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Messages - nate

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Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 10:57:51 PM »
yeah, i'm happy to answer these questions. i've got a civil procedure outline to tweek here and any reason to avoid doing so is just fine. for some reason, even though i've already started law school, i'm more interested in admissions (and grad school admission too, for that matter) than i was when i was applying. actually, after i had received my lsat score (6 points below where i was consistently practicing) the whole admissions thing made me sick to my stomach every time i thought about it. it's a wonder i ever ended up in law school.

as far as the mom/relatives thing goes, trust me, i understand. my uncle, and his son for that matter, went to a school in my home state. they couldn't fathom why i would want to travel to DC for a PT program rather than taking a full ride at the local school they attended. i never told them that a $47K starting salary with a 75% chance of employment was not really the "options" that i wanted for myself in law. and i mean no offense to anyone who goes to such a school (i have many good friends who did), but spending $150K for GW just seemed a better idea for someone like me who wasn't going to stand for living in michigan his whole life.

my mom, on the other hand, is a wonderful social worker who actually wishes she had gone to law school. she realized she was no real expert on admissions when she saw the employment/salary statistics for the schools i was considering.

for me, i also dreamed of living in DC. now i do, and although i have the "stigma" of being a PT student, i'm attending the school i used to only dream of getting in to (i had some GPA problems). even though i snuck in the so-called back door, i've met so many people doing the same, and it's not like there's going to be an asterix on my diploma.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 10:30:33 PM »
tough question. the tution rate for FT is about $35K (a flat rate) while the tution rate for PT is about $25K (though paid per credit, it works out to this much each year for 4 years).

so FT is technically more expensive, but it would come down to a few thousand. however, then you need to add living expenses on, which are between $15-20K/year unless you get financial aid or scholarship (that goes for tuition, as well, of course). if you were to go PT all four years, you'd clearly be paying more because of the extra year of living expenses. of course, for most PT students that cost of living is offset, if not covered, by working a job.

so in my situation, i'm paying about $12K this semester (10 credits), and then $17K for next semester. once again, i'll beat out the full time students financially. however, the difference comes with having to take a class during the summer. i'll be studying abroad, which will cost about $6K, so that will put me equal with FT students as of next year. then next year any credits i have yet to make up won't matter simply because i'll be paying the flat $35K/year rate, as opposed to per credit.

if you didn't have to take at least some credits this summer, you'd actually save money through this method. unfortunately you do. however, if you simply opt to take the one class over the summer (as opposed to studying abroad), you'll probably pay $4-5K for its 3-4 credits...once again breaking even, if not coming out better than, the FT students.

of course, i'm going off general numbers here, not anything exact or specific. it might save or cost you an extra thousand or two, but probably nothing more. that is, of course, unless my logic's off here. i haven't taken math since high school (and man did this affect me calculating remedies on my contracts exam two nights ago!)

if i may ask, what is your mother worried about in particular, if something aside from cost? my own mother was almost furious at me for turning down a near full ride at loyola-chicago, but then i emailed her data on starting salary information and she understood.

but then, if all else fails, just tell her nate from LSD told you it's a good idea...that should work, right??

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 09:33:12 PM »

great insight. anyone that can productively study 8am to 6pm every day is my hero.

i just wanted people to be forewarned of the general trend i saw at GW. i met so many intelligent, hard-working students who planned to do what you do every day (myself included). but i can't tell you how many times i would see them in the library for 6-7 study periods, 4 of which were spent on AIM and email. it seems that once you start to understand the "game" of lawschool better, and you can read/brief faster and with more accuracy, it becomes more of a quest to find productive ways to fill that time studying before evening classes. i sort of gave up those long days when my dean's fellow told me there was not nearly enough material to be studying for that long every day.

but then again, i'm sure you're destroying your exams, whereas i'll be getting Bs at best this semester. so there's no doubt about which method works better, assuming you have the stamina and drive to pull it off.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 09:07:57 PM »
As of now I'm interested in land use law but I know this might change as I take courses. I have worked with the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative (VWEC) on designing land use laws for wind towers in the area. I've noticed that GW LS has assisted the VWEC on their website. I wrote my PS on that project. Any chance my unusual work experience helps?

i'm absolutely sure it will. it will help you stand out from all the patent examiners in the evening division (the only group possibly more populous than the international law hopefuls), let alone all the 1Ls like me that don't work and just finished undergrad.

