Law School Discussion

Completely Intimidated to Apply

Completely Intimidated to Apply
« on: December 04, 2010, 03:20:30 AM »
 Hi all,

This forum has been very helpful to me as I research more about the trials and tribulations of applying to law school. My biggest hesitance is my GPA. I received a 2.9 in my final year because of a lot of different factors; I paid my own way through college and I worked constantly my last two years to pay my living costs. It took its toll, considering I was a double major in literary journalism and criminology, law and society. Both required mountains of reading, writing and time, but I loved the subjects and got back so much more than any letter grade will ever show. That aside, I don't want to throw a "Woe is Me" party and make excuses; I simply should have chosen to work less and study more.

I'm considering whether or not to prepare for the LSAT, but what school in their right mind would accept such a low GPA? My LSAT score could potentially save me, but I do not have the means to take any tutoring or prep classes. I have the means to study on my own; I'll have the time to prepare, that's for sure. I'm currently serving in Central Asia as a Peace Corps Volunteer and the winters here are long and cold.

I also joined the forum that others keep talking about to see the school numbers and what not... all discouraging, haha. Still, I loved studying law in my undergrad work, though my grades do not show for it since those awesome law professors kicked my butt! My most difficult professor was the assistant dean to my university's law school; he taught using the Socratic Method, and people absolutely dreaded his class. I loved him, and I loved the anxiety of walking into his class to be potentially eaten alive that day.

I know I have the passion to pursue law school, but my GPA took a hit to my confidence in terms of the application process. Any advice would really be appreciated. Thank you!

Re: Completely Intimidated to Apply
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2010, 07:58:06 AM »
From my understanding, Peace Corps is one of the few softs that holds any weight.  If you can score a 170 or more, I do believe NOrthwestern would not be adverse to accepting you if you are concerned about rankings. 


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Re: Completely Intimidated to Apply
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2010, 11:22:19 AM »
You can get into law school with a 2.9. If you score high on the LSAT there are numerous schools that would accept you and likley give you a significant scholarship. A 2.9 is probably not going to get you into the Ivy Leagues, but if you really do well you can transfer from a school into an ELITE school. The odds of that happening are not great, because 100% of students at any law school think they will finish in the top 10%. This results in 90% of incoming students falling short of that expectation.

Law school is like any other form of education and generally speaking it is what you make of it. A Harvard degree certainly helps, but with a 2.9 and a decent LSAT score you can definitely get into an ABA school.  You will even have a good chance at getting significant scholarship money. If you pulled a 170 and 2.9 on the LSAT a lot of tier 2 or low tier 1 schools might almost give you a full ride or a lot of money.

Essentially the odds of you getting into a t14 as a first year student with a 2.9 are not very high. You can try to transfer into a better school for your second year, but do not count on it happening. However, even if you finish in the middle of the class at the 78th best school you can certainly go on to have an excellent legal career. You will have 40 years to work as a lawyer and if you are good at doing it you will succeed whether you went to Timbucktu Western-Eastern South state or Harvard. The main thing to worry about is whether you want to be a lawyer. If it is something you want to go then go to law school. . A 2.9 does not shut you out of law school by any means. It does shut you out of the Ivy Leagues for your first year though, but you can make it through and succeed. Good luck to you.

Re: Completely Intimidated to Apply
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2010, 10:14:57 AM »
The posters above have both given you a lot of good information.

One thing you should do, though, is figure out what your LSAC GPA is.  I'm guessing since you haven't yet taken the LSAT, you haven't paid for the Credential Assembly service through LSAC either.  In order to make everything easier for the law schools, the LSAC standardizes undergraduate GPAs.  They will look at all grades received from colleges through the completion of your bachelor's degree (so if you took college courses in high school, those count, but if, like me, you got an associate's degree after your bachelor's, those won't count).  If you re-took a class and both grades appear on your transcript, they will count both grades.

With that in mind, here's a calculator you can use to determine your LSAC GPA:

Also, is the 2.9 only from your senior year and not your cumulative?  Because schools care far more about the cumulative.  You should still write a short addendum explaining the downward trend (heavy workload), but with a soft like PCV and a strong LSAT score, many will be able to overlook it.

Re: Completely Intimidated to Apply
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2010, 05:34:54 AM »
Also -if you are serious about a particular law school, do well on the LSAT, and would have a good shot at being accepted but for your GPA, TALK TO THE DEAN.  I think too many people take the fire-and-forget approach to their applications.  If you have a compelling story (i.e. "excuse" for your GPA) and a strong LSAT you can dramatically improving your chances by getting off your duff, showing initiative, and pursuing the Dean to discuss your situation.

Re: Completely Intimidated to Apply
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2010, 08:09:07 AM »
I'd suggest you give the admissions office at your local law school a call and talk with them.  Admissions office people tend to be very nice, and many will give you their honest assessment of your chances of admission.

Re: Completely Intimidated to Apply
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2010, 12:33:27 PM »
Thanks so much for all the responses; everyone had a lot of good advice and it's really helped me out. I've realized that it's been own passion to drive me towards law, and I'm a firm believer in the saying, "Ain't nothing to it, but to do it."

I'm thinking of setting the June exam as my goal. As an amusing tangent, I just wanted to throw in how humorous it is just in figuring out a way to get the resource materials to prepare. I live up north in the country of Kazakhstan; our Peace Corps office is down South, in the large city of Almaty. Our Peace Corps librarian informed me she has two LSAT books, complete with CDs, that she'd be happy to give me, but the current predicament is getting them up here. It's not work-related so she can't actually send them to me by mail because it's expensive... So now I'm waiting for a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer to return to Kazakhstan from her vacation in Croatia; her flight will arrive in Almaty, where she has agreed to retrieve the books. Then she will continue on to her home, in a city called Karaganda. Then a volunteer who lives in MY city will travel to Karaganda, because she had already intended to go down for the Christmas holiday. My books will exchange hands and then I will receive them upon friend's return to my city.

It will be interesting in June, because essentially I'll be taking a two-day train ride just to get to the sole office in Almaty that administers this test. I'll then take the test and regain my sanity on the two-day train ride back up North.

Like I said, tis a tangent! But thank you all again, and I'll continue to lurk around these forums and soak up more information because this knowledge really is beneficial to me. As I'd say in Russian here, da svidanya :)


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Re: Completely Intimidated to Apply
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 08:44:41 PM »

That'd be a great story to incorporate in your Personal Statement.  Most folks just point and click for their books, or visit the
local Barnes & Noble.

"Yes, my books arrived by air cargo after being carried for 200 miles via mule train...."