Should I shoot below my qualifications?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

How should I match my qualifications?

Shoot as high as possible
10
53%
Try to match my gpa/lsat exactly to the school avg.
2
11%
Shoot lower and hope for scholarships
7
37%
 
Total votes: 19

williammmc
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:46 pm

Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby williammmc » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:07 pm

When applying to a school, if my GPA and LSAT outrank a school, should I just disregard it and shoot higher?

I know this is a question of personal choice, but...

Would it be completely ridiculous to to go Lewis & Clark (avg. gpa 3.5, avg lsat around 160) if my gpa is 3.9 and my preptests thus far have given me a 152,161,164,166 and the test is still two months away?

If anyone can provide any guidance, please post, I'm kind of worried about all of these things.

ppa840
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby ppa840 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:15 pm

williammmc wrote:When applying to a school, if my GPA and LSAT outrank a school, should I just disregard it and shoot higher?

I know this is a question of personal choice, but...

Would it be completely ridiculous to to go Lewis & Clark (avg. gpa 3.5, avg lsat around 160) if my gpa is 3.9 and my preptests thus far have given me a 152,161,164,166 and the test is still two months away?

If anyone can provide any guidance, please post, I'm kind of worried about all of these things.


The advice I have received is that I should go to the best school that will admit me.

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby TheBigMediocre » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:20 pm

Go to the school that you're a good fit for. "Best for you" =/= "Best ranked"

With my GPA/LSAT I could have gotten into many schools that are "better" then where I'm depositing. What made my choice was my career goals, my debt aversion, and my visit to the school. Don't let a flawed formula used to sell magazines dictate where you go to school.

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98234872348
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Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby 98234872348 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:20 pm

williammmc wrote:When applying to a school, if my GPA and LSAT outrank a school, should I just disregard it and shoot higher?

I know this is a question of personal choice, but...

Would it be completely ridiculous to to go Lewis & Clark (avg. gpa 3.5, avg lsat around 160) if my gpa is 3.9 and my preptests thus far have given me a 152,161,164,166 and the test is still two months away?

If anyone can provide any guidance, please post, I'm kind of worried about all of these things.

You do realize you can apply to more than one school, right?

If you are worried about debt, it would seem that you will qualify for a full ride at a TT like L&C - if you want to practice in Oregon(?) then that might not be a bad decision. However, you should still apply to multiple schools and see where you gain admission, then decide what suits your personal preferences.

Also, it would be impossible for anyone to answer this question without a. an actual lsat score from you and b. an idea of what your career goals are.

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vanwinkle
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:21 pm

ppa840 wrote:
williammmc wrote:When applying to a school, if my GPA and LSAT outrank a school, should I just disregard it and shoot higher?

I know this is a question of personal choice, but...

Would it be completely ridiculous to to go Lewis & Clark (avg. gpa 3.5, avg lsat around 160) if my gpa is 3.9 and my preptests thus far have given me a 152,161,164,166 and the test is still two months away?

If anyone can provide any guidance, please post, I'm kind of worried about all of these things.

The advice I have received is that I should go to the best school that will admit me.

That's true, but not really an answer for what he's asking.

To go to the best school that'll admit you, you still have to find out what that school is. In order to do that you have to apply to a number of schools; some will be reaches, some will be targets, and some will be safeties. You want to apply to at least a few of each that you would seriously consider attending if accepted.

If L&C is a school you would attend if it were the best school you could get into (or if you'd consider attending with $$$) then you should apply there. Given your numbers it will be one of your "safety" schools. You may end up wanting your safety schools to be higher than that, but if you like Oregon and the L&C programs and are hoping for $$$ from them then it's reasonable to apply there, sure.

It shouldn't be the highest-ranked school you apply to, unless you really really wanna live in Oregon while you go to school and after you graduate. But there's nothing wrong with applying there as a safety.

Geist13
Posts: 739
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:21 pm

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby Geist13 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:26 pm

Well when it comes to applying to schools you always want a few safeties (preferably ones generous with scholarships or in a city you really want to work/live).

Also, if your highest practice is 166, a 160 actual score is still a pretty decent possibility. I averaged a 172 over the course of 30+ practice tests. I ended up getting a 167; I hadn't scored that low in 2.5 months of practice. From what I've heard most people drop a few points on test day.

