Any comments on my Addenda?

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Cartman
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Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Cartman » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:03 pm

Hello fellow TLS'ers,

I'm submitting two addenda with my application: one for my abnormally low GPA (3.32), which was due to a poor first year at community college but shifted to a more respectable 3.78 for the last two years at a university; and one for a 7 pt score jump between two LSAT scores, the first being a 162 and the second being a 169. I haven't decided yet whether to send the LSAT addendum to every school, or only the ones that explicitly ask for one when there is a significant difference (usually 5+ points) between multiple LSATs. First draft, so I would absolutely appreciate any constructive criticisms or comments. (I X'd out the university I go to, just because I felt it more appropriate.)

Also, for formatting's sake, should I title them simply as "Addendum for GPA" and "Addendum for LSAT" respectively, and put them on the same page? Or separate documents? Thanks in advance for all the advice!

Addendum for GPA

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the significant upward trend in grades for the last two years of my undergraduate degree – over the course of the last 4 semesters (since transferring to XXX university) I have maintained a GPA of 3.78. The reported overall GPA was due to a poor first year in community college. This is not to make an excuse of previous poor performance – the responsibility lay with me and me alone in a time when I needed to figure out what was important to me, and whether or not this was my education. I decided and made my further education a paramount goal, and have since been committed to maintaining academic excellence. I am confident that this strong upward trend reflects my continuing dedication to my education in both my undergraduate degree and on into law school.

Addendum for LSAT

With regards to the discrepancy in score between my two administrations of the LSAT, I feel the difference is large enough to warrant an explanation of why the discrepancy exists, and why I believe the most recent is more indicative of my skill. Although I studied intensively and felt well-prepared for the first administration, ultimately I was unsatisfied with the score I received knowing that I had the potential to do better. As I am constantly striving to improve on past performances, I felt it necessary to put in even more time and effort to achieve a score that I would feel truly reflected my potential. I was pleased to see that the extra effort paid off and I was able to receive a score that accurately reflected my abilities.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:07 pm

Do not send the second one. You don't actually have anything warranting an addendum, you just got a better score. Of course you feel that the HIGHER one "reflects your ability" or whatever -- it's transparent B.S. and just makes you look like an excuse-maker.

Even the GPA one I'd be hesitant - you don't really have any special circumstances. Why did you do badly at a community college?

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Hopefully2012
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Hopefully2012 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:28 pm

These addenda don't give anything to the adcomm that they don't already know.

The GPA addendum says you got your priorities in order--AdComm sees this by your upward GPA trend.

The LSAT addendum says you studied harder and got a higher LSAT--AdComm also assumes this by looking at the jump.

I would only submit the LSAT addendum if the school explicitly asks for it, otherwise, I would hold off on both of these. Typically, the only addendum worth submitting is medical emergency/unpredictable circumstances which were out of your control. At least that seems to be the consensus among TLS and a couple of the "getting into law school" books I've read.

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Cartman
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Cartman » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:22 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:Do not send the second one. You don't actually have anything warranting an addendum, you just got a better score. Of course you feel that the HIGHER one "reflects your ability" or whatever -- it's transparent B.S. and just makes you look like an excuse-maker.

Even the GPA one I'd be hesitant - you don't really have any special circumstances. Why did you do badly at a community college?


The only reason I considered sending one for the LSAT was because some schools explicitly ask for one if the difference between the two scores is significant - usually 5+ points. Otherwise, I wouldn't send. I'll probably end up sending only to the schools that explicitly ask for one.

The GPA one was mainly to draw attention to the upward trend, which I figure is significant enough to draw attention to it. Mainly the reason was poor priorities, like someone else mentioned. I know they can see the upward trend, but is it something they are going to explicitly search for unless it's pointed out?

bp shinners
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby bp shinners » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:07 pm

Cartman wrote:The only reason I considered sending one for the LSAT was because some schools explicitly ask for one if the difference between the two scores is significant - usually 5+ points. Otherwise, I wouldn't send. I'll probably end up sending only to the schools that explicitly ask for one.


Some schools will ask for it, and you should send one in that case. However, you're going to need to come up with something slightly more substantive than, "I retook and did better." Anything surrounding the first test that drove your score down? Anything happen between the two tests you can attribute the increase to, outside of more studying?

The GPA one was mainly to draw attention to the upward trend, which I figure is significant enough to draw attention to it. Mainly the reason was poor priorities, like someone else mentioned. I know they can see the upward trend, but is it something they are going to explicitly search for unless it's pointed out?


