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Author Topic: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions  (Read 2096 times)

piika

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Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« on: September 28, 2005, 01:11:32 AM »
I did my undergrad at Queen's, and I'm currently trying to finish a Ph.D. in engineering at McGill. Needless to say engineering is not working out for me (otherwise I wouldn't be on this board)... I have two questions about applying to law school in the U.S.:

(1) I have read many times that the reputation of Queen's cannot compare to McGill in the U.S. (don't I wish I knew this in highschool). So would doing a grad degree at a known university somewhat offset the disadvantage of an undergrad at an unknown university on my application?

(2) I know this has been brought up before, but does grad school experience count at all in the soft factors? Would a Ph.D. in engineering at McGill at least count for a bit of something...?

All this stems from my insecurities about my undergrad performance. It was not quite spectacular. In addition, I'm taking the December LSAT which will make my application very late. Just wondering if I have some advantage in my background at all...

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

gillesthegreat

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Re: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2005, 04:18:45 PM »

   Found this message while fishing in old threads. Sorry if it's a bit late.

   You ask many questions in there, so bear with me.

   First, Queen's is not that bad. You could have done a lot worse (Algonquin College anyone?), and I'm pretty sure that most people in the US academic world know of it by now (B-school in particular). Last time I checked in McLeans, Q. was still top 10. Oh yeah, almost forgot ... screw McGill. (sorry ... both brothers went there).

   Second, the graduate degree. Well, welcome to my pain. Since US news is the only ranking people value out there, law schools have adapted somewhat, and are now going mostly by LSAT and U-GPA. That is, your G-GPA will appear nowhere in what they report. They do consider it, but they still have to play by the rules. You can find solace in the fact that it is a significant outstanding soft factor. Of course, I would invite any one who really thinks a Ph.D. doesn't matter that much to come and complete mine (almost done). The best I can tell you is whta I've read somewhere else on this board: when you'll step in class for the first time, you will be head and shoulders above the rest, intellectually speaking. And that's not negligeable.

  Third, your lackluster UG. Well, I have that to, and not from Queen's (other top 10, but admission officers probably do not care much for my transcripts in French ...). This issue has two aspects. First, as mentioned, they have to look at the U-GPA, since they have to report it and are 'graded' on it. That plays against you. The converse, however, is that they report the median and quartiles. This means that you will not screw up their average by being very low. The best way to make up for it is to get a stellar LSAT.

   Fourth, the december LSAT will hurt your chances a little. A large numbre of spots will already have been alloted. Be sure that everything you need is ready to get fired off ASAP. Read instructions everywhere to see if you can send stuff earlier. There's just no way around the whole issue. Your background is unique enough that you can present yourself as such.

   Sixth, good luck. Really. I feel your pain, as I am pretty much in it myself. Plus I can't even get good poutine in San Francisco.
Penn (2007)

gillesthegreat

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Re: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2005, 06:39:42 AM »
http://www.macleans.ca/universities/article.jsp?content=20041104_163511_5512

Will give you the current rankings, for what they're worth. I just don't believe that Sherbrooke is better than Laval, among other implausible things.

  As for my dissertation (thesis is for Master's), it is not in History ; that was just my undergrad major. You really, really don't want to know, trust me.
Penn (2007)

Eptisam

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Re: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2005, 01:47:44 PM »

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

First, it might be helpful if you give your GPA, because it's a big difference if you got 2.5 or a 3.3.

I'll assume that you have a reall bad gpa, like a 2.5.

For US schools, your best bet is to not do a december LSAT unless you are ultra prepared. Your goal should be to score as hi as you can. This will be the biggest thing you can do to ensure you have a chance, particularily if you are trying to apply in January.

If I were you, I would skip this year and try to apply for next year (2007), after taking a good LSAT class and having done all the test prep.

As for the PhD, the best way to leverage it, IMHO, is to apply to law school and show that your direction of study is a continuation of your PhD. If you can't capitalize on that, then I think it sucks. For example, you might want to show how you want to be a patent attorney in your field, etc.

Good luck!

mark_ede

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Re: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2005, 07:13:48 PM »
How bad can a GPA be if one is in grad school? I would think graduate degrees in engineering would be a competative program.

Eptisam

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Re: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2005, 10:48:34 PM »

That said, you're not likely to get into ANY grad degree program with a 2.5.  So your point is taken.

I disagree. My LSAC CGPA is a 2.77 and I got into masters program in the US right after graduating. A 2.5 LSAC could mean that you had two bad years at the begining but then recovered and had 2 good years to finish. I'm sure if your last two years were very good and you showed that you had a plan, you could get in somewhere.


bakacanuck

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Re: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2005, 03:41:44 AM »
just in case you are still out there.  mcgill ug would give a slight boost. i dont think they care about you getting a mcgill phd nor do they care particularly about queens.  your 'advantage' is an engineering background. it wont get you into harvard or anything, but look around and find schools that have program that match well with your existing strengths and that have lower lsat medians and gpa 25 percentiles than you do and apply there.

piika

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Re: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2005, 09:04:31 PM »
Thanks a lot for everyone's comments! This thread was dead for a while so I didn't bother checking upon it until now. It really helps to know what other people think.

I have decided to postpone my LSAT until next year so I can give myself a better chance and also be certain to finish my Ph.D (otherwise all these years of suffering would be for nothing).

Queen's Engineering Faculty has the policy of not converting percentage grades to GPAs for any reason on its transcripts, so right now I don't yet know what my LSDAS GPA would be. I don't even remember my exact cumulative grade (it's been years...), but my class ranking was around 17/100, which isn't brilliant but it was good enough for grad school. It IS true that engineering grad school isn't very difficult to get into.

Which leads to why I was wondering about whether a Ph.D. counts much on my application at all. I myself is rather pessimistic about this. It's probably because I have a pessimistic view on the value of my Ph.D. ::)

There aren't many people out there in the same situation so I guess the only way to find out is to actually try. Thanks again for everyone's comments. Gillesthegreat, keep us posted on your application process, and good luck with finishing up your degree - I know how it feels!!



rhombot

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Re: Queen's/McGill reputation and other questions
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2005, 04:44:31 PM »

Queen's Engineering Faculty has the policy of not converting percentage grades to GPAs for any reason on its transcripts, so right now I don't yet know what my LSDAS GPA would be.


york doesn't either, but it mercifully reports letter grades, which i converted to GPA based on the letter-to-number conversion chart on the LSAC site: http://www.lsac.org/LSAC.asp?url=/lsac/faqs-and-support-lsdas.asp#9. the chart also offers a conversion formula for percentages.

regarding a phd - everything i've heard suggests that graduate education is a significant soft factor.
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