URM

iwanttogotolawschool
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Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

URM

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:24 pm

I’ve decided to blog my experiences in the law school admissions process. I don’t think I’m a great writer and I’m almost positive this blog won’t be a huge hit or anything, but if it can help just one person get an idea of what the process is like, then I’ll feel like I’ve done some good. The reason I feel it is important for me to blog my experience is that I am an URM male. While there are plenty of resources available for majority students looking to figure out the application process beforehand (check out UberLSAT’s autopost), the situation is murkier as an URM. Numbers calculators don’t really give you an idea of what to expect because being an URM gives you a boost that is both undeniable and difficult to quantify. While I will not be revealing every detail of my applicant profile, at least until my cycle is over, I hope that by giving you an idea of what my numbers are (Edit) as well as some idea of what the rest of my application looks like, and what schools I get into, I will be able to help someone out when they begin planning for this process.

So, we’ve established my GPA and LSAT range, some other things to note about me are as follows:

-I’m attempting to go straight from UG to LS. My school’s counselor told me to consider taking a year off, but I don’t see the point of it. Correction, I do see the point of it in that my GPA would undoubtedly be higher, which would help me in terms of admissions, but I don’t think it’s worth it for me (By the way, I’m sure my GPA would be higher because I started out terribly in undergrad, but have steadily improved since. Each year, my GPA has been at least .5 higher than the year prior while taking on more extracurriculars, more student jobs, and a heavier course load). The reason, I don’t think the year off would be worth it is that I have a very specific goal in mind in going to law school, which I’ll reveal at the end of the cycle, and I would hate to delay accomplishing that goal.

-I’m very unsatisfied with my LSAT score. I, admittedly, rushed the exam, which was very stupid. I studied about 3 or 4 hours a day, every day for 3 weeks right before the June 11th administration and figured that would be enough. When I got my results, I saw that I was wrong. As a result, I’m now enrolled in a Testmasters course and hoping to do much better on the Sept. test. I’ve traditionally done very well on standardized tests (seriously, I’ve never studied at all for a standardized test before and I’ve never scored below a 95th percentile on one before), but the LSAT is a different beast. Two lessons in and the course does seem to have some utility, but sitting in that room for 4 hours at a time is brutal.

-I have a really, really, ridiculous amount of work experience. Since I turned 16, I haven’t had a period in my life where I wasn’t in school, working, or both. In addition, most of my work experience is with some really impressive companies/organizations. I’m hoping that this aspect of the profile will help out my less than stellar GPA. The way I’m learning to think about the process is that you have to consider yourself in two ways. When you apply to a school they are determining 1.) how you will affect their U.S. News numbers and 2.) how you will perform. I’m hoping to, at the least, make adcomms as certain as possible that I will perform. In addition, if my LSAT retake goes well, I won’t hurt their U.S. News numbers too much.

-That’s about all for now. I have an appointment with my school’s counselor today regarding my Personal Statement, Diversity Statement, Addendum, and Resume. I’ve pretty much completed all of these things and am just looking to fine tune them; hopefully she feels the same way.
Last edited by iwanttogotolawschool on Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Law School Counselors are teh suck.

