Reviewing law school addendum examples can give you a good idea of the requirements for this complimentary part of your law school application. Though attaching an addendum might be optional, it might prove useful to your application. If you are curious how this document is different from your law school personal statement, you have reached the right place. In this blog, we explain what a law school addendum is, as well as when you should and should not submit an addendum with your law school application. Additionally, we provide 7 strong law school addendum examples to give you a better understanding of how to write your own. We also share the best tips to write your addendum effectively, so read on to learn everything you need to know about this tricky law school application component!
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What is Law School Addendum?
If you are a law student starting your law school application, chances are, there might be some parts of your application that you are not proud of or that might need additional explanation. Maybe you have taken the LSAT twice because you were not satisfied with your scores the first time. Or, there might be a case where you were sick for a particular semester in college and ended up scoring abysmally low grades. While you might feel that these irregularities have pushed you back in the race to get selected for the best law school, there is still a way to present yourself as a perfectly desirable candidate for a reputed law school. In such situations, a law school addendum is just the document to help you.
Essentially, a law school addendum is an additional law school personal statement that explains any peculiarities or setbacks in your application. This document allows you to explain any gaps or issues in your career about which the admissions committee might require clarity. Facing problems or complications in your journey to law school is normal. So, any deviation in your application should not hold you back when it comes to getting selected at your dream law school, especially if you can account for them in your addendum. A law school addendum does not directly affect law school acceptance rates, but it gives an opportunity to candidates like you to present yourself better to the admissions committee.
Keep in mind that the law school addendum is different from your law school personal statement. If you have already clarified something in your personal statement, make sure not to repeat this in this supporting document. Nevertheless, if there is a situation that has not been elucidated in your personal statement, you should write an addendum to clarify the experience or situation you faced. Some instances such as disclosure of criminal charges require you to explain the situation in a document that is separate from your regular personal statement. Thus, you can make use of the law school addendum to describe such circumstances.
Still need to prep your law school personal statement as well? Check out these examples:
What is the Ideal Length for a Law School Addendum?
Your addendum should be short and concise. The commonly followed length is about three paragraphs covering all the details of the situation. If you have committed some major crime or offense, you should take care to explain everything. It should be a maximum of one page long when you are using double-space formatting. Your addendum should not exceed one page.
How to Write an Effective Law School Addendum
You should work on this part of your application just like you would on your primary application because your addendum must be carefully planned, compelling, and well-written. This brings us to the question of how you should go about writing your law school addendum. For starters, your addendum should be structured like an academic essay, and it should lay forth the facts of your situation while also presenting you the opportunity to showcase how you dealt with the situation, and what you learned from it.
You should keep in your mind that being to the point is the key to writing a good addendum. You might be tempted to share extra details or express your emotions. However, when it comes to a law school addendum, it would be best to stay concise and not embellish anything about the circumstances. You should also try to convey your addendum in a positive tone. The way you dealt with the setback and what you learned from it will convey signs of a good character.
Here are the steps that you need to follow to write your addendum effectively:
These steps give you an idea about what to include in your addendum. Yet, you should always personalize your addendum with respect to your situation, so do not feel that you have to stick to the structure we outline above religiously. Make sure not to overdo your addendum as it might have an adverse influence on your original application. Mainly, try not to sound too defensive, as it will seem like you did not learn from the situation at all.
Why is Law School Addendum Significant?
The law school addendum, even though optional, might be essential for your application depending on your circumstances. It provides you with a platform to explain something that the admissions committee might consider as a red flag. A well-written addendum complements your application and strengthens it.
Keep this in mind when you decide whether to include an addendum or not: you do not want the admissions committee to question or guess why you ran into some academic or personal obstacles. It is always better to personally account for issues with your application rather than let the admissions committee make up their own reasons for your poor grades, lack of volunteer experience, and so on. If you know that your application is not up to par, even if it’s small things like a failed course in the first year of your undergrad or lack of work experience, consider writing the addendum.
When You Should Submit a Law School Addendum
A number of situations might demand you to present an appropriate explanation. To identify those, make sure to review the requirements of the schools you are applying to, including their GPA and LSAT thresholds, volunteer and work experience expectations, reference letter requirements, and so on. For example, if you know that you do not have enough relevant volunteer and work experience because you had to support yourself throughout college, you can provide an explanation of your socio-economic status in your addendum and explain how the work you were involved in prepared you for law school.
To give you an idea of what other circumstances may require an addendum, take a look at the instances below:
Have you prepared your law school resume yet? If not, you'll want to check out these tips:
Law School Addendum Examples
With all the basic information about law school addendums before you, here are a few examples to help you write your own:
1. Law School Addendum Example for Low GPA
When I was approaching the end of the third semester of college, I got infected with viral conjunctivitis that lasted a period of about three weeks. Apart from the pink eye symptoms, I also developed a cold, cough, and high fever during that time. Since the disease is contagious, I was advised by my family physician to stay at home while sick.
