Addendum...for a Good GPA?

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wealtheow
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Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby wealtheow » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:42 am

baleted.
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t-14orbust
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby t-14orbust » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:45 am

wealtheow wrote:I graduated with a 3.77/4.00 from a good private college – LSAC keeps messing up my calc, so I’m not sure what the LDSAS is, probably a 3.76. Whatever. I know either a great GPA, probably sufficient for anything but HYS.

My concern is that I actually started out much stronger – at 3.93 the end of freshman year – and I know that a 3.93 is more in line with my capabilities. Lowest dip was soph year (3.6), then gradual rebuild thereafter, but never as high as frosh year. I’m nervous about the default implications of a “downward trend” without explanation - that classes got harder, or I stopped trying.

Unfortunately the actual explanation is that I was in an abusive relationship – something I am not too keen to divulge to an admissions committee for obvious reasons, even though I know it's nothing I should be ashamed of.

I’ve seen mixed recommendations regarding this sort of stuff on here. Most of the scenarios involve lower GPAs. Some people recommend writing about it, but keeping it extremely brief, almost clinical– “From X point to Z point, I was involved in an [emotionally/verbally/etc.] abusive relationship that negatively impacted my life and by extension my studies. I ended the relationship due to this behavior, took advantage of resources at school, and things improved drastically” or something to that effect. Others say spend a bit more time with it and spin it in a positive light; the adversity overcome addendum.

Any advice? Other than avoiding the issue entirely by getting a higher LSAT, which I am working on.


No. Stop

bp shinners
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:06 am

While this could make a topic for a strong essay, depending on how you write it, I wouldn't use it as a GPA addendum when your GPA is a 3.7+ and your lowest semester was a 3.6.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:08 am

One semester 0.1 below your eventual cumulative average is well within a normal range of grades. Writing an addendum would just make you look neurotic.

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hephaestus
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby hephaestus » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:11 am

rinkrat19 wrote:One semester 0.1 below your eventual cumulative average is well within a normal range of grades. Writing an addendum would just make you look neurotic.

This. Definitely don't do this.

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wealtheow
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby wealtheow » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:15 am

Thanks guys. I definitely don't mean to come across as neurotic. It's a tough subject for me and I appreciate the perspective.

Arcticlynx
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby Arcticlynx » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:58 pm

Don’t mean to hijack, but I am in a very similar situation* and just got the exact opposite advice from my pre-law adviser. His point was that as long as the addendum is factual it’s probably not going to hurt me, but that’s just one opinion and I’m certainly skeptical of writing my addendum as well.

*3.76 LDSAS GPA, 3.93 High semester GPA, 3.50 Low semester GPA (for two semesters) w/ an overall negative trend – reason is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Average GPA during semesters not influenced by TBI is 3.85.

mojangles
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby mojangles » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:03 pm

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wealtheow
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby wealtheow » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:58 pm

Arcticlynx wrote:Don’t mean to hijack, but I am in a very similar situation* and just got the exact opposite advice from my pre-law adviser. His point was that as long as the addendum is factual it’s probably not going to hurt me, but that’s just one opinion and I’m certainly skeptical of writing my addendum as well.

*3.76 LDSAS GPA, 3.93 High semester GPA, 3.50 Low semester GPA (for two semesters) w/ an overall negative trend – reason is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Average GPA during semesters not influenced by TBI is 3.85.


like looking in a numbers mirror! i hear you. it's hard to know what to do. some of the apps actually explicitly ask if anything negatively affected one's GPA, and to check off "no" would honestly be a lie. i totally get what everyone is saying about appearing nutso, though, which is why i'm inclined to not even reference it in the first place.

with that said, your situation seems considerably more straightforward/less taboo than mine. are there any professors familiar with the situation from whom you could get an opinion? are you leaning one way more than the other?

sorry to hear about that, btw. hope you're well now.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:17 pm

Arcticlynx wrote:Don’t mean to hijack, but I am in a very similar situation* and just got the exact opposite advice from my pre-law adviser. His point was that as long as the addendum is factual it’s probably not going to hurt me, but that’s just one opinion and I’m certainly skeptical of writing my addendum as well.

*3.76 LDSAS GPA, 3.93 High semester GPA, 3.50 Low semester GPA (for two semesters) w/ an overall negative trend – reason is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Average GPA during semesters not influenced by TBI is 3.85.

But you really didn't do badly. Traumatic brain injury makes it sound like some debilitating condition that seriously impairs cognitive function, yet you somehow only dropped to a 3.5.

20141023
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby 20141023 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:51 am

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hephaestus
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby hephaestus » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:56 am

wealtheow wrote:Thanks guys. I definitely don't mean to come across as neurotic. It's a tough subject for me and I appreciate the perspective.

Try not to worry to much. At the end of the at, you still have a really good GPA and have the potential to go to some great schools. I know it's hard, but try not to get overly invested in the admissions process. All will be well, and worrying won't change the outcome.

Arcticlynx
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby Arcticlynx » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:30 am

wealtheow wrote:like looking in a numbers mirror! i hear you. it's hard to know what to do. some of the apps actually explicitly ask if anything negatively affected one's GPA, and to check off "no" would honestly be a lie. i totally get what everyone is saying about appearing nutso, though, which is why i'm inclined to not even reference it in the first place.

with that said, your situation seems considerably more straightforward/less taboo than mine. are there any professors familiar with the situation from whom you could get an opinion? are you leaning one way more than the other?

sorry to hear about that, btw. hope you're well now.


