Dropping out of grad school...

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sharrin7
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Dropping out of grad school...

Postby sharrin7 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:20 pm

So, after undergrad I decided to get married and go to grad school literally across the country (by north-south standards). However, a bit over two months into my program I am fairly miserable (none of this misery, by the way, has to do with the marriage). During that time I have begun to research alternatives and have spent a fair amount of time researching law schools, their curriculums, and what exactly working as a lawyer entails. I eventually concluded that after finishing my grad program I would go on to law school (assuming, that is, I qualify).

More recently, however, I have started to contemplate dropping out of the program altogether.

That questions I am posing are twofold:

Will law school adcomms look negatively upon my application if I drop out?

And (since one of my top schools as an application deadline of 4/1) will adcomms look negatively upon my application (in particular my shot at scholarships) if I apply rather late in the cycle (saw late February assuming I take the February LSAT)?

Thanks so much for any advice/opinions.

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bk1
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby bk1 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:21 pm

I would wait a year rather than apply at the deadline.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:32 pm

sharrin7 wrote:So, after undergrad I decided to get married and go to grad school literally across the country (by north-south standards). However, a bit over two months into my program I am fairly miserable (none of this misery, by the way, has to do with the marriage). During that time I have begun to research alternatives and have spent a fair amount of time researching law schools, their curriculums, and what exactly working as a lawyer entails. I eventually concluded that after finishing my grad program I would go on to law school (assuming, that is, I qualify).

More recently, however, I have started to contemplate dropping out of the program altogether.

That questions I am posing are twofold:

Will law school adcomms look negatively upon my application if I drop out?

And (since one of my top schools as an application deadline of 4/1) will adcomms look negatively upon my application (in particular my shot at scholarships) if I apply rather late in the cycle (saw late February assuming I take the February LSAT)?

Thanks so much for any advice/opinions.


1) Yes. Dropping out of a grad program is looked negatively upon by adcoms because it shows a failure to finish a major project undertaken and they're hesitant to admit someone who might not complete the J.D. I remember a poster on here whose cycle didn't necessarily go horribly, but that went def. less well than numbers would have predicted, and several hypothesized that having dropped out of a grad program is what hurt said applicant.
2) The later in your cycle, the worse your chances are.

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homestyle28
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby homestyle28 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:56 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
sharrin7 wrote:So, after undergrad I decided to get married and go to grad school literally across the country (by north-south standards). However, a bit over two months into my program I am fairly miserable (none of this misery, by the way, has to do with the marriage). During that time I have begun to research alternatives and have spent a fair amount of time researching law schools, their curriculums, and what exactly working as a lawyer entails. I eventually concluded that after finishing my grad program I would go on to law school (assuming, that is, I qualify).

More recently, however, I have started to contemplate dropping out of the program altogether.

That questions I am posing are twofold:

Will law school adcomms look negatively upon my application if I drop out?

And (since one of my top schools as an application deadline of 4/1) will adcomms look negatively upon my application (in particular my shot at scholarships) if I apply rather late in the cycle (saw late February assuming I take the February LSAT)?

Thanks so much for any advice/opinions.


1) Yes. Dropping out of a grad program is looked negatively upon by adcoms because it shows a failure to finish a major project undertaken and they're hesitant to admit someone who might not complete the J.D. I remember a poster on here whose cycle didn't necessarily go horribly, but that went def. less well than numbers would have predicted, and several hypothesized that having dropped out of a grad program is what hurt said applicant.
2) The later in your cycle, the worse your chances are.


1. I disagree. I've known several people that have done what OP is contemplating. By and large all that adcoms care about is UGPA/LSAT, finishing the grad degree doesn't matter. At most it impacts LORs.

2. Credited.

OP, if you have funding for your grad program I'd seriously consider sticking it out until next cycle, or start studying for Dec. LSAT, it's not too late. If you're paying for it, then quit and get a job while LSATing.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:58 pm

homestyle28 wrote:
1. I disagree. I've known several people that have done what OP is contemplating. By and large all that adcoms care about is UGPA/LSAT, finishing the grad degree doesn't matter. At most it impacts LORs.


