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Messages - LawDog3

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61
Here are my points:

1) No, you cannot raise your GPA once it's in stone. And you cannot go from 2.7 to 3.0 in a reasonably short time. At the UW-Seattle, some people have figured out that they can wait to confer their degrees, re-take some courses, get A's and receive the averages between their grades and those A's as "final grades"; that can raise your GPA quickly. But, they are still in school.

2) You can give adcoms something else to look at by taking additional courses (some will be more lenient than others). They are not going to "ignore" your grades, but they will "look beyond them" if you give them a reason to.

3) Many schools have cutoffs, but they are not "formal"...At Yale, they will not tell you that they have a cutoff, but when have they admitted anyone with a GPA below 3.2 who wasn't a legacy, a URM, an Olympic athlete, a reformed convict with an extraordinary story, or from a foreign country with a wierd grading system, and/or didn't have an LSAT above 170? Probably not in a good long time...like maybe ever. Every school claims that there is "no point on the GPA or LSAT scale below which an application will not be considered". They have to say that.

Even at 3.2, Yale might admit one or two at the most in a given year. And, believe me, those two people are in a unique situation. Like I said, daddy$ money, URM, etc, plus a great LSAT. Remember, we are talking Yale.

Now, at Duke, I know a guy (a White guy) who got in with a 2.9/170 last year. That's doable b/c Duke doesn't have a 3.2 cutoff. GWU and several other schools use an "index", which is just a fancy word (semantic) for "cutoff". At a certain GPA you will need a certain LSAT score to have a decent shot at getting in, that's what it means. But there are top schools that take students with GPA's below 3.0. They don't take many, but they will take a few. Soft factors and LOR's CAN help if they are very strong. Texas, GWU and some other top schools have taken 2.5 students...not many, but it happens.

And again, the further outside of a school's numbers you are, the more closely they will scrutinize your soft factors. The reason for this is that schools are looking for reasons to say "Yes" b/c they don't want to miss a hidden gem. And they want diversity, which comes in many forms. Legal education would duck if everyone was cut from the same mold. Soft factors ensure that the schools have diversity of ethnicities, experiences, etc.

On the flip-side, if you apply to Harvard with a 3.9/170, you will also be scrutinized b/c most of the applicants look like you on paper. So the schools have to find a way to differentiate you from other applicants whose numbers are just as stellar as yours. Does that not make sense? Thus, your essays will matter, your LOR's will matter, your extra-curriculars, work history, community service will matter. So, contrary to what most people on LSD and TLS will say, "soft factors" make a big difference. Otherwise, how do schools pick between several thousand students with similar stats? Admissions would not make sense otherwise.

Soft factors matter a lot, and so does additional course work. The top schools will pay as much or more attention to soft factors than will the so-called lower-tiered schools. Yale seems to have an informal, but hard, cutoff, while the other schools have "soft cutoffs", which just means that it will be rare, but not impossible (that's the distiction), for anyone with certain numbers to get in. 

Grade thresholds exist b/c everyone understands that different GPA's represent different "levels" of acheivement. As another poster also said, there's a big difference between 2.7 and 3.11. And people understand, that the 2.7 student is a B-/C+ student, whereas the 3.1 student is almost a B+. Big difference in the level of consistency, and in class rank and percentile. Most college students are C/C+ students, which people also don't seem to know. And at certain schools grades take on different meanings, but the thresholds still remain the same: 2.5, 3.0, 3.2, 3.5, 3.75 (which I forgot below), and 4.0. Everyone knows how they feel when their GPA reaches or crosses those marks, which makes it real.

Also, my response to bl825 is based on other responses I have received from bl825 in other posts. I wish people would refrain from calling people's remarks "flawed" without addressing the flaws. You did a good job of addressing an "apparent contradiction" and I have responded to it. But most of the time, people just reject what I say out-of-hand or attack me personally b/c they really cannot refute what I am saying.

I have hard evidence for the things I am saying. I get my info from experience, books, research, etc. But people want to say I don't know what I am talking about. Yet, when I quote chapter and verse, they have no response. They often have no evidence for their claims, and I have to call them on it. I don't pull anything out of my ass, that's the point. bl825 stalks me. That poster fights me constantly and seems to respond to everything I post. There are times when I love him/her, and times when I'm like..."Go somewhere!"

If you want to know where I get my info, I will be glad to tell you. I'll post it here b/c I have nothing to hide.
   

62
There are threshholds in grades.

I really don't know why you think this.

And the more outside of a schools range you are, the more your LOR's, as well as ALL of your "soft factors", matter.

Or this.

They won't admit it, but unless you are a legacy or a URM, you need a 3.2, so they have a "preferred" cutoff...but they bend it for some.   

Or this.

But we usually don't agree and I don't see a need to bury this thread in pointless arguments.  OP can decide for herself who she wants to listen to.

