Is this a pipe dream?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:02 pm

Good morning. I’m a recent graduate from the University of Houston Downtown (Fall 2009). I’m hoping to enroll at South Texas College of Law next spring (2011). I need some advice regarding my application. Can you help?

Briefly: I’m 31 years old and have worked full-time since I was 16, gradually working on my undergrad part-time. In October 2008 my company was downsized and I found myself without a job. January 2009 I enrolled full-time to finish my degree, which I did by crediting 49 hours in one year. I decided in September 2009 that I was definitely going to apply to Law School once I was finished with my undergraduate degree. I ended up taking the December LSAT with very little preparation, and it showed. I scored a 146 – well below my practice tests. I’ve decided to retake in June and my goal is to score 156 – 165. I feel with 6 months to prepare instead of 2, this test will be more indicative of my ability to prepare for the rigors of studying law. My GPA is nothing special (2.67), but again I don’t feel it’s truly reflective of my ability to do well at Law School. While working full-time and traveling, making As in all my classes was not only unlikely, it wasn’t a priority – getting credit was. Obviously by taking classes part-time, the opportunities to develop substantial relationships with professors who could/would eventually be able to supply a viable letter of recommendation were slim – which until September 2009 I didn’t know I’d need anyway. This past year I did find I had a greater interest in history than I realized, and did develop a relationship with a professor where he and I felt comfortable with him providing a letter. The advice I need is this:

From whom should my other letter(s) be sent? I decided so late in my college career to go to Law School that the years of preparation most pre-law students begin upon entering college were lost. What should I do?

Is the likelihood of me even going to South Texas, given the information you have, so slim that I should hang it up and be content working in corporate America? Or should I ask a previous employer to provide a letter? There is one other instructor who is amenable to writing a letter for me, but he doesn’t know me & my work as well as the History professor, and the letter will probably be short and sweet.

I’m humbly asking for advice, and hope that there’s at least a chance that I can go to Law School.

Woozy
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby Woozy » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:16 pm

Well, your GPA is only a hair below median for South Texas, so an above median LSAT (155+) should be enough to do it. I'll let someone else come along and try to talk you out of going to a TTT.

You can definitely get letters from an employer - I had one academic letter and 2 from employers. I don't think it hurts you as long as you have at least one academic letter.

JOThompson
Posts: 1311
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:16 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby JOThompson » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:17 pm

The goods news is this--your GPA is less emphasized with the more work experience you acquire. It is still a bit on the low side though. I suggest you hunker down and study hard for the June LSAT. With enough practice, it's entirely possible to jump to the high 150s (I went from a 148 diagnostic to 159). Don't give up, good luck!

Also, I wouldn't discourage you from applying to South Texas if that's your only realistic option. Despite it's low ranking, the school does place fairly well in Houston.

User avatar
LawandOrder
Posts: 611
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby LawandOrder » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:20 pm

Why do you want to go to South Texas? Because it's close by? Because you want to work in South Texas as a lawyer?

South Texas and schools like it are the McDonalds of the legal world; everyone has one close by, it's cheap, it's familiar, but in the end it's suicide.

Why would you take the LSAT again and have a goal score of 155 or so? Why would not take the test with the goal of getting a 180?

Rest of thread summary:
South Texas is TTT
Only go there if you want to work there
Sex

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:39 pm

Thank you all for the responses!

LawandOrder: I want to go to S. Texas because I definitely want to stay in the Houston area, and my choices are limited. I'm too old to go packing off to some other state to start all over. My minimum goal is 155, but truly I expect with proper preparation to score closer to 170. Wouldn't we all like to score 180??? I'm bright and capable - not a genius! :o

JOThompson: Thanks for the encouragement!

Woozy: I'm not familiar with the lingo here. What is a TTT? :oops: Thanks for your response! I will look into having a letter sent from my previous employer. I was there for four years, after all!

User avatar
LawandOrder
Posts: 611
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby LawandOrder » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:41 pm

TTT is third tier toilet and is intended to describe school ranked in the third tier by USNews. TTT definitions vary based on the elitism of the person using the term.

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:48 pm

HA! Oh, man. That's not good. So, basically you're telling me to shoot for University of Houston, or nothing at all? Ultimately my goal is not to join a top-ten law firm. I'd like to have a small, flat-fee service, Intellectual and Real Estate Property practice of my own. I'm pragmatic - not out to conquer the world!

