Students freak out about many things when they're applying to law school: The relative "prestige" of their undergraduate institution (and how it will be viewed during the admissions process), their choice of major, their letters of recommendation, the one B they got freshman year, the LSAT score they got when they took the test "cold" (p.s., don't do that!)...the list goes on and on. For most students, the fears are unfounded and simply a by-product of a stressful law school admissions process where you nitpick every possible thing about yourself and your file. However, for some students, there are blemishes in their record that are founded and need to be addressed and explained.
That's where addenda come in. As always, let's start with the basics.
An addendum (plural: addenda) is a document, written by the applicant, explaining a negative in their application. It is usually brief in length (no more than one page long, typically only one to two paragraphs), and is included as an attachment to the application.
Students usually write addenda to explain:
- Issues with their LSAT record (i.e., a very low LSAT score, multiple absences or cancellations, or an unusually high jump in LSAT scores from one administration to the next);
- Issues with their GPA (i.e., a very low GPA, a semester with sub-par grades in an otherwise great transcript, a rash of failed or withdrawn classes, etc).
- Issues with the "character and fitness" section of the application (interruption in a student's academic career; academic disciplinary actions; academic probations; academic expulsions; criminal issues such as felonies, misdemeanors, arrests, or convictions; dishonorable discharges from the armed forces)..