Low-Income Applicants

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
yngblkgifted
Posts: 1049
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:57 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby yngblkgifted » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:21 pm

However, that's a debate for another forum topic. AA debates always get ugly..

agreed.

sarahlawg
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby sarahlawg » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:23 pm

to be honest, I think my biggest problem with growing up/being poor is that no one in my family has any connection to anything because they're all bus drivers/electricians/plumbers/unemployed. People who come into law school with parents or friends of parents who are lawyers have a great advantage, I think. At the very least, they don't have everyone around them saying, "are you really going to go to law school? you're really going to do it? wow. you are soo smart." and believing it.

User avatar
kapital98
Posts: 1188
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:58 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby kapital98 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:48 pm

sarahlawg wrote:to be honest, I think my biggest problem with growing up/being poor is that no one in my family has any connection to anything because they're all bus drivers/electricians/plumbers/unemployed. People who come into law school with parents or friends of parents who are lawyers have a great advantage, I think. At the very least, they don't have everyone around them saying, "are you really going to go to law school? you're really going to do it? wow. you are soo smart." and believing it.


Yes! Networking is crucial. The best way to get a job is to already know the people who are hiring you. Having a large network of first and secondary connections is extremely helpful.

I didn't even know a lawyer until I interned for a Public Defender's Office during my Junior year.

If you want a job as bus driver or plumber your relatives can hook you up with a decent job. If you want something else... good luck!

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby aliarrow » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:12 pm

kapital98 wrote:
sarahlawg wrote:to be honest, I think my biggest problem with growing up/being poor is that no one in my family has any connection to anything because they're all bus drivers/electricians/plumbers/unemployed. People who come into law school with parents or friends of parents who are lawyers have a great advantage, I think. At the very least, they don't have everyone around them saying, "are you really going to go to law school? you're really going to do it? wow. you are soo smart." and believing it.


Yes! Networking is crucial. The best way to get a job is to already know the people who are hiring you. Having a large network of first and secondary connections is extremely helpful.

I didn't even know a lawyer until I interned for a Public Defender's Office during my Junior year.

If you want a job as bus driver or plumber your relatives can hook you up with a decent job. If you want something else... good luck!


I think the effect of this is much larger in an indirect sense. I think the majority of law students are in the same boat as far as not having legal connections, however most seem to have connections to something so it is at least possible to find meaningful work experience before law school which sort of snowballs into more benefits down the road. It feels like I did everything right (went to a flagship school, got good grades, had some extracurriculars) and yet there's still nothing out there to do for work experience (could be largely due to recession though, plus the fact I'm in a toxic pit of a state).

ITT: Poor people bitch about life :wink:

sarahlawg
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby sarahlawg » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:14 pm

aliarrow wrote: plus the fact I'm in a toxic pit of a state


New Jersey?

I hear ya. gotta make your own opportunities.

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby aliarrow » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:18 pm

sarahlawg wrote:
aliarrow wrote: plus the fact I'm in a toxic pit of a state


New Jersey?

I hear ya. gotta make your own opportunities.


Florida, way worse than Jersey. It's one of the states hit hardest by the recession, plus at least people in Jersey can commute to NYC.

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby aliarrow » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:20 pm

All my bitching aside, in a weird way I actually really appreciate and am thankful for where I came from. It makes life more interesting. Plus since it's always been an uphill battle, I don't feel the need to quit climbing anytime soon. I don't think I'd ever accept a lame life/career.

User avatar
swampthang
Posts: 435
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:40 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby swampthang » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:23 pm

I'd be interested to hear the markers people use to define being "low income". Food stamps are certainly one, Pell Grants or trailer homes are less perfect, but certainly an indicator of lower economic status. Rural, while interesting, does not automatically equal 'poor'.

It's also very surprising to hear how many people from low income households might have been academically qualified, but didn't bother applying to top schools due to a perceived inability to pay. IIRC, Harvard is basically free for any admitted student whose family makes under 60k, much as I'm sure the situation is similar with other top colleges.

Unfortunately, low income applicants are hit with the double whammy of a.) not coming from a background that allows for test prep class or elite private school education (thus typically performing below more wealthy applicants who have access to professional college counselors and can afford to retake standardized tests), and b.) not adding to the "sexy" diversity figures colleges and law schools so often express as percentage of the student body that is an ethnic/racial minority. I don't think there's any question that low income applicants are underrepresented in top colleges (I believe I read somewhere that the household income for the vast majority of Pell Grant recipients is below the US median), but they aren't afforded the admissions boost of other URMs.