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:01 am

I think my phone meeting with my school’s law school counselor demonstrates why sites like TLS are needed. This woman’s sole job, as I understand it, is to help people get into law school. Maybe I’m crazy, but I would think that reading the materials I’ve asked her to look over for me would be a prerequisite. Unfortunately, she started off the conversation letting me know that she hadn’t done that by bemoaning the fact that my personal statement was too short. For the record, my initial statement was 4 pages and then she notified me that most schools have a 2-page limit and this one that I had sent her was 2 pages with a few lines on the 3rd page. Despite my telling her she was wrong, she stood by her point. She was demonstrably incorrect and yet…didn’t seem to care. Anywho, as we discussed my materials, with many pauses in between for her to read what she hadn’t read, it became clearer and clearer to me that she doesn’t get me. I was beginning to realize that what she knew was the (Insert my university’s name here) approved method of doing all these materials and she was going to take what I had done and change it to that. My application was going to look, sound, and feel like the application of every other person from my school. This offended me. When I get offended, I get stubborn. So, this might come back to haunt me, but I’ve decided that I’m never speaking to her again and that while I will abide by the general law school application guidelines, I’m going to make sure who I am comes across in my application. I know that some level of conformity is required in life, but I try not to conform more than is minimally needed. I don’t feel right crafting a bullshit addendum about how my grades were poor my freshman year because of the transition or (insert class that sounds difficult here). That’s not true. My grades sucked my freshman year because I didn’t care. It wasn’t too hard, there wasn’t some tough transition to living away from home, no one in my life was going through a life threatening situation, I just didn’t care. Hopefully, this doesn’t hurt me too much…if I don’t calm down and come up with a nice bullshit “I really struggled with the concepts of (insert class that sounds difficult here).”

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

LOR Writer

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:19 am

So, I recently turned over my essays, resume, and other completed application materials to the persons writing my LORs and one of them kind of ripped apart my essays. Well, he didn’t rip them apart, as much as he felt there were certain things I wasn’t conveying that I could be conveying. At first I was kind of upset because I’ve put a lot of time in them this summer and was so happy to feel like I was done, but then I realized that it’s probably better I perfect this now and reap the benefits later than apply with a shitty statement. I was much more receptive to his suggestions for change than I would have been if it was my school’s law school counselor. While I feel like the law school counselor doesn’t know and is trying to mold me into something, I feel that this LOR writer does know me, since he’s had me in class 3 times.

I chose this LOR writer because I feel that he understands me. While my overall academic performance has increased tremendously from freshman year to now, I’ve always had a “unique” classroom demeanor, which I think is perhaps one of my greatest academic strengths. Throughout my academic career, I have always hated classroom discussions that amount to little more than circle jerks and as a result, I have always been the kid challenging any potential holes in the arguments of others. Sure, it might annoy others sometimes, but I feel that an idea isn’t worth having/espousing if you’re not ready to back it up.

So, the moral of this story is…I don’t know. Choose someone who you know cares about you to write your LOR because they’ll give helpful suggestions and you won’t get mad at them when they do. You also won’t have to worry about whether or not they’re going to write a good recommendation for you, especially since when you first approached them about writing the LOR they said “I can only agree to do that if I know I’m going to write something very positive about you, so I want you to ask me again at the end of the course.” Now, back to reading Harry Potter and then some overdue Testmasters HW.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

R.I.P. Testmasters Instructor

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sun Jul 29, 2007 4:46 pm

So, I walked into my Testmasters course today and I noticed I had a new instructor. At first, I assumed that my regular instructor was just sick or something, but after a few minutes, one of my classmates asked about the absence of the regular guy and we were told he was fired. We weren’t given any details as to why he was fired, but considering that a lot of people had been complaining about his methods since the first class the firing didn’t exactly shock me. The messed up aspect of all this is that despite my instructor being fired, likely for poor performance as an instructor, I’m not going to get any money back or any extra classes or whatever. Oh well.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Money Makes The World Go Round

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:12 pm

A few weeks ago I was speaking with a close friend of mine when the topic of our Testmasters course came up. The friend is a URM as well and we were commenting on the fact that we both felt we had learned a lot from being in the course. This was about two weeks into the course. Now that I’m further along into the course and am learning more and more, I’m beginning to think about how fucked up it is that a test that is so important can, essentially, be “bought”. If my friend and I do well on the September administration, it won’t be because we were particularly intelligent or anything like that, but simply because I lucked into finding out about this site, which led me to Testmasters and I relayed the information to her. From there, we just used the money we had earned from our internships and are now on the way to, hopefully, purchasing a satisfactory LSAT score. For the person without the financial means that we had, and $1300 isn’t exactly chump change, their journey would have ended at knowing that this Testmasters thing is supposed to be great. In my experience, this is often the case for URMs. Unfortunately, very few seem to take that into account when they utilize the average LSAT score of various URM groups to prove that such and such group is incapable or lacking when it comes to the type of thinking needed in law school.

