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Author Topic: should I even bother? :-[  (Read 3353 times)

mxx

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should I even bother? :-[
« on: August 16, 2008, 02:05:52 AM »
Hey im going into 4th year at UWO.

my averages for the past 3 years have been horrible. last year i had a 67.5, previously both were 60 or so. failed out of BMOS (aka ACS) 1st year, just been shadowing the program since.
Anyways, i wrote a practice LSAT just to see what I'd get. I didnt study beforehand, I scored 159. My strongest section is games and my weakest is RC. I feel that If I study Ill be able to get it up to high 160's, maybe even break 170.

anyways, since my grades are so low, is there any decent school that would still consider me with a high LSAT?? What If I improved my avg this year to 80 and took an extra year? Will the first 3 still count, or is it only the last 2 (what about the US)??

any input is appreciated, thanks

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Re: should I even bother? :-[
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2008, 04:24:38 PM »
It depends. You probably wont get into the top Canadian law schools (especially UofT) unless you have some mitigating circumstances that you could potentially include in an addendum along with your personal statements. Remember, a high 160 isn't really outstanding when you're applying to top schools, its within the average range of scores among the pool of applicants you'll be competing with - therefore, a high 160s score will hardly compensate for a low GPA.

You might get into schools that average your top 2 years if you're able to pull off a 3.7+ this year. But your chances are still rather slim, since you'll average only about a 2.7 to 3.0. But I wouldnt recommend taking a victory lap, or splitting your final year into 2 easier/more manageable years. Adcoms in Canada prefer to admit applicants who have taken a full course load throughout their undergraduate degree - because everyone would be applying with a 4.0 if you could take partial course loads.

Also, your major might matter to adcoms. Are you enrolled in a "soft" or "hard" sciences program?

There are many exceptions made though, and your reasons for obtaining a low UGPA are your own, so don't let any of this discourage you from at least trying the real LSAT. I would say that your chances are very good if you manage a 175.

mxx

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Re: should I even bother? :-[
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2008, 02:55:49 PM »
It depends. You probably wont get into the top Canadian law schools (especially UofT) unless you have some mitigating circumstances that you could potentially include in an addendum along with your personal statements. Remember, a high 160 isn't really outstanding when you're applying to top schools, its within the average range of scores among the pool of applicants you'll be competing with - therefore, a high 160s score will hardly compensate for a low GPA.

You might get into schools that average your top 2 years if you're able to pull off a 3.7+ this year. But your chances are still rather slim, since you'll average only about a 2.7 to 3.0. But I wouldnt recommend taking a victory lap, or splitting your final year into 2 easier/more manageable years. Adcoms in Canada prefer to admit applicants who have taken a full course load throughout their undergraduate degree - because everyone would be applying with a 4.0 if you could take partial course loads.

Also, your major might matter to adcoms. Are you enrolled in a "soft" or "hard" sciences program?

There are many exceptions made though, and your reasons for obtaining a low UGPA are your own, so don't let any of this discourage you from at least trying the real LSAT. I would say that your chances are very good if you manage a 175.

well, im not sure what you mean with a soft or hard program? I'm shadowing the MOS finance and admin program which is pretty respected. But i have second thoughts about reentering it and may major in economics instead since I know I can pull off that 80 avg in econ classes.

just a few more questions.
Do you know any schools that only look at the last two years undergrad?
Also, my chances are good to get in where with a 170-175 LSAt and a 3.7gpa over the next two years? only canadian schools? or maybe even US bottom t1/t2?

thanks for your help!!

meggo

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Re: should I even bother? :-[
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2008, 05:00:01 PM »
well I think you have to remember that if you are applying to American schools, your transcript will include all four years, any UG classes you've taken, and with the LSAC gpa calculating per class (ie they don't just look at your average per year and give your a GPA assigned by that, they do it per class) you're likely to have some 1.00 in there. I have no idea what your classes are, it might be helpful to try and work out an LSAC gpa estimate, but either way, your UWO transcript isn't really going to save you. I think perhaps you need to sit and re-evaluate what is holding you back or why your marks are so low, if you want to get yourself into the 80's for next year. I have seen people with low gpa's get into top American programs (sorry don't know the numbers for Canadian schools) but yes, their LSAT was usually 173+ which sounds like it might be do-able for you. I also don't think in this case that relying on the difficulty of your program will be of much use, since there are many Ivey kids who get 80%+. You're best bet (or what I would do in your position) is figure out what is holding you back, work as hard as you can next year to pull your grades up, cultivate relationships with prof's, etc. take the LSAT (obviously the idea would be scoring quite high) and then work for a couple of years to put some distance between you and your UG gpa. Because from what you've said, I think unfortunately you're LSAC gpa is going to come out abysmally low, I would say 2.5 max. However, Canadian schools will evaluate you differently and maybe someone here can speak to your chances there.

