Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

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MarieTC
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Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby MarieTC » Wed May 05, 2010 1:19 am

So my primary questions here are going to concern 1) at what point a detailed disclosure of struggles with mental illness is helpful on an application, and 2) how lenient a top law school would be with GPA disruptions given the aforementioned situation.

The details:
-Was diagnosed with a mood disorder late in high school (starting to effect formerly perfect grades around senior year)
-Accepted to a top 5 LAC
-Began school without appropriate meds due to parental wishes
-Withdrew half-way through first semester after hospitalization
-Still not allowed to go on mood stabilizers (parents still reluctant)
-Returned following fall, made it through one year with A's/C-'s/W's
-Sophomore year decided to start mood stabilizers while at school (against parent's wishes, but supported by school med insurance)
-2nd semester sophomore year left school after hospitalization (school not being the ideal place to start treatment), lost all credits
-Required year-long leave: complete recovery/stabilization on appropriate meds, quarter of all A's in community college (while working), semester of A+'s/A's at local college
-First semester back at LAC: all A's, now expect a 3.8 or higher GPA for post-treatment period

I'm looking to get into a top 20 (focusing on the New York schools), and based on the LSAT prep I've done so far am fairly confident I can pull of a 170+ score. Also, I have an extensive and diverse resume, which includes research internships, community service programs, and minimum wage jobs. I'm majoring in an intensive interdisciplinary major that requires a thesis, and I expect to have killer rec's from my professors (who can't stop telling me to go to grad school). And, incidentally, I'm a Latina.

With all that information (if anyone's managed to soldier through it), how should I approach the mental illness issue on my application? I'd ideally want to highlight the incredible struggle I went through to get back on track, but also stress the fact that my current performance is not at all affected by my disability. Assuming that all flies as an appropriate addendum/"diversity" statement, what are my chances with these schools?
Last edited by MarieTC on Wed May 05, 2010 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

xyzzzzzzzz
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Re: Bipolar diagnosis-- 'Jekll and Hyde' effect on transcript

Postby xyzzzzzzzz » Wed May 05, 2010 1:48 am

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MarieTC
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby MarieTC » Wed May 05, 2010 1:53 am

I don't really know how to weigh it all out cumulatively... I'm more interested in whether they'd consider looking at the two divided GPAs as separate given my history. (That might be a laughable suggestion, but I'm a newbie lurker here.)

xyzzzzzzzz
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby xyzzzzzzzz » Wed May 05, 2010 1:55 am

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Last edited by xyzzzzzzzz on Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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merichard87
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby merichard87 » Wed May 05, 2010 1:57 am

LSAC is not going to divide your GPAs but you can attach an addendum which explains your difficulties regulating your illness which could give AdComms a different perspective when looking at your transcript.

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romothesavior
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby romothesavior » Wed May 05, 2010 2:03 am

1. Wow, your parents really screwed you on this one. It will hurt you a lot, but...
2. ...you can overcome some of the blow with a well-crafed addendum. Depending on the story, it could even make a good PS about overcoming adversity or something.
3. Define "latina." Depending on your URM status, a 170+ LSAT and a 3.0+ GPA will make you golden for most places. And it sounds like you might have decent softs as well.

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legalease9
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby legalease9 » Wed May 05, 2010 2:16 am

romothesavior wrote:1. Wow, your parents really screwed you on this one. It will hurt you a lot, but...
2. ...you can overcome some of the blow with a well-crafed addendum. Depending on the story, it could even make a good PS about overcoming adversity or something.
3. Define "latina." Depending on your URM status, a 170+ LSAT and a 3.0+ GPA will make you golden for most places. And it sounds like you might have decent softs as well.



This. Focus on how you struggled through mental illness, but have learned to control it, as evidenced by your GPA trend. Oh, and good news, your LSAT will be the dominant factor. Still, try to figure out your cumulative GPA. LSAC will do it for you eventually anyway, and no need for the results to come as a complete shock.

MarieTC
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby MarieTC » Wed May 05, 2010 2:25 am

Thanks for the help. To clarify, I've been doing out the math, and it looks like a 3.55 to a 3.6 could end up being my cumulative. Latina= mother is from Peru, 1/2 my family lives there.

As for the bar issue, i'm looking to practice in either NY, CA, PA, DC, etc. Can they be so strict as to bar someone with a past mental illness who has neither had any legal issues (not even a traffic violation) nor been involuntarily admitted (both times I took myself in)?

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romothesavior
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby romothesavior » Wed May 05, 2010 2:34 am

MarieTC wrote:Thanks for the help. To clarify, I've been doing out the math, and it looks like a 3.55 to a 3.6 could end up being my cumulative. Latina= mother is from Peru, 1/2 my family lives there.

As for the bar issue, i'm looking to practice in either NY, CA, PA, DC, etc. Can they be so strict as to bar someone with a past mental illness who has neither had any legal issues (not even a traffic violation) nor been involuntarily admitted (both times I took myself in)?


