Law School Discussion

Should I Apply/Do I have a chance?

Should I Apply/Do I have a chance?
« on: April 12, 2017, 09:28:05 AM »
I'm a 23-year-old junior at Rutgers University.

I started my college career at the University of Rhode Island in the Fall 0f 2012. I suffered a series of strokes and other neurological issues that caused my grades to suffer. I finished my freshman year with an abysmal 1.85 GPA...I was told by multiple advisors that this should not affect my chances of admission since they are grades from years ago, and I have a legitimate excuse for my performance that I can explain in an addendum essay.

After my freshman year, I transferred to a local community college where I did fairly well and graduated after the Fall of 2014 with an associate's degree.

I then took 2 and a half years off to work and deal with some personal issues, including the ramifications of my health issues. I returned to school in the Fall of 2016 where I started at Rutgers University. During this semester, I enrolled in four classes. I got an A in my Journalism 201 class, a C+ in my Urban Political Systems class, I withdrew from an elective, and got an F in my Journalism 101 class. I retook the class the following semester and got an A in it.

Is the F and "application killer?" I got the F because I missed the withdraw date, and beyond rebounding from my strokes and other neurological issues, I was newly becoming clean and sober. As I was adjusting to my new lifestyle, it was incredibly difficult for me to gauge exactly how much I could handle. I believe my "self-appraisal system" was off, meaning, I thought I could handle more than I could at the time.

What are your general thoughts on the things I presented?

Please let me know when you get the chance.

Thanks!

Sam

Re: Should I Apply/Do I have a chance?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 09:57:29 AM »
Hi Sam.

A few things to consider.

First, law schools are going to put a huge emphasis on your LSAT (which I assume you have not taken) and your cumulative GPA. Will one or two Fs destroy your chances? No, but it certainly doesn't help. If this is an isolated incident, you can explain it away, and you make up for it with high grades subsequently, then it's probably OK.

The issue I see, however, is that your issues seem to be of a long term nature. Law school is far, far more demanding than undergrad. If you have issues that are negatively effecting your undergrad grades, then it is not a stretch to think that they will be amplified in law school.

You want to be sure that this stuff is well behind you before taking on the stress of law school.

loki13

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Re: Should I Apply/Do I have a chance?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2017, 07:22:19 AM »
I'm a 23-year-old junior at Rutgers University.

I started my college career at the University of Rhode Island in the Fall 0f 2012. I suffered a series of strokes and other neurological issues that caused my grades to suffer. I finished my freshman year with an abysmal 1.85 GPA...I was told by multiple advisors that this should not affect my chances of admission since they are grades from years ago, and I have a legitimate excuse for my performance that I can explain in an addendum essay.

After my freshman year, I transferred to a local community college where I did fairly well and graduated after the Fall of 2014 with an associate's degree.

I then took 2 and a half years off to work and deal with some personal issues, including the ramifications of my health issues. I returned to school in the Fall of 2016 where I started at Rutgers University. During this semester, I enrolled in four classes. I got an A in my Journalism 201 class, a C+ in my Urban Political Systems class, I withdrew from an elective, and got an F in my Journalism 101 class. I retook the class the following semester and got an A in it.

Is the F and "application killer?" I got the F because I missed the withdraw date, and beyond rebounding from my strokes and other neurological issues, I was newly becoming clean and sober. As I was adjusting to my new lifestyle, it was incredibly difficult for me to gauge exactly how much I could handle. I believe my "self-appraisal system" was off, meaning, I thought I could handle more than I could at the time.

What are your general thoughts on the things I presented?

Please let me know when you get the chance.

Thanks!

Sam

Hey Sam!

I agree with what Maintain what, as usual. I am going to add a few things for you to consider.

First, I recommend trying to take a few practice LSATs and seeing how you score on them, just to get an idea. The LSAT score is going to be a huge factor in the process. To be honest, if you have a bad uGPA and a bad LSAT, it will be exceptionally difficult to get into even a mediocre law school. That would be useful information.

Next, think about where you want to practice. I noticed you said "clean and sober," in addition to your other medical issues. Different bars (different states) have different rules for admission; some states, to be honest, don't care much about a prior history of alcohol or drug dependency unless there is a criminal record associated with it. There are some states that care quite a lot, even absent a criminal record, and will require further information, disclosure, and perhaps some additional hurdles for you to jump through. And of course, you will be expected to be candid.

Finally, as Maintain points out, law school can be exceptionally stressful.

The long and the short of it is that nothing you wrote is an absolute bar to practicing law. But it is also true that past is prologue; make sure you take care of yourself and that you have established a good track record of being able to handle your personal and academic side before taking the plunge. Good luck!