After checking out our post on whether to write a law school application addendum, you might decide that providing this piece of writing will help benefit your candidacy and improve your odds of acceptance. The next step is figuring out what makes an addendum effective. This post outlines some of our best tips to get your message across:
1. Be concise
Most people who write an addendum keep it to a couple of paragraphs in length. All you need to do is state what the academic discrepancy is, what happened, and why it happened. That’s it. If you ramble on for pages, admissions officers will probably get bogged down and skim only the first few paragraphs anyhow. When you get right to the point, you address those same admissions officers’ questions without dragging things out unnecessarily. And people who read thousands of essays and personal statements each application season will thank you for your keeping things short and simple!
2. Give a credible explanation
When it comes to the addendum, why is more important than what. Letting admissions officers know that you couldn’t keep up with your GPA during your first year of college because you were so busy partying is not a reasonable explanation, even if you seriously turned things around the following year. On the other hand, health problems caused by an accident or illness would be completely legitimate reasons for not being able to attend classes as much as you planned to, or not being able to complete assignments on time.
3. Be upfront
Taking responsibility for a poor academic record or low LSAT score is key. The addendum is not a chance to assign blame to others. Remember, you’re providing an explanation for your discrepancies in academic and/or test performance, not an excuse.
4. If possible, show how you’ve grown
If, for example, your GPA during your first year of college took a hit because of health issues, look to see whether you can discuss areas of growth in your addendum. After you got your health under control, were you able to make gains toward catching up on coursework you previously weren’t able to complete and improving your grades? Show admissions officers that you’re not the type of person who lets tough situations keep you down for long. Explain how you’ve been able to conquer and grow from challenges that we hope are in your past!
5. Clarify if you’re no longer impacted by this issue
If you’ve made a full recovery from a previous health issue, or if you have the issue under control to a point where it no longer affects you, clearly state this in your addendum. This way, law schools you’re applying to won’t have to worry about how you’ll be affected down the road as a law student.