I’m not sure if an LSAT breakdown on the basis of socioeconomic status is available, but if so, I would like to see one. Whether or not the results go with my observations, it would be interesting to consider. I would also theorize that the reason that URMs tend to be “forgiven” for lower LSAT scores is because of what I’ve just mentioned. Law schools probably generalize about the economic status of applicants on the basis of their race/background and then deduce that a URM with an LSAT 5-10 points lower than someone from the majority have equal law school aptitude because they can teach the URM to get to the point that the majority has gotten to through financial means. Not saying this is why, but it’s just a thought. Anyway, back to studying.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:22 pm

As I look over my initial list of “Schools That I Want To Apply To”, I’m beginning to have some doubts. Normally, I’m in 100% agreement with the Best School You Get Into credo. However, the more I research the schools that made my list, the more I realize that there are certain lower ranked schools that I would, at this point, definitely choose over some of the higher ranked schools on my list.

My list is currently 15 schools long and I’ve placed them in order of their USNews ranks so that number 1 on my list is ranked higher than number 2 on my list and so on and so forth, according to USNews. Now, my “problem” is that I would take number 2 over number 1. I also have a hard time seeing myself taking any one of numbers 5-9 over any one of numbers 10-12. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about this for a while longer. I just need to keep my LSAT preparation going and continue to work on finalizing my statements. Then, if those two things go well, I might be lucky enough to worry about choosing between rank and gut feel.

EDIT: I wrote the above at work. When I got home, a Cooley info package/recruitment newsletter/thing was in my mailbox. I wonder what it means.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:13 pm

-It’s been a little while since I’ve posted on the blog. In that time I fell behind in my Testmasters course, got caught up, and then fell behind again. I’m currently really far behind because I had to move and my new location was about one class ahead of where my old location was. That, coupled with me having to spend time preparing for the move, has set me back quite a bit. Despite this, I’m encouraged by my recent trend. My initial Testmasters diagnostic was 2 points better than my actual test. My second TM diag was a 6 points better than my actual diag, and I’m just progressively feeling more confident about the material.

RC used to be a section where I would barely finish, if I even finished at all, and I would hope for 21 or 22 out of 28 and now I typically finish in 25 minutes while getting 25 or more correct. LR and LG are still a work in progress, but they’re getting better as well. I have found that I am sometimes running out of time on LR, which I think may be because I need to do a better job of memorizing the techniques so that I spend less time thinking and more time doing.

-I’ve filled out applications for 4 of the 15 schools I plan on applying to and am waiting for the rest of the schools to get their act together and post their stuff on LSAC. I’ve also finalized my personal statement, diversity statement, addendum, and gotten word from my 3 recommenders that they are in the process of finishing up my LORs, so, right now it’s just a matter of the LSAT. Hopefully, I can continue to make some improvements over this next month.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Testmasters worked for me

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:02 pm

Ok, so if we say that my June LSAT score was a 0 in terms of scaled scores here are my diag results since then, relative to that 0:

(Edit)

The 4th one was today and right now I'm feeling ridiculously good. If I can do that or even close to it on test day...I will have a very happy cycle. Now I just have to keep studying.
Last edited by iwanttogotolawschool on Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:31 pm

(Edit)

It kind of feels like when one of the mutants in X-Men would discover their powers and then they'd kind of be scared of themselves because they have no idea what's going on.
Last edited by iwanttogotolawschool on Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:22 am

(Edit)

Well...I've run out of preptests. I feel confident about this test and know I did a much better job of preparing myself this time around. I'm going to do some more last minute studying just going over some games. Other than that, I think I've done enough to guarantee at least a +10, and, hopefully, I can pull of the +12 I think I need, at a minimum, to go to one of my dream schools. Best of luck to everyone out there taking the test tomorrow.
Last edited by iwanttogotolawschool on Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:49 am

Well...the test is over and done with, until the 19th at least. I'm trying not to think too much about it because there's nothing I can change now. I studied well enough that a score of 170 on a preptest was "eh..." to me, so, I'm hoping I can get within the range of my practice scores. If not, I will just go ahead with my applications and hope for the best.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

I'm Having Nightmares, oooo wooo...

