What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

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jackfriedman
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What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby jackfriedman » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:42 pm

Hi guys,

I am currently a freshman the University of Chicago, and am starting to feel like I will really want to go to law school at some point after undergrad. I am not too concerned with the major details of the process yet at this time, but am looking to set myself up with a good CV for the near future.

I'm a bit concerned about the prospect of my GPA not being high enough for the HYS set. Given what I have heard about Chicago's placement ability, it would seem that the GPA's tend to trend pretty low comparatively here. I ask the following question for multiple reasons, but for you guys, frankly: would I be better off transferring from here to a place where the potential to get more A's is going to be higher? Does Chicago have any kind of a 'gpa bump' in law school admissions office at these top schools?

I'm a kid who has always been interested in politics and has been involved from a young age. I've acted as an intern on Obama for America, a NYC Council race, and may work for the Rahm Emanuel for mayor bid here in Chicago. The crux of my extracurricular activities and the focus of my personal statements/recommendations will be coming from a political/public service angle. Will leadership posts in politics/community service be at all beneficial?

What is the best time to start preparing for the LSAT? I am not sure if I want to apply straight out of school (something that I could use advice on). I was considering maybe applying to a program like TFA, Peace Corps, Americorps, or for a UK-USA scholarship. Are any of these better routes to eventual success in the law school game?

All the best,
Jack

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bk1
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:44 pm

The best route to getting into a good law school is high GPA and high LSAT. A couple of years of work experience doesn't hurt either. Do other things, like all the softs you mentioned such as TFA, Americorps, etc, because you want to do them, not because they may help you get into law school.

Also, get laid.

dakatz
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby dakatz » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:45 pm

Just focus on getting good grades and enjoying your college experience. LSAT comes into play no earlier than late in your junior year, and thats if you want to apply to start immediately after undergrad begins. Until then, don't think about it honestly.

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im_blue
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby im_blue » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:10 pm

jackfriedman wrote:would I be better off transferring from here to a place where the potential to get more A's is going to be higher? Does Chicago have any kind of a 'gpa bump' in law school admissions office at these top schools?

IMO if you want law school, Chicago is not the place to be. Chicago is an ideal fit for students who want rigorous preparation for a PhD in math, science, economics, etc, but a terrible place to get a high GPA with minimal work, especially if you're not receiving substantial financial aid.

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Grizz
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby Grizz » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:14 pm

Normally my response to these "what to do I'm a freshman" posts is "have sex; party hard," but UChi is where fun goes to die, so I am totally at a loss. Do whatever the UChi equivalent of having fun would be.

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Mce252
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby Mce252 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:21 pm

I think that you should take advantage of the challenges your school presents and do as well as you can in spite of them. Transferring to a lesser school to obtain a higher GPA is a bad decision. I would say it is beneficial to find involvement on campus where you can have an impact. This means finding something that you are truly passionate about and actually want to work for. Hopefully, you will gain useful experience and maybe have a few prestigious titles to throw on your resume.

Shoot for a 4.0 EVERY semester in a major that -- again -- you are genuinely passionate about. Don't worry about the LSAT yet. Make close, mentor-like relationships with people that have credibility, not only for recommenders but for your own personal growth.

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URMdan
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby URMdan » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:22 pm

Start getting used to sucking up to your professors early..you will need them for strong LORs

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Grizz
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby Grizz » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:26 pm

URMdan wrote:Start getting used to sucking up to your professors early..you will need them for strong LORs


ur doing it wrong

dtubin
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby dtubin » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:56 pm

If you're looking to go to law school and you're thinking about transferring to a lower school to get a better gpa, you might want to reconsider your options.

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URMdan
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby URMdan » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:46 pm

rad law wrote:
URMdan wrote:Start getting used to sucking up to your professors early..you will need them for strong LORs


ur doing it wrong



I don't think so boss

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URMdan
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby URMdan » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:47 pm

dtubin wrote:If you're looking to go to law school and you're thinking about transferring to a lower school to get a better gpa, you might want to reconsider your options.



Not true. If you can get a better gpa at a "less prestigious" school without dislocating from an Ivy then do it. Schools pretty much don't care what UG you went to as long as it's accredited.

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oshberg28
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby oshberg28 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:58 pm

URMdan wrote:
dtubin wrote:If you're looking to go to law school and you're thinking about transferring to a lower school to get a better gpa, you might want to reconsider your options.



Not true. If you can get a better gpa at a "less prestigious" school without dislocating from an Ivy then do it. Schools pretty much don't care what UG you went to as long as it's accredited.


