out.

Thanks for the correction, Dean Perez!




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