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Messages - dbmuell

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Pennsylvania State / Re: Class of 2010
« on: April 12, 2007, 09:30:26 PM »
Carlisle Campus for me!  I kind of already live here so I unfortunately don't get all the excitement of picking up and moving to a new place for LS but I'm excited just to get it started and stop talking about it.  If anyone is swinging through Carlisle anytime soon and wants to meet up and raise a toast to the class of 2010, drop me a PM :-)

Pennsylvania State / Re: Class of 2010
« on: April 09, 2007, 07:05:49 AM »
PSU Class of 2010 here I come.  Just sent in my deposit for the fall semester :-)

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Nay-Sayers
« on: June 10, 2007, 06:39:47 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the input. I think I'm still going to give it a shot for the fall semester, as I have a very flexible employer and an understanding significant other. Per the advice above, I will certainly be checking myself to make sure that I am not getting overburdened. This should be an interesting go of it.  At least I know that if I pull this off, I really will be cut out for law school :-)

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Nay-Sayers
« on: June 08, 2007, 09:50:04 AM »
Okay, this is a bit of a rant, but hopefully it does generate useful discussion.  It seems that everywhere I go, some "helpful" person who is attending or graduated law school is telling me in condescending tones that my plan to continue working (only part time) and take a full course load in Law School will be "impossible."  The common theme seems to be that I will be so shell-shocked by the workload as a 1L that I will not have time to breathe, let alone focus on a job. Any attempt by me to rationalize my decision seems to be met with vague assertions of "what do you know, you're just a 0L" or "you'll understand when you get there."  The problem is, I just can't grasp the "impossible" nature that these people describe.  I know what my schedule will be, I feel that I have a good idea of what the work load will be, and I have made arrangements in my life to set a lot of things aside to make time for that work load.  Can it really be THAT bad?

This raises several questions that I would love to hear from other "non-trads" about.  Am I just being delusional in thinking that I can work this out without having to go without sleep for my first year?  Are the people that I am talking to just talking up the difficulty of the 1L experience to soothe their own egos?  Am I being real with myself in assuming that abilities like time management and priotizing that I have honed in my "real world" experience will give me the edge to pull this off and still be academically competitive? Could this just be a function of the "straight from undergard to 1L crowd" casting their experience on others in a different station in life?  I would love to hear from some other people that did this and can give me some reasonable assessment of what it's actually like to continue a career and be a law student at the same time. 

Okay, here's the situation that I am facing. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced anything similar:

I applied and got accepted to the part time program of several T2 schools within a commutable range of my life/job.  I have pretty much decided 99% that I am going to accept one of the offers and have begun to rearrange my life (got a new apartment between school and work, began making arrangements with my job to reduce my hours by 50% in September, reducing my life expenses like crazy to account for the loss of income) and have contacted the admissions office several times to get more information about how to send in seat deposits, etc.

Yesterday, I receive an email from the Dean of Admissions offering me acceptance to the full time program and a (small but generous given my numbers) scholarship offer.  When I emailed back to ask if the scholarship offer was still on the table if I went part time, I basically got a reply of no, with a list of reasons why the part time program is a bad idea. The email basically insinuated that it would be unwise to enter the part time program and try to continue working part time, a plan that I had been assuming all along was fundamental to the purpose of having a part time program.  Most troubling was the warning that the schedule of classes for a PT law student would "make it difficult to find a block of hours for employment."

I'm not prone to the kind of panic that many over there on the traditional students board seem to exhibit, but I must admit that I'm getting kind of nervous.  I'm starting to get the impression that this school does not really want to have part time students, and if I do decide to go this route for a littany of personal reasons (not the least of which is the ability to continue supporting myself without cost-of-living debt while in school) the school will be unsupportive and inflexible.  I sense that this is all leading to a "we told you so" if they turn out to not be very accomodating of the needs of a part time student and this interferes with my ability to succeed. 

I could use some input here.  Has anybody else that is going this route felt that schools were actively discouraging part time attendance?  Is anyone out there currently doing the law school/work combination and finding that this Dean's comments about finding blocks of time for employment to be true?  Has anyone out there decided NOT to go part time as a result of these same concerns?  Just a little insight from the community would help. I thought I had a great plan worked out but the tone of this email gives me some concerns that I may not have made a wise choice...

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Penn State
« on: February 08, 2007, 11:12:55 AM »
My acceptance letter didn't say anything about an ASW.  Is that on the website or did it come in the acceptance letter?

Law School Admissions / Re: My withdrawal letter to ND
« on: January 30, 2007, 09:57:53 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, 01:05:58 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, 10:15:20 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.

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