Potential trouble with softs/LORs?

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lecteur
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Potential trouble with softs/LORs?

Postby lecteur » Mon May 31, 2010 5:24 pm

First, I just wanted to say I have been lurking for a bit, reading the boards, and I have learned a lot from you all so far. But, I still have questions! (Sorry it is long, I have included a short version recap at the bottom for those who might not weigh in otherwise.)


I am hoping to start law school in Fall 2011. I currently have a 3.98 gpa (and should be able to keep it fairly close to that number), and have been doing well on my practice LSATs at home. It looks like I should be able to get above 170 this October, but I will know more after my June actual-test-conditions practice, and more studying. (I am aiming for that 180 though!)

My problem is mostly with my softs. For reasons I won't go too deeply into here (mostly financial), I spent the majority of the ten years after high school (I'm in my late 20s now) just working and unable to get back into school. A few years ago, I married a soldier, and I was able to get my AA degree where he was stationed. I've since transferred to a state school and am just about done with my BA.

However, we moved back and forth a fair amount, I worked a couple minimum-wage jobs, and I spent a lot of time tied up in my husband's career, so I was never able to get any real solid extracurricular involvement or leadership roles on my resume. When things calmed down in his career he had post-deployment issues to sort through, and that ate up almost all of my free time. I have volunteered here and there when I could, I belong to a few honor societies, but nothing real substantial. No internships, no academic research, etc. How big of a problem is this going to be for me?

Also, since I transferred to a large state school junior year, I have only had one professor for more than one class this entire time. I would imagine most of them don't even know who I am. I can maybe squeeze out one good LOR from this school. Should I go to a professor whom I've only had once, but has received a solid amount of writing samples from me and talk to him/her? Would it be acceptable to get my second LOR from a professor in the program where I got my AA degree, as I had some of them for multiple classes?



If you are one of those TL;DR people:

- My softs seem really sub-par. I don't have much to list and it wasn't because I had to support my twelve younger siblings all on my own. I had my reasons, but you couldn't make a Lifetime movie out of them. How much will this potentially hurt me? Is there anything I can/should do now to help?
- We moved around a lot and I went to a large school. I wasn't able to form much of a relationship with any of my professors - can I try and get a LOR from a community college professor from 2007-2008 or would I be better off having a prof who's had me in one intellectually stimulating class at my current school write it? If I can supplement these with letters from other sources will that help?
- Am I screwed??

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Dany
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Re: Potential trouble with softs/LORs?

Postby Dany » Mon May 31, 2010 5:40 pm

You must not have been lurking too much, because the general TLS consensus that is bandied about everywhere is that law school admissions is a NUMBERS game. With a near-perfect GPA and the potential to get a 170+ LSAT, there are very, very few schools you should worry about.

You can write a compelling PS about being a non-traditional applicant, your educational history, and being in a military family, which will explain your lack of typical softs.

And finally, the best LORs are from professors who know you - and your work - well. It doesn't matter whether they are from your state school or the AA school, so the two professors you mentioned will be fine.

Again, law school is a numbers game, and you're already halfway to having stellar numbers. Kill the LSAT in October, and you've got nothing to worry about. You're not some lazy 22-year-old who never got a job or participated in extracurriculars, which is to say, your background (financially and personally) is a completely legitimate reason for not being president of a silly club. You will be fine.

Also, have your applications complete BEFORE you take the October LSAT, so that the day the scores are released you're good to go. Applying early is to your advantage.

TL;DR: Take your 3.98/170+ and go to a T10 school. Softs don't matter, and those LORs will be fine.

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adameus
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Re: Potential trouble with softs/LORs?

Postby adameus » Mon May 31, 2010 5:49 pm

eskimo hit the nail on the head. You will be fine, assuming that you nail the LSAT. Even then you will still be able to get into a good school.

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lecteur
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Re: Potential trouble with softs/LORs?

Postby lecteur » Mon May 31, 2010 6:03 pm

Thanks to the both of you.

eskimo: I hate to make it sound like I'm not reading but I feel like most of the time when people say "I don't have ANY softs" or "my softs are TERRIBLE" they go on to say that they were captain of the debate team, participated in mock trial, or were a star athlete in their spare time. That, or they have some super-compelling reason that they didn't have time to participate in ECs.

I suppose I am my own worst critic, but I just worried that people would look at my situation and say I could have slept less, done more, etc. I was just wondering how it looked to an outsider.

I keep reading on TLS that it is all about the numbers but I keep reading on all the admissions blogs and in interviews, that it isn't. My head is spinning!

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bk1
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Re: Potential trouble with softs/LORs?

Postby bk1 » Mon May 31, 2010 6:20 pm

lecteur wrote:Thanks to the both of you.

eskimo: I hate to make it sound like I'm not reading but I feel like most of the time when people say "I don't have ANY softs" or "my softs are TERRIBLE" they go on to say that they were captain of the debate team, participated in mock trial, or were a star athlete in their spare time. That, or they have some super-compelling reason that they didn't have time to participate in ECs.

I suppose I am my own worst critic, but I just worried that people would look at my situation and say I could have slept less, done more, etc. I was just wondering how it looked to an outsider.

I keep reading on TLS that it is all about the numbers but I keep reading on all the admissions blogs and in interviews, that it isn't. My head is spinning!


It is a numbers game. AdComms want to appear holistic and thus project that image out into the world despite the fact that they are (except for probably Y/S) primarily numbers based. I would say that the majority T14 matriculants probably do not have great softs. Especially considering the large number of people who are straight out of UG or close to it.




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