Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

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oldschool123
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:23 pm

Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby oldschool123 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:47 pm

I've already posted on this site about how i've been accepted into UVA and GULC but am strongly considering re-taking in June and re-applying in the next cycle...

With that being said, I was wondering if anyone had any idea on whether or not the following type of addendum, if included in my applications for the next cycle, would actually help or hurt me in any significant way:

My GPA entering my last two semesters of UG (which took place 2-3 years ago) was slightly above a 3.8, and had consistently been around this mark for my first three years of UG. My GPA at graduation, however, had fallen to slightly above a 3.5. That last year of UG I was receiving treatment for pretty serious depression as well as generalized-anxiety disorder and OCD. I was put on medication right around the beginning of the first semester of senior year, and continued to take it until around one month before graduation, when I stopped because I felt like it was only making many of my symptoms worse, and some of the side-effects were pretty intolerable.

I chose not to put an addendum in any of my applications this cycle because I had it in my head that an admissions committee, though maybe not outwardly admitting it, might look at that story somewhat negatively when considering whether or not they want that person in their incoming class. However, could it actually help to include an addendum explaining the circumstances of that year, as well as explaining that I have since been much better, evidenced by the fact that I was then able to go on after graduation and get my M.P.A.?

Any input is much appreciated
Last edited by oldschool123 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby Ti Malice » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:08 pm

I think your first intuition is the correct one. For starters, bear in mind that addenda hardly ever make any discernible positive impact. The downside risk is far, far greater. You would simply be inviting adcomms to wonder if you're tough enough to handle the most hellish periods in law school.

There is no need to describe your problem with such specificity. You can simply say that you suffered through a now-resolved medical issue that did not allow you to focus sufficiently on your studies and achieve the same performance you would have been able to in the absence of the problem.

bfigsan
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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:06 pm

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby bfigsan » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:15 pm

I have to respectfully disagree, but I do think you need to be careful about how you word your addendum. I actually wrote my YLS 250 about de facto discrimination against those of us suffering from a mental illness due to a real lack of public awareness. I haven't been admitted to YLS, but I also discussed the topic in my personal statement for other schools and have been accepted by several of those schools. I made the point that depression and anxiety can be managed like any other chronic disease, like diabetes or HIV/AIDS. I spent a long time making sure that the statement came across as: "Having struggled with mental illness and overcome it makes me stronger and better able to handle stress than most people". But then again, I strongly believe that. If you don't have that conviction or don't think you'd be able to convey it in an addendum, then leave it out.

oldschool123
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Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:23 pm

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby oldschool123 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:17 pm

Ti Malice wrote:I think your first intuition is the correct one. For starters, bear in mind that addenda hardly ever make any discernible positive impact. The downside risk is far, far greater. You would simply be inviting adcomms to wonder if you're tough enough to handle the most hellish periods in law school.


The exact reason why I chose not to include it the first time around. It just sucks seeing that 3.8x drop to a 3.5x in two semesters like that on my transcript....makes it seem like I just had a serious case of senioritis/not-giving-a-shit-itis when really it was by far the most trying year of my life

Ti Malice wrote:There is no need to describe your problem with such specificity. You can simply say that you suffered through a now-resolved medical issue that did not allow you to focus sufficiently on your studies and achieve the same performance you would have been able to in the absence of the problem.


Do you think it would even be worth it though at that point to even mention something vague like that? I guess even if it didn't help any, it couldn't really hurt either by putting in that sort of language

oldschool123
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:23 pm

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby oldschool123 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:23 pm

bfigsan wrote:"Having struggled with mental illness and overcome it makes me stronger and better able to handle stress than most people". But then again, I strongly believe that. If you don't have that conviction or don't think you'd be able to convey it in an addendum, then leave it out.


I share the same sort of conviction.....I was able to make it out of that year, and although that year single-handedly wrecked my GPA, I was able to bounce back even stronger and knock out my Master's in an accelerated 12-month program from an Ivy League school, and have two pretty amazing letters of recommendations from professors at that school, one of which says she considers me in the top 5% of students she has taught in her 15+ years at that school (I only know this because she chose, without my asking, to send me the letter). I'm not mentioning any of this to brag at all but rather to show that I do think I would be able to convey my story in the type of way that you are referring to.

