Recently, Stephen, a law school candidate, asked me whether he should include an addendum with his law school application to explain why he had earned a failing grade in a particular graduate course.
I told Stephen that this is an excellent idea, especially because the LSAC does not provide any analysis of graduate school transcripts on the Academic Summary Report.
I explained to Stephen that the admissions committee does take your graduate work into consideration, and the type of graduate work you have completed will influence how seriously the admissions committee weighs your grades in those courses.
Stephen also asked us whether to explain some additional weaknesses with other parts of his application. He wondered whether he should also explain a number of withdrawals from undergraduate courses in an addendum as well as a learning disability that required him to take extra time on the LSAT (extra time that was provided). Since Stephen is already planning to submit an addendum to explain this grade-related anomaly in his grad school record, I advised him not to submit any additional addenda. Though there might be exceptions, a good rule of thumb to follow: ‘one applicant, one addendum.’
In almost all cases, we caution applicants against submitting multiple addenda with your application. It’s just not a good idea to make excuses for multiple parts of your application or candidacy. If your grades and LSAT score are also poor indicators of how you would do in law school, this would create obvious red flags for the admissions committee. If you have more than one reason for a less-than-glowing performance in college, for example, pick only the most significant one and explain the situation in clear and sincere language—then let the rest of your application speak for itself.
This blog post is authored by jdMission co-founder, Sunitha Ramaiah. After graduating Princeton University, Sunitha attended Columbia University Law School. She practiced corporate law for eight years, before she met Jeremy Shinewald, the Founder of mbaMission, the world leader in MBA admissions consulting. Together they started jdMission to provide the same stellar service to JD candidates.
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