Non-traditional majors/WE?

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vissidarte27
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Non-traditional majors/WE?

Postby vissidarte27 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:06 am

Hi folks.

How much do undergrad majors matter? Similarly, does work experience outside of the legal field detract from an otherwise decent application?

I was a music major (and I went to a conservatory, so I have a BM instead of a BA) and am concerned that my major and my unrelated-to-anything-in-the-real-world work experience (retail, actor at opera house, church musician, 2yrs as a live-in nanny with lots of international travel) might damage my chances.

I graduate in December (3.22 GPA), plan on taking the LSAT in February (have been averaging 170/171 on PTs) and applying ED at Virginia for the 2012/2013 school year. I'm currently following an opera singer friend around the world, making sure her kid doesn't choke on a Cheerio and die. It's not even remotely law-related, but it's good money, easy hours, and free globetrotting (this year I've been to/am going to London, Munich, Paris, Prague, Hamburg, Hanover, and Edinburgh plus all over the US and Canada) and I'd be an idiot to turn down that kind of life experience. Plus, it gives me lots of time to study for the LSAT and enough money to pay off my credit card debt, a bit of my undergrad student loans, and to put a little in savings.

I just worry that admissions is going to look at that and at my undergrad major and be like "WTF is she doing here?" I want to be a lawyer, I want to go to law school, and I very much want to go to UVA, but I'm afraid I won't be taken seriously with my background.

Is there anyway to downplay my major/WE to make me a more viable candidate?

whymeohgodno
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Re: Non-traditional majors/WE?

Postby whymeohgodno » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:08 am

Nope won't hurt you. WE might actually help you.

Although I did hear someone on TLS say her major/WE in fashion might have hurt her at OCI. But that's not admissions.

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vissidarte27
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Re: Non-traditional majors/WE?

Postby vissidarte27 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:23 pm

Thanks! I'm glad you think it won't hurt my chances.

In these sorts of cases, do admissions people expect an explanation for the change in direction? Do I need to explain why I decided not to sing to pursue law instead?

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T6Hopeful
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Re: Non-traditional majors/WE?

Postby T6Hopeful » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:26 pm

Well I'm actually inclined to disagree (if only slightly) with the above poster.
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/carterth
Unless this LSN is a flame, it seems that SOMETHING in that person's application was off just enough to keep them out of HYS. And yes, this may be a rare exception, but I wouldn't discount your major so quickly. It may not factor into the application process at all, but OP, what I'm saying is that you may want to tie your application (PS & DS especially) together very neatly with WHY you want to go into law after getting a degree in music. The burden is on the applicant to show the admissions committee to show that you possess a necessary understanding of how things work in the world, which may not necessarily shine through with a music degree. This is especially true if you DON'T nail an outstanding score on the LSAT, leaving more room for explanation as to why they should take you an applicant with a similar LSAT score but versed in a more rote course of study.

So for short, your major won't make or break you, but of course you want to a) make sure you do well in it (which I guess at this point your grades are what they are since you're graduating soon), and b) make sure you make a very strong case for why this may even be an advantage. Even if you go to a prestigious conservatory, don't assume that the admissions committee will know that.

And if you really want to go to UVA and don't mind paying sticker, that 170-171 should give you a fighting shot at ED, especially if you apply early on in the cycle. But, concentrate on hitting that score first. Hope this helps! :)

firemed
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Re: Non-traditional majors/WE?

Postby firemed » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:59 pm

T6Hopeful wrote:Well I'm actually inclined to disagree (if only slightly) with the above poster.
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/carterth
Unless this LSN is a flame, it seems that SOMETHING in that person's application was off just enough to keep them out of HYS. And yes, this may be a rare exception, but I wouldn't discount your major so quickly. It may not factor into the application process at all, but OP, what I'm saying is that you may want to tie your application (PS & DS especially) together very neatly with WHY you want to go into law after getting a degree in music. The burden is on the applicant to show the admissions committee to show that you possess a necessary understanding of how things work in the world, which may not necessarily shine through with a music degree. This is especially true if you DON'T nail an outstanding score on the LSAT, leaving more room for explanation as to why they should take you an applicant with a similar LSAT score but versed in a more rote course of study.

So for short, your major won't make or break you, but of course you want to a) make sure you do well in it (which I guess at this point your grades are what they are since you're graduating soon), and b) make sure you make a very strong case for why this may even be an advantage. Even if you go to a prestigious conservatory, don't assume that the admissions committee will know that.

And if you really want to go to UVA and don't mind paying sticker, that 170-171 should give you a fighting shot at ED, especially if you apply early on in the cycle. But, concentrate on hitting that score first. Hope this helps! :)



+1

also, have heard that music majors tend to do well on LSAT....

kiniru
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Re: Non-traditional majors/WE?

Postby kiniru » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:00 pm

I think if you can write a good PS that ties together your WE/major to why you want to go to law school, it won't hurt you at all.

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vamedic03
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Re: Non-traditional majors/WE?

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:03 pm

vissidarte27 wrote:Thanks! I'm glad you think it won't hurt my chances.

In these sorts of cases, do admissions people expect an explanation for the change in direction? Do I need to explain why I decided not to sing to pursue law instead?


You should have a cogent reason for choosing to go to law school. That doesn't mean that you need to explain why you are not doing something else, rather, just explain why you want to go to law school. I have a non-traditional major / WE (significant experience in health care and emergency services), and have done well at UVA and did well during OCI.




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