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Messages - Miami88
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« on: November 18, 2013, 09:59:29 PM »
No problem for the info. Thats what boards like these are for!
So, instead of taking an anonymous internet poster's word, check out all the employment statistics for the schools you are interested in (as well as some that you may be skeptical about). Be sure to take note of the % of students that have submitted info, high/low range, bar passage rate, regional placement, etc. Also take a look at how much debt you will have to take on and compare it with what your realistic salary would be. Is this debt manageable given your lifestyle or will you be in debt through retirement?
Also take a look at some of the law firms/business/gov. agencies that you may be interested in in the regions you want to live/work. Where did those lawyers go to school? Were those lawyers at the top of their class (if you see some latin honor like Summa Cum Laude... they were at the top of their class)?
You should also make a list of your priorities in a law school. i.e. is the location more important than debt? bar passage rate more important than class size?
You may end up finding that, all things considered, a lower ranked/cheaper school in the region you want to live and work in will mean for a much happier career prospect. Likewise, you may find that law school outcomes are not as strong as you were hoping for, and may choose to study for a higher LSAT? I'm sure the former is the more likely result of the above process (or at least I hope it is).
« on: November 18, 2013, 04:36:45 PM »
A few things:
1) Why are you so concerned with ranking? Really, until you get to the very top schools - top 20 or so - there really is not that much of a difference between tiers. Once you pass the bar, you are in the same boat as everyone else. Don't get me wrong, ranking is still a nice tool to gauge general things, but should not completely guide your decisions.
2) It sounds like you have an interesting background. Just make sure you put in the time/effort into your essays in order to present that background in the most effective way possible. This is especially true since, given the schools you are interested in, you are not necessary the most competitive candidate numbers wise. In other words, the important aspect to soft factors is not WHAT they are, but HOW you portray them.
3) I'd look at FIU. They are not ranked as high as you want, however, have a strong program that is skyrocketing. Their employment and bar passage rates are both extremely attractive. Plus, tuition is super cheap and its in sunny miami. Honestly, I'd prefer FIU over UM (another school you could check out).
« on: November 16, 2013, 10:45:14 AM »
1) You have a nice, well thought-out voice. It does not read as a checklist of facts but rather as a story you would tell someone face to face.
2) You have a strong, intriguing narrative. I find myself interested in you.
3) It is apparent that you think about things in a deeper way. i.e. you can connect ideas and lessons learned from different parts of your life at will. you probably have a decent sense of wit.
The hard part...
1) Delete the first sentence. a) it is awkward to read as is and b) your story has much more punch starting with your second line (it drops me, the reader, into the middle of your story - as I mentioned earlier)
2) Consolidate and Condense. Self explanatory. You can tell me the same things in far less words, which leads me to...
3) Show more, tell less. If you need to make a topic sentence explicit to drive home a point, ok, but if it isn't a topic sentence, show me - don't just tell me. For example, " I learned to face my own inadequacies to better understand myself and successfully interact with people from diverse backgrounds." is almost a throw away line. It would have much stronger impact if you show me this through your story. If, at the end of the story, you want to reiterate this point in a shorter, condensed way, ok. But as is, lines like these don't do a whole lot for your paper and just bog down the reader with more words to read.
« on: November 14, 2013, 06:49:09 PM »
So long as done tactfully and deliberately, you could make almost anything work. You don't, however, want to startle the reader just to startle them. Your first sentence/sentences should drop the reader into the middle of your story. If this requires you telling them an anecdote, short story, etc, so be it.
« on: November 14, 2013, 06:39:25 PM »
You could use your PS to explain these things - particularly if you didn't have a whole lot going for you in general. BUT (huge but) given your life story, there are way stronger things to focus on in your personal statement. You really want to talk yourself up in your PS. Big things in PS are your voice, outlook on life, and self-analysis/reflection on past events.
Don't get me wrong, those things (poor grades/lsat) are extremely important to mention in your application - but its better suited for an addendum than a PS. An addendum will give context to less appealing facts, ideally in a way (as you are attempting to do in your PS) that turns a weakness into a strength.
Personal Statement Outline:
Struggled early in life (family story) ~ Overcame it (later in life) [these two sections should be no longer than 2-3 para.] ~ Huge Achievements from my overcoming struggles turned into deep interests in... (law stuff) ~ Will succeed in law school and as a lawyer... Note: tie in, and reflect on, your family/culture throughout essay (which you are currently doing very well by the way)
Let me explain more about my early struggles that I touched upon in my PS, specifically as it relates to academia (tie in family story from PS) ~ How I overcame it ~ How this process turned my weakness into a strength ~ Why and how I will rock law school!
