Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Ende
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Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby Ende » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:54 pm

Did a quick search and didn't see anything come up on the radar....


I'm looking for people with experience with this. I wanted to include my experience with overcoming addiction, but I'm hesitant. A good friend of mine who is an attorney which I met in the program many years ago suggested I don't. His theory was "you don't know who is reading this statement", as in they may have a negative impression from personal experiences, etc. Maybe I should lightly reference it without digging too deep? I am unsure...

I was clean and sober for close to 8 years, and decided to move on. I'm 31 now, and that was a couple years ago, but it has been part of this process. It's been a long road thus far, none of which I regret. I won't be applying til after the October LSAT, so I'm getting with the help early on this.

Again, I'm looking for people with experience. I know for some this can be a touchy thing, so PM me instead if needed.

Thanks!!

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cutecarmel
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby cutecarmel » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:36 pm

Sorry, I don't have experience, but I also think that its not a good idea. But its not likely that those reading your application have had a similar experience, and therefore are more likely to judge you than to empathize with you. You might risk them seeing you as unstable.

A lot of similar questions have been asked about mental disorders (I know they're not the same as an addiction, but they are similar) and the consensus seems to be to stay away from that topic for fear of being stigmatized (is that a word?) and to try to write about something that will show you in a more positive light.

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dingbat
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby dingbat » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:48 pm

Don't do it.

Everyone knows that admissions is 95% numbers (LSAT and GPA). Your personal statement can do three things:
1) make you stand out among equals (why you over someone with the same score), maybe even a small boost
2) be completely innocuous
3) royally screw you over

Having a good PS can provide a small boost, but having a bad one can sink an otherwise stellar application. Overcoming addiction won't give much of a boost, if any.
On the other hand, a lot of people will misunderstand. The admissions staff is probably unfamiliar with addiction. What if they think you might relapse? What if they are put off by the whole thing? You don't know who's reading it, or how judgmental they might be. There's a lot of downside risk and very little to be gained.

Ende
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby Ende » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:11 am

dingbat wrote:Overcoming addiction won't give much of a boost, if any.


Do you know because you have experience?

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Nova
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby Nova » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:30 am

Ende wrote:
dingbat wrote:Overcoming addiction won't give much of a boost, if any.


Do you know because you have experience?


DB is right. Writing about addiction is risky. There is not much to be gained and a lot to be lost. You want your PS to leave the best impression possible. You really dont want adcomms to associate your appt with addiction. I had some dependacy issues when I was younger, and wrote an addendum for it only because I had to explain some charges.

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dowu
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby dowu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:54 am

Nova wrote:
Ende wrote:
dingbat wrote:Overcoming addiction won't give much of a boost, if any.


Do you know because you have experience?


DB is right. Writing about addiction is risky. There is not much to be gained and a lot to be lost. You want your PS to leave the best impression possible. You really dont want adcomms to associate your appt with addiction. I had some dependacy issues when I was younger, and wrote an addendum for it only because I had to explain some charges.


+1

masked kavana
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby masked kavana » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:00 am

Ende wrote:
dingbat wrote:Overcoming addiction won't give much of a boost, if any.


Do you know because you have experience?


I touched upon this in my PS and expanded on it in my DS. I can't concretely know what effect it had on my cycle but I was accepted to schools where my numbers said i should have been and was even waitlisted at a couple of my reaches.

I felt like overcoming my demons was too big of a part of who I am to leave it out. If you feel the same way I wouldn't discourage it, just make sure to write about it in a manner that shows you've reflected on what happened and how you've grown from it.

8 years is a great accomplishment congrats!

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dingbat
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby dingbat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:45 am

Ende wrote:
dingbat wrote:Overcoming addiction won't give much of a boost, if any.


Do you know because you have experience?

It is widely acknowledged that softs don't give much of a boost. Generally they serve as a tie breaker, or may in some circumstances put you ahead of someone one or two points ahead of you, but unless you have something phenominal, you won't get a major advantage.

On the other hand, a PS can sink your chances, if your topic, tone or quality are problematic.

Therefore a PS in general has little upside potential and big downside risk. Therefore, controversial/problematic topics are generally to be avoided.
There are exceptions. For example, If you have related arrests/convictions that you will be disclosing, then it can be a good idea (as you need to explain your past anyway)

There are other ways to talk about your past without bringing up the addiction aspect.

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cutecarmel
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby cutecarmel » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:21 pm

Ende wrote:
dingbat wrote:Overcoming addiction won't give much of a boost, if any.


Do you know because you have experience?


