Are these good softs?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
PJENNEWE
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:02 pm

Are these good softs?

Postby PJENNEWE » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:46 pm

1) Mock Trial: The reason why I am asking is because I am choosing my classes for next year (sophomore year, UG) and I have the option to take a two hour class called "Introduction to Appellate Advocacy" and it comes with another 2 hour lab, participating in our mock trial team. I think that it would be fun. HOWEVER, it is apparently a big time commitment and the first thing that popped in my head was that there may be less time to study if we have tournaments on many weekends. What do you guys think?

2) I am in a program at my school called the "Pre Law Scholars Program" in which, assuming I will have a cum 3.5 GPA at graduation, will automatically be accepted into my university's law school. The law school isn't THAT great but it's a really great regional school that just got kicked out of the top 100 by a slim margin.

3) I will be employed at Best Buy throughout college. By graduation, I will have been working there for about 6 years. Does this make a significant impact as it is another large time commitment?

4) I will also be involved in community service every summer (Habitat for Humanity) and I will get a legal internship this summer, either a payed one at a PI firm or a unpayed at a worker's comp firm.

I know that it is still rather early to be thinking about softs, or even law school, but I was always told by my university's law school's admissions counselor that she can tell a good application from a bad one judging from how involved they were throughout: "You can tell that some people don't really care about community service or clubs when they got, all of a sudden, really involved in their senior year but the rest of UG is empty."

Thanks!

I know that it is really early for me to really be thinking about law school but everyone has told me to make sure that you have softs throughout your college experience. According to my university's law school admissions counselor, it is best to be involved throughout to ensure that you are placed with the people that genuinely wanted to get involved and not just for their app.

bhan87
Posts: 850
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby bhan87 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:54 pm

1. Sorry to tell you but your softs aren't that great. Some good softs that adcomms see quite often include: Rhodes Scholars, decorated military officers, founders of multimillion dollar companies, writer of a bestselling book, etc. Your softs just can't compete, but...

2.This shouldn't concern you. While softs play some role in admissions decisions, law school is mainly a numbers game. Despite having mediocre softs, a school will almost always accept you if you are at the 75th percentile for both their GPA / LSAT (with the exception of HYS which is a crapshoot for everyone and Berkeley which is unpredictable), which means...

3.Your UG GPA > developing softs. You might want to do a few that interest you, but it won't impact your law school app much. A 4.0 is much much more desirable than leadership positions for university clubs.

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby Veyron » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:11 pm

Those are actually quite below average for a T-14.

User avatar
minnbills
Posts: 3153
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby minnbills » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:56 pm

bhan87 wrote:1. Sorry to tell you but your softs aren't that great. Some good softs that adcomms see quite often include: Rhodes Scholars, decorated military officers, founders of multimillion dollar companies, writer of a bestselling book, etc. Your softs just can't compete, but...


No, those are extraordinary softs, which is precisely why they're so valuable in the first place.

"Good," or even "above average" are better descriptions for the OP's softs. And they'll serve him just fine for doing what softs are supposed to do: demonstrate that one is a well-rounded individual.

bhan87
Posts: 850
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby bhan87 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:04 pm

minnbills wrote:
bhan87 wrote:1. Sorry to tell you but your softs aren't that great. Some good softs that adcomms see quite often include: Rhodes Scholars, decorated military officers, founders of multimillion dollar companies, writer of a bestselling book, etc. Your softs just can't compete, but...


No, those are extraordinary softs, which is precisely why they're so valuable in the first place.

"Good," or even "above average" are better descriptions for the OP's softs. And they'll serve him just fine for doing what softs are supposed to do: demonstrate that one is a well-rounded individual.


By "serve him just fine" you mean drown him out into the pool of typical, unremarkable applicants? There's no way these are above average softs and will make zero to little impact on increasing the OP's chances at admission.

My original point still stands, pursuing a 4.0 is a far better use of your time than trying to develop these soft factors. That's the cold truth your counselor will never tell you.

On a side note, if you actually want a decent soft, then do something significant AFTER graduation (join the Peace Corps, do TFA). At that point your GPA will be set in stone.

User avatar
KibblesAndVick
Posts: 541
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:29 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby KibblesAndVick » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:15 pm

As someone who worked equally shitty jobs I find it troubling that you think 6 years at Best Buy is going to impress anyone...

On the bright side, no one cares about your softs. Make sure you never get anything less than an A from this point forward. Study hard for the LSAT.

