PhD student's dilemma...

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JurisDoctorate
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PhD student's dilemma...

Postby JurisDoctorate » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:40 am

I am a PhD student at a top 6 school and I will be applying to their law school, this fall. My GPA is exactly at their median but I don't think my LSAT will be (practice tests have been in the low 160's and I will be taking the October and December test). In all honesty, I believe I can get to 167-170, or so, but it's still possible that I'll be below the median.

So here's the dilemma: I only want to go to my school's law school, their JD/PhD program, but I will go to another one if I absolutely can't get in. I am thinking of putting out applications to other law schools so I can have leverage for scholarships. While I have heard that all JD/PhD students, at my school, get full scholarships - the site says that the full scholarships are only for top candidates. I am concerned that putting out applications to other schools will diminish my standing in my school's eyes. I feel that only applying to my school will increase my chances of being accepted, but may leave me a bit susceptible as far as scholarships (and I have ZERO desire to pay anything for law school).

Now, let's distill this down to answerable questions:

Does only applying to one school improve one's chances of getting in?
Will a school's scholarship decision be influenced by other school's scholarship offers (even if they aren't exactly peer institutions)?
As a JD/PhD candidate, is there more leeway on the LSAT?

Thanks all.

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DearCan
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby DearCan » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:54 am

JurisDoctorate wrote:I am a PhD student at a top 6 school and I will be applying to their law school, this fall. My GPA is exactly at their median but I don't think my LSAT will be (practice tests have been in the low 160's and I will be taking the October and December test). In all honesty, I believe I can get to 167-170, or so, but it's still possible that I'll be below the median.

So here's the dilemma: I only want to go to my school's law school, their JD/PhD program, but I will go to another one if I absolutely can't get in. I am thinking of putting out applications to other law schools so I can have leverage for scholarships. While I have heard that all JD/PhD students, at my school, get full scholarships - the site says that the full scholarships are only for top candidates. I am concerned that putting out applications to other schools will diminish my standing in my school's eyes. I feel that only applying to my school will increase my chances of being accepted, but may leave me a bit susceptible as far as scholarships (and I have ZERO desire to pay anything for law school).

Now, let's distill this down to answerable questions:

Does only applying to one school improve one's chances of getting in?
Will a school's scholarship decision be influenced by other school's scholarship offers (even if they aren't exactly peer institutions)?
As a JD/PhD candidate, is there more leeway on the LSAT?

Thanks all.


1. No
2. Potentially. If you're a good enough candidate with scholarship offers at two schools you'd actually attend, you could campaign for more money. I've heard of people doing this quite a lot.
3. This depends largely on your school. Some schools favor the LSAT more heavily than UGPA and vice versa. It's hard to say without knowing your school. In my opinion, I would think that a lower UGPA may become less of an issue with a school if you have further education. The only leeway I can see on the LSAT is if you're a URM, but it really depends on your LSAT and school.

If you provide a bit more info you'll receive more tailored advice.

JurisDoctorate
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby JurisDoctorate » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:34 am

The school is in CCN, if that helps any.

So are some schools more forgiving of a sub-median LSAT than they are a GPA?

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2014
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby 2014 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:17 am

JurisDoctorate wrote:The school is in CCN, if that helps any.

So are some schools more forgiving of a sub-median LSAT than they are a GPA?

The numbers are medians meaning half are below, half are above. Typically schools are much more receptive to -25% GPA +75% LSAT than they are vice versa. If your GPA is slightly above their median and you went to their school, I imagine that with a LSAT above the 25th and close to median would give you a good chance. It is extremely important though that you are 1. Above one of the medians and 2. Not below the 25th unless you are above the 75th on the other.

Again, SOME people are going to get in below both medians or above median and below 25th or whatever, but they are the outliers and in many cases URMs or Rhodes scholars etc.

Shortened version: Shoot for 171 at minimum imo.

Also they will in no way expect you to only apply to one school. If you write a good "Why X" essay explaining that without a doubt they are your #1, they will hopefully understand that a wise student never puts all of their eggs in one basket.

Saltqjibo
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby Saltqjibo » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:28 am

I feel like this is where LORs might make the difference, if your supervisors or someone you are close to is a well known and respected member of your schools faculty, a killer LOR from them (assuming they support your decision to do a joint JD/PHD) might compensate for middling stats.

JurisDoctorate
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby JurisDoctorate » Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:31 pm

I see. So, my GPA is within the range while I would be surprised if I scored between a 169 and a 173. I don't want to count myself out but, at least on the October test, I think I will be below the 25th percentile. I take it that you would advise me to re-take it in December and insure that I am within that range? And yes, with another 2 months to prep for the December test, I will get that 171 that I so need :) ... or at least I think I will :(

"Also they will in no way expect you to only apply to one school. If you write a good "Why X" essay explaining that without a doubt they are your #1, they will hopefully understand that a wise student never puts all of their eggs in one basket."

Thanks for this, I'll be sure to do so.

"I feel like this is where LORs might make the difference, if your supervisors or someone you are close to is a well known and respected member of your schools faculty, a killer LOR from them (assuming they support your decision to do a joint JD/PHD) might compensate for middling stats."

In all honesty, this was my sense. My PhD program is not Econ or another traditional program (at least for joint law degrees). My mentor is a heavy hitter, to say the least, and they have been wanting to do this research for years. If I get this person fully behind me, I am sure that this could possibly off-set a weakness. But who knows?