Because I have done extensive research and seen grids on the admissions patterns the tops schools have. They all claim not to have formal cutoffs, but most have soft cutoffs. Yale has rarely admitted ANYONE with a GPA below 3.2...go to their site and you will see it. If you want, I can send you a copy of the information I look at. But the important thjing for you to know is that I do not talk out of my ass. This info can be backed up with hard data.

As for my remark on "soft factors", I am living proof of this. I was nearly admitted to Columbia, Vanderbilt and Iowa the first time I applied...with a 145 LSAT back in 2004! URM or not, that's extraordinary. That's how I know. And I can show you copies of my waitlist letters from that year. I know what I know.

Let me give you some advice:

You need to quit rejecting everything I say simply on the basis that my opinions tend to be in the minority. That is what we refer to on the LSAT as "Flawed Reasoning".  

LawDog3 consistently spouts opinions that are out of the norm for me or anyone I know. Clearly he doesn't know what he's talking about. I know some very astute people and they rarely, if ever, say the things he does.

Which of the following answers identifies the FIVE Flaws committed by the respondent (bl825) in the passage above?[/b]

A) Cites a sample that is likely to be unrepresentative
B) Assumes arguments to be circumspect on the basis that they are outside of the norm
C) Takes for granted that people are always honest in the opinions they reveal
D) Neglects to consider the possibility that the subject can offer evidence for his claims
E) Assumes bl825's opinion of the reliability of others to be reliable as fact.



63
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Columbia or Stanford
« on: April 29, 2009, 02:12:10 AM »
Stanford. If I could have gone there, I would have. I guess Columbia will have to do. ;)

64
bl, this lady had a 3.11.  It's not stellar (especially among people that qualify for the Ivy League), but I would argue that there's a world of difference between a 3.11 and a 2.7.  Even with the better GPA, she still got rejected from most of the truly high-end full time programs.
Oh, well, I suppose all you need is one acceptance, right?  I'll stop crushing dreams.

I mean yes, GULC would be a bit of a reach, but I still think it's worth trying for.  :)

But your point is well taken: target range is slightly lower.

Swampfox must remember that NO TWO CANDIDATES are alike, even if their numbers match. With a 3.11, OP might be a much better candidate than your lady example b/c of intangibles, essays and LOR's. And if OP had a 3.11, I would tell him to apply to absolutely any school, though Yale would be tough. They won't admit it, but unless you are a legacy or a URM, you need a 3.2, so they have a "preferred" cutoff...but they bend it for some.   

65

I think that a new LSAT that was one or two points higher or a new LOR would have the same effect as some new grades, which is to say that I think they will have a very slight effect.

I disagree for this reason: you must think not just of improvement, but "relative improvement". One point added to a 171 is not only unhelpful, it's a complete waste of time. On the other hand - and I am not saying the OP NEEDS to do this, only recommending it - new, more recent and more stellar grades will force an adcom to look beyond (not ignore altogether) his GPA, especially if OP has really challenged himself. There's a world of difference between a 3.0 GPA and a 2.7. Those are two completely different people and it's not even close, all else held equal. There are threshholds in grades. The first is 2.5, then there's 3.0, 3.2 (that's a really important one b/c is a B+ average on a 4.0 scale) and then there's 3.5 and 4.0, of course. The closer OP can get to 3.0, even if it's not calculated formally, the (much) better he looks. But from 170 to 171? Pointless b/c both scores are in about the 97th or 98th%.

GWU Dean of Admissions Robert Stanek says that students who screw up their first two years but rebound and can explain the difference impress him. Other deans concur. In Princeton Review's Essays that Made a Difference, for example, he cites a specific example, and tell how he would view that student.

Another thing, last year, I was turned down by some schools that admitted me this year. The difference? A strongly worded LOR from the non-profit I worked at for eight years. I applied at the same time, and the schools knew about my new score last summer. LOR's make a difference...how much depends on the school and the strength of your letter. It also depends on the context in which it's written. For example, if it's written right after a new LSAT score (5+ point improvement) or newly impressive grades, and it's strongly worded and rings true, you had best believe it will make a difference.

And the more outside of a schools range you are, the more your LOR's, as well as ALL of your "soft factors", matter.
 
 

66
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Start studying for June LSAT now?
« on: April 29, 2009, 01:12:23 AM »
is it true that if you take the lsat more than once than both scores are averaged together?

Not necessarily. In fact, most schools will take the highest score, even if you only improve by a few points. NYU, UW-Seattle and a couple of others are still doing it the old way, but they take it case-by-case.

67
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Start studying for June LSAT now?
« on: April 29, 2009, 12:09:55 AM »
If you're disciplined, it can be done. In fact, you might have a funner time when the test rolls around b/c you are more amped-up and used to focusing more. Certainly, your endurance will be up to par if you're doing 5 hours per day instead of two or three. With a 162 diagnostic, a 170 in seven weeks is NOT out of the question. People have done more with less time.

