Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
DINOSAURSEATYOU
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Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby DINOSAURSEATYOU » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:38 am

Hi guys. Long time reader, first time poster, blah blah blah.

As we all know, there are myriad different variables when it comes down to law school applications, and although some variables are "more equal than others", it's near-impossible to set one as a definitive standard of entry. That said, I have a very particular question about a very particular variable.

First, some background. I'm a Master of International Politics student at the University of Melbourne in Australia, with a very patchy academic background (started University just as I turned 17, studied film and didn't take it seriously enough... I'm now 26 and care a helluva lot more) - although, at least, my grades are pretty good over the course of this Masters (the effective equivalent, so far, of a 4.0 except, due to some stupidity on my part - I didn't drop a subject "correctly" - I have a complete fail in one subject... I don't even know how that will affect my GPA). Anyway, I want to apply to law school once I complete this degree at the end of this year - specifically I want to do my JD in the States.

As you may or may not be aware, the US Capitol runs an internship programme through which Australians (approx. fifteen each year) can undertake a two-month internship under a congressperson through January and February of each year. I applied in 2008 (for '09) and was told that I missed by a whisker. I'm quite confident about my prospects for 2011.

So the question is: How would a letter of recommendation (assuming, first, that I get the internship, and second, that I enamour myself with my congressperson) from someone like, for instance, Jerrold Nadler, be viewed as in regards to my application to a T14 law school, all other variables aside?

Clearly, there are no quantifiable answers and I'm not looking for one - simply, in your opinion, would these be significantly better than recommendations from professors who know/have known me well? *Really* significant? Much less significant than I'm thinking? Etc. I'm sure you get the picture. Any info or just your thoughts would certainly be appreciated.

A PDF on the programme (from last year - though it's basically the same again), can be viewed here: --LinkRemoved--

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby pleasetryagain » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:45 am

slightly less than an american. slightly more than an italian.

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holydonkey
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby holydonkey » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:53 am

No, not really, but it sounds like a fun program and it's an opportunity to network in DC. If you want to do something productive to increase your chances of admission, just study more for the LSAT.

If you come to DC, the Aussie Embassy is a ton of fun. Every Friday they hold beer and wine get togethers for all the staff and any citizens in the city that express an interest in going. Go mingle and meet some folks.

DINOSAURSEATYOU
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby DINOSAURSEATYOU » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:09 am

^^^ Haha, that sounds pretty "Australian" :)

The networking opportunities would be pretty decent and I'm definitely keeping that as a point to consider, but I guess I was hoping that it might give me that "little something extra" as well... It will cost me about $15,000 AUD if I do it, and I've already got about that much in debt (alongside student loans; I don't even want to think about how high they are!), so if I'm accepted the decision will be a tough one.

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holydonkey
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby holydonkey » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:17 am

DINOSAURSEATYOU wrote:^^^ Haha, that sounds pretty "Australian" :)

The networking opportunities would be pretty decent and I'm definitely keeping that as a point to consider, but I guess I was hoping that it might give me that "little something extra" as well... It will cost me about $15,000 AUD if I do it, and I've already got about that much in debt (alongside student loans; I don't even want to think about how high they are!), so if I'm accepted the decision will be a tough one.
Yeah, tough to say it's worth 15k. If I was to do it, I'd do it more for the experience and the networking opportunities (and if I did it, I'd try to get on the banking committee, not the rep's office). For law school, it's a soft, but not worth a ton and certainly not worth 15k.

DINOSAURSEATYOU
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby DINOSAURSEATYOU » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:26 am

Yeah, Nadler was just an example - there are plenty of committee opportunities (at least that's what I recall from my '08 application, anyway - the info documents for this year only just came out today so I haven't looked them over fully), so I would definitely look into that. Ugh. Decisions. The other thing is that I eventually see myself living in the States, hopefully, so even though it mightn't look necessarily worthwhile in the short-term, there are those long-term considerations as well.

This would be significantly easier if I had rich parents or someone to decide for me. Or both!

