High LSAT/Low GPA Question

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am688
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High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby am688 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:35 pm

I have a dilemma. I have a very low GPA. 2.78. I went to a State School, and was a first generation student. I graduated in 2005. My low GPA was mainly due to an undiagnosed learning disability.

After being diagnosed, and getting a lot of great work experience, I went on to graduate school (Ivy), and have 2 graduate degrees, (I got in because of my experiences)...one of these was from Harvard. My grad GPA is very high (3.9)

All my practice test scores have been between 177 and 180. I also have a lot of great recommendations (including ones from professors at Harvard who spoke highly of my academic abilities).

I know it will be a total guess, but from those who are experienced in applying, what are my realistic chances of getting into a top 25 school (or even top 50)?

dissonance1848
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby dissonance1848 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:46 pm

Your grad GPA doesn't count; UG does. With a 2.78 and something high 170s, 176+, you need to ED to Northwestern or Georgetown. Throw one to Cornell too. Those two are your best shots for the T-14. Below that, all the midwestern schools, University of Illinois, Indiana Bloomington, Washington University St. Louis, etc., are your best bets, since they are LSAT whores.

am688
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby am688 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:56 pm

Thanks. I guess my biggest problem is not wanting to go to the mid-west. haha. I know grad GPA won't count, but will they at least look highly on students who go to grad school? Also, what do you all think about Univ. of California schools? Finally, is my best shot to just go anywhere and try to transfer?

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northwood
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby northwood » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:59 pm

go to a school that you would be happy graduating from. Going to school with all intentions of transferring out is a mistake. You cant predict how you are going to do at school. Do some research and cold call the schools if necessary, and apply. The worst case scenario is that you dont get in. Best case- you're in.

M.M.
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby M.M. » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:57 pm

Is anyone else kind of awe stricken that the OP can have a 3.9 at Harvard grad school with 2 graduate degrees despite his undergrad GPA and be valued less than someone who got a 3.5 or so at a mediocre school for an undergrad degree? Every time I see this I get confused ...

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Grizz
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby Grizz » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:58 pm

M.M. wrote:Is anyone else kind of awe stricken that the OP can have a 3.9 at Harvard grad school with 2 graduate degrees despite his undergrad GPA and be valued less than someone who got a 3.5 or so at a mediocre school for an undergrad degree? Every time I see this I get confused ...


Not really. Grad school GPAs are notoriously inflated.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby Bildungsroman » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:59 pm

am688 wrote:Thanks. I guess my biggest problem is not wanting to go to the mid-west. haha. I know grad GPA won't count, but will they at least look highly on students who go to grad school? Also, what do you all think about Univ. of California schools? Finally, is my best shot to just go anywhere and try to transfer?


California schools seem much less friendly toward low GPAs than midwest schools.

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:12 pm

Your case is a bit too extreme for any real advice here but the super low undergrad GPA probably kills your chances at UCs. Your masters degrees will be considered as weak softs, maybe weak-moderate at best given the circumstances. I'd say apply to as many schools as you can with ED to NU and hope for the best. As for transferring, pretty much everyone who gets into a low ranked school has that plan so don't count on it.

am688
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby am688 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:23 pm

rad law wrote:
M.M. wrote:Is anyone else kind of awe stricken that the OP can have a 3.9 at Harvard grad school with 2 graduate degrees despite his undergrad GPA and be valued less than someone who got a 3.5 or so at a mediocre school for an undergrad degree? Every time I see this I get confused ...


Not really. Grad school GPAs are notoriously inflated.


The grading at Harvard was based on a forced curve. So the 3.9 was based on consistently scoring in the top 15% of each class I took. That is the reason why two of my recs are from professors at HKS and one from HBS.

PS...What's "OP"?

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beachbum
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby beachbum » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:35 pm

am688 wrote:
rad law wrote:
M.M. wrote:Is anyone else kind of awe stricken that the OP can have a 3.9 at Harvard grad school with 2 graduate degrees despite his undergrad GPA and be valued less than someone who got a 3.5 or so at a mediocre school for an undergrad degree? Every time I see this I get confused ...


Not really. Grad school GPAs are notoriously inflated.


The grading at Harvard was based on a forced curve. So the 3.9 was based on consistently scoring in the top 15% of each class I took. That is the reason why two of my recs are from professors at HKS and one from HBS.

PS...What's "OP"?


OP = original poster

I have to agree with M.M. on this one: with two prestigious graduate degrees (even with grade inflation) and significant work experience, it seems ridiculous that some random applicant with a higher uGPA is given more value in the admissions process. But that's the culture these rankings have created: screw accomplishments and life experiences, we just want numbers.

Also (and I guess a little contrary to my point above), get that ED application to Northwestern filled out and ready to go. They're one of the few (if not the only) schools that will overlook a poor GPA in favor of a high LSAT and significant work experience.

whymeohgodno
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby whymeohgodno » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:41 pm

beachbum wrote:
am688 wrote:
rad law wrote:
M.M. wrote:Is anyone else kind of awe stricken that the OP can have a 3.9 at Harvard grad school with 2 graduate degrees despite his undergrad GPA and be valued less than someone who got a 3.5 or so at a mediocre school for an undergrad degree? Every time I see this I get confused ...


Not really. Grad school GPAs are notoriously inflated.


The grading at Harvard was based on a forced curve. So the 3.9 was based on consistently scoring in the top 15% of each class I took. That is the reason why two of my recs are from professors at HKS and one from HBS.

PS...What's "OP"?


OP = original poster

I have to agree with M.M. on this one: with two prestigious graduate degrees (even with grade inflation) and significant work experience, it seems ridiculous that some random applicant with a higher uGPA is given more value in the admissions process. But that's the culture these rankings have created: screw accomplishments and life experiences, we just want numbers.

