You’re not alone!
So many people do.
But there’s something you can do about it.
Weaknesses or discrepancies in your law school application can be explained in a short, one-page essay called an addendum.
Addenda can be written for many reasons, including but not limited to:
- Low grades
- Low LSAT score
- Withdrawal from classes
- Leave of absence in college
- Academic misconduct
- Disciplinary action in college
- Criminal record
Just because an addendum can be written, should it be written?
In the case of reasons #3-#7, yes, you should write an addendum.
In the case of reasons #1 or #2, not always.
For example, I’ve met many applicants who have transcripts that show two initial years of mediocre grades due to taking premed course requirements, as well as two later years of better grades when they stopped taking premed courses. Law school admissions officers can spot a “failed premed” from a mile away—they don’t necessarily need or want you to explain it in an addendum.
On the other hand, maybe there was something else that contributed to you getting low grades. Perhaps you had to work 40 hours at a job because your father was laid off at work? Or your mother became seriously ill and you missed classes to visit her in the hospital? Or maybe you contracted mono and missed a lot of class?
In the case of unforeseen events causing and/or contributing to low grades or a low LSAT score, you should write an addendum.
Still not sure if you should write one?
If you’re not sure whether your issue should be explained, contact the admissions office at the law schools you want to apply to. If you want to remain anonymous when contacting a law school, call them rather than sending an email. Ask you and you shall receive. It’s the best way to make an informed decision.
Want more tips for writing the addendum?
Check out my No B.S. Guide to the Law School Addendum. This guide provides detailed advice on writing the law school addendum, as well as nine sample essays for the most common situations, including reasons #1-#7 listed above.
Sad man photo by George Hodan.