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Author Topic: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?  (Read 1152 times)

AndyB617

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I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« on: October 06, 2008, 05:00:44 PM »
Ok, so I have a weird background.  I went to Fairfield University straight out of high school.  Half way thru the year I decided that I wanted to join the military.  So after that first year (in which I had a 2.8 GPA) I joined the Navy.  I went into their Nuclear Power program.  I didn't know this at the time, but apparently it's one of the most difficult engineering schools in the country (go to wikipedia and type in "NNPTC" - it's true).  I did extremely well during all phases of my ridiculous training.  I had about a 3.86 GPA overall.  This is all when I was 19 years old, keep in mind. 

So then I decided to get my business degree while I was still in the Navy.  I enrolled at New School University and got my BS in Business Management.  I had a 2.94 GPA there - needless to say, didn't try so hard.  But I was working about 80 hours a week and having to keep up with all my military committments.  Not like this is an excuse, but just to put it into perspective.  Anyways, I decided to go to New School because they accepted 68 credits from my Navy training, which is a lot more than other schools.  But it also goes to show you that the program I was in was just as, if not more difficult than any college nuclear engineering course out there.  The moral of the story is that more than two-thirds of my college credits came from the Navy...which is NOT on LSAC.  The only GPAs LSAC is going to see are my ones from Fairfield and New School.  I have written an addendum addressing this. 

What are my chances of getting into law school?  I have a 168 on my LSAT.  Any help/advice would be appreciated.  Thank you!

clairel

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2008, 05:32:11 PM »
definitely bring up your non-calculated gpas in an addendum...but at the same time, i'd be careful with your wording. this post sounds like you're justifying your low grades: "well, i was working 80 hours a week and didn't try hard".  those aren't really good excuses to an adcom, though your background certainly gives you a better justification that many other low gpa candidates. is there a compelling reason why you got a 3.86 and then a 2.94 besides your work schedule (or if it was solely your work schedule, can you work that in a PS or addendum to show what you were learning that was relevant, even though your grades weren't spectacular)? also you haven't included your gpa in new school, so if that's compartively higher than your fairfield university gpa, that will be a plus.

bottom line, you have a better excuse than many people, but schools will still primarily care about your lsac gpa and lsat. you might get (slightly) more leeway than others, but still rely primarily on those numbers to calculate your probabilities at different schools.

meggo

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2008, 06:26:48 PM »
yeah I can't comment on how likely you will get in, because it depends on each school. Those who like diversity in their class will probably be drawn to your military experience, those who are much more 'just numbers' will likely not be that bothered. I agree with the above poster about carefully wording it. Just make sure it sounds like an explanation and not an excuse. I like to convey this by taking the blame on myself ie "Unfortunately, I misjudged by ability to juggle an 80 hour/week commitment to the military, and maintain the standard of grades I had achieved in the Navy Nuclear Power program." And if you can, get a transcript from your Navy program to include.

casper13

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2008, 06:52:31 PM »
I would hire a consultant to help you out as you have a decent LSAT and your GPA has a story behind it. Many dont really know how hard it is to do school while active duty also. Im sure a really good addendum and a good PS will get you in some decent T2 schools. If you could retake LSAT and get it into 170 range it may open some other doors as you do have WE. Just a thought, not sure how super serious you are about this and how much you put into your LSAT

mbw

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2008, 07:25:21 PM »
A few important details:  how long have you been out of school?  The farther away from your UGPA, the better.  Have you worked since obtaining your UG?  Good work experience with a distance from UG can make up ground for a bad UG.  Can you send in your Navy transcripts?  This, I think, is very important - law schools are willing to take chances on applicants who lend "diversity" as long as they feel that it's not a huge risk and they can see you've excelled in an academic environment.

I agree with Casper - you should probably talk to an admission consultant.  I used Derek Meeker at Admissions Consultants, and thought he was great (he's the former dean at Penn.)  You should probably shoot for schools where your LSAT is median-75%, and convince them that your UGPA is unrepresentative of your ability.  Yes, for most generic white bread candidates, it's a numbers game.  However, you're not generic, are you?
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AndyB617

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2008, 08:30:45 PM »
I actually just "graduated" in August...meaning I finished the last classes I needed to online.  Yes, I've been working as a Senior Chemist at the Seabrook Nuclear Station in NH since I got out of the Navy on Feb. 23, 2007.  I finished the last semester while I've been at Seabrook.  The main reason why I did so bad (relatively) at New School is because I kinda screwed off during my first semester..got a few C's and one D.  And since I only had to take 10 classes there, not doing well in 30% of them really screwed me.  Needless to say, when I first started, I didn't really have direction.  I was just getting the degree for the sake of getting a degree.  Know what I mean?  I've tried sending my Navy transcripts to LSDAS but they won't accept them.  So I talked to the schools and they said just to send them in separately, directly to the admissions boards. 

Actually, I'm taking the LSAT again in December precisely to get my score above 170.  So far I haven't been able to get much higher than a 168.  I'm taking a powerscore course though...so we'll see.

I wrote all about my experiences in my personal statement.  I also wrote about my shortcomings in an addendum and explained how I got to where I am...because if you look at my application without it, there seems to be a lot of holes.  If anyone would like to take a look at either the PS or addendum, let me know.  I'd be happy to hear some critiques.  Thanks again for all your responses.  I really appreciate it.

clairel

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2008, 10:32:15 PM »
i'd be happy to edit either or both if you email them to me. eclawrence@uchicago.edu.

greenie

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2008, 01:19:55 AM »
I would hire a consultant to help you out as you have a decent LSAT and your GPA has a story behind it. Many dont really know how hard it is to do school while active duty also. Im sure a really good addendum and a good PS will get you in some decent T2 schools. If you could retake LSAT and get it into 170 range it may open some other doors as you do have WE. Just a thought, not sure how super serious you are about this and how much you put into your LSAT

"some decent t2 schools"?  He should be able to land a T1 easy with a 168, and the better his addendum, the higher up school he can get into.

AndyB617

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2008, 11:00:51 AM »
well, i just got some bad news.  my transcripts made it onto LSDAS and my GPA is worse than i thought.  it's a 2.72.  i really don't know how it is that low.  my GPA from new school was 2.94 and from fairfield it was 2.80. 

anyways, maybe i can still get into a decent T2 school and work my ass off the first year then transfer to a better school.  i dunno.  i'm just really discouraged about that LSDAS gpa.

mbw

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Re: I have a unique background...advice, anyone?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2008, 11:21:57 AM »
well, i just got some bad news.  my transcripts made it onto LSDAS and my GPA is worse than i thought.  it's a 2.72.  i really don't know how it is that low.  my GPA from new school was 2.94 and from fairfield it was 2.80. 

anyways, maybe i can still get into a decent T2 school and work my ass off the first year then transfer to a better school.  i dunno.  i'm just really discouraged about that LSDAS gpa.

Seriously, you have to move beyond that.  Go to LSN and look at the graphs of schools in the two-to-three previous cycles.  If anyone with your stats was accepted (excluding URMs, of course,) you have a very good shot.  You might not make T14 (though, if you have the money, I would try for a few at least), but you'll easily get into a T1, and probably T15-T30.
I'm in a lynch mob?  I had no idea.  This is really worrying; I really don't have time for another extra-curricular activity.

space for rent.