Also (and I guess a little contrary to my point above), get that ED application to Northwestern filled out and ready to go. They're one of the few (if not the only) schools that will overlook a poor GPA in favor of a high LSAT and significant work experience.


Ridiculous ain't got nothing to do with it.

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zworykin
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby zworykin » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:20 am

I'm not sure I understand why a 2.83 is different from a 3.4 or 3.5, if we're talking about it specifically in the context of the school's rankings, and specifically the kind of schools you'd be looking at with a 177-180.

The only numbers that count for the school are the median and 25th/75th points. If you're below the 25th, why should it matter to them how far below it you are? You have the same effect on their numbers either way.

You could even take a cynical look at it and say that the school would be well-served by taking several applicants a year with extremely low GPAs (provided that, like the OP here, there is decent evidence that the applicant should be able to do well at law school). That way the school would have more hard evidence to support their claims of taking an holistic approach to admissions, looking beyond the numbers, etc.



OP: Take your LSAT. Apply to any of the T14 who send you a waiver (and you'll get some if you score that high, despite your UGPA). Write a compelling Diversity Statement about your experiences overcoming your learning disability and, more importantly, how that experience will help you to bring a unique perspective to the school. Throw the bait out and see if anyone bites. It can't hurt to try. Like I said, from a rankings standpoint your GPA is no different from a 3.4/3.5 to the top schools, and from a real world, "the GPA indicates his chance of succeeding in law school" perspective, you have ample evidence that in your case, your undergrad GPA is a rather poor indicator. Good luck.

am688
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby am688 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:37 am

zworykin wrote:OP: Take your LSAT. Apply to any of the T14 who send you a waiver (and you'll get some if you score that high, despite your UGPA). Write a compelling Diversity Statement about your experiences overcoming your learning disability and, more importantly, how that experience will help you to bring a unique perspective to the school. Throw the bait out and see if anyone bites. It can't hurt to try. Like I said, from a rankings standpoint your GPA is no different from a 3.4/3.5 to the top schools, and from a real world, "the GPA indicates his chance of succeeding in law school" perspective, you have ample evidence that in your case, your undergrad GPA is a rather poor indicator. Good luck.


Thanks Zworykin. I'll definitely try. I guess I was originally discouraged by the law school by the numbers website, which consistently has low GPA/180 LSAT applicants that are denied admissions at top schools.

I'm taking the LSAT next week. Other than the LSAT, I have most everything else ready to submit (letter of recs; a few version of a personal statement; diversity statement; and supplemental statement about my low UGPA). So I'm pretty much ready to submit once I get that LSAT score.

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Grizz
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby Grizz » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:54 am

zworykin wrote:Like I said, from a rankings standpoint your GPA is no different from a 3.4/3.5 to the top schools


While this may be true, LSN shows that some schools have pretty hard GPA floors, like UT's 3.4, no matter the LSAT. Vanderbilt has a soft 3.2 for stratospheric LSATs, but barely anyone under 3.0 got in.

LSN shows that many schools, for whatever reason, view under 3.0 differently. Doesn't mean it's not worth trying.

09042014
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby 09042014 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:59 am

M.M. wrote:Is anyone else kind of awe stricken that the OP can have a 3.9 at Harvard grad school with 2 graduate degrees despite his undergrad GPA and be valued less than someone who got a 3.5 or so at a mediocre school for an undergrad degree? Every time I see this I get confused ...


The guy got a 2.8 at a mediocre undergrad and still got 3.9 at Harvard grad. Why then do you think the 3.5 at the state should be at disadvantage? Because they didn't waste tens of thousands for a worthless MA?

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2014
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby 2014 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:03 am

How did you get into Harvard grad school with a 2.7? I'm just curious...

09042014
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby 09042014 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:05 am

If I were you I would apply to the entire T14, maybe not Yale, Stanford and Berkeley if you are hard on cash. Definitely apply to Harvard. If you don't get a t14 this year, apply next year ED to Northwestern.

am688
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby am688 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:10 am

2014 wrote:How did you get into Harvard grad school with a 2.7? I'm just curious...


My GPA, as calculated by my undergraduate institution, was a 3.3. But LSAC uses a different formula for calculating your GPA, and this took it down to 2.78.

Grad schools use the calculation by your previous institution, and a near perfect GRE score, great recs, great work experience, lots of involvements, and research experience, all helped. Nevertheless, after getting the "you're in" letter from Harvard, I thought it was some sort of computer error that they would correct and tell me that I was actually "not in." But this never happened, so I showed up to orientation and then classes.

am688
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby am688 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:52 am

Desert Fox wrote:If I were you I would apply to the entire T14, maybe not Yale, Stanford and Berkeley if you are hard on cash. Definitely apply to Harvard. If you don't get a t14 this year, apply next year ED to Northwestern.


Thanks. Will definitely try this strategy. I was going to skip Berkeley because I heard that they are completely GPA centric. A little afraid of applying to Harvard--would be heartbreaking to get rejected from there. Especially because I love their law school library. But I may get the courage to apply.

09042014
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Re: High LSAT/Low GPA Question

Postby 09042014 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:39 am

am688 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:If I were you I would apply to the entire T14, maybe not Yale, Stanford and Berkeley if you are hard on cash. Definitely apply to Harvard. If you don't get a t14 this year, apply next year ED to Northwestern.


Thanks. Will definitely try this strategy. I was going to skip Berkeley because I heard that they are completely GPA centric. A little afraid of applying to Harvard--would be heartbreaking to get rejected from there. Especially because I love their law school library. But I may get the courage to apply.


They may be the only school to actually give a shit about the MA you got from them, especially if it really is graded on a strict curve, and if you get recommendations from them.

I wouldn't bet on you getting in, but you are an idiot if you don't try.




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