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Author Topic: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!  (Read 1550 times)

solistus

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Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« on: January 12, 2011, 08:36:48 PM »
I took the December LSAT feeling under-prepared and expecting to retake in March and apply for Fall 2012.  Then, I got my score: 176.  Now I have a window to apply at the tail end of the Fall 2011 cycle.  I will have LORs/evals in, but I haven't started a PS and I'm not sure what programs to apply to.  I'm also in my second year out of undergrad with spotty employment, and my only major 'soft' is that I was pretty successful in policy debate.  My GPA isn't stellar, but it's from a pretty solid program: Political Science @ Rochester. My current plan is to work on a PS for around 3-4 weeks, then submit to schools with March 1 or later deadlines in mid-February.  If I don't get any good offers, I can always apply again next year, but it would be a big plus to start a year early. 

Two main things I'd like advice on:

1. The Personal Statement.  I know it takes time and many revisions to end up with a really strong PS, but I also know that every day I delay going complete makes it that much less likely I'll get an offer I'll be happy with due to rolling admissions.  How long should I take to write it, assuming the first big round of app deadlines for my list is March 1?  Is early February a reasonable split between PS writing time and rolling admission time?  Obviously I'll adjust my plan if I'm happy with my PS sooner than expected, or take the planned amount of time and am still not satisfied with its quality, but I'd like to have a target in mind.  Any advice on writing a strong PS quickly would be much appreciated.

2. Schools to apply to.  I'm thinking 3/1 or later for deadline dates is the plan; I can't imagine being ready to go complete before early February.  I might toss in a last-minute reach app to one of the T1 programs with a 2/15 deadline (Northwestern, Penn, Michigan, Columbia). I'm not set on any one state or region, although I'd prefer to be in New England or on the West Coast.  Strong public interest and/or international law programs are big pluses.  Cost will be a big factor - safeties with reputations for throwing money at candidates with high numbers would be awesome.  Any schools that *don't* do rolling admissions, or at least are known to hold a lot of slots till the last minute, would be very good to know about, as that would drastically reduce the handicap of applying so late.  Schools that go largely by the numbers and schools that value LSAT scores especially highly would both be good as well.

I've started making a list of schools with 3/1 deadlines that seem like viable candidates.  This is by no means an exhaustive or carefully vetted list, just a starting point if you don't feel like looking up app deadlines.

Boston U
Emory
Minnesota
Hastings
Colorado
American
Pitt
Oregon
Ohio State

Oh, one more random small question... I was prevented from dropping two classes due to a rules change one semester that was poorly advertised (long story short - under the rules from previous semesters I would have been able to drop them, and one of their websites listing the policy hadn't been updated to reflect the new deadline, so I missed said deadline by one day. my appeal was denied without comment and i took two 0.0s.).  Is that an addendum-worthy fact?

haus

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2011, 01:36:09 AM »
Solistus,

My main bit of advice is to take a really deep breath, and exhale.

Now congrats on the great LSAT score. I am sure that it is going to go a long ways to helping you get several offers. By all means put together your application and send it off to see what should happen. As far as the personal statement, I would suggest sitting down as soon as you reasonably can, put together your first draft than put it away for a week or so without looking at it. Spend that time getting the rest of your ducks in a row. Then come back to the PS and see what you think of it now that you have had a bit of time away from it.

It may well be worth writing a addendum regarding the snafu that occurred with your grades, but I do not think that it is an end all be all type decision.

Although you did not ask for advise on this element, one thing that I think should be mentioned is that if at the end of the cycle, you find that you are not happy with your options, it would be a valid choice to sit out the year and submit for the next cycle. You will have all your ducks in a row for the top of the cycle, there will be no schools that would be removed from your list because of a line on a calendar. Of course, in the end the choice is up to you.

Good luck, I hope you have a great cycle.

TLSanders

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2011, 11:23:02 PM »
Normally, I would recommend taking as long as it took to get your personal statement in shape, arguing that a stronger application a bit later was better than a weak application viewed sooner.  However, the truth is that the personal statement carries the most weight when you're borderline, and with that LSAT score is not likely to be the determining factor.  You don't want to waste the opportunity the personal statement provides and you definitely want to put enough work into it that it doesn't appear that you haven't invested in making your applications all they can be, but I wouldn't let it hold you up in these circumstances.
Tiffany Sanders, J.D.
Law School Admissions Consulting and Personal Statement Review
http://law-school-admissions-consulting.net
TLSandersConsulting@gmail.com
630-229-1439

bigs5068

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2011, 01:44:17 AM »
You should definitely wait. With those numbers you might be able to get into a t14 school, but more importantly if you apply to any of the schools you have listed odds are you will not get scholarship money right now. If you wait until next August and apply early with your numbers almost every school on that list will give you a HUGE SCHOLARSHIP. You could end up costing yourself an extra 100k in tuition by not waiting until next cycle. Check out lawschoolnumbers.com to see what people with your numbers got at respective schools. I honestly think it would be a huge mistake to waste your outstanding numbers by applying early. You can either go to an ELITE school or get into any of the ones you have listed at an extremely discounted cost if you wait until next year.

the white rabbit

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 10:38:28 AM »
Boston U
Emory
Minnesota
Hastings
Colorado
American
Pitt
Oregon
Ohio State

Aim higher.  With your numbers, these are all safeties or low targets.  Nothing on this list even resembles a reach (which for you would be a top five school).

Also, wait until next cycle and apply as soon as applications are being accepted.
Mood: Tired but cheerful.  :)

bigs5068

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2011, 04:33:31 PM »
Yes it would honestly be a HORRIBLE DECISION to apply right now with those numbers. You can either get into a t14 school or get a full scholarship to a variety of very solid schools if you wait one year. If you apply now you will get into any of the schools you listed, but odds are their scholarship money has already been given out. It is also possible they will not think you are seriously applying with those outstanding numbers and won't offer you any money. By applying now you will close the door on a TOP SCHOOL or cost yourself a 100k more in tuition if you attend any of the schools listed. BOTTOM LINE JUST WAIT! You are in the top 5% of applicants and you will lose all your bargaining power if you rush into things right now.

IPFreely

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2011, 02:51:51 AM »
Avoid Boston University.  Trust me on this.

solistus

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 06:17:26 PM »
Thanks for the replies, everyone.  TBH, I was leaning toward not applying this cycle, but my parents were convinced it would be a mistake to 'procrastinate' and wait for the start of next cycle.  I think I've convinced them now that rolling admissions makes it very much worthwhile to wait, especially with numbers like mine.  Plus, this gives me a chance to find a job or at least an internship in the meantime to improve my spotty employment record a bit, and to take all the time in the world reviewing and revising my PS.

haus

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 09:43:21 PM »
I am glad to hear that you have a plan that you are comfortable with. I wish you the best of luck in next years cycle.

redcat

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Re: Late start on app, splitter (176/3.32), help!
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2011, 11:57:07 PM »
Wait, wait, wait.