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I'm sorry, but I am also very confused by this post. Are you suggesting that applicants of one ethnicity can just identify themselves as a different ethnicity on their law school application? Also, are you suggesting that it is not the case that minorities, on average, are accepted to law school with far lower scores than white students?

How can you compare averages when the number of minority applicants is so few when compared to the vast amount of white applicants? There is greater likelihood for fluctuation on minority averages, while the drop or increase among white averages is much less since there are more applicants. The minority averages don't necessarily translate across the board, especially since there are substantially more white students applying and admitted to law schools to start with. Do averages directly equate to law schools giving a "bump" to the numbers based on what color your skin is? No. And you certainly can't make that direct equation when you are lucky to have even 7-10% of incoming classes of 1Ls consist of minority students. At some schools you're lucky to have even 5%. Furthermore, URMs get rejected from the same schools that reject white students. Being a URM with sub-par numbers does not equate to being an auto admit. Additionally, there are also white students with sub-par numbers who get into schools as well.

Do some schools consider "soft factors" that come attached to apps from URMS, and perhaps in turn give less weight to numbers? Sometimes. Afterall, with each applicant, they are looking at the full package; if an applicant shows promise through other experiences that are perhaps akin to circumstances faced by URMs, then yes, a school may admit someone with lower numbers. Do schools also consider "soft factors" that come attached to apps from white students? Sometimes they may do this as well. Sure, it's hard to sell "soft factors" when you are 21, in the poli sci student association, president of your fraternity, and Bank of Mommy and Daddy spotted you $1000 for an LSAT prep course. But "soft factors" like being a single parent since you were 19, working all four years of college to send money home to your parents, acting as the translator for your family, disparities in education, etc. will certainly support your applicant no matter what color you are.But if these kind of stories are more common with URM apps, don't sit there and get upset about it. As I said earlier, there are many advantages that people automatically get (and don't often realize) from simply being white. Meanwhile URMS are still trying to overcome many hurdles to just break even.

If students happen to write about racial adversities in their applications, the adcom will also take these circumstances into account, since racial adversities often and unfortunately rest hand in hand with educational opportunities. These circumstances don't give you an automatic bump in your numbers - your numbers are never going to change. But they tell the story of who that person is, what they had to overcome and why they are persevering to attain a legal education. They don't make use write personal statements just to have people thicken up applications! And frankly in some situations, there is a lot more to be said about a person who faced some downfalls but was able to make a strong rebound and still want to go to law school, rather than the person who has had a seamless journey, never dealt with a setback, is afriad to get a job so law school by default seems like a great option.

My very sarcastic point about ethnic designation was to raise the point that nothing is stopping you from designating yourself as any ethnicity that you want. No one is going to expect you to prove anything.... essentially, you are whatever you consider yourself to be. No one is asking an applicant to prove that they are white, right? I think it's interesting that non-minorities get so bent out of shape over the URM issue, but would never dare to be that sort of 'test case' and designate themselves as a URM. I'm not looking at ethnic designation from a standpoint of lying - I'm looking beyond that smokescreen and raising the point that if race and ethnicity matter so little to people on this board, then why not mark whatever you want?

Hi, everyone I am currently moving into a new city and a new school that I recently become not to happy with.  I am about 5 hours from my home and want to practice law closer to my home, but decided to attend a school further away because I was not accepted to the local schools and was offered a decent scholarship at the school I am beginning to attend.  My LSAT scores were only 148 and 151 so i did not expect to many acceptances and or money for attedning any law schools.  Now that I am in my new city away from everything, family friends and girlfriend of 4 years, I am regretting my decision more and more.  I still have the option of getting out of my lease and I am definitely considering it.  This is where I need everyones help, I recently have found out that my scholarship is applied to tuition differently than I previouusly thought.  This has not made me to happy and I feel that I am paying more for an education that I may not have necessarily picked a few months ago.  Can you please help me with my choices???

