Potentially disastrous PS topic?

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Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:50 pm

Hello everyone! I think I have a topic for my personal statement that will make me stand out, but I'm concerned that it may be way too risky. For context, my GPA is 3.88 as of right now, and LSAT score is 178. Here's my story. At the age of fifteen, I got addicted to meth. I ran away from home and did a bunch of other angsty things. I almost failed out of high school, but by some miracle, didn't. Towards the end of my senior year, I finally got clean. The next year I enrolled in a community college. I used school as a motivation to help me stay clean, and something to focus my entire life around. I worked really hard and ended up transferring to a top 20 university after two years. I'm a psychology major and work as a research assistant to a professor in a study for addiction. If talking about addiction is too far, I also have a fun variety of mental illness diagnoses that I can write about instead. But anyway, I thought there may be a slim chance that it would be appropriate to write about this in my PS, because my stats are pretty good and all of that. If I did write about this, I definitely would do it in a more "delicate" way than I've just described it. I would really appreciate any honest opinions! Thank you!

miskellyjohnson

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby miskellyjohnson » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:37 am

With your stats, you are in at H and below (assuming the rest of the application is not a disaster)-- there is no reason to go for the hail mary personal statement (referring to a PS that people think is either great or totally off base, which yours falls in). If you really want to write about your adolescence, I would probably abstract "addicted to meth" + "a fun variety of mental illnesses" to something like "had a rough childhood" or something. Maybe you could talk about how you grew up "in the midst of" addiction and mental illness, being vague as to whether it was you or close family, and that inspired you to study pyschology or whatever.

In any case, I would generally advise not to write principally about something that happened when you were 15, unless it was a really life changing event like a cancer diagnosis or something. I dont know that your story falls into this exception. Do you have other options that are at all interesting? You could always squeeze this into a PS that's principally about another topic, like a sentence or even paragraph about "Having personally experienced the destruction that addiction and mental illnesses can cause, I ...."

Npret

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby Npret » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:44 am

Someone made a post here as to how they addressed mental health issues and it was very good advice.
You should look for it. I will also try to find it.

In your case, if your numbers are accurate, all you are doing with your personal statement is to be neutral. You can only hurt your chances because your numbers are outstanding.

I have never recommended addiction or mental illness as a PS and I stand by that advice. You don’t even need to explain bad grades. I wouldn’t touch any of the topics you’ve listed. You could do better writing about how much you love your cat or playing piano or snowboarding. Some neutral thing. Bland won’t hurt you.

Npret

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby Npret » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:32 pm


albanach

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby albanach » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:04 pm

Npret wrote:Someone made a post here as to how they addressed mental health issues and it was very good advice.
You should look for it. I will also try to find it.

In your case, if your numbers are accurate, all you are doing with your personal statement is to be neutral. You can only hurt your chances because your numbers are outstanding.

I have never recommended addiction or mental illness as a PS and I stand by that advice. You don’t even need to explain bad grades. I wouldn’t touch any of the topics you’ve listed. You could do better writing about how much you love your cat or playing piano or snowboarding. Some neutral thing. Bland won’t hurt you.


I agree with this unless this is going to come out in some other fashion on your application. Do you have a criminal record? Is there anything on a transcript that you'll have to explain? Will anything come out at C&F?

If the answer to any of these is yes, I'd give some thought to addressing it either in the PS or as an addendum, but if it's in the PS it shouldn't be the focus. As others say, your numbers are sufficient that you can only hurt your application here.

Wubbles

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby Wubbles » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:21 pm

Yeah, I'm going to join in on the advice to keep your PS plain, possibly boring, and let your numbers carry you. No reason to torpedo your app or publicly document more than you might want to have out there at some point in the future

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Luchando

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby Luchando » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:53 pm

Apply to the Top 10. Use a boring personal statement for every school except for Yale. Write your Yale PS about this amazing story. Profit.

Npret

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby Npret » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:26 am

^

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby LSATWiz.com » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:57 am

I'd avoid it with your numbers. It's not even so much a question of whether it's too controversial, but of how the individual reviewing your app views drug addiction to begin with. If the reviewer views it as tantamount to a terminal illness, then great. If they view it with a negative stigma, then even if they like the story and your writing style, they're still going to come away viewing you in a negative stigma. While overcoming addiction is a big part of your life story, I think you're selling the tools that enabled you to succeed short by making it the focus of your PS. You can have a modified, fact-central version of this in an addendum if you have a record but I'd make your PS something safer.

Npret

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby Npret » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:56 am

UBETutoring wrote:I'd avoid it with your numbers. It's not even so much a question of whether it's too controversial, but of how the individual reviewing your app views drug addiction to begin with. If the reviewer views it as tantamount to a terminal illness, then great. If they view it with a negative stigma, then even if they like the story and your writing style, they're still going to come away viewing you in a negative stigma. While overcoming addiction is a big part of your life story, I think you're selling the tools that enabled you to succeed short by making it the focus of your PS. You can have a modified, fact-central version of this in an addendum if you have a record but I'd make your PS something safer.

Yes. I want to clarify that OP has an amazing and I spiting and even unlikely personal story. They can use that story later if they want to be a motivational speaker.

For law school applications, with these numbers, you need to not give anyone a reason to question admitting to. You don’t know how the reviewers will react to such an extreme story coupled with mental illness. Just stay away from it.

Npret

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Re: Potentially disastrous PS topic?

Postby Npret » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:11 pm

That’s should read inspiring. I’m done posting from my phone.

Good luck OP



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