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Author Topic: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.  (Read 5270 times)

chocolatesugar

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Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« on: August 06, 2013, 01:49:07 AM »
I'm currently studying for the LSAT (Taking a prep course- Blueprint) My diagnostic score was 147 =/. I seem to be getting better so far but what's really worrying me now is my GPA. At first I thought I had a 3.29 but now after putting in my Community college grades. My GPA has dropped to 3.15. I really want to go to a school that's at least in the Top 70.  I'm graduating from UCLA with a B.A in philosophy in June 2014.

Any advice? My community college grades have screwed me over. I'm taking the LSAT in October.

Thank you.


Maintain FL 350

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2013, 11:38:03 AM »
The difference between a 3.15 and a 3.29 is not huge. I seriously doubt if your options will change very much with either GPA. Schools that are willing to accept someone with a 3.29 are probably willing to accept someone with a 3.15.

The LSAT should be your primary concern right now. Definitely keep your grades up and do as well as you possibly can, but raise that LSAT score. Even if you get straight A's for the next year, scoring low on the LSAT will limit your options. Personally, I'd rather have a high LSAT/low GPA than the other way around.

I really want to go to a school that's at least in the Top 70. 

Why top 70? Seems like an arbitrary number.

Here's the thing: If you attend any school that is not considered prestigious, you won't be able to rely on your academic pedigree anyway. Whether you attend the #70 or the #100 ranked school will likely make little difference. There is a near obsession among 0Ls with the rankings scheme, but it's based on a very unrealistic view of the legal market in my opinion.

I've worked at private firms and government offices, and I've never seen someone get hired based on the fact that they graduated from the #58 law school versus the #77 law school. I've never seen a partner look up a school's rank before an interview. Offices that are willing to hire someone from the 70th ranked school are probably willing to hire someone from the 100th ranked school, too. At that level it all comes down to experience and connections. In my experience applicants from lower ranked schools are all pretty much viewed the same, and a slightly higher ranking will not make up for a lack of applicable experience.

You've also got to consider geography. Going out of state to attend a higher ranked school is not always a good choice (unless the school is nationally recognized and elite). When you're talking about lower tier schools, you're talking about places that have local reputations. Your opportunities for making connections, getting internships, etc will be much better in the school's immediate region.

livinglegend

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 11:18:38 PM »
Maintain makes some great points and I am just going to add onto what he said.

First off the difference between a 3.14-3.29 does not mean much. .15 points on your GPA is not going to make or break you and more importantly there is nothing you can do about it anyways.

For now do everything you can to get the best LSAT score you can and once you have that score and your GPA you can realistically assess your options.

The real issue I see in your post is that you want to attend a school in the 70's and I see this mistake all to often from 0L's and I had the same mindset when I was a 0L, but I can tell you that the rankings mean very little remember U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion do not make a life altering decision of where to attend law school based on it.

Remember U.S. News ranks more than just law schools and according to them Albuquerque New Mexico is the best place to live http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/best-places-to-live . I imagine you would not plan on moving to New Mexico because U.S. News said it was the best place to live use the same logic when choosing your law school as 1) Location 2) Cost and 3) Your personal feelings about the school are far more important than what a magazine says.

Since you are attending UCLA I assume you will want to attend law school in California  and with between a 3.1-3.3 GPA and a 147 diagnostic on your LSAT you are likely not going to attend law school at USC, UCLA, Stanford, or Boalt. There is no shame in that plenty of successful attorneys did not go to top tier schools.

With your GPA and assuming you get a 155-160 on the LSAT and you want to remain in L.A. you could attend Pepperdine, LMU, Chapman, maybe get a scholarship at Southwestern all of which are fine schools and I have worked with great lawyers from each of those schools. 

In the end you really need to not worry about the rankings they are arbitrary and nobody cares about them unless you are attending a school that is truly elite and just use common sense when considering your law school options and a key step in using common sense is not making a life altering decision based on a magazine. To further bolster this argument you can see how much the rankings change year by year and how arbitrary the 70th ranked school would be http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html Loyola for example was in the 70's in 2008 shot all the way up to 51 in 2012 and last year dropped to 68 what happened at the school over that time you ask? Nothing same professors, campus, etc existed, but U.S. News is based primarily on people across the country filing out Scrantons from 1-5 that is 60% of a schools ranking if you think that is something you should make a life altering decision upon go for it, but odds are you will be disappointed.


chocolatesugar

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2013, 11:56:46 PM »
Maintain makes some great points and I am just going to add onto what he said.

