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Author Topic: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed  (Read 996 times)

AKA23

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Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« on: December 30, 2007, 08:28:26 PM »
Hey guys. I got a 156 on the December LSAT, and I believe I have valid reasons for believing that my score is not predictive of my potential future law school performance. I got a 1200 on the SAT. I also graduated in 3 years, from a UC school, with a 3.92 GPA (LSAC GPA is even higher). Upon graduation, I got an award for outstanding scholarship, which was given to the top 2 students in my graduating class. I believe that my SAT would predict that I would be a mediocre student, and based on my record, I believe that I significantly outperformed what my SAT score predicted my capability would be. I see a similar pattern with the LSAT.

In addition, I believe I have a credible reason for under performing on the LSAT. I missed 15 questions on the logic games alone, despite my studying efforts. Given my difficult and nearly two months premature birth, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and had to undergo various therapies as a young child in order to be able to function normally. Even though I have mostly overcome much of these difficulties, I still do experience many of the same problems on a lesser scale, which includes real difficulties with positioning and space. Given the visual nature of this section of the LSAT, and my previous history of difficulties in areas that are related to what that section of the LSAT tests, I really do believe that a large part of the reason I did not do well on the LSAT was due to these factors, and due to my underperformance on the SAT, and my good performance as an undergraduate student, I believe I have valid concerns about whether or not the LSAT is truly a representative measure of my ability. I do not believe that admitting to these difficulties would disadvantage me in law school because I don't believe the nature of them is particularly relevant to  my performance, either in law school, or in my career as a lawyer.

The question that I have for all of you is this, does this sound like material for an addendum? I am loath to misrepresent anything for the purposes of law school admissions, and want to be as honest as possible. I also do not want to seem to be making excuses for an otherwise poor performance. At the same time, I really do believe that these things are very valid concerns and may help to at least partially explain the difficulties I have encountered. What do you guys think? Is this worth doing, and if so, how do I go about writing this addendum?

JeNeSaisLaw

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2007, 08:32:40 PM »
What was the average SAT at your incoming class? If it was 1100, probably not a good idea to mention it. If it was 1200, then maybe...but even then, I'd say probably not. However, if you're below average, then maybe it would be a good idea.

As for your cerebral palsy, my first guess who be not to mention it. I think mentioning stuff like that is only going to help if you show how you've overcome it. But if it's the reason you didn't perform as well as you think measures your ability to succeed as a lawyer, then maybe that shows you haven't overcome it. Just throwing a dissenting opinion out there for discussion-- it could probably be spun well with more information.
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just ducky

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2007, 08:40:38 PM »
If you have a documented disability (like cerebral palsy), you are allowed accommodations, even in law school.  So my question would bewhy didn't you get an accommodation (like extended time) on the LSAT or SAT?  I don't know if an admissions committee would have similar questions or not.
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AKA23

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2007, 09:15:00 PM »
Well, I didn't attempt to get accomodations for mostly this reason: I don't think I've really needed them. Despite these early childhood difficulties, I was able to graduate high school and graduate college successfully, and at a high level. Although I did have to overcome early on in my life and education, I didn't think that it was morally defensible to take accomodations for the LSAT, when I hadn't taken accomodations for anything else in my undergraduate career. Does that make sense?

Not only that, but I'm not quite sure how more time would have helped me. I was also diagnosed with ADHD when I was a kid too, though I couldn't justify taking time for that either, again because I didn't seem to need it to succeed in college, so why should I make a special exception for one test?


BurtsBees

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2007, 09:15:42 PM »
If you have a documented disability (like cerebral palsy), you are allowed accommodations, even in law school.  So my question would bewhy didn't you get an accommodation (like extended time) on the LSAT or SAT?  I don't know if an admissions committee would have similar questions or not.

I agree here. You should or should have contacted LSAC about accommodations.  I don't know I would include that if I were you.  Especially since your SAT is likely to be average to above average and your success as an undergrad is already documented by your resume/transcript.  The part I do think is advantageous, however, is that you can clearly point to the fact that it is specific issues with positioning and space -- vital to the logic games but nowhere else in law -- that caused you to miss over half of the section.  I'm torn.  Is your disability mentioned in the PS or anywhere else?

