PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
halostarbucks
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PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:08 pm

Ok, this is a pretty rough six page first draft that includes everything but the kitchen sink about me that I thought might help me with the admissions folks.

I am a dual major, Paralegal Studies/Spanish, I made a mediocre 152 on the LSAT and while my Undergrad GPA is 3.11 at the University of Memphis, my LSAC GPA is 2.8 because LSAC doesn't forgive failed classes that I have retaken like my university does.

Please give me your most brutal absolutely honest feedback, if you think I need to add, revise, or delete something, please tell me. For that matter if you think the whole thing is a steaming pile of crap please tell me and let me know what I need differently! I really need to get it down to 2 1/2 pages so please tell me what needs to go. Also is this personal statement, maybe a bit too PERSONAL? Maybe a bit too dark in places?


Here goes:

"Is this really what it comes to in the end?" I wondered as I meandered through the imposing heaps of clutter that surrounded me in every direction of the dilapidated house in which I was attending an estate sale. There were assorted videos and albums commingled in plastic baskets with toasters and light fixtures. There were dingy clothes hanging out of drawers upon which were resting dust-caked tools and appliances that had probably not seen the light of day in my lifetime.

Far from a formal event, this sale was conducted with a chaotic air of haste, as though the organizers wanted to clean out the house before it collapsed in on itself (an imminent possibility judging from the sagging joists and rotting floors). I was on a scavenger hunt of sorts for miscellaneous goods-from old LP albums and magazines, to electronics and appliances-that I intended to resell on eBay at a profit; something I had been successfully doing to pay for expenses while attending school.

As on similar occasions; I felt overwhelmed by the stark absurdity of the situation. I thought about the recently-deceased whose possessions were being sold. A lifetime of achievements and regrets; struggles, griefs, and joys; an entire universe of thoughts and hopes and dreams-all reduced to a few words at a ceremony, a assortment of possessions to be pawned off in the interest of the living. From my perspective, what made this macabre scenario seem so utterly surreal was not a sense of tragedy for the passing of the decedent per se, but rather the sheer banality of the manner in which life was represented.

As. If. Nothing. Matters.


One year ago, I found this perspective utterly debilitating. Now it inspires me and gives my life meaning. Let me explain. I was brought up in a very strict and isolated Fundamental Baptist household. Up until the time I was 14, I was homeschooled and made to attend services three to four times a week at various Baptist Churches of this fundamentalist persuasion. There was no television or secular music in our home. I was routinely taught that we were part of a special group of people favored by God and persecuted by "The world", a ubiquitous entity that seemed to consist of every secular institution, every other religion, and every Christian sect that did not fully buy into to all of the intricacies of our particular doctrinal system lock, stock, and barrel. Needless to say this was a lot for a kid to swallow and in my early teens, I was deemed rebellious by my father and sent to a gruesome Baptist "children's home" for six months. After this I moved in with my grandparents who were of a more mainstream religious persuasion and had a comfortable and happy life while I attended a local Christian academy until I graduated.

Upon graduation, I became at a loss for direction and began to redouble my efforts to become involved with religious activities and once again joined a church that could be best be described as non-mainstream, charismatic and exclusive. Zealously committed to the ideal of being "in the World but not of it" I plunged myself into my studies and other than one semester in which I took to many classes along with a grueling work schedule, I excelled academically. Three years into college however, I was thrown a vicious curve when my younger brother, 12 at the time, was diagnosed with leukemia. His condition was diagnosed as extremely serious and he was put onto a heavy regimen of chemotherapy. His condition began to worsen and within a few months his condition worsened to the point where he was very near death. Though he and I are ten years apart, my brother and I have always been very close. As this began to happen I began to question my faith. Why would something so horrible befall someone from a family who tried so hard to do what was expected of them. I was told that it was a trial, or a test of faith. But these condescending platitudes struck me as lame and hollow, and only made angry. I left the church I had been attending the past four years and subsequently lost most of my friends. I was living on my own at the time in apartment with roommates who did not understand what I was going through. I had spent a lifetime talking to God and convincing myself that I was hearing a voice that was not my own. This no longer worked for me, and for the first time in my life I felt totally and completely alone.