Might want to check on how that sophomore semester is going to affect you... aka when you say you "lost all credits." If LSAC figures those as zeros for your LSDAS GPA, you are screwed.

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ConMan345
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby ConMan345 » Wed May 05, 2010 2:40 am

As for the character and fitness question, you're going to be fine. You'd have to be extremely, actively unstable--unable to properly represent clients no matter the level of medical intervention (to such a degree the accrediting body could get in trouble for licensing you). This doesn't sound at all like you. Guidelines you'll find are actually very vague, and actually have a very, very low threshold for passing.

MarieTC
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby MarieTC » Wed May 05, 2010 3:21 am

Do classes I've withdrawn from without penalty count as 0's? That would be the ultimate insult considering I was forced into doing it by the admin a week before the semester ended, and while I was still studying for finals in the hospital no less.

But am I correct in thinking that this whole debacle really does have to be addressed? I feel like my transcript is so bizarre as to almost beg some sort of explanation. The plus side is that my path to recovery was entirely self motivated--even after the second hospitalization my parents weren't completely on board for treatment. I feel like it would make a killer diversity statement.

If the take home for this is that law school itself might be a stretch, I'd like to hear that as well. My other option is getting a Ph.D. in Political Science, because I'm basically a die-hard nerd. If anyone with experience would seriously suggest this as a better idea I'd be open to your input.

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romothesavior
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby romothesavior » Wed May 05, 2010 3:58 am

MarieTC wrote:Do classes I've withdrawn from without penalty count as 0's? That would be the ultimate insult considering I was forced into doing it by the admin a week before the semester ended, and while I was still studying for finals in the hospital no less.


Not sure. It might depend how it is reflected on your transcript? Look the the LSDAS GPA guide on LSAC's website to find out for sure. I know a lot of people on here with funky educational histories who got SLAMMED in their LSDAS GPA. You just need to look there so you can brace yourself on this one.

Hesiod
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby Hesiod » Wed May 05, 2010 4:28 am

During my college situation I went through a similar situation, losing a semester to Major Depression and Agoraphobia.

The school administrators were very open to understanding my situation and changed my F's to W's (not WF's). In the end my two GPA numbers came out the same.

MarieTC
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby MarieTC » Wed May 05, 2010 4:43 am

So, just in case anyone might be in a similar situation: I think any withdrawals related to a medical issue will generally be noted as "non-punitive" on your transcript and not counted as a 0/however many credits. Also, it looks like the worst case scenario for those "stable" individuals undergoing psychiatric treatment and applying for the bar will be an invasive inquiry into medical records and proof of consistent management of the disorder. Some states (notably MA) have even moved away from requiring the release of this information, unless related to legal proceedings or a criminal history.

Thanks all for the more specific advice.

Final question: What's the prognosis for a 3.57 GPA (with an addendum/diversity statement addressing earlier grade issues and a stark upward trend), around a 174 LSAT, and URM for CCN?

LateNight
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby LateNight » Wed May 05, 2010 4:47 am

As for the lost semester, LSAC will take the lead of your school. If they count those W's as 0's, then LSAC will do the same. Withdrawal from classes is not uncommon, imagine a death in the family or severe illness. LSAC posts:

"Grades Excluded From Conversion

* Withdraw, Withdraw/Pass—only if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive."

I hope this helps. Not all W's are equal.

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Pleasye
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby Pleasye » Wed May 05, 2010 5:26 am

[quote=Final question: What's the prognosis for a 3.57 GPA (with an addendum/diversity statement addressing earlier grade issues and a stark upward trend), around a 174 LSAT, and URM for CCN?[/quote]

You're not a URM

MarieTC
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby MarieTC » Wed May 05, 2010 5:44 am

LSpleaseee wrote:[quote=Final question: What's the prognosis for a 3.57 GPA (with an addendum/diversity statement addressing earlier grade issues and a stark upward trend), around a 174 LSAT, and URM for CCN?


You're not a URM[/quote]

No? How so? Do you need both parents to be immigrants or no dice? I've been listing 'latina' on official docs since I was in a position to do so. Sure makes getting bullied about my mother's accent as a kid seem sort of ironic. (Something along the lines of "Your mom doesn't even speak real english. Burrito's not a language you know." Not terribly clever.)

