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Topics - 3ML

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Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Help With Where to Apply
« on: August 02, 2005, 03:57:11 PM »
I'm certainly what one would call a non-traditional applicant, and I'm having a great deal of trouble deciding where I should apply. Let me explain my situation and what I'm thinking.

I'm a Canadian who just didn't like undergrad when I started. I dropped out a few times and I took the vast majority of my classes while working full time in other jobs -- and not impressive ones for the most part. I worked in construction and as a bouncer and the likes. Only about a year ago did I decide I really wanted to finish my education and move on with life. This year I will be in classes full time and will be taking out a student loan to cover that. Given a full course load, I will graduate in the spring.

As of right now, my GPA is around 3.2 (not sure how LSDAS will calculate that, not sure if I should submit that right now, more on that below). I have also attended three different universities while taking classes part-time. It's taken me quite a while to finish my undergrad as well (I'm 26).

I wrote the LSAT (along with many other tests like that) last fall but didn't take it at all seriously because of work and the such. I didn't study for a second and got a 161. Shortly thereafter I decided law was the route I wanted to go, but I still only had a week to study but this time I got 170.

I imagine that my GPA this fall will be quite high (I got straight As the only other time I didn't work full time while in school). As such, I'm not sure whether I should apply early or wait until I can send my fall semester grades to LSDAS (they wouldn't be ready until early Jan which might make that idea impossible).

I do have a bunch of other factors in my favour. I will have very strong letters of recommendation, I have worked in politics and have massive experience volunteering in politics and in other areas. I have had some interesting summer internships and this fall I will be working for a mid-sized law firm in Toronto part-time while attending school.

I have a lot of relatives in California and would be particularily interesting in going to school there, but pretty much any school where I would feel 'comfortable' is an option. I am somewhat concerned about differences in culture between Canada and the US and would basically rule out the South because of that.

I'm also interested in schools that only look at your top LSAT (Cornell and Northwestern do this I'm told) so that is important. Basically any school that ways the LSAT heavily is a good call for me.

I'm wondering what people think of where I should apply. My very early list is:

Boalt (been told it's hopeless b/c they are GPA whores)


Santa Clara

Basically, New York, California, Illinois, Michigan, Washington State and DC would be at the top of my list geographically. Any thoughts on the schools I listed, others I should include or thoughts in general on my chances?

I did my undergrad in spurts, I really wasn't interested in school when I was younger and I dropped and changed schools several times. I wrote the LSAT without any practice and got 161, then studied for a few days the next time around and got 170. My GPA is around 3.2, but like I said my transcript is a mess. I've attended three schools mostly part-time while working in mostly menial jobs. I have a lot of involvement on campus, some academic experience (co-author a paper and organizer of a conference) and I have a ton of experience in volunteer activities. I've had a few decent jobs, but for the most part I've worked in construction or as a bouncer while taking classes part time.

I am a Canadian but I'm most interested in moving to the States. The vast majority of my relatives live in California and I would be interested in applying there, but I'm just not sure how schools will view my transcript and if there will be any sympathy for the fact that I didn't study for a single second for the LSAT the first time.

So, on that note, I'm looking for some advice. Should I write the LSAT again and actually study this time? I didn't study at all and got 161, then started studying the monday before the exam the next time and got 170. I'm certain if I studied a bit more I could get even higher, but is it worth it? More importantly, how will schools look at my transcript and the fact that I've worked full-time while doing my studies (except for this year where I will take out loans and finish going full time). Should I apply late and submit fall semester grades with my application?

Finally, what schools should I be looking at? What range of schools should I be targetting? Do I have a chance at T14 schools that only look at your highest LSAT (Cornell or Northwestern) or even at Boalt (which would be my first choice). Do I have a chance at any Tier 1 schools? Some advice would really be appreciated.

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