Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

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Strangely Appealing
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby Strangely Appealing » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:02 am

The entire point of this post is that IN SPITE OF my withdraws from 3 years ago, are these scores still going to get me into a top law school?


Well of course, we can't give you outright assurances since we don't control admissions anywhere. You'll be competing with applicants who've been high scorers and top performers in their undergrad years, too, and if you read these boards enough, you'll note that any given well-qualified applicant may be accepted at one top school and rejected at another.

Law schools that receive three or more times the applications they can possibly accept winnow candidates in all sorts of ways, any of which could knock you out of consideration. But they cannot legally discriminate against you for having a disability and should comprehend that the start-stop nature of your past work was caused by a biochemical imbalance that has now been identified and is being treated medically.

Maybe it would help you with your decision about the LSAT if you considered what you'd be putting time, effort, and money into if you weren't studying for it. An old goal of law school may have ghosted into irrelevance without your noticing it as you've gotten older and learned more abut how the world works and what suits you. The internship's great - congrats.

to116
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby to116 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:09 am

ChoboPie wrote:First of all, it's not cool to copy and paste your wall of text question to several threads.

Now to your question, this is worthy of an addendum, but maybe not a Personal Statement. Plenty of people have overcome legit challenges that were completely outside their control. I don't really see how your situation qualifies. It looks like you just couldn't handle undergrad, moved to community college to take a break, then finally came back to finish at UCLA. Your (prospective?) numbers are solid for T14, but your outcome will probably depend on how well you can convince adcomms that you're a stable person who isn't going to just lose it during law school.

Have you honestly and seriously considered why you want to go to law school? Most people say it only gets more stressful and more depressing...

Also,

I am going to score ~176 on the LSAT and maintain around a 3.75 GPA


I can't see how you can possibly know this.


Do you have much experience with depression or people close to you suffering from depression? I think this qualifies as a 'legit challenge' and it's a lot worse than just not being able to handle something.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby AReasonableMan » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:16 am

to the extent law schools are business, the risk you will withdraw may work against you (bigger risk you'll result in less income). However, t-14's may care less about tuition money than having the best students and possible future donations. Also, they are generally more ethical in their conduct. I feel like this would have less of an affect at Columbia than it would at a place like NYLS.

I would stay away from this on a PS, and limit it to an addendum. There is a stigma and risk to mental illness. If you say god forbid OD'd or harmed yourself on university property then the school is in a rough situation especially with the awareness you had a mental illness. However, it's possible that this may make you want to advocate for those suffering from mental illness. Still, you could just mention this in the addendum and make your PS controvery free. Idk if it's good to be known as the depressed guy/girl. Also, this probably doesn't reflect who you truly are. My understanding of mental ollness is you are who you are, and the illness is just one aspect of that like how say cancer doesn't make someone who they are.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:19 am

I don't understand why someone with mental health history and issues would want to pursue law. This is probably the worst professional choice for you possible. But good luck I guess.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby PeanutsNJam » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:27 am

lol 176 is so specific

like 175 isn't good enough and is pleb

but let's also be modest come on 177 is really high

176 it is

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Strangely Appealing
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby Strangely Appealing » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:26 am

Sorry to banter you with another question, but what should the ammendum say exactly? Should I point out that I went from withdrawing to getting straight A's?


Check out the advice here - it's clear and well thought-out:

How to Write an Effective Addendum
http://www.top-law-schools.com/how-to-w ... endum.html

When, How to Write a Law School Addendum
http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/l ... l-addendum

Craft a Law School Application That Gets You In: When to Use an Addendum
http://thegirlsguidetolawschool.com/08/ ... -addendum/

If there are particular law schools you know you want to apply to, search their sites for their own advice on addenda, too.

There's an example below of a draft addendum someone else dealing with bipolar disorder wrote that might help you think through how to condense your experiences into a brief, straightforward statement:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 8&t=112155

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ChoboPie
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby ChoboPie » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:22 pm

to116 wrote:
ChoboPie wrote:First of all, it's not cool to copy and paste your wall of text question to several threads.

Now to your question, this is worthy of an addendum, but maybe not a Personal Statement. Plenty of people have overcome legit challenges that were completely outside their control. I don't really see how your situation qualifies. It looks like you just couldn't handle undergrad, moved to community college to take a break, then finally came back to finish at UCLA. Your (prospective?) numbers are solid for T14, but your outcome will probably depend on how well you can convince adcomms that you're a stable person who isn't going to just lose it during law school.

Have you honestly and seriously considered why you want to go to law school? Most people say it only gets more stressful and more depressing...

Also,

I am going to score ~176 on the LSAT and maintain around a 3.75 GPA


I can't see how you can possibly know this.


