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Author Topic: Baylor (no scholarship and quit job) v. St Mary's (scholarships and keep job)  (Read 3625 times)

DanielleTex

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@John,
Yea, I was thinking about that.  I'm not sure how to judge where I'll be compared to other students on the curve and how that would be reflected in my GPA.  Here's some stats that may help:

GPA:
StMU Median- 3.11
StMU 25%-75%- 2.82-3.43
Me- 3.23

LSAT:
StMU Median- 154
StMU 25%-75%- 152-156
Me- 161

Curve:
Per their student handbook:
In the first two semesters of all first year courses, other than Legal Research and Writing, no fewer than 10% and no more than 20% of the grades must be C-s, D‟s, or F‟s. No less than 10% and no more than 20% of the grades must be A‟s, A-s, or B+‟s. During the third semester and in the mandatory summer course that follows the second semester, other than Legal Research and Writing, no fewer than 5% and no more than 15% of the grades must be C-s, D‟s, or F‟s. No less than 10% and no more than 20% of the grades must be A‟s, A-s, or B+‟s.



@Jimmy:
I definitely see where you are coming from.  Another thing my husband and I are looking at is moving closer to the school to cut down on the commute.  There are a lot of things I could do to mitigate the commute aspect (and the working hours as well).  It's definitely going to be difficult, but I am prepared to do what it takes to succeed (even if that means cutting back on work hours- last resort).

FalconJimmy

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That looks like a typical 2.6-3.0 curve.  basically, the teachers want to give everybody a B.  However, some students will distinguish themselves and deserve an A.  For every A they give, somebody int he class is getting a C. 

I just can't stress enough that you and every 0L in the universe thinks, "Yeah, whatever.  That C won't be me."  10% of them are wrong.  Also, you may think you'll get some As to bring that GPA up.  But 10-20% will be As, A-s or B+.  If you have 30 people in your class, you need to be one of the 3 best to get that A if they give 10% As.  Nobody really fully understands this until they start, but believe me, the reality is harsh and most people are stunned at where they fall.

Moving is a great idea, BTW.  If you could move halfway between, that would be a big factor.  Though, ultimately, it doesn't really cut down on your commute.  For every mile you save driving to school, you add a mile driving to work.

<<but I am prepared to do what it takes to succeed  (even if that means cutting back on work hours- last resort).>>

Again, I know you're thinking I'm being mean when I say this, but you will have to cut back on hours.  There is zero doubt in my mind about this.  Factor it into your model. 

This whole thing sort of reminds me of when a person gets their first job and tries to make their first budget. And they budget $20 a month for entertainment.  $50 a month for food.  It's just not realistic.  In theory it's possible.  In practice, it's absolutely impossible.

Your proposed schedule is exactly that:  in theory it seems possible.  In practice, it can't ever possibly happen.


FalconJimmy

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GPA:
StMU Median- 3.11
StMU 25%-75%- 2.82-3.43
Me- 3.23

LSAT:
StMU Median- 154
StMU 25%-75%- 152-156
Me- 161

You seem to be good quantitative skills (unfortunately, this is a skill with zero bearing on law school success), but what you're pointing out here is that you seem roughtly in about the 75th percentile of the incoming class.  You have a higher LSAT than their 75th %ile, but a lower GPA.  Not unreasonable to figure that roughly 1/4 of the class is smarter than you and 3/4 are dumber than you.

Now, this means on a 3.0 curve, with 20% of the class getting As, A- and B+ that you will absolutely have to beat the odds to get anything higher than a B.  And for every time you beat the odds, there will be times when the odds beat you and you will get a C.  At least based on what we see so far, you look like a 3.0 student on a 3.0 curve.

You may say that now you're smarter, more disciplined, your undergrad GPA wasn't indicative.

What do you think all your classmates are saying?

john4040

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@John,
Yea, I was thinking about that.  I'm not sure how to judge where I'll be compared to other students on the curve and how that would be reflected in my GPA.  Here's some stats that may help:

GPA:
StMU Median- 3.11
StMU 25%-75%- 2.82-3.43
Me- 3.23

LSAT:
StMU Median- 154
StMU 25%-75%- 152-156
Me- 161

Curve:
Per their student handbook:
In the first two semesters of all first year courses, other than Legal Research and Writing, no fewer than 10% and no more than 20% of the grades must be C-s, D‟s, or F‟s. No less than 10% and no more than 20% of the grades must be A‟s, A-s, or B+‟s. During the third semester and in the mandatory summer course that follows the second semester, other than Legal Research and Writing, no fewer than 5% and no more than 15% of the grades must be C-s, D‟s, or F‟s. No less than 10% and no more than 20% of the grades must be A‟s, A-s, or B+‟s.


Though you will probably have one of the higher GPA/LSAT combos of the incoming class at St. Mary's, I wouldn't put too much stock into how that will correlate with your law school performance.  As an example, I went to a Tier 2 law school with a 3.8 GPA but extremely low LSAT score.  My LSAT was so abysmal that I was waitlisted at my school but, eventually got in.  Through hard work, I was able crack the top 15% at my school and went on to be a federal clerk.  So, just be aware that law school is a completely different game than undergrad.

