Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Law School Admissions => Topic started by: galwaygirl on August 20, 2012, 06:34:55 AM

Title: Chances?
Post by: galwaygirl on August 20, 2012, 06:34:55 AM
GPA 3.6 at UW- Madison Languages and Cultures of Asia, Communication Arts, Global Cultures Certificate. Always had part time jobs in administration, full time nanny in summer, study abroad in ireland, International Internship in Dublin for six months. LSAT: 156 (studied independently with full work load/ part time job) would take again but am abroad. Apply early decision to UW-Madison Law school, no financial aid needed and out of state.
Title: Re: Chances?
Post by: galwaygirl on September 03, 2012, 03:20:09 PM
any advice would really help : )
Title: Re: Chances?
Post by: HolmesBoy on September 03, 2012, 07:27:48 PM
Try the LSAC's GPA/LSAT Calculator:
Title: Re: Chances?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on September 04, 2012, 08:47:10 AM
Check out the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools, also available at LSAC. It provides admissions grids, and gives you a great idea as to your chances. From what I remember 156 would be low for UW, you'd probably more like 160-165 to be safe. Your numbers place you in quasi-splitter territory, which makes your chances tougher to handicap.

Some people with numbers like yours will probably get admitted to UW, the question is what else did they bring to the table? My guess is they're probably non-trad students, URM, etc. Law school admissions really is a numbers game, regardless of what admissions officers tell you. You have some good international experience, but those kinds of soft factors will only be taken into account if you're a bordeline case. UW's median is 163, and the 25% (bottom quarter) is 158. In other words, you'd be below the 25th percentile, hoping that soft factors will pull you up. It's possible, but I think you've got an uphill battle.

Did you apply to any backups? If you want to stay in the area check out Marquette, St. Thomas, and maybe a couple of Chicago schools. Another option is to focus on obtaining a scholarship to  a lower ranked school like William Mitchell, Valparaiso, Detroit-Mercy, etc. In the end, that may be your best option.

BTW, Galway is one of my favorite cities in the world. I used to spend a lot of time in Clifden, about 20 miles away, and went to Galway all the time. Last time I was there we caught a free Radiohead concert on the square, brilliant!
Title: Re: Chances?
Post by: galwaygirl on October 18, 2012, 05:02:15 AM
Thanks for your advice! I knew my chances were low, just wondering how low. : ) Good to know there is even a possibility!  I am applying to Denver University (I grew up in CO) and Boulder, Marquette, Michigan State, Loyola-Chicago, American University, Cardozo University. Money is not really a factor in deciding where to go for me, so I would rather go to a better ranked law school or reapply after a few years of work. Do you have any other suggestions of where to apply? I was in Galway last weekend to visit friends, and went to Clifden in the afternoon. It is a lovely town! Thank you for your reply, and have a wonderful day!
Title: Re: Chances?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on October 18, 2012, 09:40:12 AM
Do you have any other suggestions of where to apply? 

With a 3.6/156 you can probably get into something like half the law schools in the country, so it's really a question of where you want to live and what you want to do with your degree.

Keep in mind that once you get outside the realm of the elite nationally recognized law schools (Harvard, Yale, etc.), pretty much all other institutions have regional or local reputations. The specific differences in rankings become very muddled at that point. At such schools your internship/clerkship opportunities, alumni network, and ability to establish your own contacts are going to be local. For example, if you want to live in Colorado, the University of Denver is probably a much better choice than American even though American is ranked higher by USNWR. Although American might be ranked higher, it's not so prestigious that most employers are going to give you a job based on pedigree alone. A DU grad who has had three years to network and intern is going to be in a much better position to obtain employment in Denver.

You can extrapolate that example to other markets. If you go school at Michigan State and then show up in D.C. after graduation looking for a job, you're going to have a hard time competing with American grads who have already made their contacts. If you wanted to live in LA, for example, would a degree from the Tier 1-ranked University of Iowa open more doors than a degree from a local southern California school like Southwestern or La Verne? I doubt it. I live in LA and I think most lawyers here would say " that in Canada?"

There is a difference between the way that law students think about rankings, and the way that lawyers think about rankings. If you ask lawyers which law schools are the best, invariably Harvard, Yale, and Stanford come up. But if you ask which is ranked #36 and which is ranked #63, they don't know and they don't care. At that point they rely on past experience and local knowledge.

Think about where you want to spend three or four years, and what you want to do with your degree. Don't let some magazine's arbitrary rankings scheme override your common sense. Law school is an intense, often stressful affair, and you want to be somewhere where you feel comfortable and (relatively) happy. 
Title: Re: Chances?
Post by: galwaygirl on November 05, 2012, 08:18:09 AM
Thanks! That really helped a lot, it's definitely easy to get distracted by the rankings. I'm definitely having a hard time deciding where to apply... Thanks for your help!