Honestly still unsure though whether or not it would be worth including. I share the same exact beliefs about mental illness that you seem to, but not everyone else does unfortunately, and I'm just very unsure about how an admissions committee may look upon this sort of thing. But I guess your acceptances do speak in favor of it!

bfigsan
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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:06 pm

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby bfigsan » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:27 pm

That's fair. But for me, that's never going to change if we keep pushing mental illness in to the corner. Plus you have proof that you're able to handle stress because you did bounce back and do well in your masters program. I think if an adcomm will deny you based on this then they're close minded people that shouldn't be passing judgement on you anyways. But that's a personal belief, too, which you may not share. :?

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby Ti Malice » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:28 pm

bfigsan, I'm not saying it's a completely radioactive topic. But there's a significant difference between an elegant, thoughtful treatment of the issue in an essay and a needless disclosure in an addendum that offers no upside potential.

OP, I think something vague along those lines is your best option. It's better not to leave something negative entirely to adcomms' imaginations.

bfigsan
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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:06 pm

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby bfigsan » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:35 pm

I'm not sure why an addendum can't be elegant and achieve the same points, but as I said, if it can't be done then it's best to leave it out.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby Ti Malice » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:44 pm

For one thing, addenda should be quite brief, which makes treating the subject reflectively and thoughtfully far more difficult. There's just really no upside, but there is some risk on the downside.

I agree with everything you said in your second-to-last post. I just think a cost-benefit assessment favors non-specificity in an addendum.

oldschool123
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:23 pm

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby oldschool123 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:49 pm

Really appreciate both of your responses....I now think my solution would be somewhere in the middle.

I agree with you, Ti Malice, that the addendum would probably be unnecessary, but think that the topic would be be worth referring to in my PS in the context of my broader story, and without the exact level of detail that I included in my OP.

And bfigsan, I certainly agree with you on the fact that this is not an issue that should just be dismissed or pushed into a corner--meaningful progress, including shedding many social stigmas that still exist, will never be achieved that way

20141023
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Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby 20141023 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:28 am

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Last edited by 20141023 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

oldschool123
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:23 pm

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby oldschool123 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:50 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:Either way, I doubt that GPA addenda really make much of a difference. It isn't like there is affirmative action for people who have overcome illness, and U.S. News & World Report doesn't report the percentage of matriculants who have overcome some sort of medical adversity at each school, so admitting potentially "ill" students poses no real benefit for law schools. It might make an applicant seem "diverse," but as Ti Malice said, I think that the risk is even greater than the potential benefit..



I wouldn't be referring to it in order to try and seem diverse or get any sort of sympathy vote or affirmative action-type ruling.....it'd rather would be more of a way for me to explain the fact that my GPA shot down from 3.8x to 3.5x in one year not because I stopped giving a shit about school my senior year, but because of extenuating circumstances

20141023
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:17 am

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby 20141023 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:16 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

throw-away-soon
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: Depression/Anxiety GPA Addendum

Postby throw-away-soon » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:14 pm

oldschool123 wrote:I've already posted on this site about how i've been accepted into UVA and GULC but am strongly considering re-taking in June and re-applying in the next cycle...

With that being said, I was wondering if anyone had any idea on whether or not the following type of addendum, if included in my applications for the next cycle, would actually help or hurt me in any significant way:

My GPA entering my last two semesters of UG (which took place 2-3 years ago) was slightly above a 3.8, and had consistently been around this mark for my first three years of UG. My GPA at graduation, however, had fallen to slightly above a 3.5. That last year of UG I was receiving treatment for pretty serious depression as well as generalized-anxiety disorder and OCD. I was put on medication right around the beginning of the first semester of senior year, and continued to take it until around one month before graduation, when I stopped because I felt like it was only making many of my symptoms worse, and some of the side-effects were pretty intolerable.

I chose not to put an addendum in any of my applications this cycle because I had it in my head that an admissions committee, though maybe not outwardly admitting it, might look at that story somewhat negatively when considering whether or not they want that person in their incoming class. However, could it actually help to include an addendum explaining the circumstances of that year, as well as explaining that I have since been much better, evidenced by the fact that I was then able to go on after graduation and get my M.P.A.?

Any input is much appreciated



I've found schools didn't care too much about my mental health problems (mood disorder,ADHD, GAD,insomnia).




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