Those are my thoughts at least. I'd be curious what other think. I'd also heavily recommend talking to a pre-law advisor and/or writing center to get their perspective.
Good luck my friend. You are almost there!
« on: November 13, 2013, 11:42:05 AM »
1) You have such a rich story, it is captivating
2) Your reserved (in a good way), driven voice comes through - very good indeed.
3) You should feel proud that you have written a strong draft.
Things to work on:
1) Talk yourself up more. Right now you talk your self around flaws. It seems as though you want to sound humble, but it is coming across as somewhat of a checklist of excuses . You can reference the fact that you struggled in college, but only in passing and as a springboard to talk about the achievements you have done. After this, the rest of the paper should be positive.
2) In order to circumvent the flaws mentioned above, you say that you were very proud about a lot of your achievements. This can be an extremely powerful tool if used correctly. The issue is that you use it so much that it loses its emotional impact on me, the reader.
3) Once you tighten those things up, I think this next thing may fix itself to some extent. But you really want to cut out any redundancy. If you can say something in one sentence instead of three, say it in one.
4) This comment kinda sums up the prior three... You can say things in much more powerful ways. For instance, your last line. Instead of speaking in a hypothetical (which diminishes your argument's voice), speak in a stronger tone with confidence. i.e. Instead of saying "I now believe I can and will be able to succeed in law school..." just say "I will succeed in law school." (you would want to connect it in a more meaningful way to your prior lines, though)
5) There are some syntax/grammar errors (albeit minor) that you can tighten up. This would require someone to read with a fine comb and explain in edits in word.
« on: November 12, 2013, 09:45:35 AM »
My take is a little different.
It really depends on the school and the prompt for the diversity statement (if they have one at all). Some schools will be specific, like "What about your cultural, racial, socio-economic background would add diversity to the student body?" Some even get really specific and make it just about race. Other schools will be much more broad, like "What about your background do you feel would add value and unique perspectives to the student body?" Some schools are even explicit and say it does not have to be about race or other commonly thought of diversity topics.
So, if presented with the first prompt, then yea, I would be hesitant to submit your essay as they are probably more concerned with diversity in the traditional sense. If presented with the second prompt, then I would submit it. If you are really in doubt, there is no harm in approaching your school's pre-law advisor to get their perspective or, heck, asking the law school directly.
« on: November 12, 2013, 09:23:53 AM »
If you just started a new job, are struggling to pay rent and suffering from vertigo it may not be the best time to take the LSAT.
The test is not going anywhere and it might be a good idea to have some stability in your life before taking the test. I was in a similar situation when I first considered taking the LSAT, but there was to much going on and I ended up taking the June instead of the December test. I do not think I would have even gotten a 140 had I taken it in December, but my life got under control and I did well enough on the June LSAT to get a scholarship then I graduated passed the bar and now love my job as a lawyer.
I rarely advocate putting off the LSAT, but if your current situation is your struggling to make rent it may not be the ideal time to take the test particularly since it is not going anywhere. Just my two cents good luck.
« on: November 11, 2013, 12:33:09 PM »
1) I love your story!
2) It could use another edit to tighten up some syntax - but overall really easy to read.
3) Only thing I would consider really revising content wise is the last line. Unless you are referencing/connecting your story with a particular school's program, it is a throw away line (in other words, your last line is already implied by context.) Your story would be much stronger, then, if you ended with a hook.
« on: November 10, 2013, 07:30:47 PM »
I really liked the Kaplan books myself. Powerscore would be a close second. My only qualm with powerscore is that it is overly eager to fit things into specific categories. Categorization should simply be pedagogical tool to help a student remember items. Kaplan does a nice job of balancing this with the practical application of techniques/methodology. (fyi - I really disliked the Princeton Review for LSAT prep)
I'm personally not a huge fan of the initial diagnostic test. It seems like a little bit of a waste. Regardless of your intellectual abilities, you will have no idea what you are looking at, let alone how to deal with it efficiently.
My advice is, in your free time before you start prep, read up on the test. Get to know what, generally speaking, it is all about. Maybe even start exposing yourself to some methodology. This way, when you jump in to actual prep, you will have a nice foundation of work from.
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