Softs.

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splay
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Softs.

Postby splay » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:27 pm

What are they, exactly? And what makes the difference between good and bad? I always assumed it meant extra-curriculars, work experience, volunteering, and so on, but what else qualifies? I was quite happy with my "softs" before I found TLS, but now I'm pretty much shaking in my boots.

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ConMan345
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Re: Softs.

Postby ConMan345 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:32 pm

Essentially anything outside of your numbers. The list is really limitless, from raising a kid to starting a non-profit.

In the words of Rupaul of Rupaul's Drag Race, the best exhibit your "creativity, uniqueness, nerve and talent."

Things that are very common: typical school club presidency, club membership, study abroad, some volunteering, tutoring, part-time jobs. These fail on all four counts.

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merichard87
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Re: Softs.

Postby merichard87 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:37 pm

You have just quoted RuPaul's Drag Race on a law school forum. My day has officially been made. Thank you very much sir.

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splay
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Re: Softs.

Postby splay » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:49 pm

Ru Paul reference = amazing.

And what you're saying is that I'm screwed unless I like, fly down to Brazil, chain myself to a bamboo tree and "save the rainforest" for the entire summer. OR, I could go to school in the states and go into massive debt. Damn you, Canadian law schools and your stupid system...

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ConMan345
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Re: Softs.

Postby ConMan345 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:58 pm

Thank you, thank you *pageant wave* :)


People show their "creativity, uniqueness, nerve and talent" by doing very well what they're passionate about, or what matters to them. It can be raising kids, paying your way through school, serving in the military, doing some impactful community service, writing a novel, etc. Generally, the rule of thumb is that if you're middle-class to well-to-do, you need to do some volunteering/public service and not just sit on your laurels. If you're coming from a disadvantaged background, you'll get cut a ton more slack if you, say, have to work 30-40 hour weeks while in school. For law school admissions, you need to stand out, if not with numbers, then with everything else about who you are.

dynomite
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Re: Softs.

Postby dynomite » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:27 pm

ConMan345 wrote: For law school admissions, you need to stand out, if not with numbers, then with everything else about who you are.


Great advice (and subtle references)

As you said, softs can be anything (no, OP, chaining yourself to a tree in South America is not what we're talking about). Some of the most common softs, I'd assume:

- Cultural/ethnic diversity
- Rhodes Scholar
- Peace Corps
- Teach for America
- Honors societies (Phi Betta Kappa, etc.)
- Demonstrated leadership in undergrad organizations
- Working while in undergrad
- Working post-undergrad in an interesting position

If you look at some of the best personal statements on here, I've seen some fantastic non-traditional "softs" described as well. One about someone who was briefly homeless, another about someone who was legally dead after ODing on heroin, another about someone who was working as an American Airlines stewardess on 9/11.

People on here are always talking about how LSAT and GPA are everything. What's so frustratingly simple minded about this is that there are going to be hundreds of applicants with your exact same LSAT and GPA, and the school isn't going to take all of you. So, set yourself apart.

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ConMan345
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Re: Softs.

Postby ConMan345 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:33 pm

dynomite wrote:
ConMan345 wrote: For law school admissions, you need to stand out, if not with numbers, then with everything else about who you are.


Great advice (and subtle references)

As you said, softs can be anything (no, OP, chaining yourself to a tree in South America is not what we're talking about). Some of the most common softs, I'd assume:

- Cultural/ethnic diversity
- Rhodes Scholar
- Peace Corps
- Teach for America
- Honors societies (Phi Betta Kappa, etc.)
- Demonstrated leadership in undergrad organizations
- Working while in undergrad
- Working post-undergrad in an interesting position

If you look at some of the best personal statements on here, I've seen some fantastic non-traditional "softs" described as well. One about someone who was briefly homeless, another about someone who was legally dead after ODing on heroin, another about someone who was working as an American Airlines stewardess on 9/11.

