Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

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Allen4083
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Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby Allen4083 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:27 pm

Fifth-year senior; Bio major, Philosophy minor; 157 LSAT; 2.5uGPA

I really don't know how to move forward. My school has one pre-law advisor and she's booked until next year so I'd greatly appreciate some honest advice.

Background:

- high-ranking state school
- first generation, grew up very poor, spoke only Russian until I was 6 (a lot of hardship I can write about)
- exemplary experience/ECs: constitutional law fellowship working for a well-known legal scholar, paralegal for a criminal defense attorney who's also an adjunct professor at a T50, published a few times in well-known political/legal magazines, worked for advocacy groups, VERY heavily involved in student government (held two of the highest positions for some time), and a ton of other stuff.
- LoR from the two attorneys I worked for: I did not read them but I was very close with both of them and they said they spoke very highly of me (I trust them, I just know it doesn't matter all too much)

So, the crux of the matter: my GPA. My GPA is so low only because I could not, for the life of me, succeed in math courses. I failed and withdrew from several math classes. I'm reading now that the LSAC GPA calculator considers Withdrawals to be F's so my GPA may be even lower now. My performance outside of math-heavy classes was excellent: out of curiosity, I pulled the math grades out of my GPA and it was just shy of 3.8.

So here come's the fun part: I have been in counseling for anxiety/depression since 16. Years of documentation (but I was never going to tell law schools). My entire life, I have had severe issues with 1) time management 2) prioritizing 3) staying engaged/interested in a single thing (I jumped between medical school and law school about 6-7 times). I have always felt a physical compulsion to do EVERYTHING, hence me being all over the map. I currently have two jobs and 7 credits and started a business on the side. I know, I'm a moron in a special sense, but keep reading.

So I recently had to switch mental health providers. My new counselor spent one intake session with me and goes "Allen, we're going to do some formal tests, but I'm 99% sure you have ADHD." Did some inventories and I scored off-the-charts for severe ADHD. Counselor's final word: "you were misdiagnosed; the comorbidity rate of anxiety-depression with ADHD is extremely high but your problem is ADHD; frankly, I'm shocked none of your previous providers even tested you. I saw it five minutes into the session. You need treatment and medication, and you needed it your entire life."

I was stunned. I didn't believe it. I thought I had a general idea of what ADHD was, and I was convinced I didn't have it. I scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD. I saw him today. We went through the usual intake, then he put me through more comprehensive evaluations. He put my results this way: "if this test was on a 10-point scale, and we suspect ADHD past a 3 or so...you scored a 10." Severe ADHD :shock: . Like "mental handicap" bad (his words). Vyvanse prescription written on the spot. He said "whatever you've accomplished thus far has been you at half potential, get ready to see the real you in the coming months." Probably the first time in my life I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

So, the part that really interests me: the psychiatrist explained to me that my brain's executive functions are impaired. The executive functions are 1) working memory 2) mental flexibility (finding more than one way to do a problem) and 3) self-control. Math, specifically, comes so slowly to me because I literally cannot hold numbers in my head long enough (working memory) to finish problems, so I have to start over, and over, and over. So even if I could, eventually, solve a math or logic-heavy problem, it would take me 3x longer than the kid next to me. No mental flexibility means I can understand how to solve a certain type of problem, but I am extremely poor at seeing that problem outside of its familiar form. This made SO MUCH sense. My study strategy had basically been practicing every type of math problem until I could solve it from pure memorization, but on the EXAM every type of problem was purposely re-written in a slightly unfamiliar form: a small challenge if you have normal mental flexibility, but paralyzing for me. The self-control part is self-explanatory: I'm all over the place and can't make up my mind.

Five years of crawling through math-heavy courses, dragging my GPA through the gutter, countless all-nighters and enough stress to knock a few years off my lifespan: all to be told in the middle of my final semester I need medication, treatment, and special accommodations for exams. You can imagine how I feel. But I need some advice on what to do from here.

A) Do I write an addendum and just plainly lay out the above story?

My two goals would be 1) provide a legitimate reason for the disparity in my GPA and 2) leave the ADCOM with the impression that, academically, I will only improve. Again, my performance in non-math classes has been excellent and I now have literal medical documentation explaining why I was at a disadvantage in the classes I did perform poorly in--so I don't see why this would be hard to believe.

B) Do I not write an addendum and just hope for the best, try to kill my 1L and attempt to navigate the transfer game?

C) Does my uGPA put me at such a disadvantage that it's not even worth bothering applying to any half-decent school?

D) Other

I'm extremely conflicted, guys. Let me know what y'all think and thank you: I know this was a long post.

- AV

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Rigo
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Re: Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby Rigo » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:43 pm

It'd be one thing if you had a good LSAT, but your stats are unfortunately subpar across the board. An addendum won't do much for you because you haven't shown yourself to have true potential with any objective measures unfortunately.

I wouldn't go to law school in your case quite honestly. The schools you get into won't be worth going to for the price you'll pay. Sorry.