First off the difference between a 3.14-3.29 does not mean much. .15 points on your GPA is not going to make or break you and more importantly there is nothing you can do about it anyways.

For now do everything you can to get the best LSAT score you can and once you have that score and your GPA you can realistically assess your options.

The real issue I see in your post is that you want to attend a school in the 70's and I see this mistake all to often from 0L's and I had the same mindset when I was a 0L, but I can tell you that the rankings mean very little remember U.S. News is a for-profit, unregulated, magazine offering an opinion do not make a life altering decision of where to attend law school based on it.

Remember U.S. News ranks more than just law schools and according to them Albuquerque New Mexico is the best place to live http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/best-places-to-live . I imagine you would not plan on moving to New Mexico because U.S. News said it was the best place to live use the same logic when choosing your law school as 1) Location 2) Cost and 3) Your personal feelings about the school are far more important than what a magazine says.

Since you are attending UCLA I assume you will want to attend law school in California  and with between a 3.1-3.3 GPA and a 147 diagnostic on your LSAT you are likely not going to attend law school at USC, UCLA, Stanford, or Boalt. There is no shame in that plenty of successful attorneys did not go to top tier schools.

With your GPA and assuming you get a 155-160 on the LSAT and you want to remain in L.A. you could attend Pepperdine, LMU, Chapman, maybe get a scholarship at Southwestern all of which are fine schools and I have worked with great lawyers from each of those schools. 

In the end you really need to not worry about the rankings they are arbitrary and nobody cares about them unless you are attending a school that is truly elite and just use common sense when considering your law school options and a key step in using common sense is not making a life altering decision based on a magazine. To further bolster this argument you can see how much the rankings change year by year and how arbitrary the 70th ranked school would be http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html Loyola for example was in the 70's in 2008 shot all the way up to 51 in 2012 and last year dropped to 68 what happened at the school over that time you ask? Nothing same professors, campus, etc existed, but U.S. News is based primarily on people across the country filing out Scrantons from 1-5 that is 60% of a schools ranking if you think that is something you should make a life altering decision upon go for it, but odds are you will be disappointed.

I'm not planning on staying in the LA area. :)

livinglegend

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 11:36:33 AM »
Then you will have many options as well and you not wanting to stay in L.A. shows how little rankings mean. If you don't want to be in L.A. then don't school to school in L.A. even if LMU is ranked 60th. I imagine living in Westwood for the last 4 years has left you whether it is good or bad living in Westwood will be a lot different than attending Michigan State in East Lansing even if MSU is ranked in the 70's the difference between Westwood and Los Angeles is very different. Bottom line don't worry about rankings to much.

Once you take the LSAT you will know your options good luck.

chocolatesugar

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 03:38:35 PM »
So far, I have three people writing me a letter of recommendation.

1. An old community college professor, who I took 3 classes with (Got As in all of them)
2. My past employer.
3. My TA, who is a Harvard Law School graduate.

Who else should I ask?

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 04:52:09 PM »
Are you permitted to submit more than three to LSAC?

It sounds like the three you have are from good sources. You have a mix of employers and professors, which is good. Honestly, though, LORs will have very limited impact. Everybody submits them, and they all say the same thing: "So and so is a great person, and will no doubt be a valuable addition to your law school."

Your GPA/LSAT profile will completely dominate the process. If you are borderline admit/reject, then a truly unique or outstanding LOR might help. In other words, I wouldn't sweat it too much.

legend

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 11:23:37 AM »
I believe those are solid LOR's and I am not aware of many schools that allow more than 3 letters a few may allow 4, but some may only require 2. Read what each individual school wants and do not inundate them with more information than they are asking for. Remember these admissions counselors are reviewing 1000's of applications and one thing they will notice is someone who did not follow their instructions and submitted more LOR's than they asked for.

The other thing to understand is personal statements, letters of recommendation, etc mean very little. IF your on the cusp of admission they will be used as a tiebreak, but check out lawschoolnumbers.com and you will see how much numbers matter. You could have letters of recommendation from the President if you have a 3.0 and 152 LSAT your not getting into a top 10 school.

It honestly sounds like you have solid LOR's and what you should focus on is doing the best you can on the LSAT the other stuff doesn't matter at this point. Once your GPA and LSAT are set you will realistically know what your options are.

chocolatesugar

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 08:55:25 PM »
Took a practice test today at home. (Used timing) up to a 153.

Any tips anyone?

Miami88

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Re: Please help. Paranoid, worried, and not sure what to do.
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2013, 12:39:30 PM »
Just keep practicing.

Make sure it is smart practice: proper un-timed practice leading to strict timed tests.