Underqualified applicant and how to sell oneself

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tinyvipers
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:02 pm

Underqualified applicant and how to sell oneself

Postby tinyvipers » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:15 pm

So, I would consider myself an underqualified applicant for most of the universities I am trying to reach in my first cycle (Class of '16). However, I'm wondering how I can best sell myself as a good fit and downplay the weaknesses I do have:

Weaknesses
1. I went to community college for a year and my GPA was horrifying (I failed a Precalculus class because I missed the final and as an international student, wasn't able to fly back and retake it in time)

2. I transferred to a Tier 1 private institution for my sophomore year -- achieved a 3.83 in the one term I actually did attend it and spent my second sophomore term abroad at the University of Edinburgh

3. I then transferred (yes, again, God help me, I'm a commitment phobe) to University of Edinburgh and now am finishing my third year there with one more year to go but my grade is a predicted 2:1 (not sure what that translates to in GPA)

4. I am a tad younger than most usual undergraduates applying to law schools straight out of their Bachelor's (not too much though)

5. I don't have great work experience - I am trying to make up for lost time right now by juggling two internships while studying (one with the university I am at and another at a current affairs news and analysis magazine of decent reputation)

Strengths
1. I really really really want to go to a good law school


So, should I explain for example, my multiple transfers and my community college record, or would highlighting these weaknesses simply do my application more harm? If I should, to what extent should I mention them and how can I downplay their significance in the bigger scheme of things?

Thanks!

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: Underqualified applicant and how to sell oneself

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:29 pm

Huh. Tagging this for morbid interest. You start out at CC, do 1 semester of UG coursework elsewhere, then go to a UK school. Typically those with UK degrees wouldnt get a GPA (2:1, above average, but it won't directly translate) but it will be interesting to see what/if LSAC calculates your GPA as. Warning: I could easily see it being pretty abysmal with only 3 semesters reporting and a failed class, but I'll be interested in hearing an update once they do convert.

tinyvipers
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:02 pm

Re: Underqualified applicant and how to sell oneself

Postby tinyvipers » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:34 pm

Ye, I'm pretty certain that it won't be a pretty sight either. But thing is out of all the rest of the courses I did take (I took 16 to 19 credits each semester for the three semesters I was actually under the American system), the lowest grade I ever received was a B, with mostly A's. They might not decide to exclude the outlier (the F in precalculus) but is there any way I should approach this hopeless situation in particular that would make it, well, less hopeless?

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JoeMo
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Re: Underqualified applicant and how to sell oneself

Postby JoeMo » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:08 pm

tinyvipers wrote:Ye, I'm pretty certain that it won't be a pretty sight either. But thing is out of all the rest of the courses I did take (I took 16 to 19 credits each semester for the three semesters I was actually under the American system), the lowest grade I ever received was a B, with mostly A's. They might not decide to exclude the outlier (the F in precalculus) but is there any way I should approach this hopeless situation in particular that would make it, well, less hopeless?


For all intents and purposes I'm assuming they'll treat you as an international applicant with international grades which don't translate to the American system. You're going to have to write an addendum explaining the rest of your academic performance but I don't think you're at an extreme disadvantage.

t14fanboy
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Re: Underqualified applicant and how to sell oneself

Postby t14fanboy » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:10 pm

Get a 180 on the LSAT and ED to UVa

only slightly joking

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cinephile
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Re: Underqualified applicant and how to sell oneself

Postby cinephile » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:33 pm

What are you writing your PS about?

I think you should be able to briefly address the multiple transfers, and frame it as a strength, rather than a weakness. It doesn't necessarily show commitment phobia, but rather interest in cross-cultural exchange, etc. and talk up whatever experience you've acquired there that sets you apart from the average applicant.

tinyvipers
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:02 pm

Re: Underqualified applicant and how to sell oneself

Postby tinyvipers » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:46 pm

JoeMo and CinePhile, thank you for the advice. And haha t14fanboy, not sure which part you are joking about -- the getting 180 part or the ED UVa part, either way I'll try my best to get my scores (grades and LSAT) up. Will keep you all updated. Thanks again!




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