Law School Discussion

How low is too low?

How low is too low?
« on: May 06, 2008, 11:17:57 AM »
While I'm sure this question is seen all too often, I'm going to ask it again, as I need some advice! 

How low is too low for a GPA?

I have a 2.9 GPA from my degree granting institution (NYU). Overall GPA is about a 3.3 or a little higher, because I was a tranfer student in UG. Haven't taken the official LSAT yet (will do so in October), but so far, I'm earning around a 168-170 in diagnostics. I'm taking a Testmasters prep course this summer, and am hoping to bump that up a few points.

With that said, my top choice is UCLA or USC, but I am also applying to numerous other schools obviously, including U of San Diego, Berkely, U of Denver (maybe), etc. etc.

I intend to focus on international law, specifically immigration. I have 2 years of work experience since graduation, working in a social service agency supporting Arabic-speaking immigrants. I feel as though my work experience is unique and speaks to the fact that I am dedicated to representing an underserved segment of the population, etc. etc.

With all that said, I am having such anxiety over my GPA. Should I? Any UCLA or USC students around here with the same type of stats? On the one hand, I feel as though my experience is an asset.. on the other, with so much riding on GPA, I'm worried.

While we're at it, should I focus on my work experience and future plans in my PS, or use it to explain why I had 2 horrible semesters in UG?

Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2008, 11:31:08 AM »
First the bad news.  Your GPA matters a lot, especially at some of the schools you mentioned.  Getting into UCLA and USC would require a very high LSAT score (higher than 170) and Berkeley is pretty much out of the question regardless of your LSAT.

Having said that, the good news is that your LSAT score matters more.  The schools you should apply to are going to depend on that score.  You should search this site for the term "splitter".  It's the term for people with high LSAT and low GPA.  Certain schools, like Northwestern, really appreciate work experience and are willing to overlook low GPAs.  Assuming you get over a 170, you might also want to look into Georgetown.

You should focus your personal statement on your positives, so talk about your experience and your career goals and leave the explanation of your low GPA for a supplementary addendum.  You can still get into some great schools, but you're application package needs to be solid and your LSAT score needs to be as high as possible.  Good luck!

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Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2008, 11:31:45 AM »
While I'm sure this question is seen all too often, I'm going to ask it again, as I need some advice! 

How low is too low for a GPA?

I have a 2.9 GPA from my degree granting institution (NYU). Overall GPA is about a 3.3 or a little higher, because I was a tranfer student in UG. Haven't taken the official LSAT yet (will do so in October), but so far, I'm earning around a 168-170 in diagnostics. I'm taking a Testmasters prep course this summer, and am hoping to bump that up a few points.

With that said, my top choice is UCLA or USC, but I am also applying to numerous other schools obviously, including U of San Diego, Berkely, U of Denver (maybe), etc. etc.

I intend to focus on international law, specifically immigration. I have 2 years of work experience since graduation, working in a social service agency supporting Arabic-speaking immigrants. I feel as though my work experience is unique and speaks to the fact that I am dedicated to representing an underserved segment of the population, etc. etc.

With all that said, I am having such anxiety over my GPA. Should I? Any UCLA or USC students around here with the same type of stats? On the one hand, I feel as though my experience is an asset.. on the other, with so much riding on GPA, I'm worried.

While we're at it, should I focus on my work experience and future plans in my PS, or use it to explain why I had 2 horrible semesters in UG?

You should write about yourself and your experiences in your PS, and then write a separate grade addendum explaining why you had bad semesters.

Unfortunately, CA schools seem to emphasize GPA more than some other places. I know at least Berkeley and UCLA are not very splitter friendly at all (splitter = low GPA/high LSAT), but I don't know whether that's true of USC, San Diego, or Denver. Are you interested in casting a wider net, or mostly just in the West Coast? You will certainly be able to get in somewhere, especially if do well on the LSAT, but it can be harder to predict where splitters will get in.  Good luck to you! Your work experience sounds very interesting!  :)


Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2008, 11:36:31 AM »
I'd apply to USC and UC Hastings.  USC is a little more forgiving of a low GPA than the other top Cali schools.

Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 11:48:01 AM »
While I'm sure this question is seen all too often, I'm going to ask it again, as I need some advice! 

How low is too low for a GPA?

I have a 2.9 GPA from my degree granting institution (NYU). Overall GPA is about a 3.3 or a little higher, because I was a tranfer student in UG. Haven't taken the official LSAT yet (will do so in October), but so far, I'm earning around a 168-170 in diagnostics. I'm taking a Testmasters prep course this summer, and am hoping to bump that up a few points.

With that said, my top choice is UCLA or USC, but I am also applying to numerous other schools obviously, including U of San Diego, Berkely, U of Denver (maybe), etc. etc.

I intend to focus on international law, specifically immigration. I have 2 years of work experience since graduation, working in a social service agency supporting Arabic-speaking immigrants. I feel as though my work experience is unique and speaks to the fact that I am dedicated to representing an underserved segment of the population, etc. etc.

With all that said, I am having such anxiety over my GPA. Should I? Any UCLA or USC students around here with the same type of stats? On the one hand, I feel as though my experience is an asset.. on the other, with so much riding on GPA, I'm worried.

While we're at it, should I focus on my work experience and future plans in my PS, or use it to explain why I had 2 horrible semesters in UG?

Why would you want to go anywhere outside of the Top 25 with a degree from NYU? Also it will be hard to get into international law not going to the T14, if you score over a 170 you should definately look at Georgetown.

Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 11:49:22 AM »
How low is too low for a GPA?

With all that said, I am having such anxiety over my GPA. Should I?

While we're at it, should I focus on my work experience and future plans in my PS, or use it to explain why I had 2 horrible semesters in UG?

Your gpa is not too low to get into great schools if you score around your current practice range.

Do not have anxiety over your GPA, there is nothing you can do to change it now. No use crying over spilt milk. You will have to come to the realization that some schools will be out of your grasp because of it but it is not the end of the world. There are plenty of top schools which will be forgiving of your gpa in light of your lsat and work experience.

My advice from one splitter to another would be apply to a lot of places, use your application to highlight your positives not negatives, and going the extra mile when applying [why x essays, visits, interviews, etc...] could really help you overcome your gpa.

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Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 11:50:02 AM »
While I'm sure this question is seen all too often, I'm going to ask it again, as I need some advice! 

How low is too low for a GPA?

I have a 2.9 GPA from my degree granting institution (NYU). Overall GPA is about a 3.3 or a little higher, because I was a tranfer student in UG. Haven't taken the official LSAT yet (will do so in October), but so far, I'm earning around a 168-170 in diagnostics. I'm taking a Testmasters prep course this summer, and am hoping to bump that up a few points.

With that said, my top choice is UCLA or USC, but I am also applying to numerous other schools obviously, including U of San Diego, Berkely, U of Denver (maybe), etc. etc.

I intend to focus on international law, specifically immigration. I have 2 years of work experience since graduation, working in a social service agency supporting Arabic-speaking immigrants. I feel as though my work experience is unique and speaks to the fact that I am dedicated to representing an underserved segment of the population, etc. etc.

With all that said, I am having such anxiety over my GPA. Should I? Any UCLA or USC students around here with the same type of stats? On the one hand, I feel as though my experience is an asset.. on the other, with so much riding on GPA, I'm worried.

While we're at it, should I focus on my work experience and future plans in my PS, or use it to explain why I had 2 horrible semesters in UG?

Why would you want to go anywhere outside of the Top 25 with a degree from NYU? Also it will be hard to get into international law not going to the T14, if you score over a 170 you should definately look at Georgetown.

I'm not quite sure how we're using the term "international law" here. If she wants to keep doing immigration work, she should be able to do that from a lot of places.

Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008, 11:53:09 AM »
While I'm sure this question is seen all too often, I'm going to ask it again, as I need some advice! 

How low is too low for a GPA?

I have a 2.9 GPA from my degree granting institution (NYU). Overall GPA is about a 3.3 or a little higher, because I was a tranfer student in UG. Haven't taken the official LSAT yet (will do so in October), but so far, I'm earning around a 168-170 in diagnostics. I'm taking a Testmasters prep course this summer, and am hoping to bump that up a few points.

