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Author Topic: About as non traditional as you can get. Where to start?  (Read 1372 times)

Celtic_Craftsman

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About as non traditional as you can get. Where to start?
« on: February 23, 2009, 01:13:36 PM »
Hi there,

I'm what you would call a non traditional, I was educated in the UK (high school & 3yr BA degree) and left university in
2002 with a 3 year BA. My grades in high school are decent (A's & B's) but university grades are quite poor since I spent so little time focusing on my course in favor of renovating houses and apts. After graduating I kept on flipping homes and setup my own building/construction company and was doing well until unforeseen circumstances took everything I'd worked for away from me. Anyway fast forward to 2009 and I'm currently in the  green card immigration process with my American wife so I have no SSN as yet but the interview is about 9 weeks away. Assuming all goes well and I get all the necessary documents, where do start on my law adventure?

I live in SD county CA and I'm looking for advice on what schools people recommend within commuting distance, where to start the application process, grades translation/interpretation, financing, grants and the dreaded LSAT prep clases!




PaleForce

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Re: About as non traditional as you can get. Where to start?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 03:43:26 PM »
I would start with taking the free LSAT on the LSAC website to get a baseline to see if you need LSAT prep courses.  Then, study and take either the June or October LSAT, hopefully with your SS# in hand.  But, I don't think not having a SS# should make a difference- there are plenty of potential LS students that take the LSAT abroad and it's likely many of them wouldn't have SS#s.  Get your score and figure the rest out after.  The timeline for what you need to do will be pretty typical.  If necessary, write an addendum to explain your UG grades. 

Might be a good idea to open an LSAC account and start talking to potential recommenders to line up those letters.  That way, they can be sent into the LSAC and waiting for you when you're ready to start working on apps--it'll save you a lot of headaches to get the letters nailed down.  Also, if you get your transcripts sent in early, the LSAC will do the grade conversions and you'll know what you're up against in plenty of time to deal with it.  Good luck!

SwampFox

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Re: About as non traditional as you can get. Where to start?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 08:23:36 PM »
Once you either take the LSAT or get a good idea from the practice test what you're going to score, you can look at the official LSAC guide to get a good idea of what schools are most likely within reach:
http://officialguide.lsac.org/
Or, you can always look at Lawschoolnumbers.com, although the numbers on the site are all self-reported:
http://search.lawschoolnumbers.com/applications/
As the previous post suggested, it's best to take the June or Oct. LSAT.  A lot of school slots -- and scholarship money -- is given out before Feb. 1.
Some people say the prep courses work wonders.  Others say it's a complete waste of money, and that you'd be just as well off purchasing the study books.  (I know someone who spent $2500 on a course and still didn't get accepted anywhere, and someone else whose eventual score after taking a class was almost ten points higher than his practice score).

Netopalis

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Re: About as non traditional as you can get. Where to start?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 08:57:55 PM »
Quite frankly, even if your diagnostic test says that you don't need LSAT prep, you NEED LSAT prep, regardless.  Your actual score will be around 5-10 points lower than your diagnostic, and even a few points can make a huge difference in scholarship potential.  After you get your LSAT, compare it with your target schools.  Personally, since I needed some large scholarships, I applied mainly to schools which I was above the 75th Percentile in both LSAT and GPA. Luckily for you, LSAT heavily outweighs GPA, so you have a huge opportunity to almost undo 3 years of not caring about school.  Then, start visiting, wait for the offers, and accept one.
Mercer University School of Law '12

SwampFox

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Re: About as non traditional as you can get. Where to start?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 08:58:39 PM »
A lot of school slots -- and scholarship money -- is given out before Feb. 1.
I'll turn myself in before the grammar police catch me...it should say "are given out."

Celtic_Craftsman

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Re: About as non traditional as you can get. Where to start?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 09:03:17 PM »
Thanks everyone, keep the good advice coming!


So far I've emailed the admissions depts. of:

Pepperdine
Whittier
UCSD
UCLA

Not a fantastic selection of schools but I'm limited by geography and loan funding as to where I can go.



Netopalis

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Re: About as non traditional as you can get. Where to start?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 09:11:32 PM »
Oddly enough, that's actually a fairly good selection, considering that you have no idea what your LSAT will be.  I'd still encourage you to branch out a bit more, though...Basically, when you get your LSAT, your score will lock you into one of the four, and that may not be a desirable outcome.
Mercer University School of Law '12