Disclosing Disorder on Law School Applications

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Disclosing Disorder on Law School Applications

Postby lbalestrieri » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:36 pm

Long story short, I consider my application fairly weak. I received a 157 on my first LSAT attempt in December and retook in February hoping to score closer to my PTs which were around 162. My GPA is fairly low at 3.169. I struggled in the beginning of my undergraduate career, but improved and got mostly A's and AB's in my major classes the last year and a half. This is because I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during the middle of my undergrad and got on medication that stabilized me. I am currently very stable and don't consider my disability debilitating at this point due to my medication.

My question is whether or not I should disclose my disability on my application. I feel I have a few options to do this - I could address it in my personal statement and consider it overcoming an adverse situation and address how overcoming this makes me a strong candidate because of what I've learned and how hard I had to work. I could include a diversity statement regarding my disability. I could include an addendum offering an explanation of my weak grades in the beginning of my undergrad. Or I could not address it at all in my application.

I realize there is still a stigma around mental health, and I'm a little nervous that disclosing my disability could negatively impact my chances of admissions, even though legally I don't believe they can discriminate. On the other hand I feel disclosing it would help them understand me and my weak GPA.

I would really appreciate any advice or feedback regarding this. Specifically, I am wondering where I should address my disorder - in my personal statement, a diversity statement, or an addendum.


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Re: Disclosing Disorder on Law School Applications

Postby RareExports » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:18 pm

I think you should absolutely disclose this. It lessens the blow of your earlier, lower grades, and shows that this will be less of an issue going forward. I don't think it will hurt your application to disclose such, and I think it will actually help in that it justifies your early grades.

I would address it in a GPA addendum, although I think that if you can turn it into a positive narrative, it could be crafted into a compelling personal statement. I would not write this as a diversity statement.

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Re: Disclosing Disorder on Law School Applications

Postby KMart » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:21 pm

6778628 wrote:I would not write this as a diversity statement.

I don't know what I'd do to OP's main question, but this is good advice. If you want to disclose it and don't have a compelling PS then put it there, otherwise write the GPA addendum.

Fred Norris
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Re: Disclosing Disorder on Law School Applications

Postby Fred Norris » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:24 pm

Don't disclose. Legally you are not required to do so here. You said it yourself - there is a serious stigma. I've known people to get rejected across the board. I know one person who did very well.

Its a part of your life that is behind you. I don't believe anyone who wrote an addendum for below median scores has ever gotten a pass. Your numbers are your numbers.

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