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(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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hio
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Old thread

Postby hio » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:04 am

Resolved! Thanks!
Last edited by hio on Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:28 am

hio wrote:I recently saw an old thread about "declaring" any mental illness on your app, and the general consensus seemed to be that it could have a negative effect. On the other hand, I've heard of people who wrote in detail about overcoming a mental illness and knocked the ball out of the park, acceptance-wise.

My PS includes just one sentence about how I grappled with depression in the first year of college, the rest being about how I worked my ass off to turn things around (my first year grades were fine/don't negatively affect my GPA). I've already submitted to a couple schools, but have more apps to go.

Do you think it's a significant risk to mention any mental illness in the PS? Or does it just depend on how you present it? Just looking for outside opinions.

That's probably fine. Depression isn't as "scary" a mental illness as schizophrenia or something, it was a few years ago, your grades say you did fine, and you didn't spend an entire essay recounting your lifelong battle with it including relapses and the serious effects it had on your life. A risky mental illness PS is basically the opposite in every way--and even that could work out fine if handled just right.

Captainunaccountable
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby Captainunaccountable » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:32 am

hio wrote:I recently saw an old thread about "declaring" any mental illness on your app, and the general consensus seemed to be that it could have a negative effect. On the other hand, I've heard of people who wrote in detail about overcoming a mental illness and knocked the ball out of the park, acceptance-wise.

My PS includes just one sentence about how I grappled with depression in the first year of college, the rest being about how I worked my ass off to turn things around (my first year grades were fine/don't negatively affect my GPA). I've already submitted to a couple schools, but have more apps to go.

Do you think it's a significant risk to mention any mental illness in the PS? Or does it just depend on how you present it? Just looking for outside opinions.


I'm interested in an answer to this question as well.
I imagine there are certain levels of 'mental illness'. Depression in your first year of college doesn't really qualify as 'mental illness' in my mind. That seems pretty normal.

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hio
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby hio » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:00 am

Question resolved! Thanks!
Last edited by hio on Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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runthetrap
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby runthetrap » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:14 am

i think law schools are generally v interested in ways you've overcome adversity, and mental illness certainly falls under that category. however, as with anything else, i think it's imperative you talk about your situation prudently. on the one hand, mental illness is becoming increasingly less stigmatized in our culture, but it can undoubtedly be a red flag for someone who's deciding whether or not to include you in their law school class.

i agree that the more common conditions like depression are less 'troubling' than something like schizophrenia, which is highly stigmatized. i really think that mention of mental illness in a PS should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. there's probably little risk for you in this case, because it sounds like you've clearly conveyed that you've been able to overcome depression (which, incidentally, is a not highly stigmatized mental illness) & thereby become a stronger person / applicant.

God bless you

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Clearly
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby Clearly » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:15 am

But if you're not explaining away negative information thatyou have ttodisclose, why mention it at all?

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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby BillsFan9907 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:42 am

It doesn't seem like it's worth the gamble. Nobody here can tell you 100% that it won't negatively affect you. Even if you approach 99% certainty, there is still that 1% chance.

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hio
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby hio » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:53 am

Clearly wrote:But if you're not explaining away negative information thatyou have ttodisclose, why mention it at all?


Because to me it feels like an important part of the overall arc of my college experience, and part of my identity, I suppose. It's a good question.

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Clearly
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby Clearly » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:02 am

I'm sure it was, everyone has their own story, and that's cool. But this is about crafting the best application possible, you're wisely weighing risk against reward, I'm just not seeing what the reward is here. While I agree the risk is slim, you only want to take risks that come with rewards you can see. Also avoid risks that are interpreted based on a person's life experience. You're story of growth past mental illness could be a motivating story to the adcomm who has experienced similar problems, but it could sink you to the adcomm who just experienced a tragedy at the hands of someone with mental health issues. You don't know who's reading your app, and you want an app that offends no one.

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sublime
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby sublime » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:38 am

..

redbull12
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby redbull12 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:48 am

Do not do it

NYstate
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby NYstate » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:08 am

Don't write anything that flags your ability to do well in school. Many law students suffer from depression during school. You don't want them to see you as a risk.

Also, be aware that some state bars may ask questions about mental health. Your answers need to be consistent with your application.