Its never a good idea to disregard a school simply because of its medians (which usually amounts to disregarding it simply because of its rank). If you know for a fact that you want to work in portland, oregon, there's no reason you shouldn't consider L&C.

williammmc
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:46 pm

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby williammmc » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:40 pm

Thanks for the advice thus far guys, I really appreciate it. To answer some unanswered questions, my career goals are geared towards environmental law, so thats one of the reasons I was looking at L&C in the first place. I'll definitely keep L&C as one of my safeties for the time being, and I think I will also shoot for Harvard (unless anyone has any other big suggestions).

I hear what you are saying about the drop in score on the actual test day, I intend to increase my average to the low 170s, hopefully getting middle to high 170s at least once or twice.

I look forward to more opinions and advice. I know next to nothing about this process (outside of the obvious advice from reference books on these subjects). Any help is always appreciated.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:45 pm

williammmc wrote:Thanks for the advice thus far guys, I really appreciate it. To answer some unanswered questions, my career goals are geared towards environmental law, so thats one of the reasons I was looking at L&C in the first place. I'll definitely keep L&C as one of my safeties for the time being, and I think I will also shoot for Harvard (unless anyone has any other big suggestions).

I hear what you are saying about the drop in score on the actual test day, I intend to increase my average to the low 170s, hopefully getting middle to high 170s at least once or twice.

I look forward to more opinions and advice. I know next to nothing about this process (outside of the obvious advice from reference books on these subjects). Any help is always appreciated.

With a 3.9 and two months left to prep your goal should be to nail the LSAT and get 170+. With a 3.9/170+ you should not only be able to get into several T10 schools but get $$ from some of them. If that happens then it would not just be irrational but insane to go to L&C; with the economy the way it is you really do need to go to the best school you can get into, and almost any T14 will offer more job opportunities (including in environmental law) than a school with just a highly regarded environmental law program but little else to offer.

Again, this is not to say you should write off L&C. If you can't break 170 and/or can't get into the T14, but you can get $$$ at L&C, it can still make sense for you. But the best thing you can probably do is start volunteering (now, if possible, if you're not already) for environmental public service groups, and keep that up in law school while attending a T14. Try to get summer jobs at environmentally focused PI groups while in law school. Doing all that plus the T14 degree will help you get an environmental law job when you graduate a lot more than going to L&C would.

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PlugInBaby
Posts: 387
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:40 am

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby PlugInBaby » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:22 pm

I would vote for all of the above if I could. I HIGHLY recommend initially applying to a vast array of schools you would seriously consider going to. Once the offers come in then you can weigh your options and get a feeling of which situation is the best for you. In addition, adcomms can be wildly inconsistent. You may get $ from a reach but get dinged from a target.

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vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:26 pm

PlugInBaby wrote:You may get $ from a reach but get dinged from a target.

This is a good point. I'm attending a T14 that gave me a little $ but I got WL'd at some lower schools like UCLA, BU, and even Cardozo. Cycles can be unpredictable based on what's good and bad in your stats. Applying broadly is a good idea; I'd recommend applying to at least 8-10 schools at a minimum, including 2-3 clear safeties that are likely to give out $$. That way you know you'll get in somewhere.

The good news is that L&C is a school that gives out scholarships, so they'll make a good safety.

motiontodismiss
Posts: 870
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:36 pm

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:16 pm

Shoot all over the map and decide later. It's just like colleges. A few reaches, a dream school or two, some targets (i.e. "matches"), and some safeties.

Of course, if you're staggering applications and you get into your first choice, then game over right there.

erniesto
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:56 pm

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby erniesto » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:22 pm

You should apply to every school in the markets you want to practice, and several T20 schools if you're not ridiculously out of range for them.

It's not hard to get fee waivers for the schools with lower selectivity. If a lower ranked school won't abide with a free app request, punish them by not applying. They don't want to give you money anyways. I paid for three apps outside the top T-30 and I regret paying for all three.

mailmanstalker
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:54 pm

Re: Should I shoot below my qualifications?

Postby mailmanstalker » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:15 pm

TheBigMediocre wrote:Go to the school that you're a good fit for. "Best for you" =/= "Best ranked"

With my GPA/LSAT I could have gotten into many schools that are "better" then where I'm depositing. What made my choice was my career goals, my debt aversion, and my visit to the school. Don't let a flawed formula used to sell magazines dictate where you go to school.


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