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When Do You Need a Law School Addendum?

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Today on the LSAT blog: a guest post by Law School Expert Ann Levine, the former director of admissions for two ABA-approved law schools and the author of The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert and The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers.

Have multiple LSAT scores? Wondering how to explain this in an addendum to your law school applications?

First, take a step back and decide whether it’s something that really needs to be explained.

Here are 3 situations where you do not need an LSAT addendum:

1. A cancelled or absent LSAT test date. Just get over it. Ignore it. No big deal. Why write something that might make you look indecisive, unprepared or nervous? Just let your actual LSAT score speak for itself.

2. Two or more LSAT scores that are within 3 points of each other. We call that a “score band” – it just shows that the LSAT scores are the right range for your aptitude on the LSAT.

3. Wishing you’d done better on the LSAT. So, you got 3-5 points higher on LSAT practice tests? So what? It’s what you do under the same timed, high-stress environment that everyone else has to face that matters. Don’t highlight nerves, lack of sleep, a slight head-cold, or anything else that hinders lawyers every day but they go about and do their jobs just fine anyway.

You do need an LSAT addendum when:

1. You have a history of underperformance on standardized tests. If so, prove it. Don’t just say so; rely on facts. If possible, include your LSAT scores on the ACT/SAT, how they were in comparison to others at your college (low), and that you performed better than your peers in college despite this.

2. Accommodations were denied and you have gotten them throughout college and your LSAT score is ridiculously low. Don’t try this if you scored better than 50% of all LSAT takers. If you have a low-140s LSAT score and high grades, and a history of receiving accommodations, this can be very persuasive.

3. You have a big jump in your LSAT score due to a crazy circumstance on test day, mis-bubbling, a new way of preparing/increasing preparation, additional time to focus on the test, illness, or family situation. You want to show that the higher LSAT score is the right score for you and why.

The key to a persuasive addendum is to stick to facts, and to stay away from emotion. “If only the playing field were level….” “It is terribly unfair that law schools rely on LSAT scores…” Etc. With the right facts, you will lead the reader to the right conclusion.

This is, after all, how lawyers make an argument: by using facts in their favor.

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