ESL addendum

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Lear22
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ESL addendum

Postby Lear22 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:17 pm

I was wondering if anyone here wrote an addendum for being ESL. I talked to a few adcoms and they suggested I'd write one. On the one hand I think it can be of helps when looking at my GPA and LSAT but on the other I am also afraid it's a catch22 of sort to explain your language difficulties while applying to law school that teaches you in English.
I do think that I have great learning reaching and comprehensive abilities in English (my first language is Hebrew and my k-12 is was in israel) but I do think that I faced challenges with the LSAT and my college education that a native speaker did not

Any thoughts or advice?

Lear22
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Lear22 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:21 pm

Wormfather wrote:Every negative can be turned into a positive. While having English as a second language cost you x, it forced you to analyze everything you read, where others might skim, you dont take anything for granted...

That sort of thing.


So you recommend writing one ?

bp shinners
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby bp shinners » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:18 pm

If you write one, you really want it to showcase your abilities in English. So if you do write it, make sure that it's well-written and grammatically flawless. That will also make it much more effective.

Lear22
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Lear22 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:27 pm

bp shinners wrote:If you write one, you really want it to showcase your abilities in English. So if you do write it, make sure that it's well-written and grammatically flawless. That will also make it much more effective.


Thanks. My problem is not grammar and writing, but I truly believe that taking the LSAT as an ESL is simply not the same as it is for someone who's a native speaker in English. I was wondering what could be something I could write in the addendum? I am just don't want to fall into excuses, but at the same time present the case that adcoms should take this factor under consideration when evaluating my app.

wearefoxsports
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby wearefoxsports » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:28 am

In my opinion, ESL addendum is something that could definitely add to a strong application, but it won't explain away a below-average application (Well, the same thing can be pretty much said about all types of addenda).

For example: you applied to HLS with a 165, then emphasizing your ESL background won't help you. It's your choice to study law using your second language, and there is no reason for the law schools to lower the standard for you.

However, if you applied to HLS with a 173, then an ESL addendum could definitely make you stand out among all applicants with 173, especially if you can provide some information to support your ESL claim. I imagine a high school diploma from Israel wouldn't help you as much as a few ESL classes you took in college would.

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dingbat
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:47 am

My general advice for all addenda is: don't do it unless it adds something to your application.

If you're writing an addendum to excuse a bad score, it won't be received half as well as an addendum highlighting your international background and unique experiences, or even how you've overcome a disadvantage in linguistic proficiency to do well regardless.

CanadianWolf
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:51 am

OP: No worries because they teach you in Legalese, not English. :)

Lear22
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Lear22 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:53 am

wearefoxsports wrote:In my opinion, ESL addendum is something that could definitely add to a strong application, but it won't explain away a below-average application (Well, the same thing can be pretty much said about all types of addenda).

For example: you applied to HLS with a 165, then emphasizing your ESL background won't help you. It's your choice to study law using your second language, and there is no reason for the law schools to lower the standard for you.

However, if you applied to HLS with a 173, then an ESL addendum could definitely make you stand out among all applicants with 173, especially if you can provide some information to support your ESL claim. I imagine a high school diploma from Israel wouldn't help you as much as a few ESL classes you took in college would.


I agree. The Q I have is how long should an addendum like this be (adding it to a diversity adendum) and what in your opinion can be written there in a way that makes it seem serious and not a waste of their time reading someone trying to explain a below level LSAT score. I truly think that ESL is a big disadvantage for those people who take the LSAT when English is not their native language. What I want to emphesize is that I have the language abilities to study in English (finished two undergrads in 3 years with a 3.41) but that the LSAT does not give those who are ESL an even playing field.
I hope this makes sense.

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dingbat
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:00 pm

Lear22 wrote:I truly think that ESL is a big disadvantage for those people who take the LSAT when English is not their native language. What I want to emphesize is that I have the language abilities to study in English (finished two undergrads in 3 years with a 3.41) but that the LSAT does not give those who are ESL an even playing field.
I hope this makes sense.