My ideas are to stick it out and go to school.  Hopefully I will be able to transfer, I know this is not a good possibilty however and I do not want to be stuck in this city for 3 years. 

My other option would be to take a year off again, and study for the LSAT, I have never studied for it and took both tests cold.  They are the only two LSAT's that I have taken.  I would enroll in a Kaplan or Powerscore class something along those lines, work part-time and study full time for the december LSAT.  I really want to attend a local school in Pittsburgh such as Duquesne, Pitt or even WVU or Penn State I would be happy with any of those. 

Please help with ideas, or if you think these feelings will go away.  THANX

While this could just be pre-law school jitters, it seems that if you are this unhappy and school hasn't even started, you probably shouldn't continue at this point. Your first year is going to be stressful/busy/anxiety ridden, so you want to be in the most comfortable situation possible. If your emotional needs require more interaction and support with old friends and family, then perhaps this is not the best situation for you.

I agree with the others... don't go to a school with the plan on transferring. In undergrad that is more of a possibility since your grades mostly depend on your own performance. In law school however, your grades are influenced by the performance of your peers. So even if you write an A or B exam, you may end up getting a B,C, or D due to the curve.

If PA is where you want to be, I think it would be to your benefit to take another year and better prepare for the LSAT and try again with the application process. With a better LSAT, you may find a better reaction from schools regarding admissions and $cholarship money. Perhaps you can also have an admissions counselor provide a one-time application review and see if there are any ways you can improve your apps.

It's good that your are being honest with yourself at this point.... let us know what happens!

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Is this possible?
« on: August 13, 2006, 01:13:17 PM »
I just took my first LSAT test from a book that my friend lent me and I've realized that I have a lot to learn about the LSAT!  (149)

Here's my question:  Is it possible to improve substantially in time for the Sept 30th LSAT?  Because of other obligations, if I don't take the test in Sept I will need to wait until next year (Feb or June) so I want to see if it's even a possibility before I spend the money to sign up for the test.


What do you consider 'substantially'?
In your time span, you should definitely make a 5-7 point increase. With enough practice time, you may likely make a 10 point increase. If you were taking a class, you might be more likely to land a 10 point increase.

My estimation is that if a 'substantial' increase meanse 10+ points, you will either need seriously step up your study time, or extend your timespan to the Feb. test.

Don't let the 149 scare you. Many people started out with that score, but certainly won't admit it (there's more glory in simply saying you got a 165, instead of saying you went from a 149 to a 165...).

Good luck to you!

Minority Topics / Re: Washington & Lee and Racism.
« on: August 13, 2006, 10:38:30 AM »
After reading through this thread, I think the interesting yet sad reality is that in 2006, minority applicants have to keep these kind of issues in mind when choosing a school. I will even admit that I allowed the same factors to work against my decision to attend a higher ranked school in IN.

Yes, it does sound silly to say "XYZ city doesn't have a lot of minorities" but I think what people are really saying is that when there are more minorities present in a city, they know that perhaps whites are more tolerant of their presence. Comparing the harshness of Harlem to that in Lexington is a bunch of crap. You can get beat up/mugged/assaulted in LA, Miami and other parts of NYC just as easily - and the attackers don't necessarily care what color you are (AND your attackers are not necessarily going to be black!!). I think the OP's justified concern is not necessarily about being attacked in Lexington, but having to face subtle discrimination because of his race/ethnicity. I don't think you can truly empathies with what it feels like to be followed in a store, ignored when you walk in a restaurant, racial jokes made in front of your face, your kids being snubbed at school, and you know why it's happening. It really break you down, and some people would rather not place themselves in that kind of environment. Those may be hard words to hear, but until you've walked a mile in another moccasins.....

