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Messages - Leverandon

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Law School Admissions / Re: * KILLER SOFT FACTORS * ?
« on: October 16, 2008, 02:46:19 PM »

And I keep telling you, TFA will be a modest boost to your application.  It is not a killer soft factor.  For planning purposes, you should apply based on your numbers, not your TFA. HTH.

I get that urban education is hard.  But I think it only shows how sheltered you've been if you think that teaching a kid living in a homeless shelter or having to decide whether to report abuse is so extremely difficult that it's in a separate category with only active military service during wartime. 

And are your 24 cookie-cutter friends in top law schools? And, if so, do they have numbers that basically secure them that position?   

A modest boost sounds good.

This was one of the pieces of evidence that led me to believe that TFA could be something that is looked on very highly by adcoms:

YellowBrickRoad, the tough part about urban education is not just that the students are "damaged goods," its how to get a kid who is 16 and reading at the level of a third grader to advance. Teach for America is tough because it is both a physical challenge (the amount of hours you work) as well as the intellectual challenge of figuring out how to motivate and educate these children. Neither government nor a hundred years of education reformers have been able to solve the problem because its extremely difficult. Being 22 and thrust into that situation...again...I can't think of much that poses that level of physical and intellectual challenge. Clearly there are other problems in the world that are difficult, pressing, and impressive, but I can't think of anything in America as important a public issue as education reform.

Law School Admissions / Re: * KILLER SOFT FACTORS * ?
« on: October 16, 2008, 12:41:38 PM »
I never claimed that TFA is a golden ticket, but I probably know about two dozen people in law school (half of that number as close friends) and most have basically cookie cutter resumes. A little study abroad, a little internship in DC for a summer, etc. I don't for a minute think that TFA is going to overshadow everything, but I think it might be reasonable to assume, based on the things that I sighted before that it could give a bump to a borderline case.

YellowBrickRoad, I think that if I was the kind of person who takes offense easily, I'd be pretty damn offended by YOUR perspective of what urban education is like. There's a reason less than 20% of teachers in the inner-city make it past their first year. Figuring out how to teach children in homeless shelters, how to deal with a child being abused and whether or not to report the case and then what to do after that, a student whose house was torched by her father, etc are all things that I doubt very much that most law school applicants have had to deal with. I'm not trying to self-righteously self-promote (ok, I am a little), and I'm sure that there are people at law school who have experiences topping TFA in terms of difficulty (Iraq War vets, AIDS orphanage volunteers, etc) but I would guess that TFA is significantly more difficult than most of what law school students do between undergrad and grad. I get that this board is LSD and has a reputation for being "tough-talking" to the point of frequent elitism and occasional douchebaggery (and that's part of the fun really). I don't particularly care, I'm just curious about how much of a bump TFA will be for my own planning purposes. I'll find out in a few months, I guess.

Law School Admissions / Re: * KILLER SOFT FACTORS * ?
« on: October 15, 2008, 08:50:58 PM »
Thanks for the reply YellowBrickRoad. Obviously, TFA does self-promote quite a bit, but I believe that I have read about its utility in getting into law schools from a vareity of other sources including, a Time article from a while back and some admissions consultanty articles. Also, every law school below the US News Top Five (ie Chicago down) gives an automatic fee waiver to TFA corps members and there are apparently a variety of scholarships at all of the top schools reserved for TFA. Additionally, a number of schools (Penn comes to mind) devotes an entire page to recruiting TFA corps members. There aren't automatic scholarships nor recruitment pages for people from the Clinton initiative, former lobbyists, etc. So, it seems that it means something special to them on that end. I think that the extreme difficulty of Teach for America places it into a category alone, exceeded only by military experience and some Peace Corps assignments. The attrition rate is pretty staggering in TFA and the people that make it out are ones who have seen a lot and done a lot. I think that adcomms know that..

Some of the things that you mention, are clearly more impressive than TFA, but really how many people in the t14 have invented a product or been the communications director for a major politician?

"Really, I can't think of anyone I know who doesn't have something more intriguing on their resume than TFA." Obviously I'm biased, but that seems like a bit of a harsh stretch. I know plenty of people in law school who had legitimately nothing in a league close to the intensity of the TFA experience on their resume. Again, I'm pretty biased about this, since I'm a second year corps member, but I think that my perspective on it is one based on having gone through it and I can't imagine much, besides the military, that gives one a sense of focus, hard work and depth of perspective like Teach for America.

I guess we'll see in a few months how much of an impact TFA has, since I have three or four friends in the corps who are, in addition to myself, applying to law school.

