First, what is a law school application addendum? Law schools offer candidates the opportunity to provide an addendum, or addenda, if additional information or explanation can help shed greater light on their academic abilities. This is your chance to elaborate on any challenges that you’ve faced during your time in college or while studying for the LSAT. Since law schools don’t require an addendum, it’s up to you to decide whether your situation warrants further explanation.
When should you write an addendum?
Consider whether any part of your application will raise red flags to an admissions officer – for example, you might have needed to withdraw from college for a year or more, and law schools will likely want to know why. Or maybe you caught a chronic illness that prevented you from attending the majority of your classes during your sophomore year. A family emergency might have occurred just before finals one semester, and you completely tanked your exams as a result. Or perhaps you weren’t able to perform as well on the LSAT as you could have because you came down with the flu earlier that week.
In other words, life happens, and life doesn’t always go your way. When things start affecting your grades or test scores, though, they’re important for law school admissions officers to know about. However, make sure you have legitimate reasons to back up your academic issues – not scoring well on the LSAT because you were so frazzled from forgetting to set your alarm the night before doesn’t count!
Why should you write an addendum?
Writing a law school addendum frees up your personal statement to focus on your strengths over any weaknesses, and also enables you to proactively address any blips in your application materials. Law schools are looking for students who are capable of excelling in challenging academic environments, and letting a poor academic record go unexplained can be damaging when it comes time to review your application.
Now, an addendum doesn’t perfectly square away issues with your grades or LSAT, but they can help clear some doubts and present a strong case for why specific weaknesses in your application don’t reflect your true potential as a law student.
Are you planning to write an addendum? Let us know in the comments!