2. Credited.

OP, if you have funding for your grad program I'd seriously consider sticking it out until next cycle, or start studying for Dec. LSAT, it's not too late. If you're paying for it, then quit and get a job while LSATing.


Dropping out is a negative soft. If you're in a situation where softs don't matter, then it won't impact the applicant, but at the margins it's deleterious. I guess it also depends on the schools the applicant is aiming for---it's def. not good though at like YHS & somewhat at CCN depending on numbers.

sharrin7
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby sharrin7 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:46 pm

Thanks for all the input!

I've thought about the December LSAT and figured I could do decent enough (I took the GRE cold and fit around the 85th percentile) to get into the school with the admissions deadline of 4/1 (Holy shit! Cat's out of the bag, it's Minnesota! Primarily because I want to work and grew up in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area).

However, my undergrad GPA is decent enough where, with a decent LSAT, I could have a legitimate shot at CCN and MVP.

Overall, I'm really stuck. I do have funding at my current program but the stipend is rather modest, and my wife is struggling to find a job in the area due to - or maybe I'm/she's just making excuses - a ridiculously high unemployment rate in the state, and a higher one in our area.

Again, thanks for the advice and information.

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IAFG
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby IAFG » Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:48 pm

why law school?

sharrin7
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby sharrin7 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:09 pm

Part of the appeal of law school is the regimented and rigorous academic work. I have always enjoyed takling complex problems, working with multiple solutions, and ultimately solving problems that have greater implications within society.

My undergraduate work was very regimented, research intense, and seemed - from what I've read - to be much more like law school would be.

The graduate work I've done is far more creative and loose, there seems to be a lack of direction in the program I'm in, everything is too laid back, and I find myself struggling academically (not grade-wise, but learning-wise).

I enjoyed my undergraduate experience thoroughly and the research I conducted, the hours of pouring through books in the library, the finding of solutions to problems, the arguing and reasoning, all seem to be more closely related to law school.

As far as Minnesota, I am particularly intrigued by their Special Education Clinic. I have a brother with autism and a mother who is highly educated, yet has to take care of my brother instead of pursuing a career of her own. I feel my childhood experience and familial circumstances, combined with this opportunity at the U of M, would make for a solid personal statement. Which (maybe?) would compensate for dropping out of my grad program (if I do end up taking that road).

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IAFG
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby IAFG » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:12 pm

i, personally, think going to law school for the sake of going to law school is unwise. it's professional school, not an end unto itself. it's also expensive as hell. obviously i don't know you, but some people go to law school out of what they perceive to be a lack of alternatives, or because they feel like anything would be better than what they're doing now.

sharrin7
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby sharrin7 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:25 pm

Sounds logical to me... if you don't mind me asking, why are you going (assuming you are or intend to)?

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IAFG
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby IAFG » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:30 pm

sharrin7 wrote:Sounds logical to me... if you don't mind me asking, why are you going (assuming you are or intend to)?

here for the MRS

kmap
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby kmap » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:46 pm

I dropped out of grad school less than a year in and I'm currently at HLS even with a substantially below-median LSAT score. And I'm not the only one; at least 4 or 5 other students in my section alone are PhD program dropouts. I don't see why it would matter at all, assuming your grades were good prior to dropping out and you clearly articulate your reason for leaving somewhere in your law school application (PS, addendum, whatever).

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clintonius
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby clintonius » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:51 pm

Yeah, I also know somebody who dropped out of a grad program (at Stanford, granted) and wound up at HLS. I think I recall reading an interview with some dean that dropping after the first year can be understandable, especially as compared to dropping later -- halfway through a PdH, for example.

kmap
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Re: Dropping out of grad school...

Postby kmap » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:19 pm

clintonius wrote:Yeah, I also know somebody who dropped out of a grad program (at Stanford, granted) and wound up at HLS. I think I recall reading an interview with some dean that dropping after the first year can be understandable, especially as compared to dropping later -- halfway through a PdH, for example.


I don't know; I think the others in my section dropped out after completing a few years. I would think that if anything, it would demonstrate that you're capable of upper-level coursework rather than work against you.




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