These type of decisions do not propagate racial tension as was said earlier. If anything, this is just one more person of color trying to navigate through current and continual racial tensions - certainly tensions that they did not bring about. Although we are forty years past the civil rights movement, the reality is that there are still places in this country where people of color are not welcome. Where minorities still ignored when they walk into establishments, where they still get stared at, ignored, asked snidely if they speak English, and many times harassed.

Many of the posters here seem truly bothered that a person would pass up a good school because of an issue of racial dynamics, but this is one more factor that a minority has to deal with. How many of you can say you looked at the percentages of minority students at various schools and took that into account when you submitted your apps? If you say, "well it doesn't really matter" then I consider you to be very lucky to be in a position where those factors don't really matter for you. But for others, these kind of factors are important to evaluate in the decision making process...Everyone wants to be in a place where they are comfortable, happy, accepted, and treated with basic dignity... where you are simply just a "student" and not labeled as "the asian/ the latino/ the black student"..... and not all campuses and cities are conducive for these kind of needs when it comes to people of color.

I think it's very wise for the OP to consider the experiences of his family and himself, and not solely just consider the reputation of the school.

That's wrong, too.  The LSAT gets a specific bump depending on what type of minority you are.

Give us the breakdowns of the specific bumps, oh Knower-of-all-Law-School-Admissions-related-topics.

The various law school admissions departments each assign different LSAT bumps for being a URM. Generally speaking, it is about 8 points for African American, about 5 for Native American, and about 4 for Latino. It seems unfair, but it is an effective way to ensure that classes at top law schools will not be monochromatic and lack minority representation.

You're the one who is insane! Where the h*ll are you getting these numbers from?!? Oh wait, because you went straight from the womb to working on an adcomm. And now you're going to 'school' LSD on how so-called LSAT bumps are put into effect. Right.

It should soley be based on what you have done, not who or what you are.

I definitely don't think LSAT scores should be bumped up by URM status, GPA yes, but LSAT is a pretty objective IQ test.

LSAT/GPA are NOT bumped by being a URM. Your numbers are your numbers, end of story. Essentially what you are arguing is that URM numbers are inferior and must be "bumped" up to that of whites. And I can certainly tell you that adcomms are the last group of people to play the racial inferiority game.

Being a URM is something that is taken into consideration with your entire application. Adcomms recognize the disparities in elementary, high school and even collegiate education and experiences, and take the fact that many minorities (rich and poor) do not have the same opportunites as whites. And many minorities also write personal statements that tie into their URM status and add even more to fact that they are a person of color. Additionally, adcomms take into account the variety of perspectives that URMS have to offer in a classroom setting, as well as to the field of law. Yes, segreation is (technically) over and we don't spray people with water hoses anymore, but that doesn't mean that we live in a completely equal society. There are many advantages that people automatically get (and don't often realize) from simply being white. Meanwhile URMS are still trying to overcome many hurdles to just break even.

If people are sooooooooo upset about this so called "bump," why don't they mark down that they are African American? Or Latino? Sure you may not have a dark complexion, but people of color come in many skin tones. No one is going to ask you to prove your ethnicity, even if you look like Mariah Carey or Vin Diesel (both are bi-racial, white and black). "Oh well I don't want to lie..." you say. Well how do you know you're not Black or Latino? You know your great great grandparents got here off Ellis Island, but ya don't know anymore than that. Hell, you could be Asian for all you know. "Oh, but what about the bar exam?" you say. Well sh*t, mark down that you're African American there too. Does it matter? Are your law school application and your bar exam going to follow you for the rest of your life?

So if you are this bent of shape to start posting crap online about "URM status", then hey, join the club. No one said you can't. But if you scared to be labled *GASP* asian or black or latino, than just hit the white box and enjoy your white life.

if my dad looks dark enough to be mexican, can i call myself an URM???

please please say i can!

You look mexican to me holmes.

