3.5 UG GPA (context) - Need to explain?

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3.5 UG GPA (context) - Need to explain?

Postby jwinaz » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:18 am

Hey guys.

I may be applying to law school next year and was wondering about a particular aspect of my UG GPA and grade trends.

I have a decent GPA at a 3.5, but it's a bit whacky when looking at my transcripts. I took 5 and half years to complete my UG degree, due to working multiple jobs all throughout that time period. I even took a semester off one year. My parents had had a lot of financial and marital troubles just as I was beginning college, so my experiences were somewhat uneven as a result of that. I found it difficult to concentrate with the family problems at home and ended up taking on several jobs to try to alleviate some of the financial strains back home.

That period of stress and working while in school, however, cost me some valuable study time and concentration and my grades for several semesters reflected that. My grades were almost completely bifurcated into two patterns: straight A's or very "low" grades (think more or lesss straight C's). My, overall, GPA reflects the fact that I had many more semesters of straight A's than straight C's. But it's definitely apparent on my transcript when looking at it and maybe even puzzling (e.g., there were at least two semesters of very bad grades sandwiched between periods of straight A's, so that it looks possibly roller-coaster-ish).

I was wondering whether or not this unevenness of grades would be a problem and if there might be a need to explain? I could certainly prove (via tax returns and other means) that I had been working two or more jobs (three jobs at once was the most I had taken on before in UG) during those "bad" semesters. Additionally, I spent time utilizing my campus psychological counseling services during some semseters as well to cope with personal stress. I wonder if this would be a good idea to explain and if so how detailed one ought to be? Would mentioning a psychological "breakdown" or that I was overly stressed reflect poorly on me, for example, and end up hurting me? Please keep in mind that I was a 19/20 year old kid back then. But I wonder if it could be interpreted as being unstable as a person? Yet, I did feel that I had some legitimate thigns outside of my own control that affected my academic performance throughout UG (both in terms of the length of time taken to complete a degree and also the unevenness of my grades).

Appreciate the feedback. Thank you guys.
Last edited by jwinaz on Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 3.5 UG GPA (context) - Need to explain?

Postby Killingly » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:22 am

No need to explain because they won't care. Writing an addendum and mentioning your "breakdown" will only draw attention to it.

I had a 3.5 with a strict downward trend through college and it worked out fine. :D

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