So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

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hellojd
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So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby hellojd » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:34 pm

First, I'll say that I have gained a ton of useful advice on these forums... especially when I was studying for the june 2010 LSAT. I definitely value most of what's said on here (sans the flame posts, idiots, etc.)

However, I've been looking through Montauk's how to get into the top law schools recently, which is a book that seemed to have gotten good reviews both on this board and externally. It seems that some of the advice is contradictory, especially in terms of:

The importance of "life" experience (work experience, especially internationally, etc.)
Importance of undergrad institution, importance of the particular types of courses you take, etc.

TLSers (aside for YS) seem to generally say none of the "soft" stuff really matters, unless it's particularly impressive and you're somewhat in the gray area for admissions (at or above the 25th percentiles at least). Montauk, while saying LSAT and GPA are extremely important, seems to place a solid emphasis on the softs, saying that they can be a great benefit to any applicant. Among the schools that TLSers say "don't care" about softs, he quotes adcomms from HLS, CLS, and others.

I'll confess I have a personal interest in wondering if this is true, since I am borderline ish for the T6, and will have 2-3 years of good WE before matriculating (hence my "soft" profile is fairly strong), but for those of you who are in the know, how reliable is this book for admissions?

acrossthelake
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:38 pm

hellojd wrote:First, I'll say that I have gained a ton of useful advice on these forums... especially when I was studying for the june 2010 LSAT. I definitely value most of what's said on here (sans the flame posts, idiots, etc.)

However, I've been looking through Montauk's how to get into the top law schools recently, which is a book that seemed to have gotten good reviews both on this board and externally. It seems that some of the advice is contradictory, especially in terms of:

The importance of "life" experience (work experience, especially internationally, etc.)
Importance of undergrad institution, importance of the particular types of courses you take, etc.

TLSers (aside for YS) seem to generally say none of the "soft" stuff really matters, unless it's particularly impressive and you're somewhat in the gray area for admissions (at or above the 25th percentiles at least). Montauk, while saying LSAT and GPA are extremely important, seems to place a solid emphasis on the softs, saying that they can be a great benefit to any applicant. Among the schools that TLSers say "don't care" about softs, he quotes adcomms from HLS, CLS, and others.

I'll confess I have a personal interest in wondering if this is true, since I am borderline ish for the T6, and will have 2-3 years of good WE before matriculating (hence my "soft" profile is fairly strong), but for those of you who are in the know, how reliable is this book for admissions?


It's not necessarily contradictory. The most properly stated TLS sentiment is that softs, unless extraordinary, will not take you anywhere your numbers wouldn't suggest admission to. The idea is that most law schools will admit a chunk of students as long as they don't have egregious errors if their numbers are high enough and then reject another good chunk of applicants with low numbers unless they have extraordinary softs. For those in the middle where there might be more people with eligible numbers than spots, that's where the softs come into play to distinguish and select among them. Then, the factors Montauk is talking about come into play.

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Hannibal
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby Hannibal » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:40 pm

I wouldn't say the two views are incompatible.

I think when people here say schools don't care about softs, it because someone was asking if they could get into Harvard with their 160/3.3 because they worked in an embassy.

Edit: So yeah. +1 to Lake.

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hellojd
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby hellojd » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:43 pm

acrossthelake wrote:It's not necessarily contradictory. The most properly stated TLS sentiment is that softs, unless extraordinary, will not take you anywhere your numbers wouldn't suggest admission to. The idea is that most law schools will admit a chunk of students as long as they don't have egregious errors if their numbers are high enough and then reject another good chunk of applicants with low numbers unless they have extraordinary softs. For those in the middle where there might be more people with eligible numbers than spots, that's where the softs come into play to distinguish and select among them. Then, the factors Montauk is talking about come into play.


So I guess when you say middle, you mean those in the 25% - maybe 60% range around the medians?

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blurbz
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby blurbz » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:49 pm

I agree that softs will rarely get you into schools where your numbers dictate that you should be denied, but I'm proof that softs might get you more money in scholarship offers than your numbers might suggest.

