Law School Discussion

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Topics - Pub. Interest gal

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Here is my advice for all of you who may be looking ahead to the application process this fall and are asking yourself just how many schools to apply to.

The best advice I received, and what I and many of my friends did was to apply to 2-3 "likely" schools, 2-3 possible schools, and a couple of "reach" schools.  A likely school being one that from all numerical calculations you "should" be admitted; meaning the admittees have substantially lesser credentials than you possess- your LSAT score being 4-5 points higher than the schools average, your gpa being a good point higher, etc.  Possible schools are where your credentials are about equal to the average for those admitted (not those applying keep in mind).  "Reaches" are obvious- the best advice being to apply to schools that are reasonable reaches.  If you score a 155 don't waste your money applying to Stanford- that is not a dream, that is being stupid.  Along those same lines... if you score a 170, don't waste your money applying to T4 schools when most likely T2 schools are "likely" schools for you. 

The exception being if you fall in that highly unpredictable LSAT range.  If you've got a good GPA from a good school, and get a score on the LSAT between a 162 and a 168 your chances of getting into a school in the top 50 are very hard to calculate.  You have a 50% chance at most schools #15-30 and so it is a good idea to apply to more than just 3 or 4, if you can afford it.  For example, I have a 162 and was admitted out of state to UT Austin (#15) but waitlisted at George Washington. 

Key things to keep in mind however is that the numbers you see posted are numbers from two years ago (this fall the numbers will be from the adademic year for 2003-2004) and with the astronomical amount of applications it is smart to add at least 2 if not 3 to the ranges for LSAT and GPA that the school has listed.  Meaning, if the school's 25%-27% LSAT is listed as 162-165, assume that those numbers are now 164-168, certainly for the top 50 schools, and most likely for the full top 100, and apply based on those calculations. 

2 main pieces of advice- First, take your LSAT early.  That way you can know what your scores are when you apply and can make better decisions about your chances at certain schools. This allows schools to get their information to you early, especially from schools that you might qualify for scholarships from, and allows you to get your applications in early. Second, do your research about schools before you apply.  Lots of people apply to 20 schools, spend $1000, and then get accepted to schools and realize they truly do not want to go there.  If you can figure that out before hand, you will be better able to direct your time and money.  If you can figure out what size of school you are looking for, what kind of law you think you might want to go into, an area of the country where you think you want to live.  More important than knowing what you do want though, is knowing what you don't want.  If you hate the cold, it would be silly to apply to Michigan (even though they are a fabulous school).  For you, it probably makes sense to apply to a sligthly less fabulous school in an area of the country you will find more enjoyable.

Finally, apply to all those schools you would actually consider that offer you fee waivers.  This costs you nothing and opens up your options. These schools are also more likely to accept you, and even offer you money.  I came very close to attending a school I hadn't given much thought to until I received literature and a fee waiver from them in the mail in October.

Good luck and as insane as this process is, don't let it get you too crazy.

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I would strongly encourage you to set up a meeting with them in person.  They are getting tons of calls from students and your situation is one that I believe would best be explained in person.  Meet with someone from the admissions office, explain about your situation with your husband, etc, and your strong desire to head to law school.  And then show him your application and ask their advice regarding how to strengthen your application, or what they specifically are looking for in transfer students.  Even if you can't get any additional information, they will be able to put a face with the name and application, and therefore you become more than just a number to them.

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So, I have been obsessed these last few weeks with trying to decide between going to a top 20 law school, and going to Denver (#78) who is offering me a full ride.  I spent the $300 this weekend to go visit Denver and see if it was worth flying in the face of the standard advice and not going to the best ranked school I got accepted to.  I have to say, I was blown away.

