Law School Discussion

T14 Potential?

T14 Potential?
« on: September 04, 2010, 04:26:59 PM »
I started college when I was 17 (after graduating high school as a junior) and there were a lot of problems at home. Well, let's just say I was less than motivated. I ended my first semester with a 0.5, and I'm not even sure how my GPA was that high, given that I stopped attending every class after 2 weeks. Fast forward 2 years, and I decided to attend a local community college. Those same distracting issues at home were still present, and despite me trying to focus on school, my GPA there after 2 semesters was a 2.75.

In 2004, I removed myself from the bad situation at home, transferred to a 4-year school and got serious with both my academics and my extracurricular activities. I was VP of Academic Affairs for my sorority, Public Relations Director for Panhellenic, maintained a 4.0 major GPA and a 3.68 overall GPA, was awarded Greek Woman of the Year, and excelled in the Honors Program. At the same time, I was married and working a full-time job.

I got a divorce in 2008, and moved back to Texas to be near family. I enrolled at Texas State to finish the last year of my undergrad degree, and have a 4.0 GPA. I'm also in the Honors Program, and am in the process of completing my Honors Thesis.

I have been a paralegal since 2002, and a mediator since 2006. I have worked full-time throughout my undergrad degree, and volunteer about 4 hours a week. I have some very flattering letters of recommendation.  My LSAT practice scores are hovering around 170-172, and my LSAC GPA will most likely be around a 3.45.

My transcripts show a definite upward trend, and I believe the length of time I have already spent working in the legal field, as well as my Honors Thesis topic and my choice in college courses, reflect how serious I am about wanting to attend law school.

Given the mixture of recent grades (grades from the last 6 years), work history, community involvement and LSAT potential, am I completely insane to think I might have a shot at a T14 school? Or am I just wasting my money applying for my dream schools?

What are the most significant things I should do to improve my applicant profile?

Re: T14 Potential?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2010, 04:40:53 PM »
The best thing you can do is score a 173 or above on your official LSAT.  At a minimum, that will put you at the median for every school.  Yale's median LSAT is 173.  That score plus your GPA and softs, in my opinion, will get you into a T14 school.  Georgetown seems to love high LSAT scores.  As do some others.  With your work experience, I feel Northwestern is a good chance, especially if you interview well.  Add in one hell of a personal statement, and I would aim high

My LSAT is a 173, and my GPA is slightly lower than yours for a similar path to yours.  I have applied to, or plan to apply, to every T14 but UC Berkeley.  They have a rep for weighing GPA heavily.  I recevied fee waivers from UVA, Georgetown, and Duke.  I truly believe you have a shot.   I'll let you know after my results come in if I still feel that way :)

Re: T14 Potential?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2010, 04:46:18 PM »
Thanks for the input. I was feeling pretty relaxed until the October LSAT started staring me in the face, and with it, the looming application deadlines. Now to decide on my personal statement topic. Yay.  ::)

Re: T14 Potential?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2010, 04:51:38 PM »
I would basically write what you did above.  Speak of your personal growth to find yourself through everything.  And keep it to two pages.  Some schools specify only 2. Others allow you up to four.  I find it easier to add by tailoring the paper to each school rather than subtract. 

Keep workingin the LSAT.  Practice scores can be an indicator, but test day is another beast unto itself.  My LSAT score high was a 177 in practice, and then settled on 173.  The more room you give yourself the better.  I actually thought about taking it again, butI felt unless I hit a 178 or higher (99.9th percentil) it wouldn't make a big difference

Re: T14 Potential?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 07:15:10 AM »
The thing that matters most is your LSAT.  That having been said, if you're in the 170's, you definitely have a shot at one of the top schools.  3.45 is not that bad, especially considering where you started.

I wouldn't speak about the GPA issue directly in the personal statement.  Explain what happened in a separate addendum.

Good luck.  :)