Addendum, additional PS or no explanation

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Addendum, additional PS or no explanation

Postby Elenadu » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:26 pm

I applied to Santa Clara Law School for Fall 2008 and was rejected. For the last three years I’ve been through abusive marriage, lost all my friends in US, basically was not allowed to leave the house without my husband, who’s extremely jealous and paranoid. It didn’t happen overnight, I , I still cannot fully understand how it turned out this way.
Anyways, I finally filed for divorce this fall after the female friend from my home country came to visit me. She was totally terrified with the situation and after she left she started bombarding me with emails, trying to persuade me to leave my husband. She said: “At the age of thirty you don’t have any job, no career, no friends, no future, and no backup plan”. :evil:
I decided to retake LSAT, got 159, which was 4 points higher than the previous score. I would like to give it a shot, and apply to SCU once more. I have my old PS, which I really worked hard on, and I would like to only edit it a bit. However, it sounds so enthusiastic, and totally contradicts my current resume. I haven’t been employed for the last two years, and I have zero accomplishments to show, except, maybe passing notary public exam, which I didn’t need, my husband wanted me as a notary for his business.
So I wrote to the counselor of SCU, saying “I have to explain why not so many things have happened to me during last three years. I’ve been through an abusive marriage. What I am concerned about is that it’s not possible to put it in 10-15 lines if I write an addendum, and it’s hard, although may be possible, to incorporate this part into my PS. The reason why I prefer not to write about it in my PS is that PS is not supposed to be about justification or explanation of bad life choices. My soon-to-be over marriage was neither an accomplishment nor something I feel guilty of; it’s something I would like to forget. However, I firmly believe that this issue has to be addressed in some shape of way”.
The counselor replied to me that she didn’t understand why that issue had to be addressed. She said “Did being in this marriage motivate you to seek a law degree? This is something you would want to include in a personal statement. Or did it adversely impact your undergraduate GPA? Addendums usually address these types of issues. In deciding whether or not address this issue, ask yourself how you hope the admissions committee will use information about your abusive relationship”.
Now I am totally confused. :?: I don’t want the committee to be sorry for me, I am not planning to whine and complain. Nevertheless, it is a true reason, and I am just trying to jumpstart my life from the scratch. I don’t have much time left to apply, since I would like to finish my application process before December test takers get their score.
Any thoughts? My letters of recommendation are outdated as well, and if I allow LSDAS send them, I’m afraid it will do more harm than good (unless I lie and fake some experience).
Right now I don’t have a single person to talk to, no relatives and no friends, please, don’t judge me hard. :roll:

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Re: Addendum, additional PS or no explanation

Postby BeaverHunter » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:17 am

It seems like your admissions counselor is giving you good advice. Perhaps you can continue to use her as a resource. This is probably not the type of material you want in an addendum. It probably isn't great for a personal statement either, since you are not really that far removed from it all. Focus on the positives, don't sell yourself short, and good luck. You're probably right to stay away from sob stories in your official communications with the school.

I don't know much about Santa Clara Law School, but you've got a pretty good LSAT and are a good writer. You've got a real good shot.

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Re: Addendum, additional PS or no explanation

Postby curiouscat » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:25 am

I'm really sorry to hear about your experiences in the abusive marriage. That's incredibly difficult. I'm glad you've gotten yourself out of that situation and are starting to put things back together.

If your experience with abuse meaningfully influenced your decision to pursue a legal career, I'd recommend rewriting your personal statement and talking about how that experience has shaped the kind of lawyer you're going to be and the unique experiences you can bring to law school. Definitely not an attempt to justify or "whine" - but more of a discussion of what it's taught you and what you can bring to the table based on that experience. I don't think a personal statement from three years ago will be effective - if nothing else, it will appear really, really out of touch with the rest of your application. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if your old personal statement can be so easily transplanted after so many years and such a life-changing experience, it probably wasn't a very good personal statement to begin with. It would have to be pretty vague and generic for that to be possible. A concrete, well-directed personal statement showing how far you've come since your abusive relationship will do your application far more good.

I would also suggest that you consider waiting a year before applying. That'll give you some time to write a solid personal statement rather than having to rush it. It's also going to give you some time to gain some work experience and sort things out in your personal life. Law school is stressful business. You don't want to thrust yourself into something like that when you're not on solid ground yet. It sounds like you need to take time to rebuild that foundation, strengthen your support network, get a better sense of direction - law school is crazy enough on its own without you having to try to do all that at the same time. Taking some extra time will also put some more space between you and the abusive relationship - which will help you be more prepared for law school, and also convince admission committees that you're prepared, rather than just start to recover from the experience.

Best of luck with everything!

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Re: Addendum, additional PS or no explanation

Postby JasonR » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:00 am

Great post from curiouscat.

Props to you for finding the strength to get out of that abusive situation. A lot of people never do. Good luck!

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