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Rigo
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Re: Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby Rigo » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:45 pm

Also pre-law advisors are by and large so out of touch that they will lead you astray. Stick around learn from TLS instead.

Allen4083
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Re: Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby Allen4083 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:13 pm

Rigo wrote:It'd be one thing if you had a good LSAT, but your stats are unfortunately subpar across the board. An addendum won't do much for you because you haven't shown yourself to have true potential with any objective measures unfortunately.

I wouldn't go to law school in your case quite honestly. The schools you get into won't be worth going to for the price you'll pay. Sorry.


Thank you for the response. If I could pester you a little further:

What LSAT score do you think would put me back in the game? I wanted to touch on this thought in the post but skipped it: the section that really screwed me on the LSAT was Logic Games, which in hindsight makes a lot of sense because it's logic-heavy and involves holding a lot of things in your working memory at once. Comparatively, I did very well on Reading Comp & Analytical. Assuming my new medication helps (I am taking this on faith but according to the doctor and a friend with ADHD, the difference is night and day), I may be able to reach for the mid-160s.

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Rigo
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Re: Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby Rigo » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:18 pm

Hard to say since I don't know splitter cycles too well, especially non 170+ splitter cycles. They're unpredictable.

That being said, if your medication works out, LG is the easiest section to improve on and your score might improve rapidly once you get section down pat.
Even if you drastically improve though and get accepted to schools, they will be super expensive since splitters have a hard time getting money.

Allen4083
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Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:08 pm

Re: Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby Allen4083 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:26 pm

Rigo wrote:Hard to say since I don't know splitter cycles too well, especially non 170+ splitter cycles. They're unpredictable.

That being said, if your medication works out, LG is the easiest section to improve on and your score might improve rapidly once you get section down pat.
Even if you drastically improve though and get accepted to schools, they will be super expensive since splitters have a hard time getting money.


Thank you, again.

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Rigo
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Re: Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby Rigo » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:30 pm

No worries. Sorry to be a downer. Just warning you to not place all your eggs in the LS basket or get your heart too set on it and then make an unwise decision. Good luck in whatever it is you do.

cavalier1138
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Re: Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:47 am

To try and answer your specific questions:

A) Yes, just keep it focused on the non-depression/anxiety stuff.

B) Do not plan anything that involves the word "transfer". You can't count on that level of performance.

C) Not completely, but it does depend how low the final GPA was. You may want to speak with your undergrad about non-punitive withdrawals based on the new information you have.

But your post raised another concern: why do you want to go to law school? You mentioned that you've switched between the idea of law school and med school multiple times, so why did you settle on law? Have you settled on law?

Allen4083
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Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:08 pm

Re: Addendum, No Addendum, or "Don't Bother"?

Postby Allen4083 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:05 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:To try and answer your specific questions:

A) Yes, just keep it focused on the non-depression/anxiety stuff.

B) Do not plan anything that involves the word "transfer". You can't count on that level of performance.

C) Not completely, but it does depend how low the final GPA was. You may want to speak with your undergrad about non-punitive withdrawals based on the new information you have.

But your post raised another concern: why do you want to go to law school? You mentioned that you've switched between the idea of law school and med school multiple times, so why did you settle on law? Have you settled on law?


My Final GPA is going to be roughly the same, a 2.5. I am 100% settled on law school; it fits my natural skill-set and I know from years of mock trial, debate, and working for a defense attorney that I love the nitty-gritty stuff of being a lawyer, which turns a lot of people off; I love structuring arguments, the strategy involved in a legal defense, putting myself in the shoes of the jury, the witness, opposing counsel, etc. Exploring every possible avenue. I get very passionate about the specific case and that passion, in turn, fuels me to do my best. I'm a perfectionist and extremely meticulous; I catch the absolute tiniest details and can envision consequences people around me can't see and usually get asked things like "how did you even think of that." It's just the way I've always been. I'm a skilled rhetorician/public speaker because of my time in student government, practicing little arguments in committees every day (I was in a position where I had to get my proposals passed by a vote and defend them against criticism) and taking public speaking courses to get over my anxiety problem.

So I believe I have the skill set. I really want to do it because if I perceive something to be "unfair," that passion I was talking about just flames up and this motivation in me to help takes over. Obviously "fair" and "unfair" are completely subjective, but my point I would be very passionate and motivated on behalf of clients.

Also: So since starting medication, I've been revisiting LSAT sections. Reading Comp and Analytical, I'm performing roughly the same.
LOGIC GAMES, my worst section by far, I am performing much, much better, which I suspected because of the logic-heavy nature of the problems and dependence on working memory (which is abysmal in ADHD individuals). With a few months of studying I'm fully confident I can destroy the LG section and climb into the 160s

So, the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking it may be most prudent to take a year to work and re-study with medication. I am 100% confident I can significantly improve judging by how much better I'm doing with approaching LG problems already. It's like 3x easier, I'm not exaggerating. With a higher LSAT my addendum will make more sense and they'll hopefully conclude I'm not full of s#$%




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