Law School Discussion

Early Decision?

Early Decision?
« on: July 23, 2010, 06:03:05 PM »
Some of you most likely read my previous post on my high LSAT/werid GPA.  My LSAT is a 173.  My official LSAC GPA will be about a 3.5.  I believe slightly under.  This includes schooling from 2000-2002, in which the last semester I earned 4 F's for failing to withdraw.  I went back to school in 2007 and have maintained a 3.96 at the school since.

I was thinking about applying early decision to Columbia.  My logic is that it shows my true interet in the school hopefully allwoing them to look deeper past my 3.49 GPA (or so).  I understand this will severely limit my fin-aid. I figure graduating from Columbia will allow me to pay back whatever debt I may have.  Opinions?  Should I apply ED, or better off peppering regular decision all the T-14?

I should state as well Columbia would not be my first choice.  The three schools above it would be.  My ego likes low numbers.

Re: Early Decision?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2010, 05:49:24 AM »
I'm at the same stage as you, so this is a little blind-leading-the-blind here, but I would say apply Early Decision to your first choice.  You seem to be basing your decision purely on rankings, which is a little silly to do within the top 5-10.  I worked as a support staffer at a V50 firm in NY, and they recruit heavily from all of the T14 schools.  If they recruit from Yale more heavily than Harvard, it's only because CT is that much closer to NYC not because Yale is 1 and Harvard is 2.  In fact, students from Columbia and NYU probably get to network more with them simply because of proximity.

So, figure out what your first choice is beyond who won the US News popularity contest this year.  That's just lazy.  If one criteria you have for a first choice is ranking, that's fine.  You've narrowed it down to 14 schools.  Now, where do you want to ultimately practice?  What do you want to do after law school?  In what type of student organizations do you want to participate?  Think hard about what you want so that when your top choice asks you why they're your top choice, you have something a little better than "you're prestigious and my numbers fit your admissions stats".

Now, as for Early Decision vs. not?  If you truly have a first choice, I think it is a good move.  Schools like to be flattered, and there is nothing more flattering than for someone to make a promise like the Early Decision contract.
I applied to undergrad ED, got in and also was offered a generous scholarship package.
However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have decided against Early Decision for law school, and here's why...
I currently live in the city of a mid-T1 law school, and my husband will be here for the next 5 years because of his medical residency.  My numbers are in the 75th percentile for this school.  However, this city only has 1 or 2 international law firms and a handful of regional firms.  I want to (a) practice in BigLaw, (b) practice in Chicago and (c) not accrue lots of debt from a school that makes it difficult to do (a) and (b).  So, instead, I'm going to apply early, see if and where I get in as well as if and what scholarship packages I receive before deciding my absolute first choice.

In short, consider your priorities and go from there.

Re: Early Decision?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2010, 10:53:45 AM »
I went to an information session at Columbia earlier this month.  There is no practical benefit for applying early UNLESS the school is your first choice and anywhere else is secondary.  The applicant ppol is smaller, but according to the admissions officer, the difference is negligible.  So peppering the T14 it is

Re: Early Decision?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2010, 03:40:50 AM »
I don't entirely agree with Megan's assessment of recruiting: I do think that it's easier to get an offer from a big firm at Yale than it is from Harvard.  That's not because of their relative USNWR rankings though; rather it's based on the reputations of the schools in general and the firm's past experience at the schools.  That having been said, I think that there's probably only a small difference in options (firmwise) coming out of Columbia versus Harvard, at least in NYC.

In general, coming out of these schools, networking doesn't matter all that much because you'll be getting your job out of the on-campus interview program (OCI).  Still, the fact that you're IN NY does make things easier in terms of NYC jobs.

Finally, I would have said that 173/3.5 had a negligle shot at HYS and that it could go either way at CLS so the ED might be a good idea.  Then I remembered your GPA situation.  I can't say what the right answer is, but if it were me I would pepper, at least so I knew that I tried.

Good luck.  :)

Re: Early Decision?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2010, 02:07:31 PM »
My GPA situation is the wild card factor.  I actually spoke with a CLS admissions officer (1 of 5 if I recall correctly).  She said that because of the vast discrepancy, she would not even look at my previous grades.  If that is the case, my GPA would be 3.98.  So if she was not just giving lip service, I shuld get into CLS I believe.  If she was just stating the company motto and not the truth, I don't get in.  I guess I'll find out soon enough.  I'm submitting my application tomorrow