In terms of just admissions: Different schools value different things and if you happen to apply at the right time, are the most interesting application the admissions dean reads in a day, and have numbers that are "close enough," your softs may push you just a little bit over the top.

d34d9823
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby d34d9823 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:51 pm

Copying from my other post:

It's not that they don't weigh softs, it's that the kind of talented, motivated people who get into top schools generally ALL have decent softs. They do notice and will ding people who have weak softs and admit people who have subpar numbers but exceptional softs (e.g. being a published author or winning a Rhodes scholarship). People always complain that holistic admissions aren't really holistic, but they fail to consider that the likelihood that their softs are significantly better than those of a person with better numbers is pretty low.

acrossthelake
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:57 pm

hellojd wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:It's not necessarily contradictory. The most properly stated TLS sentiment is that softs, unless extraordinary, will not take you anywhere your numbers wouldn't suggest admission to. The idea is that most law schools will admit a chunk of students as long as they don't have egregious errors if their numbers are high enough and then reject another good chunk of applicants with low numbers unless they have extraordinary softs. For those in the middle where there might be more people with eligible numbers than spots, that's where the softs come into play to distinguish and select among them. Then, the factors Montauk is talking about come into play.


So I guess when you say middle, you mean those in the 25% - maybe 60% range around the medians?


I have no idea what that is for a particular school and anyone who claims to is either an admissions officer in disguise or making things up. It's going to vary considerably based on the applicant pool, size of student class, and their goals for medians in USNews that year. It's going to depend on which stat is above and which stat is below and by how much and whether you're in undergrad or 10 years out, etc. I know you're trying to get a sense for your own chances because you're anxious, but at this point really all you can do is just apply and see how it goes. Nobody here is going to know enough to be able to divine your exact chances for you. Even on the "What are my chances?" boards people are really often just speaking based on LSAT, GPA, what they've seen on lawschoolnumbers.com, lawschoolpredictor.com, and whether the person is a URM.

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vanwinkle
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:53 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:Copying from my other post:

It's not that they don't weigh softs, it's that the kind of talented, motivated people who get into top schools generally ALL have decent softs. They do notice and will ding people who have weak softs and admit people who have subpar numbers but exceptional softs (e.g. being a published author or winning a Rhodes scholarship). People always complain that holistic admissions aren't really holistic, but they fail to consider that the likelihood that their softs are significantly better than those of a person with better numbers is pretty low.

This is well-said. Of course Harvard cares about softs, but they have enough applicants with BOTH great numbers and great softs that they can fill up ten times over without getting to some applicants.

I also spoke directly to one of the UVA adcomms, who told me that in a given year they'll issue around 1,000 acceptances but have 4,000 applicants worthy of admitting. They just have to turn away a lot of good applicants because there are so many.

Softs matter, but only once you have the numbers, because your competition has both.

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Hannibal
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby Hannibal » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:04 pm

Can anyone tell me how good my softs are? I think I'm pretty weak.

Went from independent study high school, transferred from CC to my UG (Positive or negative?)
Spent three out of four years working during school
The time that I was not working I was in student government first as a representative, then as a member of the funding committee (which lasted until transfer)
Spoke at HS graduation

Uh yeah. That's it.

Edit: as far as tangible softs. I also started a kind of one-man political campaign at my UG over student funding debates, that I'll refer to in my PS.

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billyez
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby billyez » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:08 pm

Besides the last one, I had pretty much had those same characteristics and I doubt that it had much of an impact; especially the transfer thing. I really don't think schools care about people transferring up to their UG.

Edit: Besides the working thing - I didn't have a prestigious job or anything, but the amount of responsibilities I was able to cram onto my resume had to be worth something.

I still don't think softs are super important...especially if your grades are of a certain caliber.

acrossthelake
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:13 pm

Hannibal wrote:Can anyone tell me how good my softs are? I think I'm pretty weak.

Went from independent study high school, transferred from CC to my UG (Positive or negative?)
Spent three out of four years working during school
The time that I was not working I was in student government first as a representative, then as a member of the funding committee (which lasted until transfer)
Spoke at HS graduation

Uh yeah. That's it.

Edit: as far as tangible softs. I also started a kind of one-man political campaign at my UG over student funding debates, that I'll refer to in my PS.


Shouldn't put anything from high school on there. They only want to know about college onwards.

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bleu
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby bleu » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:16 pm

What do you guys think about teaching in china, studying in russia

normal softs?
keep me in the game?

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Hannibal
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby Hannibal » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:18 pm

bleu wrote:What do you guys think about teaching in china, studying in russia

normal softs?
keep me in the game?


Strong softs, IMO

270910
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby 270910 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:19 pm

bleu wrote:What do you guys think about teaching in china, studying in russia

normal softs?
keep me in the game?


God fucking damn it, you people are dense.

