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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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As the previous posters have stated, a 165 LSAT is enough to get you into many law schools even with a lower GPA. Top ranked schools will be out, but it should be sufficient for lower ranked schools.

As far as whether or not you should take additional classes to raise your GPA, it depends on much it will actually change. I doubt if eight additional classes would make much difference. The fact is, a school that isn't going to accept someone with a 2.5 (regardless of LSAT) probably isn't going to accept someone with a 2.7 either.

165 is a good LSAT score, and I'd be wary of retaking unless you really believe you'll do better. You may score lower on a retake.

Here's something you need to consider, no matter where you go:

I was a non-trad student and went to law school while juggling kids and a mortgage. It is an unbelievably difficult grind. Law school makes undergrad look like a joke. The amount of work you will be required to do just to maintain a C average (especially the first year) is overwhelming at first. Your LSAT score indicates that you have the intellectual capability to succeed, but you need to make sure that the obstacles that interfered with your undergrad GPA are resolved before you start.

If you can't dedicate yourself 100% to law school, it won't turn out well. I'm not saying this to be negative, but I have first hand experience with the rigors of balancing law school with other competing obligations. It's something to consider before dropping $30-40k on year's tuition.

You may want to look at part time programs. I went to law school at night and completed my JD in four years instead of three. It's more like 3/4 time instead of part time, but it helps.

Make sure your family is totally on board with the idea, and understands the time commitment you will be required to make. I think a lot of people think they understand what it means, but really don't. Your weekends, holidays, and every spare minute you have will be spent preparing for class and exams. Having a supportive family is very important.

Good Luck with your decision and feel free to message me if you have any questions.   

I'm not sure what will happen to each school's ranking, but I don't think it will matter anyway.

Firms and government agencies that currently hire from Penn State/Dickinson will continue to do so even if the school's ranking drops. Once you get away from the handful of elite schools near the top of the rankings scheme, a school's reputation is pretty much local. Local reputations are based more on alumni networks and the school's profile within the immediate region, and less on rankings.

My guess is that Penn State/Dickinson probably has a good local reputation, and that it probably won't change because of USNWR. Honestly, who cares if a school is ranked, say, #64 instead of #51? Most lawyers know that this is a meaningless distinction.

Geography, however, does matter. It matters especially when you are talking about non-elite, local schools. If you want to live and work in Philly, Temple might be a better choice. You'd have much better access to the local market. If western/central PA is your goal, Dickinson might be a better choice.

I would think more about that aspect and less about rankings.

BTW, didn't Dickinson used to be a separate law school which merged with Penn State? I guess they decided to get a divorce.

Law School Admissions / Re: Help with Diversity Statement
« on: October 20, 2014, 11:39:47 AM »
Yeah, I agree with the previous posters. You can write about your age if you want to, but I don't think it will make any difference. Being one year younger than average isn't that unusual.

My understanding is that the only diversity statements that carry significant weight are those associated with URM status. And even then, certain URM groups can benefit more than others (African American, Native American). I'm not even sure that socioeconomic or sexual identity status matters much, either.

All of these are soft factors and with the exception of the above mentioned URM classifications, will pale in comparison to GPA/LSAT profiles. 

Law School Admissions / Re: Please Help!
« on: October 07, 2014, 11:15:18 AM »
So my question is, is it going to make a difference if I get my Bachelor's Degree through a distance education program? Is there any rule that only regular college students can get into a law school like NYU, Columbia, etc?

No, there is no rule that prevents distance learning graduates from entering law schools in the United States. The main factors will be your LSAT score and grades.


Schools like NYU and Columbia are highly competitive in terms of admission. They have literally thousands of applicants to choose from, many of whom graduated from peer institutions (Harvard, Yale, etc) or well respected public universities (Michigan, Berkeley, UCLA, etc).

In that type of hyper competitive environment a graduate of a foreign distance learning program might be at a disadvantage. If the foreign university is well known and respected internationally, then alright. But if it's a program that is not well known it may be difficult to compete with the other applicants.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Scalia on religion
« on: October 06, 2014, 11:19:40 AM »
It's an interesting question. What is the scope of the Establishment Clause?

I suppose in the most basic sense Scalia is correct. The EC does not prevent the government from ever favoring religion, it only prohibits an establishment of religion. Presumably, there are situations in which religion could be favored over non-religion, but the favoritism would result in something less than an establishment of religion.

