This sounded really interesting to me, so I thought I'd pass it on:
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Messages - absy
absy, you're doing a good job of selling me on boston. I assume Harvard has all those things?
yes, the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus (university-wide group of students and alumni) has shifted from being more of a political force to being a social/networking organization, because Harvard has basically adopted anything HGLC could think of. (Gender identity was added last year.)
state politics are also going our way. Deval Patrick (Democratic gov. candidate) came to the law school with another then-candidate to discuss their thoughts on LGBT issues. and last year, the mayor of Cambridge contacted us for ideas on the city's pride celebration. I just don't know how any other place could be as affirming.
I'd suggest searching for the LGBT group at that school, then email their board members to get perspectives. if they seem vague, ask for specifics.
a few suggestions (to varying degrees of importance for different people):
openly LGBT faculty
dedicated LGBT courses
financial support of the organization
acceptance within student body
relationship with administration
LGBT events of the past year (and if any of them were sponsored by or co-sponsored with the Dean's office or Dean of Students office)
LGBT establishments in the area
LGBT-related state laws (e.g., marriage, nondiscrimination, partner benefits) (Massachusetts has all of those) (sorry, shameless plug)
Just to chime in on Harvard, I am finding the Harvard Admissions blog increasingly annoying. Its evolved from a helpful resource to a giant plug for Harvard. It's nonstop name-dropping and "testimonials" with students who are just thrilled with everything about Harvard. I guess that's supposed to appeal to prospectives and to some extent it does for me, but the constant gloating and advertising is becoming a turn-off, like Harvard just can't get enough of itself.
the problem is that HLS faces a big PR problem, which I think it partly due to its past (other deans weren't so committed to the student experience) and the desire of other schools to propagate that image. Toby seems to be trying to dispel these myths and rumors with facts. lots of facts.
btw, Harvard may not have a specialization program, but there is often a course related to sports law. this year's course is "Sports and the Law: Representing the Professional Athlete." there's also an entertainment law course.
as for international law, I will generally agree that public international law is only a good choice for a small number of people, but private international law can be very lucrative and available. that being said, I don't think too much time should be spent on any sort of "concentration" in law school, unless you're doing it more out of interest.
I wanted to respond to a few topics in this conversation:
1. Lesbians: Most schools are lacking in the lesbian department. Last year, we only had 1 lesbian in the 1L class. Through a concerted effort to reach out to lesbian applicants and admits, we started out the year with 5 in this year's 1L class. This actually helped to bring some of the upper-years out of the woodwork. In working with HLS Lambda, we hope to continue this trend both to reach out to lesbian potential students and to make sure our organization is as relevant to the L as we are to the G.
2. Duke/Advocate: I remember laughing when I first read that article. Duke (UG) is NOT a top 20 school for LGBT students. I will admit that things have improved drastically in the five years since they were voted most homophobic. But I still felt like being gay was a bit of a detriment to my experience there. The law school is another world, so I can't really comment on that.
3. Out on the Application: I will agree that one shouldn't really add the equivalent of "btw, I'm gay too." But if it has shaped your experience, then it's certainly worth adding. And I would suggest to everyone that they come out once they are admitted. The admissions office at HLS passes on the names and emails of people who were out on their application, and we reach out to them and can answer questions about LGBT life at school.
4. Harvard: We do LGBT recruiting as well (look for a letter if you checked the CRS box). I feel like being gay has really enriched my experience at HLS. We have a great group at Lambda, and we're working to make it even better this year. Being a larger school, we actually have a critical mass of people and a community, rather than a small group. The administration is definitely behind us; they are instrumental in helping us plan a conference on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this year, working to bring scholars, practitioners, military personnel, and congressional representatives to discuss and debate the issue. We also take advantage of the various graduate schools by having inter-school mixers.
Boston is also a great place to be LGBT. The area is really affirming, and college/university students make up about a quarter of the population. We host an annual dance party that brings together over 500 students from the Boston area. And, since we live in Massachusetts, two of our recent board members are engaged or married -- where else can you marry your law school sweetheart?
I should probably end my propaganda for now, but I'm more than happy to answer any questions about my current home. I really encourage all LGBT applicants to apply to HLS.
Hey Absy, I would really appeciate it if you could gauge my chances at the following schools with a 3.2/3.33 and a 179. FYI, the two g.p.a's mean that if my school drops the two NC's I have off my transcripts, then my g.p.a is a 3.33. If not, its a 3.2. I'm applying to Columbia, Chicago, NYU, Penn, Cornell, Georgetown, Michigan, Fordham, Northwestern and Brooklyn law. Thanks in advance.
I only have data for some of those schools, and it's going to be a bit iffy with that split. I'll see what I can do. I don't think the change in GPA will make a huge difference.
C: 30% accept, 60% WL
C: 10% accept, 30% WL
N: 35% accept, 30% WL
P: 40% accept, 50% WL
M: 40% accept, 45% WL
Would love to hear your thoughts...(especially since no seems to know what to make of me)
I have no idea how to treat multiple LSATs, so I'm just going to average-ish.
P: 10% accept, 35% WL
M: 15% accept, 40% WL
V: 25% accept, 35% WL
D: 30% accept, 50% WL
haha, sorry about that. I'll see what I can do with my nebulous, doubtful, unprovable and potentially circle-jerking method.
my GPA was far from stellar compared to my peers