and that actually brings up a good point. i'm almost certain that those who make it clear they're going to work while attending school have an edge over those who are just using PT to transfer to FT. while GW doesn't hesitate to admit that PT is often just a backdoor to FT, i also think they want to maintain a decent size group of people that actually do complete the program while working, if not just to convince themselves that there's a good reason to keep the PT program (which are said to affect rankings). that probably gives any person with a steady job, such as yourself, an edge over the unemployed college graduate like myself looking for an easy way in to the T20.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 08:43:56 PM »
Thank you nate for your insight. I am applying to GW PT but plan to keep my current job in the region until I can transfer. What suggestions do you have for those that plan to work while doing PT. In addition, I have similar stats as yourself which I recognize as being on the lower end. Could you explain any soft factors that might have helped yourself (and might help me). Once again that was one of the most helpful posts I've seen here.

did you edit this post? if not, i apologize for skipping the last part. yes, my stats were on the lower end. i wish i could say what soft factors helped, but as i said before, i was waitlisted at some lower tier ones. so i honestly don't know if i have a good answer.

i was diagnosed with diabetes during my sophmore year of college. i was diagnosed at the end of fall semester and was getting treatment in to the beginning of spring semester. i included a fairly detailed addendum demonstrating that if i hadn't missed so much school, and performed as i did the other years, i would have had more like a 3.8. i really think that helped for GW (where the other schools didn't seem to care). other than that i'm not a very interesting person, honestly. i did an honors thesis with a history professor who then wrote me a great recommendation, and i also was a founder and editor-in-chief of an academic journal within my undergrad history department. other than that, there is absolutely nothing special on my resume.

there is one thing that i do know...half the 1Ls at GW want to "practice international law". i'm not trying to say you can't do so; people just often don't know what it is when they think they want to do it. if that's your plan, try and avoid filling your personal statement with information about it, unless you have something very specific within that area of law that you do want to be involved in. i can only imagine that they get a ton of those types of personal statements. i wrote my thesis on european immigration, which is technically part international law, but i had some ideas of what i wanted to do with it, and referenced GW's specific clinics and even a professor. i think specificity might help because for PT they want to see if you're a good fit for the school. but again, i don't know if that helped or hurt me, so don't take it to heart.

but the nice thing about applying to GW PT is that you know they're actually looking at your soft factors. unlike FT, they can afford to take people they really want. unfortunately for some, that means they can afford to skip out on others that they don't really want.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 08:29:46 PM »
Thank you nate for your insight. I am applying to GW PT but plan to keep my current job in the region until I can transfer. What suggestions do you have for those that plan to work while doing PT. In addition, I have similar stats as yourself which I recognize as being on the lower end. Could you explain any soft factors that might have helped yourself (and might help me). Once again that was one of the most helpful posts I've seen here.

Only to be sure that you are truly willing to do it for four years. I started seeing a "tired beyond belief" look in some of the people's eyes 3 weeks in to the semester. As I said before, many people have decided to quit their jobs and focus on law school part time. So I guess my advice as far as that goes is, if you have the stats to go FT at GW, do not enter the PT program lightly. I think a few of my fellow students who quit their jobs, and who also could have gone FT to begin with, are kicking themselves for not having quit work before law school started.

This all seems pretty obvious, but you really have to be ready to do some serious work at GW PT. I have friends working and going PT to tier 2 and 3 schools, and it sounds like it's pretty laid back and not extremely difficult. GW, however, if full of gunners. Fortunately the PT students tend to be more friendly and less back-stabbing competitive than the FT students (from what I'm told from 2Ls that have switched), but the type of competition you will be up against is no joke for someone also working 40 hours/week. I guess this point just adds to the "be sure you want to work and go PT" point.

if you have any other specifics, please ask.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 08:16:07 PM »
I don't think I would.  But I'm not really concerned with being at a T14 school.  I mean, if I were unhappy, then I would, of course.

Matter of personal preference I suppose. 

well, to each their own. i'm interested in biglaw, though only for a few years. after taking one of my exams, i now wish i was at GULC because i could afford to rank lower in the class and still have a chance at a market-rate job. additionally, i might have to move across country, or even overseas, depending on where my girlfriend goes for her masters/PhD. the top 14 are the only truly "national" schools. i also have grad school plans of my own, and going to the most prestigious school is without a doubt a good choice if you ever want to teach law (though i do only hope to teach jointly, with a spot in an undergrad department, so it's not like GW will be a negative).

but yes, if you have no reasons to go to a T14, there is probably no reason to do so. the prestige whoring for no real reason gets pretty old, though be forewarned that it does continue even in to law school.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 07:51:14 PM »
Do you know if GULC is similar to this for PT?

in most ways, i would say it is, at least from what i understand. the main difference is that you can't switch until the end of 1L, so the grades you receive might have something to do with being able to transfer (but i doubt it).