If you "just recently found out" that you were Mexican, you could put it down since you didn't know before hand. Look at Carmen Diaz, Christina Aguilera, Nicole Richie, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris from saved by the bell - yes, believe it or not, he's half asian) - none of them "look" like URMS but they are, and I'm sure they'd mark the relevant box if they just got the news that they had a shot of URM in 'em, and were nobodies like us applying for law school.

if my dad looks dark enough to be mexican, can i call myself an URM???

please please say i can!

Sure ya can. It's kind of like that old reggae song said... "Your daddy ain't your daddy but your daddy don't know...."

Look at our friend Dale from "King of the Hill." His son Joseph obviously came out of an affair between his wife Nancy and neighbor John Redcorn. But Dale is convinced that "his" son Joseph came about when aliens impregnated Nancy using his own seed while he was searching for UFOs; he is completely unaware of his son's resemblance to John Redcorn, Nancy's personal migraine manager.

If Nancy came forward and confessed that her baby's daddy was actually John Redcorn, then Joseph could claim URM status on his apps, even though he didn't grow up as a Native American and really has no ties to that part of his ethnicity.

Law School Applications / Re: Admissions Consulting Services????
« on: August 07, 2006, 11:47:51 PM »
Has anyone used any service like this? My apps are complete..I have my PS, my LORs everything done etc, but was inquiring on having someone look it all over. Has anyone used Testmasters or any other online services for this, if so was it helpful and how much we looking at??? Thanks in advance..

I used Testmasters.... Some things were moderatly helpful, but I really wish I had that $125/hour today instead of blowing it on a consultant. You can find out what you need on your own, and save that money for your books for next fall.

If you want to double check things and you have the money, perhaps you can pursue one-time an application review, but don't spend a cent more.

Law School Applications / Re: URM Status Question
« on: August 07, 2006, 11:44:25 PM »
Do Vietnamese count as URM??

I know Asians such as Japanese and Chinese are not considered URM simply because they have been here for so long and are already established, but the Vietnamese have been here for 30 some odd years.

Most Viets are also a bit poor.

URM status has nothing to do with whether or not a group has "been here for so long." It has everything to do with the relative representation of certain ethnicities in higher education compared to their constitituve size in the general US population. Statistically speaking, Chinese and Japanese are overrepresented. Same with people of jewish descent.

African Americans, Mexicans, etc are not. They are underrepresented. Hence the term, Underrepresented Minority and not just "Minority". You'll have to look for statistics on vietnamese students in higher education and contact schools directly to find out. One school's URM is another's general applicant.

And, just as a point of curiousity, are you a bit poor? I'm beginning to wonder how representative the LSD and LSN community actually is-not just in terms of ethnicity, or LSAT score, but in general. There was a recent thread concerning legacies at UMich, were a couple of people shared the fact that they had uncles, and sisters, and bears (oh my!) that had attended the Law School.  That seemed surprising to me.

It's not as much about 'representation in education' as it is about representation in the field. While there may be larger amounts of Asian lawyers in places like California, Asians are still underrepresented in the field of law. There are PLENTY of firms around this country that have ZERO Asian attorneys, and perhaps have ZERO people of color. One of my best friends in externing at a firm in PA and out of 200 ATTORNEYS and STAFF, there are only three people of color working there: 1 Cuban attorney and 2 externs who are minorities.

I will say that at in my law program, there are FAR less Asian students than there are Black and Latino students.

Poor or rich, Asians still suffer from many of the professional disadvantages that other minorities face, especially in the legal field. A Polish-American is not going to face discrimination based on inherent factors the way a person of color would. Sure, people aren't getting sprayed by waterhoses or sent of to internment camps these days, but unfortunately subtle discrimination is still rampant, especially in the legal community.

The ABA also put out a great article about the experiences of women of color in firms, and on the front cover of the magazine they feature an Asian attorney. The article covers issues that attorney of color have and continue to face, and they interviewed Latino, Asian and Black attorneys. You can read more about it here:

So yes, to answer your question: Asians are underrepresented minorities.

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