0L Hoping for 1
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby 0L Hoping for 1 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:58 am

I am sorry to say but making copies and answering phones on the capitol is not much of a help at all in my opinion. I think it would help just as much as any entry level internship or job. However, this is from an American POV, so I am not sure about being an Australian and that specific program.

DINOSAURSEATYOU
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby DINOSAURSEATYOU » Fri May 21, 2010 1:00 am

Just regarding the post above, my conversations with the conveners of the program, as well as those who've undertaken it have indicated that there's a lot more involved than photocopying and phone calls; in fact most people spoke specifically of their involvement in policy research, liaising with other representatives, etc. - actual substantive tasks.

But aside from that, I appreciate all the advice anyway!

I must admit that I'm surprised that it's not rated more highly, but I suppose the key point is there are hundreds of representatives, each with their own little crew of interns annually, and ultimately that adds up to a lot of interns! It's definitely looked upon a little better here in Australia; it's a pity I don't want to stick around here.

Anyway I've basically decided that if I can take the opportunity with only a minimal cost to myself (my university, apparently, regularly covers the majority of costs for this internship, which is obviously a big help), then I will. If it's going to cost me thousands upon thousands of dollars, though, well, so be it; I'll stay home and enjoy the summer!

Thanks again all.

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doinmybest
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby doinmybest » Fri May 21, 2010 9:30 am

One of my best friends is from Oz. He was at the University of Queensland for a few years and then he transferred to a US school. He got into several T14s with a mid to high 160s score. It seems that law schools loved his story.

DINOSAURSEATYOU
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby DINOSAURSEATYOU » Fri May 21, 2010 12:26 pm

Thanks, it helps; I certainly have a "story" and I hope it helps.

Unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to apply directly. Hopefully good marks will hold me in stead for a transfer.

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5ky
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby 5ky » Fri May 21, 2010 2:40 pm

.
Last edited by 5ky on Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DINOSAURSEATYOU
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby DINOSAURSEATYOU » Sat May 22, 2010 1:05 am

5ky, point taken, and certainly I appreciate the advice, but I have spoken to six people who've undertaken this program specifically, and each of them was asked to (and did) undertake substantive work - far beyond what the PDF details, and indeed beyond most of the interning experiences that I've read about on the web. I don't know why that is, but I can assure you, at least, that it is! Obviously every individual's experience will be different, but given that six out of those six - not a huge sample size, but enough, I think - have all had overwhelmingly positive experiences, I think I can be optimistic about that aspect.

That said, I do agree with your fundamental point that this is not, contrary to what I had originally thought, worth anything like fifteen grand - and knowing that this won't be looked upon as anything particularly amazing is very helpful.

Ultimately if I can do this for no cost, or a minimal cost, to myself, then I will, because it would be a different, enjoyable, and stimulating experience; I no longer have any misconceptions about how it might boost my CV though, and that's a good thing!

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Drake014
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby Drake014 » Sat May 22, 2010 1:12 am

DINOSAURSEATYOU wrote:^^^ Haha, that sounds pretty "Australian" :)

The networking opportunities would be pretty decent and I'm definitely keeping that as a point to consider, but I guess I was hoping that it might give me that "little something extra" as well... It will cost me about $15,000 AUD if I do it, and I've already got about that much in debt (alongside student loans; I don't even want to think about how high they are!), so if I'm accepted the decision will be a tough one.


I don't think its worth the price tag. If you knew a Congressman for a year or two and really got to know him, it'd be an awesome letter of recommendation. However, working for one for 2 months is just going to get you the boilerplate letter. You'll be lucky if you even get to spend 10 minutes with the guy over the whole 2 months.

Edit: Now Mark Foley, there's a guy who might've been able to REALLY get to know you in 2 months.

DINOSAURSEATYOU
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Re: Interning at the Capitol - how helpful for an Australian?

Postby DINOSAURSEATYOU » Sat May 22, 2010 4:52 am

^ LOLs :D

(And thanks!)




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