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Author Topic: Chances at Top 5  (Read 1302 times)

McGillGrad

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Chances at Top 5
« on: April 27, 2010, 09:24:58 AM »
Hi,

I applied before two years ago (before graduating), did not get into any of the top 5, and for personal reasons (i.e. maximizing my chances of having a shot at getting a career in academia, will thus be applying for JD-PhD). Back then my personal statement was pretty much crap (I don't know if that makes a difference) and I applied relatively late in the game. This time I'm going to apply as early as possible and my personal statement has seen a major overhaul.

My stats are 3.84 gpa from McGill (one of the top 2 universities in Canada, tied with U of Toronto), LSATs of 169 and 174. Past graduating I ran a lab at a major academic medical center (I have ~ 20 publications, abstracts, and presentations right now) and will do a Master's degree (I am deciding between offers from said Canadian school as well as Oxford)for the following year , which I guess are soft skills but may count for something as a tie breaker or so?

I'd like to know what are my chances at the top 5 with this background, particularly HYS

Thanks so much for your help, I really appreciate it.

Cheers,
McGillGrad




BurtsBees

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 04:31:16 PM »
I think you have a strong chance.  Make sure you create a solid application package that demonstrates who you are as a person, and why the school should want you.  In other words, sell yourself.  Your numbers are good enough to get into HYSCCN

the white rabbit

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 08:52:38 PM »
I'd say you have a less-than-even shot at CLS and NYU based on your numbers, and still less at YHS.  Still, I think you have enough of a chance at all five that you should definitely apply across the board.

Good luck.  :)
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CJScalia

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2010, 10:29:29 PM »
I think you have a strong chance.  Make sure you create a solid application package that demonstrates who you are as a person, and why the school should want you.  In other words, sell yourself.  Your numbers are good enough to get into HYSCCN

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As baby said above, your numbers are good enough to warrant applying to all of those schools; they are not good enough for you to feel comfortable getting into them. Blanket all the T14 schools with applications, you're guaranteed to get into one of them, but all in all, your chances at HYS are less than even, CCN are good candidates, but sort of in "you never know" territory.

Since you're focused on academia and might have to accept falling below HYS, I'd say put some serious consideration into Georgetown.
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McGillGrad

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 11:39:49 AM »
Basically last time what happened was that I did not apply as early as I maybe should have (in late October) and my personal statement was pretty bad as well. Now I will be basically getting a masters degree + I have had a year of work experience (plus the new pubs).
Before I had one excellent and one very generic letter of recommendation, this time I would apply pretty much as soon as the application is available and would have 2 very very strong letters ...

Last time I applied I got waitlisted at HYSCC, and got into NYU. Any way that these additional factors might shift that?

the white rabbit

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 10:26:25 PM »
Basically last time what happened was that I did not apply as early as I maybe should have (in late October) and my personal statement was pretty bad as well. Now I will be basically getting a masters degree + I have had a year of work experience (plus the new pubs).
Before I had one excellent and one very generic letter of recommendation, this time I would apply pretty much as soon as the application is available and would have 2 very very strong letters ...

Last time I applied I got waitlisted at HYSCC, and got into NYU. Any way that these additional factors might shift that?

I mean it does make you a stronger candidate overall.  The question is whether it makes you stronger in comparison to the applicant pool.  No way of knowing without trying.  At least until I find my crystal ball, anyway.
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Thane Messinger

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2010, 07:21:20 PM »
Hi,

I applied before two years ago (before graduating), did not get into any of the top 5, and for personal reasons (i.e. maximizing my chances of having a shot at getting a career in academia, will thus be applying for JD-PhD). Back then my personal statement was pretty much crap (I don't know if that makes a difference) and I applied relatively late in the game. This time I'm going to apply as early as possible and my personal statement has seen a major overhaul.

My stats are 3.84 gpa from McGill (one of the top 2 universities in Canada, tied with U of Toronto), LSATs of 169 and 174. Past graduating I ran a lab at a major academic medical center (I have ~ 20 publications, abstracts, and presentations right now) and will do a Master's degree (I am deciding between offers from said Canadian school as well as Oxford)for the following year , which I guess are soft skills but may count for something as a tie breaker or so?

I'd like to know what are my chances at the top 5 with this background, particularly HYS

Thanks so much for your help, I really appreciate it.