During this time up until a few months after he improved. I experienced a profound existential crisis unlike anything I had ever imagined I could experience. During this period I experience a visceral apprehension of the reality of death that overwhelmed every aspect of my life. It was a physical sensation, marked by a chill that made my bones hurt and a consuming lethargy that made every aspect of my life seem hopeless, empty, and pointless. Though I was surrounded by those who did, I did not take drugs or drink alcohol to cope with my depression. I did, however, develop an eating disorder and I gained over fifty pounds in a three month time span. I failed several classes and my grades plunged sharply. I never contemplated suicide once, partly because I began to see life itself as a cruel protracted suicide.

Just when it seemed that I had hit rock bottom, however, I caught a break. In a fortuitous twist of providence, I scored high on a hiring exam for then Census Bureau, and I was appointed as a supervisor of a crew of enumerators. Having previously worked only in low key subordinate roles, I suddenly found myself having to develop a plethora of skills that I never though myself capable of possessing. I was responsible for overseeing a census count of the entire area surrounding my university, as I became inundated with pressure and challenge, I felt the depressive fog evaporate as it was replaced by a robust and vigorous sense of purpose. I felt truly and totally alive.

After the Census ended that summer. I was invited by my cousin to fly out to San Diego and embark on a cross country road trip. Over two weeks we traversed thousands of miles and visited several national landmarks. After a very difficult year in which I had just recently rediscovered a sense of purpose. It was a welcome relief to have a lot of time to ponder my life. At several places we visited during or trip, the Pacific coast, the Mojave and Hopi deserts, and the Grand Canyon. I was able to experience the glorious feeling of profound irrelevance in the face of something far greater than myself. These thoughts which, rather ironically, had plunged me into despair mere months earlier now invigorated and informed every second of my life.

Since then, I have not struggled with depression or hopelessness but rather with the more persistent adversaries of tedium and mediocrity. I have joined a fitness group where I exercise intensely several times a week, not live up to some arbitrary fitness ideal of good looks, but to get the most health, vitality, and efficiency out of the body I have been given. I have retaken all of my failed classes and improved my grades tremendously. I have resumed my Spanish studies from High School and have achieved near fluency. After reading some excellent books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Allan Watts I began to practice meditation every day in order to improve my focus, and to keep my life in perspective. This has allowed me to face challenges and setbacks with equanimity

As referenced in the beginning anecdote, I have begun a small business as an eBay seller that has achieved modest success and has allowed me to pay my bills while focusing on school.

My struggle now is to live authentically and passionately in the face of inevitable death, and to overcome monotony and lameness by striving to meet my goals with integrity, creativity, and excellence. I no longer look for meaning outside of myself but find purpose in pursuing things that fascinate me.

One such thing that has always interested me is language, and the relationship between words and human nature, and ultimately the relationship between humans and absolute reality. In learning Spanish, I have broadened my perspective by being forced not to simply learn new words for my existing concepts but rather an entirely different way to think about the world. Law, seems to me, to be the science that governs the way in which language used to administer society. I want to practice this science by means of a career in immigration law. The university of x seems to have a strong reputation in this field, and I feel confident that a program of study here would give me the tools to become successful in this field, enriching my life and the lives of those around me.

CaseClosed
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby CaseClosed » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:50 pm

I think you need to concentrate on one thing; probably your interest in Spanish and how that connects with your passion for immigation law. You speak briefly at the end about it, but I feel like I know more about your personal life than your professional goals. The law school you're going to wants to know why they should admit you into their program, providing information about your background would probably best fit into a diversity statement.

Also, I think you should consider deleting the part about you contemplating suicide and dealing with depression. An admissions counselor might see you as unfit to go through law school.

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:27 pm

Thank you so much for the feedback! I think you're right, I wrote this in a 6 hour stretch and by the time I got to the end I was exhausted, and I've barely even talked about why I want to be a lawyer and I perhaps got way too into talking about overcoming my demons

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mez06
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby mez06 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:29 pm

The All-Caps title hurt my eyes. That's all I came here to say..

