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Messages - Maintain FL 350
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« on: September 17, 2014, 06:35:11 PM »
There's a lot to address here, but I'll try to keep it short.
Extracurricular "soft factors"
Do they matter? Yes, but not nearly as much as your numbers. These kinds of factors are taken into account in addition to, not in lieu of, a good GPA/LSAT.
I don't know what your GPA actually is, but at T14-T20 (and many schools ranked lower than that) you will need a high GPA and high LSAT, period. Those schools have so many well qualified applicants with high numbers and impressive soft factors that there isn't much incentive to take someone who is lacking in any area.
Lots of applicants, especially at top schools, have impressive soft factors. Pretty much everyone who applies to non-T14 schools, too, does some volunteer work or gets a little experience at a law office, or gets a letter of recommendation from some lawyer. The admissions offices are very used to this. Unless you have truly unique and outstanding experience it will not matter too much, and certainly won't overcome a lack of numeric qualifications.
I'm not saying this to be rude, but depending on how low your GPA is the T14 might be a pipe dream regardless of soft factors or LSAT score.
URM status can be a significant factor, but I'm not sure if Palestinians receive much of a boost. It may help a little, though.
Lastly, until you get a real LSAT score everything is pure speculation. I would advise preparing for the LSAT as much as possible. Do the extracurricular stuff too, but really focus on the LSAT. And remember, the T14 are not the only law schools out there. If you get in, great. If not, think about your goals and see if another school can help you achieve them.
« on: September 11, 2014, 01:02:33 PM »
My much more realistic, but still reach, schools are what you recommended: Vandy, Texas, UCLA, and Georgetown, with my target schools ranging from George Washington, Minnesota, Notre Dame, USC, and Boston University to Boston College and Fordham.
Keep in mind that (with the exception of Georgetown) these are basically highly respected regional schools. Your employment opportunities are still going to be somewhat limited to the immediate region.
Does that mean that a UCLA grad can't get hired in NYC? No, of course not. It just means that they're going to compete against many local grads, and won't really be able to rely on the reputation of the school to open doors. In California it's a different story. A degree from UCLA will open doors. For example, ask Minnesota how many Los Angeles firms interviewed on campus last year. Probably very few, if any.
Unless you attend a truly national school with a strong enough reputation to open doors automatically, I would really consider going to law school in a city/region in which you would be comfortable staying.
« on: September 09, 2014, 01:15:33 PM »
Congratulations on a great LSAT score!
As a splitter it's hard to predict where you will get into. All you can do is apply and see what happens.
The truly elite schools (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc) are probably out based on your GPA. For those schools a 171 is pretty average, but your GPA is low. For some of the still very respected but not exactly elite schools (UCLA, Texas, Vanderbilt, etc) a 171 may be enough to get in even with a lower GPA.
Here's one other option to consider: using your LSAT to obtain a full scholarship somewhere. I don't know where you are located or where you intend to practice, but this might be a really good option. For example, I live and work in southern California. If I had a choice between a $150,000 debt from UCLA or a free degree from Loyola, I would seriously consider the free degree. You have to consider your long term goals and whether or not a T14 degree is necessary to accomplish those goals.
« on: September 08, 2014, 12:14:54 PM »
The previous posters have pretty much nailed it. You need to consider not just rankings but your long term goals.
If you want to live in Manhattan and practice corporate law at a big firm, then RWU is probably not a great choice. If, however, you plan to live in RI or MA and don't mind practicing at a smaller firm or working in local government (prosecutor, public defender, etc) then RWU is probably just fine.
If you had a good feeling about the school that means more in my opinion than what other internet posters think. One thing to consider is the cost. If you can get a scholarship at another school, or cheap in state tuition somewhere, that could be a huge benefit.
« on: August 22, 2014, 09:16:43 PM »
I'm amazed the dean actually wants to speak with you. This is not a big deal, no one is going to get kicked out of school or reported to the bar for using a naughty word once. I had a professor drop an f-bomb in class and everyone just laughed.
I imagine you'll be told not to do it again, professionalism, etc.
« on: August 21, 2014, 03:27:43 PM »
Good writing skills, including grammar, are a big plus too!
I agree, and it's especially true when it comes to taking the bar exam. Those graders are blasting through hundreds of essays. If you can't state the answer in a clear, concise manner you're in trouble.
« on: August 20, 2014, 11:01:11 PM »
I think the seven points you listed are right on point. Distance learning and non-ABA law schools can be the right fit for the right student. It all depends on your goals, where you want to live and practice, and whether you are a highly motivated self starter. If so, I think it can work.
In fact many personal friends of mine completed their law degrees by working directly underneath a Judge or already practicing attorney.
CA is one of the few states that allows study in a judge's chambers or with an attorney, but very few people go this route. The number of individuals sitting for the bar exam via this method is usually in the single digits, and of those only a few pass.
Most people need the experience and structure of a law school (either brick and mortar or DL) to adequately prepare for the bar.
« on: August 19, 2014, 01:55:03 PM »
I don't know if LSAC will grant an appeal, but I do think you need to consider whether there is any point in taking it again. If you've taken the test three times and have been disappointed with your score all three times, you may need to 1) accept that you're scoring within your abilities or 2) take some serious time off to prepare.
I would only consider this last option if I had some real, concrete reason to believe that I would score higher. For example, if I didn't have time to prepare, didn't take a prep class, etc. But if you properly prepared and put in the time, it's unlikely that your score is going to magically increase simply by taking the test again.
I think most people end up scoring lower on the LSAT than they hope. At some point, you just have to take what you've got and apply.
Just my two cents. Good luck with your studies.
« on: August 15, 2014, 12:24:13 PM »
I'm familiar with those schools, they're among the oldest and best established distance learning programs.
If you plan to remain in NY/NJ you could look at CUNY, NYLS, Touro, St. John's, maybe Seton Hall and Rutgers. As a splitter, you might want to apply to lots of schools and just see what happens. Like I said before, it's harder to predict.
« on: August 14, 2014, 10:31:12 PM »
You're a splitter, and that makes it more difficult to predict where you will or won't get into. That said, there are definitely law schools that will accept someone with your numbers based on your LSAT score.
You should narrow it down to a geographic region, specifically the state/city you plan to practice in. If you can score a scholarship, great, although it will be difficult with a 2.12 GPA (except at a few places like Cooley as Newly Minted mentioned).
I've only completed 6 classes that I received a letter grade for, this is the only reason I have a low GPA (which maybe I can explain in my PS). The rest of my classes are ALL pass/fail.
Just curious, was your undergrad at a traditional four year university? It's just that I've never heard of a program where almost all of the classes are pass/fail. That's very unusual.
You can definitely explain it in your PS, but it probably won't make much difference. Your GPA is what it is, and it's very low for the purposes of law school admission. Your best bet is to apply to schools for which your LSAT score is above average.
One last thing (and don't take this the wrong way): make sure that whatever obstacles resulted in a low undergrad GPA are resolved before you begin law school. Law makes undergrad look like a joke. It's very, very demanding and you won't get a passing grade just by showing up.
Your LSAT score indicates that you have the brains to succeed, but law school requires a huge investment of time and self-discipline. Something to think about before you write a check for $100K.
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