pittsburghpirates wrote:Hi guys, thanks for all that you do in offering this advice, it's much appreciated. I do have a question for you regarding writing an addendum for a big increase (8+ points) on the LSAT. Would this be something that would be needed given that most schools seem to already focus primarily on the high score?
This question comes up frequently, so last year I reviewed the websites of all the T14 schools to see if they addressed it, and I included the information in an old thread. My recollection is that Harvard, Berkeley and Northwestern expressly state on their websites that they simply take the higher score, and Yale says something to the effect that they don't place more value on either the average or higher score but consider all scores. All the other schools included language that said in one form or another that they like to see an addendum when there is a significant disparity (typically considered to be 5-6 points or higher). I have subsequently polled a number of deans of admissions from schools that include such language to confirm if they still want to see an addendum from someone who takes the LSAT two or more times and has a significant disparity between scores, and, if so, under what circumstances. Three have stated they want to see an addendum with an explanation, even if it is simply that the applicant experienced test anxiety the first time, or that the applicant prepared more the second time. A fourth one said, yes, they like to see an addendum, but if the applicant is simply going to say "I was nervous the first time," then it is not necessary. One also added that the addendum gives them another example of writing skills. (And note, they confirmed that 5 or 6 points or higher is the benchmark for "significant disparity.")
Now, we all know that the higher or highest score is what gets reported to the ABA (and thus to US News), so it would seem the addendum would be inconsequential. But I would say it does provide assurance in some cases, and that is why some admissions committees -- particularly at several of the most selective schools -- like to see it. If they are on the fence or have some doubts about an applicant, the lack of an addendum may reinforce that doubt.