Law School Discussion

Character & Fitness Question

Character & Fitness Question
« on: December 07, 2011, 01:46:06 PM »
I received an academic warning in my second semester in college (2 Ds in Multivariate Calc and Calc-based Physics) and as such need to submit a C&F.  The following year was also a bit rough on my GPA, but my last 2 years in school i averaged about a 3.4 (I am a splitter - 2.92/170).

Anyway, I am wondering whether I should go in depth about why this occurred--I developed a pretty serious, prolonged case of insomnia (which was actually diagnosed and medicated after several months) that led to a pretty substantial drop off in my academic performance thanks in large part to my roommate's snoring (it was pretty bad, if I had a recording of it, you would probably sympathize).  I feel like this risks sounding like I'm just making excuses though; would I be better off just saying something about making mistakes but now I'm more mature and point towards my substantially better performance in the last 2 years in school?

Any constructive input would be much appreciated.

Re: Character & Fitness Question
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2011, 02:17:45 PM »
Go only as far in depth as is necessary.  For example, a diagnosis of insomnia should be included.  Your roommates loud snoring should not.
There is a difference between providing explanations and making excuses.  A loudly snoring roommate is an excuse.  A diagnosis of insomnia is an explanation.
If it were me, I'd tell the story by spinning it as positively as possible.
1.  Academic warning
2.  Sought medical help and was diagnosed with insomnia and given a prescription
3.  grades improved through hard work and laser-like focus
End of story.
The C&F element to the bar, as I understand it, is less about what mistakes you've made and more about being upfront and honest about them.  I think people spend far too much time worrying about explaining why things happen instead of simply saying what happened, what you did to rectify the situation, and what the result has been.
I have a buddy who was popped for misdemeanor possession of marijuana while in college.  He was upfront about it and didn't make excuses, saying it was a lapse in judgment borne out of immaturity that he learned from.  He not only got into law school (and did well), but is now a practicing attorney.  Academic warning, in my opinion, does not rise to the same level as misdemeanor possession of a narcotic.
Plus, you can amend your C&F answers while in law school, usually with the help of a faculty member....
Good luck!

Re: Character & Fitness Question
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 07:57:43 PM »
If you could provide some kind of documentation about the diagnosis, that might help too. I would add to the above post by saying that on issues like this, confidence goes a long way. Assume responsibility like a man and demonstrate how you've overcome the obstacle. I got on academic probation my first semester at Clemson and my addendum on the subject is a little less than half a page, I also brushed on it in my personal statement as part of my effort to do right by the sacrifices my parents made for me (when I was a baby, my mom was single with 4 kids).

But I guess I'll have to see if this strategy works come admission time eh?