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Messages - femmelawren

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Socratic Method / soc. method advice
« on: December 05, 2008, 03:14:33 AM »
This may be because I am a hopeless nerd and have spent most of my academic career in horribly failing public k-12 schools and a mediocre "party" undergraduate school full of students who either don't care enough to prepare or participate in class or struggle with very basic concepts, but I am REALLY looking forward to the competitiveness law school is known for. I realize that IF I am accepted to one of my T10 target schools, I will be surrounded by many very intelligent people for the first time in my life (I am not being conceited here, I simply couldn't afford to go to one of the best colleges I was accepted to and settled for the "safety" which offered me a full ride plus living expenses, only to be incredibly bored for four years). My question is this: how do you find the balance between doing your best and avoiding being a gunner? I don't want to be perceived that way, but I can't imagine not participating in class unless forced to. For me, it has nothing to do with trying to show off or one-up anybody, but everything to do with taking advantage of the enormous opportunities law school provides. From reading the boards here I've realized that people who ask questions (or even answer questions correctly) are villified as gunners, but isn't that the point - to increase and enrich your knowledge and understanding of the concepts? Or is it all about the attitude in answering?

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One's performance on a standardized test shouldn't be completely disregarded. Since most people have similar test-prep resources (books, courses, practice tests), someone who effectively utilizes these resources to get a better score is probably better suited for an academic environment.

Although I generally agree that people with very low LSAT scores should be realistic about their admissions prospects, I also think there is a significant economic disadvantage for some people that should not be dismissed or disregarded so easily. I was technically homeless when I began preparing for taking the LSAT and applying to law school and had to choose between buying a prep book and buying food at some points.  I certainly could never have dreamed of taking a prep course or even the amount of self-study materials a prep course would include. While I realize that this is a relatively uncommon experience, many prospective law students face serious economic problems that limit their access to the preparation assistance that most pre-law students take for granted (receiving a private LSAT tutor for several hours a week as a birthday gift, or just because one's parents are willing and can afford to provide this opportunity to help their child succeed, etc.). I am by no means begrudging the more fortunate the benefit of their opportunities, but as someone from a very poor background, I think the issue is more complicated than it first appears.

Many of the T10 schools now provide substantial grants and scholarships based on financial need instead of the exclusively merit based scholarships that the lower-ranked schools tend to offer. I knew that it would be cheaper for me to go to Harvard than to go to my local second tier law school because of this disparity in aid resources. That having been said, I worked extremely hard and quite literally sacrificed a lot (about 20 pounds of unneeded weightloss) to prepare for the LSAT and break 170 to get into one of those T10 schools (otherwise, I would have had to go to a very low-ranked school that would have offered me a full merit scholarship, as I did in undergrad). However, I did so on my own with just two old, worn, used copies of commercial LSAT prep books. I've always been a good standardized tester and won scholarships to get through undergraduate school with a 4.0, but I think that economic circumstances definitely contribute to a person's ability to prepare. Those of us that grew up poor were told that education was the way out of poverty, but access to higher education is largely dependent on some level of wealth and the opportunities for self-improvement that come along with having money. Most law schools fail to recognize this, although Yale now asks applicants what assistance they had in preparing their applications and for the LSAT. They say having taken a course does not reflect positively or negatively on a person's chances, but that if a candidate who had no such assistance did as well or better than another candidate who had lots of help, the level of work each candidate put into preparing would be compared. I think that someone with unfortunate personal circumstances beyond their own control who has demonstrated their intellectual and scholastic abilities in other ways besides the LSAT deserves consideration in an holistic admissions decision-making process. I think this is a good thing, especially considering that there are now entire marketing firms devoted exclusively to getting people into Ivy League schools, for both graduate and undergraduate admission, charging several thousands of dollars to "package" you attractively to admissions committees. Combine this with legacy policies (whether official or not, we all know that the kid whose daddy donated the money for the new campus Planetarium is getting in, regardless of how many prep schools he's been expelled from, etc.), the boost an applicant from a top tier undergraduate school gets based on the prestige of the institution, and the increasingly exorbitant cost of even applying to law school (between the LSAT, LSDAS registration, score report fees, and application fees, etc.) and it is clear that poor applicants are at a significant disadvantage in comparison to well-off or even middle-income applicants. Consideration of these factors is an effort to compensate for some of these handicaps.

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LSAC and LSDAS / Re: HELP! LSAT Handscoring question
« on: December 03, 2008, 10:37:29 PM »
I would argue three points would, in general, be worth the wait-thinking in terms of better school choice, higher chance of admission to targets, scholarship money, etc.  This of course might depend on how long LSAC takes--several months would probably change the calculation.  That said, you won't be applying early at this point anyway, so I don't see how a few weeks would hurt.

By the way, when you say you hand scored it yourself, do you just meant that you looked at the pdf of the answer sheet on Lsac?  If so, you might check with someone less biased in your favor just to be sure your judgment is sound.  Applying later with no boost would be the worst of both worlds.

I agree. Thanks. I've had everything else related to my applications done since August and it has been killing me to wait for this financial aid nonsense, so I feel a lot of pressure to just send everything off, but you're probably right that a few weeks won't make that much of a difference. Hopefully it won't be longer than that though!

I did handscore the scanned copy of my answer sheet in comparison to the credited response chart provided by the LSAC. I was marked incorrectly for the first question in every section, but my answer sheet had the correct bubble clearly filled in for each. I figure it was probably some sort of glitch in the scoring machine, since they were all on the same line, but I had several objective parties double check for me and they all agree. I'll just wait a little longer before sending everything to the law schools. I hope the delays don't hurt my chances of a T5 admission offer!

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Minority Topics / Re: The LGBTQ Thread
« on: December 03, 2008, 10:13:03 PM »
Bump for the new cycle...where is everyone applying?


I am applying to T7 + Gtown, UCLA & BU as fallbacks, plus some locals that I don't actually want to go to. Everywhere I've checked allows same-sex partners to live in spousal/family campus housing, which is really helpful if we end up moving across the country.

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LSAC and LSDAS / HELP! LSAT Handscoring question
« on: December 03, 2008, 09:37:21 PM »
My applications have been delayed because of a financial obligation I had to my undergraduate institution (my financial aid issues have recently been resolved, so this is no longer a problem, but it prevented me from sending my transcripts and going complete until now). I really don't want to delay my applications by requesting a handscoring of my October LSAT, but after handscoring it myself, I realized that I was marked incorrect for three questions I clearly answered correctly on my answer sheet. While my original score was fairly good and within range of all of my target schools, a rescoring would raise my score 3 points, which I think is a significant advantage. However, I am wondering if any potential advantage to be gained by the score increase will be negated by the additional delay it would cause. Advice?

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