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Messages - dbmuell

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Law School Admissions / Re: My withdrawal letter to ND
« on: January 30, 2007, 08:57:53 AM »
As per the OP's irritation with this school, I think it wouldn't hurt to express in your letter exactly why you are declining acceptance.  It's too late to help you have a better experience but if qualified candidates start turning them down for being rude/arrogant, some of the less "customer friendly" admissions offices might start to come around to the competitive world that they live in.  There's nothing inappriopriate in my mind about telling them what part of their process turned you off...

Studying for the LSAT / Re: "NOT to do" list for the LSAT
« on: January 29, 2007, 12:05:58 PM »
A pit I fell into:

If you happen to take a prep course, do not just "trust their method" and assume that it will give you results if it does not feel right to you.  If you get to the 2nd or third diagnostic and you are not seeing score improvements by doing the problems/practice assigned for the course, ditch the course homework and find a better method (like independently taking practice tests).  I didn't figure this out until the last two weeks before the test and as soon as I ditched their method and moved to something that made more sense, I started seeing a 5-10 pt swing on my practice tests. Remember, their methods are "one size fits all" and just because they have seen great success does not mean it's right for you...

I'm going to play the Devil's Advocate for a minute (as I only half-heartedly believe what I'm saying but it may offer some perspective) and speculate on why schools weight LSATs so heavily.  Having a good GPA can attest to a lot of qualities about a person: work ethic, socialization, even some amount of raw intelligece.  It basically says "this person understands the value of hard work, is likely fairly intelligent, and knows how to play by the rules." 

These are important factors but what it clearly does not speak to is the one factor that I am told so often seperates good  LS students from mediocre LS students: crticial thinking ability.  Sure, you worked really hard in undergrad, memorized all of your notecards before a biology test and wrote the same cookie cutter research paper as the rest of the 200 people in your lecture hall, and got an A for the course, but did any of that teach you to think critically and extemporaneously?  Anybody who has spent any substantive amount of time around packs of "well educated" people with great undergrad degrees will tell you that this is no guarantee. Some are unable to understand the most basic analogy or follow even a shallow argument if it is not drawn out for them.

For all its failings, this is what the LSAT offers.  It offers at least a window into how a person thinks on their feet, and whether or not they are a developed thinker or just another robot turned by the higher education system.  It may seem rediculous to spend hours "resolving the paradox" or "identifying the issue at hand" but it's amazing to me how many well educated people cannot do this in their daily lives, regardless of college performance.  I'm just a law school hopeful but it seems to me that a law school student or attorney without these skills would be all but dead in the water and the schools use the LSAT to weed out the people who can evidence hard work but not critical thinking ability.  I know if I had to choose a co-worker or teammate, I would take the critical thinker to the non critical thinking successful academic any day.

Edit: Not intended to bash the OPs abilities or intellect.  A score in the mid-150's is respectable and can get you into respectable schools.

Law School Admissions / Re: Part time vs Full time
« on: January 24, 2007, 09:15:20 AM »
Regarding the dips in LSAT or GPA, I think there may be a causation here that you're all not taking into account.  This would be the simple fact that people who are applying for PT programs are generally professionals, out of school for a significant period of time, who may find their way into LS by impressing admissions counselors with soft factors unrelated to their numbers.  Generally, work and life experience are going to factor heavily into this sort of application, and many extremely qualified candidates are admitted despite numbers that may average a bit lower than those of the traditional student.  I would imagine that the schools also realize that it is a bit harder for this type of non-trad to score the 170+ on the LSAT that they see out of more traditional students, as they do not have the time that others may have to prepare for it.  This is all to say that, while the numbers may indicate a "lesser" candidate, there may be a much bigger picture that the admissions office sees that shows them that a lot of these candidates are qualified and may also explain why part time graduates are beginning to find success once out of LS.

Law School Admissions / Re: Leaving work for law school?
« on: January 22, 2007, 10:14:32 AM »
Just to add a positive experience to this chronicle, I was actually extremely surprised at how accomodating my supervisors were when I told them my intentions.  My original plan was to quit my job and go full time, but when I discussed this with my boss she was really eager to see if they could work out a half time schedule if I was willing to go to school just part time.  When we discussed it with her boss, he was as excited as I was, offered to write me a letter of rec., and even looked (unsuccessfully) into letting me keep my benefits if I stayed on at a part time schedule.  We have now worked out an arrangement by which I will work part time for a very decent wage, go to LS part time (it'll cost me an extra year but it's well worth it for what I'll save by having a great paying job during LS), and pick up extra hours at full pay whenever class is not in session. If I had hidden my intentions from them, none of this would have happened.  I happen to work in a rather trusting and open culture but I just thought I'd note that there can be real benefits to being upfront with your employer when you can.

Law School Admissions / Re: Anyone heard from Penn State?
« on: January 19, 2007, 12:43:08 PM »
Can't say for sure but based on my reports, it looks like they pull them every other Monday.  LSAC says that my first report went out Mon. 11/20 and my extra LOR went out Mon 12/4.  That doesn't establish much of a pattern but it's something.  Their admissions office does seem to be extra friendly.  You could probably just call and ask.

Law School Admissions / Re: Anyone heard from Penn State?
« on: January 18, 2007, 08:48:55 AM »
Congrats on the acceptance! I got mine last Friday and I'm 93% sure I'll be attending at the Carlisle Campus in the fall  ;D

Law School Admissions / Re: Assorted Letters o' Rec Questions
« on: January 16, 2007, 10:55:55 AM »
Just another quick note to add to what has already been suggested:

When I asked for letters of Rec, I did as the previous poster suggested and made a folder of all the pertinent information that they would need to write the letter.  I also went back and found the best examples of the work I had done for that professor and included copies to refresh their memory as to exactly who I was.  For me, this was just papers, but it could include any exams, labs, or presentation media that they could reflect on as they write the letter.  The more detail about yourself that you can put in their head, the better.

Law School Admissions / Re: Penn State Invitation in Philly anyone?
« on: January 08, 2007, 10:44:47 AM »
I was wondering the same thing.  I applied but I also gave my name and address to the rep at the DC forum last year.  I'm thinking that might be the "select" and "expressed interest" part.  Perhaps this means we're not even close to hearing decisions out of them?

Law School Admissions / Re: Letter from Brooklyn Law school
« on: January 08, 2007, 06:39:16 AM »
While I can't say that it is "innapriopriate" for a LS to do this, it is somewhat rediculous.  Essentially, what they are telling you in that letter is "We think you're smart enough to go to our school and do well, but we can't take you unless you get an arbitrary 2 pt. swing on your LSAT score to keep our averages up in the eyes of USNWR."  If such arbitrary rankings are the main consideration of this school's admissions officials, are you sure that this is where you would really want to study?

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