Initially, I did not think much about improving my health and studied at home. But due to my deteriorating health, I could not concentrate on my studies. I appeared for the final exams which were just a week after I recovered and ended up scoring a GPA of 2.5 for that semester.
The impact of this event on my final score is visible from my transcripts. Prior to the third semester, I had scored good grades in my first and second semesters. As a result of this incident, I learned that while studies are crucial, I should not have pushed myself during sickness. I eventually ended up with poor grades in the semester as the results. If I had given the situation more thought, I would have asked my professors for exam extensions, which they would have gladly provided me with due to my health issues. While I avoid asking for extensions or deadline changes, I think taking care of yourself is an important part of maturing as a student and an individual. It would have been better to take care of my health and to prepare for my exams once my health had improved.
2. Law School Addendum Example for Multiple LSAT Scores
As evident from the supporting documents of my application, I have taken the LSAT examination twice. I scored 145 and 167 respectively in my 1st and 2nd attempts. During my first attempt at the LSAT, I faced an incident on the road that shook me up just before my exam. I was riding the bus from my house to the examination center. When the bus was near the City Hall, a Tesla driver did not notice that the bus was attempting to cross an intersection and collided with the bus. Thankfully, the speed of both the vehicles was not too much and no one faced any serious injuries. But I could not concentrate on my exam properly due to this event and got a score of 145.
With time, the impact of this incident reduced as I was able to talk about my fears with my family and friends. Having achieved a low score in the first attempt, I felt that I had scope for improvement. My faith and belief in myself led me to take the exam again. I utilized the time before the second attempt to brush up on the concepts and revise to enhance my preparation. On the day of the second attempt, I planned my commute and my mother drove me to the exam center. During my exam, I remained calm and attempted the answers with a peaceful mind.
I was able to perform true to my potential and I ended up scoring 167 in my second attempt. This incident taught me to give time to myself to recover from external events. While I understand the importance of studies, I waited for the right time to take my exam again and did not stress myself out. I saw it as an opportunity to prove my true potential with the right set of external circumstances. I was able to succeed with flying colors and my decision of working hard for this achievement reaped its results.
3. Law School Addendum Example for Criminal Record
As an eighteen-year-old teenager, I was curious to try marijuana since I wanted to do something exciting. In my eagerness, I forgot that I had to drive home from my friend's house. I started driving home and was caught by a patrolling police car. I was found with 3.5 nanograms of THC per ml in the oral fluid testing at the roadside. I was charged with a fine of $1,000 as the summary conviction offense.
While I am mostly a careful driver and I had adhered to driving rules in the past, this was the first instance of breaching laws in my two years of driving. After this incident, I become even more aware that I am responsible for other people’s lives, as well my own, on the road. I am fortunate that I did not cause any unintentional harm with my impaired driving.
I have been extra careful while driving post this incident. I have gone on to take extra driving lessons to strengthen my skills on the road. Additionally, I realized the harmful effects of marijuana early on and never smoked it again. My driving record has been clean since then I have never been charged with any other criminal offence.
Have questions about how the law school application works in general? This video is for you:
4. Law School Addendum Example for Course Withdrawal
During the winter semester of my second year at college, I enrolled in six courses. In my enthusiasm to study as much as I could, I selected religious studies as my sixth course. But, as the semester progressed, I withdrew from the course due to excessive workload. The same is evident in my transcript.
In the beginning, I felt that the religious studies course would give me a new perspective on the human condition. Even so, taking multiple courses made my schedule very hectic and I was losing focus of all my subjects. So, I dropped my sixth course and decided to focus on the five major subjects for my degree.
In the aftermath, I believe that my decision was correct because I put my sincere efforts into all my other subjects. I passed with an overall GPA of 3.7 for the semester. Therefore, I learned the lesson that it is essential to manage my expectations with respect to my time and not overwork myself. I returned to the course of religious studies next summer and passed with good grades.
5. Law School Addendum Example for Resume Gaps
Just after I had finished high school, my family was facing land dispute issues in Bahrain, the country where my grandfather originally came from. Although my family has been living in the US for two generations, the ancestral land was still under my grandfather’s name and our relatives in Bahrain were taking care of the property. However, over time, several issues had surfaced. Thus, I had to take time off and accompany my father to Bahrain where we stayed for eight months.
During this time, I could not attend my chosen college, and hence my studies ended up being delayed. Once I came back, I began my studies. This resulted in me having a gap year in my resume.
