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Topics - margog85

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Choosing the Right Law School / Resume Writing
« on: June 24, 2009, 07:46:16 PM »
I've read that if you're going on to law school straight out of undergrad and have limited work experience, start with and emphasize the academic portion of your resume. And if you've been in the work force for a while, stress your employment experience. My situation doesn't really fall into either of these categories...

Basically, started out strong in my undergrad in 03- extracurriculars, volunteer work, good grades... had a situation which resulted in me leaving school for 2 yrs to dedicate time to working and getting settled in a new city... then returned to school and did well but not as well as when i first began- also had less extracurriculars/volunteer work- while still working full time. I actually worked full time throughout my undergrad.

And I'm not sure if I'm presenting things properly. Any input?

If anyone would be willing to look over my resume, I'd love to get some feedback on it- formatting, order, details, etc.


Choosing the Right Law School / Should I Write a Thesis??
« on: June 23, 2009, 09:46:53 PM »
Finally beginning my senior yr of my undergrad, and I have the option of writing a thesis paper. It's set up as a two semester independent study course in my major dept (Philosophy). I'm just wondering the extent to which doing this will impact my chances with the schools I apply to? My adviser thinks it'll be a good indication that I'm capable of complex thought and independent study. I'm excited about it myself, but also worry that it will be a lot to juggle next year (prepping for the LSAT, putting out apps, working FT, going to school FT, figuring out where I'll be living if I end up going to a school out of the area, etc. etc.)... so I'm just wondering if it's worth it?

Any idea?

I will be sending all my apps out by thanksgiving,and was wondering if anyone would be willing to read over a draft of my personal statement and give me some feedback. I have a lower GPA (3.47 LSAC from what I've calculated) and have yet to take the LSAT (taking it the end of Sept) but just took my first diagnostic and scored at 161- so I'm hoping to jump 10 points or more in the actual exam after some hardcore studying over the next few months. Will be applying to NYU, Berkley, Hastings, Brooklyn, Hofstra, and Univ. at Buffalo. A couple of reach schools, some that are more realistic and a couple of safety schools. Basically, looking to either stay in NY or possibly head out to Cali for a few years. Decision will be based on a combination of location and scholarships, if any.

Basically I had an interruption in my undergrad of about 2 yrs due to extenuating circumstances, which also impacted my GPA- so in my PS, I'm trying to convey that and hopefully explain away some of my lower grades, while at the same time show how the experience benefited me and actually helped to get me better prepped for success in law school than I would have been under better circumstances. My main difficulty was keeping it short (2 pgs or under double spaced), as that was the req for at least one or two of the schools I was looking at. I have a tendency to be a bit long winded (i.e. this post! lol), so I cut a lot out, but now am not sure if it flows well and says all I need to. Would really appreciate some input on it and any other ways I can trim down/things I should add/if it's too hokey and cliche in some places....

Anyone who's willing to give it a read through please let me know here or PM me and I'll send it over to you tomorrow (saved on my comp at work, so i can't access it to send to you today). Thanks!

Studying for the LSAT / Cigarettes at the LSAT?
« on: June 19, 2009, 06:46:55 PM »
Just wondering- I was reading on the LSAC website the list of permitted items you can bring in your clear plastic bag... and although cigarettes and a lighter weren't listed there, they weren't on the list of prohibited items either. I will certainly need a cigarette during the break--- is this going to be a problem? Anyone know from experience?

It may seem like a stupid question... but any smokers will probably be able to sympathize.  :) Thanks!

Choosing the Right Law School / Chances at NYU?
« on: June 18, 2009, 10:00:33 PM »
I'll be applying for Fall 2010 and am prepping for my LSAT. My LSAC GPA, from what I've calculated, will be about 3.47 (graduating from a state school in NY) and I just took at diagnostic LSAT and scored at 161. Am I dreaming to think that I have a shot at NYU? If I can maybe bump up my LSAT a bit?