An upward trend doesn't mean that much in the whole process, though I'd definitely call attention to it. However, I'd only do that if there is a good reason for the lower grades first year and higher grades thereafter. What changed between those poor grades and the higher ones? Switching colleges is a major change, so maybe you can talk about what surrounded that decision. Also, are you a first gen college student?

WestOfTheRest
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby WestOfTheRest » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:25 pm

bp shinners wrote:
Cartman wrote:The only reason I considered sending one for the LSAT was because some schools explicitly ask for one if the difference between the two scores is significant - usually 5+ points. Otherwise, I wouldn't send. I'll probably end up sending only to the schools that explicitly ask for one.


Some schools will ask for it, and you should send one in that case. However, you're going to need to come up with something slightly more substantive than, "I retook and did better." Anything surrounding the first test that drove your score down? Anything happen between the two tests you can attribute the increase to, outside of more studying?

Disagree. You don't need to say anything except for I did better. If you have a better excuse, great, use it. If not, just own your score and say I was more prepared and performed to the fullest of my abilities.

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Yeshia90
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Yeshia90 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:47 pm

CastleRock wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
Cartman wrote:The only reason I considered sending one for the LSAT was because some schools explicitly ask for one if the difference between the two scores is significant - usually 5+ points. Otherwise, I wouldn't send. I'll probably end up sending only to the schools that explicitly ask for one.


Some schools will ask for it, and you should send one in that case. However, you're going to need to come up with something slightly more substantive than, "I retook and did better." Anything surrounding the first test that drove your score down? Anything happen between the two tests you can attribute the increase to, outside of more studying?

Disagree. You don't need to say anything except for I did better. If you have a better excuse, great, use it. If not, just own your score and say I was more prepared and performed to the fullest of my abilities.


Is there any reason, though, not to make one up? "I suffer from chronic migraines. When I took the LSAT for the first time, I felt one coming on during the middle of the first section. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring aspirin to the exam with me." I mean, it's pretty immoral, and I'd never do that in a million years, but what's to prevent some less-scrupled applicant from making up an excuse?
Last edited by Yeshia90 on Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WestOfTheRest
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby WestOfTheRest » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:00 pm

PSUdevon wrote:
Is there any reason, though, not to make one up? "I suffer from chronic migraines. When I took the LSAT for the first time, I felt one coming on during the middle of the first section. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring aspirin to the exam with me."

I'm not going to comment on the ethics of this suggestion, since I'm sure you are already aware of the ethical issues. But to be honest, I believe that any excuse you can make up (you would want something that can't be confirmed) would sound like an excuse. Just not worth it IMO.

Gorges
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Gorges » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:14 pm

CastleRock wrote:
PSUdevon wrote:
Is there any reason, though, not to make one up? "I suffer from chronic migraines. When I took the LSAT for the first time, I felt one coming on during the middle of the first section. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring aspirin to the exam with me."

I'm not going to comment on the ethics of this suggestion, since I'm sure you are already aware of the ethical issues. But to be honest, I believe that any excuse you can make up (you would want something that can't be confirmed) would sound like an excuse. Just not worth it IMO.


Also if it is ever brought up in an interview, your second of hesitation or uncertainty could tell an admissions person that you were lying. They would probably never ask about it since it could seem like discriminating against a person with a "disability", but in the off chance that someone did, it could bite you in the butt.

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ElvisAaron
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby ElvisAaron » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:15 pm

I'd use the GPA add and skip the LSAT add unless they asked for it.
For some reason to me multiple addenda (even if legit) sounds whiny.

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Cartman
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Cartman » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:48 pm

ElvisAaron wrote:I'd use the GPA add and skip the LSAT add unless they asked for it.
For some reason to me multiple addenda (even if legit) sounds whiny.


I think this is exactly what I'm going to do - I'll only add the LSAT one if the school asks for it, otherwise I'm going to skip it.
CastleRock wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
Cartman wrote:The only reason I considered sending one for the LSAT was because some schools explicitly ask for one if the difference between the two scores is significant - usually 5+ points. Otherwise, I wouldn't send. I'll probably end up sending only to the schools that explicitly ask for one.


Some schools will ask for it, and you should send one in that case. However, you're going to need to come up with something slightly more substantive than, "I retook and did better." Anything surrounding the first test that drove your score down? Anything happen between the two tests you can attribute the increase to, outside of more studying?

Disagree. You don't need to say anything except for I did better. If you have a better excuse, great, use it. If not, just own your score and say I was more prepared and performed to the fullest of my abilities.


Yeah, I don't really want to go fabricating bullshit excuses. To be completely honest I think what blew it for me was the desk size - I took it in auditorium seating the first time and literally the closed test booklet flopped over the sides of the desk, not even to think about it being open or having to deal with juggling the answer sheet from my lap or underneath it. The second time I took it I had my own massive desk and could spread out much more easily. It made the whole thing go a lot smoother.

