« on: June 11, 2004, 07:51:16 AM »
I have been preliminarily thinking about possible topics. For my safety schools I will plan to write a conservative, ordinary personal statement. But for my reach schools, I am thinking of ways to grab their attention. I have an Alcohol Related arrest which has since been expunged. But an explanation at some point will probably be necessary in the application, so I have thought of playing the recovering alcoholic card. I believe I can justify things such as criminal history and meteocre grades while presenting an intriguing story. Furthermore, I will be able to touch on my weaknesses without highlighting them. So even though I may be an alcoholic, I am in no means recovering. Admissions doesn't need to know this. But nevertheless, it can make for an eye-catching PS. But the question I have is, will admission look down upon alcoholism? Or will they accept recovery and see it as a positive attribute to my character? I would appreciate any input.
I have thought about mentioning alcoholism in my statement too. I was a raging alcoholic all through college and for a few years afterwards (I drank all day every day- no lie). I did well as an undergraduate until my senior year (when I just lost it) but I managed to graduate with a 2.8.
After I had suffered enough I got sober and decided to try graduate school. I did very well on my GRE but my grades were not good enough to get in. I scheduled a meeting with the Director of the program to try to see what I could do. When he asked about my grades I was vague about my past but said enough for him to infer what had happened. I got in and did well, earning a Masters.
Now I am thinking about law school and have considered going into detail about my past. I have decided against it .
For one, I am sure that you and I are not the only ones that have thought about doing this. I can just see the admissions committee reading my statement and saying "Oh God, another 12-stepper!" I'm sure it's nothing new to them.
Secondly, while being in recovery is admirable, being an alcoholic is not a good thing. It's an illness, but an illness that can be controlled. You should be proud of changing your life, (ok, I know that you are not but for the sake of aguement), but you should not have let it get out of control in the first place.
Third, law school is very stressful and it is common knowledge that stress can lead alcoholics to start drinking again. You do not want a law school to turn you down simply because they believe that admitting you would not be in your best interest.
And finaly, people that are really in recovery don't try to benefit from their illness. God forbid if the person reading your essay is a recovering alcoholic himself and sees right through you.
I know that in my statement I will allude to a less than glorious past but stress what I have accomplished.