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Author Topic: High LSAT/Low GPA - My story  (Read 13456 times)

hunterhogan

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High LSAT/Low GPA - My story
« on: May 10, 2005, 12:19:03 PM »
I managed a 173 on the LSAT, but my LSAC-computed GPA is only 2.19. I am happy with the way the admissions cycle worked out for me, and I wanted to share my experience with others.

The most important thing you can do is to read as much as you can about the admissions process. I didn't find this discussion board until after my first round of applications. I learned some valuable things here, and I wish I had found it earlier.

Instead of writing down all of the things that I learned at one time, I am going to add to this thread as I get time.

My application materials

I applied to seven schools by 1 Nov 04. The strategy I used was decent. Here are the various parts of my application:
  • My Academic Summary - http://www.hunterthinks.com/solo/lawschool/AcademicSummary.html
  • Notes about my Academic Summary (another post in this thread)
  • An explanation why UNT put me on academic probation (another post in this thread)
  • Personal statement (another post in this thread)
  • Resume (another post in this thread)
  • Notes about my Resume (another post in this thread)
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
    • Former coworker (another post in this thread)
    • Former boss - President of multiple companies; I don't have the text; solid but probably not outstanding

This set of application materials got me rejected from all seven of the schools I applied to. I was heartbroken that Houston rejected me - I thought I was a lock there. I was accepted to DePaul, Cooley, and Florida Coastal with this application. I was not excited about any of these options.

I was very interested in Chicago-Kent's Honors Program. They required an essay that explained why I would be a leader in my profession, and I spent three months working on that essay. During that time, I developed a much better set of application materials. After I post all of the above materials, I will explain what changed and why. I will also post the new materials.

Feel free to ask questions. I am hoping that people in a similar situation won't stress as much as I did during this process.

hunterhogan

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My story
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2005, 12:29:50 PM »
[I titled this document based on the school's application. Houston specifically asked if I was ever placed on probation - here is the document I gave them.]

Notes Concerning Application Question Number 6
In the fall of 1994, I became disenchanted with school. I stopped going to classes and never took the time to withdraw from classes. It was a mistake for me to enroll in college when I was not interested in earning a degree, and it was a mistake for me not to withdraw from my classes.

After receiving nine hours of F, my GPA was low enough that the University of North Texas appropriately placed me on academic probation.

LaneSwerver

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My story
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2005, 01:00:37 PM »
This is probably the most thoughtful thread I have ever read on this board. Thank you.

hunterhogan

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My story
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2005, 01:28:13 PM »
This is probably the most thoughtful thread I have ever read on this board. Thank you.

Thanks!

hunterhogan

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My story
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2005, 01:32:38 PM »
Resume link (save it, then open it)
http://www.hunterthinks.com/solo/lawschool/Hunter_Hogan-Resume.mdi

Resume notes
I excluded menial labor jobs from before I was 18.

In the computer industry, technical certifications have become employment requirements as important as education and experience. Of the tens of millions of people worldwide that work in computers, over two million have achieved at least one certification from Microsoft alone. However, few people have earned as many certifications as I have.

Certification# Worldwide
MCP (Any one certification) 963,606
MCSA Windows 2000   104,703
MCSA Windows 2003     11,314
MCSE Windows 2000   244,153
CompTIA A+   > 500,000
CompTIA Network+   ~ 135,000
CompTIA Server+~ 10,000
From www.mcpmag.com/certbasics and www.comptia.org

hunterhogan

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My story
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2005, 01:37:39 PM »
Letter of Recommendation – Hunter C. Hogan

  I have had the privilege to work professionally with Hunter Hogan as an administrator of instructional programs at CyberTex, a computer training company based in Austin, Texas. As I worked closely with Hunter, he proved himself to be an indispensable asset to the company.

  Prior to my employment with CyberTex, I was a coordinator for the gifted and talented program and a mentor teacher in Cleveland ISD for new teachers. I was responsible for identifying gifted students and mentoring teachers working with gifted students. I am very familiar with the characteristics of gifted individuals. I have 18 years of experience in the Texas public school system, and currently teach in Austin ISD.

    Hunter is not just a gifted individual. He is what I consider to be profoundly gifted. As such, his life has been a series of overcoming obstacles. His biggest obstacle has been to learn to “suffer fools gladly” to avoid alienation from mainstream culture. Being highly gifted does not always work to one’s social advantages. As Hunter’s natural ability to teach evolved into a highly effective and successful style, his students taught him to become more aware of his communication skills and helped him to develop confidence in his leadership ability. I watched as Hunter, through his teaching, grew into a more tolerant, compassionate individual.
   
