Law School Discussion

Starting over after dropping out 20 years ago

Starting over after dropping out 20 years ago
« on: August 02, 2016, 05:20:16 PM »
Hi!  I'm considering re-applying to law school, after dropping out in my first semester, 20 years ago.  I'm wondering, first, how negatively will the withdrawal impact my chances for acceptance now, and secondly, how would a school that I had turned down back then, weigh that factor should I re-apply to them?

In 1996, I was graduating undergrad, with a 3.3 or so gpa, and had a 173 LSAT (97th percentile, I think the scale may have changed since).   I was accepted to a few different schools, including an offer of a Presidential Scholarship (full ride) at a smaller school, which I turned down.  (Yes, I was an idiot!). I accepted at a state school with only a small aid package, and not enough funds to live on.  I blew out halfway through first semester, due to personal drama and trying to work plus do school. 

Twenty years later, I still haven't lost my desire to practice law, and I am considering starting the application process again.  I feel confident I could repeat my LSAT performance, and I would now be hugely interested in the school that formerly offered me a full ride because they offer a satellite program in Alaska, where I want to live and practice. 

Anyway, any opinions or insights into how that school and any others would view my prior law school applications and very short semester?


Re: Starting over after dropping out 20 years ago
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2016, 08:36:53 PM »
Your LSAT is long past expired (only lasts 5 years)

So retake, and see where you stand. If you are in your 40s, then k-jd people are going to SUCK to be around........horribly so.

I recommend aiming for a nights/weekend program (more adults in it) plus its more laid back (profs are cooler) and the course load is easier (since you are going to have to get used to being a student all over again)


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Re: Starting over after dropping out 20 years ago
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2016, 06:58:24 AM »
There's a few different issues in your letter.

In no particular order-

1. How will a school view your withdrawal from another law school 20 years ago? Eh, whatever. If you withdrew because of personal drama and finances and youth (which it sounds like), it shouldn't matter at all, and what will be more relevant is what you've been doing for 20 years. What is most relevant is your LSAT score.

2. Will a school care that you turned them down 20 years ago? No, not really.

3. Can you get admitted somewhere? Probably. But you need to see how you do when you re-take your LSAT. You can't use a score from 20 years ago.

4. I don't know your exact age, but you will be going as a non-traditional student. Look at some resources for that. IME, non-traditional students tend to do better at law school than people straight out of UG, simply because they are more motivated and treat it like a job (that's a generality, and there are many bright, motivated people coming straight through as well - but you usually don't have non-trads that are "man, I don't know what to do with my life"). On the other hand, actual academics might be a shock to the system. Whatever you do, remember that you'll be missing out on three years of prime earning power if you go full time, and minimize your costs.

Re: Starting over after dropping out 20 years ago
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2016, 08:53:17 AM »
I agree with the above posters: minimize cost and consider a part time program, or consider starting in a part time program and switching to full time if the programs permits.

Normally I would say get it done in three years, but as an older student the part time program may be more feasible. I went to law school in my early thirties. I had a wife and kid, a job and a mortgage. I chose a large scholarship at a lower ranked school over a small scholarship at a big name school, and chose an evening program over a full time day program.

My fellow students were teachers, accountants, engineers and military officers. The general attitude was more laid back (although still VERY academically challenging). Several professors told me flat out that they much preferred teaching the evening classes.

In my last year I took a couple of day classes, and I felt a little like a fish out of water. The students were very nice and smart, but stuff like people texting and Facebooking during class, or whining about the amount of work just didn't happen in the evening classes. So, for someone in your situation it could be a better fit.

Also, are you taking an LSAT prep course?