Many applicants have something in their file they need to explain. It could be a medical situation that adversely affected the GPA or an illness that impacted the first LSAT score and resulted in a retest. That explanation may take a paragraph or even two pages. Many personal statement instructions include page limits and topic guidelines. So, how can you convey important information to your law school to help place your GPA, LSAT or life story in the proper context when most schools don’t allow for interviews?
Some law schools allow for the submission of an addendum or attachment to the file. Check with your schools. Stetson allows for this additional submission and encourages it! We want to get a sense of who you are outside of the numbers.
Top 5 Reasons Candidates Submit an Addendum
- Fluctuation in GPA or other grade-related scenarios.
- Large variances in LSAT scores or other test/score-related situations.
- Explain Anomalies — anything out of the normal — such as taking 20 years to get a bachelor’s degree or attending 9 different colleges due to military service.
- Character and fitness issues and requisite explanations. Be candid and follow instructions here!
- Desire to convey strong interest in the school or in a particular program the school offers.
Guidelines for Writing an Addendum
- Don’t whine. Try to be positive even when describing a negative situation. Tell us what you learned or how you grew from that situation.
- Don’t pass blame. If you messed up, own it.
- Be candid and thorough especially if you are explaining an arrest or code of conduct violation.
- Follow the school’s instructions and, if you can’t find any, call them to ask for guidance.
- Keep it short, organized and watch out for grammar and spelling errors. We still use this for assessment purposes.
I recommend applicants attach an addendum rather than use the valuable real-estate in the two- to three-page personal statement (Stetson’s page limit). Too often a candidate tries to cram so much into the Statement that it reads poorly and loses structure and theme. And make sure to avoid these 8 common mistakes in your personal statement.