The issue I have is that Scalia is willing to pretty far before he considers it an improper establishment. For example, I don't have a problem with Christmas trees in public schools, but Scalia doesn't have a problem with prayer in schools. Again, I think the issue is scope.

As far as whether the Constitution actually favors religion, that's a tougher question. The First Amendment clearly protects religion, but the EC seems to act as a counterweight.

I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I'm not sure if the intent of the First Amendment was to necessarily favor religion (as Scalia has argued), but I'm also not convinced that the EC prohibits any favoritism (as some secular organizations argue).

Although I'm a secularist, I find the Pastafarian/Spaghetti Monster stuff childish and annoying. I don't think the Constitution entitles the Pastafarians to place a display next to a Nativity scene on public property. Why? Because one is a satirical construct and an expression of political sentiments, not a sincerely held religious belief. As a political statement Pastafarianism enjoys First Amendment protection, but that doesn't mean that they are entitled to disrupt protected religious expression.

Online Law Schools / Re: Touro College vs. Novus
« on: October 04, 2014, 02:21:12 PM »
What I mean is that an LL.M program does not teach the skills required to be a good lawyer. They assume that you learned those skills in your JD program. LL.M programs are more like a standard master's.

Therefore, someone who doesn't learn that stuff in a real law school but does get an LL.M (and perhaps a ticket to the bar exam), is seriously lacking IMHO.

And yes, for the purposes of this discussion I assuming that most people with a non-bar qualifying JD enroll in a bar-qualifying LL.M program in order to take the bar.

Online Law Schools / Re: Touro College vs. Novus
« on: October 03, 2014, 03:46:52 PM »
Groundhog makes a great point. A reasonably smart individual could probably learn enough "bar law" to pass the exam without any legal training. Does that mean they are prepared to be a lawyer, and should be entrusted with matters of huge significance? No!

In most states the bar tests minimum competency in limited, predictable, repetitive subjects. Even the essays themselves are frequently recycled. This is why most states have fairly high pass rates, not because most JD grads are brilliant. It's a learnable test.

The harder part is getting good at thinking like a lawyer, seeing all the angles, and issue spotting. The fact that an individual might be able to pass the bar does not mean they've had sufficient legal training. 

Online Law Schools / Re: Touro College vs. Novus
« on: October 02, 2014, 01:46:41 PM »
In CA the state bar can and does accredit law schools, but this is inapplicable to Novus since they have not (to the best of my knowledge) sought CA accreditation. It seems like the only power the bar has is to threaten accredited law schools with a revocation of accreditation. But if you're not accredited anyway...

The State Attorney General is probably the one who has the real authority here. Considering that Kamala Harris doesn't seem interested in anything except becoming governor, I doubt if anything will happen.   

Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT Abroad
« on: October 02, 2014, 11:07:21 AM »
There are many threads here which discuss the impact of "soft factors" such as graduate degrees, the OP may want to read them.

It boils down to this:

A graduate degree is not useless in terms of law school admission, but it's not very helpful either.

A graduate degree may give the applicant a small boost, especially if it is in a hard science and/or from an elite university. Thus, an M.S. in Biochem from Caltech may help but an M.A. in English from Unknown State U will not.

Graduate studies are very different from law school, and one is not preparation for the other. The fact that someone completes an M.A. does not mean they are more likely to do well in Property than someone who hasn't.

LSAT and GPA however, do tend to be reliable indicators of law school aptitude.

In the scenario that the OP has described, both applicants are so close numerically that they would have very similar chances of admission. In that case, an M.A. might help. The majority of admission decisions are, as Groundhog stated, going to be made pretty quickly based on numbers. If the M.A. holder is a few LSAT points below the non-M.A. applicant, that soft factor is not going to overcome the lower LSAT score.

I understand this is frustrating, but when you get to law school you will see that your M.A. is of little use in terms of studying the law. That's just the way it is. 

Online Law Schools / Re: Touro College vs. Novus
« on: October 02, 2014, 10:45:35 AM »
Just curious, how did Touro establish standing? Because former Novus students applied to Touro? I can see how the former students would meet the requirements for class certification, but not Touro.

Either way, good fr them. I hope they win and that the state bars crack down on this nonsense.   

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