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Author Topic: How long will the bad grades affect me?  (Read 2289 times)

NoDonut

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How long will the bad grades affect me?
« on: December 22, 2005, 12:45:21 PM »


  Hello,

  I have never posted a discussion but I have a quick question.  I went to a large public university straight out of high school.  I only stayed a smemester and received horrible grades (2.0). Soon after I was hired on by a local fire dept. and worked as a FF/EMT for the next 3 years.  At the age of 22 I was hired by a large Police Dept and have been a cop for two years.  I have been taking night school steadily for the past 3 years, and I am about 24 units away from graduating.  Now, I have been able to pull  steady A's and a few B's while in night school.  I currently have a GPA of 3.8 (Not including original semester, which I took at a different school).  How bad will my original semester of c's and d's hurt my chances?  Also, will the PD experience and the fact that I am 25 yoa reflect the fact that the bad grades were a result of childhood immaturity? 

  Any former cops or firefighters with any info that might be helpful please let me know as well.  Thanks in advance for the help...

kruddler

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Re: How long will the bad grades affect me?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2005, 03:26:56 PM »
I've heard that some schools will give significantly less weight to grades that are 5-10 years old or older. However, for LSAC transcript purposes, you will bear them until the day you die.
GPA: Ha! LSAT: Meh
Attending Texas Tech fall '06

LostMyMonkeys

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Re: How long will the bad grades affect me?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2005, 07:48:20 PM »
I've heard that some schools will give significantly less weight to grades that are 5-10 years old or older. However, for LSAC transcript purposes, you will bear them until the day you die.

Thats about the turth of it. My grades are crappy (10 years old, and lots of law enforcement work experience since then) they do see them and take them into account, but they have considerably less weight than other factors.
Nice ass won't get you through your whole life. When you turn 30 you better have a personality

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: How long will the bad grades affect me?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2005, 09:04:05 AM »
First of all, when you apply for law schools, LSAC will take all your undergrad grades and average them their way.  And that's the GPA most schools will rely on.  That's just the rules.  So you won't be a 3.8. 
But the schools will get your transcript and they'll be able to see the upward trend.  On your resume, you write your "cumulative" GPA and your graduating GPA and whatever awards/dean's list you have. 
Schools will take note of your improvement, especially if you do well on the LSAT.  But, when you run your numbers through a particular school's acceptance rate, you're going to have to assume that they use your LSAC GPA.  Yours is a common predicament.

The preceding info was all true. The following is just my opinion, so think carefully before accepting it:
I think schools do see a student's crappy freshman grades and attribute them to immaturity.  We all want to college, we know what you were doing when you were 18 and moved away to a college town. 
Yet somehow everybody's got some sob story to alleviate their own responsibility for their grades.  It must be tiresome to hear all the bullsh-t stories, even if some of them are legit.  So if I were reading applications (and I'm NOT), I would just want to hear someone own up their bad grades, not make excuses, and discuss their later achievements and how it reflects their true value.
That's, at best, a 2 cent opinion.

One more thing - I think police officer experience is a good sell for law school.  That's a half-cent opinion.

mobo

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Re: How long will the bad grades affect me?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2005, 07:27:43 PM »
the gpa you get from lsac calculation is supposed to level the playing field for all applicants - to take school and grade inflation factors into account. fair or not fair, it is what it is, and it will stay with you through the law school application process.

that said it is important to note a couple of important points.

first, lsat is critical in your case - a strong lsat will help back up your a's and b's to make your case for admission a strong one. and many schools (fair or not) weigh the lsat more heavily than the gpa. a strong lsat will also support the immaturity=low grades case you make.

second, i think every school i applied to (and there are a lot of 'em), asked how many hours a week i worked during school. they care - and understand - that you might have financial commitments which can impede your focus on school, and limit the time you spend studying. so the fact that you are going to school while working, and getting good grades is definitely in your favor.

