The most important soft factors

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livitup11
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The most important soft factors

Postby livitup11 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:22 pm

I've searched the forum, and while people have been skirting around this question I don't think anyone has asked it flat-out. At least, not in a while.

What are the really important soft factors to law schools? What isn't so important?

People seem to be saying that typically they work in the sense that they will give you an edge in situations where you are up against someone with similar numbers. Is this mostly true, or are there situations where softs can really make a person stand out?

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thesealocust
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby thesealocust » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:37 pm

edit: n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ragged
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby Ragged » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:38 pm

thesealocust wrote:Top soft factors:
1)URM
2) LSAT
3) GPA

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traehekat
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby traehekat » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:15 pm

From what I have heard, the personal statement is probably the most important. I imagine some outstanding work experience can really make an applicant stand out as well.

It is weird. Like others have said, yeah, they don't seem to mean much. However, like YOU said, I feel adcomms have to come across tons of applicants with very similar numbers, so SOMETHING has to make them choose one over the other.

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bees
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby bees » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:24 pm

Join the Army.

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holydonkey
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby holydonkey » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:29 pm

1) LSAT
2) GPA
3) URM
4) Veteran
5) Son or Daughter of Donor/Prominent Government Official
6) Amazing Work Experience (Helped Create Microsoft, Invented Deadly Laser Orbiting the Earth)
7) Hypnotist
8 ) Blackmail

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Eruannon
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby Eruannon » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:33 pm

I think it really depends. I was talking to a professor who said he helped a auto reject candidate get into Stanford. They co-published a really nice piece of work. This was a very well known political science professor. Other than extremely unusual softs like the one mentioned, I have heard the personal statement is very important. Some schools have specialized soft preference; Northwestern is very impartial to strong work experience.

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Dany
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby Dany » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:33 pm

The important soft factors are ones that not many people can accomplish. Volunteer work? Anybody can do that. Rhodes Scholar? Very rare, therefore an important soft.

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Eruannon
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby Eruannon » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:35 pm

eskimo wrote:The important soft factors are ones that not many people can accomplish. Volunteer work? Anybody can do that. Rhodes Scholar? Very rare, therefore an important soft.



Exactly. As I was saying, if you co-publish with a professor and he raves about your work in an LOR that is going to do wonders for your application... This is very very rare which makes it very valuable.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:37 pm

why do ppl keep putting LSAT and GPA as soft factors? they realize those are the "hard numbers" right? lol thus the other things being the "soft factors"

anyways, i would say the most helpful is URM status. after that things that give noticeable boosts would be:

veteran of the US army
peace corps
teach for america
child of a BIG donor/alumni
rhodes scholar and the like
amazing work experience like having your own very successful start-up company
personally, id say an advanced degree BESIDES a masters, i.e. a PhD/MD cuz damn, those take some work to get

those are the ones that come to mind...for the most part, id say softs just help you break ties, assuming you have the "requisite" amount expected of you lol

besides that, only big ones will pop out like, iunno writing harry potter or winning a medal at the olympics

edit: if PS and LORs fall under here, i guess exceptional ones are quite useful, but i mean, thats hard to KNOW you have gold

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Eruannon
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby Eruannon » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:41 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:why do ppl keep putting LSAT and GPA as soft factors? they realize those are the "hard numbers" right? lol thus the other things being the "soft factors"

anyways, i would say the most helpful is URM status. after that things that give noticeable boosts would be:

veteran of the US army
peace corps
teach for america
child of a BIG donor/alumni
rhodes scholar and the like
amazing work experience like having your own very successful start-up company
personally, id say an advanced degree BESIDES a masters, i.e. a PhD/MD cuz damn, those take some work to get

those are the ones that come to mind...for the most part, id say softs just help you break ties, assuming you have the "requisite" amount expected of you lol

besides that, only big ones will pop out like, iunno writing harry potter or winning a medal at the olympics

edit: if PS and LORs fall under here, i guess exceptional ones are quite useful, but i mean, thats hard to KNOW you have gold


I think it is dependent on the school's situation. If your numbers wont effect their medians at all, there is no way in hell a school will not admit someone with an amazing out of this world soft. It is in their best interest to do so, they want candidates that will improve their numbers and/or go on to do amazing things.

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scribelaw
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby scribelaw » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:48 pm

I think post-UG work experience that is interesting and impressive is a good soft. I don't think it has to be earth shattering -- you don't have to split atoms from 9 to 5 -- but having been successful in another profession and getting some life experience will help.

Also, I haven't seen anyone mention UG quality. I don't personally benefit from this, but I think going to HYP and, to a lesser extent, other Ivys and top-rated UGs is a good soft.

One other one, having a good story to tell in overcoming adversity. If you came from a really poor rural area or something, or overcame cancer, that gives you a powerful story to tell in a DS and I think can make an application a lot stronger. (Again, I don't personally benefit from this soft).

rookhawk
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby rookhawk » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:54 pm

-
Last edited by rookhawk on Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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livitup11
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby livitup11 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:08 am

thesealocust wrote:Top soft factors:

1) LSAT
2) GPA


It goes without saying that GPA and LSAT are important, but thanks for being facetious.

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livitup11
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby livitup11 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:11 am

DoubleChecks wrote:why do ppl keep putting LSAT and GPA as soft factors? they realize those are the "hard numbers" right? lol thus the other things being the "soft factors"


Well, I sure hope so or else my previous post is kinda harsh!

legends159
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby legends159 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:18 pm

For most softs, how you write about it is more important than what is on your resume.

Make sure the PS tells a coherent story about who you are and what your goals and aspirations are. Treat the soft factors (pick a couple) as anecdotes to illustrate who you are. I think that people with mediocre softs on a resume, who can talk it up and make a cohesive story with a sticking point are those that have "great softs."