User avatar
esq
Posts: 571
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby esq » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:21 pm

For the T12:

1) Mock Trial: No, not really.

2) Pre Law Scholars Program: No, everyone will have a 3.5 - it's nice that through it you have a LS in your pocket though.

3) Employed at Best Buy throughout college: If full-time, it's a plus. Because it's best buy, it's a :(

4) Habitat for Humanity: It's a plus. PI firm or an unpayed worker's comp firm: So, so.

User avatar
powerlawyer06
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:20 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby powerlawyer06 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:26 pm

KibblesAndVick wrote:On the bright side, no one cares about your softs. Make sure you never get anything less than an A from this point forward. Study hard for the LSAT.


This.

1. W/E doesn't significantly help (especially part-time) unless it is in an extremely professional or law related setting and you were in some sort of leadership position.

2. Your community service is good but you need more of it for it to really make a difference. How about you start your own non-profit organization?

3. Law related clubs are good but everybody has them on their resumes. Try and become the leader or founder of that type of organization if you want it to matter.

cool of law
Posts: 177
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:57 pm

Re: Are these good softs,

Postby cool of law » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:29 pm

OP,if you want some good softs and to generally raise your chances take a few years off BUT stay busy:

PeaceCorps, TFA or AmeriCorps <--- look into this one
Get a full-time job/internship

User avatar
coldshoulder
Posts: 963
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:05 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby coldshoulder » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:41 pm

What about these?
1. Campaign manager for a U.S. Congressional campaign for a third party candidate (did well, but obviously didn't win).
2. Worked intensely with a group educating high school students about the political process and working on serious advocacy projects at the state capital concerning immigration. Diverse group of students in the poorest area of the state, with great results.
3. Working in the office of Senator Harry Reid this fall as a paid intern.
4. Working as a law firm intern this summer.
5. 21 years old, graduating a year early from college.

User avatar
powerlawyer06
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:20 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby powerlawyer06 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:51 pm

coldshoulder wrote:What about these?
1. Campaign manager for a U.S. Congressional campaign for a third party candidate (did well, but obviously didn't win).
2. Worked intensely with a group educating high school students about the political process and working on serious advocacy projects at the state capital concerning immigration. Diverse group of students in the poorest area of the state, with great results.
3. Working in the office of Senator Harry Reid this fall as a paid intern.
4. Working as a law firm intern this summer.
5. 21 years old, graduating a year early from college.


These are obviously much better. However, as others have said, there is no substitute for GPA/LSAT.

The factors that ad comms look at are:
(in this order)
1. LSAT
2. GPA
3. URM Status
4. All others softs (W/E, volunteering)

PriOSky
Posts: 75
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:14 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby PriOSky » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:41 pm

.
Last edited by PriOSky on Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby fatduck » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:57 pm

PriOSky wrote:Also, you can't answer how good softs are without referring to for which law school. At the T14 level, there are people who have Rhodes, have written books, etc., and these are great softs. Consulting (where you actually attend meetings with execs.) internships, investment banking internships at a Bulge Bracket bank, and litigation & document internships at Davis Polk, etc. become very average, and they probably wouldn't help you unless you are on the borderline. However, activities like these become a little more impressive at lower ranked law schools.

there are 32 rhodes scholars a year from the US. somehow i doubt they're locking everyone out of the T14.

neonx
Posts: 1025
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby neonx » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:00 pm

bhan87 wrote:1. Sorry to tell you but your softs aren't that great. Some good softs that adcomms see quite often include: Rhodes Scholars, decorated military officers, founders of multimillion dollar companies, writer of a bestselling book, etc. Your softs just can't compete, but...

2.This shouldn't concern you. While softs play some role in admissions decisions, law school is mainly a numbers game. Despite having mediocre softs, a school will almost always accept you if you are at the 75th percentile for both their GPA / LSAT (with the exception of HYS which is a crapshoot for everyone and Berkeley which is unpredictable), which means...

3.Your UG GPA > developing softs. You might want to do a few that interest you, but it won't impact your law school app much. A 4.0 is much much more desirable than leadership positions for university clubs.


