Should I disclose disability?

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PrincessLuLu

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Should I disclose disability?

Postby PrincessLuLu » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:29 pm

I am currently in the middle of law school applications. I have submitted 7 already, and have 5 more to go. My stats are as follows:
GPA 3.665
LSAT: 142
LoR's: 3

I have been denied admission by 1 already, the rest are pending and could take months to hear back from.

I also have a decent resume and personal statements I have fine tuned and edited for months. Before anyone tells me to retake, I have considered that, but at this point, I cannot until I finish my applications. Now, for the first few applications, I did not say anything about having a disability because I was unsure how to go about it and I was worried about the potential stigma. But after talking with an advisor at my university and thinking it over some more, I feel that it could be beneficial to talk about it, as it could help explain my less-than-stellar stats. I feel that all of my application materials (the resume, essays, grades, etc) show that despite my disability I have done very well. I've seen people with absolutely horrible grades and who do less than me who have gotten into decent law schools (based on people I know and stats of schools I'm applying to).

I have ADHD, which I was diagnosed with as a child. I took medication for a little while, but stopped for a long time because it was unsuccessful. I have managed the disability largely from personal management (ie.: organization tactics, elementary school teachers working with me, stress relief techniques, etc.). I have, though, recently began a new medicine for the first time in years. I am not sure I want to mention the medication to them because many assume medication solves all of the problems. I have medical documentation & educational records to back me up. I applied for and was granted some accommodations on the LSAT, but unfortunately the score wasn't as good as I hoped for.

With all of this in mind, here are my questions:
1. Should I disclose my disability? If so, should I focus on the diversity, a personal addendum explaining issues in application or both?
2. Will disclosing a disability like this likely help or hurt my admissions chances? I feel at this point, anything additional can only help me, but can anyone who's disclosed their disability when applying give me some advice?
3. I have already submitted several applications saying nothing about my disability. Is that a problem? Could or should I send in an addendum?

Please no insults or hate. Any nonjudgmental insight would be appreciated
Last edited by PrincessLuLu on Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bmathers

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby bmathers » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:52 pm

I would disclose it, it can't hurt. On my apps last year, I disclosed my disability to my stretch schools, but not to my target schools. I got waitlisted at one of those stretch schools with numbers far from their medians (especially before my retake). This cycle, I am disclosing it to every school - I have it built into my personal statement. You'll just have to watch how you word things.

My honest advice is to retake after a 142 with your nice GPA, though - no judgement, just what I personally did (retaking). Best of luck!

cavalier1138

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:08 pm

I see no reason to not disclose. But I also cannot think of a single school you should be going to with that score. Whether we like it or not, there is not a single reputable school that will accept you with a 142, but there are plenty of scams that will.

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:26 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I see no reason to not disclose. But I also cannot think of a single school you should be going to with that score. Whether we like it or not, there is not a single reputable school that will accept you with a 142, but there are plenty of scams that will.


This. Retake. a 142 is a score that just is not worth applying with.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PrincessLuLu

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby PrincessLuLu » Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:31 pm

I appreciate the advice about retaking, but as I have said before, I am not asking about the LSAT. I already know it would likely benefit me, but I do not have the time to do the necessary prep until at least this spring, so I won't be able to retake the test until I graduate from my university in June at the earliest. I haven't ruled it out, but with this in mind, I have put way too much work and money into my applications to back out. Simply telling me to retake just isn't enough, because I still need information on the disability stuff. My questions are only about the disability disclosure, as I've had tremendous difficulty getting insight on this.

"You'll just have to watch how you word things." What kind of wording is good? Is there any specific direction I should aim for? I want to be sure I don't sound like I'm making excuses for myself or whining.

Now the last part of my question was is it an issue that for the schools I've already completed the applications to not have any mention of disability?

Finally, the applications I am working on give me the ability to submit a 'diversity statement' (of which disability is included as an example) and/or an addendum of some other information that may help explain lower scores, lower gpa, or some other discrepancy (they specifically list disability as an example). Should I do both of these, or is one of the specific types better for this case?

Justtrying2help

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby Justtrying2help » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:30 am

There is nothing wrong with having a disability if you point out that it is something you've overcome or have persevered despite having it. It will not overcome a terrible LSAT score however. Most schools won't read your resume if you score that low because they have LSAT floors they can't/won't go below. There are roughly ~5 schools where you have a very slim chance of being waitlisted. If you know someone or have a connection you may get accepted with little money. If you are comfortable opening your own law firm right out of law school and are comfortable with huge debt then your plan might be okay for you. Good luck but you would be much better off if you could score in at least the 150's and attend a school for free.

cavalier1138

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:09 am

The reason no one is focusing on the disclosure is that you have your priorities completely out of order. So let me be more emphatic:

Disclose. See? Easy.

Now, retake. Don't consider retaking if you really feel like it. Don't assume that you're bound to attend law school because you already made the bad decision to spend money on apps with a 142. Don't chase bad money with good. The only schools that will accept you with a 142 are literally scams. You will graduate with a mountain of debt and a job at Starbuck's (no, not as their in-house counsel).