No real volunteer work in the past few years... I started my undergrad in 03 and after the first 5 semesters I took 2 yrs off due to extenuating circumstances (my parents basically kicked me out bc I was gay)-- in the first 2 yrs of college I was treasurer of the school literary magazine & english club, volunteered as a youth leader at church, did work-study for the school business dept, and worked full time. After moving out of my parents and off long island, I tried to start back up at school right away but couldnt even afford text books. Totally screwed up my gpa that semester, and realized I needed to take some time off to get things together financially and just do some overall regrouping. I started back up in school full time about a year and a half ago, changed my major (from english to philosophy) and so added on a few extra semesters, and havent had much time for any volunteer work or extracurricular involvement because I work full time and am basically putting myself through school. Volunteered with habitat for humanity a few times through my job, but that's about it recently.

I guess I still have time to add some things on in the next year, but between work, finishing up school, applying to law schools, etc. I'm not sure how much time i'll have to do that even.

Is NYU really a long shot? Or any other T14 schools I might have a better chance at?

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

I am planning on applying within the next 6 months or so, and trying to get a good head start on my personal statement. My initial intent was to approach it from a somewhat narrative perspective and intersperse some analysis of what I learned through my experiences and how the decisions I've made reflect positive characteristics about myself. Does this sound like a decent way of writing it, or would there be a better format? Also, please tell me if this is too much info to include: During my first 2 yrs of school, I lived at home, worked 2 jobs, did a work study assignment, served as treasurer of the english club/literary  magazine and volunteered as a Youth Leader at my church. I had a 3.7 GPA. I came out to my parents as a lesbian over winter break of my Sophomore year. They flipped, attacked me numerous times (verbally and physically), changed the locks, took my car, and decided not to help me pay for school after the upcoming semester (since they already paid for it)- I lived out of a motel for the majority of that semester, while working full time, and getting a loan to purchase my car back from my parents. Decided to transfer to a cheaper state school in a different area where I could afford to live- Came up to Buffalo with my girlfriend and only had $100, no jobs, no furniture... starting out with absolutely nothing. I tried going back to school the first semester up here to prove to my parents I could make it on my own and be fine, but without a stable job and having rushed into it, I ended up dropping 3 out of 5 classes, passing one with a B and failing the other because I couldn't afford the books. At that point, I decided that I needed to take time off from school to get my situation in order, and rather than proving anything to anyone else, I had to realize what was best for me and what I could handle. After a two year hiatus, during which I got a good paying and stable job at a large bank and purchased a home, I returned to school and graduated with a LSAC GPA of (according to my calculations and predictions for the next 2 semesters grades!) of approx 3.56.
I'm hoping that disclosing this info will do a number of things- 1. explain why I took time off from school 2. explain why my gpa is not as high as it could be 3. show that I was able to make the decisions necessary to succeed amidst very difficult circumstances, even if it meant doing something unconventional like taking time off from school half way through to get my life back in order.
I'm hoping to show that I am responsible, able to prioritize, determined to succeed even in very difficult circumstances...
Input? Advice? Feedback?
Any ideas on how to structure this?

Choosing the Right Law School / Stupid Question...
« on: December 29, 2008, 11:54:12 PM »
I don't want to come off as totally clueless, but none of you know me so I figure this is as safe of a space as any to ask a dumb question or two...

I'm considering University at Buffalo Law, but from what I've been reading about it, it's considered a "regional" school- my dumb question ::drumroll:: ...what exactly is meant by that? Does it mean I'll be stuck up in the WNY area for the rest of my life, or would it be feasible to eventually move back down state and be employable there? Not looking necessarily for a big NYC firm, but maybe LI or a not-for-profit org in the city...

Basically, does regional mean this region of the state of NY, or that I'm kind of crazy gluing myself to the state of NY in general?

Also, once I get some experience under my belt, is it logical to assume that the school I get my JD at will matter less and I'll be more mobile if, say, I wanted to cross the country and live in CA? Or is that far fetched...

Thanks in advance!

Choosing the Right Law School / New to the board...
« on: December 28, 2008, 01:42:20 PM »
Hello everyone. I'm new here and have been poking around and reading for the past week or so... and finally decided it was time to jump in and let people know that I exist.

I'm probably about to write a small novel, so please forgive me in advance- I just want to give some background and get some feedback from anyone who is kind/bored enough to take the time to do so.

Firstly, I am 23 and in my Junior year at Buffalo State College- I started out at a small private school on Long Island (St. Joseph's College). Completed two years there and transferred out after my fourth semester with a 3.7 GPA. I was forced into a bad position by my parents, who were pretty much enraged when I came out of the closet. I had been living at home, working 2 jobs, plus work study, treasurer of the English Club, volunteered weekly as a Youth Leader at my church... I had a lot going for me, and they had agreed to fund my undergrad up until that point. Once I came out, however, they changed the locks, revoked their offer to pay for school, and left me pretty much hanging... I lived in a motel for the majority of my last semester down there, and decided to move up to Buffalo where school was cheaper, housing was MUCH cheaper, and I had a chance at finishing my degree.

Came up here with my girlfriend, no job, no furniture, and $100- with only three weeks before the start of classes. I rushed around to register in time for the Fall 05 semester, thinking I could just keep going. Needless to say, this was far from my best semester. I registered for 5 classes, dropped 3, and of the two remaining I passed one and failed the other (basically, couldn't afford books for any of my classes, no aid because I was still a "dependent" of my parents, and there were many a day when I just didn't even have the money for gas to get to school and back). After this awful and totally out of character semester, I decided that in order to make it, I needed to prioritize, find a stable job that paid above minimum wage (if anyone is familiar with Buffalo, you KNOW that this is no easy task!), get settled into some sort of routine, and THEN re-attempt school.

I took two years off, during which time I landed a job at HSBC Bank (where I've been employed for almost three years now), bought a house (technically the loan is in my gf's grandmother's name, as my credit took a major hit when I moved up here and bills started stacking up- but I'm in the process of cleaning up my credit enough to transfer the mortgage to my name within the next year or so)- and once I was finally settled in enough and felt like I was ready to do so, I resumed my undergrad classes.

After this past semester, my second semester back after a two-year hiatus, I managed to bring my GPA up from that first disaster semester... I had a 1.5 after my first semester at Buffalo State, and after the past two semesters I've been able to raise that to a 3.13. I've used an online GPA calculator to determine my LSAC GPA (which, from what I understand, includes my grades from my first school as well) and if I can earn in A in all four classes this upcoming semester (which I am certain I can do) I will end up with a 3.43 GPA at the time I send out my law school apps and around a 3.55 upon graduation (again, provided I can ace every class...).

My questions now (after a long-winded back-story!) are as follows:

1. Will the two year break I took while earning my BA hurt me severely, or do you think it can be explained sufficiently enough in a personal statement? I am hoping that it may be seen as even something of a positive... that I encountered hardship, realized that I needed to prioritize to be able to succeed, took the time I needed, and then resumed my undergrad and worked hard to pull my GPA out of the gutter, while working FT.

2. I've taken a few practice LSATs and have ranged between 155-175 on those... a pretty wide range of scores, but I've been improving as I keep doing them. I plan on getting an LSAT prep book, studying my butt off, and taking the June LSAT. My prediction is that I'll get somewhere near 170 if I prepare enough, which I certainly plan to do. With a GPA of 3.55 and an LSAT score in that range, is it possible to get into any of the top schools (am I dreaming to want admission to NYU?)- I don't want to waste nearly $100 applying to schools that I don't have a shot in hell at getting into.

3. Any opinions of University at Buffalo Law? It's in the top 100, AT 100... so it's no where near the top of the list, but I'm pretty sure I could get accepted there and be able to stay living in my house (not have to worry about renting it out and trekking back down to NYC!)- But will I be short changing myself by going there? And if I eventually want to move back downstate, how likely is it that any firms in NYC will look at me seriously with a JD from UB Law?

Any opinions, advice, feedback... please feel free. I know I probably went on and on and on..... but it's Sunday afternoon and I have nothing better to do than vomit my life story out to strangers on a message board.  8)

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