but just as i said i would choose GW PT over a lower tier one FT, i would choose GULC PT over even a top 25 FT. looking back on it now i really wish i had applied there.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: GW PT
« on: December 09, 2005, 07:06:20 PM »
i'm a 1L PT student at GW this year, transferring to FT next semester. there's some comments i want to make about the situation, and i can try and offer some advice, or answer any questions people have.

you can transfer after the first semester no matter what. the school told us at orientation that the bulletin says they "reserve the right" to forbid someone from transferring from one to the other, but they have not yet ever actually done so. additionally, seeing as how grades don't come out until part way through the 2nd semester, even if you were to fail a class (which is almost impossible, and if so, you should probably seriously reconsider the whole law school thing), you'd be in full time before they could do anything about it.

what i wasn't made aware of until orientation, is that while you do gain full time status your second semester, unfotunately you still have to take classes with the part timers. that means spring semester 1L you're taking all your classes with the evening students, with an additional class during the day to make you "full time". that leaves 2 classes of the required "core" to take. a lot of people take one of them over the summer (and do an unpaid internship in the area) and then the other one in the following fall. others do an externship for credits, or study abroad, and then take both of the classes the following fall. either way, because of GW's residence requirement, in order to graduate within 3 years you have to take some kind of credits over the summer (which you probably should anyways).

this is really a popular option. of the 120 or so people in the PT division, i think about 50, maybe even around 60. many came in with the plan to transfer, while others have quit their jobs since and plan to go FT. really, being able to start FT in spring semester is a great option, and not a bad way to ease yourself in to law school.

there is probably a legitimate worry about going this route not being as prestigious as getting in FT. unfortunately, like it or not, there are probably some employers who are going to actually care about this, despite the school's strict policy of telling us that having started PT won't matter at all, that no one cares, and that no firm has the time or energy to see why you didn't take property your first semester. i think it's bull. however, i think in the end the difference is more subtle, and probably doesn't end up affecting most people. if you want a market-rate job, GW is a place where you really have to finish in the top 1/2. having gone PT is not going to give someone who ranks in the bottom third of the class more options than you if you rank in the top third, or any such nonsense like that. when you're in the school, employers are going to care about where you finished overall. the only time i can imagine it would matter is if they were choosing between you and someone with the same grades who happened to start FT. even then though, from all the 3L's i've talked to who switched themselves, this really doesn't seem to be the case.

i see no reason to go to a lower ranked school unless it's somewhere around the top 25. again, there might be some stigma involved with going PT to FT. however, in the end, you're still at a school where the top third (perhaps even 40-50%, some tell me) can get market-rate firm jobs. i would see no reason to go a lower tier one that doesn't offer the same opportunities. i had a 3.5/161, only sent out a few apps, and got waitlisted at wisconsin and indiana-bloomington. i don't know if i did something wrong (i'll never know, really), but that left my choices between GW PT and Loyola Chicago FT, so the choice seemed clear. i guess the only person who i would say choosing to go to GW PT might be a tough choice is for someone who gets in to somewhere like BC or fordham FT. in that case i would say go there. i have one friend at GW who got in to boston u FT, and for some reason went to GW PT...that makes no sense.

you also have to realize that there are some other potential problems with starting out PT. one major problem is that you don't really get to meet the FT 1L's. you'll have no problem meeting other PT'ers who are transferring, so it hasn't been an issue for me. however, it is a little weird to walk around the school during social events and not really know anyone. i met some FT 1L's at the beginning of the year, but haven't talked to most of them since. it just seems to work out that way unless you happen to know some people in the FT division from before school starts. another problem is student activities- a lot of them meet around 5 or 6, right when evening classes start, so you can't get involved in much your first year (you can probably pay to join, but that's about it).

and if you are considering this option, be warned- do not fool yourself in to thinking that it's a secret way of starting law school in which you can do absolutely fabulous becuase you have all day to study 2 subjects. everyone thinks this is how it's going to be and it never is. even when people are told it won't work out that way, they always think it's going to be different for them. but there's a very good chance it won't. i don't know what it is, but i think it's that there's really only so much you can do when it comes to studying. reading the assigned reading over and over all day is not going to help you understand the material any better, and when the semester comes to an end you'll be in basically the same spot as the PT'ers who work during the day. the only way i see around this is to get a study group together within the first couple weeks of school, get together a few hours at the end of every week (unlike FT 1Ls, you have no class on friday), and just discuss everything you learned during the week.

lastly, having nothing to do until 6 is a schedule that is pretty hard to get used to. i think it has really gotten to a lot of my fellow students. take this in to serious consideration if you choose this option.

wow. i didn't plan to write so much, but that's what i wanted to let everyone know about the matter. any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: gulc vs gw
« on: October 22, 2005, 11:35:51 PM »
Well thank you, Nate.  I try my best. 

my pleasure.

so you're a GW 1L who is also from michigan?

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