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:40 pm

Sorry bout that

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esq
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby esq » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:54 pm

I think that your overall theme could be really interesting - leaving the dogmatism of religion for a much more balanced view on life - but as of now, I think that this PS might actually hurt your chances. Along with a good theme, I think that you need to demonstrate how you have come to a view and actually acted on helping others if you are going to go the immigration law route - which most likely will include clinical work. As of now, this statement seems to focus on depression, and things that you did for fun, for you (such as your road trip). You need to change that if you are going the public interest route. And if you are going to call a school out, you also need to be specific about how their program can help you, and certain ways that you think you can get involved.

Edit: I also think that Canadian Wolf makes one of the most important points: your PS lacks a clear thesis, which makes me feel like I've wasted my time reading it (and especially the beginning portion, which could be thrown out entirely imo.)
Last edited by esq on Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:54 pm

I stopped reading after the first two paragraphs. It is important to understand the objective of each written work product.

sparty99
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby sparty99 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:14 pm

I stopped reading after three paragraphs. Way too wordy.....

rebexness
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby rebexness » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:41 am

Last edited by rebexness on Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:29 am

@rebexness
Yes I'm applying at Washburn, Florida Coastal, Ave Maria, and Oklahoma City for fall admission. I have everything ready to apply except my PS and I want to get that taken care of ASAP.

Thank you guys very much for the advice. This was my first draft, I am going to act on all of your feedback and put up a second draft with the changes that you guys suggested. I was trying to explain how I overcame obstacles in my personal life but I that I may have went overboard. Maybe I should just focus on the positive and what I want to do with immigration law and maybe cover the rest in a hardship statement and a diversity statement.
I'm going to try to put up my second draft today. Again, thanks a lot.

michigan_man
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby michigan_man » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:08 am

Please don't go to law school unless:
1) You retake the LSAT and significantly improve your score (more than 10 points).
2) You invent a time machine, go back to undergrad and earn a respectable GPA.
3) You are independently wealthy and can afford to foolishly spend/waste more than $100k on a degree from a bad school and graduate with dismal job prospects.
4) Already have a job lined up post-graduation.

Hate to say this, but law school is not for everyone. Nothing about your personal statement will help overcome your objectively bad LSAT score/GPA.

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:14 am

Thanks for the advice, but according to LSAC I have at least a 50% shot at each school I applying to. I graduate in May and if I don't get accepted somewhere by then I will just retake the LSAT and try for next year.

rebexness
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby rebexness » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:15 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sparty99
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby sparty99 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:29 pm

Those are horrible options. You need to take a LSAT prep course and retake. If you're scoring in the 152, then you might have the ability to score in the 160's!

If you had a gpa over 3.5, you could get into top 100 programs with a 152. But you have a low gpa and average LSAT. Scoring higher on the LSAT is your only option. Also, some schools don't accept transfer students from tier 4 programs. I would do everything possible to get a higher LSAT score. Law schools will take a high LSAT/low gpa candidate any day of the week. Depending on how well you score, they might even give you a scholarship.

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:01 pm

I made consistently over 160 on the practice tests but the damn logic games screwed me up really bad, and that was the double section on the LSAT. I agree with you guys that it would be great to take another year, and that is an option I'm definitely leaving open but I really don't see the harm in applying since they've waived the application fees anyway and I would like to see if I can get a scholarship that would make it worth it.

I got an email from the Florida Coastal admissions office a week ago letting me know that my GPA and LSAT qualifies me for a $10,000 merit scholarship (I know WTF?!).
According to this site the school seems pretty legit:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/florida-coastal-law.html

95% employment and 83% bar pass.

rebexness
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby rebexness » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:11 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sparty99
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby sparty99 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:46 pm

halostarbucks wrote:I made consistently over 160 on the practice tests but the damn logic games screwed me up really bad, and that was the double section on the LSAT. I agree with you guys that it would be great to take another year, and that is an option I'm definitely leaving open but I really don't see the harm in applying since they've waived the application fees anyway and I would like to see if I can get a scholarship that would make it worth it.

I got an email from the Florida Coastal admissions office a week ago letting me know that my GPA and LSAT qualifies me for a $10,000 merit scholarship (I know WTF?!).
According to this site the school seems pretty legit:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/florida-coastal-law.html

95% employment and 83% bar pass.