My experience at Denver was AMAZING! The class I sat in on was as intense and intelligent as any I have seen. The professor was amazing- witty, engaging, and asked tough questions- all while having a nice rapport with the students.  Even better- there wasn't that edge to the students that I saw at so many other schools. One student struggled with an answer and the student next to him helped him out with out making him even look like he didn't know the answer.  Everybody was so friendly and welcoming.  Even just a few weeks before finals they were still VERY willing to talk with me, open and honestly about their experiences. 
I spoke with one of the Deans and some of the faculty and they all seemed so willing to help students in any way imaginable.  They talked about the clerk program and the efforts they go to to help place students and about the new employment law program (meaning a more cohesive group of classes, seminars, internships, etc) for students. On top of a great pubic interest law program, and IP program as well, they are really trying to develop their resources the help all students, whatever brand of law that appeals to them. They discussed testing techniques and professors willingness to let you take past exams and grade them for you, all just in an effort to help you better adjust to law school.  They all seemed very focused on student's success.
Talking with the students it was clear how much they like school, but are also able to enjoy life.  Intramural teams are everywhere, the moot court team placed 18th in the nation (just two from being one of the 16 that gets send to world competitions in Australia).  Throw in the incredibly building (brand new with the highest technology and craftsmanship), and I am sold. :)

So, for those of who might be in a similar situation to myself, and are trying to decide what is worth paying for and how much a difference the rankings actually make in the education you receive- hopefully my experience helps!

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Where should I go next fall? / For admitted and decided students...
« on: April 08, 2004, 02:10:22 PM »
This website also has a board under the Law School section for each specific school.  So, for those people who are looking to talk with others thinking about or going to yoru chosen school, or just see who else has gotten in, or learn more about particular area- might be nice to start posting there. 

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General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Anyone heading to Denver
« on: April 05, 2004, 01:11:20 PM »
As someone who is trying to decide between heading to Denver on a full ride, or heading to a top 20 school, a big part of my decision is the academic caliber of the other students I will spend the next 3 years with.  So... I would love to hear from any of you all who have chosen to call the mile high city your home for the next three years at least.  Where are you coming from?  How come you chose Denver?  What is your area of interest?

I'm looking for anything to reenforce my suspicion that the students I will be with at Denver are just as smart and committed to learning for the academic as much as the practical sake!  :)

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Basically here is my dilemna.  I have to decide between a bunch of schools along a broad spectrum in everything- location, ranking, and cost.  I know variations of this questions have been asked numerous times but now being in this situation myself, I am asking for all the input I can get.
I am from California/Colorado (so I have family and and some friends out there) but went to school down south and have been living and working in DC for the past two years and love it.  I think it would be great to work here for a couple of years after law school, but don't see myself settling here permanently. 
My first choice is UCLA- in that they have an incredible public interest program, great location, top 20 law school, national reputation etc.  Problems with UCLA- while in state tuition will keep costs down, still pricey area, far from friends, and have heard is a pretty competative environment.
The dilemna comes in in that I have received a full ride public interest scholarship to the University of Denver. Which is great- in that they have a great public interest program, my family is there and I love DenverBut, it is not nearly as good of a school, AND with my savings and some help from my parents in honor of winning the scholarship, I would be able to graduate debt free!  ;D (This is almost as hard to grasp as going into $100,000 into debt).  But, it is not nearly as good of a school, has very little name recognition outside of Denver hence potentially causing problems getting a job outside Colorado after graduation.
I also just attended admitted student weekend at Temple.  I was blown-over by the professors and students I met.  Every one on staff from the dean to the support staff were %100 dedicated towards teaching.  They also have an incredibly strong public interest program, have recognition along the East Coast, and are offering some money (but not a lot), and while Philly isn't DC, it is still somewhat appealing in its own right and its proximity to DC.  So what do I do?   ???  Keeping in mind that I will make between $30,000-50,000 a year in my ideal jobs (hence the debt issue is HUGE) and that each schools' location has its disadvantages and advantages... any and all input is welcome!!!!



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Where should I go next fall? / UCLA- Any news anybody
« on: March 02, 2004, 01:35:43 PM »
This is my first post so I apologize if this question has been asked numerous times before, but I am dying to know if everybody else is awaiting as anxiously as I am. 

I turned in my application back at the end of October and it was complete by early November.  I have heard back from all of the other 9 schools I applied to (with the exception of Texas where I was deferred) but am still waiting on UCLA.  I am taking this as a good sign in that they are still considering me, but am worried that maybe they are just really slow and NOBODY has heard.  My stats- 3.8 at UVA undergrad, 162 LSAT, 2 years work experience at the USDOJ, and volunteer work with public interest law work.  Any thoughts on what I should be thinking?

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