Second, it seems that the median mark for evening students at St. Mary's is a 2.68; top 25% is a 3.0.  So, if they offer you some sort of scholarship contingent on you making a 3.0... I'd probably decline.  If they tell you that you need to maintain a 3.5 (~ top 7%), I'd throw the offer back at them and run like hell.

Here's where I'm getting the grading info from:
http://www.stmarytx.edu/law/index.php?site=rankAndGrades
See e.g., http://www.stmarytx.edu/law/pdf/Spring2011C.pdf

FalconJimmy

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As a final note before I take off, since I know you can do math, let's try this one:

You get Bs in two classes, and you beat the odds and get an A- in your third one.

A= 4.0
A- = 3.67
B+ = 3.33
B = 3.0

Your GPA for your first semester would be a 3.22.  So, if your renewal criteria is 3.2, you're set.  If it's 3.25, you're screwed.

I know you're probably thinking, "But surely, I'll get an A in something here and there."  I know you're thinking it because every 0L thinks it.

It's just not true.  Not in Law School.  Totally true in undergrad, but not necessarily true in law school.

And since your grading is competitive (meaning it's zero sum... you get an A means somebody else got a C), you have to compete with your classmates...

Who each have 2 more hours EVERY DAY (maybe more) to get ready for class than you do.

Starting to see why I was so harsh on your plan?

FalconJimmy

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Though you will probably have one of the higher GPA/LSAT combos of the incoming class at St. Mary's, I wouldn't put too much stock into how that will correlate with your law school performance.  As an example, I went to a Tier 2 law school with a 3.8 GPA but extremely low LSAT score.  My LSAT was so abysmal that I was waitlisted at my school but, eventually got in.  Through hard work, I was able crack the top 15% at my school and went on to be a federal clerk.  So, just be aware that law school is a completely different game than undergrad.

I'll never understand why they weigh LSAT so much more than GPA.  To me, law school success depends on smarts, but moreso on how hard you work.  A 3.8 shows you're a hard worker.  It's no wonder you did well in LS.

FalconJimmy

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Here's where I'm getting the grading info from:
http://www.stmarytx.edu/law/index.php?site=rankAndGrades
See e.g., http://www.stmarytx.edu/law/pdf/Spring2011C.pdf

As scary as those numbers are, those are the students who are still in the program.  The guys with really bad grades dropped out and aren't included in those numbers.

john4040

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I'll never understand why they weigh LSAT so much more than GPA.  To me, law school success depends on smarts, but moreso on how hard you work.  A 3.8 shows you're a hard worker.  It's no wonder you did well in LS.

Who knows?  But I will say... my sub-150 LSAT sure didn't help their confidence in me.  Oh well, I made it out OK... that's all that matters.   :P

DanielleTex

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I understand what both of you are saying.  I will need to really evaluate the scholarship renewal requirements.

I graduated undergrad in 2006 (I spent a year at UTSA, and maintained a 4.0, then the next three years at UT getting a 3.08- LSAC cumulative is 3.23).  I went to graduate school too at a not-prestigious institution and graduated with a 3.98 (MS in Psychology- Research based).  I'm going to try to find their curve and see what that says for me. 

John, you are correct about GPA being indicative of hard work.  I worked hard at UTSA and it showed.  I completely slacked at UT and it showed. 

Everything you guys have said has really given me a lot to think about. 

FalconJimmy

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And one last thing to ponder.  Somebody gave me this advice and I'm passing it on to you.

Baylor is a better school than St. Mary's, but St. Mary's will have its share of great students.

The rule I generally use is:  the best students at St. Mary's would still be the best students at Baylor.

The middle students at St. Mary's are ambulatory chimpanzees compared to the middle students at Baylor.

The worst students at St. Mary's would have to evolve to be considered more than single cell organisms compared to the worst students at Baylor.

What does this have to do with anything?  It's to warn you.  Don't ever think, "well, I can't be top of the class at Baylor, but surely St. Marys is easier, so I will be top of the class, there."

Just not true.  Top of the class at St Mary's would be top of the class at Baylor, too. If you can't be top of the class at Baylor, you won't be top of the class at St. Mary's.

The money in the law is just too good.  Every school, including ones that don't seem very good, attracts a handful of exceptionally intelligent people.

Being a top graduate of any school is a ticket to six figures.  They don't give those tickets out for free and people are willing to really fight for them.

Your incoming class at St. Marys will have some bona fide geniuses in there who have no business attending St. Marys because they could have gone to UT.  Every 4T has a few students who have something close to a 4.0 and a 170+LSAT in the class.

That's who you have to beat if you want to be the top at St. Mary's or anywhere else.

Going to a lesser school makes it easier to graduate and to be in the middle.  However, there isn't a school in the country where it's easy to be in the top.  Not Cooley, not any school.  The top students are scary smart and will whip your ass unless you're brilliant and just as hard working as they are.