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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby NayBoer » Wed May 05, 2010 6:00 am

MarieTC wrote:No? How so? Do you need both parents to be immigrants or no dice? I've been listing 'latina' on official docs since I was in a position to do so. Sure makes getting bullied about my mother's accent as a kid seem sort of ironic. (Something along the lines of "Your mom doesn't even speak real english. Burrito's not a language you know." Not terribly clever.)


viewtopic.php?f=14&t=35568

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D. H2Oman
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby D. H2Oman » Wed May 05, 2010 6:05 am

NayBoer wrote:
MarieTC wrote:No? How so? Do you need both parents to be immigrants or no dice? I've been listing 'latina' on official docs since I was in a position to do so. Sure makes getting bullied about my mother's accent as a kid seem sort of ironic. (Something along the lines of "Your mom doesn't even speak real english. Burrito's not a language you know." Not terribly clever.)


viewtopic.php?f=14&t=35568



It's always great to watch someone learn that they don't get a boost. Though, if anyone deserves one it should be this girl who was told she spoke burrito.

creatinganalt
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby creatinganalt » Wed May 05, 2010 6:09 am

MarieTC wrote:So, just in case anyone might be in a similar situation: I think any withdrawals related to a medical issue will generally be noted as "non-punitive" on your transcript and not counted as a 0/however many credits. Also, it looks like the worst case scenario for those "stable" individuals undergoing psychiatric treatment and applying for the bar will be an invasive inquiry into medical records and proof of consistent management of the disorder. Some states (notably MA) have even moved away from requiring the release of this information, unless related to legal proceedings or a criminal history.

Thanks all for the more specific advice.

Final question: What's the prognosis for a 3.57 GPA (with an addendum/diversity statement addressing earlier grade issues and a stark upward trend), around a 174 LSAT, and URM for CCN?


You'll get some diversity boost but it won't be a URM boost.

MarieTC
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby MarieTC » Wed May 05, 2010 6:19 am

How does that figure w/ a quote from their website:

"The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is committed to increasing the number of lawyers from underrepresented minority groups. To affirm that commitment, ... law schools actively seek qualified African American, Latino, Asian..."

I've read the other thread, but that doesn't provide any concrete basis for coming to that conclusion, rather rests on a perceived consensus on this forum. Any explicit statements to be found about differential treatment of hispanic categories?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to go whimpering off into a corner if there's not boost in it for me. But honestly, who doesn't want to get a boost in an otherwise sterilized process? You'd want it too. And, considering some of us have their mothers mistaken for the help at PTA functions, it can make sense at times.

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D. H2Oman
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby D. H2Oman » Wed May 05, 2010 6:30 am

MarieTC wrote:How does that figure w/ a quote from their website:

"The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is committed to increasing the number of lawyers from underrepresented minority groups. To affirm that commitment, ... law schools actively seek qualified African American, Latino, Asian..."

I've read the other thread, but that doesn't provide any concrete basis for coming to that conclusion, rather rests on a perceived consensus on this forum. Any explicit statements to be found about differential treatment of hispanic categories?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to go whimpering off into a corner if there's not boost in it for me. But honestly, who doesn't want to get a boost in an otherwise sterilized process? You'd want it too. And, considering some of us have their mothers mistaken for the help at PTA functions, it can make sense at times.



--ImageRemoved--

creatinganalt
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby creatinganalt » Wed May 05, 2010 6:33 am

MarieTC wrote:How does that figure w/ a quote from their website:

"The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is committed to increasing the number of lawyers from underrepresented minority groups. To affirm that commitment, ... law schools actively seek qualified African American, Latino, Asian..."

I've read the other thread, but that doesn't provide any concrete basis for coming to that conclusion, rather rests on a perceived consensus on this forum. Any explicit statements to be found about differential treatment of hispanic categories?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to go whimpering off into a corner if there's not boost in it for me. But honestly, who doesn't want to get a boost in an otherwise sterilized process? You'd want it too. And, considering some of us have their mothers mistaken for the help at PTA functions, it can make sense at times.


So based on that - Asians would get a URM boost, right? Well they don't. Look, the key part everyone seems to miss at first is the UR. It's actually not just about being a minority, it's about being an under represented one in law school admissions.

There's quite a bit of evidence around (none of it is conclusive but then what is?) You really need to look around the URM board, look on lsn. Basically Grutter specified some categories (PR, Mexican), some categories are specifically identified by schools on apps (PR, Mexican) and schools release figures on them (PR, Mexican) and journals collect their data (see all the LSAC data on the LSAT performance by race). Previous cycles (lsn etc) show that only certain categories get a substantial boost.

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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby MarieTC » Wed May 05, 2010 6:34 am

Ah, if the soup nazi were doing a personalized de-boosting for me, it would be more than worth it. They should definitely send him out as a sort of twisted take on the singing telegram. Happier latinos all around.

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D. H2Oman
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Re: Mental illness and GPA (3.0 pre treatment/3.9 post)

Postby D. H2Oman » Wed May 05, 2010 6:41 am

MarieTC wrote:Ah, if the soup nazi were doing a personalized de-boosting for me, it would be more than worth it. They should definitely send him out as a sort of twisted take on the singing telegram. Happier latinos all around.



Agreed, you get some real advice for being a good sport. Get a 170+ and you'll get in the T13, be very careful about what you say about your mental illness. It's not really going to make schools look at your GPA differently. Applying is a numbers game, and your gpa is what it is. (I think there's a significant risk that you could put off some schools, and your definitely not going to get a big bump, so I wouldn't make it anything close to the focus of your application. Way too risky)




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