I certainly don't have anything similar to those outstanding softs, but have found that, on average, adcoms have deemed my softs to be better than average.

ams
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:34 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby ams » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:02 pm

PriOSky wrote:Also, you can't answer how good softs are without referring to for which law school. At the T14 level, there are people who have Rhodes, have written books, etc., and these are great softs. Consulting (where you actually attend meetings with execs.) internships, investment banking internships at a Bulge Bracket bank, and litigation & document internships at Davis Polk, etc. become very average, and they probably wouldn't help you unless you are on the borderline. However, activities like these become a little more impressive at lower ranked law schools.


TITCR and a very important point. This question cannot be answered without knowing where you are looking to apply. Just keep in mind that 99% of the people that think they have good softs don't. This can be harmful because it leads people to underestimate the importance of their LSAT score and GPA.

icpb
Posts: 146
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:30 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby icpb » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:30 pm

fatduck wrote:
PriOSky wrote:Also, you can't answer how good softs are without referring to for which law school. At the T14 level, there are people who have Rhodes, have written books, etc., and these are great softs. Consulting (where you actually attend meetings with execs.) internships, investment banking internships at a Bulge Bracket bank, and litigation & document internships at Davis Polk, etc. become very average, and they probably wouldn't help you unless you are on the borderline. However, activities like these become a little more impressive at lower ranked law schools.

there are 32 rhodes scholars a year from the US. somehow i doubt they're locking everyone out of the T14.


Of course Rhodes aren't required for admissions into a T14 (very few people are Rhodes Scholars), but I agree that they are one of very few softs that have significant impact on admissions decisions (largely because there are so few of them) at the T14 level.

User avatar
Patriot1208
Posts: 7044
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 11:28 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby Patriot1208 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:21 pm

Short answer: No, those soft will be below average at top schools. But, it won't matter if you have good enough numbers.

Sandro
Posts: 2526
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:12 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby Sandro » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:26 pm

No. But the question you should be asking yourself is "How can I improve my GPA the most before I graduate with no regard to course content" and "When should I begin studying the LR/LG bibles along with taking all ~60 Prep tests" ?

sold123
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:39 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby sold123 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:30 pm

I think the softs are good if you can turn them into a meaningful story that can help shape your application. By writing an essay that extracts and outlines the importance of your extracurricular activities in shaping who you are (and perhaps who you want to be), you can no doubt, get into the law school that your numbers will allow for.

User avatar
Holly Golightly
Posts: 4618
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:30 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby Holly Golightly » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:31 pm

esq wrote:No, everyone will have a 3.5.

LOL, not true.

That said, I agree with everyone else. I had decent (and interesting) post-grad work experience, I worked full-time in college, I speak another language, I graduated early...and I don't think any of this affected my cycle one bit.

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby Veyron » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:00 pm

I don't know why graduating early would be viewed as a good soft. If anything, I think it might be something that schools would look down upon unless you worked after college.

User avatar
Holly Golightly
Posts: 4618
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:30 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby Holly Golightly » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:09 pm

Veyron wrote:I don't know why graduating early would be viewed as a good soft. If anything, I think it might be something that schools would look down upon unless you worked after college.

lol, why in the world would that ne a negative?

User avatar
Veyron
Posts: 3598
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:50 am

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby Veyron » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:16 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:
Veyron wrote:I don't know why graduating early would be viewed as a good soft. If anything, I think it might be something that schools would look down upon unless you worked after college.

lol, why in the world would that ne a negative?


If it just represents you graduating at a younger than usual age I imagine that schools would take it as possibly signifying immaturity. It also probably means that you had less time to accumulate leadership experiences.

Obviously, if you did a tour of duty in Iraq and then did college in 2 1/2 years that would be a very different matter.

flcath
Posts: 1502
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby flcath » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:21 pm

I am a beneficiary of law schools' super-lazy approach to admissions (my softs were fine, but I had a GPA that wouldn't have gotten me into any other reputable program), but I am not a proponent of it.

It really is unfortunate that, aside from Rhodes Scholars, Medal of Honor recipients, and gold-medal olympians, softs are just lumped together and ignored. Adcomms will argue that softs don't predict LS performance (only the LSAT does that), but I don't think that's the only definition of a meritocracy.

/pointless musing

User avatar
esq
Posts: 571
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: Are these good softs?

Postby esq » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:27 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:
esq wrote:No, everyone will have a 3.5.

LOL, not true.

That said, I agree with everyone else. I had decent (and interesting) post-grad work experience, I worked full-time in college, I speak another language, I graduated early...and I don't think any of this affected my cycle one bit.

3.5+, I'm sorry that you were confused.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 5 guests