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Topics - danmcd

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Black Law Student Discussion Board / URM question...
« on: March 07, 2009, 07:41:32 PM »
I'm really confused about URM status, I was hoping to get some feedback from anyone/everyone...

OK this is probably going to confuse you, but bear with me...In one sense I am Caucasian - I am white, and am ethnically from the Arab Levant. The Arab Levant also qualifies as Western Asia in a lot of categorizations (Middle East, Near East, Western Asia are the most used terms, I believe). My family is part of a large community that emigrated to Africa from the Arab Levant a long time ago (over 4 generations), and most of my family is from and lives in the Sudan. Sudan is technically African, but most Northerners consider themselves Arab (and speak Arabic). I lived in the region (multiple African, Arab, and Asian countries), and I identify strongly with that part of the world. I have been American since birth, and thoroughly confused when it comes to ticking those stupid ethnic boxes.

I believe the US government considers most of the Arab world as "non-Hispanic Caucasian", but I find it really weird to lump myself in with Europeans and the majority of white Americans....culturally, linguistically, etc my background is quite different to the norm. I have no idea whether Arabs are under-represented in law schools (judging by the lack of Arab-related threads on any online forum, I'm guessing we're not OVER-represented, but I could be wrong), and therefore I don't know if my claim is really legitimate in that sense. I personally have never had to qualify my identity as an Arab by choosing exclusively "African" or "Asian" status...but I've always ticked "other" and I'd like a little more clarity. For what its worth I was an active member of my undergrad's African, Arab, and Asian societies (probably not worth much :roll: )

I don't want to start a debate about the pros and cons of the URM system, and I don't want to offend anyone by making it seem that I'm treading on some sensitive ground (for example claiming African American status as a "white" guy). I understand that the reason the URM system exists is to help balance against the obstacles faced by African Americans (and other URMs) because of a general education system/society that is simply not balanced and retains certain prejudices and discrimination. I also realize that plenty of groups can claim discrimination in many walks of life...and as an Arab I am not exactly helped out by my ethnicity in a post-9/11 world (tho this never affected education, it certainly affected (and still affects) professional opportunities). If I can claim URM status legitimately, I will do so...but I just want to make sure my ass is covered and that law schools won't see me as some white kid who's trying to weasel his way into a better school by making a dubious claim.

So..I know I am Arab American....but does that make me African American? Asian American? Neither?

I'd appreciate your thoughts on what I should do

Law School Applications / dual degree programs
« on: January 21, 2009, 12:08:21 PM »
Anyone out there doing a JD/PhD program? I'm interested in academia and possibly government consulting down the road, and I was wondering if anyone had any experience with any particular program, especially ones that combined law and poli sci. Is the workload ok, is there any reason to avoid this, any thoughts would be appreciated

edit: I would not, unfortunately, be attending HYS...I'm aiming at the mid to lower T14. Does this hurt my chances for an academic career? I'm planning to spend a good amount of time teaching outside the States, but I'd still like to come back here and get a job at a good university. I guess the question is how important is your PhD's institution "name" relative to things like publications, teaching positions etc?

Studying for the LSAT / Plateauing right before the test?
« on: January 20, 2009, 05:49:46 PM »
Anyone else getting stuck at levels they don't wanna be stuck at? I've been steadily improving over the past few months from the low 150s to 165-167 range. I got a random 171 last week, but otherwise I keep getting around a 166 for almost 3 weeks. I've got a 3.44 if I want anything in the T14 I have to break a 170, pretty much.

Any advice? Should I change up my study routine? I'm doin a test every 2 days right now...should I kick it up a notch and start doin 2? Do some thoughtful, untimed tests?

I'm slowly but surely starting to freak out over the Feb test, can you tell...

Good luck to the rest of you Feb testers

Law School Applications / Applying Dec '08 vs Sept/Oct '09??
« on: September 07, 2008, 05:17:25 PM »
Hi guys,

I'm planning on taking the December LSAT and I'm wondering if it would be worth applying this cycle or spending more time getting everything ready for next year's cycle - any thoughts?

The reason I'm asking is because I have a relatively low undergrad GPA (3.44) but I've been testing in the 170's for a while. I haven't done anything in terms of writing a personal statement, gathering LORs, or any other application process. Assuming I do well on the LSAT (170+), I will still have a splitter-ish application based purely on numbers. If it helps, I have a decently strong set of soft factors ranging from work experience/publications/master's degree/minority (not sure exactly what constitutes URM status..I'm Arab if it makes any difference).

If I apply this December and get rejected, will it affect my chances next cycle? I would be able to put together a slightly better application, I guess, but nothing major would change. I realize it's really important to apply early, but if that's not possible this year is it just better to hold off and wait another 10 months or so? 

I'd appreciate any advice, thanks in advance!

Law School Applications / Application Timing
« on: February 02, 2008, 12:16:13 AM »
Hi all,

I'm finishing my MSc Public Policy in Sept of this year and want to attend law school asap. The problem is that I have yet to take an official LSAT and I was hoping to devote some serious time to studying for the test. I have the option of the October and/or December test dates - basically my question is if I only take the December test and finish all apps by mid-December, isn't it a bit late to apply? From what I understand, the earlier you apply the I better off just working for the year and waiting for the next cycle?

I need all the help I can get - I have a 3.44 UGPA and I'm guessing, based on practice tests, that I'll score around a 170. I believe I have a good bunch of soft factors and I'll be selling my Arab side as strongly as possible. I realize that my GPA is going to hold me back from most of the T14 schools, but I was wondering what my chances are for something in the T25? LSN is a great site to see straight numbers, but I find it hard to really gauge who's going where...

Studying for the LSAT / devoting time to LSATs
« on: January 15, 2008, 08:59:15 AM »

How much time do you guys typically spend studying for the LSATs? I'm sort of new to the whole US law school application mentality and was hoping to get some advice on blocking out some time for nothing else but LSATs...I'm starting to realize just how important the LSATs are and am getting more than a little intimidated with all the stuff I've read on these boards. I'm even thinking of moving back in with my parents in NM (where nothing happens, perfect for studying) and just spending Sept-Dec studying for the LSATs. Going overboard?

Another question - Good schools for international law? NYU and Gtown from what I've heard are the big ones...anything a little lower down? I think I have a strong set of soft factors and I scored a 168 on the practice LSAT I took...but the undergrad GPA was a 3.44. Should I forget T14 school completely? I can see myself getting around a 170 with a lot of work - would that at least give me a shot at that range?

Any thoughts would be appreciated

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