I also did prepare a bunch the first time around, which I heard is a good thing to mention because it's not a good idea to say you took this massive test unprepared. I took a testmasters course and felt prepared, but it just ultimately didn't come out the way I wanted. So I did some self studying with the PS bibles and voila.

I really don't think it'd be wise to come up with a bs excuse to why I didn't do as well the first time. Saying the desks sucked isn't going to fly - what happens if the desks are that small during law school exams? I'd rather just own up to the first score and say I came back after more intensive work. That being said, I probably won't send the LSAT addendum to most schools, only the ones who want it.

Thanks much for the replies!

Gorges
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Gorges » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:28 pm

And Cartman, congrats on the 7 pt increase! You didn't get enough kudos in this thread. :)

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Cartman
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Cartman » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:20 pm

Gorges wrote:And Cartman, congrats on the 7 pt increase! You didn't get enough kudos in this thread. :)


Awww! <3<3 Thank you! I suppose like many of the other people on this forum we know the need to get in as good a school as possible so that even if we don't get employed in biglaw we get employed somewhere. Cheers! I love hearing retake success stories. :lol:

blsingindisguise
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby blsingindisguise » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:47 am

The thing is that the very fact of sending an addendum risks giving the wrong impression, especially two. It suggests that you think you deserve some kind of special treatment for things that aren't actually special -- "I improved my LSAT score" "my grades got better" etc. These are totally prosaic, ordinary student experiences. Addenda are usually reserved for things like "My father died suddenly in the middle of my first semester of college" or "I was working two jobs to support four kids as a single parent while studying for the LSAT." So any potential positive from yours is offset by the potential negative of just seeming like you're looking to have a special exception made for you for something that applies to everyone.

WestOfTheRest
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby WestOfTheRest » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:36 am

blsingindisguise wrote:The thing is that the very fact of sending an addendum risks giving the wrong impression, especially two. It suggests that you think you deserve some kind of special treatment for things that aren't actually special -- "I improved my LSAT score" "my grades got better" etc. These are totally prosaic, ordinary student experiences. Addenda are usually reserved for things like "My father died suddenly in the middle of my first semester of college" or "I was working two jobs to support four kids as a single parent while studying for the LSAT." So any potential positive from yours is offset by the potential negative of just seeming like you're looking to have a special exception made for you for something that applies to everyone.

Except that it could be helpful for adcomms. If it specifically asks for an addendum explaining something you should definitely do it.

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cinephile
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby cinephile » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:41 am

I wouldn't do it for the GPA because the cumulative is still above a 3.0, so it's not actually low. You didn't mention how low it was freshman year, if it was like 2.1 then, yes it would be a good idea to come up with a concrete reason as to why things were that low initially. Otherwise, and if you don't have a concrete reason for improvement, you shouldn't include a GPA addendum.

The LSAT one is probably fine for the schools that request an explanation. Again, I wouldn't submit it for those that didn't.

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Dany
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby Dany » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:08 pm

cinephile wrote:I wouldn't do it for the GPA because the cumulative is still above a 3.0, so it's not actually low.

I'm not saying OP should or shouldn't write the GPA addendum, but that is terrible reasoning and advice. A 3.3 is low. Hell, I wrote an addendum related to my GPA and I had a 3.8. It's all about context.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:07 am

CastleRock wrote:Except that it could be helpful for adcomms. If it specifically asks for an addendum explaining something you should definitely do it.



Helpful for adcomms...in what sense?

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nmcdgt
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby nmcdgt » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:18 am

I was under the impression that the upward grade trend is quite apparent in the LSAC grade report the schools receive. Unless there was some out of the ordinary reason for the low grades in the first place, I don't see the need to send it. I did awful my first year of school and did well after (transferring after the second year), and basically everyone said don't bother sending an addendum, they will see the upward trend themselves and just understand that you weren't quite ready/didn't do well at the beginning.

bp shinners
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Re: Any comments on my Addenda?

Postby bp shinners » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:45 pm

I wasn't saying that the OP should make up an excuse if one didn't exist (I guess 'come up with' could lead to that impression). I was trying to get him to think about things that might have affected him negatively without him realizing it. You'd be surprised how many times I've asked a student why they performed significantly better on a second exam and got the "I don't know" answer, only to find out they were suffering from an illness, there was some type of significant personal situation (death in the family, for example), etc...

So, in short, don't make something up. However, think about everything that was going on your life at those times to see if there was something that affected you without you realizing it.




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