I'm not really sure what explains this paradigm, and while there's been some public attention on the issue lately, I doubt there's much momentum to shift admissions policies at top universities. I guess the best thing a low income applicant can do is score well and write a a compelling DS about obstacles overcome in pursuit of academic excellence. That said, I'd be surprised if this really carried much weight.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4852
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby Borhas » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:22 am

Best advice for poor people:

You guys have it real easy. I never had it like this where I grew up. But I send my kids here because the fact is you go to one of the best schools in the country: Rushmore. Now, for some of you it doesn't matter. You were born rich and you're going to stay rich. But here's my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, they can buy anything but they can't buy backbone. Don't let them forget it. Thank you.

User avatar
kapital98
Posts: 1188
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:58 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby kapital98 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:34 am

Borhas wrote:Best advice for poor people:

You guys have it real easy. I never had it like this where I grew up. But I send my kids here because the fact is you go to one of the best schools in the country: Rushmore. Now, for some of you it doesn't matter. You were born rich and you're going to stay rich. But here's my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, they can buy anything but they can't buy backbone. Don't let them forget it. Thank you.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:41 am

I was a homeless teen. Then I worked minimum wage for a couple of years. Slowly worked myself upward. Taught me a lot.

aliarrow
Posts: 886
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby aliarrow » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:45 am

r6_philly wrote:I was a homeless teen. Then I worked minimum wage for a couple of years. Slowly worked myself upward. Taught me a lot.


You win. Seriously, thats rough... Congrats on your success :D

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:52 am

aliarrow wrote:
r6_philly wrote:I was a homeless teen. Then I worked minimum wage for a couple of years. Slowly worked myself upward. Taught me a lot.


You win. Seriously, thats rough... Congrats on your success :D


Thanks :D I don't know if I would call it a "win" haha

I worked for 12 hours a day handing out chicken samples (chinese place) to mall patrons in between skin off chicken thighs. Like 20 large boxes per day, don't really like chicken to this day. Then I moved up to delivering food while trying to go to community college. Oh those days. I walked 2 miles a day between work and the boarding room I could afford even in the winter, just to save the bus fare. And I used to take all the leftover/thrown out food to share with all the other homeless along the way. I couldn't imagine being any poorer :)

Ya I am pretty fortunate to have gotten out of that because many more don't.

sarahlawg
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby sarahlawg » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:01 am

swampthang wrote:It's also very surprising to hear how many people from low income households might have been academically qualified, but didn't bother applying to top schools due to a perceived inability to pay. IIRC, Harvard is basically free for any admitted student whose family makes under 60k, much as I'm sure the situation is similar with other top colleges.


honestly, I went to community college because college wasn't even on my family's radar. In fact, when I decided to go to college (took a year off from high school) my dad was disappointed that I didn't decide to keep working full time for minimum wage and go to what he called "night school". I planned to get good grades there and transfer to Cornell, but even with my 4.0 from CC, they rejected me. So I finished on full scholarship at their neighboring school. Now I will reject their law school offer :wink:

User avatar
aaaaaah
Posts: 301
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:20 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby aaaaaah » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:55 am

Honestly, it does really bother me that socioeconomic status doesn't hold more weight in the admissions process. I grew up in a single-parent home in Section 8 housing where drugs and alcohol played a huge role in the family dynamic. Maybe I'm just making excuses for myself, and I know that others who faced similar circumstances are a lot more successful than I am, but I do feel like working full time throughout school and taking care of my younger siblings made it a bit more difficult to focus on grades, and I damn sure never would have been able to afford something like an LSAT course. I mean, it was a struggle paying for the used prep books and the $12 LSAC fees. I'm still trying to figure out where that $500 is coming from in two weeks and I'm having a very hard time with the conventional wisdom that rank trumps scholarship money.

All of that said, I do think UCLA is one of the few schools to actually consider socioeconomic diversity. Their application has like 10 questions on family history and I don't think my #s would have gotten me in without my DS. I don't think this is the norm at other schools though.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:06 am

I got WLed by UCLA despite having called the LA streets home, and having numbers above both 75's.

In the end, everyone likes my stories, but I feel that I am not better off in the application process than if I had come from a middle class family. But it's ok. Most people with poorer upbringings develop determination and strong work ethnic, or they wouldn't be able to make it this far, graduating college and applying to law school. Aside from the debt/cost, we are probably less disadvantaged than traditional students because of our life lessons and what we learned through them. At least I hope so.

