How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

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cardsfan04
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How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby cardsfan04 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:22 pm

I'm sure this has been asked, but I couldn't find anything on point when searching the forum. Sorry if I'm missing something easily found.

I'm the prototype of underachiever in college. I didn't have any major event to blame it on. Instead of applying myself to school, I focused on becoming a decent poker player. I have played professionally since March 2009 if that's relevant, but realized it's not a longterm goal like I once thought it was.

GPA: ~2.5 (estimate, graduated 2008)
LSAT: 156 on first practice test.

I'm not looking to get into a top 10 law school. Someplace like SLU (156 avg LSAT/3.44 median GPA). What can I do besides boosting my LSAT score?

Will Mock Trial Awards help me? I won a bunch of best attorney awards in undergrad.

Is using somebody well respected in the poker community (that knows me well) a bad idea for a recommendation? I think I can actually get a couple of strong recommendations from undergrad professors, because I did turn it around a bit at the end of college.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby Nulli Secundus » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:25 pm

Only a high LSAT will help you. No other soft, barring a Nobel prize, will offset that GPA.

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Hannibal
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby Hannibal » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:25 pm

Best way is to take a few years off to distance yourself from your GPA. Of course nothing's as good as an LSAT improvement.

FYI it is possible to dramatically increase your LSAT. My diag was 143, so my total increase was +31 (and I PTed a few 180s).

And definitely do not do the poker LOR. Only professors unless you take a few years off and work FT, then do one from your boss on top of those.

sullidop
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby sullidop » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:27 pm

Traditionally things like a crazy hard major or an elite UG school can modestly offset a bad GPA. From the tone of the question, however, it seems like you already know the answer. GPA & LSAT scores make up the VAST MAJORITY of "points" awarded to an application. Soft factors like extra-curriculars and recommendations probably won't boost your application in any appreciable way, although a dearth of them can certainly harm you.

Here's hoping that you can up the LSAT and end up being a big time splitter.

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fatduck
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby fatduck » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:29 pm

i wouldn't use a rec from a poker player (who is it, out of curiosity?)

just practice the lsat, you can get a lot better. if you're a winning online poker player i'm confident you aren't an idiot. start working on recs, you don't need anything stellar just make sure you can get two profs to give you a standard, run-of-the-mill rec. but really it's lsat lsat lsat.

fwiw i'm a midstakes ftp reg who also decided to quit poker and go to law school, and i've got into some decent schools (wustl, gwu, etc) with a 2.9/170. good luck!
Last edited by fatduck on Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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HugerThanSoup
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby HugerThanSoup » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:31 pm

cardsfan04 wrote:I'm sure this has been asked, but I couldn't find anything on point when searching the forum. Sorry if I'm missing something easily found.

I'm the prototype of underachiever in college. I didn't have any major event to blame it on. Instead of applying myself to school, I focused on becoming a decent poker player. I have played professionally since March 2009 if that's relevant, but realized it's not a longterm goal like I once thought it was.

GPA: ~2.5 (estimate, graduated 2008)
LSAT: 156 on first practice test.

I'm not looking to get into a top 10 law school. Someplace like SLU (156 avg LSAT/3.44 median GPA). What can I do besides boosting my LSAT score?

Will Mock Trial Awards help me? I won a bunch of best attorney awards in undergrad.

Is using somebody well respected in the poker community (that knows me well) a bad idea for a recommendation? I think I can actually get a couple of strong recommendations from undergrad professors, because I did turn it around a bit at the end of college.


Stick with cards. Honestly, unless you boost your LSAT, no amount of "soft" factors will make up for your GPA. Mock Trial demonstrates an interest in the law, but it's not a decisive factor (not even close).

If you're serious about becoming an attorney, take an LSAT prep course. It's money well spent and will save you/earn you money in the long-run. If you get your score up to the 165-168 range, your GPA won't seem so glaringly low. As a splitter (below 25% GPA, above 75% LSAT), you'll need every point on the LSAT that you can get.

rose711
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby rose711 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:34 pm

I wonder if it is worth it to take some graduate level or even more undergraduate courses in something? Even go back to learn a foreign language? or Business/economics? It won't change your GPA but it would give you a chance to prove you are a good student. Speaking of which, it might be a good idea for you to go to school just so you learn how to be a good undergraduate student before you try to truck off to law school.

Find some topnotch charity(s) in your area and be an amazing volunteer with them to build up some kind of softs that show concern for the community.

Don't use a poker player LOR.

Do whatever it takes to improve your LSAT.

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DeeCee
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby DeeCee » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:39 pm

1) High LSAT, and a distant 2) good softs.

cardsfan04
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby cardsfan04 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:48 pm

Thanks for the quick replies.

I'm confident I can be in the 165-170 range on the LSAT, if not low 170s.

I think I can get a strong rec from the head of the history department at my school (I was a history major). When I presented my senior seminar paper (we had to publicly present them), he told me I was the best out of everybody at the three schools that presented. So, despite screwing around for a few years, I think he'll give me a strong rec. I'm 3 years out and looking at 2012, so hoping that is enough time. If not, 2013 . . .

For a 2nd, am I better going with a lawyer who coached the Mock Trial team or a poli sci prof? I am certain they would both give me great recs.

@fatduck: I'm cardsfan04 on every site. Mid-stakes SNG grinder. The person I could get the rec from is one of the bigger backers on the net. Not Bax/Sheets big, but stakes several P5s top 100. he's joemac17 on PS

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fatduck
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby fatduck » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:54 pm

cardsfan04 wrote:Thanks for the quick replies.

I'm confident I can be in the 165-170 range on the LSAT, if not low 170s.

I think I can get a strong rec from the head of the history department at my school (I was a history major). When I presented my senior seminar paper (we had to publicly present them), he told me I was the best out of everybody at the three schools that presented. So, despite screwing around for a few years, I think he'll give me a strong rec. I'm 3 years out and looking at 2012, so hoping that is enough time. If not, 2013 . . .

For a 2nd, am I better going with a lawyer who coached the Mock Trial team or a poli sci prof? I am certain they would both give me great recs.

@fatduck: I'm cardsfan04 on every site. Mid-stakes SNG grinder. The person I could get the rec from is one of the bigger backers on the net. Not Bax/Sheets big, but stakes several P5s top 100. he's joemac17 on PS


the prevailing wisdom is that academic recommendations are best. i would go with the history and poli sci profs for recs, and keep a third rec from the mock trial coach to send if you're waitlisted/held.

the good thing about medians is that 2.5 isn't really any worse than, say, 3.2 for top law schools, in terms of us news rankings. shoot for 170, work hard at it, apply early (in september, when apps open), and you have a shot at lots of quality schools.

FiveSermon
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby FiveSermon » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:00 pm

Are you a URM (African American, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Native American)? If so it's a different story.

FiveSermon
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby FiveSermon » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:02 pm

fatduck wrote:
cardsfan04 wrote:Thanks for the quick replies.

I'm confident I can be in the 165-170 range on the LSAT, if not low 170s.

I think I can get a strong rec from the head of the history department at my school (I was a history major). When I presented my senior seminar paper (we had to publicly present them), he told me I was the best out of everybody at the three schools that presented. So, despite screwing around for a few years, I think he'll give me a strong rec. I'm 3 years out and looking at 2012, so hoping that is enough time. If not, 2013 . . .

For a 2nd, am I better going with a lawyer who coached the Mock Trial team or a poli sci prof? I am certain they would both give me great recs.

@fatduck: I'm cardsfan04 on every site. Mid-stakes SNG grinder. The person I could get the rec from is one of the bigger backers on the net. Not Bax/Sheets big, but stakes several P5s top 100. he's joemac17 on PS


the prevailing wisdom is that academic recommendations are best. i would go with the history and poli sci profs for recs, and keep a third rec from the mock trial coach to send if you're waitlisted/held.

the good thing about medians is that 2.5 isn't really any worse than, say, 3.2 for top law schools, in terms of us news rankings. shoot for 170, work hard at it, apply early (in september, when apps open), and you have a shot at lots of quality schools.


While this is true statistically, most top schools have a GPA floor that they won't dip below unless URM or exceptional soft.

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fatduck
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby fatduck » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:06 pm

FiveSermon wrote:
fatduck wrote:
cardsfan04 wrote:Thanks for the quick replies.

I'm confident I can be in the 165-170 range on the LSAT, if not low 170s.

I think I can get a strong rec from the head of the history department at my school (I was a history major). When I presented my senior seminar paper (we had to publicly present them), he told me I was the best out of everybody at the three schools that presented. So, despite screwing around for a few years, I think he'll give me a strong rec. I'm 3 years out and looking at 2012, so hoping that is enough time. If not, 2013 . . .

For a 2nd, am I better going with a lawyer who coached the Mock Trial team or a poli sci prof? I am certain they would both give me great recs.

@fatduck: I'm cardsfan04 on every site. Mid-stakes SNG grinder. The person I could get the rec from is one of the bigger backers on the net. Not Bax/Sheets big, but stakes several P5s top 100. he's joemac17 on PS


the prevailing wisdom is that academic recommendations are best. i would go with the history and poli sci profs for recs, and keep a third rec from the mock trial coach to send if you're waitlisted/held.

the good thing about medians is that 2.5 isn't really any worse than, say, 3.2 for top law schools, in terms of us news rankings. shoot for 170, work hard at it, apply early (in september, when apps open), and you have a shot at lots of quality schools.


While this is true statistically, most top schools have a GPA floor that they won't dip below unless URM or exceptional soft.


yea that's why i said in terms of us news rankings. obviously schools still feel differently about a 2.5. but i have had decent success with a 170/2.9 with no great softs/urm, so i don't think it's out of the question for a 2.5. i wouldn't anticipate any t14 admits, though.

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Veyron
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby Veyron » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:15 pm

An excellent LSAT / thread.

P.S. You SHOULD be looking to attend a T-10 law school, you have any idea how bad the job market is these days?

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DubPoker
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby DubPoker » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:21 pm

cardsfan04 wrote:@fatduck: I'm cardsfan04 on every site. Mid-stakes SNG grinder. The person I could get the rec from is one of the bigger backers on the net. Not Bax/Sheets big, but stakes several P5s top 100. he's joemac17 on PS


Whats up, nice to see someone from 2p2 on TLS. I thought about writing a PS or something on poker. I lived with and played poker with WCGRider, and SkllzdatKlls. Jungleman spent the summer at our house, InternetPokers, and a few others stayed with us. I ended up deciding that it was a bad idea.
First off- outside of some random professor at Harvard, the big names in internet poker aren't very known to people.
Second, to people outside the online poker world there is a stigma against professional poker players, and I don't want my application to come across those who look down on it.

I never asked about this on TLS, maybe i'm wrong, thats just how that went for me.

I have no doubt that a winning multi-table grinder can do very well on the LSAT (as long as you have good command of the English language.) So study up and grind out PT's. Splitters are interesting because technically a school can take the bottom 24.x% of people with gpa's under there 25%median and it doesn't matter how low, its not going to affect their USNEWs Ranking (medians not means ftw) unfortunately they do seem to judge you based on your low gpa.

if you can't get a good LSAT though TLS has a message for you...
Law School is dead imo

paulinaporizkova
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby paulinaporizkova » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:25 pm

unless you can get into a top ranked school or a big scholarship you're pretty fucked ITE. my advice is don't apply to law schools unless you get at least a 170 on the lsat

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dr123
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby dr123 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:32 pm

paulinaporizkova wrote:unless you can get into a top ranked school or a big scholarship you're pretty fucked ITE. my advice is don't apply to law schools unless you get at least a 170 on the lsat


Not true, there are quite a few states that only have one law school and arent a big attraction to Top LS grads. Also their tuition is very reasonable esp instate

paulinaporizkova
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby paulinaporizkova » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:33 pm

dr123 wrote:
paulinaporizkova wrote:unless you can get into a top ranked school or a big scholarship you're pretty fucked ITE. my advice is don't apply to law schools unless you get at least a 170 on the lsat


Not true, there are quite a few states that only have one law school and arent a big attraction to Top LS grads. Also their tuition is very reasonable esp instate


but does this person live/want to live in these states?

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dr123
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby dr123 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:34 pm

paulinaporizkova wrote:
dr123 wrote:
paulinaporizkova wrote:unless you can get into a top ranked school or a big scholarship you're pretty fucked ITE. my advice is don't apply to law schools unless you get at least a 170 on the lsat


Not true, there are quite a few states that only have one law school and arent a big attraction to Top LS grads. Also their tuition is very reasonable esp instate


but does this person live/want to live in these states?


That is the question, but saying the only schools that offer good employment prospects are the top 14, 20, whatever, is just wrong

paulinaporizkova
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby paulinaporizkova » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:37 pm

dr123 wrote:
paulinaporizkova wrote:
dr123 wrote:
paulinaporizkova wrote:unless you can get into a top ranked school or a big scholarship you're pretty fucked ITE. my advice is don't apply to law schools unless you get at least a 170 on the lsat


Not true, there are quite a few states that only have one law school and arent a big attraction to Top LS grads. Also their tuition is very reasonable esp instate


but does this person live/want to live in these states?


That is the question, but saying the only schools that offer good employment prospects are the top 14, 20, whatever, is just wrong


i guess, but there's a good chance OP isn't from montana or alaska. also, aren't smaller regional markets (like, in states that have only one law school) suffering bigtime right now?

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Hannibal
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby Hannibal » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:40 pm

paulinaporizkova wrote:unless you can get into a top ranked school or a big scholarship you're pretty fucked ITE. my advice is don't apply to law schools unless you get at least a 170 on the lsat


Luckily for him he'll be graduating LS 4 years after TE.

Do people on TLS think Law School is a time bubble?

paulinaporizkova
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby paulinaporizkova » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:41 pm

Hannibal wrote:
paulinaporizkova wrote:unless you can get into a top ranked school or a big scholarship you're pretty fucked ITE. my advice is don't apply to law schools unless you get at least a 170 on the lsat


Luckily for him he'll be graduating LS 4 years after TE.

Do people on TLS think Law School is a time bubble?


no, i did think about that. however, no one really knows the specifics on a recovery

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dr123
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby dr123 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:42 pm

The state I live in has only one law school and also a very small graduating class each year, from the students I have talkedto/their employment data/alums they seem to have good employment prospects also around a quarter of each class gets clerkships. Now they're not getting fancy biglaw firm jobs but they're getting solid respecatable jobs.

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gothamm
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby gothamm » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:50 am

You should get an LOR form Phil Hellmuth.

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Kabuo
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Re: How can I overcome my TERRIBLE GPA?

Postby Kabuo » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:21 am

gothamm wrote:You should get an LOR form Phil Hellmuth.


Yeah, THE BEST NO LIMIT HOLDEM PLAYER IN THE WORLD would make a great LOR. Get him to explain how you're not one of the usual internet punks, but show real promise because you want to get out and study law.




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