You want to show yourself in the most positive light possible. While overcoming adversity is admirable, the addiction is bound to overshadow that.

That being said, no one on this forum can tell you for sure whether or not this will help or hurt your chances. We can only give you advice based on what we have experienced and/or learned during the application process. You can head our advice or you write about what you are passionate about. Who knows? We could all be wrong. I definitely don't think its a good idea, but ultimately this is your PS and your choice. Do what you think is best.

Good luck.

Fark-o-vision
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby Fark-o-vision » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:09 pm

dingbat wrote:
Ende wrote:
dingbat wrote:Overcoming addiction won't give much of a boost, if any.


Do you know because you have experience?

It is widely acknowledged that softs don't give much of a boost. Generally they serve as a tie breaker, or may in some circumstances put you ahead of someone one or two points ahead of you, but unless you have something phenominal, you won't get a major advantage.

On the other hand, a PS can sink your chances, if your topic, tone or quality are problematic.

Therefore a PS in general has little upside potential and big downside risk. Therefore, controversial/problematic topics are generally to be avoided.
There are exceptions. For example, If you have related arrests/convictions that you will be disclosing, then it can be a good idea (as you need to explain your past anyway)

There are other ways to talk about your past without bringing up the addiction aspect.


One or two points of what? Not LSAT points. They serve as tie breakers at best. Except at Stanford and Yale.

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dingbat
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby dingbat » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:47 pm

Fark-o-vision wrote:One or two points of what? Not LSAT points. They serve as tie breakers at best. Except at Stanford and Yale.

I've gotten enough anecdotal examples to know that good softs can get better results than your numbers predict, and with that I mean people managing to get in despite numbers below the 25th percentiles - but not far below.
This does depend a lot on the schools. For some, your numbers are all that matters. For other schools, your softs can help you outperform your numbers.
Note that there are varying levels of good softs:
Winning an olympic medal or writing a best selling novel is in a very different category from volunteering at XYZ charity and being president of ABC in college. The former will probably allow you to outperform at many schools, while the later won't do more than serve as a tie breaker.

Most people do not have softs that would allow them to outperform, so the typical experience is that softs only perform as a tie breaker. This is an oversimplification and for people with truly exceptional softs, these will provide a boost at many schools.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby Lawquacious » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:52 pm

Ende wrote:Did a quick search and didn't see anything come up on the radar....


I'm looking for people with experience with this. I wanted to include my experience with overcoming addiction, but I'm hesitant. A good friend of mine who is an attorney which I met in the program many years ago suggested I don't. His theory was "you don't know who is reading this statement", as in they may have a negative impression from personal experiences, etc. Maybe I should lightly reference it without digging too deep? I am unsure...

I was clean and sober for close to 8 years, and decided to move on. I'm 31 now, and that was a couple years ago, but it has been part of this process. It's been a long road thus far, none of which I regret. I won't be applying til after the October LSAT, so I'm getting with the help early on this.

Again, I'm looking for people with experience. I know for some this can be a touchy thing, so PM me instead if needed.

Thanks!!


I say don't do it dude. This is a professional school application, and I think you should focus on things that almost any adcomm would consider a strength. Overcoming addition is def a strength, but the fact of addiction is also admitting a significant weakness and potential liability if you were to fall back. Two other factors to consider: 1) many adcomms may be in active addiction and not particularly appreciate being (indirectly) reminded of that and 2) you will have a hard time (most likely) staying sober through law school, so I would focus on just doing that if that is what you want, rather than talking about it.

EDIT: wait.. so you're not still sober? In that case def don't write on it lolmfao. Also, sounds like you already got an atty to give you the same advice. Finally, can't say I've had experience on this. So, in a nutshell, I should have read your post, although it sounds like your q may already be answered.

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echamberlin8
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby echamberlin8 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:04 pm

I have considered writing about the same topic for my own PS, since, as you mentioned, it is such a big part of my life and who I am today, but I have been convinced by reading the responses in here that I should probably stay away from the topic. Just have no idea what else to write about....

I agree with the others that it's a risky topic to broach. Why take the risk when the PS is only a small element of your application?

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Nova
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby Nova » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:06 pm

Im about to be addicted to law school

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PaulKriske
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby PaulKriske » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:06 pm

Nova wrote:Im about to be addicted to law school


137.

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Nova
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Re: Experience with overcoming addiction, should it be included?

Postby Nova » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:07 pm

PaulKriske wrote:
Nova wrote:Im about to be addicted to law school


137.


Yeah, it was pretty terrible. I even hit the delete button, but youre to fast.




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