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:29 pm

livitup11 wrote:
thesealocust wrote:Top soft factors:

1) LSAT
2) GPA


It goes without saying that GPA and LSAT are important, but thanks for being facetious.


Not to mention that LSAT and GPA are not soft factors.

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:31 pm

legends159 wrote:For most softs, how you write about it is more important than what is on your resume.

Make sure the PS tells a coherent story about who you are and what your goals and aspirations are. Treat the soft factors (pick a couple) as anecdotes to illustrate who you are. I think that people with mediocre softs on a resume, who can talk it up and make a cohesive story with a sticking point are those that have "great softs."


I think this is on point. A good number of those who get into reach schools a) say that they spend loads of time on their essays, b) were told by ad comms that their essays were persuasive and enjoyable to read.

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Nom Sawyer
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby Nom Sawyer » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:40 pm

Best soft factor? A heartfelt, honest one-on-one chat during a visit to the admissions office.

Hint, hint:

--ImageRemoved--

Marisa5252
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby Marisa5252 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:54 pm

People are posting LSAT and GPA as "softs" because obviously if your gpa and lsat aren't good enough it pretty much doesn't matter what your softs are (unless you're URM, or maybe a Vet or did peace corps). Otherwise schools really only care about numbers. As for good softs that may distinguish you from other applicants with the same numbers think about what sounds impressive in an admissions brochure:

"3% of our matriculating class wrote Pulitzer winners!" (ok I know that's ridiculous but you get the idea) sounds impressive
"10% of our matriculating class studied abroad!" sounds less impressive

LurkerNoMore
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby LurkerNoMore » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:52 pm

legends159 wrote:For most softs, how you write about it is more important than what is on your resume.

Make sure the PS tells a coherent story about who you are and what your goals and aspirations are. Treat the soft factors (pick a couple) as anecdotes to illustrate who you are. I think that people with mediocre softs on a resume, who can talk it up and make a cohesive story with a sticking point are those that have "great softs."


This is absolutely the correct answer.

Once you are past the numbers, it is much more about how you tell your story than what the component parts of that story are. Adcoms are looking to see what you bring to the table -- what you did doesn't tell them that, how you have incorporated what you have done into your life/world view does. Some people roll through life doing "impressive" things, but don't really internalize them. Some people pull great insight out of "mundane" experiences.

You want your personal statement (and resume) to indicate that you will contribute something of value when you are sitting in the classroom.

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bees
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby bees » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:28 am

DoubleChecks wrote:why do ppl keep putting LSAT and GPA as soft factors? they realize those are the "hard numbers" right? lol thus the other things being the "soft factors"

anyways, i would say the most helpful is URM status. after that things that give noticeable boosts would be:

veteran of the US army
peace corps
teach for america
child of a BIG donor/alumni
rhodes scholar and the like
amazing work experience like having your own very successful start-up company
personally, id say an advanced degree BESIDES a masters, i.e. a PhD/MD cuz damn, those take some work to get

those are the ones that come to mind...for the most part, id say softs just help you break ties, assuming you have the "requisite" amount expected of you lol

besides that, only big ones will pop out like, iunno writing harry potter or winning a medal at the olympics

edit: if PS and LORs fall under here, i guess exceptional ones are quite useful, but i mean, thats hard to KNOW you have gold


Just because it's bugging me: TFA shouldn't really be on that list, right?

rookhawk
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby rookhawk » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:06 pm

-
Last edited by rookhawk on Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:09 pm

bees wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:why do ppl keep putting LSAT and GPA as soft factors? they realize those are the "hard numbers" right? lol thus the other things being the "soft factors"

anyways, i would say the most helpful is URM status. after that things that give noticeable boosts would be:

veteran of the US army
peace corps
teach for america
child of a BIG donor/alumni
rhodes scholar and the like
amazing work experience like having your own very successful start-up company
personally, id say an advanced degree BESIDES a masters, i.e. a PhD/MD cuz damn, those take some work to get

those are the ones that come to mind...for the most part, id say softs just help you break ties, assuming you have the "requisite" amount expected of you lol

besides that, only big ones will pop out like, iunno writing harry potter or winning a medal at the olympics

edit: if PS and LORs fall under here, i guess exceptional ones are quite useful, but i mean, thats hard to KNOW you have gold


Just because it's bugging me: TFA shouldn't really be on that list, right?


TFA should be on the list. Anyone who teaches in deprived areas and for little pay gets points in my book.

sven
Posts: 133
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Re: The most important soft factors

Postby sven » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:23 pm

WhiskeyGuy wrote:
bees wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:why do ppl keep putting LSAT and GPA as soft factors? they realize those are the "hard numbers" right? lol thus the other things being the "soft factors"

anyways, i would say the most helpful is URM status. after that things that give noticeable boosts would be:

veteran of the US army
peace corps
teach for america
child of a BIG donor/alumni
rhodes scholar and the like
amazing work experience like having your own very successful start-up company
personally, id say an advanced degree BESIDES a masters, i.e. a PhD/MD cuz damn, those take some work to get

those are the ones that come to mind...for the most part, id say softs just help you break ties, assuming you have the "requisite" amount expected of you lol

besides that, only big ones will pop out like, iunno writing harry potter or winning a medal at the olympics

edit: if PS and LORs fall under here, i guess exceptional ones are quite useful, but i mean, thats hard to KNOW you have gold


Just because it's bugging me: TFA shouldn't really be on that list, right?


TFA should be on the list. Anyone who teaches in deprived areas and for little pay gets points in my book.


I think u mean Americorps Vista. TFAers get plenty of money.




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