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Author Topic: Guidance & Advice  (Read 2510 times)

jkdude

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Guidance & Advice
« on: June 28, 2004, 10:02:25 PM »
Thank You.
USC Law  - Class of 2010

TDPookie1

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Re: Guidance & Advice
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2004, 12:28:00 AM »
I'm no expert, so other people are more than welcome to disagree (not that anyone really waits for the invitation to disagree on the boards anyway, but whatever...)

I took Latin in college (I was actually a Classics (and Poli Sci) major, so I took 10 quarters of Latin and 6 quarters of ancient Greek).  In terms of how helpful it is, I think what it really teaches you is logical thinking.  Latin is more difficult than other languages because the end of a word changes depending on its use in a sentence.  You pretty much have a set of rules dictating what function(s) a word can have in a sentence, and you have to use those rules to determine what the Latin says.  The rules dictate everything, and it's all very logical.  That type of logical thinking helps on the LSAT, because you have to read what the passage or stimulus or games in the rules say, and you can't just make assumptions.

If you think you wouldn't enjoy Latin, then it's probably not worth taking it.  It may hurt your GPA, and you can learn logic skills in other classes.  I went to UCI and there were some Philosophy classes that dealt with logic.  Obviously the course numbers will be different at UCLA, but if there are any other UCI students on this board, those classes are Philosophy 29, 30, and 31.  (30 is a prerequisite for 31, but 29 does not have to be taken before 30.)  You can try taking classes like those if you wish to improve your logical skills.  I personally did not take those classes, and the topics from those classes that apply to the LSAT were taught in my TestMasters classes.

As for what classes to take in general, take what interests you.  You don't have to follow any specific course of study.  One recommendation I've heard from a lot of sources, including someone else on this board (I think it was RuskieGirl; are you reading this?) was to take classes in many different areas, not just your discipline, including Poli Sci, History, Sociology, Economics, etc.

If you plan on taking TestMasters, they discourage you from studying for the LSAT before taking their class because you don't want to adopt counterproductive strategies that will be hard to "un-learn" during the course.  Go into the course with a fresh mind.  If possible, plan ahead so you have an easy quarter when you're taking your prep course or otherwise studying, so you can devote more time to the LSAT.

Good for you for thinking about this stuff in advance!  Good luck!

(Another note: When you apply to law school, A+'s count as 4.33, even though they count at UC's as 4.00.  Because they don't count extra in your GPA, professors tend not to give them.  Since you already know that you want to go to law school, I would suggest asking for those A+'s.  There were a lot I deserved but didn't get, and it was too late to ask for them once I found out that you get extra points for them.)
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monkeyboi

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Re: Guidance & Advice
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2004, 02:32:43 AM »
Hi,
As a fellow UCLA student, I am going to take a break from my somewhat nonsensical rants against UPENN to actually give you some constructive advice. Do not worry about the LSAT yet. Wait till the summer before your final year, take PowerScore(or TestMasters) and you'll be fine. As far as prep do a lot of independant reading of whatever you can get your hands on. Latin is useless in my opinion. It does not teach you logic and the legal profession only relies on a few select words that you can pick up in the standard Biz Law/ Law and econ/ Law and Poli Sci course at UCLA or in your courses when you get to law school. Latin at UCLA is probably boring and I do not recommend it. As far as prep for law school, focus on getting kick ass grades and pick one or two extra cirriculars that you can stick to over the next three years and excel at. Also do academic research and cultivate close relationships with your professors. Poli Sci is fine as a prep major for law school but I do not recommend Philosophy at UCLA because I have heard that it is very hard to get As in the classes. I would recommend another law related major such as International econ that ties into you desire to pursue International Law. Finally baby bruin, I recommend that you drink plenty of alcohol, date lots of girls, and join a frat. Those things will keep you sane while you work yourself to death trying to be like me  :P . Please do not let law school get to your head. Life should be enjoyable but for many pre laws at UCLA we make it stressful and anally competetive(i shamefully include myself in this group). Work hard and take solace in the fact that your fine institution sends more people to HLS than any other UC and indeed more people than many ivy league prestige whore houses.  Thats it for now. I am off to work on my honors thesis(the bane of my friggin summer.....I should be at Margarita Monday's tonite  :-\ ) . Oh well such is life. Post some more if you would like more advice.

neverends

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Re: Guidance & Advice
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2004, 04:55:55 AM »
Was looking at a list of majors corresponding to average lsat scores.  Poli sci was the lowest with a high 140 something.  I think some kind of engineering was at the top of the list.

