Need some advice for my situation. 3.0 GPA

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
THE Bigzoman
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:10 pm

Need some advice for my situation. 3.0 GPA

Postby THE Bigzoman » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:26 pm

Hello everyone!

So I was browsing up information concerning law school admissions and I stumbled across this community. Let me start off by saying that i'm happy that there is a community of aspiring law students, particularly URMs. I look forward to interacting with you all through my final semester in a half/admissions cycle in the fall of next year.

To cut right to the chase, I have a few questions concerning the chances of admissions and reduced costs via scholarships that I was hoping someone could give me a solid answer with.

Currently, I am an economics major with a projected 3.2 GPA upon graduation. However, since LSAC takes into account all classes leading up to an undergrad, some low marks on prep courses that I took at a community college and college prep courses during my HS school years will drag it down to roughly a 3.0. Given my previous GPA in high-school (1.9) and various trials and tribulations to get to the point where I am, I am happy with the progress I've made, but am afraid that it may not be enough to drastically reduce law school costs. My transcript lacks an upward trend and most semesters consisted of B letter grades with some occasional As; other semesters could've seen better days with grades in the C range.

As of now, I was considering schools either in Iowa (where my mother lives) or Florida (where my farther lives). However, I would also like to consider a T14 school if possible. As of now, this is based on arbitrary prestige and the like, but I plan on doing extended consideration beyond that if there is a possibility of acceptance there.

Given my current scenario, what do you guys think about.

1. The LSAT score I should be aiming for in my prep? (Assuming i'm shooting for a T14, University of Iowa, or Florida State University) I did prepping via Power-score on LR over the summer and reduced my number missed in timed sections for 7-8 to 4-6. I plan on taking the exam this September/October to maximize my score. I've heard the LG is easier to learn but recent prep-tests have been a setback for even the most committed preparers. When I've dabbled with RD, i've missed 5-6 on timed attempts.

2. What role does being a URM play in college admissions for my current schools of interest (or in general if you lack specific information)

3. How exactly would I be identified as a URM? I ask this because I am interracial (mother is white and dad is black). Throughout my life, I've been classified as either mixed (other) or just flat out Black/African-American. Do Law schools take my mothers side into account when determining my status.


I appreciate everyone's input!

wsag826
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:43 pm

Re: Need some advice for my situation. 3.0 GPA

Postby wsag826 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:37 pm

Thanks for reaching out. I'm a current applicant and I am presuming you will be applying for admission in Fall 2016 (so submitting applications next year?).

I am still going through the process, so do take what I say with some context. I am neither an admissions officer nor an academic advisor so my advice comes based on a mix of what I've heard from academic advisors and adcoms, seen here on TLS, and experienced myself.

I do not think that your GPA prohibits or inhibits you from applying to the T14 schools. Given the dearth of people of color (specifically African Americans) who are applying to law school, I would be careful not to rule out your dream school, be it in the T14 or otherwise. Even if you don't end up having a dream school, and simply want to maximize your chances of succeeding professionally in biglaw or public interest work, I would still look to the T14.

Doing it all over again, I would have been more principled in my LSAT prep. I'm not so sure if this means spending ten months studying, but it definitely means hardcore studying in the three month run up to the test. I'd heard "its best to take it once" and didn't quite understand, but LSAT prep is so taxing and monotonous that one time was enough for me. AAs are inflated because of our low mean and median LSAT scores, and lack of applicants, so even scoring in the high 150s (well below the 25th percentile medians of all T14 schools) may put you in a good position to get good news from a T14. Scoring even higher, which I think you can do with longer prep, will give you access to the upper echelons of the T14 and guarantee scholarship money. But URM cycles are so unpredictable that you are not wasting your time applying either way (unless you score much lower than you think).

Letters of recommendation, personal statements, and your resume come into play here and I would suggest that, to compensate for what you feel is a low GPA, you work on these things. Take the time to cultivate or re-cultivate relations with professors and former professors now, so you can solicit letters of recommendation from them later on without looking inauthentic.

If you currently have a 3.0 GPA, do everything in your power this next semester to get straight As or the best grades you can get. Whatever you can do numerically to improve your LSAT or GPA will help you in the long run.