To try and help you focus on the important things: why do you want to go to law school? Where did you already apply?

PrincessLuLu

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby PrincessLuLu » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:05 am

Even if and when I do all of these things, I still need info on the disclosure, hence my inquiry. From my understanding, it sounds like both types could benefit me, just each worded differently. Am I correct on this assumption?

cavalier1138

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:11 am

PrincessLuLu wrote:Even if and when I do all of these things, I still need info on the disclosure, hence my inquiry. From my understanding, it sounds like both types could benefit me, just each worded differently. Am I correct on this assumption?


Yes, but this is like focusing on whether you need to wash your car as you drive it towards the edge of a cliff. You'll want to disclose, explain that you manage your condition, and that's it. In the meantime, look out for the damn cliff.

PrincessLuLu

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby PrincessLuLu » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:35 am

Now for your questions:

-Why do I want to go to law school?-
I am a person who has been fascinated with the legal field from a young age. I have seen firsthand the positive impact legal counsel (an attorney) can have on people's lives. I want to help people, and I feel that helping people in this way would be a good fit for me. I have good reading and writing skills. I work hard and put my heart into achieving my goals. I am kind, caring and am passionate about helping others. I am particularly passionate about disability rights and civil rights, due partly to my personal experience and experiences of ones I am close to. With these experiences, I have seen how legal counsel helps a lot of people in these areas and believe I would do well at helping with this.

-Where did I apply already?-
I have applied to the following law schools already (all but the last one are in my home state, Ohio; the last one is in California):
-Ohio Northern
-Akron
-Cleveland Marshall
-Capital
-Dayton
-Cincinnati
-University of La Verne

I have 5 other applications I am either currently working on or will be online soon.

I hope I do not sound rude in my responses. I was simply frustrated at my difficulty finding answers on disability disclosures. I want to make sure the statement(s) I make sound good and not like I am making excuses. I think what I might go for is explaining my disability and how despite my struggle with it, I have been able to achieve a lot of great things. I have achieved high academics for most of my life, won many awards, volunteered, participated in meaningful groups, won scholarships, and have overall done pretty well for myself. I worked very hard for most of my summer break on all of this stuff. I researched schools, got my transcripts, gathered letters, created & fixed essays as well as my resume, and finding out everything about the applications. I got 3 letters of recommendation from credible people who know me and I am confident that they show me in a positive, accurate light. I have 1 short previous experience with interning. I plan on trying to get some more experience, but that's on back burner currently due to applications and academic demands. Of course I have steps for a safety net if I am unsuccessful in this cycle. This includes:
-Find a prep course or possibly hire a tutor and retake the test (either in June or September, depending on how my final college semester goes)
-Reapply either for that spring semester or fall, and in the meantime look for internships or employment. The added experience on my resume could benefit me (I plan on looking for these regardless, as experience is very important in this job market).

Another concern I have with the reapplying (and why I intend on completing this application cycle as originally planned) is that after I graduate, I would have to live with my parents or in the apartment I'm currently in (it's near my college campus). I currently am financially dependent on my family, and if I were to cancel all of these applications, that essentially seals my fate of having to stay with them for an additional year, and while they would take me in (we are close and they're supportive), I know that it is hard on them financially to have another person in the house. It just doesn't sit well with me not to at least try this round and see where it takes me. It feels like I would be giving up and I believe in following through and persevering.

I hope that this information helps you understand what has motivated my decisions, goals, and plans.

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oshberg28

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby oshberg28 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:47 pm

I appreciate your honesty, and you sound like a very hard worker. Although you stated that you want to follow through on these applications and don't want to give up, I recommend reassessing the consequences of going to law school at the schools you listed. It seems odd that you don't want to saddle your family with financial burdens while simultaneously commiting yourself to applying to schools that could saddle you with $200k in debt. Not only could you leave school with $200k in debt, you may not even get a job in a law-related field after graduation.

By all means, continue with the application cycle this year. But if and when you get accepted, create a financial plan and budget (actually, do this right now). Look at the school's employment stats for graduating students. Find the average salary of graduating students at each school. Don't give up on yourself because you're not sure you can get a higher LSAT score - you can. Don't be afraid to ask your family for help, but also don't be afraid to work at a temp job to help out.

Don't follow through on a plan just based on principle. There is virtue in realizing that the plan may not be the right one, and there is even greater virtue in acting on that realization.

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bmathers

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby bmathers » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:20 pm

oshberg28 wrote:I appreciate your honesty, and you sound like a very hard worker. Although you stated that you want to follow through on these applications and don't want to give up, I recommend reassessing the consequences of going to law school at the schools you listed. It seems odd that you don't want to saddle your family with financial burdens while simultaneously commiting yourself to applying to schools that could saddle you with $200k in debt. Not only could you leave school with $200k in debt, you may not even get a job in a law-related field after graduation.

By all means, continue with the application cycle this year. But if and when you get accepted, create a financial plan and budget (actually, do this right now). Look at the school's employment stats for graduating students. Find the average salary of graduating students at each school. Don't give up on yourself because you're not sure you can get a higher LSAT score - you can. Don't be afraid to ask your family for help, but also don't be afraid to work at a temp job to help out.

