Applying in the fall or next year

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thestalkmore
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Applying in the fall or next year

Postby thestalkmore » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:29 pm

Hey everyone. I've queried a lot of people regarding this decision, but have vacillated so much regarding what to do that I thought it couldn't hurt to come on here and get some more input.

About me:
I'm about to be a 4th year non-URM at a top public with a GPA north of 3.9, I've got what appear to be slightly above average softs, and I am confident that I will test well come October.

I was always sure that I would choose to apply in the fall, given that I have no strong desire to enter the labor force and enjoy being a student. Many of my 0L and 1L friends have counseled me strongly, however, to delay applying until after I've graduated. The more I consider it, it seems like the advantages to doing so far outweigh anything that might be attractive about applying in the fall. These are the factors that I have considered:

Pro (Applying next fall):
-Raise my GPA another .02 or so?
-Complete an honors thesis
-Acquire better LORs (Currently I don't feel like there is a single professor I could ask for a strong LOR. This would most likely change after the completion of a year's worth of work with my research prof and thesis adviser).
-Develop research projects further
-Enjoy my senior year
-Be able to submit apps on day 0 (with taking the LSAT in October I wouldn't be able to submit this cycle until November)
-Spend more time developing my entire app
-Have a year off
-Who knows what could happen in a year!

Cons:
-Risk harming my GPA by some erroneous or flubbed class.
-If I score in my target range on the LSAT (~175), it seems like there wouldn't be as strong of a point delaying. Don't I become a pretty strong contender almost everywhere at that point?
-Another year delayed is another year waiting for a decision
-Do law schools look down upon applicants who aren't "productive" during a gap year?
-Who knows what could happen in a year!
-?

It seems, ostensibly, that the Pros far outweigh the cons. But that's why I'm posting here, because I am concerned that I have overlooked considerations in both tables that I should be contemplating. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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txsunshine
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Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby txsunshine » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:50 pm

Go for Fall. Your admissions profile probably won't change change enough to merit a postponement.

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dominkay
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Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby dominkay » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:54 pm

Dude. You have a GPA north of 3 point fucking 9. That puts you above the median at YALE. You don't need to raise your GPA, certainly not by a measly .02. The fact that there are MORE pros than cons doesn't mean that the pros actually outweigh the cons. Quality over quantity, blah blah blah.

I do think it's weird that you've done so well academically but can't think of a professor who can vouch for your brains. I guess that could be an issue.

For me, the real question would be, do you want to go to law school year-after-next? Then apply in the fall. If you don't have a burning desire to go to law school ASAP, and you can afford to take a year off or find something productive to do with yourself, then don't. Also, a year off would give the economy extra time to recover, though who the fuck knows how that's going to shake out.

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bk1
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Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby bk1 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:14 pm

November is an early enough time to apply. But what it comes down to is:

If you want to start law school in fall 2011 then apply this fall. If you want to do something else for a year and start law school in fall 2012 then apply next year.

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thestalkmore
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Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby thestalkmore » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:16 pm

dominkay wrote:Dude. You have a GPA north of 3 point fucking 9. That puts you above the median at YALE. You don't need to raise your GPA, certainly not by a measly .02. The fact that there are MORE pros than cons doesn't mean that the pros actually outweigh the cons. Quality over quantity, blah blah blah.

I do think it's weird that you've done so well academically but can't think of a professor who can vouch for your brains. I guess that could be an issue.

For me, the real question would be, do you want to go to law school year-after-next? Then apply in the fall. If you don't have a burning desire to go to law school ASAP, and you can afford to take a year off or find something productive to do with yourself, then don't. Also, a year off would give the economy extra time to recover, though who the fuck knows how that's going to shake out.


In regards to the LOR issue...I've never had a prof for more than one class and my university has a lot of its classes taught and graded by GSIs. I have a few great relationships with GSIs...but nadda with Profs. I think it's weird too, but it is what it is.

I'm not trying to argue for one option versus the other, given that until the last week or so I was confident I was going to apply in the fall, but it just seems like there are a substantial amount of significant reasons to wait a year and not a whole lot of reasons to push out an app in the fall that cannot be better than one submitted next year. If I am targeting the T4, don't I want to ensure the strongest application possible? I'm asking this question honestly.

Why should I NOT apply the cycle after this one?

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bk1
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Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby bk1 » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:20 pm

thestalkmore wrote:In regards to the LOR issue...I've never had a prof for more than one class and my university has a lot of its classes taught and graded by GSIs. I have a few great relationships with GSIs...but nadda with Profs. I think it's weird too, but it is what it is.

