Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
browneyed852
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:44 pm

Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

Postby browneyed852 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:50 pm

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to get a few opinions on the possibility of getting into law school? My LSAT was a 160 and my GPA is a 2.49. I am an African applicant and I was dealing with a brain tumor the end of my freshman year-junior year (which ruined my GPA) and during this time I was taking courses geared towards a Biochemistry major. Once I had the tumor removed during senior year and switching my major to Anthropology, my grades rose significantly, but of course not enough to offset the low cumulative gpa. I've applied to several schools but you just never know with this. Any hope?

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Mr_Chukes
Posts: 1153
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:01 pm

Re: Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

Postby Mr_Chukes » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:28 am

browneyed852 wrote:Hi everyone!

I just wanted to get a few opinions on the possibility of getting into law school? My LSAT was a 160 and my GPA is a 2.49. I am an African applicant and I was dealing with a brain tumor the end of my freshman year-junior year (which ruined my GPA) and during this time I was taking courses geared towards a Biochemistry major. Once I had the tumor removed during senior year and switching my major to Anthropology, my grades rose significantly, but of course not enough to offset the low cumulative gpa. I've applied to several schools but you just never know with this. Any hope?

I can see you authoring an amazing story from that stage of your life. I think a tumor is more than enough to get them to look away from the GPA. If your personal statement is great, I can see you getting in a lot of places. I'm not an admissions officer though. I feel like this is a unique story that shows you can overcome struggles.

Where have you applied?

browneyed852
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:44 pm

Re: Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

Postby browneyed852 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:37 am

Hello!

In my personal statement, I didn't want to focus on the negative, so I intertwined my leadership growth through starting a professional fraternity on my campus while trying to divert my attention away from the illness I was going through and then I explained the tumor in a GPA addendum. Currently right now I work for the US Federal District Courts assisting lawyers/paralegals etc so I'm not sure if it would help with my situation. So far I have applied to:


Pepperdine
Loyola
USD
St. Johns
Univ of the Pacific
UCLA/ASU/UCB/UCI (my mom said to try lol but its a huge leap you ain't gotta tell me twice :lol: :roll: )
Univ of Arizona
Southwestern
Chapman
USF
UT
Hastings
California Western
UNLV


I just want to explore as many options as possible!

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Mr_Chukes
Posts: 1153
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:01 pm

Re: Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

Postby Mr_Chukes » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:05 am

browneyed852 wrote:Hello!

In my personal statement, I didn't want to focus on the negative, so I intertwined my leadership growth through starting a professional fraternity on my campus while trying to divert my attention away from the illness I was going through and then I explained the tumor in a GPA addendum. Currently right now I work for the US Federal District Courts assisting lawyers/paralegals etc so I'm not sure if it would help with my situation. So far I have applied to:


Pepperdine
Loyola
USD
St. Johns
Univ of the Pacific
UCLA/ASU/UCB/UCI (my mom said to try lol but its a huge leap you ain't gotta tell me twice :lol: :roll: )
Univ of Arizona
Southwestern
Chapman
USF
UT
Hastings
California Western
UNLV


I just want to explore as many options as possible!

I like how you focused your personal statement on positivity. That's how I focused mine on. Putting a positive spin on things. I think the work experience is great as well. Yeah I think it's a good thing you put some reach schools in there as well. When did you apply? I'm from California as well.

browneyed852
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:44 pm

Re: Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

Postby browneyed852 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:24 am

I applied the beginning of January once the December scores came out! Hopefully it wasn't too late..

I'm from California so I wanted to stick mainly within the state

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brinicolec
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Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

Postby brinicolec » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:39 am

I think that even after you explain your GPA, some adcomms might pause at your LSAT. It's very hard to predict because you're right, it's an unusual situation, and I'd like to think that adcomms would see it and then decide to focus more on the other components of your app, but it's just hard to know. Good luck!

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TripleM
Posts: 106
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Re: Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

Postby TripleM » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:57 am

The fact that you're posting now makes me wonder if this cycle's process wasn't a little rushed? I'm not assuming that's the case, but if it was perhaps you should go ahead and finish this cycle off but start making plans for next cycle. You don't tell us much about your application or addendum so a bunch of what I'm about to write may be irrelevant. As I see it you have a few things you need to accomplish with your application...

