Breaks in education explanations (personal)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 310040
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Breaks in education explanations (personal)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:32 pm

Many schools specifically ask you to address breaks in one's education. Even if they don't I am dealing with a fairly substantial one (2 years). During that time, the main reason for my absence was substance abuse. I have already looked at which state's bar's can ask about history of substance abuse, and I am shying away from those. I had one misdemeanor offense (first time OWI)connected with this subject, which of course I will disclose in totality.

My transcript starts off great, then there is a 2 year period of either absence or poor performance, then I finish strong again. I have not had substance abuse affect my academic performance or job performance or anything since then, but I am not totally sober. By the way, it is exclusively alcohol I am talking about. No illicit substances.

My question is: What would be the wisest choice? To admit that the breaks in that time of my education were because of the reasons they were? I know it is an opportunity to say what I learned from it, and everyone loves a good comeback. However, it was pretty bad during the time, and I do not want to be branded an abuser. This would all go in the addendum, but having to already explain my OWI, I will put what I learned from that in there.

Would it be wise (or even acceptable) to say: I had personal health issues, or personal issues, or personal problems. I wouldn't be lying. I don't want to have to make the counsel guess what my personal issues were, however, the gap coincides well with my conviction (start of two year period), so they may know already. I don't want to write a short treatise on all my weaknesses. I feel I could write what I learned about substance abuse where I talk about what I learned from the OWI I had.

I have talked to people on admission committees and I have heard both answers from people who know what they're talking about.

So if you had to pick of the following, which would it be?
1. Personal issues
2. Substance abuse
3. Substance abuse and then explain it more.

I feel 1 is too pithy, but it is true.
I feel 2 gives me a redundant label (they know I had abused a substance from my OWI)
I feel 3 would be opening a pandora's box. They'd like to know the details, but the details aren't so good, and even if I wrote what I learned, I feel it would be outweighed by the sheer length and gravity of the issue.

Any advice is welcome. Please say if you have heard of anyone (or if you yourself) did one of these three things, and how it went from him/her.


User avatar

Posts: 2015
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Breaks in education explanations (personal)

Postby Ramius » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:46 am

If you're just explaining the breaks in your education, I think you'd be best off if you just relate it to your substance abuse and leave it at that if you're planning to explain your substance abuse elsewhere in your application.

Anonymous User
Posts: 310040
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Breaks in education explanations (personal)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:13 pm

So you're saying if I address substance abuse in my personal statement briefly (such as a form of overcoming an obstacle), then I should just let the truth be known in totality (leaving out the distasteful details) in my addendum? And that if I don't bring up substance abuse in my PR, I could just leave it as "personal health issues"?

I am thinking that if I apply to schools in states whose bar allows those types of questions to be asked, I will be forthright, but if I am applying to schools in states whose bar does not ask these questions, I am going to be rather coy about it.

Does anybody else have any feedback on this? Any would be greatly appreciated. Even if this has never happened to you or someone you know (though it could have and you just don't know) What would you say in the addendum if your transcript looked like: Great, Great, Great, Something went wrong, something is wrong something is still going wrong, Great, Great, Great?

Return to “Law School Personal Statements�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.