I don't think that's what he was getting at; for one, transferring to a less prestigious school just to get a higher gpa in preparation for law school seems very shortsighted, especially for a freshman. Who knows what will happen in four years, and a degree from UChicago will undoubtedly be more valuable than a degree from a 40-60 school. Second, taking the easier route won't necessarily look good to anyone, be it a law school or an employer. Why transfer to a less valuable school? Will you say "because I wanted to get a higher GPA"?..sounds a bit ridiculous, eh?

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SullaFelix
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby SullaFelix » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:51 pm

oshberg28 wrote:
URMdan wrote:
dtubin wrote:If you're looking to go to law school and you're thinking about transferring to a lower school to get a better gpa, you might want to reconsider your options.



Not true. If you can get a better gpa at a "less prestigious" school without dislocating from an Ivy then do it. Schools pretty much don't care what UG you went to as long as it's accredited.


I don't think that's what he was getting at; for one, transferring to a less prestigious school just to get a higher gpa in preparation for law school seems very shortsighted, especially for a freshman. Who knows what will happen in four years, and a degree from UChicago will undoubtedly be more valuable than a degree from a 40-60 school. Second, taking the easier route won't necessarily look good to anyone, be it a law school or an employer. Why transfer to a less valuable school? Will you say "because I wanted to get a higher GPA"?..sounds a bit ridiculous, eh?

Secondly, if you're transferring out of U Chicago because you think you can't get a high GPA there but can only do so elsewhere to game the system, then you probably shouldn't be going to a Harvard/Yale/Stanford.

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romothesavior
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby romothesavior » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:38 pm

Study hard, take classes you think you'll enjoy, take a major that will allow you a backup plan in case you change your mind about law, kill the LSAT, and most of all, enjoy college.

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djjf39
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby djjf39 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:46 pm

You really haven't started studying for the LSAT yet, better get a move on it buddy...

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ahduth
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby ahduth » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:48 pm

rad law wrote:Normally my response to these "what to do I'm a freshman" posts is "have sex; party hard," but UChi is where fun goes to die, so I am totally at a loss. Do whatever the UChi equivalent of having fun would be.


Yeah... the OP is pretty screwed. Luckily he came to TLS for help. I went to NYU for UG - not a conventional party school by any means. The frat people were the weird rejects of the campus social scene, such as it was. But I did party at big greek schools too. Seemed nice, as a tourist anyhow.

Also, lol at transferring to a crappier school, to get a better GPA, to go to law school. Talk about highly structured ways to debase and devalue your life at an early age.

OP's first job interview after college:

Interviewer: "Talk to me a little bit about why you decided to transfer from the University of Chicago to the University of Florida."
OP: "Well, my mentors at TLS told me the best way to get into law school was to 'have sex; party hard,' so I decided to move to a school where I could do that more effectively."
Interviewer: "That sounds like you made the right choice. Welcome to the team, barista."

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abarrios
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby abarrios » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:06 pm

bk1 wrote:The best route to getting into a good law school is high GPA and high LSAT. A couple of years of work experience doesn't hurt either. Do other things, like all the softs you mentioned such as TFA, Americorps, etc, because you want to do them, not because they may help you get into law school.

Also, get laid.


TITCR

policestate1234
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby policestate1234 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:09 pm

Is it just me that saw this and thought...gunnner.

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lalalawya
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby lalalawya » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:19 am

No need to be sarcastic...can't fault the kid for thinking about how to maximize his chances already. In two years, when he starts applying, I am sure the medians in every school will have raised making admission more difficult; meaning these early planners will be better off.

djjf39 wrote:You really haven't started studying for the LSAT yet, better get a move on it buddy...

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IAFG
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby IAFG » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:27 am

policestate1234 wrote:Is it just me that saw this and thought...gunnner.

Closer to "and this is why no one wants to fuck UChi students."

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applepiecrust
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby applepiecrust » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:33 am

Why transfer to a less prestigious school? Try transferring to a peer school with grade inflation (cough *every school minus Princeton* cough) and profit. Then, the transfer could always be about the school not being the right "fit" for you.
And if that doesn't work, do as well as you can at UChicago. I'm sure it's a great school.

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URMdan
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby URMdan » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:52 am

oshberg28 wrote:
URMdan wrote:
dtubin wrote:If you're looking to go to law school and you're thinking about transferring to a lower school to get a better gpa, you might want to reconsider your options.



Not true. If you can get a better gpa at a "less prestigious" school without dislocating from an Ivy then do it. Schools pretty much don't care what UG you went to as long as it's accredited.


