Jump to content

Discussing Learning Disability

Recommended Posts

Hi all I am not sure if this has been covered before but I would like some perspectives on this topic.


Some background:


My learning disability is an ongoing thing I have to work with and adapt my learning to, sometimes I struggle but I always find a way to get where I need to. However, it is also the reason for the somewhat problematic undergraduate GPA (3.3). I am getting my Master's now and have a 4.3 (24 credits in, all core classes complete in 2 semesters), doing great, etc... 


I am applying to PhD programs in Neuroscience, Psychology, and Education


A HUGE reason why I got into this area has to do with the process I went through as an adult coming to terms with and learning about how learning disabilities work. My interest areas are in how brains learn and interface with educational processes.


All of the programs I am applying to are obscenely competitive, however I am only applying to places with a very close research match.


I seen a few resources that say not to mention any problems that may be ongoing... that is, only mention the problem if it is over and done with and will not cause problems in the future. Otherwise, this may be perceived as a liability in your ability to be successful as a graduate student.


Frankly, sometimes my LD does present problems, not ones that I can't overcome, but I do stumble a few times before I get my feet under me. I don't doubt my ability to be an amazing researcher... but I don't want to do or say something that might present a reason for the applications committee to doubt it.


On the other hand, I personally feel like these struggles have demonstrated my ability to handle adversity and set-backs, to adapt to many sorts of situations and challenges. Much of science and writing is fundamentally about perseverance, adaptability, and flexibility... scientists who don't have these skills burn-out... I have them and this is one way I can talk about them...


*shrug* BUT I am still worried that people will see "learning disability" and think that I am less intelligent or less able to succeed... especially since I want to study neuroscience... there is a feel in the neuro community that only the most intelligent are successful, and having reason to doubt that is enough to get you passed over...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I wish I had some advice to offer. I'm in a similar position to you and have been debating how to handle my SOP. During my first year of college I was in a wreck and sustained a TBI (traumatic brain injury) that all the doctors concluded would end my academic career. Not being one to be told I can't do something, I pressed on with my schooling and hopes of becoming a Speech Pathologist...unfortunately I failed one class after another. It took a lot of hard work and getting some assistance but eventually I was able to graduate with my Bachelors in a whole different subject matter (Criminal Justice). Through the seven years it took me to finally accomplish that, I had the privilege of working with a rehabilitation specialist (social worker) who really was the one that pressed me to not give up on pursuing my education and taught me a great deal of alternate ways to learn new material. It is largely because of her that I've decided to pursue a career in social work with the hopes of working with injured veterans and their families. 

Obviously having failed many of my classes due to my stubbornness of wanting to get right back to classes following my injuries, I have an awful transcript. I feel that those periods of poor academic performance should be explained in my SOP but I don't know if it is appropriate or if it will end up hurting my chances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply CJMSW... I wish there was a clear answer out there. I'm not even that concerned about explaining my undergrad performance anymore, but since it is so important I'm still a bit hung up on the justification. My current plan is to see if I can get a wonderful SoP without talking about it. If I can then I'm good to go, if I can't then I'll consider working it in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use