18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

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18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby lawnoob93 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:52 am

I just joined a few minutes ago, but I've been a lurker for a couple years now. I'm legitimately scared...please help me!

I know this topic has been beaten to death already, but I have a really scary situation with my transcript. Sorry in advance for writing a book! I have *eighteen* non-punitive W's on my record, with a 3.81 GPA (my LSAC average will be identical, thankfully!) Here's the story, and it's a long one: I transferred to UW-Madison in 2009 after my freshman year at a smaller state school. I screwed up BAD by going there in the first place--I withdrew from all classes my first semester there, giving me my first five W's.

Things seemed okay at first--I decided I didn't want to be pre-med (mostly disillusionment), so I thought switching to another science major would fix everything...that's not what happened. Second semester came, and I withdrew again, giving me another three W's. Then, I changed my major completely and, like a complete idiot, went back for another semester Fall 2010. I think you can probably guess what happened...yep, another withdrawal! Now I had 12 W's, and I (finally!) realized Madison wasn't working out, so I transferred back to my original school. This is when I realized I'd wanted to go into public-interest law all along, but was too scared to admit it.

This is a little personal, but I have to mention it. While at Madison, I started starving myself in order to live up to the image. (I'm a guy, not a girl, and I was never overweight to begin with.) But when I got back to my first school, I started binging--I fell in love with the dorm food court and got so weighed down with food that I stopped going to my morning classes. (I was eating close to 5000 calories a day and couldn't sleep at night.) So I dropped my two early classes, bringing my W's to 14, but I still squeaked out six credits that semester. I apologize for the TMI!

Fall 2011 went great--no W's and a 4.0 for the semester. But 2012 is when the shit really went down--the binging came back, and I had to take two incompletes last spring that are still outstanding. (I already had three incompletes from freshman year that I finished without a hitch, but are still notated on my record.) I earned six credits of summer school, but kept on eating 5000 cals/day and feeling like crap. I just couldn't stop no matter what I did--it was a true addiction in every sense of the word. I know...more TMI, but bear with me...

And now, last fall--the perfect storm. I had a bad bike accident in September and had to drop a class (now I'm up to 15!). Then, my mom was in the hospital for ten weeks, and to top it all off, the overeating got totally out of control. Last semester and part of the summer, I spent about $2,500 JUST ON FAST FOOD!!! I ended up dropping three more classes and taking yet another incomplete in the last one, giving me 18 W's altogether.

As you can see, the W's come in spurts...they're not like scattered around. Sorry about the novel, but if you've read this far, just how royally fucked might I be? I know it's long, but I want to know whether I've ruined my whole life because of junk food...that would be a true tragedy if I did. :cry:

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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby Flips88 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:56 am

If you have problems maintaining a healthy lifestyle in undergrad, law school will absolutely ruin your life.

Edit: Substantively, the LSAC policy says Ws are not included "if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive."

But seriously, if you are not being an elaborate flame, don't go to law school.

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star fox
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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby star fox » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:01 am


Doesn't your school have a deadline where you can drop a class without having a W on your transcript?

I have no idea what Law Schools will think. But it can't be good. Go get a 175 and they'll overlook it.

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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby lawnoob93 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:04 am

@Flips88: I'm not flaming anyone; this is what actually happened. It's early in my recovery now, but I know what the underlying cause is...the overeating is a *symptom*, not the problem itself. And yes, both my current school and Madison consider W's non-punitive.

@john: I dropped my classes after the deadlines. I might be able to get upper 160s or low 170s, but a 175 will be hard. I always second-guess myself and underestimate my abilities; still, I have no illusions about a 175+ score!

Would it help to take 2-3 years off after college and get some work experience?

Ti Malice
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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby Ti Malice » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:16 am

Yes, you should definitely go work for at least a couple of years, preferably more. You need to demonstrate, in a way that you haven't so far, that you're capable of following through with a sustained commitment to something. As a K-JD, such a large quantity of Ws is a fairly serious red flag and would almost certainly cause you to underperform your eventual numbers. You need to put some time in between undergrad and law school so that you can eventually make a credible case that you're stable and mature enough to handle law school.

Furthermore, as someone else said, law school will ruin your life if you attend before you have handled this food addiction and whatever deeper issues underlie it. Don't even think about attending while that's at all an issue.

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Tom Joad
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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby Tom Joad » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:27 am

Let me tell you one thing, my life is a testament that you can eat like shit and still do law school, so don't let that dissuade you. But I never missed last because I ate so much, so you are going to have to straighten that out. Just chalk up your Ws to medical issues and nobody will care if you have a 170+ LSAT with that decent GPA.

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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby Ludo! » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:32 am

I'm not reading all that but I had tons of Ws on my transcript and it was fine. Maybe not 18 but definitely double digits

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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby 09042014 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:42 am

Starving yourself to fit the ideal of a central wisconsin? LOL

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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby lawnoob93 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:50 am

Thanks for the responses...you guys are right--I haven't shown that I can see something through to the end. The overeating actually started with *under-eating*; I only started binging once I left Madison. I poured my heart and soul into going there, and when it didn't work out, I was devastated--this is what set the stage for my more recent W's.

I only gained about 35 lbs. altogether, and I was thin to begin with. Losing the weight is the easy part; the hard part is not using junk food for emotional support. Most of the W's can be chalked up to being 20-21 and stupid.

@Desert Fox: Sure is kind of ironic, isn't it? To be honest, I starved myself because I wanted to fit in with the other Madison kids, who don't look like average Wisconsinites. I had to be just like them, even though I wasn't fat in the first place!

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Re: 18 W's on transcript (count 'em 18!) but good GPA...Screwed?

Postby cahwc12 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:16 am

Your GPA is great. If you get a great LSAT score you won't have to worry about it other than a minor addendum. Don't make a long overdrawn one like this post is, just a few sentences explaining. The first 12 are pretty self-explanatory, and the last few seem reasonable enough.

As long as they are non-punitive, and you can turn those outstanding incompletes into A's, I wouldn't worry about it at all. You may lose on tiebreakers with people who have your identical numbers, but the only way a school will second guess you at your numbers is if you can't sell them on the idea that the first bit was immaturity, and the last bit was just bad luck and your grades are a good indication that you're clearly over the hump.

Good luck.

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