User avatar
kapital98
Posts: 1188
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:58 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby kapital98 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:03 am

aaaaaah wrote:I mean, it was a struggle paying for the used prep books and the $12 LSAC fees. I'm still trying to figure out where that $500 is coming from in two weeks and I'm having a very hard time with the conventional wisdom that rank trumps scholarship money.


I had the same experience. The ~$300 I spent on prep material and applications was a killer. If the LSAC didn't comp my LSAT exams and the application fees I would have had to taken out a private loan and severely restrict where I applied (and that's if I would have been eligible for the loan.) :shock:

@ r6_philly: You have a really tough story. After reading many of your posts you seem to have achieved an incredible amount coming from your background and kept a level head at the same time. You're an extreme outlier.

User avatar
kapital98
Posts: 1188
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:58 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby kapital98 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:04 am

r6_philly wrote:I got WLed by UCLA despite having called the LA streets home, and having numbers above both 75's.

In the end, everyone likes my stories, but I feel that I am not better off in the application process than if I had come from a middle class family. But it's ok. Most people with poorer upbringings develop determination and strong work ethnic, or they wouldn't be able to make it this far, graduating college and applying to law school. Aside from the debt/cost, we are probably less disadvantaged than traditional students because of our life lessons and what we learned through them. At least I hope so.


It's UCLA's loss. Where do you plan to go?

User avatar
src42
Posts: 287
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:26 am

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby src42 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:15 am

Philly's totally going to Stanford. I can feel it. :)

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:17 am

Thanks :) I look at it as, it's the hand I was dealt, so play with it. Really didn't have much to loose, make it easier to get ahead.

I haven't decided yet, still comparing and debating. Although not dirt poor anymore, still have limited resources and financial aid is a big consideration.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:17 am

src42 wrote:Philly's totally going to Stanford. I can feel it. :)


I really hope, but my luck isn't that good :lol:

User avatar
src42
Posts: 287
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:26 am

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby src42 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:27 am

r6_philly wrote:
src42 wrote:Philly's totally going to Stanford. I can feel it. :)


I really hope, but my luck isn't that good :lol:

Well, you totally deserve it and I really hope you get in.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4852
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby Borhas » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:26 pm

aaaaaah wrote:Honestly, it does really bother me that socioeconomic status doesn't hold more weight in the admissions process. I grew up in a single-parent home in Section 8 housing where drugs and alcohol played a huge role in the family dynamic. Maybe I'm just making excuses for myself, and I know that others who faced similar circumstances are a lot more successful than I am, but I do feel like working full time throughout school and taking care of my younger siblings made it a bit more difficult to focus on grades, and I damn sure never would have been able to afford something like an LSAT course. I mean, it was a struggle paying for the used prep books and the $12 LSAC fees. I'm still trying to figure out where that $500 is coming from in two weeks and I'm having a very hard time with the conventional wisdom that rank trumps scholarship money.

All of that said, I do think UCLA is one of the few schools to actually consider socioeconomic diversity. Their application has like 10 questions on family history and I don't think my #s would have gotten me in without my DS. I don't think this is the norm at other schools though.


The problem is, and this is what differentiates AA from Socioeconomic status preferences...

AA focuses on fixing broad social problems. It is NOT related to individual merit. Focusing SES would not do anything to alleviate poverty, it might alleviate which specific people are poor, but not poverty. SES is concerned w/ individual merit, not broader social progress.

Poverty is a structural problem that can't possibly be fixed through preferential treatment. The system creates wealth disparity, there will always be poor people unless we dramatically reduce wealth disparity. Even if you accept every single meritorious or potentially, there will be other poor people to replace them... and once you shuttle the poor into the elite classes they are no longer poor, but elites.

However, racism can be theoretically alleviated by AA because preferential treatment includes people from groups not represented in the elite segments of society. They will theoretically keep their same racial identity when they enter the elite classes, so this would theoretically change the composition of the elite in a substantial way.

[I'm using the term elite to mean perceived to be elite, but w/ actual wealth and power not actually elite which refers more to virtue and responsible citizenship and leadership]

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby r6_philly » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:31 pm

Well said. I believe in AA more than considering SES. Race is a suspect class, and the social differences between races should be lessened. Economic classes are by product of capitalism. While the poor may be perceived as disadvantaged, we are not in consensus that the class differences should be eliminated. Yes the divide between the rich and the poor should not be so wide, but divide between races should be completely gone.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4852
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby Borhas » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:06 pm

personally I think they are both valuable tools towards a better world. But they have different goals. I actually didn't realize this until this thread...

learn something new everyday I guess




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests