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"Exceptional Circumstances"

andrestock3andrestock3 Free Trial Member


I will be applying for law school in September for early admissions at a few schools.

During my undergrad I lost my mother unexpectedly and was hospitalized for suicidal intent more than a year later. This and the severe depression that followed had obvious negative effects on my performance. I have been told that I should list these occurrences on my addendum and address them in my essays. I am curious if these events in my life will even be beneficial to my application or instead will just make admissions think I'm just trying to give them a sob story. Do circumstances like this even carry a lot of weight during the admissions process?


  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    They do carry a lot of weight only as much as you may need to explain a drop in grades. You absolutely don’t need to talk about them in your personal statement, if that’s what your thinking. I think this would be better as a GOA addendum (assuming that your GOA suffered because of this). I’d also not frame it as a sob story, but keep it short and matter of fact, in order to show that you had an unusual reason for the drop in grades, and that it won’t be relevant while you’re in law school. I’d only mention it in order to show why you are likely to have better grades in law school than undergrad.

    I’d highly recommend purchasing the 7sage admissions course (only $10!) - they have great advice on how to write an addendum.

  • Selene SteelmanSelene Steelman Free Trial Member Admissions Consultant
    2032 karma

    If your family circumstances and your depression had a negative effect on your academic performance and overall transcript, you should definitely address it in a GPA addendum that is concise and factual (about half a page). No matter what you choose to write about in your personal statement, it should also convey to the admissions reader why you wish to pursue the law, why you feel you will be successful, what social and communication skills you possess to help you succeed, and state your professional goals. Good luck!

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