     It was a joy to work with Hunter as he learned more about best teaching practices, as he was an inquisitive, eager, and extremely fast learner. He applied everything he learned and had many discussions with me to clarify and perfect his teaching methods in any situation he encountered. Of course, “whys” were of primary importance and interest. Hunter welcomed challenges as opportunities to learn, and frequently read teaching methodology books I brought to work He enjoyed discussing concepts, questioning various philosophies and applying what he was learning. As an instructor, Hunter researched the latest developments in technology and sought increasingly higher skill levels in technical expertise. He was an independent learner, preferring to read technical self-study guides and work the accompanying exercises to obtain 8 certifications. Hunter passed all 8 certification exams in less than a year while he was a full time instructor. He demonstrated excellent mastery, as he passed all 8 exams on the first try with very high scores.
 
    Hunter has a wide range of interests. Though Hunter prefers to teach himself through reading, he often enjoys sharing insights and debating fine points of educational techniques and philosophies to psychology of learners and political systems to technology issues and beyond. He designed several websites - one addressing web design and another, current political issues. Enthusiastic debates and engaging discussions filled the classroom and hallways at break times. Hunter created a climate of learning and a community of learners engaged in reflections and self-expression to surround him.

    Hunter’s enthusiasm was contagious, and his students reflected this in their excellent attendance. He always taught with passion and a sense of humor. He was the most popular instructor, and consistently achieved high marks on his evaluations. Hunter quickly gained rapport with students, as he was able to connect with them on an individual and personal level. He achieved a high rate of success in his teaching despite a frustrating lack of motivation displayed by some students. Hunter was able to set aside his own tendency toward perfectionism to reach out and provide assistance to those students needing some hand holding to be successful. Hunter devised a system to help monitor student success, build in confidence and help students pass a difficult certification test in a very short framework of time.

     Hunter was reliable and responsible, missing only one sick day in all the time he worked with CyberTex. He made sure instruction began on time, and taught until time for students to go home. He was concerned that the students got their moneys’ worth, as he knew these lower income students were paying a high tuition in order to quickly obtain a decent paying job. He took his job seriously, and felt personally responsible for students grasping tough technical concepts in a very fast paced, accelerated program. Hunter was dedicated to their success. Despite working full time under a stressful workload, Hunter made himself available to his students to call him outside of working hours, on his cell phone, with any questions they may have, or if they just needed encouragement or advice. He also volunteered to hold several outings outside of school for students to socialize and enjoy time together free from the pressures of school. Students enjoyed playing Frisbee in the park, and had a get together at Hunter’s house to watch a UT football game.
   
    Hunter and I worked very well together. I am a planner, and have depended upon my organizational skills for years. Hunter, fortunately, also was a planner and extremely organized. The CEO’s of the company were focused on day-to-day concerns, often making radical shifts in direction based on information at any given moment. Hunter and I were often forced into negotiations at these times to help the company accomplish long-range goals while remaining sensitive to the short-term issues. Usually, Hunter’s suggestions made during these meetings were termed as “brilliant” and consequently acted upon. Though many hours of curriculum development and his program designs were at stake, Hunter was able to creatively solve the problems facing the team. His analytical thinking and creative solutions saved the company time and money. And if Hunter did not know the answer to a question, he researched it until it was resolved. I never worried about Hunter meeting project deadlines, because he always managed to beat them.

     Hunter was an ideal lead instructor, but also had many other job responsibilities.
He was a self-starter, envisioning solutions for problems many others did not forsee. Hunter took initiative to create and revise curriculum for new instructors, coordinate scheduling of classes, procure and maintain classroom and networking equipment, assist with web design, and set up a newsgroup website for students to post messages, see job announcements, and much more.

   He also created new marketing strategies, and designed an operating expense budget for CyberTex. Hunter was always willing to undertake new projects, and in time became an influential, yet democratic team leader. Hunter became able to take his own work and synthesize it with ideas offered by others, creating a well-designed project that had support from the entire company.
   
     Hunter’s strength of integrity was sometimes a bane to others less concerned with “principles”. If Hunter perceived a lack of integrity in some area of the business, he would bring it to the attention of those who could correct it. At times, Hunter found himself caught in a conflict between his sense of justice, fairness and integrity and some business decisions made by the company. Hunter’s conscience did not allow him to say or do some things requested by a CEO. Hunter was trusted and admired, but maligned at times by some for his noncompliance. Hunter remained true to his beliefs.
   
    Hunter prioritized and organized projects and goals in his mind. He rarely needed reminders because he was able to remember exactly what was needed and when it was due.
If he scheduled events, he used a palm pilot. He helped others on the team to organize various company projects through creation of a spreadsheet accessible through the file server.
   
   Hunter would often be asked to abandon one project to begin work on another. Though he found this difficult, he would comply and throw his energy and creativity into the new project, and work on the former one as time allowed until it too was completed. Hunter always had a sense of the bigger picture as he worked to satisfy the changing priorities of the CEO. He had a need to see these projects through to realize his vision.

   Funding sources for students entering the programs dried up, and Hunter began looking for work. He gave the company 2 weeks termination notice before leaving, and worked at a reduced rate of pay, offering to work part time if needed on projects. Unfortunately, the owner ultimately laid off the entire workforce, substituting family members for his paid employees.
   