I would say that thinking about these things now which you are already doing is beneficial to you. No need to obsess just yet, but work extremely hard in the coming months and use whatever breaks you have to study harder and strengthen your resume. No one big internship or big extracurricular activity or big letter can get you into a T14 or any school for that matter, but a strong set of application components certainly will. It's about your holistic performance. No one thing will disqualify you, but several things will. So work over the next few months to improve your grades, study for the LSAT (and prepare yourself for it mentally), cultivate relationships, and build an even stronger resume and you will be positioned to apply to the T14 and do extremely well next cycle. Good luck!

jepper
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:13 pm

Re: Need some advice for my situation. 3.0 GPA

Postby jepper » Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:47 pm

Not a URM but have your GPA. With that being said, if you make a 170 and don't get into a T14 I would be very surprised.

THE Bigzoman
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:10 pm

Re: Need some advice for my situation. 3.0 GPA

Postby THE Bigzoman » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:35 pm

wsag826 wrote:Thanks for reaching out. I'm a current applicant and I am presuming you will be applying for admission in Fall 2016 (so submitting applications next year?).

I am still going through the process, so do take what I say with some context. I am neither an admissions officer nor an academic advisor so my advice comes based on a mix of what I've heard from academic advisors and adcoms, seen here on TLS, and experienced myself.

I do not think that your GPA prohibits or inhibits you from applying to the T14 schools. Given the dearth of people of color (specifically African Americans) who are applying to law school, I would be careful not to rule out your dream school, be it in the T14 or otherwise. Even if you don't end up having a dream school, and simply want to maximize your chances of succeeding professionally in biglaw or public interest work, I would still look to the T14.

Doing it all over again, I would have been more principled in my LSAT prep. I'm not so sure if this means spending ten months studying, but it definitely means hardcore studying in the three month run up to the test. I'd heard "its best to take it once" and didn't quite understand, but LSAT prep is so taxing and monotonous that one time was enough for me. AAs are inflated because of our low mean and median LSAT scores, and lack of applicants, so even scoring in the high 150s (well below the 25th percentile medians of all T14 schools) may put you in a good position to get good news from a T14. Scoring even higher, which I think you can do with longer prep, will give you access to the upper echelons of the T14 and guarantee scholarship money. But URM cycles are so unpredictable that you are not wasting your time applying either way (unless you score much lower than you think).

Letters of recommendation, personal statements, and your resume come into play here and I would suggest that, to compensate for what you feel is a low GPA, you work on these things. Take the time to cultivate or re-cultivate relations with professors and former professors now, so you can solicit letters of recommendation from them later on without looking inauthentic.

If you currently have a 3.0 GPA, do everything in your power this next semester to get straight As or the best grades you can get. Whatever you can do numerically to improve your LSAT or GPA will help you in the long run.

I would say that thinking about these things now which you are already doing is beneficial to you. No need to obsess just yet, but work extremely hard in the coming months and use whatever breaks you have to study harder and strengthen your resume. No one big internship or big extracurricular activity or big letter can get you into a T14 or any school for that matter, but a strong set of application components certainly will. It's about your holistic performance. No one thing will disqualify you, but several things will. So work over the next few months to improve your grades, study for the LSAT (and prepare yourself for it mentally), cultivate relationships, and build an even stronger resume and you will be positioned to apply to the T14 and do extremely well next cycle. Good luck!


Thank you for the contribution.

As I stated before, my gpa at my four year is actually a 3.2, but when college prep courses in HS and communitty college are taken into account, it's gonna hit me hard enough to lower me to the 3.0 area.

Even if I got all As this semester, it's only going to cushion the blow slightly.

I must say though. with the information on this site and my current LSAT process, i'm a wild card for some T14 schools. Being a wild card isn't the best thing ever, but i've ALWAYS been a wild card in just about everything. My resolve has never been stronger, and i'm ready to start preparing to demolish the september/october LSAT next year.

THE Bigzoman
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:10 pm

Re: Need some advice for my situation. 3.0 GPA

Postby THE Bigzoman » Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:07 pm

Hmm

After a bit more research I found out that the LSAC does not count Remedial classes.

After doing god awful on a standardized test years ago I had to take college prep writing courses and an elementry Algebra course and this was the unaccounted for Cs and Ds I spoke of.

Can anyone confirm this to be true? Because if so, my GPA will be a 3.2 come law school application time, meaning a good score in the late 160s and early 170s puts me in a pretty good position.




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