1) Explain your poor GPA (I'm not judging, mine was poor, too)
2) Once you've explained your GPA you still need to prove that you're intellectually capable of performing the work in law school
3) Be interesting enough that once you've passed barriers 1 and 2 a school will see you as offering something to their dialogue

1) Explain your poor GPA...
I'd usually discourage GPA addenda because most of the time they come down to, "I could have done better but I didn't." I had a poor GPA and there were several reasons, all of which other folks have faced and still been able to maintain better grades than did I. If I'd written an addendum it would have basically said, "I was working nearly full time and dong NCAA athletics." As there would have been a bunch of people in the pile who did the same thing but didn't get shitty grades it wouldn't have accomplished the goal of explaining my shitty grades.
Your situation is distinctly different and I think is exactly the sort of situation that warrants a really good GPA addendum. In addition to the stress you may have been suffering actual cognitive impairment as a result of either the illness or treatments. I'd urge you to be as specific as possible and explain if you were on medications that had cognitive side effects and whether the tumor itself had cognitive impacts.
You are definitely correct to include your upward trend but as mentioned above I wouldn't attribute it to the change in majors. The change in majors makes me think "He did shitty in difficult classes and his grades didn't get better until he started taking easy classes." That doesn't convince me that you can handle hard classes in law school, especially since there's no changing majors. I'd talk about the upward trend in the context of "Here's proof of 'normal' me. These later classes are typical of the work I can do when I don't have a brain tumor". You mentioned that the tumor affected you at the end of your freshman year. How were your grades before that? If they were good, point that out as well. Then you've demonstrated --Good Grades (BrainTumor/MedsBadGrades) Good grades--.

2) Prove you're intellectually capable of performing the work in law school
You can almost completely address this question with a good LSAT score. I have to ask it. Retake? How much were you able to prepare? Do you have retakes left? Can you carve out a couple of hours a day to study. If you were to boost your score up even a few points you'd be able to demonstrate that you are 100% capable of handling the toughest intellectual tasks. Even a 164-166 would be a powerful sign to the adcoms that you are really bright and capable.

3) Be interesting.
Your seem like you are interesting and it sounds like you took a really good approach to you personal statement. I'm not sure I have anything to offer here accept that you need to make sure that your PS is spotless. Don't let any sort of punctuation or structural errors get in the way of an adcom understanding what an interesting perspective you're going to bring to their classrooms.

browneyed852
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:44 pm

Re: Serious and Unusual Applicant 160/2.4

Postby browneyed852 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:30 pm

TripleM wrote:The fact that you're posting now makes me wonder if this cycle's process wasn't a little rushed? I'm not assuming that's the case, but if it was perhaps you should go ahead and finish this cycle off but start making plans for next cycle. You don't tell us much about your application or addendum so a bunch of what I'm about to write may be irrelevant. As I see it you have a few things you need to accomplish with your application...

1) Explain your poor GPA (I'm not judging, mine was poor, too)
2) Once you've explained your GPA you still need to prove that you're intellectually capable of performing the work in law school
3) Be interesting enough that once you've passed barriers 1 and 2 a school will see you as offering something to their dialogue

1) Explain your poor GPA...
I'd usually discourage GPA addenda because most of the time they come down to, "I could have done better but I didn't." I had a poor GPA and there were several reasons, all of which other folks have faced and still been able to maintain better grades than did I. If I'd written an addendum it would have basically said, "I was working nearly full time and dong NCAA athletics." As there would have been a bunch of people in the pile who did the same thing but didn't get shitty grades it wouldn't have accomplished the goal of explaining my shitty grades.
Your situation is distinctly different and I think is exactly the sort of situation that warrants a really good GPA addendum. In addition to the stress you may have been suffering actual cognitive impairment as a result of either the illness or treatments. I'd urge you to be as specific as possible and explain if you were on medications that had cognitive side effects and whether the tumor itself had cognitive impacts.
You are definitely correct to include your upward trend but as mentioned above I wouldn't attribute it to the change in majors. The change in majors makes me think "He did shitty in difficult classes and his grades didn't get better until he started taking easy classes." That doesn't convince me that you can handle hard classes in law school, especially since there's no changing majors. I'd talk about the upward trend in the context of "Here's proof of 'normal' me. These later classes are typical of the work I can do when I don't have a brain tumor". You mentioned that the tumor affected you at the end of your freshman year. How were your grades before that? If they were good, point that out as well. Then you've demonstrated --Good Grades (BrainTumor/MedsBadGrades) Good grades--.

2) Prove you're intellectually capable of performing the work in law school
You can almost completely address this question with a good LSAT score. I have to ask it. Retake? How much were you able to prepare? Do you have retakes left? Can you carve out a couple of hours a day to study. If you were to boost your score up even a few points you'd be able to demonstrate that you are 100% capable of handling the toughest intellectual tasks. Even a 164-166 would be a powerful sign to the adcoms that you are really bright and capable.

3) Be interesting.
Your seem like you are interesting and it sounds like you took a really good approach to you personal statement. I'm not sure I have anything to offer here accept that you need to make sure that your PS is spotless. Don't let any sort of punctuation or structural errors get in the way of an adcom understanding what an interesting perspective you're going to bring to their classrooms.



Thank you so much for you honest insight! I don't think I rushed into the cycle, however I will keep it in mind to maybe also prepare to apply for the next cycle. I will update on here schools I were able to get into if any!




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