With that said, my top choice is UCLA or USC, but I am also applying to numerous other schools obviously, including U of San Diego, Berkely, U of Denver (maybe), etc. etc.

I intend to focus on international law, specifically immigration. I have 2 years of work experience since graduation, working in a social service agency supporting Arabic-speaking immigrants. I feel as though my work experience is unique and speaks to the fact that I am dedicated to representing an underserved segment of the population, etc. etc.

With all that said, I am having such anxiety over my GPA. Should I? Any UCLA or USC students around here with the same type of stats? On the one hand, I feel as though my experience is an asset.. on the other, with so much riding on GPA, I'm worried.

While we're at it, should I focus on my work experience and future plans in my PS, or use it to explain why I had 2 horrible semesters in UG?

Why would you want to go anywhere outside of the Top 25 with a degree from NYU? Also it will be hard to get into international law not going to the T14, if you score over a 170 you should definately look at Georgetown.

I'm not quite sure how we're using the term "international law" here. If she wants to keep doing immigration work, she should be able to do that from a lot of places.

He said he wants to focus on international law, I mean I guess he could represent some mexicans coming across the border coming out of San Diego>  ;D

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Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2008, 11:56:44 AM »
While I'm sure this question is seen all too often, I'm going to ask it again, as I need some advice! 

How low is too low for a GPA?

I have a 2.9 GPA from my degree granting institution (NYU). Overall GPA is about a 3.3 or a little higher, because I was a tranfer student in UG. Haven't taken the official LSAT yet (will do so in October), but so far, I'm earning around a 168-170 in diagnostics. I'm taking a Testmasters prep course this summer, and am hoping to bump that up a few points.

With that said, my top choice is UCLA or USC, but I am also applying to numerous other schools obviously, including U of San Diego, Berkely, U of Denver (maybe), etc. etc.

I intend to focus on international law, specifically immigration. I have 2 years of work experience since graduation, working in a social service agency supporting Arabic-speaking immigrants. I feel as though my work experience is unique and speaks to the fact that I am dedicated to representing an underserved segment of the population, etc. etc.

With all that said, I am having such anxiety over my GPA. Should I? Any UCLA or USC students around here with the same type of stats? On the one hand, I feel as though my experience is an asset.. on the other, with so much riding on GPA, I'm worried.

While we're at it, should I focus on my work experience and future plans in my PS, or use it to explain why I had 2 horrible semesters in UG?

Why would you want to go anywhere outside of the Top 25 with a degree from NYU? Also it will be hard to get into international law not going to the T14, if you score over a 170 you should definately look at Georgetown.

I'm not quite sure how we're using the term "international law" here. If she wants to keep doing immigration work, she should be able to do that from a lot of places.

He said he wants to focus on international law, I mean I guess he could represent some mexicans coming across the border coming out of San Diego>  ;D

You're very helpful  ::)

And "danielle" sounds like a she to me. Just saying.

To the OP - lots of schools have asylum clinics, which might be something for you to check out if you're interested in continuing to do immigration work. If you're definitely determined to stay in California, Hastings has the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies which does great stuff:
http://cgrs.uchastings.edu/

The other splitter advice is sound.

Re: How low is too low?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2008, 12:03:51 PM »
Thanks everyone for the advice.

In referring to immigration and international focus, etc. - my UG degree is in Middle Eastern Studies, I speak Arabic, have worked with the population for some time and intend to continue that work as I go into law. It does not have to be immigration hands down, but that is where my past experience has been.

I forgot to mention UC-Davis. I'm not stuck on West Coast. But as a Colorado-native, I have been on the East Coast for maybe a little too long.

As far as my preference for UCLA - their faculty, specifically one professor of Islamic law, appeals greatly to me. As does the potential for earning a dual degree in their Near Eastern Languages & Cultures department.


As for the question, with a degree from NYU why don't I focus on top 25 schools? Precisely for the reason I am posting - my GPA. I entered NYU as a transfer student the same semester as a university-wide grad student strike broke out. Needless to say, classes were severely disrupted and my grades suffered. In addition, I was working 40+ hours per week. Alas, it's in the past, but that's why I'm in this position now.