I know, if we wen't facing very similar questions than I wouldn't have posted. Context aside, I think the principle question is if writing an addendum in order to argue that B+'s should have been an A-'s, if not for extenuating circumstance, is a good idea. I mean if we were arguing C+'s up to B-'s I think the answer would be obvious, but the former looks more privileged and arrogant. My situation is certainly less taboo, but its not as finite, healing brain tissue isn't as tangible as breaking up with someone. I'm not trying to be insensitive, but if he/she was abusive than I hope you broke their heart.

I'm thinking about writing an addenda for schools where I am below the median GPA. BTW the damage was temporary, and I'm 100% better now.

Tiago Splitter wrote:But you really didn't do badly. Traumatic brain injury makes it sound like some debilitating condition that seriously impairs cognitive function, yet you somehow only dropped to a 3.5.


Edit: I wrote something here, but this thread is not about me and I don't want to hijack it. TBI's can certainty be debilitating, I guess impairment depends on which part of the brain is damaged and how much trauma there is (I'm not a neurologist). BTW nice post count tiango 7777!

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wealtheow
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby wealtheow » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:06 am

Arcticlynx wrote:I know, if we wen't facing very similar questions than I wouldn't have posted. Context aside, I think the principle question is if writing an addendum in order to argue that B+'s should have been an A-'s, if not for extenuating circumstance, is a good idea. I mean if we were arguing C+'s up to B-'s I think the answer would be obvious, but the former looks more privileged and arrogant. My situation is certainly less taboo, but its not as finite, healing brain tissue isn't as tangible as breaking up with someone. I'm not trying to be insensitive, but if he/she was abusive than I hope you broke their heart.

I'm thinking about writing an addenda for schools where I am below the median GPA. BTW the damage was temporary, and I'm 100% better now.


that's precisely why i almost didn't post - couldn't find anything remotely similar, and felt prissy.

i was thinking the same thing (including a note only for schools i'm at or below the 25% point), since i do very much want to apply to harvard and yale and maybe even uva. i suppose i'll just have to compensate other ways. i'll also be 6 years out when i attend, so perhaps the gpa will be weighed less.

oh, just to clarify! I meant straightforward in presentation, as in you could provide medical records if necessary. sorry if it came across like i was simplifying TBI - i know it's definitely not straightforward in terms of prognosis, haha. and i did kick the guy to the curb, thanks.

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wealtheow
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby wealtheow » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:47 am

kappycaft1 wrote:I've never been a big fan of "capabilities" arguments when the thing that is preventing someone from reaching their "true potential" is within their control. Although I feel bad for those in abusive relationships, these typically aren't the same sort of "uncontrollable" circumstances as things like being diagnosed with cancer, having your back broken by a drunk driver, etc. Everyone has different circumstances, and their true "capabilities" are simply their actual performance (in this case, your LSDAS GPA) under those circumstances to the extent that they had control. (This isn't to say that your specific case wasn't uncontrollable, but rather just that people might wonder "if it was so bad, why didn't you end it sooner?")

Having said that, if you feel that (1) your situation was beyond your control, and (2) it had a large impact on your overall LSDAS GPA, I might write an addendum. However, it seems like (2) isn't the case, so as the others have said, I'm not sure I'd bother with it even if you believe (1) to be true.


the vibe i'm getting is that the "drop" is not one that will raise eyebrows, which was my main concern. the capabilities thing is just kind of incidental, it really only matters that i know it- things just didn't go the way i hoped, but that happens all the time to everyone for all different reasons, unfortunately. a lot of what you bring up is why these sorts of subjects are so very bad to try and broach- you have to explain yourself for something you probably already felt dumb about, and the more you try to explain, the more opportunity there is for someone to think you've got some kind of syndrome.

i really appreciate everyone's responses. i am definitely leaning toward keeping this to myself. (aside from posting it on an internet message board, of course)

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:04 am

Arcticlynx wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:But you really didn't do badly. Traumatic brain injury makes it sound like some debilitating condition that seriously impairs cognitive function, yet you somehow only dropped to a 3.5.


Edit: I wrote something here, but this thread is not about me and I don't want to hijack it. TBI's can certainty be debilitating, I guess impairment depends on which part of the brain is damaged and how much trauma there is (I'm not a neurologist). BTW nice post count tiango 7777!

Haha thank you the family is so proud. Seriously though I didn't mean to downplay the extent of your injury. I meant to say that what sounds like a very serious condition is something that fortunately didn't have a serious impact on your GPA. Addenda are designed to put the adcomms minds at ease. The fact is they won't be concerned by seeing someone with a 3.76 put up a couple of semesters around 3.5; that's to be expected because over 8 semesters of college things happen, certain classes just don't go well, etc. Once you write an addendum, you draw attention to something that they weren't even concerned about and for which their mind didn't need to be put at ease. At that point, you are, in my opinion, taking an unnecessary risk because it's possible that someone could assume you are overstating the extent of the injury and trying to avoid responsibility.

Arcticlynx
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Re: Addendum...for a Good GPA?

Postby Arcticlynx » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:03 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Haha thank you the family is so proud. Seriously though I didn't mean to downplay the extent of your injury. I meant to say that what sounds like a very serious condition is something that fortunately didn't have a serious impact on your GPA. Addenda are designed to put the adcomms minds at ease. The fact is they won't be concerned by seeing someone with a 3.76 put up a couple of semesters around 3.5; that's to be expected because over 8 semesters of college things happen, certain classes just don't go well, etc. Once you write an addendum, you draw attention to something that they weren't even concerned about and for which their mind didn't need to be put at ease. At that point, you are, in my opinion, taking an unnecessary risk because it's possible that someone could assume you are overstating the extent of the injury and trying to avoid responsibility.


Yeah, I've certainly thought about that, and you make a very good point, because these addenda almost raise more questions than they answer. Gosh, it's such a hard question.




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