Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Personal Statements, Resumes, and Letters of Recommendation => Topic started by: Jericho on July 14, 2010, 02:46:07 PM

Title: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: Jericho on July 14, 2010, 02:46:07 PM
I was a waste of a time as a student and miraculously graduated with a 2.2 GPA. I have no good reason for the score - I was unmotivated and rarely attended any of my classes. I've been out of school six years and have worked consistently full time as an IT professional. I recently took the LSAT and scored much higher than the 75th percentile at both local Tier 3 schools that I am interested in attending. Is it advised to write an addendum to point out my employment background and length of time since school as an example of growth or should I skip the addendum altogether? I understand that it's not in my best interest to make excuses, but is it a red flag if I don't try to demonstrate that it wouldn't be a factor as a law student?

Thank you!
Title: Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: Cicero on July 14, 2010, 03:29:42 PM
If you don't want to write an addendum, you could work into your personal statement how you've changed since college and have become a hard working and self-motivated individual. Having a 2.2 is going to make it hard to get into LS. I'm guessing you must have done really well on the LSAT to have a 75% chance of admission. So explaining the disparity and how you have changed might help a little bit.

If you haven't really changed and that's why you are unsure about the addendum, then you should rethink LS. LS is all about self-motivation because you have to teach yourself. Basically, you teach yourself and then come to class and the professor will expand upon what you've read and go over the fine points (or maybe not even discuss the law and just talk about random aspects of the cases that don't even apply--I've had one prof who did that most of the semester). However, I'm assuming that you have changed since you are considering applying to LS.
Title: Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: Jericho on July 14, 2010, 04:36:15 PM
Hi Cicero,

Thank you for the response!

I have no problem with writing an addendum. My concern is that most advice seems to suggest that one should only write a GPA addendum if there was a legitimate excuse for poor performance. Unfortunately, I have none and I'd rather not stoop to making one up, either. Is it acceptable to write a brief addendum with an acknowledgment of my poor performance, but followup with evidence of growth? Or is it better to skip the addendum and try to work this into a personal statement?

I believe that I have changed. I spent a year self-studying for the LSAT to prove to myself that I could meet a goal. That type of work would have been unheard of had I still been an undergraduate. I scored a 170. I felt that that score was high enough, in addition to my history of employment and time away from school, to justify continuing with the dream.

Thank you again for the response!
Title: Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: Cicero on July 14, 2010, 04:59:47 PM
Wow! Excellent LSAT score. You don't have to make excuses for your GPA, but the admissions committee will notice the disparity, so you should mention it and explain how much you have changed and maybe what led to the change, etc. With that score and a good addendum & personal statement, you could get into some good schools. Good luck!
Title: Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: chi2009 on July 15, 2010, 01:40:52 PM
I agree.  No need to make excuses.  Just use your personal statement to show how much you've grown and matured and how you are self-motivated to work hard.  A 170 LSAT score from self-studying is pretty impressive.
Title: Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: PTamke on July 18, 2010, 12:11:29 PM
I agree with the advice thus far.  It might also be helpful to highlight things that you've done in the years after college that required good self-discipline.  These are intelligent people, but sometimes you really do have to spell it out for them because of the workload they have to deal with  :-\
Title: Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: louiebstef on September 21, 2010, 10:31:38 PM
I am far from expert about PSs/addenda, but I am a retired naval officer who used to read promotion board statements.

One thing I think I would stress is the "why" of your situation.  Your GPA is the proverbial "elephant in the room."  Simply face that up front and go on to explain WHY you now have changed and what is so compelling to you about "the law."  Also, focus on your "NEWLY ACQUIRED" skillset that includes much more self-discipline.  That is what (I believe) Cicero is referring to.  You have to put yourself in the admissions persons shoes.  They see an obviously intelligent individual who has exhibited a propensity for being a slacker.  Brilliant slackers rarely do well in LS.  Convince them that you are NO LONGER a slacker.  They also want to know exactly what you can bring to the table.

Tell them.
Title: Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: Jericho on September 29, 2010, 01:02:38 PM
I'd like to thank everyone for their responses. I just finished submitting my applications. I did decide to write an addendum concerning the GPA, but I kept it short and factual followed by evidence of a commitment to hard work that wasn't present in school. In my personal statement I focused on my employment and interest in law.

I had the opportunity to speak with folks in the admissions departments at two schools that recently hosted open house events for prospective law students. I was advised by both schools to address the GPA issue even if I had to write that it was due to immaturity. For those of you that have read advice to the contrary stating not to write an addendum unless you have a legitimate reason for poor performance, I hope this helps.

Thanks again for the constructive comments! It helped!
Title: Re: GPA Addendum with no legitimate excuse?
Post by: kymar5151982 on January 27, 2011, 02:47:17 PM
By any chance am I able to email you in regards to the 2.2 GPA. I have a 2.2 UGPA from a pretty reputable school and I am finding it rather difficult to form the perfect addendum that addresses my GPA and promulgates my growth. I would love to communicate with you further about your rode to creating and executing this document. please feel free to email me at