GPA addendum necessary or not?

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GPA addendum necessary or not?

Post by joeytortellini » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:15 pm

Hi y'all,
I currently have a uGPA of 3.59 and a LSAT score of 170. I am non-URM. I am planning on applying to a good chunk of the t14 schools NYU and below. It seems like my uGPA is at or beneath the 25th percentile for almost all the schools, which concerns me.

My situation is that I went to a pretty Montessori-like college where grades were optional and there were technically no majors. We were greatly encouraged to take classes outside of our concentrations. Grades mattered less than in almost all other universities because our pedagogical principles de-emphasized competition and emphasized interdisciplinary studies and being able to plan our own educational path. I honestly did not even think of GPA and even take grades until I realized they were needed for graduate school. Until my junior year, I took many classes such as drama, Spanish, and music performance that were outside of my purview. Taking a wide purview of classes stretched my mental resources and I did not always excel, but I believed it was beneficial for expanding my intellectual and creative horizons. The problem is that I have no excuses or extenuating circumstances like apparently is the case for effective GPA addendums. Would writing one in my case just seem whiny or neurotic?

Also, I am wondering whether my graduate transcript might help me at all. I took a one year Masters program in Environmental Law and Policy from Lewis and Clark Law School and all of the classes I took were technically law classes. I was able to get an Honors grade for most classes (the program is graded on a Fail/Credit/Honors rather than GPA basis). I'd hope that this indicates that I am mentally and intellectually ready to study law. Will this be taken into account at all by admissions at these schools? I feel like if it has even a mild impact I would be far less tempted to write an addendum.


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Re: GPA addendum necessary or not?

Post by nixy » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:55 pm

Don't write an addendum. Just because your GPA is low for the T14 doesn't mean it's bad, and no school will be impressed with the idea that your grades are lower than they would otherwise be because you took stuff outside your major (plenty of people take classes well outside their major, and almost all schools require you to fulfill a lot of non-major requirements). Your explanation won't help you because you're essentially claiming you can only do well (or be expected to do well) in a narrow range of subjects that are within your "purview," which isn't the impression you want to give.

Schools will see your grad GPA and if they have concerns about your ability to do well, it may help. The problem is that grad GPAs don't count toward law school rankings and undergrad GPAs do, so that's why your grad GPA won't carry much weight. It will help distinguish you from candidates with similar stats but no grad degree.

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