Did you read the conclusion? "As a Tier 4 law school in a market saturated with lawyers, graduates of Florida Coastal will likely find their transition into the workforce to be difficult. With over $109,000 in debt and the prospect of making less than $50,000 coming out of law school, Florida Coastal graduates face a rough road ahead of them." $50,000? I made that with my bachelors.

EVERYONE gets an email from Florida Coastal. I appreciated their efforts contacting me, it made me feel special. However, the school is not legit. You can do better. What if you do bad first semester? Get ill or something? You will lose the scholarship and no school will take your weak tier 4 grades. You will then graduate from a tier 4.

A higher score on the LSAT and you could be thinking, Michigan State Law. A well established third tier with resources of a legit university. An even higher LSAT score and you can be thinking Florida. Even higher, 170, you can definitely be thinking top 30 with a strong personal statement and work experience. Don't settle for these tier 4's. I'd kill for a 160 LSAT, don't let it go to waste.

kublaikahn
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby kublaikahn » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:28 pm

Do not go to law school now. Get your life together first.

I read your PS and you remind me of someone I counsel. Every week he comes in with some new half baked plan to do this or that (be a cop, drive a truck, etc.) He seems smart but really detached from reality at times. Like you, he sees surrealism in banality and vice versa.

I imagine you could get through law school. I just don't think you could get hired at the other end. People do not respond well to the deep brooding unstable male.

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:17 pm

kublaikahn wrote:Do not go to law school now. Get your life together first.

I read your PS and you remind me of someone I counsel. Every week he comes in with some new half baked plan to do this or that (be a cop, drive a truck, etc.) He seems smart but really detached from reality at times. Like you, he sees surrealism in banality and vice versa.

I imagine you could get through law school. I just don't think you could get hired at the other end. People do not respond well to the deep brooding unstable male.


Ouch...
I'm not like that, I promise. LOL.
I was trying to emphasize that I overcame severe depression but it clearly didn't come out that way.

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:29 pm

sparty99 wrote:
halostarbucks wrote:I made consistently over 160 on the practice tests but the damn logic games screwed me up really bad, and that was the double section on the LSAT. I agree with you guys that it would be great to take another year, and that is an option I'm definitely leaving open but I really don't see the harm in applying since they've waived the application fees anyway and I would like to see if I can get a scholarship that would make it worth it.

I got an email from the Florida Coastal admissions office a week ago letting me know that my GPA and LSAT qualifies me for a $10,000 merit scholarship (I know WTF?!).
According to this site the school seems pretty legit:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/florida-coastal-law.html

95% employment and 83% bar pass.


Did you read the conclusion? "As a Tier 4 law school in a market saturated with lawyers, graduates of Florida Coastal will likely find their transition into the workforce to be difficult. With over $109,000 in debt and the prospect of making less than $50,000 coming out of law school, Florida Coastal graduates face a rough road ahead of them." $50,000? I made that with my bachelors.

EVERYONE gets an email from Florida Coastal. I appreciated their efforts contacting me, it made me feel special. However, the school is not legit. You can do better. What if you do bad first semester? Get ill or something? You will lose the scholarship and no school will take your weak tier 4 grades. You will then graduate from a tier 4.

A higher score on the LSAT and you could be thinking, Michigan State Law. A well established third tier with resources of a legit university. An even higher LSAT score and you can be thinking Florida. Even higher, 170, you can definitely be thinking top 30 with a strong personal statement and work experience. Don't settle for these tier 4's. I'd kill for a 160 LSAT, don't let it go to waste.


Well what do you think of this idea? I could go ahead and apply to the T4 schools on my list, but take the LSAT again in July and try for 160+ this time, and then apply to some decent T2 schools ( I would LOVE to get in University of San Diego or Penn State for example) for Spring admission, and if I got an acceptance letter prior to September then I would roll with that instead. Granted I would be out the $500 deposit for the T4 but it's safe to say that I really wouldn't care at that point.

kublaikahn
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby kublaikahn » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:42 pm

halostarbucks wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:Do not go to law school now. Get your life together first.

I read your PS and you remind me of someone I counsel. Every week he comes in with some new half baked plan to do this or that (be a cop, drive a truck, etc.) He seems smart but really detached from reality at times. Like you, he sees surrealism in banality and vice versa.