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:56 pm

Had my first LSAT nightmare last night...in it my cousin, who is a couple years younger than me, got his LSAT score back. This was noteworthy because a.) he didn't study b.) he's never mentioned any interest in law school and c.) his score was a 170. He told me to check my e-mail for mine and when I did, my score was lower than his and I was devastated. I woke up in a panic and for the first 5 or so minutes I was pretty depressed. Then, I realized "wait a minute, scores aren't coming back until Friday, that must have been a dream" and I felt better.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:21 pm

Didn't get the (edit), but I did get a (edit). Now, it's on to begging for fee waivers, filling out applications...and waiting once again. I hope everyone came as close to their goals or exceeded them.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:50 am

I made the mistake of thinking that once I got my LSAT score my obsession with the refresh button and my LSAC or e-mail pages was done. I couldn't have been more wrong. Lately, I have been little more than a zombie, sitting by my computer and waiting for my e-mail page to reload as I await fee waivers, order confirmations, completion notices, and the like. This process is maddening and I will be happy when it's over and I can get my life back.

I've managed to send out most of my apps as I have received fee waivers from many of my target and reach schools either through the CRS or through me personally e-mailling adcom members. This seems silly, but at this point, I do kind of have a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to schools that are reluctant to give waivers. I guess when you're dealing with institutions so closely related these little things can matter. Who knows though, I might be singing a different story once it gets to acceptance/rejection/waitlist time. Back to my e-mail...

iwanttogotolawschool
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Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:14 am

October 26th and already I'm thinking "Ugh...I wish this whole process would hurry up and end." These next few months are going to be hell.

iwanttogotolawschool
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Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:46 am

The downside in signing up for every single LSAC forum possible and making your contact information as open and available as possible in an attempt to get fee waivers...I have received, at least, 50 e-mails a piece from 3 institutions in particular that I will not name that I have absolutely no interest in attending. I have a "Law School" folder on my e-mail and every time it lights up, I get excited, only to find that it's the 3rd e-mail of the day from The Schools Who Shall Not Be Named.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:29 pm

The application process is maddening. Though fee waivers and recruitment packets mean next to nothing, I can't help but feel emboldened when I receive them. Then, when I hear that someone else got some that I didn't get, I begin to question myself.

Anyway, I've become even more OCD with checking my e-mail and I've added the mailbox to my list of things that I constantly worry about as I am complete at a couple of schools. Hopefully, I'll begin to hear some good news soon and I can chill out. As it is, my work product is dangerously low and I'm just waiting for my boss to have to have a talk with me.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:33 pm

I received my first acceptance on Thursday. It wasn't as thrilling a moment as I thought it would be. I walked into my room, saw that my roommate had put my mail on my bed and immediately noticed an overstuffed envelope. The first thought that popped into my head was "hmmm...maybe it's an acceptance letter", I looked at the cover of the envelope saw that it was the University of Pittsburgh and thought "yeah...it's an acceptance letter." I then opened it and 5 seconds later, I officially had at least one school to attend next year. It was a Tier 2 school for anyone wondering.
Last edited by iwanttogotolawschool on Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

iwanttogotolawschool
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Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:35 pm

I had my Northwestern interview today...unless my interviewer was lying to me, and people do do that time from time to time, it went very well. I think the main thing that helped me was that I was very honest throughout. He asked me about weaknesses and I was honest my poor academic performance at the outset of undergrad. I didn't give a story about any hardship I faced, just faced up to the fact that I sucked. I didn't mention exact grades though because you're not supposed to mention GPA or LSAT in order to keep the interview as unbiased as possible. In addition, I was very honest about what my career goal is and it's a fairly unique one though my interviewer also had the same career goal. He came out and told me that he's impressed that I'm pursuing it and wishes he had and mentioned being impressed by the things on my resume that spoke to the fact that I was taking steps towards achieving the mystery goal.

In the end, I think my interview did a good job of calming any fears that there may be about my going straight from undergrad to grad school.

Here are some things I took away from the interview...

-Be prepared to talk about what you can bring to the law school, what makes you unique. This seems straightforward enough, but I think I kind of failed in this regard. While my career goal is certainly unique, I wasn't able to articulate what would make me unique in the classroom or as a part of the student body.

-Be prepared to discuss why Northwestern. Once again, an obvious one, but still very important.

-I was asked about what other schools I was applying to. Be prepared for this question. I chose to mention schools that are in direct competition with Northwestern.

-My interviewer was very honest. I mentioned a couple fluff things that puffed up Northwestern, and he was basically said "Well...they might try to push that in the viewbook...but, A-B-C"

Can't think of anything else off the top of my head, but hope this was helpful. Feel free to PM me with any specific questions.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Why the Law School Application Process Sucks

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:48 pm

You've been complete at a school for a few weeks now and people who went complete before and after you are receiving decisions, most of them acceptances, and you have nothing to show...and then the doubts begin to creep in...

iwanttogotolawschool
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Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Spoke Too Soon

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:05 pm

Came home to a Georgetown University Law Center acceptance :D

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Calm before the storm...

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:53 am

A lot has happened since I received the GULC acceptance and nothing has happened as well...

-UPitt sent me a letter offering me a scholarship for $$ a year, which is obviously very nice. It felt kind of weird just because I applied to my undergrad ED and got (predictably) screwed with financial aid/scholarships. Luckily, months of slaving away on fastweb.com paid off. Anywhoo, it was nice to receive this scholarship offer and since then they've kind of put the full court press on me recruitment-wise. I've received e-mails from professors, career services workers, and the financial aid office (notifying me of some outside scholarships I should look into). It feels good to be wanted.

-GULC hasn't contacted me in any way, shape, or form since I was accepted. There also don't seem to be any hard details on their admitted students day in January, which I was interested in going to. On the plus side, I'm fairly certain that they will be in touch soon, in some form, as I found out (thanks to the magic of social networking sites) that my name was released to some current 1Ls. I'm guessing it's for e-mail with current 1L recruitment purposes.

-Finally, I haven't heard back from anywhere else and I'm starting to get paranoid and think that that's it for my acceptances, which is at first terrifying, but then I reflect on my situation and realize I've already been accepted to a couple great institutions and there are many worse fates in the world. Despite this, I can't help, but get a little excited knowing that traditionally the admissions season kicks into high gear around the first Friday of December and tomorrow is...the first Friday of December.
Last edited by iwanttogotolawschool on Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

iwanttogotolawschool
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Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Commendations

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:27 pm

If you haven't already, please go to the Law School Admissions forum and read thom_doe's threads. I'm at work on the verge of tears. Seriously the best flame ever.

iwanttogotolawschool
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Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:14 pm

Accepted to the University of Illinois College of Law today with $$$. Very nice acceptance and the money changes things. It's funny how the process goes...at least I think it is. I came into it thinking highest ranked school no matter what, thanks in part to TLS and now I'm realizing that money makes a difference and location makes a difference as well.

iwanttogotolawschool
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:23 pm

Postby iwanttogotolawschool » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:40 am

I'm currently averaging 115 e-mail checks a day. This is not a made up number or an exaggeration. I have a research paper due on Monday and I haven't even taken the first step towards beginning my research, much less writing the paper and I have several projects piling up at work. The process is killing me. I just want it to end. Even if I don't get into any more schools, I'm happy with the places that I HAVE gotten into and so would be fine making a decision, it's just the not knowing that sucks...




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