Be careful. Law school exams don't give ESL an even playing field. Bar exams don't give ESL an even playing field. Hell, real life doesn't give ESL an even playing field.

Focus on overcoming the disadvantage of being ESL, rather than the inherrent unfairness thereof.

Consider the difference between these two statements:
- your scores are high despite being ESL
- your scores are low because of being ESL

Lear22
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Lear22 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:07 pm

dingbat wrote:
Lear22 wrote:I truly think that ESL is a big disadvantage for those people who take the LSAT when English is not their native language. What I want to emphesize is that I have the language abilities to study in English (finished two undergrads in 3 years with a 3.41) but that the LSAT does not give those who are ESL an even playing field.
I hope this makes sense.

Be careful. Law school exams don't give ESL an even playing field. Bar exams don't give ESL an even playing field. Hell, real life doesn't give ESL an even playing field.

Focus on overcoming the disadvantage of being ESL, rather than the inherrent unfairness thereof.

Consider the difference between these two statements:
- your scores are high despite being ESL
- your scores are low because of being ESL


I think the bold statement is the most important thing and what I want to convey in the addendum. After all, I came here with no experience in English other than language studies in israel (like those who study French or Spanish here), got into a 4year liberal arts college and finished two heavy reading and writing majors (HIST and INST) in 3 years with a GPA that I am proud of with the disadvantages I started off with. I think that shows both about me as a student and how I can handle the language challenges I may face in law school.

Overall, everywhere I looked it seemed that ESL is maybe one of very few LSAT addendum that is not tossed aside.
Last edited by Lear22 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dingbat
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:09 pm

Lear22 wrote: it seemed that ESL is maybe one of very few LSAT addendum that is not tossed aside.

I think more often than not it is tossed aside. Just about every foreign applicant will make the same claim, so it's kind of superfluous. Make them care.

Lear22
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Lear22 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:17 pm

dingbat wrote:
Lear22 wrote: it seemed that ESL is maybe one of very few LSAT addendum that is not tossed aside.

I think more often than not it is tossed aside. Just about every foreign applicant will make the same claim, so it's kind of superfluous. Make them care.


Thanks for the advice, it's very helpful. Overall I believe I am a unique applicant (very very few Israelis apply to a JD prog in the us, most go for LLM) and my history is diverse and interesting (IMHO :oops: ) so I want to fine an 'in' with this addendum that would fit into the narrative that I am trying to build throughout the application so it will be cohesive, making all the different parts match together in a way that emphasizes me best.

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dingbat
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:19 pm

Lear22 wrote:
dingbat wrote:
Lear22 wrote: it seemed that ESL is maybe one of very few LSAT addendum that is not tossed aside.

I think more often than not it is tossed aside. Just about every foreign applicant will make the same claim, so it's kind of superfluous. Make them care.


Thanks for the advice, it's very helpful. Overall I believe I am a unique applicant (very very few Israelis apply to a JD prog in the us, most go for LLM) and my history is diverse and interesting (IMHO :oops: ) so I want to fine an 'in' with this addendum that would fit into the narrative that I am trying to build throughout the application so it will be cohesive, making all the different parts match together in a way that emphasizes me best.

Now that is a clever strategy.
An addendum only explaining the ELS disadvantage gets tossed. An addendum that includes a few lines about overcoming that disadvantage as part of a bigger story does not.

bp shinners
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby bp shinners » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:20 pm

dingbat wrote:
Lear22 wrote: it seemed that ESL is maybe one of very few LSAT addendum that is not tossed aside.

I think more often than not it is tossed aside. Just about every foreign applicant will make the same claim, so it's kind of superfluous. Make them care.


They're also not dumb - they know ESL makes the LSAT (and, as mentioned above, most of law school) more difficult. Saying that isn't telling them anything new. Talking about the process by which you dealt with ESL, and how it gives you a unique perspective, will be more interesting, more personal, and also let them know that you're ESL, which is information they will use to have context for your LSAT score. All without you having to make any excuses.

