How to Write a Law School Addendum

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How to Write a Law School Addendum

Crafting a law school addendum can be an intimidating process – most likely, you must re-confront an issue that you hoped was behind you. For purposes of Character & Fitness, this statement is an essential piece of an application package for several applicants. Instead of viewing it as an obstacle, however, we want you to think of what you have overcome, how you adapted and grew, and how capable you are of pursuing your dream as a law student.

How to Write a Law School Addendum

Crafting a law school addendum requires a unique focus tailored to individual experience. No two addenda are the same, as your experience will be vastly different than your co-applicants. The key is to include the essential elements your reader needs to know and understand. By focusing on these areas, your addendum will give your audience an informed look in to your experience, the person you are as a result, and your plan for the road ahead.

Below are the 5 essential elements we recommend for a successful law school addendum:

1. Explain, do NOT excuse.

Whether a DUI, MIP, or academic setback – take full responsibility for your actions. Do not blame factors outside of your control. Admit your own shortcomings. This is the best way to look like you have truly grown from the experience!

2. Include all key details 

For example, say when the event occurred, what happened, and why. Don’t go overboard, but include all of the essentials. Don’t gloss over anything.

3. Make it uplifting.

Turn your negative in to a positive! Discuss what you’ve done since the occurrence, what you learned, how you’ve grown, and the positive impact this had on your life. Remember, you are applying to law school – you’ve come this far already, so give your reader something to be inspired by!

4. Keep it simple and objective.

We recommend this formula in crafting your statement. You only need three parts, as follows:

1. Introduction – Why are you writing this addendum?

For Character & Fitness: Introduce the issue, when and where it occurred, and what resulted from it. It is always best to be safe than sorry, please ensure full disclosure of the circumstances.

For GPA/LSAT: Many law schools permit applicants to supplement their application with a performance addendum. If there are discrepancies between your GPA/LSAT score, or between multiple LSAT scores, introduce the issue, discuss the circumstances that led to poor academic/testing performance (i.e., family issues, medical problems, etc.), and how you learned to overcome this challenge so it does not impact your future path.

2. Body – Elaborate on your experience. Discuss the impact it had on your life, what you have accomplished since, how this made you grow as an individual, and what you learned as a result.

3. Conclusion – Tie everything together, discuss future goals, and how you are moving forward.

Remember – this is a statement. While your personality should shine through, it is pivotal to not come off as overly emotional. Also, keep it relatively short. If you have something like a low LSAT score to explain away, this should not be a five-page essay. It should be closer to a half-page. If you law school addendum is on the longer side, check to see if you are following the four steps above (i.e. are you making excuses, or overcomplicating things, etc.)

5. Only write an addendum if necessary!

ONLY include the addendum if there is a Character & Fitness issue and/or if questions would arise by the review committee over your application package (i.e., academic/testing gaps). Do not include to merely add as much information about yourself to your application – this will only hurt you. Finally, be sure to follow each law school’s rules on formatting and length!

This article was written by Ashley Miri, who is our law school application consultant. If you need application assistance or statement review, please contact us at info@jdadvising.com and we will be happy to answer your law school addendum or application questions!

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Ashley-Elise-Heidemann-400x267-2Ms. Ashley Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011. She offers private one-on-one tutoring for law students and bar exam students nationwide as well as Michigan bar exam courses and seminars . For any questions about her services, please click here to contact us. We are happy to assist you in any way we can.

 

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