Disco_Barred's Guide to Law School Admissions Soft Factors

Question 1: Do you have so few activities and experiences that you are unable to fill out an entire page resume to submit to law school?
Question 2: Have you ever done something impressive enough to be picked up on by the media - publication, fame, etc.?

Unless you answered "Yes" to question 1 or 2, your softs are average and close enough to irrelevant to be not worthy of discussion on the board. Study harder for the LSAT.
Last edited by 270910 on Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bleu
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby bleu » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:20 pm

I think you are biased.

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bleu
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby bleu » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:20 pm

:cry:

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Hannibal
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby Hannibal » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:22 pm

disco_barred wrote:
bleu wrote:What do you guys think about teaching in china, studying in russia

normal softs?
keep me in the game?


God fucking damn it, you people are dense.

Disco_Barred's Guide to Law School Admissions Soft Factors

Question 1: Do you have so few activities and experiences that you are unable to fill out an entire page resume to submit to law school?
Question 2: Have you ever done something impressive enough to be picked up on by the media - publication, fame, etc.?

Unless you answered "Yes" to question 1 or 2, your softs are average and close enough to irrelevant to be not worthy of discussion on the board. Study harder for the LSAT.


<3

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bleu
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby bleu » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:24 pm

disco_barred wrote:
bleu wrote:What do you guys think about teaching in china, studying in russia

normal softs?
keep me in the game?


God fucking damn it, you people are dense.

Disco_Barred's Guide to Law School Admissions Soft Factors

Question 1: Do you have so few activities and experiences that you are unable to fill out an entire page resume to submit to law school?
Question 2: Have you ever done something impressive enough to be picked up on by the media - publication, fame, etc.?

Unless you answered "Yes" to question 1 or 2, your softs are average and close enough to irrelevant to be not worthy of discussion on the board. Study harder for the LSAT.


well, there is nothing else to talk about between LSAT and Law School.

crossingforHYS
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby crossingforHYS » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:24 pm

I'm not a 1 or a 2 on Disco's questionare...so I edited the post...
Last edited by crossingforHYS on Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

crossingforHYS
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby crossingforHYS » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:25 pm

disco_barred wrote:
bleu wrote:What do you guys think about teaching in china, studying in russia

normal softs?
keep me in the game?


God fucking damn it, you people are dense.

Disco_Barred's Guide to Law School Admissions Soft Factors

Question 1: Do you have so few activities and experiences that you are unable to fill out an entire page resume to submit to law school?
Question 2: Have you ever done something impressive enough to be picked up on by the media - publication, fame, etc.?

Unless you answered "Yes" to question 1 or 2, your softs are average and close enough to irrelevant to be not worthy of discussion on the board. Study harder for the LSAT.

haha, fair enough.

acrossthelake
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:27 pm

crossingforHYS wrote:sorry for hijacking the thread...but I want to play!

would my softs be average/ok?

3-4 clubs with positions
congressional internship
DA internship
2 Non profit internship
worked for three years
going to have a research internship this fall
on awards for moot court and mock trial
schollys at school based on awards
and I do plays :)

I feel like everyone has this and more personally....but I was just wondering if it matters at all?
tried to get a truman...didnt go so well :(.


So the problem is that nobody on this board really knows. I would say that each of those separately are things a lot of applicants will have done, but perhaps it'll be impressive to an adcom that you did it all in a short amount of time. Apply this cycle and see for yourself.

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bleu
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby bleu » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:27 pm

I like your softs :P
I think they are cool :wink:

Watch out for the disco ball though, he is angry about something.

270910
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby 270910 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:28 pm

bleu wrote:I like your softs :P
I think they are cool :wink:

Watch out for the disco ball though, he is angry about something.


:lol: Let's hug it out. I apologize for insinuating that your snow flakeitude was anything other than singularly unique.

acrossthelake
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:29 pm

bleu wrote:I like your softs :P
I think they are cool :wink:

Watch out for the disco ball though, he is angry about something.


Nah I think disco's just been around long enough that the repetitive questions are starting to bug him/her. Most questions on here aren't unique and could've been answered by just reading through the FAQ section. It's something perpetuated by a lot of individuals asking one singular question, though after time they kind of blur together and one becomes cranky.

270910
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Re: So, is Montauk's "How to get into..." full of it? Or is TLS?

Postby 270910 » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:31 pm

crossingforHYS wrote:I'm not a 1 or a 2 on Disco's questionare...so I edited the post...


I love you. Let's get married.




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