Law School Admissions / Re: * KILLER SOFT FACTORS * ?
« on: October 14, 2008, 01:51:26 PM »
TFA isn't really a "killer" soft factor, especially not at Harvard.  Having a kickass job before law school always help.

Why is TFA not a killer soft factor? I'd always heard that it is a significant boost, maybe the most significant thing that you can do after undergrad, pre-grad school. Note: as a TFA corps member I certainly hope its a major boost.

Depends on the school you're applying to.  Vanderbilt definitely takes stock of TFA/Peace Corps/Americorps/JVC experience, especially for those interested in pursuing careers in social justice/public interest.  And it will definitely help you out if you're looking for public interest work your 1L summer year.  I was on here as a 1L last year talking to people with these unique experiences and encouraging them to explore our Social Justice Program.  The school is putting a lot of money into building more opportunities for us, and the larger our ranks grow the more funding and support we'll have in getting jobs that are often just as competitive as they are for biglaw.  The program's already very interesting but we can make it better... we're currently figuring out how to get funding to bring in Nicole Kidman next spring to talk about her work with UNIFEM.  Our VP of Events just heard back some good news from her publicist, but we'll need to frame the discussion around legal issues before the school will pay to bring a non-JD celebrity into the school, even if she is our neighbor.  Dean Rubin also supplies Career Services with enough funding to send between 5-10% of the total class (10-20 students) to the Equal Justice Works career fair in DC each year.  In talking with 2Ls from other schools at the fair last weekend, other schools are starting to provide partial-to-full funding for people pursuing non-firm routes.

Even if you aren't looking to stay in public interest work for your law career, I still think it would help put you above someone with similar numbers who's coming straight from undergrad or who worked at a bar for a year or two before applying.  Look at the schools who list the accomplishments of their incoming class... Vandy does this, as does Michigan and a few others.  There's a thread with all the lists either on here or Top-Law-Schools... if you can locate it, you'll see a lot of schools are peppered with various TFA/Fulbright/Peace Corp alums, in addition to the unusual/amusing (we've got an SEC quarterback in my class, and another school listed a former zamboni driver in theirs).

Thanks for the info on Vandy's programs. I'm definitely going to have to spend a bit more time looking into your school!

Law School Admissions / Re: * KILLER SOFT FACTORS * ?
« on: October 14, 2008, 12:47:08 PM »
TFA isn't really a "killer" soft factor, especially not at Harvard.  Having a kickass job before law school always help.

Why is TFA not a killer soft factor? I'd always heard that it is a significant boost, maybe the most significant thing that you can do after undergrad, pre-grad school. Note: as a TFA corps member I certainly hope its a major boost.

Law School Admissions / Re: Northwestern alumni interview
« on: October 09, 2008, 11:01:03 AM »
I've got an interview coming up in a week and a half. A suit is, of course, required, right? Its not a more casual affair?

Studying for the LSAT / Re: Stories from the 9/4 exam?
« on: October 06, 2008, 05:39:13 AM »
I have a pretty great one. About ten minutes before the test right when fingerprinting as begun a kid who had previously been in the room, strolls in with his iphone in his hand tapping away on it. The proctor is the principal of the high school where we were taking the test. He was a short, fat, balding guy with a thick New York accent. He just starts screaming and cursing at the guy who was apparently pretty bufuddled and was like, "I was just checking my email on my phone in the bathroom." More cursing by the principal and the guy was sent home.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: October LSAT curve
« on: October 06, 2008, 05:32:42 AM »
Love useless polls...but at this point, I'll post on anything that could help marginally alleviate my anxiety.

Studying for the LSAT / Re: when should I start worrying about timing?
« on: October 04, 2008, 04:09:41 AM »
In my opinion, with that level of accuracy, you basically understand how to do the LR and the LG and now its time to lower the time, especially for the LG. What worked for me, and I think what is generally accepted is to begin to lower the amount of time allowed to yourself for each section. If you just crank the time down to 8min 45 sec for each Logic Game right now, you'll probably see your number correct plummet. Instead, maybe allow yourself 9min 30sec each and if you can maintain that accuracy begin to lower the amount of time by fifteen sec. increments until you get to 8min 45 sec each. For LR, I pace myself on the overall section such that my time on the clock roughly matches the number of questions that I have completed (ie about a min a question), at least for the first 3/4 of the section. The last ones tend to be the hardest, so I let my time slip on those, but if I am on pace I have a good 4-5 min to spare at the end of the section. This might not be a realistic pacing for everyone, though. LR tends to be my strong suit and LG my weakness. See if it works for you, though.

Now I'm off to the testing center to slay the beast today...

Studying for the LSAT / Re: tonight
« on: October 03, 2008, 02:32:38 PM »
Rounders! I like it!

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