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Re: should I even bother? :-[
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2008, 05:28:06 PM »
Some good points made my meggo above.

However, I want to make a few additions. Your LSAT is JUST as important to most canadian law schools and american schools, and the majority of the requirements/minimums  are the same in this respect.

Also, American GPA calculations are slightly more inflated than Canadian GPAs. The LSDAS GPA calculation is scaled up to 4.33, whereas the OLSAS GPA calculation is scaled up to 4.0 only.

Actually, a 3.5 at many Canadian undergraduate institutions (exlcuding factors such as the institution you attend) is equally valuable as a 3.7-3.75 on the American scale.

But, it also really depends on the schools you're applying to. And American Law schools tend to have far more applications per capita than Canadian schools. So naturally, you're competing with a far greater applicant pool. The only way you'll be competitive at ANY American or Canadian law school will be to get a minimum 98th%ile LSAT score. Or you can simply work for a few years (as meggo suggested) - mind you, your LSAT will still have to be quite high.

Oh, as far as those schools that average your top (generally last) two years: Queens, Osgoode and UWO (in Ontario, at least). However, these schools do give a glance to your cumulative GPA as well. If you show marked improvement (i.e. an upward trend in your grade progression) then this might also work to your advantage. But since you're 4th year now, the best 2-year average you can obatin is a 3.0 (OLSAS). Assuming you ace every class this coming academic year.

mxx

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Re: should I even bother? :-[
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2008, 05:57:21 PM »
thanks!

well I definitely will be making a victory lap and I guess i'll just have to wait and see if i can pull it off or not.
Btw, if i were to repeat an LSAT test will it be averaged or does only the latest one count?

meggo

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Re: should I even bother? :-[
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2008, 06:28:53 PM »
It depends on the school, many still average, some take the highest score, and some will look at the highest score if you have a compelling reason for a poor mark on the first. Not sure about Canadian schools. I took a cursory glance at some Canadian law schools websites and it seems a fair few actually go off percentile and not your actual score. I think it was Osgoode (could be wrong here) that expect a competetive student to be in the 80th percentile. This is one of the advantages of course, of applying in a smaller applicant pool, if you really ace the LSAT than your mark will really stand out.

I completely agree with Thales points above, esp. re: inflation however, I'm not sure the OP would be able to break a 3.0 on the LSAC gpa, if he was not able to pull his marks up significantly though I haven't spent too much time looking at the OLSAS conversion table. That said, I hope I wasn't too discouraging in my previous post. Of course you should do whatever you can to pursue what you want. I always believe it's worth trying. I was just trying to give you an honest assessment of your chances at this moment. I myself had a poor showing in my first year and a couple of second year classes, and with some time off and a change of schools and majors, was able to increase my GPA significantly so of course, it is certainly possible as long as you are aware of what held you back before and what you need to do now to succeed. Now I've got a final tomorrow morning so perhaps I should get back to studying.... ;)

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Re: should I even bother? :-[
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2008, 12:43:30 AM »
thanks!

well I definitely will be making a victory lap and I guess i'll just have to wait and see if i can pull it off or not.
Btw, if i were to repeat an LSAT test will it be averaged or does only the latest one count?

I don't think doing a victory lap will make much sense. Any grades you receive over and above your credit requirments for your undergraduate degree will not be included in your UGPA.

You're better off taking a full course load next year and getting the best grades possible. And study your ass off for the LSAT. A partial course load, or extra year will do nothing to help your GPA unfortunately.

erinl

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Re: should I even bother? :-[
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2008, 04:13:11 PM »
I agree with the comment, however harsh it may seem, that you need to evaluate why you havne't been able to get a better gpa. Generally speaking, success in law school is more difficult than it is in undergrad so if you're struggling now, law school may pose even more of a challenge to you. Your future in law is much more closely tied to your grades than in other professions.

One piece of this puzzle you really need in order to make an assessment of your chances is missing at this point. Once you write the LSAT, you will have a better picture as to where you might be competitive. Practice test results really don't matter. Without an actual test score, it's near impossible to assess chances.

Even the schools which will drop one year or two years of your transcript when they examine your application, will see your entire transcript. Unless there is a marked improvement over at least a one year period (and preferably longer), the applicant will be at a disadvantage. One year can be explained, but three years? Doubtful.

Also agree that a fifth year will not help.