People on here are always talking about how LSAT and GPA are everything. What's so frustratingly simple minded about this is that there are going to be hundreds of applicants with your exact same LSAT and GPA, and the school isn't going to take all of you. So, set yourself apart.


All right, let's not scare him/her, the Rhodes, TFA, Peace Corps and even PBK, are NOT common. The point, in fact, is to appear uncommon, which these softs would certainly do. It's helpful to think of softs as the "evidence" that you'll use to make the "argument" as to why you should be admitted in your personal statement. No one is going to believe you're an environmental activist, for example, if you don't have the resume to prove it.

And dyno is right, numbers can get you accepted, number can get you rejected, but for the gray area, it's all about softs.

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splay
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Re: Softs.

Postby splay » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:49 pm

The "save the rainforest" comment was tongue-in-cheek, obviously. Upon further consideration, I realized that only one of the five schools I plan on applying to (six if I get really desperate and decide I could tolerate living in Saskatchewan... doubtful) actually considers softs. My GPA isn't great, my LSAT is TBD in June, but I'm anticipating at least a 15 point jump from my February score so I hope that helps my case a bit. But in any case, I should probably get some volunteer work in this summer, or something else of significance, because thus far all I have is a plethora of work experience and plenty of nerdy, school-related stuff. Thanks for the help, everyone. :)

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bees
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Re: Softs.

Postby bees » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:53 pm

splay wrote:The "save the rainforest" comment was tongue-in-cheek, obviously. Upon further consideration, I realized that only one of the five schools I plan on applying to (six if I get really desperate and decide I could tolerate living in Saskatchewan... doubtful) actually considers softs. My GPA isn't great, my LSAT is TBD in June, but I'm anticipating at least a 15 point jump from my February score so I hope that helps my case a bit. But in any case, I should probably get some volunteer work in this summer, or something else of significance, because thus far all I have is a plethora of work experience and plenty of nerdy, school-related stuff. Thanks for the help, everyone. :)


Uh, what?

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splay
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Re: Softs.

Postby splay » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:31 pm

bees wrote:
splay wrote:The "save the rainforest" comment was tongue-in-cheek, obviously. Upon further consideration, I realized that only one of the five schools I plan on applying to (six if I get really desperate and decide I could tolerate living in Saskatchewan... doubtful) actually considers softs. My GPA isn't great, my LSAT is TBD in June, but I'm anticipating at least a 15 point jump from my February score so I hope that helps my case a bit. But in any case, I should probably get some volunteer work in this summer, or something else of significance, because thus far all I have is a plethora of work experience and plenty of nerdy, school-related stuff. Thanks for the help, everyone. :)


Uh, what?


Yeah, that was my response as well. 3 of them only consider GPA and LSAT score, one also considers a personal statement, and the last one considers all three plus LoR's, resume, etc.

LegalGENius
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Re: Softs.

Postby LegalGENius » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:34 pm

IMO I don't feel studying abroad should be included. Unless of course you were there on missionary work, are totally fluent in the language of the aforementioned place, or plan to practice international law and are trying to convey how "serious" you are about it... Just saying!

lawyering
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Re: Softs.

Postby lawyering » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:42 pm

I'd like to add: I think Softs are not just about what makes you unique/awesome, but what makes you a perfect LAW SCHOOL student. You need to tell a story about how this is the ideal next step for you--that it's not just a whim, or something you're doing because you can't get a job. Prove with your PS and your extracurriculars/volunteer work that you KNOW you want LAW. I think it helped me. :D

forty-two
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Re: Softs.

Postby forty-two » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:02 pm

lawyering wrote:I'd like to add: I think Softs are not just about what makes you unique/awesome, but what makes you a perfect LAW SCHOOL student. You need to tell a story about how this is the ideal next step for you--that it's not just a whim, or something you're doing because you can't get a job. Prove with your PS and your extracurriculars/volunteer work that you KNOW you want LAW. I think it helped me. :D


I actually don't think this is essential. I don't mention law school at all in my PS and I've been outperforming my numbers this cycle. Different strokes for different folks I guess.




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