Do you have much experience with depression or people close to you suffering from depression? I think this qualifies as a 'legit challenge' and it's a lot worse than just not being able to handle something.


Yes to both. Several of my friends during undergrad suffered from bouts of severe depression, and one of them attempted suicide (unsuccessfully). Every single one of them got help, made positive changes in their lives, and moved on (as did I).

My contention was that OP didn't "overcome legit challenges," not that the depression wasn't a legit challenge. He didn't tough it out during the school year and perform amazingly well despite the difficulty. Rather, it sounds like he sought help and took a break. OP touting this as some kind of special case of overcoming adversity worthy of PS irks me because it underrates those of us who went through hell to get over depression without the luxury of 1-2 year long breaks.

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middlebear
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby middlebear » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:34 pm

I know others have said this, but to reiterate - OP, tread very carefully on your PS/addendum. You really have to put the right 'spin' on your mental illness (as terrible as that sounds) - turn it into something positive about you overcoming or being more understanding of others with mental illness or something along those lines. Otherwise, you will end up like a friend of a friend of mine, who just wrote a PS that was a laundry list of psychological problems and has severely underperformed her numbers.

(I also think picking something different for your PS, and then just writing an addendum, is the way to go, as others have said here.)

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sfoglia
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby sfoglia » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:42 pm

Dirigo wrote:
goodoll wrote:I appreciate all of the input everyone.
The reason I am asking this is because I bought LSAT books, and I am going to study for the next year regularly until I can boost my score to at least a 176. I know I can do it, and I am going to do it.

If my withdraws from years past are going to work against me then the great amount of effort that I am going to put into my LSAT seems fruitless.

I am just trying to figure out that, with a good enough addendum that aptly explains the circumstances of my withdraws, my chances will not be severely affected.

You haven't even started studying yet? My my, this is awfully presumptive

It won't be fruitless though, assuming your issues were just with depression or eating disorders or something. If you harmed or threatened to harm someone else or something more severe like that, then that's a different story.


If hospitalized, I'm going to guess self-harm. There really is no other reason to submit to the psych ward.

The mental illness stigma is real. Do not PS. Write an addendum. You withdrew due to health issues. If I were you, I would not mention depression and/or mental health in any way; as someone who was unable to remain in school during two depressive episodes, you will be far from a desirable candidate to admissions committees who, rightfully, may expect that you'd drop out of law school should you become ill again. So, keep it as nondescript as possible.

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sfoglia
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby sfoglia » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:50 pm

Also, re: "putting a spin" or showing how you've "overcome obstacles" as a result of your experiences...

I mean, there really isn't any good that comes from experiencing a major psychiatric illness. There is no silver-lining, no lesson learned. If there is any special truth you may glean, it is this: life is unfair and you are unlucky. You'll be tied to doctors and medications for the rest of your life.

Sorry to be such a pessimist, but let's be honest. Situational depression? Sure, informative. You learn coping skills. Forcible hospitalization due to suicidal ideation? Not so much.

prelaw14
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby prelaw14 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:00 pm

.
Last edited by prelaw14 on Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Auxilio
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby Auxilio » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:28 pm

I just want to echo the sense that a good diagnostic does not necessarily mean you will improve much. I literally scored higher on my diagnostic (174) than either of my actual test administrations. Despite a lot of studying between those times, and I usually perform better on test day for things like this.

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ballcaps
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby ballcaps » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:26 pm

Auxilio wrote:I just want to echo the sense that a good diagnostic does not necessarily mean you will improve much. I literally scored higher on my diagnostic (174) than either of my actual test administrations. Despite a lot of studying between those times, and I usually perform better on test day for things like this.


if true, this one of the most incredible and inexplicable events in LSAT history.

goodoll
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby goodoll » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:32 pm

ChoboPie wrote:
to116 wrote:
ChoboPie wrote:First of all, it's not cool to copy and paste your wall of text question to several threads.

Now to your question, this is worthy of an addendum, but maybe not a Personal Statement. Plenty of people have overcome legit challenges that were completely outside their control. I don't really see how your situation qualifies. It looks like you just couldn't handle undergrad, moved to community college to take a break, then finally came back to finish at UCLA. Your (prospective?) numbers are solid for T14, but your outcome will probably depend on how well you can convince adcomms that you're a stable person who isn't going to just lose it during law school.

Have you honestly and seriously considered why you want to go to law school? Most people say it only gets more stressful and more depressing...

Also,

I am going to score ~176 on the LSAT and maintain around a 3.75 GPA


I can't see how you can possibly know this.