BurtsBees

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2007, 09:17:30 PM »
Well, I didn't attempt to get accomodations for mostly this reason: I don't think I've really needed them. Despite these early childhood difficulties, I was able to graduate high school and graduate college successfully, and at a high level. Although I did have to overcome early on in my life and education, I didn't think that it was morally defensible to take accomodations for the LSAT, when I hadn't taken accomodations for anything else in my undergraduate career. Does that make sense?

With all due respect, this sounds contradictory to me.  You didn't feel you needed accommodations, but you believe you need special consideration to your low score?  I feel these positions are not consistent.

Nizzy

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2007, 09:27:28 PM »
If I was an adcomm, i would say you can't have it both ways.  If you need accommodations, then ask for them.  If you don't need them, then your test score is your test score.  It isn't fair for the adcomm to have to guess what LSAT score you should have achieved.

The LSAT might not be a fair representative of your abilities.  I'm sure thousands of people feel the same way.  Whether something is a documented medical condition, or simply a lack of mental talent, the result is the same.

Tetris

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2007, 09:41:53 PM »
I would leave out the cerebral palsy, but I'm just some random dude on the internet. Do you know any law school professors or can you ask your pre-law advisor what he/she thinks? Mostly I think it shows that your "disability" will affect you in law school and in a legal career, as it affected you on the LSAT. I think mentioning it would only help you modestly at best and might even hurt you. I'd leave it out... better be safe than sorry.

On the other hand, I would definitely mention the SAT/GPA thing. Let them know that you are an outstanding student, very dedicated, and hard working. I'd do an addendum just for that. If you know your school's median SAT score and its about the same as your score or higher I would definitely add that as well. If your school's SAT median is LOWER than your score then I would definitely not mention the SAT score. Even if the SAT median is lower than your score you should still use the opportunity to highlight your academic hard work.
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lp1283

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2007, 09:47:47 PM »
I think if you add all of the difficulties you have to the addendum you will look bad.  You shouldn't even write an addendum. That would put too much attention on your lsat score. You have the GPA and other qualities to deflect your score. You really want to shine with the positives, i.e. adding obstacles overcome in a PS.  Secondly, if you didn't seek accomodation for the lsat or for your college education and you had a pre-existing condition, I don't think you would gain anything by pleading your case. They see hundreds of excuses for doing poorly on the lsat, if you have no proof, you will sound like your whining.

Also, don't add your 1200 SAT score (National average in 2004 was closer to 1020) unless you completely bombed it and did exceptional in UG (i.e. top 10% of class).

Just my opinion, I'm not an adcomm.

AKA23

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Re: Is this a credible reason for an addendum? Advice needed
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2007, 10:00:41 PM »
A general consensus seems to be emerging that it would likely not be a good idea to do an addendum. I respect those of you who feel that my points seem contradictory. I think that, for me, it is very difficult to determine whether or not this disability, which I do think exists (after all, you don't spontaneously recover from a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Damage to the brain is damage to the brain, and that doesn't go away) really would have been reason enough to justify accomodations. It seems to me that people who legitimately need accomodations should not be able to excel throughout their academic career without those accomodations. It seems to me that it is selective to take accomodations for one test to give you an advantage when you haven't demonstrated the need for those accomodations elsewhere. It could be that I should have made a different decision and that the specific nature of this exam justifies those accomodations, and that I would have done better with more time. I am where I am now, and what is done is done. I don't quite know how I would justify receiving accomodations when nowhere in recent history did I receive those accomodations. Do you? I did mention a sentence or two about my history in my PS, though I only did so because it ties directly into my argument, and serves as a focal point for my desire to help others overcome their challenges. You would have to read it in order to understand this. Are you interested in doing that?

I do still stand by the SAT thing. A 1200 is a slightly above average score (as is a 156 on the LSAT), and I didn't have a slightly above average undergraduate career. I think this may point to a pattern. Is this by itself a legitimate point for an addendum or not? How would I know what the average SAT score of my entering class was in order to compare?