User avatar
LawandOrder
Posts: 611
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby LawandOrder » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:49 pm

MeaganVanZandt wrote:HA! Oh, man. That's not good. So, basically you're telling me to shoot for University of Houston, or nothing at all? Ultimately my goal is not to join a top-ten law firm. I'd like to have a small, flat-fee service, Intellectual and Real Estate Property practice of my own. I'm pragmatic - not out to conquer the world!


I'm not saying that University of Houston is better. Below Georgetown it's all muddle and regional in my view.

With establishing your own practice as goal, then I don't see any reason why South Texas wouldn't satisfy your needs.

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:00 pm

Thanks, LawandOrder. I appreciate your responses more than you know! I don't feel so discouraged anymore.

User avatar
LawandOrder
Posts: 611
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby LawandOrder » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:07 pm

You should get advice from lots of other people too. I'm just some guy on the internet.

rundoxierun
Posts: 1893
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:46 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby rundoxierun » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:07 pm

You can LSAT prep for 6 months if you really want, but it isnt really necessary. If you have already prepped two months then all u really need is a good solid 3 or 4 weeks of prep time. About 10-15 hrs a week for 3 or 4 weeks should be plenty of time. With a score that low you probably arent doing very well with the logic games. Focus on logic games.

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:11 pm

tkgrrett wrote:You can LSAT prep for 6 months if you really want, but it isnt really necessary. If you have already prepped two months then all u really need is a good solid 3 or 4 weeks of prep time. About 10-15 hrs a week for 3 or 4 weeks should be plenty of time. With a score that low you probably arent doing very well with the logic games. Focus on logic games.



True enough. I didn't study well for the 2 months before my last LSAT - I had finals and papers to worry about first! I know I don't really need 6 months now, but I'm hoping to establish some "muscle memory" (ha) by preparing well and early. Thanks for the advice! I need all I can get!

JOThompson
Posts: 1311
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:16 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby JOThompson » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:17 pm

If your goal is to work in Houston, you should aim for the University of Houston. It does very well there, behind UT of course. If you don't make into Houston, then South Texas is still a decent option given your goals.

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:51 pm

Oh...two more questions, if you guys don't mind:

Is there any point in somewhere, somehow, explaining my low GPA? Or is it generally understood that full-time employment sometimes leads to lower a GPA than for a full-time student?

And, I actually ended up testing out of 4 classes where I know I'd have gotten A's (3 literatures, 1 computer basics). Does this merit mentioning in a personal statement, or elsewhere, or at all?

Thanks again!

User avatar
initech
Posts: 141
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:10 pm

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby initech » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:12 pm

.
Last edited by initech on Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:19 pm

initech wrote:Mention working full-time and whatever else may have affected your GPA. In regards to classes in which you probably "would have" made As, that's a bit of a reach.


Oh, thanks! I meant to explain that there were 12 credits for which my GPA was not affected. But, now that I think about it, it does seem a little superfluous.

JOThompson
Posts: 1311
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:16 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby JOThompson » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:33 pm

MeaganVanZandt wrote:Oh...two more questions, if you guys don't mind:

Is there any point in somewhere, somehow, explaining my low GPA? Or is it generally understood that full-time employment sometimes leads to lower a GPA than for a full-time student?

And, I actually ended up testing out of 4 classes where I know I'd have gotten A's (3 literatures, 1 computer basics). Does this merit mentioning in a personal statement, or elsewhere, or at all?

Thanks again!

You should definitely write a short GPA addendum. Adcomms have proven willing to take into account extenuating circumstances like working through school. The fact that you have so much work experience mitigates the effect of your low GPA.I wouldn't explain the classes that you CLEP'd out of though.

User avatar
Pankun
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 2:18 pm

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby Pankun » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:37 pm

A 170 would definitely get you into University of Houston, which is the 2nd best law school in Texas under University of Texas. Some ppl here would consider it a TTT but those people are gunning for biglaw jobs in manhattan. Good luck fellow Houstonian!

User avatar
TTH
Posts: 10384
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 1:14 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby TTH » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:48 am

From reading your story, it sounds like you're going to law school because you lost your job. Just to be clear, you do know that you will likely take on somewhere north of 80,000 dollars of non-dischargable debt, right? Further, you understand the legal job market is a sad and broken wasteland?

