Law School Discussion

Non-traditional prospective student - need some advice!


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Re: Non-traditional prospective student - need some advice!
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2008, 12:51:10 AM »
You can't really know which schools to apply to unless you have an LSAT score. Since I wont be taking it till October, I basically have chosen schools that are in the area I want to live and work in, and I know I have a shot at with an LSAT score of a 158-170. Some of the schools I picked were reaches (given my GPA) and some I know I have an excellent shot at perhaps with some $$$ too.

You are right, you should shoot for the best schools you can get into. But you have to also take into consideration if the schools are regional or national. Most people would advice to go to a law school in an area that you plan to work in. This doesn't apply to the T14. There are a lot of factors involved in choosing the right school. Between now and October 27th you will develop a better grasp of what schools you should be aiming to apply to, with an even firmer grasp right after your LSAT score is posted.


"Congrats - you'll be the feminine hygiene product non trad gunner who everyone hates" -

Re: Non-traditional prospective student - need some advice!
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2008, 09:14:34 AM »
Seems like you just shoot for the best school you can get into.  In addition, is a good method to shoot for applying to 7-10 schools - some slightly above your expectations, some in line and some as fall back schools?

For the most part, this is good advice.  There are some more things to consider as well, though.  If you don't care about moving or where you'll be working when you get out of law school, then balancing the ranking of the school and the cost of attending will be your biggest task.  Note that if you want to work in a certain state or region, that attending a regional school can trump a large rankings advantage, to a point.  If you want to work in Mississippi, for example, going to Ole Miss would be a better choice than going to a school ranked 30 spots above it.  However, going to Harvard would be better (though overkill from a cost and stress perspective). 

You may also end up applying to a lot more than 10 schools depending on your goals and your credentials.  If you know you want to work in a certain region, there is a smaller list of schools that will make sense for you to apply to.  If you could work in 5-10 cities throughout the country, then there could easily be 20+ schools that would be worth applying to.  While much of the law school application process is straightforward, sometimes results can seem like a crap shoot. 

As mentioned above, finances need to be considered.  A free ride to a school ranked 10 positions lower than another one you would be paying full tuition at might be a good deal - or it might not.

Also, will you be attending full-time or part-time?   

Re: Non-traditional prospective student - need some advice!
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2008, 06:39:18 PM »
I'll be attending full-time.

Your points are all good ones.  Fortunately, I'm in a financial position where the cost of my education will be secondary to where we want to live/work.  As much as I say that I'd go anywhere (if I did say that, I may have), I have a wife and two little children that I need to take into consideration.  Although my kids are too young for school at this point, by the time I graduate, we'll want to be in a place where the schools are good and where my wife feels comfortable living.

We've been in Fairfield County, Connecticut for almost our entire lives (about 45 min. outside of NYC).  We love the area here, the schools are great and we have a lot of friends and family around us.  Therefore, relocating back here after school would probably be something we would want to do.  Therefore, I'll definitely apply to Columbia, NYU, and UConn (among others).  However, it would be a nice change to live somewhere else for a few years.

I've been talking to many people and researching many schools (as well as the LSATs) and I seem to be running into trouble identifying and differentiating the 200+ schools out there!  Assume I'm looking at all Tier 1 schools for a moment (which I am).  What's the best method for understanding their underlying teaching methodology?  I hear so many people talk about, "some schools teach you think like a lawyer, other schools prepare you for the bar."  Well, personally, I'd rather learn how to think like a lawyer and worry about the bar later on - one step at a time.

I think when it comes down to it, I'll probably apply to more like 20 schools.  10 in the Northeast and 10 throughout the country.  However, it really depends on my LSAT scores.  I just started studying and as much as I'd like to think I'm going to breeze through the exam, I'm not.  The logic sections are taking me much longer than the alloted time, although I'm finding myself answering about 20/24 correctly (but in double the time!).  Reading comp is another story - haven't started studying for that and that section will probably be my worst.

Best regards,


Re: Non-traditional prospective student - need some advice!
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2008, 07:12:05 PM »
I'd suggest thinking about some of the DC schools as well as others in the mid-Atlantic region, they'd probably travel pretty well up into the Connecticut area where you eventually want to settle down. Georgetown, George Washington, American, Duke, Virginia & Penn among others.

And if you really want to narrow you're list, go visit the schools and ask to sit in on a class and judge for yourself what its really like, most schools will do this in addition to having someone from the admission staff tour you around.

Re: Non-traditional prospective student - need some advice!
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2008, 07:47:24 PM »
Thanks, good idea.

Any thought on how to sum up the differences between schools before actually visiting a number of them?  My hope is to narrow my search to about 20 schools and visit my five top choices (again, after I've taken the LSAT and know where I stand).


Re: Non-traditional prospective student - need some advice!
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2008, 02:14:15 PM »
I went through all this last summer. I studied all summer for the LSAT (150-200 hours), took it in the fall, and got 178 (99th percentile). It was a great score, but I really worked for it, almost like an obsession. My ancient GPA (1979)was 3.4.

Then I started getting emails from all sorts of schools begging me to apply and offering me fee waivers. So I applied to about 20 schools. Each one cost $12 to apply through LSAC. And then the acceptances and financial aid offers started rolling in. It was so flattering! I even got accepted at Columbia, but on the waiting list at Michigan, UVA and UCLA.

The one thing I did wrong was start asking for letters of recommendation sort of late, in September. I would advise you to start asking now. It may take a while to get all three.

Like you, I have a family. You and your wife should think about and discuss location very carefully. I did not want to move at all. The only two schools I really considered were U Texas in Austin and St. Mary's in San Antonio. I will be attending UT. It is 100 miles away. I have rented a room in Austin and plan to sleep there 2 nights a week. Luckily, classes are only Monday through Thursday.

I hope some of this can be of help to you and your wife.