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Author Topic: Am i on the right track?  (Read 921 times)

caruiz93

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Am i on the right track?
« on: January 05, 2013, 07:28:14 PM »
I hope it isn't a faux-pas to post this in this section; I'm new to the forum. But I have recently decided that law school is what i want to do after undergrad. However, i come from a single parent home in which education isn't a big deal so i have no real context on what i should be doing. I was a terrible high school student. I graduated with a 2.8 gpa and 24 act from high school. I got into a very small ( around 1200 students) Christian liberal arts university that is tier 2 and not very well known at all.  I got tired of being a mediocre student and decided to really work hard and prove myself during my undergrad years and make the jump to a good law school. I am not obsessed with a T14. I would of course like to go to a top 14 LS but i would be happy going somewhere at least decent. Apart from the T14s I would also like to go to a school like Saint louis University, Chicago-Kent, etc. I am really confused because my academic advisors at school say that law schools want someone active in the community....but everything that i read online says that softs don't really matter. Heres how i stand:

-currrent sophomore
-history major/econ minor 3.75 GPA ( shooting for a 3.8 at least by the time i apply to LS)
-havent taken the LSAT but shooting for AT LEAST  a 160 (of course higher would be preferable)
-I work at a coffee shop/restaurant 30+ hours a week to pay for school.
-I volunteer at a reading clinic for middle schoolers twice a week.
-Im a URM student (i was born in Mexico, and i know that theres a slight boost to chances from that)

Should i be doing more? i feel like the pressure is on to find great internships and do more volunteer work but I'm already working a lot so i don't know how i can fit in a demanding internship or more volunteering. I am considering writing for the campus newspaper, and maybe starting a debate team or participating in intercollegiate legislature. I enjoy all of this things but i don't want to add unnecessary stress to an already full plate. Am I on the right track to getting into a good law school? what else should i be doing?

bobol

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Re: Am i on the right track?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 11:11:10 PM »
In my opinion

1   you should focus upon keeping your 3.75 gpa and attaining a good LSAT score before you start to worry about where you will attend.  In my experience your  LSAT score mirrors your SAT.  If you did well on your SATs the you will likely do well on the LSAT but if you did poorly on your SAT then I doubt you will spike,upwards n the LSAT.

2.  IMO only the law schols that have the most competitive admissions put substantial,weight on the "soft factors".  The 2 law schools you mentioned (St.Louis & Chicago Kent) are bout solid schools and I believe that the determining factors are gpa and LSAT at both schools.

Good luck.

Groundhog

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Re: Am i on the right track?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 03:44:12 AM »
The most important thing is to keep your grades up. If you truly work 30 hours plus every week during undergrad, you should definitely write an economic/diversity statement to that effect. Include anything relevant about your upbringing and parents, culture, etc. Make sure the volunteer stuff is on your resume.

That being said, it couldn't hurt to have at least one serious student club or activity involvement, something with regular meetings where you can become an officer. It's better to focus on one or two things than join a dozen clubs and never do anything or spread yourself too thin.

caruiz93

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Re: Am i on the right track?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 09:55:35 AM »
I am part of the campus newspaper starting this semester in order to add a solid activity. I am also the PR rep for an international students club but it is very disorganized, and interest is very small, no one takes it seriously so I'm thinking that it is not worth the effort to continue with that club in the future. Also, are recommendation letters from your job acceptable/a good idea to send in? I mean I know that if someone works at a starbucks or mcdonalds for a while and gets a good recommendation from a manager it probably doesn't carry any weight. However, i have worked at the same restaurant/coffee shop for 3 years now and plan on working there for the next two years until i complete my undergrad work. It is a well-known local establishment with tons of business and I've worked there since i was 16, so i feel like my boss has a pretty good grasp on my character and work ethic. Is that acceptable?

Groundhog

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Re: Am i on the right track?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 10:12:50 AM »
Put in a little effort with the international students club regularly. It's good to show some depth and breadth in student activities. You don't need to commit to dozens of hours a week but it can show that you are someone who's from a different background and tries to help others. Obviously being a URM is a huge help.

Generally, if you are still in school, law schools are interested in letters of rec from Professors, but it could help to have 1 LOR talking about how hard you've worked during school. The important part is to ask your boss or whoever writes the letter to talk about your capacity for success in law school. Something like "applicant works very hard here at work and in school, has been able to do so while being a good employee and keeping gpa up, has good organizational skills," whatever. After a while letters of rec read the same to adcomm members and they are only a soft factor, but every but helps and could be the difference between wait listed accepted and wait listed rejected at your dream schools.

eric922

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Re: Am i on the right track?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 10:18:54 PM »
From what I've read the only law schools that really care about "softs" are Harvad, Yale, and Standford simply because they are so competitive.  Even the other lower T14s don't care about softs that much.  Not everyone can be a the student body president, after all. 

Groundhog

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Re: Am i on the right track?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 11:59:12 PM »
From what I've read the only law schools that really care about "softs" are Harvad, Yale, and Standford simply because they are so competitive.  Even the other lower T14s don't care about softs that much.  Not everyone can be a the student body president, after all.
To be fair, softs are not as important as numbers, but you've gotta have something to put on your resume or law schools are going to notice. I guess it's better to have a 4.0 with no clubs than a 3.5 with tons, though.

caruiz93

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Re: Am i on the right track?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 10:42:43 AM »
Put in a little effort with the international students club regularly. It's good to show some depth and breadth in student activities. You don't need to commit to dozens of hours a week but it can show that you are someone who's from a different background and tries to help others. Obviously being a URM is a huge help.

Generally, if you are still in school, law schools are interested in letters of rec from Professors, but it could help to have 1 LOR talking about how hard you've worked during school. The important part is to ask your boss or whoever writes the letter to talk about your capacity for success in law school. Something like "applicant works very hard here at work and in school, has been able to do so while being a good employee and keeping gpa up, has good organizational skills," whatever. After a while letters of rec read the same to adcomm members and they are only a soft factor, but every but helps and could be the difference between wait listed accepted and wait listed rejected at your dream schools.

I guess i can use the lack of interest in the to my advantage by taking it seriously and standing out more. Thanks for the advice.

I think I'm gonna focus on GPA and LSAT and 2-3 long term extra curricula's ( campus newspaper, reading clinic tutor, and the international students club) and not focus so much on internships because it is stressing me out way too much.

Groundhog

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Re: Am i on the right track?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 03:49:45 AM »
That sounds fine. Obviously the most important thing is keeping your grades up, but 2-3 solid things to list on resume as an undergrad is fine, especially if they are for more than a year.