Are you absolutely sure you want to be an attorney, even if you're making $40,000/yr and paying $1,500 in student loans monthly?

Marisa5252
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:14 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby Marisa5252 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:00 pm

MeaganVanZandt wrote:Oh...two more questions, if you guys don't mind:

Is there any point in somewhere, somehow, explaining my low GPA? Or is it generally understood that full-time employment sometimes leads to lower a GPA than for a full-time student?

And, I actually ended up testing out of 4 classes where I know I'd have gotten A's (3 literatures, 1 computer basics). Does this merit mentioning in a personal statement, or elsewhere, or at all?

Thanks again!



Definitely include a GPA Addendum to explain the mitigating circumstances that resulted in your sub-par gpa - but I wouldn't mention anything to explain your GPA in your personal statement. (You could obviously talk about your work experience but not in reference to your GPA.) You want your personal statement to make adcomms see all the amazing things about you - it's counterproductive to mention the weaker portions of your application.

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:45 pm

TipTravHoot wrote:From reading your story, it sounds like you're going to law school because you lost your job. Just to be clear, you do know that you will likely take on somewhere north of 80,000 dollars of non-dischargable debt, right? Further, you understand the legal job market is a sad and broken wasteland?

Are you absolutely sure you want to be an attorney, even if you're making $40,000/yr and paying $1,500 in student loans monthly?


I don't see how you could attribute me wanting to be an attorney to me losing my job. I've considered law school for some time but have never had the opportunity to pursue it full-time, which losing my job has given me (along with overcoming some other personal hurdles). Thanks for your interest, but I don't think $40K/year will be where I start. Maybe in a corporate law position, but that's not my goal - nor is it a likely possibility for me, personally. :wink: Sounds like someone is trying to dynamite the lawer pool.

User avatar
TTH
Posts: 10384
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 1:14 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby TTH » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:03 am

MeaganVanZandt wrote:
TipTravHoot wrote:From reading your story, it sounds like you're going to law school because you lost your job. Just to be clear, you do know that you will likely take on somewhere north of 80,000 dollars of non-dischargable debt, right? Further, you understand the legal job market is a sad and broken wasteland?

Are you absolutely sure you want to be an attorney, even if you're making $40,000/yr and paying $1,500 in student loans monthly?


I don't see how you could attribute me wanting to be an attorney to me losing my job. I've considered law school for some time but have never had the opportunity to pursue it full-time, which losing my job has given me (along with overcoming some other personal hurdles). Thanks for your interest, but I don't think $40K/year will be where I start. Maybe in a corporate law position, but that's not my goal - nor is it a likely possibility for me, personally. :wink: Sounds like someone is trying to dynamite the lawer pool.



Out of curiosity, then, where do you think you'll start?

User avatar
chadwick218
Posts: 1337
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:15 pm

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby chadwick218 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:22 am

LawandOrder wrote:Why would you take the LSAT again and have a goal score of 155 or so? Why would not take the test with the goal of getting a 180?


Your WE may be able to negate your GPA. Why not retake the LSAT and aim for a score that will give you consideration at U of H (even part time possibly). U of H is a very respectable school, while South Texas is a shit hole!

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:48 am

chadwick218 wrote:
LawandOrder wrote:Why would you take the LSAT again and have a goal score of 155 or so? Why would not take the test with the goal of getting a 180?


Your WE may be able to negate your GPA. Why not retake the LSAT and aim for a score that will give you consideration at U of H (even part time possibly). U of H is a very respectable school, while South Texas is a shit hole!


Ha-ha! Oh, c'mon...really? A shit hole? Well, South Texas is ok for my goals, but of course I will also apply to U of H. Since I want to stay in Houston, my choices are those two, basically. Have you ever visited the U of H campus? It's awful, the classes are crowded, the facilities aren't anywhere near as nice as South Texas, and I'd have to battle for every square inch. I am retaking the LSAT in June. :) Thank you for the advice! I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

User avatar
MeaganVanZandt
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:58 am

Re: Is this a pipe dream?

Postby MeaganVanZandt » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:50 am

TipTravHoot wrote:Out of curiosity, then, where do you think you'll start?


Judging by the open offer I have from a family friend, I'd say around $75-85K. That might not be enough for your big dreams, but it's great for my little ones. :wink:




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Why???, Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests