what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

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kjadkins
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what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby kjadkins » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:18 pm

So how much will my softs actually matter? Up until recently I really saw law school decisions as a numbers game, but the more I read these forums and do research, the more I hear about softs. How much are they going to help/hurt me?

I feel like mine are pretty decent. I'm president of my social sorority (which I actually think hurt me in my TFA interview, my interviewer went to an ivy with no greek life and seemed more than a little judgey about it, even though SHE was the one who asked about it to begin with), I'm on student government exec board, and on exec for a student political organization. I've also studied abroad, studied "away" (summer in DC), interned with the federal government, interned with a local non-profit, and done research with grad students. How much does this all actually matter? I submitted a resumé with each application, even if they didn't ask for one, so all of them have detailed information about all of that.

krad
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby krad » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:22 pm

So this may be kind of random, but I saw your other posting and being a URM with a 167 and okay GPA (mid 3's from what I gathered?) will matter a million times more than your softs. Being a URM with decent softs can only help, I'm sure!

I know others can provide more insight into softs. I find rating softs to be one of the more confusing aspects of an app, other than the fact that they don't matter too much...

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BrownBears09
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby BrownBears09 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:23 pm

kjadkins wrote:I'm president of my social sorority (which I actually think hurt me in my TFA interview, my interviewer went to an ivy with no greek life and seemed more than a little judgey about it, even though SHE was the one who asked about it to begin with), I'm on student government exec board, and on exec for a student political organization.


Wait... what? Every Ivy League school has Greek life.
Last edited by BrownBears09 on Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kjadkins
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby kjadkins » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:23 pm

krad wrote: I find rating softs to be one of the more confusing aspects of an app, other than the fact that they don't matter too much...


Exactly why I asked. Thanks so much! It's oddly comforting to know that everyone else is just as in the dark as I am about those kinds of things. Lol.

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kjadkins
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby kjadkins » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:24 pm

BrownBears09 wrote:
kjadkins wrote:I'm president of my social sorority (which I actually think hurt me in my TFA interview, my interviewer went to an ivy with no greek life and seemed more than a little judgey about it, even though SHE was the one who asked about it to begin with), I'm on student government exec board, and on exec for a student political organization.


Wait... what? Every Ivy League school has Greek Life.



Interesting... Not what she told me in my interview.

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kjadkins
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby kjadkins » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:28 pm

kjadkins wrote:
BrownBears09 wrote:
kjadkins wrote:I'm president of my social sorority (which I actually think hurt me in my TFA interview, my interviewer went to an ivy with no greek life and seemed more than a little judgey about it, even though SHE was the one who asked about it to begin with), I'm on student government exec board, and on exec for a student political organization.


Wait... what? Every Ivy League school has Greek Life.



Interesting... Not what she told me in my interview.


I did a little bit of digging, if I remember correctly she told me she went to Princeton. There is, in fact, no greek life on campus at Princeton. Their school does not recognize sororities or fraternities. But there are some "unofficial" groups comprised of Princeton students.

--LinkRemoved--

So she was technically telling the truth.

taxguy
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby taxguy » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:29 pm

Honestly, no one here knows for sure. I have spoken to various admission officers who said that they use a "holistic" approach to admission. Some said that the GPA becomes less in importance the longer the applicant has been in the job market.
However, no one will know for sure.

As far as what constitutes strong softs, I would say being a Marshall or Fullbright scholar is very impressive. If you have a distinguished service medal of some type from the military, that would be very beneficial. I would imagine that if you have particularly strong GPA in grad school, ( such as 3.75+) it would be viewed very strongly. I even think that passing a tough standardized test such as the CPA, CFA, Actuarial exam etc, would be viewed strongly in that it shows that and applicant can pass a tough standardized test, which is a good omen for passing the bar.

Things that are NOT good softs would be: athletics ( unless in the olympics), officer of a fraternity, peer mediator, and even student government ( although this factor might be deemed somewhat beneficial).

The problem with "softs" is that you would need some type of proof. Simply saying that you came from a divorced, poor background is nice,but,without proof, it is a nice story. Saying you are an outlier on standardized tests needs proof. I would strongly suggest that, whenever possible, you attach proof for any softs that you are alledging. Remember, lawyers are skeptics.
Last edited by taxguy on Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gemini
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby Gemini » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:30 pm

In my opinion:

LSAT>GPA>Personal Statement>Softs

If one thing is AMAZING then sure, they'll weigh it more, but I feel like this is the general formula.

