Addendum for CLEPs/LOR from Online Undergraduate Institution

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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BrentNymeyer

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Addendum for CLEPs/LOR from Online Undergraduate Institution

Post by BrentNymeyer » Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:11 pm

(1) My LSAC UGPA is 3.91, but it is only based on 87 of my college credits. Before starting college, I took ten CLEP tests (pass/fail standardized tests that award freshman level credits as an alternative to taking the corresponding college class), and my degree granting institution accepted them for college credits.
I contacted LSAC about my CLEPs when I was submitting my undergraduate transcripts, but they said they do not include such tests in their final, adjusted GPA they will send in my law school report. I am wondering if law schools only seeing 87 credits, rather than 120, will cause them to put up a red flag concerning my high UGPA.
Should I explain this discrepancy in an addendum to my application?

(2) I received my undergraduate degree completely online from Liberty University last year. My professors basically just lectured via prerecorded videos, and my interaction with them was mainly via emails when I had a question concerning assignments.
I also am self employed as a contractor, so I am not confident that I have anyone who can give me a professional LOR. Hence, it looks like my only choice is academic letters from professors I barely know. I certainly do not want my LOR to detract from my application, but is a professor's familiarity with my written assignments enough to give her material to write a recommendation that does not reflect upon me poorly.
If I remind my professors of certain assignments I completed exceptionally well, will that information be anecdotal and meaningful enough to help my LOR not take away from my otherwise decent application numbers? (173, 3.91).

(3) Also, is the fact that I completed my undergrad completely online with a good GPA something I can/should include in a diversity statement? My thought is that I have heard countless stories of people who were forced to online education during covid last year, in which many exceptional traditional students saw their grades plummet. Does my success in online education warrant a diversity statement pointing to my abilities to keep myself accountable and stay focused? Or are there other positive qualities to which it points?

Thank you in advance for your advice. Any opinions are appreciated.

TTTTorbust

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Re: Addendum for CLEPs/LOR from Online Undergraduate Institution

Post by TTTTorbust » Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:00 am

BrentNymeyer wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:11 pm

Should I explain this discrepancy in an addendum to my application?
No, and any person working in admissions who doesn't think it's an asset that you knocked out 30 credits in high school is an idiot.
BrentNymeyer wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:11 pm
If I remind my professors of certain assignments I completed exceptionally well, will that information be anecdotal and meaningful enough to help my LOR not take away from my otherwise decent application numbers? (173, 3.91).
Obviously it would be great is you had stellar recommendations, but not everyone does, so in this case you take what you can get and put together the best application materials you can that are under your control. You can talk about this to some degree in your personal statement if you wish, not worthy of an addendum and not really a negative, the recommendations just won't boost you much. Still beats the hell out of a bad one.
BrentNymeyer wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:11 pm

(3) Also, is the fact that I completed my undergrad completely online with a good GPA something I can/should include in a diversity statement?
Certainly not as a diversity statement, taking classes online does not make you "diverse." If you want to talk about it in your personal statement in some way that is compelling then that's fine, but this is not worthy of a diversity statement or an addendum unless there is some actual diverse factor (I don't know, a paraplegic with partial blindness?) that caused you to pursue an education online. Talking about your work experience during college, especially if you worked a lot to pay for college, can be valuable, but I think this is all best talked about in your personal statement.

tl;dr write a great personal statement, accept that your LoRs are going to be average, and enjoy some awesome options with your numbers.

Goldie

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Re: Addendum for CLEPs/LOR from Online Undergraduate Institution

Post by Goldie » Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:16 am

I did this in an even more extreme way, doing essentially all my undergrad degree through CLEP and similar tests. My undergrad GPA for law school application purposes was based on just two online classes. I only applied to three schools initially (in the T1-T2 range), two of which asked me to write an addendum about how I did college. (I later transferred to HLS but by then my college background did not matter.) I'm not sure you'll need an addendum for yours, as your application will be much closer to a normal application than mine was, but in my case an addendum was necessary for the schools I got in to.

I had the same issue with letters of recommendation, and got one of my two professors to write a letter. I doubt it was very good, as we did not know each other. I think my other letters came from professional contacts I knew.

And while I don't have a position on how much you should emphasize your undergrad experience (I think I mentioned it in both my initial and transfer personal statements, but did not make it the focus of either), hopefully your experience taking CLEP tests will translate into law school success. If nothing else, preparing for and taking CLEP tests has some parallel to law school classes--you have to learn a subject largely on your own, and get one shot at proving how well you know it.

Good luck!

nixy

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Re: Addendum for CLEPs/LOR from Online Undergraduate Institution

Post by nixy » Fri Jul 23, 2021 11:19 am

Agree with TTTTorbust above. Definitely don’t try to sell your success completing an online degree as a diversity statement. There can also occasionally be a bit of a bias against completely online degrees, so if you did the degree online so you could schedule it around your full time work, I’d put more emphasis on finishing a degree while working full time (if that’s what you were doing) rather than on the fact that it was online.

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