I'm not trying to argue for one option versus the other, given that until the last week or so I was confident I was going to apply in the fall, but it just seems like there are a substantial amount of significant reasons to wait a year and not a whole lot of reasons to push out an app in the fall that cannot be better than one submitted next year. If I am targeting the T4, don't I want to ensure the strongest application possible? I'm asking this question honestly.

Why should I NOT apply the cycle after this one?


LOR's aren't that big a deal unless the prof secretly hates you. The gain you will make from waiting a year will be very minimal (with the possible exception of being able to take multiple LSAT's prior to sending in your app), so don't let this be a factor in your decision.

Wait if you want to postpone starting law school. Don't wait if you don't.

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dominkay
Posts: 355
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby dominkay » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:26 pm

thestalkmore wrote:
dominkay wrote:Dude. You have a GPA north of 3 point fucking 9. That puts you above the median at YALE. You don't need to raise your GPA, certainly not by a measly .02. The fact that there are MORE pros than cons doesn't mean that the pros actually outweigh the cons. Quality over quantity, blah blah blah.

I do think it's weird that you've done so well academically but can't think of a professor who can vouch for your brains. I guess that could be an issue.

For me, the real question would be, do you want to go to law school year-after-next? Then apply in the fall. If you don't have a burning desire to go to law school ASAP, and you can afford to take a year off or find something productive to do with yourself, then don't. Also, a year off would give the economy extra time to recover, though who the fuck knows how that's going to shake out.


In regards to the LOR issue...I've never had a prof for more than one class and my university has a lot of its classes taught and graded by GSIs. I have a few great relationships with GSIs...but nadda with Profs. I think it's weird too, but it is what it is.

I'm not trying to argue for one option versus the other, given that until the last week or so I was confident I was going to apply in the fall, but it just seems like there are a substantial amount of significant reasons to wait a year and not a whole lot of reasons to push out an app in the fall that cannot be better than one submitted next year. If I am targeting the T4, don't I want to ensure the strongest application possible? I'm asking this question honestly.

Why should I NOT apply the cycle after this one?


You can have a grad student write your LOR, if they've taught you and they know you well. A good working relationship with your recommender makes for a better LOR than a famous name or a fancy title.

Assuming that you want to start law school as soon as possible, you should not apply the cycle after this one because a 3.9 and 175 will get you into a top school. Worry less about then you're going to apply and more about achieving that LSAT score.

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txsunshine
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Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby txsunshine » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:01 am

You shouldn't wait to apply because you really can't do anything very productive in one-year. I mean, you can travel and/or be lazy, or work and try to save money, but a year isn't going to get you enough work experience to boost your app. I don't think the gap is worth it.

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theadw
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Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby theadw » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:05 am

What would you do with your year off? Which school do you want? What have you done during undergrad?

These are all relevant questions.

HollywoodA
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:10 am

Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby HollywoodA » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:17 pm

After having the time of my life in Asia for the past five months, I would do #2 in a heart beat.

But I'm also interested in this topic. Do admission boards view "taking a year off" as a negative? I would much prefer to study for the LSAT and work on applications after after I graduate for two reasons. 1) I could dedicate my time now (just finished junior year) to networking and improving interview skills and possibly get a really good job out of undergrad and 2) If I don't get a good job, I would have the time to dedicate all my energy to studying for the LSAT and putting together great applications.

The only reason I could see for myself doing it all now would be if it would increase my odds of getting in, since I want to go to a top tier school.

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thestalkmore
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Re: Applying in the fall or next year

Postby thestalkmore » Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:43 am

theadw wrote:What would you do with your year off? Which school do you want? What have you done during undergrad?

These are all relevant questions.


-I have an extremely unique hobby that I'd probably pursue aggressively (a lot of traveling involved) in my year off given that I would probably have to abandon it when I enter the law market :'(. I'd write a lot, too.

-I've lived on the west coast my entire life. The only visits I've ever even made to the East Coast were to Washington, D.C. when I was 10 and Harvard for debate competitions. I'd like to attend law school on the East Coast if for no other reason than to have that experience. My list probably goes something like: Y/H->S->C

-Club officer positions, competitor for a highly ranked "debate" team, intern for DA, research for a war crimes center/the international criminal court, columnist jobs for school paper

-I separate this one from the other softs because I don't know how it figures in to my app. I participate and compete in a very unique sport (my hobby, mentioned above and unique enough, I believe, to be worth mentioning here and on an app) for which I created and have run a club/team by myself. I really don't know what to do with this, and wouldn't mind discussing it with someone in PM/chat. I talked to an adcomm about it once and they were extremely excited (said I should write my PS on it, etc) but I'm somewhat skeptical.




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