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby bdubs » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:30 pm

kjadkins wrote:So how much will my softs actually matter? Up until recently I really saw law school decisions as a numbers game, but the more I read these forums and do research, the more I hear about softs. How much are they going to help/hurt me?

I feel like mine are pretty decent. I'm president of my social sorority (which I actually think hurt me in my TFA interview, my interviewer went to an ivy with no greek life and seemed more than a little judgey about it, even though SHE was the one who asked about it to begin with), I'm on student government exec board, and on exec for a student political organization. I've also studied abroad, studied "away" (summer in DC), interned with the federal government, interned with a local non-profit, and done research with grad students. How much does this all actually matter? I submitted a resumé with each application, even if they didn't ask for one, so all of them have detailed information about all of that.


If you're still in undergrad and all of your softs involve leadership positions in student orgs, they are not extraordinary.

Most LS applicants undergraduate experiences are relatively similar (involvement on campus in various ways). The softs that can help during undergrad are winning very prestigious awards that the adcomms know are not available to all students.

Once you graduate you have a better opportunity to differentiate yourself and build softs. The vast majority of HYS law students have at least one year of work experience and a lot have 2+. It works the same as you work your way down, but numbers start to outshine softs as you move down the rankings.

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby BrownBears09 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:32 pm

kjadkins wrote:
kjadkins wrote:
BrownBears09 wrote:
kjadkins wrote:I'm president of my social sorority (which I actually think hurt me in my TFA interview, my interviewer went to an ivy with no greek life and seemed more than a little judgey about it, even though SHE was the one who asked about it to begin with), I'm on student government exec board, and on exec for a student political organization.


Wait... what? Every Ivy League school has Greek Life.



Interesting... Not what she told me in my interview.


I did a little bit of digging, if I remember correctly she told me she went to Princeton. There is, in fact, no greek life on campus at Princeton. Their school does not recognize sororities or fraternities. But there are some "unofficial" groups comprised of Princeton students.

--LinkRemoved--

So she was technically telling the truth.



Meh. "Eating Clubs" = Greek Life, let's not kid ourselves. http://www.princeton.edu/reports/2010/e ... ternities/


But nevermind my derail.

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Adjudicator
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby Adjudicator » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:37 pm

Real "good softs" can make a huge difference, but very few people actually have them. Real "good softs" can get you in to Yale with sub-par numbers, like Elizabeth Wurtzel.

When I think of good softs, I think of the guy who posted here who was a medic in the marines with two tours in Iraq and who designed some of the medic training programs, or something... stuff like that instantly makes you an intriguing candidate.

Student government, studying abroad, and most internships don't really make you stand out that much, although they certainly don't hurt either.

krad
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby krad » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:42 pm

Gemini Hopeful wrote:In my opinion:

LSAT>=URM>GPA>Personal Statement>Softs

If one thing is AMAZING then sure, they'll weigh it more, but I feel like this is the general formula.


That's what I've basically taken it to be as well, adding URM if you are one...

taxguy
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby taxguy » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:48 pm

Soft factors and personal statements go hand in hand. You want to accentuate them in a well-written, concise statement.

My take on this, and admittedly this is my opinion, is that soft factors become especially important in highly ranked schools where most applicants have top notch academic credentials. I would also bet that most other lower ranked schools keep a few slots open for outlying types of applicants. They could be for URMs. They could be people with particularly intriquing backgrounds or other interesting soft factors. However, I would bet that fewer than 10% of the spots available are saved for these types of folks.

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:50 pm

taxguy wrote:Soft factors and personal statements go hand in hand. You want to accentuate them in a well-written, concise statement.

My take on this, and admittedly this is my opinion, is that soft factors become especially important in highly ranked schools where most applicants have top notch academic credentials. I would also bet that most other lower ranked schools keep a few slots open for outlying types of applicants. They could be for URMs. They could be people with particularly intriquing backgrounds or other interesting soft factors. However, I would bet that fewer than 10% of the spots available are saved available (possible?) for these types of folks.


FIFY

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby txadv11 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:05 pm

Do you guys think that money is ever awarded upon extras/softs? What about scholarships after admission? -Aside from poor conditions growing up etc.

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:11 pm

txadv11 wrote:Do you guys think that money is ever awarded upon extras/softs? What about scholarships after admission? -Aside from poor conditions growing up etc.


Top schools have generous need-base aid so you may not need scholarship. Need-base grants is probably better and no academic stipulations. HYS has no merit aid but can end up cheaper than lower ranked schools if you are poor not rich.

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby txadv11 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:13 pm

r6_philly wrote:
txadv11 wrote:Do you guys think that money is ever awarded upon extras/softs? What about scholarships after admission? -Aside from poor conditions growing up etc.


Top schools have generous need-base aid so you may not need scholarship. Need-base grants is probably better and no academic stipulations. HYS has no merit aid but can end up cheaper than lower ranked schools if you are poor not rich.


What about in the scope of TTT schools :oops: ?

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:30 pm

I've heard the horror story of them stacking the sections then give class rank requirements for aid so most people end up paying sticker after 1L year, so be careful with TTT merit aid. Don't know much about need-base. My gut guess is if you are beyond the top schools, try to go to one with in-state tuition. At least you will pay less and have a decent alumni base after graduation.

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:31 pm

I am PA resident. I wouldn't call Temple or Penn State TTT, but if I couldn't get in T20 or so I would most definitely go to Temple/PSU with or without aid.

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txadv11
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby txadv11 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:35 pm

Yikes. I only have one decision in my hands right now. It came with some money, but is dependent upon a 3.0 each year for renewal...hmmm...

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:42 pm

txadv11 wrote:Yikes. I only have one decision in my hands right now. It came with some money, but is dependent upon a 3.0 each year for renewal...hmmm...


It's still early, see if you can pick some alternatives too.

Also see if you can find what they curve the class to. If they stack 90 scholarship recipients into one section, then give everyone a 3.0 requirement, but curve the section to a 2.8, how many will get to renew? With the nature of law exams, there is no knowing where you would stand anyway. GPA require is suspicious. At least with class rank (say top half) you know where you need to be. If they curve it like some engineering schools (to a C+/B-) you are screwed.

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txadv11
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby txadv11 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:43 pm

r6_philly wrote:
txadv11 wrote:Yikes. I only have one decision in my hands right now. It came with some money, but is dependent upon a 3.0 each year for renewal...hmmm...


It's still early, see if you can pick some alternatives too.

Also see if you can find what they curve the class to. If they stack 90 scholarship recipients into one section, then give everyone a 3.0 requirement, but curve the section to a 2.8, how many will get to renew? With the nature of law exams, there is no knowing where you would stand anyway. GPA require is suspicious. At least with class rank (say top half) you know where you need to be. If they curve it like some engineering schools (to a C+/B-) you are screwed.


Wow I haven't even thought about the fact that they could seriously be manipulating $/rank/grades. I guess like every 150's idiot I was happy to see a money offer lol.

taxguy
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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby taxguy » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:46 pm

txadv11 wrote:Do you guys think that money is ever awarded upon extras/softs? What about scholarships after admission? -Aside from poor conditions growing up etc.



I have NEVER heard of any scholarhship offered because of soft factors with the exception of URM. Maybe it is possible,but I haven't seen it ever. Merit scholarships are offered to raise
the academic quality of applicants. These types of scholarships are mostly based on LSAT scores.

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby JakeL » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:04 pm

txadv11 wrote:Do you guys think that money is ever awarded upon extras/softs? What about scholarships after admission? -Aside from poor conditions growing up etc.


I would say that in my case it is likely that my softs have been influential. I've been awarded money everywhere I've been accepted thus far. I am non-urm, bad GPA, and ok LSAT. From looking at lawschoolnumbers for this cycle and last, I shouldn't have been admitted, and have received more money at W&M than those closest to me. Far from scientific, but the same can be said about another school admitted me, Alabama, with respect to $.

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Re: what are "good" softs and how much do they matter?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:09 pm

txadv11 wrote:
Wow I haven't even thought about the fact that they could seriously be manipulating $/rank/grades. I guess like every 150's idiot I was happy to see a money offer lol.


Don't sell yourself short, they are just not being very upfront about everything. I mean treat money offer as 1 year offers, anything else (like if you are able to renew) as icing on the cake. Just don't count on anything you don't already have.

That's why state schools may work out better, and you still can probably get some need-base aid. Compare the COA without aid and see if it's worth it, then work from there.




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