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Author Topic: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?  (Read 7205 times)

DiscoDave

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Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« on: March 15, 2004, 04:49:41 PM »
What exactly is the difference here? My understanding is that law schools give some preference to non-traditional students. I'm curious as to whether or not I, a 26 year old with 4 years WE, qualifies as non-traditional.

Also, how exactly does one play this card correctly to the ad-comms?

xrayspec

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2004, 05:09:42 PM »
No. You are entirely traditional. It varies but the average incoming age seems to be around 26-27.

Anti_Ivy

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2004, 05:36:21 PM »
Mostly for a person to be considered non-trad., s/he has worked, at least, ten years full time.  If you've had a full-time job since you were 16, you might be able to play the non-trad. card.  Even then, you need to have an awesome UGPA, LSAT score, and volunteer experience.

The only way you can "play this card" is by having leadership skills/experience, having overcame (a) hardship(s), and being a URM.  Otherwise, you are merely [dundundun...]

AVERAGE!!!

hdsteele

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2004, 08:55:30 PM »
Gee, I feel so privileged to be OLD...... :)

nathanielmark

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2004, 09:27:06 AM »
These comments are complete BS.  Non-traditional has more to do with circumstance then age.  For example, a 22 year old mom, who has earned her BA degree while working and raising a baby is NT.  or a 25 year old who has been working for 2 years with a child to care for and a mortgage to pay.


I also find all this "leadership experience" advice to be highly suspect.  Unless you can differentiate yourself from every other tom male private part and harry who was treasurer of their pre-law society, you are going to be relying on numbers alone.  i understand admissions boards weigh volunteer service in programs that benefit community much higher then activities like pre-law societies that serve to benefit the members.

jgruber

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2004, 01:07:24 PM »
A non-traditional student is anyone who doesn't want the label, 'traditional'.

This is a direct quote from the Official Guide to Silly Concerns While Attempting Law School by J. Gruber Doodenheimer of the Institute of Nitpicking and Gradual Decline Into Senility

 :D

Anti_Ivy

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2004, 02:32:35 PM »
I also find all this "leadership experience" advice to be highly suspect.  Unless you can differentiate yourself from every other tom male private part and harry who was treasurer of their pre-law society, you are going to be relying on numbers alone.  i understand admissions boards weigh volunteer service in programs that benefit community much higher then activities like pre-law societies that serve to benefit the members.

Nathanielmark, when I was speaking of leadership experience, I meant having a managerial position at the Piggly Wiggly or being Head of Accounting, not being a "treasurer of.. [a] pre-law society." 

For example, a 22 year old mom, who has earned her BA degree while working and raising a baby is NT.  or a 25 year old who has been working for 2 years with a child to care for and a mortgage to pay.

Also, you are incorrect in your descriptions of who can be considered non-traditional.  Nathanielmark, your idea of non-trad. is too general.  If one were "a 25 year old who has been working for 2 years with a child to care for and a mortgage to pay" then one would just be a dedicated individual.  If one were "a 22 year old mom, who has earned her BA degree while working and raising a baby," then one would have special circumstances.  It takes life and work experience to be considered non-traditional.

After all, if what you describe is true, then a 19 year old genius who finished high school/college early while working/interning is considered non-trad.  If there was such a person applying to law school, s/he is not considered non-trad., s/he is simply a hard-worker, or, at most, above average.

nathanielmark

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2004, 09:13:35 AM »

Also, you are incorrect in your descriptions of who can be considered non-traditional.  Nathanielmark, your idea of non-trad. is too general. 

We will have to just agree to disagree, the phrase non-traditional is subjective and thus subject to interpretation.  What one admissions board considers non-traditional another may not.

I still think the 22 year old mom i described would be considered non-traditional by most admissions boards.  "Special circumstances"/Non-Traditional, what's the difference?  Couldn't traditional be defined as the absence of special circumstances?

Anti_Ivy

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2004, 11:10:35 AM »
"Special circumstances"/Non-Traditional, what's the difference?  Couldn't traditional be defined as the absence of special circumstances?

I don't think so.  If 'traditional' were to be defined as 'the absence of special circumstances,' then every law school applicant would be non-traditional.  Then no one would have an advantage and UGPA and LSAT scores would be the only factor in the admissions process.  I am more than okay with basing admissions solely one an applicant's LSAT/UGPA. I am also okay with the prospect that I am, in your opinion, considered to be non-traditional.  After all, your generalized "definition" would include me. 

I am not saying that "a 22 year old mom, who has earned her BA degree while working and raising a baby" is not non-trad.; I just am saying that without other 'special circumstances' said mother would not qualify as non-traditional.

Mind you, this is not just my opinion.  I have read this information in books and have even questioned a few law school admissions officers at some of the top law schools. 



Let me ask you this question, nathanielmark:

If there was a 19 year old, deaf genius who finished high school AND college early while working/interning (working part-time, interning full-time for a semester), who also was a member of a few clubs and volunteered at a couple of not-for-profit locations, all the while making dean's list every semester.  Would you consider that person to be non-traditional, or would you just think that s/he work hard?

nathanielmark

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Re: Difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2004, 11:26:21 AM »
I understand your point.  Maybe I should clarify my definition of non-traditional.

I would consider non-tradtional to be someone very unlikely to attend law-school given their circumstances.  This would include someone who had to work full time to support a family, someone who already earned a 6 figure salary as a successful businessman or M.D., or an elderly lady who was studying the law simply for the challenge.

Since the deaf student doesn't have any life circumstances that would make attending law school unlikely, I wouldn't characterize him as non-traditional.

Maybe my definition is too general, but I think it is more relevant than "work experience".  I wouldnt consider a 35 year old who worked 12 years in accounting to be non-traditional if he was single without children.