I imagine you could get through law school. I just don't think you could get hired at the other end. People do not respond well to the deep brooding unstable male.


Ouch...
I'm not like that, I promise. LOL.
I was trying to emphasize that I overcame severe depression but it clearly didn't come out that way.


Well that is good to hear. Someone at your station, should not be talking about death and decedents. You can be deep and thoughtful without being morose and depressing. Perhaps it is your writing style or subject matter. But you need to be more upbeat and optimistic in your PS.

Regardless, I would drop the references to death and life being a slow suicide. I mean, WTF? That nihilistic crap will not get you anywhere, let alone LS.

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:02 pm

[/quote]
Well that is good to hear. Someone at your station, should not be talking about death and decedents. You can be deep and thoughtful without being morose and depressing. Perhaps it is your writing style or subject matter. But you need to be more upbeat and optimistic in your PS.

Regardless, I would drop the references to death and life being a slow suicide. I mean, WTF? That nihilistic crap will not get you anywhere, let alone LS.[/quote]

Well I was talking about how I felt at the absolute worst part of my depression but you're absolutely right, I am going to take that out. Thank you btw.

sparty99
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby sparty99 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:42 pm

halostarbucks wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
halostarbucks wrote:I made consistently over 160 on the practice tests but the damn logic games screwed me up really bad, and that was the double section on the LSAT. I agree with you guys that it would be great to take another year, and that is an option I'm definitely leaving open but I really don't see the harm in applying since they've waived the application fees anyway and I would like to see if I can get a scholarship that would make it worth it.

I got an email from the Florida Coastal admissions office a week ago letting me know that my GPA and LSAT qualifies me for a $10,000 merit scholarship (I know WTF?!).
According to this site the school seems pretty legit:
http://www.top-law-schools.com/florida-coastal-law.html

95% employment and 83% bar pass.


Did you read the conclusion? "As a Tier 4 law school in a market saturated with lawyers, graduates of Florida Coastal will likely find their transition into the workforce to be difficult. With over $109,000 in debt and the prospect of making less than $50,000 coming out of law school, Florida Coastal graduates face a rough road ahead of them." $50,000? I made that with my bachelors.

EVERYONE gets an email from Florida Coastal. I appreciated their efforts contacting me, it made me feel special. However, the school is not legit. You can do better. What if you do bad first semester? Get ill or something? You will lose the scholarship and no school will take your weak tier 4 grades. You will then graduate from a tier 4.

A higher score on the LSAT and you could be thinking, Michigan State Law. A well established third tier with resources of a legit university. An even higher LSAT score and you can be thinking Florida. Even higher, 170, you can definitely be thinking top 30 with a strong personal statement and work experience. Don't settle for these tier 4's. I'd kill for a 160 LSAT, don't let it go to waste.


Well what do you think of this idea? I could go ahead and apply to the T4 schools on my list, but take the LSAT again in July and try for 160+ this time, and then apply to some decent T2 schools ( I would LOVE to get in University of San Diego or Penn State for example) for Spring admission, and if I got an acceptance letter prior to September then I would roll with that instead. Granted I would be out the $500 deposit for the T4 but it's safe to say that I really wouldn't care at that point.


Absolutely not. Save that $500 on a LSAT prep course. HURRY UP, SIGN UP ALMOST CLOSES FOR THE JUNE TEST. Remember what came out of your mouth: "I can apply to Tier 4." Why would you settle for that? You have the talent to get a 160+. 15 months from now you could be at UC Hastings, not San Diego.

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aspire2more
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby aspire2more » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:52 pm

I only know one Florida Coastal alum, but this person has been out for a few years and is still struggling to find permanent employment. You're already said that you can do better on the LSAT based on your practice tests. You also said that you are willing to sit out a cycle. Please seriously consider waiting until next cycle. I think you could really open up some more doors for yourself - whether that is a higher-ranked school or more scholarship money.

halostarbucks
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Re: PLEASE TEAR MY PS TO SHREDS! I WILL APPRECIATE ANY HELP!

Postby halostarbucks » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:29 pm

I have just put up my second draft in which I have incorporated your feedback. Please look at it when ya get a chance. Thanks.




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