Do you have much experience with depression or people close to you suffering from depression? I think this qualifies as a 'legit challenge' and it's a lot worse than just not being able to handle something.


Yes to both. Several of my friends during undergrad suffered from bouts of severe depression, and one of them attempted suicide (unsuccessfully). Every single one of them got help, made positive changes in their lives, and moved on (as did I).

My contention was that OP didn't "overcome legit challenges," not that the depression wasn't a legit challenge. He didn't tough it out during the school year and perform amazingly well despite the difficulty. Rather, it sounds like he sought help and took a break. OP touting this as some kind of special case of overcoming adversity worthy of PS irks me because it underrates those of us who went through hell to get over depression without the luxury of 1-2 year long breaks.


Trust me, laying in a hospital bed feeling lucky to be alive was not a "luxury."
I'm not trying to tout this as some kind of special case, I am simply inquiring as to if this will severely affect my chances of getting into a top tier law school and how I can overcome any difficulties.

I'm glad you were able to "go through hell and overcome depression." It is not so easy for others.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby AReasonableMan » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:47 pm

ChoboPie wrote:
to116 wrote:
ChoboPie wrote:First of all, it's not cool to copy and paste your wall of text question to several threads.

Now to your question, this is worthy of an addendum, but maybe not a Personal Statement. Plenty of people have overcome legit challenges that were completely outside their control. I don't really see how your situation qualifies. It looks like you just couldn't handle undergrad, moved to community college to take a break, then finally came back to finish at UCLA. Your (prospective?) numbers are solid for T14, but your outcome will probably depend on how well you can convince adcomms that you're a stable person who isn't going to just lose it during law school.

Have you honestly and seriously considered why you want to go to law school? Most people say it only gets more stressful and more depressing...

Also,

I am going to score ~176 on the LSAT and maintain around a 3.75 GPA


I can't see how you can possibly know this.


Do you have much experience with depression or people close to you suffering from depression? I think this qualifies as a 'legit challenge' and it's a lot worse than just not being able to handle something.


Yes to both. Several of my friends during undergrad suffered from bouts of severe depression, and one of them attempted suicide (unsuccessfully). Every single one of them got help, made positive changes in their lives, and moved on (as did I).

My contention was that OP didn't "overcome legit challenges," not that the depression wasn't a legit challenge. He didn't tough it out during the school year and perform amazingly well despite the difficulty. Rather, it sounds like he sought help and took a break. OP touting this as some kind of special case of overcoming adversity worthy of PS irks me because it underrates those of us who went through hell to get over depression without the luxury of 1-2 year long breaks.

I'm not a shrink nor have I dealt with this, but I'd imagine depression like any disease falls along a pretty broad spectrum, and there are various levels of severity. Further, a person's individual personality and life experience would dictate how depression plays out in them. Expecting all depressed people to experience depression in the same way is like expecting all Matt Damon movies to be equal. There are factors other than Matt Damon at play (i.e. the director, the script and the rest of the cast), and Matt Damon is sometimes awesome and sometimes horrible, and sometimes an in between.

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Auxilio
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby Auxilio » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:59 pm

ballcaps wrote:
Auxilio wrote:I just want to echo the sense that a good diagnostic does not necessarily mean you will improve much. I literally scored higher on my diagnostic (174) than either of my actual test administrations. Despite a lot of studying between those times, and I usually perform better on test day for things like this.


if true, this one of the most incredible and inexplicable events in LSAT history.


I am not going to pretend like I spent the most amount of time studying compared to most people on TLS (although I did raise my preptest average to about 177). Also my actual numbers are a little disingenuous, first (167) I was feeling sick actually left during one section to throw up (due to at the time undiagnosed illness). Second time was 173, with two misbubbles. I also got a some lucky guesses on my diagnostic.

edit: I also took a formal logic course in university (although I honestly doubt I learned much, it was basically a blow off class for me) which may have made the diagnostic easier than others.

goodoll
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby goodoll » Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:11 pm

Well, I have one more year left of school. Time to decide if I should study the LSAT like a mad man for the next six months. If I have a realistic chance of a T10 with a HIGH LSAT and ~3.8 GPA, then I will do it.

Sorry to reopen this, this is extremely important to me.

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Hat.trick
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby Hat.trick » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:03 pm

from what i understand, it wont really matter how you got there. a 3.75 and a 176 will get you in pretty much everywhere

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:22 pm

I would recommend only going to law school if you are absolutely certain your depression is under control. Law school is very stressful and can cause your depression to spike. Good luck.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Very Interesting Situation, Need Honest Advice

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:26 pm

Also, I second the "Don't use your mental illness as part of your PS" argument. There is real stigma still against mental illness, and it is best left to a very brief addendum.




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