lastly, in response to lincolnsgrandson's advice about the gpa addendum (that i think you should submit), any advice i have ever read about the subject emphasizes that you do not sound whiny or make excuses, that you take full responsibility for your missteps, (we all have them in our past), and that you tell your story simply and very succinctly, but that you tell it.

in the course of my application process i had the good luck to meet with an ex-dean of admissions (NOT anna ivey or paid professional, but a friend of a friend), who looked over my original school transcripts, essays, lsac report, everything. the first thing she did was look at my grades year by year, and ask me what happened my junior year. she told me any other dean is going to look at my grades and want to understand the back-story so that they can move on to the rest of the app. (granted, in my case, my grades are from a long time ago, so adcomms are not necessarily going to assume that they are indicative of my ability to achieve now - at 25, you aren't quite in the same boat as i am ten years older than you).

my point is that yes, grades are important and they may well keep you out of some schools. but at the same time, if you plan your application strategy carefully, you can mitigate poor grades from a long time ago with your lsat/essays and get into schools where, at first glance, it might seem that you wouldn't.

and here's hoping that i will be proof of just that. ;)

SplitFinger

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Re: How long will the bad grades affect me?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2005, 09:27:50 AM »
So if I were reading applications (and I'm NOT), I would just want to hear someone own up their bad grades, not make excuses, and discuss their later achievements and how it reflects their true value.

I did that.  Since I didn't have a good sob story, I just said that I was young and dumb, and my grades from after I wised up (grad school) and my successful professional career (I graduated UG in 1993) were a better indicator of my capabilities.

So far it seems to have worked, although I still have two reaches to hear from.
Emory '09

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HippieLawChick

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Re: How long will the bad grades affect me?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2006, 12:17:05 PM »
how does LSAC take grade inflation into account in the LSAC GPA calculation? 

The do show where your GPA fits in with others who graduated from the same institution, (which accounts for the inflation), but not in the LSAC GPA itself.

blondelawstudent

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Re: How long will the bad grades affect me?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2006, 04:45:13 PM »
Quite honestly, how your grades are looked at (no matter how far down the line you've been out of undergrad) also depends on the school you apply to. There is a school here in Chicago which is tier 4 (John Marshall), and while it produces alot of Circuit Judges, isn't quite up to par with the rest of the city's law schools.

John Marshall used to be the magnet law school for the "non-trad" student and the student who may not have set the world on fire in undergrad, but still wanted to pursue law. 5 years ago their median LSAT was a 145 and the median GPA was a 2.5. Their whole marketing gimmick was toward the student who wanted a second chance.

Now, John Marshall is working to bring themselves up in the rankings, and while it's still Tier 4 as of today, it's actually become QUITE competitive, and I know personally know people who've gotten into Kent (a much better school) and gotten rejected from JM. In other words, JM is all about the better rankings and raking in that application fee and less about admitting the type of student it once catered to. (Not saying that is either bad or good- merely making a point)

My point is when you go to apply to schools, really highlight your attributes, but be aware (and I am sure you are) that law schools are extremely competitive (even the Tier 4s), more so now than ever, and that unfortunately, no matter how far removed you are from undergrad, unless your LSAT was spectacular, the grades still may matter. And I know, that's stinks. I know a thing or 2 about making stupid mistakes as an undergrad which have haunted me to this day! (and I am 31)

Best of luck to you!
"Do you think she got up one morning and said, 'I think I'll go to law school today'?"

queencruella

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Re: How long will the bad grades affect me?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2006, 05:13:55 PM »
I think it's definitely going to depend on the school. Two of the four schools I'm still waiting on are schools where my LSAT is at or slightly above the median, but my GPA is slightly below the median.  I've been out of UG for 8 years, have a master's degree, and interesting WE, but that doesn't seem to make much of a difference to those schools. On the other hand, there are many other schools that weigh the LSAT very heavily and if you are at the cutoff score, you can have an extremely low GPA and get admitted, but one point below the median and you'll probably be waitlisted (e.g. Wash U).