In my time off, I kept up with my studies and took a few online open courses to prepare myself for college. My break gave me time to research whether the program that I had selected for myself would be beneficial for my future goals. As you can see from my transcript, once I started college, I achieved excellent grades throughout all 4 years of my undergrad.
6. Law School Addendum Example for Variations in Resume
I initially enrolled myself into a finance major in college. During the semester break, I got the opportunity to work part-time with a firm of chartered accountants. I worked there for nine months and gained exposure to the complexities of the financial world. While I enjoyed my time with them, I realized that my primary interest was in the legal aspects of the finance domain.
As a result of this experience, I researched what undergraduate courses I could take to develop my career in the field of law. I decided to change my program in college and instead changed to pre-law as a major. This course was more relevant for me to build a legal career after college.
Post-college, I started my preparation for the LSAT and achieved a score of 168 on my first attempt. A change in my degree major gave me the lesson that it is not necessary to have everything figured out at a young age. I had explored my capabilities as a person and then taken better decisions for myself.
7. Law School Addendum for College Disciplinary Action
At the age of 18, when I was in college, a friend of mine and I wanted to do something to impress our peers so that they would include both of us in their clique. My friend and I come from a small town, and going to college in a big city was our dream since middle school. When we began college, we developed an inferiority complex due to our small-town background. Then one day, a fellow student gave us an idea that we could use fake IDs and get alcohol for everyone. Our residence director came to know of this, and I was found of being guilty of violating the residency and dormitory rules of our college.
I ultimately realized that I had committed a felony out of foolishness. I accepted my mistake and faced the charges of disciplinary action. I was on probation for one year and I completed the alcohol awareness program of my college. Post that incident, I did not participate in underage drinking and would avoid any invitations of such kind. I worked hard in my studies and secured a GPA of 3.8 in my final year.
This incident helped me mature and inculcated a sense of responsibility within me. I realized that I did not need to impress anybody and I could be myself to develop meaningful relationships with people. I made several friends during my college time due to my intelligence and kind nature. Over the remaining time that I spent at college, my record has been clean.
Do you have questions about the law school optional essay? This infographic might help:
Tips for Writing a Great Law School Addendum
Your law school addendum indicates the improvements you have made from the setbacks or mistakes in your past. It reflects your abilities to grow and mature. Here are a few tips on how you can write your law school addendum with ease:
Before diving into drafting your law school addendum, it is essential that you make sure that you truly have a valid reason to write it. Make sure that the reasons mentioned in your addendum do not sound like excuses. Moreover, you should confirm that your addendum is there for the correct reasons. Ask yourself whether the content which you are planning isn’t already mentioned somewhere else in your application. If the answers to both the questions are affirmative, you can proceed ahead to produce your addendum along with your application forms, law school optional essay, LSAT scores, law school diversity statement and other parts of your law school application.
1. Is a law school addendum mandatory?
No, it is not mandatory to attach an addendum with your law school application. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to attach one if you wish to share an explanation with respect to any irregularity in your profile.
2. In what situations should you include a law school addendum?
You can include a law school addendum for a variety of reasons such as a low GPA, more than one LSAT attempt, multiple LSAT scores, criminal charges, academic misconduct, disciplinary action in college, changes in career, academic absence, and more. Anything in your application that requires more clarity should be included in the addendum document.
3. How long should a law school addendum be?
The length of a law school addendum should be around three paragraphs. It should be short and written to the point without incorporating any irrelevant content.
4. What formatting should be used in a law school addendum?
You should use double-space formatting for your law school addendum. Remember, it should not exceed one page.
5. What to include in a law school addendum?
You should include the original facts of the situation in your law school addendum without sharing unnecessary information. The admissions committee is interested in knowing what happened and you should put forth the facts. Make sure not to dwell on one particular thing too long or get emotional while narrating the incident.
6. How to write a law school addendum for a low GPA?
In the first paragraph, you should state the clear facts related to your issue. You should describe the reasons and the consequences of your situation. In the second paragraph, you should write about how the situation affected you and what efforts you undertook to improve. In the final paragraph, mention the lesson you learned and conclude your addendum.
7. How to write an addendum for a low LSAT score?
For a low LSAT score, you should explain the true reason but make sure that it is an acceptable one. Sickness or injury on the exam is an acceptable reason while lack of preparation is your personal issue that does not justify your setback at all. Make sure to mention the other bright areas of your application- college GPAs, diverse profile, and more.
8. How to write an addendum for criminal charges?
When writing about criminal charges, lay the facts of the situation and the reasons why you committed the offense. You should talk about the actions you took to improve yourself and how you faced the charges against you. You should also mention your clean record before and after the occurrence.
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