Don't follow through on a plan just based on principle. There is virtue in realizing that the plan may not be the right one, and there is even greater virtue in acting on that realization.

+1

Going to a school that will accept you with a 142 at, or near, sticker-price doesn't seem like a good idea (financially) to follow through on.

I'm hesitant to go into any debt, at all, for law school... Let alone 6 figures of debt that, if anything law-related, may start you in the $40-50k/yr range. Life will be pretty tight, even if you score one of the better outcomes from these schools.

My friend went to an unranked school on a full-ride, graduating 2 years ago. Luckily she graduated without debt, bc she still can't find work as an attorney - since she didn't have to service a load of LS debt, she got a job in the field of her UG major.

I have another friend (all anecdotal) who went to Widener (PA), which is another low/unranked school, but has a decent reputation in Central PA. He was able to get a job after graduation at a small local firm, but I can't imagine that he's bringing in more than $40-50k/yr. That's not a lot to manage 6-figures of debt on.

It's up to you, but look at the amount of debt you would be taking on vs average outcomes. There's a chance you may move in with your parents for a year or two post-LS if taking this route.

PrincessLuLu

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby PrincessLuLu » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:45 pm

Thank you for your insights. I will definitely be thinking them all over.

LawschoolHopeful2k16

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby LawschoolHopeful2k16 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:40 pm

I agree with everyone telling you to retake the test.

That aside, I understand the dilemma you're faced with. I've got ADD too and although it didn't impact me too much with the LSAT and I didn't get accommodations for the LSAT, it definitely impacted my GPA.

Like you, I recognize that some people either don't consider ADD to be an actual disability or that think taking medication to make it manageable is the easy way out (because it's just so awesome having to take medication every day that kills my appetite, leaves me with massive headaches, makes me crash hard in the afternoon, and completely fucks my sleep cycle).

What I'm going to do probably is write an addendum about it for my reach schools because if im already unlikely to get in, and an admissions officer who thinks ADD is made up reviews my application, I didn't lose out on much. But maybe ill get my application reviewed by smeone who will take pity on my stats and give me the benefit of the doubt.
Meanwhile if I include that addendum for schools I already have a good shot at, the upside is minimal since I already have a good chance, and the downside is huge because I could go from having had a great shot to getting rejected just because I happened to have my application reviewed by someone who thinks ADD is made up.

You might want to consider doing the same thing.

HonestAdvice

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby HonestAdvice » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:01 pm

It's not about pity or being liked. That score is so low that most schools probably have unwritten rules that require them to reject you. The ABA threatens to remove the accreditation of schools who admit too many people with a 140 or lower. This is the bottom of the barrel, but wouldn't you guess that most respectable schools have more stringent self-implemented rules in place?

Nobody reading your app thinks ADHD is made up. There's tons of proven data, and you can actually see the brain differences in an MRI. They're rejecting you, because it's so far below their 25th percentiles that it's likely irrelevant.

The cold hard truth is that if your ADHD is such that you can't get higher than a 143 on the LSAT then the rejections are in your best interest, because the odds of your passing the bar exam and doing well enough in law school to get a job puts you up against pretty long odds. The schools who "give you a chance" are likely just interested in the 40k a year from the federal government. They probably have good intentions, because nobody with a degree who comes to work wearing a suit wants to think of themselves as a scam artist.

PrincessLuLu

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Re: Should I disclose disability?

Postby PrincessLuLu » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:17 am

Thank you to everyone who has responded. All of my applications are in and probably wont hear back until winter, so I can't really get that money back, but I have taken a lot of consideration with your input. I have been researching LSAT prep courses and am definitely open to it. I have some questions on this:

-Who is the most reputable? The top result is Kaplan but how good are they? I could do a prep course with them over next summer and stay with my family, which I was planning on anyway. If I go with them, though, I definitely can't do it in the spring as my university is in a rural area (the 2 nearest Kaplan centers from there are over an hour away and in a neighboring state). I know they're pricey but if they're the best I can get the money. If I'm gonna shell out money and dedicate the time for this, I want something that is likely to give me real results (self-prep wasn't that good for me; I feel I'd benefit from the help of someone like a prep course), like more than a 1-2 point increase, as that clearly isn't enough.

-Since I would need to reapply and wait a semester or year before I could get accepted & enroll, I am thinking about what to do during that time. This May, I plan on graduating from my university and do not want to just be stuck living with my parents doing nothing. I am thinking of looking for internships or a paying job. What kind of stuff should I look at?
I will either be living with my parents or in the same apartment I'm in right now. The city my school is in is pretty small, but is close to a moderate sized city (metro area just over 600,000 people). My parents' home is an hour away from a larger city I'm more familiar with (metro area just over 2,000,000 people). I'm only asking because I do not have any formal paid employment experience, so this is new to me.

-If it's relevant, I would really like a prep course that includes in-person experience, because I've found I do better with these settings. I took an SAT prepcourse in high school and it helped. When it's purely online, it is just not the same experience for me. My only issue is that because of where I live, I may have fewer options



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