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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby BillsFan9907 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:52 am

hio wrote:
Clearly wrote:But if you're not explaining away negative information thatyou have ttodisclose, why mention it at all?


Because to me it feels like an important part of the overall arc of my college experience, and part of my identity, I suppose. It's a good question.



As a undergrad transfer I wrote about depression for one essay and didnt for another. I sent the first to half the schools and the second to the other half. I got into all of the later and non of the first. Schools were equally ranked.

I empathize w u 100%. Dont make the same mistake I did

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lawschool22
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby lawschool22 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:02 am

I agree with the other posters that the level of risk outweighs any potential reward. This isn't a big enough thing to be classified as overcoming major diversity (not belittling it in any way whatsoever, just on the "spectrum" of hardships that adcoms see this isn't on the far end), so it will likely not make you outperform your numbers. However there is a definite risk of the wrong person reading it the wrong way, and it could make you under-perform.

Also, you noted that this didn't have much (if any) effect on your academic performance, so it's not like you need to use it to explain bad grads.

For those reasons I would lean towards leaving it out.

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hio
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby hio » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:39 pm

Thanks for all the advice, guys! I'll edit accordingly.

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midwest17
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby midwest17 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:49 pm

My uneducated guess is that people are overstating the risks. But I think they're basically right about the possible reward: this probably isn't going to help much. If you can write a solid PS without mentioning it, I'd do so.

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Happy Gilmore
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby Happy Gilmore » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:08 am

Think of it like this, when an adcom asks will this applicant be a good fit for our law school? My gut reaction would be to wonder if the mental illness would affect his/her ability to succeed grade wise. While it likely will not be a huge negative, I think the odds are that it might give rise to the idea that you won't be able to hack it. Certainly there is a possibility for a bump, but I think that is less likely. (Don't mistakenly assume mental illness is treated the same was as URM bump).

Law school is tough, and I think most reasonable people would agree that having a mental illness wouldn't make it any easier. I seriously would not mention it, let your application stand out for something else.

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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby Captainunaccountable » Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:53 am

Happy Gilmore wrote:Think of it like this, when an adcom asks will this applicant be a good fit for our law school? My gut reaction would be to wonder if the mental illness would affect his/her ability to succeed grade wise. While it likely will not be a huge negative, I think the odds are that it might give rise to the idea that you won't be able to hack it. Certainly there is a possibility for a bump, but I think that is less likely. (Don't mistakenly assume mental illness is treated the same was as URM bump).

Law school is tough, and I think most reasonable people would agree that having a mental illness wouldn't make it any easier. I seriously would not mention it, let your application stand out for something else.


Bear in mind that OP said it was 'one sentence' in her entire PS. If it is part of an overall theme of overcoming the first year of college struggles then I very much doubt any ad-com is going to react negatively to that 'one sentence' that is probably vague anyway. I imagine it adds to the story, I really do. Now, if you digress(ed) into all the medications and the therapy and this and that, then I would adhere to the above posters recommendations (or just edit that mumbo jumbo out).

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Clearly
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Re: Is talk of mental illness in PS a risk?

Postby Clearly » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:26 am

Captainunaccountable wrote:
Happy Gilmore wrote:Think of it like this, when an adcom asks will this applicant be a good fit for our law school? My gut reaction would be to wonder if the mental illness would affect his/her ability to succeed grade wise. While it likely will not be a huge negative, I think the odds are that it might give rise to the idea that you won't be able to hack it. Certainly there is a possibility for a bump, but I think that is less likely. (Don't mistakenly assume mental illness is treated the same was as URM bump).

Law school is tough, and I think most reasonable people would agree that having a mental illness wouldn't make it any easier. I seriously would not mention it, let your application stand out for something else.


Bear in mind that OP said it was 'one sentence' in her entire PS. If it is part of an overall theme of overcoming the first year of college struggles then I very much doubt any ad-com is going to react negatively to that 'one sentence' that is probably vague anyway. I imagine it adds to the story, I really do. Now, if you digress(ed) into all the medications and the therapy and this and that, then I would adhere to the above posters recommendations (or just edit that mumbo jumbo out).

I don't even see how you can justify this risk though. What is to gain from that sentence? The very notion of intentionally disclosing a flaw is dumb. Your one job is to make the most compelling case for admission possible, and "not crazy" is better than "used to be crazy" 10/10 times...




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