« on: January 11, 2006, 06:30:49 PM »
I apologize for this rather horrible and probably depressing first post, but I would like to see if anyone is in a similar position, or, in the alternative, if anyone else has been through this and survived. Any wisdom, suggestions, and constructive criticism (but not insults) would be appreciated. A fair warning that this is a winded post.
I'm at a t4 law school. Today is my first day back for 2nd Semester, and I've been so distracted staring at the bookshelf at my cubicle thinking about my future. A few days ago I received my fall semester grades along with a dreaded academic advisory letter from the Dean. I have a 1.71 GPA. If I were at most "real" law schools, I'd be down the road already, but this school does not dismiss students for academic deficiency until after the 1L year. I have been mulling over my options, which are listed in the poll. If anyone can think of any other options, I'm open to suggestions.
The way I see it is that I should apply for a leave of absence. However, I have no grounds for it other than wanting to take time off to reconsider. It is my understanding that in general extenuating circumstances are required. I would still like to apply, being honest of course. The truth of the matter is, I didn't apply myself first semester. I did not make the changes I needed to make, and I made some destructive decisions. I'm trying to clean up my life right now, but I fear it may be too late. I am attending AA meetings right now and I'm doing fairly well, but that probably doesn't matter anymore. I do not blame alcohol for my own shortcomings, and would that really be an excuse? Also along these lines is the option of applying for a restart, which would effectively amount to a leave of absence with a fresh GPA and transcript, and this has the same requirement of extenuating circumstances.
I've also laid out what I think to be my other options in the poll above above. I had planned to use this school as a stepping stone to transfer "back home" to a state school with cheaper tuition and a part-time program so that I could work and put myself through law school, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Even if I pull the maximum allotted GPA here (a 4.33), by Spring I would have at best a 3.0, but the curve here is very screwy and the chances of that happening are close to non-existant. That 3.0 would put me on the borderline for getting into that school.
I have little doubt that I can stick it out and pull at least a 2.3 next semester to pass. If I'm going to finish law school here, my career prospects are basically shot. The only way I'm going to get onto law review here is a write-on - and if my writing and research grade is any indication, that's not going to happen. My class rank will be at best in the top 33%, and the best possible GPA would be a 3.89, but again, that's assuming all A+ grades (4.33) for the remaining 5 semesters. If I were at a more prestigious law school, this wouldn't be a big deal, but being near the bottom of the barrel is hard to stomach. If I do this, I'm doomed to spend two more years in an area I absolutely hate. Sounds like I've already answered my own question, right? After law school, how much am I really going to make, and how much trouble am I going to have finding work being at the very bottom of the totem pole (nationwide!!!)? My other concern is that due to the fact that I am attending on 100% loans on only my father's credit history as a co-signer and obviously no longer eligibile for any type of institutional based grants, scholarships, or tuition assistance that might have been an option at some point, I will be unable to fund the remainder of my education. All of my undergrad loans referenced except obviously the Stafford and Perkins have been taken out with my father as a co-signer.
My other option is to take stock of my situation and admit that I made a mistake - I've spent approximately 21k already between the conditional admission program I completed this summer (top of the class of 96 people, btw) and last semester, add that on to my 45k undergrad debt and I'm about $65,000 in the hole. I am still eligible for a 100% tuition refund within the first week. If I do this, will I be required to return my overpayment funds (I'm assuming they are from my private loan and not any Stafford) once a check is disbursed, or can I keep it to use for moving expenses and integrating into the brutal real working world during my grace period? I have a degree in political science, which is basically good for school of some type and nothing practical. Is there anything else I can do with this otherwise useless degree should I persue this option? I've considered entering the service or Peace Corps as a last resort.
Any answers to any questions posted, any wisdom, or any similar experiences are, again, appreciated.