I don't think that's what he was getting at; for one, transferring to a less prestigious school just to get a higher gpa in preparation for law school seems very shortsighted, especially for a freshman. Who knows what will happen in four years, and a degree from UChicago will undoubtedly be more valuable than a degree from a 40-60 school. Second, taking the easier route won't necessarily look good to anyone, be it a law school or an employer. Why transfer to a less valuable school? Will you say "because I wanted to get a higher GPA"?..sounds a bit ridiculous, eh?



To my knowledge, YPH are the only UG schools that adcomms will noticeably budge as far as GPA is concerned. Outside of YPH the GPA is a rather objective figure, despite the holistic approach most law schools claim they take. UChicago is the 9th ranked UG. Although highly respectable outside of law school admittance, it is not special enough for adcomms to sacrifice their medians. And although attending UChicago may give OP an edge over other applicants with very similar GPAs, majors and LSAT scores from "less prestigious" schools, it will not compensate for any significant GPA difference between applicants from "less prestigious" institutions (there ARE exceptions, but OP is not one).

For example, if you can get a 3.85 from the 60th ranked institution, and a 3.6 from UChicago, guess which one will be more helpful: that's right, the 3.85. The most feasible explanation to this is probably because law schools don't take into account the "prestige" of an institution where the GPA came from when they report it to USNews. Thus, a 3.85 is a 3.85 regardless of where you went to school - whether it's the 90th ranked school or the 9th (with some clemency given for specific majors). Is it fair? I don't think so either, but that's the game baby girl. I would take a higher GPA from a 40-60 school over a lower GPA from UChicago any day.

This is probably hardest for someone in OP's shoes to accept because they're right outside the cusp of being "too important" for the objective GPA rule to apply to them. I have a 3.0 from an Ivy, and I feel like it won't count for much more than someone else's 3.0 from the 100th ranked school. The only real advantages of attending a prestigious UG is the edge that you will have when searching for employment post-LS which is marginal if you don't do well in LS, and the security that you have in case you decide to ditch LS.

Also, OP can make the argument that he/she cannot afford to pay the hefty tuition of UChicago, which could justify transferring to a lower ranked/less expensive school.

pwyoung
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby pwyoung » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:29 am

So I'm in a similar position to the original poster... however I'm at a less prestigious school.

Okay, who am I going to kid. I'm at a significantly less prestigious school.

Other than screwing chicks, is there any other advice?

Also, I think I'm shooting to take some summer classes and add in my AP scores and graduate in 3 years, couple of questions:

1) Will AP credits affect my LSAC GPA?
2) Let's say I shoot to graduate in 3 years, so I take my LSAT in June of what would, under a normal timeframe, be my Sophomore year, but I get into that year and decide not to, so I don't take it until October of my Senior year... is that timeframe discrepancy going to reflect poorly?

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im_blue
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby im_blue » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:23 am

pwyoung wrote:So I'm in a similar position to the original poster... however I'm at a less prestigious school.

Okay, who am I going to kid. I'm at a significantly less prestigious school.

Other than screwing chicks, is there any other advice?

Also, I think I'm shooting to take some summer classes and add in my AP scores and graduate in 3 years, couple of questions:

1) Will AP credits affect my LSAC GPA?
2) Let's say I shoot to graduate in 3 years, so I take my LSAT in June of what would, under a normal timeframe, be my Sophomore year, but I get into that year and decide not to, so I don't take it until October of my Senior year... is that timeframe discrepancy going to reflect poorly?

1) no
2) Uh, are you saying you take the LSAT twice (June of 2nd year, October of 4th year)?

pwyoung
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Re: What to do--a freshman undergrad looking to make his way.

Postby pwyoung » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:31 am

im_blue wrote:
pwyoung wrote:So I'm in a similar position to the original poster... however I'm at a less prestigious school.

Okay, who am I going to kid. I'm at a significantly less prestigious school.

Other than screwing chicks, is there any other advice?

Also, I think I'm shooting to take some summer classes and add in my AP scores and graduate in 3 years, couple of questions:

1) Will AP credits affect my LSAC GPA?
2) Let's say I shoot to graduate in 3 years, so I take my LSAT in June of what would, under a normal timeframe, be my Sophomore year, but I get into that year and decide not to, so I don't take it until October of my Senior year... is that timeframe discrepancy going to reflect poorly?

1) no
2) Uh, are you saying you take the LSAT twice (June of 2nd year, October of 4th year)?


Correct. My natural inclination is no, but that's kind of a huge timeframe.




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