68
Black Law Student Discussion Board / Re: African American Female
« on: April 28, 2009, 08:42:17 PM »
You're coming from a Cal State school, which, in reality, hurts you a little, in light of your GPA. If your major was a difficult one, that will compensate some. If you want to go to a T14 (Stanford, Berkeley), you will need a 165+. If you want to go to UCLA or USC, you need to score in the 160-165 range. USD, UCH, UCD, or Loyola, get 158-162. And if you want to go to USF or Southwestern, you need to plan on 155-159.

Essays and "soft factors" (i.e., work experience, LOR's, etc) can help a lot for URM's. If you worked a lot during school, be sure to tell the adcoms. Ditto if you have a history of doing poorly standardized exams. Do an addendum for either grades or LSAT, but NOT BOTH. If you do both, you come off as making excuses. Besides, if you do both addenda, what you're telling adcoms is that they don't have anything reliable to evaluate you with, which leads to denials. If you do well on the LSAT, write an addendum for your grades (illness, family tragedy, learning disability, sensory impairment, etc).

If your grades improved as you progressed through school, be sure to highlight that, as well, as students almost always take the harder courses of their programs in the final two years. Put it in your GPA addendum.

Also, highlight your community service, if you have it. And write and rewrite and rewrite and re-edit and rewrite your personal statement at least 20 times, no joke. Make it perfect. You won't rewrite the entire thing, just edit parts of it for vernacular, sentence structure, organization, vocabulary, spelling and grammar, etc.

Buy these these books:

The Elements of Style, Strunk and White ($20)
How to Get into the Top Law Schools, Richard Montauk ($25)

PowerScore Logic Games Bible ($40 new, Amazon.com)
PowerScore Logical Reasining Bible ($40 new, Amazon.com)
PowerScore Reading Comprehension Bible ($40 new, Amazon.com)
All Three Next 10 LSAT's ($20 each new, Books are Green, Purple and Red, Blue and Gold, Order at LSAC Website)
McGraw Hills LSAT ($20 Barnes and Noble) Note: Good for Logic Games only, especially diagramming...the best!
LSAC SuperPrep (free through LCAS Law Services if you are approved for a fee waiver)
Either Kaplan 180 or Kaplan Advanced

In addition, go to the LSAC website and Order tests #42-56
Take your last 15 proctored exams with these books, b/c they physically resemble the real testing materals (small, flat).

Read the Scientific American Magazine Regularly
Read the Wall Street Journal Regularly
Read The Smithsonian Magazine regularly

Put in four-five hours per day every day. Take at least three timed exams per week during your final two months of prep (you should ideally do six months of prep).

Start slowly. Lead off by reading the PowerScore books and doing all exercises thoroughly, studying the explanations. Begin with the Reading Comprehension Bible for two weeks. Read and re-read; repeat the lessons and study daily. The next two weeks do the Logical Reasoning Bible. Then in your final two weeks read the Logic Games Bible. Follow the approaches to the questions, but use the McGraw Hills Book to learn the most efficient diagramming techniques. Again...DO ALL EXERCISES and read all explanations. Note which questions give you the most trouble and devote extra time to them.

Begin using your SuperPrep Book after six-eight weeks...read it at night for 15-20 minutes before bed and in the morning. During your third month, begin doing the Next-10 and start timing yourself. Learn pacing. Take advantage of the fact that you don't have to do questions in order. In LR, the questions generally get more difficult towards the end of the section (last 5-6 questions), but not always.

Set aside a day for "Lab", where you work only on one section (LG, RC or LR) for that day (4-5 hours). Work on your weaknesses more than your strengths. That might seem redundant, but you'd be surprized; it takes discipline to do that.

Develop a schedule and stick to it. Don't worry about speed early on...worry about understanding the question types and how to approach them. Speed will come.

If you do these things I am telling you, you could be going to Stanford or Berkeley, no joke!

Good luck!  ;D 

Feel free to PM me if you need anything else...

69
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: BAD EXPERIENCE WITH TEMPLE
« on: April 28, 2009, 08:03:54 PM »
I got an email from a law school (I don't remember which one). It said, "Dear Accepted Student," and included a bunch of information. I only applied to one LS, so it made no sense. I emailed them back and they basically said "oops! - wrong address." Seriously, I didn't even apply!

Did they ID you through CRS? I got letters from UGA, Wake, Indiana, Minnesota, GMU, and UW-Seattle last summer saying I would likely get in...but not that I was accepted.

Phoenix School of Law is admitting people strictly on numbers, as is FAMU, was it one of them? They offered me full scholarships without me even doing any essays. 

70
I think it's better to be in law school in a northern city, which is why I turned down the southern schools. I can't imagine being in Miami or L.A. and trying to study with Halle Berry and Eva Mendez lookalikes sitting on each side of me, half-naked, no less! I'd go nuts. Not that the women in NY are exactly dogs, but you study indoors and everyone is fully clothed. no thanks, I'll take the cold, at least until I'm ballin' and driving my convertable Benz. ;)   

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