Disclosing a Learning Disability

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style96
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:35 pm

Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby style96 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:47 pm

Some law schools, such as Berkeley, invite applicants with a learning disability to discuss how it impacted their GPA or LSAT score. I was diagnosed with a learning disability following the first semester of my freshman year, and with treatment, my grades exhibited steady improvement. Prior to receiving treatment, my semester GPA was about 2.9. Following treatment, my highest semester GPA was 3.9.

In view of my disability, I received extra time on exams in college. I requested the same accommodation for the LSAT, which my physician wrote a letter in support of, but my request was denied for being incomplete. My health insurance would not cover the testing that LSAC requires to consider requests for extra time on the LSAT, and the cost out-of-pocket would have been well over $1,000.

Should I:
(1) Disclose my disability to law schools?
(2) Make the case that my LSAT score may not be an accurate indicator for my potential for legal study?

avacado111
Posts: 419
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby avacado111 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:51 pm

pay the $ to get extended time. The end. Everything is based off of that number. It's worth it.

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jks289
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Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby jks289 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:06 pm

I hate to say it but why not retake. An extra $1,000 can buy you (depending on your disability) something like 12 extra minutes PER SECTION. It would make a HUGE difference to where you could apply. You are considering investing $150,000 in a legal education, but you don't want to do the $1,000 now? You would get in back in scholarship money, not to mention better job propects.

If you can't or won't then yes, write the addendum. But I think the adcom will have the same questions I do.

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Cavalier
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Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby Cavalier » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:27 pm

avacado111 wrote:pay the $ to get extended time. The end. Everything is based off of that number. It's worth it.

This. Even if you already have a score that can get you accepted to your preferred school, a higher LSAT score will probably result in you getting a scholarship there.

style96
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:35 pm

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby style96 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback. While I will be borrowing money to pay for law school, unfortunately I cannot do the same to pay for this testing and $1,000+ is money that I do not currently have.

Does anyone have experience with disclosing a disability to law school admission committees? If so, do you believe that doing so helped (e.g., you were admitted to a school whose median GPA and/or LSAT were above yours) or hurt?

avacado111
Posts: 419
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby avacado111 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:14 pm

style96 wrote:Thanks for the feedback. While I will be borrowing money to pay for law school, unfortunately I cannot do the same to pay for this testing and $1,000+ is money that I do not currently have.

Does anyone have experience with disclosing a disability to law school admission committees? If so, do you believe that doing so helped (e.g., you were admitted to a school whose median GPA and/or LSAT were above yours) or hurt?


it wont make a difference

barga24
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:58 pm

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby barga24 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:06 pm

I would mention the situation in an addendum. While my LSAT score was high (even without the accommodations), my GPA was low, so I let them know.

here is what I sent:
NAME
LSAC Number - XXXXXXXX


GPA Addendum
I would like to make the Admissions Committee aware of the circumstances surrounding my grades. I hope you will take this information into account when you evaluate my application. Thank you for your time and consideration.

After starting at The Ohio State University in September of 2006, I noticed that my grades were poor, but that I did well on tests. After observing this for two years, my parents asked me to get tested for a variety of learning disabilities. I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Ohio State provided me with the following learning accommodations: A distraction-reduced space; a computer on which to take exams; textbooks as MP3 audio files.

After being diagnosed and given accommodations, I raised my GPA, which I attribute directly towards this treatment. Prior to my diagnoses, I had a GPA of 2.638. In contrast, in the quarters following the implementation of accommodations (spring, summer, and fall of 2009), I have a GPA of 3.05. Not only is my GPA higher, but I have been doing better each and every quarter, culminating with a 3.325 in the fall. I believe that my learning disability is under control, and that I will continue to improve as the year progresses. There is no doubt in my mind that, should I be given the opportunity, I will excel in your program.

Medical documentation of dyslexia diagnosis and treatment will be provided upon request.


side note, i currently have a 2.73 so this doesnt help much. However, it shows that i should be able to have atleast a 3.0 if accommodated full time

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DarlayBoo
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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:53 pm

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby DarlayBoo » Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:21 pm

Just in case this doesn't come too late to be helpful to you, the National Association of Law Students With Disabilities (NALSWD) just launched a brand new FAQ for law school applicants with disabilities! --LinkRemoved--

The guide covers how to decide if you should disclose your disability, how best to do so, things to look for in law schools, etc. It's our first official effort to tackle the topic, so we welcome comments and suggestions for other topics the guide should cover. We just felt that there was a lack of reliable straightforward information out there for applicants with disabilities and wanted to do what we could to share our insights. Hope it might be helpful to you!

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superflush
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Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby superflush » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:22 am

avacado111 wrote:pay the $ to get extended time. The end. Everything is based off of that number. It's worth it.


It isn't that simple.

william wallace
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:03 pm

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby william wallace » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:30 pm

It's definitely not that simple.

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DeSilentio2728
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Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby DeSilentio2728 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:52 pm

Write a personal statement about overcoming it, and then build your application around that theme?

primusux
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:02 pm

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby primusux » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:06 pm

I believe this brings up another question. Are admissions committees fully aware of how difficult it is to obtain accommodations on the exam even with proper testing, medical documentation, physician letters etc. ?

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superflush
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:45 am

Re: Disclosing a Learning Disability

Postby superflush » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:24 pm

primusux wrote:I believe this brings up another question. Are admissions committees fully aware of how difficult it is to obtain accommodations on the exam even with proper testing, medical documentation, physician letters etc. ?


Um, I wouldn't count on it.
If anything, they might take the line that if you couldn't convince LSAC to get accommodations, then it would be tough to convince admissions people.




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