There are a couple of philo classes at UCLA that deal with formal logic, I'd go for it.

I'd go for the latin.  Don't think it'll help with anything specific, but I think it would greatly deepen your understanding of english and western culture.  Don't know what that's worth though.

Now when I was in undergrad, had ABSOLUTELY no intention of going to law school, and actively annoyed professors whom I thought were lazy, uninteresting or had an opinion to which I could not subscribe.  As a result my transcripts (which I only recently noticed) were more a litany of classes I enjoyed versus classes(proffesors) I couldn't stand.  A lot of A's and a lot of C's.  Don't let this happen to you.  I don't know what it is like there now, but I had a tuff time getting the classes I wanted, but I'd research profs and classes before you sign up.  Find out who is a good TEACHER in a subject area that interests you, and take those classes. I might recommend some seminar style literature classes.  This would give you the oppertunity to learn to read fast, analyze quickly and discuss nuanced ideas.

Also, I've read and heard that econ classes would have greatly benifited many 2-3 l's.

Also, if you have a stellar performance on your LSAT and you ace all of your classes, you'll still be competing with peers with exactly the same lsat/gpa as you. I recommend climbing an unclimbed mountain, dating an undateable sex object, riding an unridable horse, building a watercraft out of a novel recyclable collection of trash, something to distinguish yourself.

Also, I'd intern or clerk or what have you in the kind of firm that you would eventually like to work in.  Very well may turn out that law sucks beans.  I know a lot of successful happy EX-lawyers, and they all have been trying to talk me out of law school.  There is a reason for this.

Anyhow, good luck.
it's coming...

monkeyboi

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Re: Guidance & Advice
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2004, 07:06:08 AM »
I disagree with neverends posts regarding what course work to pursue. The philosophy classes dealing with formal logic are tough and wont necessarily improve your understanding of the logic required for the LSAT. Further, I don't think that what major you choose has any bearing on  your personal performance on the LSAT. The fact that the average LSAT of people in the poli sci major is low has nothing to do with the substantive nature of the courses offered in the major at UCLA. The major has a repuatation for being a bit easy so it may attract people who are "dumber", although you wont find too many dumb people at UCLA. Finally, "neverends" implies that the average LSAT score for a polisci major at UCLA is something in the 140's, this is way off. The average LSAT at UCLA is a 156(its on my LSDAS transcript) so the average for an individual major, especially one that sends such a high proportionof its grads on to law school, can't be that far off. Finally with regards to sucessful law school applicants this year, Truculunce who posts on Law School Numbers was a Poli Sci and either Soc or history major from our school and got into Yale. Halliburton who also posts on LSNwas a biz econ major and got into Harvard. There are many similar sucess stories out their. Either my minor or my second major are going to be Poli Sci and i got a 178. Poli Sci is fine as a pre-law major and will greatly improve your writing skills which are critical for law school. Don't do the Latin it's absolutely useless. Be wary of the philosophy because grading is often arbitrary.

neverends

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Re: Guidance & Advice
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2004, 07:27:20 AM »
Quote
Finally, "neverends" implies that the average LSAT score for a polisci major at UCLA is something in the 140's

nope, just said that I saw that stat for the major in general.

I don't disagree with anything you wrote, and I don't really know you monkeyboi but you sound like a bit of a female private part.

oh yeah I do disagree with this:
Quote
although you wont find too many dumb people at UCLA
it's coming...

monkeyboi

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Re: Guidance & Advice
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2004, 02:39:27 PM »
I'll gladly be a female private part at HYS.  If you have nothing on me don't try to front. I am just giving someone from my alma mater some solid advice.