Law School Discussion

Cancer: Will it Affect Their Decision?

Cancer: Will it Affect Their Decision?
« on: November 04, 2015, 08:37:34 AM »
Greetings all! I recently (June) went through surgery and radiation for an advanced cancer. I beat it! I'm just a little concerned that cancer may be off putting to the schools that I am applying to. Advanced cancers have a higher percentage of coming back and with my surgery being just a few months ago, I could possibly be seen as a liability. I put off surgery and radiation until after undergrad graduation and went through 2 years of it with cancer- I'm determined.

What do you all think? Have you all personally seen anyone with cancer be accepted without issue or extra questions?

Thanks in advance.

Re: Cancer: Will it Affect Their Decision?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2015, 09:37:36 AM »
First off happy to hear you are in recovery and it is unfortunate you have to deal with such a terrifying and terrible disease, but it sounds like you are doing well, which is great.

With that intro I don't think your medical records have any relevance or needs to be disclosed in your application.  All they are looking for is GPA and LSAT whether you have Cancer or any other disease is none of their business, unless you want them to know.

Furthermore, I don't see why cancer would hurt your application. I think it would probably help it actually, as it gives you a unique perspective on life.

At my school a severely physically disabled student was admitted. I won't disclose the disease, but it did not alter (their mental state) however, they were severely disabled upon admission to school. The student went on to graduate and pass the bar, but passed away shortly after.

It was an inspiring and sad story at the same-time. It was the students goal to become an attorney and once that disease came they changed their life around to get through law school and pass the bar.  It put things in perspective for me at least and I think many other law students.

So apply to law school and don't let cancer stop you and I don't see why a law school would deny you the opportunity.

Good luck with everything.

Re: Cancer: Will it Affect Their Decision?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2015, 11:41:38 AM »
Thank you, Citylaw, for your quick and positive reply. I forgot to explain that my personal statement talked about how loosing my voice for 3 months due to my cancer made me realize how important a voice was. I decided to address it because it sincerely has changed my life in both positive and negative aspects as well as pushed me to finally apply for law school. Also, waiving my rights to see letter of recommendations I am assuming my academic advisor/mock trial coach/professor of 4 classes is going to mention it and didn't want it to be one of those surprise things. 

I am sorry to hear about your schoolmate/one of your students passing. Being in somewhat of a similar situation, I am always looking to hear about students like them. It's one thing to speculate because it's illegal to discriminate on basis of health- but it's another to hear someone that did it and achieved the end goal.

Thanks again.

Re: Cancer: Will it Affect Their Decision?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2015, 12:08:39 PM »
Of course and I assumed battling cancer was in the statement, I would put it in.

I know a few people that were diagnosed with cancer while in law school and went on to beat it and are practicing law as we speak.

Additionally, law school admissions is really all about numbers to be perfectly honest. I am not sure if cancer one way or the other will do do much to hurt or harm your application. Your UGPA and LSAT make up 90% - 95% of the decision.

If you have a 4.0 and 180 and have all kinds of ailments your getting into basically every school. You can be in the greatest health of anyone ever and with a 2.0 and 139 LSAT your not getting in anywhere.

Obviously, cancer will impact your life and your law school experience, which sucks, but I don't think it will do much in the way of an admissions decison.

Re: Cancer: Will it Affect Their Decision?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2015, 12:23:46 PM »
OP, I'm very happy for you that you're in remission. That is no small thing to deal with, and it says a lot about your character.

As to your specific question, no, I don't think it will hurt your chances for admission one bit. If anything, it shows incredible determination and fortitude on your part, both of which are highly desirable traits in a law student.

On a side note, my cousin was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer. He was told that it was especially aggressive, and his chance for survival was slim. He beat it, it came back, and he beat it again. That was nearly 20 years ago, and he's doing just fine. There are many people out there who are beating the odds every day. Best of luck to you!

Re: Cancer: Will it Affect Their Decision?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2015, 05:46:22 PM »
I wouldn't mention it unless you are hoping to get accomodations. If you can qualify though, TAKE EVERY ADVANTAGE YOU CAN GET (if you need more time due to lack of concentration, more bathroom breaks, you name it) don't be too proud to do that.