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AreJay711
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:44 pm

As a Ph.D. student you might get a leg up anyway. Schools it that range really like it when their grads get academic positions and if you are doing well in the Ph.D. program you will likely get an academic position somewhere even if it isn't at a law school until after you publish some stuff. With that in mind they might be more open to letting you in with weak numbers.

JurisDoctorate
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby JurisDoctorate » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:45 pm

"As a Ph.D. student you might get a leg up anyway. Schools it that range really like it when their grads get academic positions and if you are doing well in the Ph.D. program you will likely get an academic position somewhere even if it isn't at a law school until after you publish some stuff. With that in mind they might be more open to letting you in with weak numbers."

You know, this was kind of my take on it. I had this sense that they would want to foster the development of legal academics; this thought comes from the fact that most schools offer full scholarships for the JD portion of the JD/PhD (and the PhD is already fully funded). It's almost like they "take care of their own". I just kind of had this sense that I am not competing against a 21 year old guy who's finishing up his undergrad, as much as I am trying to prove that I am worthy of studying there. Who knows? I think it depends on how many students are actually eligible for the program. I know that I was one of several taken out of nearly 100 candidates, in my PhD program; so you'd have to be 1/20 or so for the PhD and then 1/5, or so, of law school applicants. It's not exactly the easiest thing to do.

Oh well, who knows? All of these intangibles and unknowns aren't doing me any good. I took another practice LSAT, this morning. My score was 8 over what my original diagnostic was, in late August, and I am about 6 away from what I feel I REALLY need to get. Still a lot of room for improvement on the LG and it was a bad RC, so I can definitely see myself getting what I need; I just feel that I may need God behind me and for everything to click.

The Real Jack McCoy
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:17 pm

JurisDoctorate wrote:"As a Ph.D. student you might get a leg up anyway. Schools it that range really like it when their grads get academic positions and if you are doing well in the Ph.D. program you will likely get an academic position somewhere even if it isn't at a law school until after you publish some stuff. With that in mind they might be more open to letting you in with weak numbers."

You know, this was kind of my take on it. I had this sense that they would want to foster the development of legal academics; this thought comes from the fact that most schools offer full scholarships for the JD portion of the JD/PhD (and the PhD is already fully funded). It's almost like they "take care of their own". I just kind of had this sense that I am not competing against a 21 year old guy who's finishing up his undergrad, as much as I am trying to prove that I am worthy of studying there. Who knows? I think it depends on how many students are actually eligible for the program. I know that I was one of several taken out of nearly 100 candidates, in my PhD program; so you'd have to be 1/20 or so for the PhD and then 1/5, or so, of law school applicants. It's not exactly the easiest thing to do.

Oh well, who knows? All of these intangibles and unknowns aren't doing me any good. I took another practice LSAT, this morning. My score was 8 over what my original diagnostic was, in late August, and I am about 6 away from what I feel I REALLY need to get. Still a lot of room for improvement on the LG and it was a bad RC, so I can definitely see myself getting what I need; I just feel that I may need God behind me and for everything to click.


If you are still getting more than a question wrong per LG section, my advice is to spend all of your spare time and effort into logic games for October. I can't emphasize enough how different the three sections are in terms of making progress. LGs are by far the easiest to see quick results; LR comes a little more slowly; RC is very hard to make headway. If a near perfect score on LG will get you the score you need, I'd try to make that your goal for the test. And when I speak to people post-exam about why they were unhappy with their performance, the inevitable answer is "I bombed a logic game."

The good news is that if you are struggling with LG you have most likely not hit your peak score.

JurisDoctorate
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby JurisDoctorate » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:30 pm

I am. I typically get about two thirds of them correct; I'm struggling big time. I met with a tutor, last night, and we worked for 2 hours straight on LG. She mentioned that we should go over the LR ones I'm missing (which are mostly parallel reasoning) but I said that I want to get LG down, first. This morning, I still got my usual 2/3 but it felt very different; I wasn't guessing like usual and I nailed 2 of the diagrams, which made for 5min sections. We haven't gone over all of the types and one of them threw me.

I fully appreciate what you are saying about the returns on practicing the LG and I will take it to heart. With the LR's, I am always above 20 on each and have been getting more 22's, as of late. With the reading comp, I'm getting a lot better with practice - I usually miss between 4-5. Like you said, if I am able to lock down the LG, I should be knocking at the door of a 170 (maybe miss 3 on each of the LR's, 4 on the RC and ace the LG).

Seeing as I am a reasonably intelligent young man with about 185 hours left until I have to take the LSAT - ;) - I don't see why I can't do it. I should really just focus in on the LG and hope for the best. I really want to do ED and I don't think I'll be able to with a substandard LSAT.

Thanks for the advice, I'll take it to heart.

The Real Jack McCoy
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby The Real Jack McCoy » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:36 pm

Sounds like you have a good study plan. Good luck--I started out getting barely half of the LG questions right and ended up getting -0. It really is the most learnable section of the test.

JurisDoctorate
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Re: PhD student's dilemma...

Postby JurisDoctorate » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:56 pm

The Real Jack McCoy wrote:Sounds like you have a good study plan. Good luck--I started out getting barely half of the LG questions right and ended up getting -0. It really is the most learnable section of the test.


My tutor was the same way - she ended up getting -0. I guess I will just have to print out every known LG and practice the setups like crazy; just have to be able to set 4 up correctly and I'm home free :)




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