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Messages - PTamke

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I agree with the advice thus far.  It might also be helpful to highlight things that you've done in the years after college that required good self-discipline.  These are intelligent people, but sometimes you really do have to spell it out for them because of the workload they have to deal with  :-\

Oh, agreed; if it were a personal problem I would be more apprehensive about it. 

My family is similar to the OP's if you substitute mental illness for drug addiction (or, more accurately, insert it as the root cause).  It played a part in my personal statement, but I would have written something very different if it were my problems in question.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Penn State Law Question
« on: July 18, 2010, 10:18:44 AM »
Question #1:
I think it depends on what is concerning you.  As taxguy said, PSU may look favorably on it as an admissions factor and future employers probably don't care one way or the other.  The best argument against it is probably that you would be missing out on a more diverse educational experience.  I think this is less relevant if you are spending a year in DC for work, and much less relevant if you wanted to work in/around PA.

Question #2:
Extracurricular activities really come into play when someone didn't do them.  Depending on what they are, though, they could be a nice soft factor.  As a side note, it might even be helpful to look at the extracurricular groups in existence and see if there are any you would like to start once you are actually admitted (and find a way to mention it to them).  My only word of caution is to make sure that it is actually unique from what is already there. 

Your UGPA shouldn't be a problem if you do alright on the LSAT (the 25th to 75th percentiles for UGPA are 3.3 and 3.7, respectively). 

As for what you actually wanted to know, let's look at it in ranges:
165+:  I would be surprised if you didn't get in.
160-165:  You would be a very competitive candidate.  Should be  fine.
155-160:  This is pretty much the school's range.  Focus on a stellar personal statement and solid letters of recommendation and kiss it up to God (or whoever).  The actual median for the school was 158, so the higher above that, the better your chances of acceptance.
Below 155:  Chances of admission drop sharply.  If you have your heart set on it, make sure you have a good addendum to explain your numbers (if applicable) and do something interesting as sh*t while you are in DC.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Good West Coast schools?
« on: July 17, 2010, 11:02:41 AM »
In a nutshell, I'm looking for recommendations about schools on the West Coast that fit the following criteria:
1.)  Gay-friendly, politically tolerant, and located in either a temperate climate or right on the beach (50-80 degrees is ideal if far from the water). 
2.)  Has a good reputation in the San Francisco Bay Area (where I ultimately want to end up). 

This inquiry is prompted by a few specifics.  Is Golden Gate University really that bad for a safety school?  Pepperdine seems great on paper, but I hear it is very conservative.  Would my moderate-to-liberal views be seen more as helpful discussion or problematic?  Do Pepperdine graduates get hired in San Francisco or do they stick to Los Angeles?  UC-Irvine is a new school, but it has a rock-star of a dean (Erwin Chemerinsky) and one of my personal heroes on the faculty (Elizabeth Loftus).  What is it like?

Any and all help is very much appreciated!   

If it has had a big enough impact on you to make you want to study law, why wouldn't it be the main focus? 

This is potentially a very powerful topic, but I would advise you be careful with it.  Avoid catharsis, and try to highlight positive things that would give you a unique perspective.  This is not to suggest that you have to downplay the difficulty of the situation; just make sure you don't come off as bitter/angry and I think you'll have a great statement.

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