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Mental health issues as a personal statement topic

galaxygalgalaxygal Alum Member
edited August 2019 in General 224 karma

Hi all,

I was wondering what your thoughts are on writing a personal statement about overcoming mental health issues. I've heard mixed responses as to whether a PS on this topic is a good idea given the stigma that surrounds mental health, the possibility that law schools might question your abilities, etc. I personally think that if framed correctly, writing about overcoming mental health issues and what you learned from it can highlight positive characteristics such as strength or persistence, but I'm not sure if admissions committees would agree.

Any thoughts?

Comments

  • bananabobananabo Monthly Member
    1143 karma

    Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with writing about overcoming mental health, as long as you approach it the right way. It’s a very tough topic to write about considering that if you don’t approach it a certain way then you might risk leaving the reader questioning your abilities, like you mentioned.

    My advice, if you were going to write about overcoming mental health, would be to end on a positive note. Put emphasis on what you’re actively doing currently to maintain a healthy mental state and how that is going to help you in law school.

  • Hopeful9812Hopeful9812 Legacy Member
    872 karma

    I agree with the above comment. I think if you approach it just as how you mentioned it sounds like a great personal statement. Themes of resiliency, not giving up, overcoming obstacles- in my eyes- make you a strong applicant. Good luck!!

  • chisal17chisal17 Alum Member
    289 karma

    i would say that if you do decide to write about this that you make sure to frame it in a way that affirms that it is no longer a current concern, and that it wont be disruptive to your school/career stuff in the future.

  • galaxygalgalaxygal Alum Member
    224 karma

    Thank you guys!

  • Lolo1996Lolo1996 Legacy Member
    498 karma

    Hey

    I am doing the same

    As long as you show how you got better & how it made you stronger (even if you still struggle lol) I think its fine

    I know that I want to do will/estate planning & work w the mentally ill bc of all the issues Ive had, its what made me to want to do law to begin with

    If you want to send yours to me, and I can send you mine, to peer-review just PM me :)

  • Chipster StudyChipster Study Yearly Member
    888 karma

    I am going to be a bit of a debbie downer but I would not do it. I just checked with a buddy of mine who does admissions and he said no.

  • galaxygalgalaxygal Alum Member
    224 karma

    @"Chipster Study" Thank you for the insight :) Did your friend give context as to why he doesn't think it would be a good idea?

  • Chipster StudyChipster Study Yearly Member
    888 karma
    1. Everybody has problems. 2. It is so competitive that they can fill your numbers slot with somebody who doesn't have that. 3. If it's ADD everybody has it. 4. If it is more serious they worry about you finishing. 4. Three sentences max on "obstacles"; after that you are whining.

    It sounded very harsh, but that is what he said

  • ALLCAA123ALLCAA123 Alum Member
    125 karma

    I agree with some of the others here. Everyone has some sort of personal issue, and it's not uncommon for a test taker to be stressed, anxious, and depressed, or to have an attention deficit. This isn't limited to the test either– some have to beef it out in their daily lives (i.e. I used to panic and become overly stressed about trivial things in daily life, but hey, I got over it). It's tough out there! But hey you're almost in law school and on to that fruitful legal career you've always wanted. There's always, always hope.

    Nevertheless, I highly recommend AGAINST talking about mental health issues in your personal statement. If it was a truly serious hinderance to your performance throughout college and on the LSAT, mention it in one or two lines tops. Adcoms are trying to decide which candidates are best for their law school, i.e. those with the most potential to succeed. It's an unforgiving process, but one we have to deal with as law school applicants. It's understandable– you'll be doing a LOT of reading in law school, and it's going to be stressful more often than not. Show the adcom folks that you can handle it, that you've done some seriously challenging work in, and out, of college, and that you don't crumble under pressure, and you'll be a step closer to your law school's front door. Best of luck!!!!!

  • galaxygalgalaxygal Alum Member
    edited September 2019 224 karma

    Thanks for the advice guys! I have a few different options on what to write my PS about but as I stated before, I personally think it's about how you frame it. A good friend of mine wrote his PS on his lifelong battle with depression and now attends his dream T20 because 1) He had a great LSAT score, and 2) He wrote about how depression actually made him stronger. I don't necessarily agree with not writing on it solely because "everyone has issues" given that the purpose isn't necessarily to stand out (basing that off of what a law school admissions dean said), but rather to write a genuine and insightful piece that highlights your personality/strengths/etc. I'll keep playing around with topics and hopefully it will turn out well!!

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