McGillGrad -

It might be helpful to reverse the analysis.  If it's an academic career you're hoping for, is that in science or in law?  Or, more correctly, primarily science or primarily law?  This is important because the science PhD is likely to be the greater leverage both as to admission in a top JD program and especially as to a career.

Thus, while your overall record is strong-but-not-overwhelming as to a Top 5 school, it is likely the PhD that will put you over the top.  This is important because there you're looking at a more finite world, and in that world your JD wouldn't necessarily be viewed in the same way.  For example, getting a PhD at Johns Hopkins and being the top JD student at Maryland might get you just as far, if not farther, than simply going for whatever seems to have the highest prestige.  (Note: I'm not endorsing Maryland, but making the comparison of obviously differently ranked science/law programs.)  More to the point, a PhD from Johns Hopkins and a very high placement at Georgetown would almost certainly put you in the running for many possible careers, including academic careers in medicine and law.

There are too many variables to easily parse here.  The key to your unique circumstances is to re-view the process from both the science and legal sides, and to view each through its own lens.  Both are highly competitive, and both rely on indicators of value--such as the university nameplate.  In a PhD program far more than in a JD program, however, even that is too gross a comparison.  It's the actual department within the university, and the committee within the department that can make all the difference.

Hope this was even a little helpful,

Thane.

McGillGrad

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2010, 07:32:33 PM »
The academic career I am looking for is not in science but rather in law. At this point I have a very strong interest in intellectual property. So I guess in that case where I get that JD is going to place a crucial role?
Another consideration with combined JD-PhD programs as compared to doing them sequentially is the cost factor. As an international student I would not be eligible for federal loan programs, so I only get those high-interest private loans. However, a lot of the JD PhD programs out there offer funding / loans that will be forgiven if I pursue academia... in that case the mountain of debt wouldnt be so enormously high that I couldn't do academia...

Jamie Stringer

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2010, 02:11:48 AM »
Basically last time what happened was that I did not apply as early as I maybe should have (in late October) and my personal statement was pretty bad as well. Now I will be basically getting a masters degree + I have had a year of work experience (plus the new pubs).
Before I had one excellent and one very generic letter of recommendation, this time I would apply pretty much as soon as the application is available and would have 2 very very strong letters ...

Last time I applied I got waitlisted at HYSCC, and got into NYU. Any way that these additional factors might shift that?

I would put money on the fact that had no demonstrable effect on your admissions decisions. That's still very early. Everyone has strong letters, so that makes no difference. Admissions cycles have been super competitive because of the economy, so there are a lot of people with graduate work, work experience, and good numbers flooding the market. The publications set you apart, but it's hard to say how much weight that will be given. In short, I don't think that you'll be facing a substantially different admissions cycle than last time.
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Thane Messinger

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Re: Chances at Top 5
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2010, 04:14:42 AM »
The academic career I am looking for is not in science but rather in law. At this point I have a very strong interest in intellectual property. So I guess in that case where I get that JD is going to place a crucial role?
Another consideration with combined JD-PhD programs as compared to doing them sequentially is the cost factor. As an international student I would not be eligible for federal loan programs, so I only get those high-interest private loans. However, a lot of the JD PhD programs out there offer funding / loans that will be forgiven if I pursue academia... in that case the mountain of debt wouldnt be so enormously high that I couldn't do academia...

Quite right.  You might talk with some department chairs in the graduate departments you would be interested in.  Honestly, an interest in intellectual law, generically, is unlikely to be sufficient reason to also get a PhD, both in terms of doctoral admission and in terms of actually completing the requirements.  Moreover, in some ways it's an all-or-nothing dilemma.  Sure, some JDs (obviously) get teaching positions, but the odds are vanishingly small outside the top 5 schools--and there usually with some significant other draw.

Also, you're quite right about the almost-slave-labor for PhD programs, but with the right program you can usually get a tuition waiver in addition to a smallish stipend.  If that covers law school as well (which it might if categorized as a univeristy employee), there's your ticket!  This, of course, is a delicate balancing act between the law and other departments.  They need to be convinced of your seriousness as to each program.  It sounds as if you're just about there, but be aware that each will be quite jealous of their own resources and slots.

Best of luck.