Law School Discussion

Help With Where to Apply

3ML

Help With Where to Apply
« on: August 02, 2005, 03:57:11 PM »
I'm certainly what one would call a non-traditional applicant, and I'm having a great deal of trouble deciding where I should apply. Let me explain my situation and what I'm thinking.

I'm a Canadian who just didn't like undergrad when I started. I dropped out a few times and I took the vast majority of my classes while working full time in other jobs -- and not impressive ones for the most part. I worked in construction and as a bouncer and the likes. Only about a year ago did I decide I really wanted to finish my education and move on with life. This year I will be in classes full time and will be taking out a student loan to cover that. Given a full course load, I will graduate in the spring.

As of right now, my GPA is around 3.2 (not sure how LSDAS will calculate that, not sure if I should submit that right now, more on that below). I have also attended three different universities while taking classes part-time. It's taken me quite a while to finish my undergrad as well (I'm 26).

I wrote the LSAT (along with many other tests like that) last fall but didn't take it at all seriously because of work and the such. I didn't study for a second and got a 161. Shortly thereafter I decided law was the route I wanted to go, but I still only had a week to study but this time I got 170.

I imagine that my GPA this fall will be quite high (I got straight As the only other time I didn't work full time while in school). As such, I'm not sure whether I should apply early or wait until I can send my fall semester grades to LSDAS (they wouldn't be ready until early Jan which might make that idea impossible).

I do have a bunch of other factors in my favour. I will have very strong letters of recommendation, I have worked in politics and have massive experience volunteering in politics and in other areas. I have had some interesting summer internships and this fall I will be working for a mid-sized law firm in Toronto part-time while attending school.

I have a lot of relatives in California and would be particularily interesting in going to school there, but pretty much any school where I would feel 'comfortable' is an option. I am somewhat concerned about differences in culture between Canada and the US and would basically rule out the South because of that.

I'm also interested in schools that only look at your top LSAT (Cornell and Northwestern do this I'm told) so that is important. Basically any school that ways the LSAT heavily is a good call for me.

I'm wondering what people think of where I should apply. My very early list is:

Reach
Boalt (been told it's hopeless b/c they are GPA whores)
Northwestern
Cornell

Realistic
UC-Davis
UC-Hastings
UCLA
USC
Illinois

Safety
Santa Clara
Brooklyn



Basically, New York, California, Illinois, Michigan, Washington State and DC would be at the top of my list geographically. Any thoughts on the schools I listed, others I should include or thoughts in general on my chances?

Re: Help With Where to Apply
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2005, 07:26:32 AM »
If you are not opposed to the idea of taking a year between undergrad and law school, I think it might be useful.  Here's why: you'll know exactly what your final GPA is and will be able to know for sure what schools are reaches, targets, and safeties based on your numbers.  That can be really helpful in making up a list of places to apply, even if there are other soft factors to consider.  However, I do think your list is pretty reasonable though your reaches are pretty high reaches for the GPA that you have right now (I am sure that your GPA will rise as you said, hence why I would wait if I were you).

If you really want to start law school ASAP, then go for it!  You might want an extra safety or two in a city you LOVE so that you would be really happy if that option is the best for you.  Many people seem to get good money from safety schools and that is really appealing in some cases.

Good luck!  It seems like you are on track to a really successful career!