    Hunter was an exceptional key employee. I know he will succeed in any endeavor because he has:
-a drive to know and a passion for learning
-patience to research a problem until he thoroughly understands it
-analytical skills to dissect problems and find the critical elements
-creative ability to address problems in a way to minimize conflict
-persistence and determination to realize his goals
And Hunter is a meticulous visionary- an unusual and successful combination of characteristics.

     Hunter has a strong drive to learn and achieve in his chosen career. He has a passion for issues of social justice, and a strong sense of ethics. He would be a lawyer deserving of trust.

But I believe Hunter will go beyond practicing law. He will, in some respect, be involved in teaching the principles, as he is a natural teacher equipped with the skills and passion to be whatever he desires. And he will always be a great student, as learning will be his lifelong pursuit.

HippieLawChick

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My story
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2005, 01:47:34 PM »
I have looked at your profile at LSN before and always wondered what your story really was.  I really appreciate your candor and the fact that you took the TIME to post your story. 

The true purpose of this site is for us to HELP each other through this process and to share advice and information.  Because so many feel the need to prove their worth, a lot of bragging and "HTH" sarcasm occurs rather than HELP.

Thank you for the reminder of what this forum is for.  I too got caught up in the competition and forgot that I may also have experiences that could help others.


****Applause****

hunterhogan

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My story
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2005, 02:03:36 PM »
Thank you for the reminder of what this forum is for.  I too got caught up in the competition and forgot that I may also have experiences that could help others.

And thank you!

MikePNC

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My PS
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2005, 10:20:40 AM »
You have given me new hope, and I have bookmarked this thread!

Thank you,

Mike

hunterhogan

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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA - My PS and my LoR
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2005, 01:20:49 PM »
Letters of Recommendation

Getting my LoRs was a mixed bag. The one I posted above was easy, and I was happy with the results (let's call this one LoR B). The second letter that I wanted took forever (LoR F). It took so long that I asked someone to write a third letter (LoR W).

I originally wrote all of my application materials in October 2004 after taking the LSAT. I asked two people to write letters for me (B and F). I asked that they write them by 1 Nov. That would give enough time for them to be processed and sent to the schools.

For both of the writers, I provided the most recent drafts of my resume, academic summary notes, and personal statement. I gave them both Overnight Express envelopes with the postage paid. I also gave the writers lists of attributes that admissions committees were looking for. (How to Get into the Top Law Schools pgs 287-289). I talked to them about why I wanted to go to law school and how they could help me get in. I am very lucky to have them both. They were very interested in helping me, and they thought that law school was a good choice for me.

For LoR B, I drove all of the materials over to her, and she completed everything on time. I think that the LoR she wrote was very effective. It confirmed claims that I made in my PS, it provided information that the AdComms couldn't get from other sources, and she demonstrated that she was qualified to make these subjective and objective statements.

LoR F is a busy executive. He owns/runs two companies were listed among the 25 fastest growing companies in America, plus he was getting married. He knew that he wouldn't have much time, but he wanted to help. He asked me to write a draft that he would revise. I sent him two copies of the LoR draft that I wrote. The first was just the letter. The second was an annotated draft. I explained what each section was about and suggested changes. Here is an example (the comments are in brackets):

Quote
I first hired Hunter almost nine years ago to work on our company’s website. [If you remember why you hired me, you might add that here.] [If you interviewed a lot of people, this might be a good quantification.]

I had a hard time writing this LoR. I was constantly feeling like I was bragging, but that is what the letter called for. If I had to do this over again, I would get over that mental issue and write a stronger letter. I think this letter was good, but not great.

The other problem is that it took F over two months to send the letter. I applied to schools by 1 Nov because I read that it was better to apply early. But, since he took so long, many of my applications were not complete until Jan! I was finally so frustrated that I asked W to write a third letter for me. If F wasn't done, then I was going to tell schools to use W instead of F.

W is an old friend. We have known each other since we were 14. It is unusual to have a friend write a LoR and I do not recommend it. However, he was a good alternate for me because he could talk about the High School/College program we were both in. I got bad grades in the program and left, but he finished. I wanted him to talk about his struggles and why it was understandable that I had a hard time. Again, I asked him to write a LoR because I needed two LoR and I couldn't get F to finish. So, this was a decent substitute.

EDIT: W gave me the letter recently. It is much better than I was hoping for. It is included much lower in this thread and my comments will likely follow it.

My recommendations for LoR:
  • Start getting the LoR as early as possible! (A 3-month lead-time is a good idea.)
  • Get as many good LoR as you can. If you can get four, then get four.
  • Get LoR from as many different perspectives as possible.
  • Give lots of information to the writers. Make it as easy as possible for them.
  • Check-up on them regularly.
  • If you have to write one yourself:
    • Force yourself to use a different voice than your PS
    • Do not be afraid to brag
    • Do not exaggerate