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dingbat
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:23 pm

bp shinners wrote:
dingbat wrote:
Lear22 wrote: it seemed that ESL is maybe one of very few LSAT addendum that is not tossed aside.

I think more often than not it is tossed aside. Just about every foreign applicant will make the same claim, so it's kind of superfluous. Make them care.


They're also not dumb - they know ESL makes the LSAT (and, as mentioned above, most of law school) more difficult. Saying that isn't telling them anything new. Talking about the process by which you dealt with ESL, and how it gives you a unique perspective, will be more interesting, more personal, and also let them know that you're ESL, which is information they will use to have context for your LSAT score. All without you having to make any excuses.

+1

But, OP, didn't you complete UG in the U.S.? In that case, the focus should be less on the LSAT and more on your overall experiences overcoming the language barrier since you moved to this country

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Dany
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Dany » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:24 pm

I wouldn't write one.

Lear22
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Lear22 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:30 pm

dingbat wrote:
bp shinners wrote:
dingbat wrote:
Lear22 wrote: it seemed that ESL is maybe one of very few LSAT addendum that is not tossed aside.

I think more often than not it is tossed aside. Just about every foreign applicant will make the same claim, so it's kind of superfluous. Make them care.


They're also not dumb - they know ESL makes the LSAT (and, as mentioned above, most of law school) more difficult. Saying that isn't telling them anything new. Talking about the process by which you dealt with ESL, and how it gives you a unique perspective, will be more interesting, more personal, and also let them know that you're ESL, which is information they will use to have context for your LSAT score. All without you having to make any excuses.

+1

But, OP, didn't you complete UG in the U.S.? In that case, the focus should be less on the LSAT and more on your overall experiences overcoming the language barrier since you moved to this country


To BP- I totally agree, that was the whole notion of opening this thread. I don't want to write a lame ass addendum about how hard the LSAT is blah blah blah. They will be like 'been there done that', rightly so. As I said, I'm trying to build a narrative that the addendum will be part of and would make them understand the difficulties while making them 'more content' with my UG records as an ESL.

Yes, I did my UG here, but I think the route I took is challenging. I for example I would have studied math, science or something of a sort I think I couldn't come from a position where I overcame ESL difficulties while in college here.

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dingbat
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:34 pm

Lear22 wrote:Yes, I did my UG here, but I think the route I took is challenging. I for example I would have studied math, science or something of a sort I think I couldn't come from a position where I overcame ESL difficulties while in college here.

Doesn't mean it's uncommon. I personally wrote no such addendum, despite studing English Lit and Creative Writing. Then again, I had plenty of other things to write about

Lear22
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Lear22 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:43 pm

dingbat wrote:
Lear22 wrote:Yes, I did my UG here, but I think the route I took is challenging. I for example I would have studied math, science or something of a sort I think I couldn't come from a position where I overcame ESL difficulties while in college here.

Doesn't mean it's uncommon. I personally wrote no such addendum, despite studing English Lit and Creative Writing. Then again, I had plenty of other things to write about


Thanks. I'll do some work on it.

And thank you and everyone else for the great advice. I think there is very little information about ESL applicants on TLS. If someone else has any thoughts I'd love to hear it.

Ramsey
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Re: ESL addendum

Postby Ramsey » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:55 pm

I think if you are going to write anything extra, you should write a diversity statement rather than an ESL addendum. A decent number of ESLers score 170+ and they are educated abroad. You had your BA in the States, you chose to major in humanities out of your own will, and you are applying to US law schools. You sound like a very smart and able person, and a well-written DS is enough to show that.


FYI: I am (and some of my friends are) in the same boat - arrived in the States unprepared language-wise, went to a US college, majored in humanities. The only person I heard of writing an ESL addendum is a refugee who escaped to the States without knowing any English. He had a recommendation from a government higher-up (whom he befriended while going through the immigration process - he was sort of famous) to back up his story.




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