Law School Discussion

UMUC then Law School?

UMUC then Law School?
« on: November 05, 2011, 04:31:44 PM »
I am currently in the Navy. Over the past three years I have been working on my degree in accounting. I received my associates in business admin with a 3.79GPA from the College of Southern Maryland. I am now attending ( or participating online) University Maryland University College. They are regionally accredited and a member of Maryland's school system.

I have about 1.5 years left in the Navy and I was considering law school after I finish the remaining 30 credits towards my undergrad. My main concern is not my GPA or my LSAT but where I am going to get my undergrad. Will a T14/ Tier 1 (Maryland) discredit my application because I went to UMUC? Will any soft factors ( Veteran, Sailor of the Year, Honor Cordon 2009 Presidential Inauguration, Official Maryland Citation Letter, etc.) help negate any misgivings the admissions panel may have?

I want to go into Business/ Corp. Law and I have to stick around the Maryland/ D.C. area due to my wife's teaching job.

Re: UMUC then Law School?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 05:33:35 PM »
I think with the grades you're talking about, you'll be a strong candidate, regardless of undergrad institution.

The first swipe the admissions officers take is probably purely based on LSAC numbers.  If the LSAC accepts your GPA, you're fine.  (And they accept any regionally accredited college gpa.)

The reality is that comparing one college undergrad GPA to another is pretty much like comparing apples to porno movies.  There is absolutely nothing that, say, a degree in biochemical engineering from Harvard has in common with a degree in communications from a tiny liberal arts school somewhere.  Nothing.  At.  All.  To compare a 3.5 from one to a 3.5 from the other is just idiocy.  They might as well be comparing hair length and eye color.

However, one of the decision criteria is undergrad GPA.  if you've got one, that's what they'll use.  If it's a good one, good for you.  Although I could see you being at a disadvantage when it comes to, say, admission to Yale, that's only if you are up against an equally qualified candidate from an obviously superior undergrad education.

However, the more prestigious the school, the more likely they are to look at the intangibles you mentioned.  So, it's quite possible that an admissions officer would say, "Well, it's a 3.8 from UMUC, and this other guy has a 3.8 from Wisconsin-Madison, but frankly, the guy from UMUC has a lot more impressive extracurriculars, including keeping our nation safe."

My opinion is that once you get away from, say, the top 3, the UMUC thing won't be that much of a disadvantage if it is one at all.  And even within the top 3, they take a lot bigger look at the whole candidate than most other schools do.

The key for you is to nail a monster gpa, which you are already doing.  Then, to nail down a comparably monster LSAT.  Apply with a 170+ LSAT and a 3.8 from UMUC and you're going to have more than one T14 acceptance to chose from.

That's my decidedly non-expert opinion, but I think you're going to be in great shape.

Re: UMUC then Law School?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2011, 12:18:51 PM »
I was going to suggest you go to school outside of MD.  MD public school are named oddly and people don't know UMUC isn't UMD, College Park.  Obama's information tech sectary did his grad work at UMUC and the reporters in DC (if anyone would know it would be someone in the area) assumed it was UMD and called him a fake.  Of course they made a mistake, the guy said UMUC and even they assumed it to be UMD in a resume fact check.

My point is- if it is an issue, which it probably is not, even in a neighboring state they think UMUC is UMD.  You should still be fine in MD though.  I doubt its a big deal at all and they may even give you preference because UMUC is part of the MD system like both of the law schools in the state.  I don't know if either UB or UMD Law lists the institutions of their class, but if they do see if you can find UMUC in their student profile. Good luck.
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Re: UMUC then Law School?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2012, 06:33:01 AM »
Very informative post. I am in the army and also attending UMUC. I will be graduating with a degree in Political Science within the next few months and hope to attend law school once I am finished with the military in a couple of years.
I have also wondered if graduating from an online school such as UMUC would be looked upon as a negative when I apply for law school.