Law School Discussion

PS on overcoming depression/explaining my GPA

PS on overcoming depression/explaining my GPA
« on: June 28, 2006, 10:39:10 AM »


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Re: PS on overcoming depression/explaining my GPA
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2006, 10:44:06 AM »
I think it's doable.  The problem you'll have is making sure you don't sound whiney.  Do not make it sound like you need their pity and sympathy.  Have a strong, resilient tone.  You may want to consider using another experience that highlights your ability to overcome big challenges.   

Re: PS on overcoming depression/explaining my GPA
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2006, 02:43:19 PM »
Hey...I dealt with this same problem, although perhaps for me it was even tougher than for you.  I actually took a semester off (it was part voluntary, part "strongly recommended" by my university).  If you notice, if you take any time off, almost every school demands an explanation, so I was put in a tough position.  What I ended up doing was writing a PS that was completely about other things (mostly other personal experiences and how they related to what I wanted to study in the law), and then I submitted a completely separate statement about my depression stuff.  (Like you mention in your post as a possibility).  It seemed to me like the perfect compromise.  That way, I got to write my PS about what I wanted like any other candidate, and I had a place to explain GPA issues.  I also made a conscious decision about how far I would go in terms of "disclosure" in the other statement.  I only told them what I was comfortable sharing.  I think that was the best way for me personally to go about it.  The only thing I can say is that it is totally your decision not even to mention it if you don't want to...but if it really hit your GPA, you'll need SOMETHING. 

Re: PS on overcoming depression/explaining my GPA
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2006, 03:04:57 PM »
This seems like a good example of when an addendum is perfectly appropriate.  Keep it short and to the point... you probably wouldn't need anything much longer than a couple of paragraphs.  "I was clinically depressed and my grades suffered.  I saw a psychiatrist and received treatment.  As you can see from my transcript, my grades have markedly improved.  The end." 

It's generally advised that you do NOT use it as the main topic for your PS.  Your personal statement should highlight the positives and if your overcoming this situation fits in with that, than maybe you can mention it as part of your essay, but don't dwell.  Just my two cents...

Re: PS on overcoming depression/explaining my GPA
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2006, 08:55:51 PM »
I'd say leave it out of the PS. It's such a common problem in college (I wouldn't be exaggerating when I tell you that 1/2 of my college friends were either in therapy or on anti-depressants) that it's probably better to focus on something positive you've done or what makes you unusual. If your grades were poor enough that you were placed on academic probation, it may be worth addressing in an addendum, but you shouldn't use it as an excuse. If your grades got better, it was obviously an obstacle that you overcame. Why draw attention to the negatives when you can present a positive picture of yourself?