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Author Topic: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?  (Read 2828 times)

SingleGirl

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I'm only 3 months into the idea of becoming a lawyer.  I suppose I never considered it before b/c I had a pretty severe misconception of what lawyers actually did until I began work in my current field (mental health clinician). 

I have a graduate degree already with a high GPA.  However, my UGA is only 2.97.  My practice LSAT's are in the 170's and I plan on studying from now until the next test.  I've used the UGA/LSAT guesstimator to see where I stand and it's scary.

Since I'm new to the field, I'm not set on a Tier or a career post-grad in a large firm.  I actually plan to work in a rural part of the country in public service.  Still, the program that interests me the most in my region with the most opportunities, clinics, etc is a Top 10 school.  Ugh.

I figure it's pretty much gone.  Should I apply anyway, just in case?  Since I come from a different field that seems a bit more subjective with their admissions criteria, I'm totally uncertain whether these numbers are hard and fast or flexible.

Thanks in advance. I'm 29 so all of my friends have long since completed this process and don't really have any current answers for me.

Oh, also, will they even get a chance to see that I have a graduate degree?  Is there a way to sell myself that plays up my accomplishments in my field/public policy that can overdo the GPA?

Thanks again.

Resident CLS Troll

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2008, 03:16:47 AM »
I think that you have a shot depending on how you do on your LSAT's.  Get that question answered first though.

SingleGirl

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2008, 03:20:09 AM »
Thank you.  There are 5 law schools in my state that are apparently all very well respected.  Several great ones close by as well.  As I learn more, I might decide the Top 10 school isn't best fit for me anyway.

It's just hard to retrain my brain into this whole Tiered system.  I'm used to picking a school based on the research opportunities.

Thanks again.  Be well.

archival

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2008, 10:20:42 AM »
I have a graduate degree already with a high GPA.  However, my UGA is only 2.97.  My practice LSAT's are in the 170's and I plan on studying from now until the next test.  I've used the UGA/LSAT guesstimator to see where I stand and it's scary.
...

I figure it's pretty much gone.  Should I apply anyway, just in case?  Since I come from a different field that seems a bit more subjective with their admissions criteria, I'm totally uncertain whether these numbers are hard and fast or flexible.

Thanks in advance. I'm 29 so all of my friends have long since completed this process and don't really have any current answers for me.

Oh, also, will they even get a chance to see that I have a graduate degree?  Is there a way to sell myself that plays up my accomplishments in my field/public policy that can overdo the GPA?

Echoing our troll friend... from what I've observed over a few cycles:

Get in the 170s on the real thing, and you will have a shot at top schools (except Berkeley.)  Unless you are from an under-represented minority group, the very tippy top (HY) is almost certainly out.  I did see one H waitlist for a white dude with a sub-3.0 GPA a couple cycles ago, but he had a unique background.

With a high LSAT, you will also have a good chance at getting significant scholarships at solid Tier 1 schools.  At 29, you are legitimately non-traditional and your very low GPA matters less than it would if you were 22.  Look at acceptances for <3.0 GPA >170 LSAT on lawschoolnumbers.com and you'll see in profiles that almost all were older.

In general, graduate work matters very little in admissions. 

Good luck.
But how do you deal with someone who rejects your broad moral principles?
I kill them.

vjm

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2008, 10:51:40 AM »
I agree with both of the above posters about the importance of getting a very high LSAT in your situation.

I do have to take issue with the idea that a nontrads UGPA counts less in adcomms eyes. I have heard this several times on this board, but I have yet to see convincing evidence that it is true.

What I do see is that adcomms at some schools will look a little harder at your soft factors if you have been out of undergrad for a while. This is a very different issue, and yields different results.

If you get a high LSAT, you will be a splitter. Splitters have notoriously unpredictable cycles, so you need to apply widely. The upside for you, as opposed to someone who is straight out of undergrad with similar numbers, is that you have shown you can succeed. You are not as much of a gamble.

I'm going into public interest as well, so PM if you want to talk about that. With your career goals, you could be just fine attending a much lower ranked school. PI jobs are competitive, don't get me wrong. If you are pretty set on what you want to do (and don't think there is any chance you will change your mind while in school)a Tier 2 or 3 with money could make sense, especially if it places well in the region in which you are interested.

archival

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2008, 11:01:27 AM »
I do have to take issue with the idea that a nontrads UGPA counts less in adcomms eyes. I have heard this several times on this board, but I have yet to see convincing evidence that it is true.

Clarification: this is only for splitters.  Splitters who do well tend to be older.

For old folks with non-stratospheric LSATs, it's a plain old numbers game for the most part.
But how do you deal with someone who rejects your broad moral principles?
I kill them.

vjm

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 03:07:05 PM »
That makes much more sense, thank you!

SingleGirl

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2008, 12:30:13 AM »
Thanks guys, it's appreciated!

1lstudent

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2008, 11:22:37 AM »
LSAT is what counts, not gpa.  I had an ugpa of 3.91 but my lsat was only 164 :'( (needless to say, I got rejected at the top schools).  I think if you are scoring in the high 170s on your lsat, you should pretty much get into the school of your choice regardless of gpa.

betasteve

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Re: Very low UGPA, what next? Should I apply to top schools anyway?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2008, 10:57:18 AM »
Based on all I've read (I'm a splitter), with your GPA you are probably out at upper half of the top 10.  Northwestern, I've heard, is very friendly to splitters and to work experience.  As most posters have said it will depend greatly on your LSAT.  With my GPA, I've decided not to apply to my T14 choices (Duke, UVA), but instead decided to shoot for the school in my region that is ranked lower than the nationals, but have excellent placement in the region.  Do you know where you'd like to work?  Perhaps as a bit of a fall back, take some time and research how some of the 25-100 ranked schools do in your region.  And, as a benefit, if you score well, and are above their 75% LSAT, there is a chance some of those schools will throw money at you.  Unless you are dying to be a federal clerk, you ends could be met well/better by considering some of the lower ranked schools.  Just my barely informed 2 cents... :)
I'm only 3 months into the idea of becoming a lawyer.  I suppose I never considered it before b/c I had a pretty severe misconception of what lawyers actually did until I began work in my current field (mental health clinician). 

I have a graduate degree already with a high GPA.  However, my UGA is only 2.97.  My practice LSAT's are in the 170's and I plan on studying from now until the next test.  I've used the UGA/LSAT guesstimator to see where I stand and it's scary.

Since I'm new to the field, I'm not set on a Tier or a career post-grad in a large firm.  I actually plan to work in a rural part of the country in public service.  Still, the program that interests me the most in my region with the most opportunities, clinics, etc is a Top 10 school.  Ugh.

I figure it's pretty much gone.  Should I apply anyway, just in case?  Since I come from a different field that seems a bit more subjective with their admissions criteria, I'm totally uncertain whether these numbers are hard and fast or flexible.

Thanks in advance. I'm 29 so all of my friends have long since completed this process and don't really have any current answers for me.

Oh, also, will they even get a chance to see that I have a graduate degree?  Is there a way to sell myself that plays up my accomplishments in my field/public policy that can overdo the GPA?

Thanks again.