Easy now...harder later?

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PJENNEWE
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Easy now...harder later?

Postby PJENNEWE » Sat May 14, 2011 2:48 pm

A lot of people on here somewhat encourage taking the easiest major possible during UG in order to maximize GPA and perhaps have more time to study for the LSAT throughout school. I just finished my freshman year (I know, i know. Law school is far away but I know what I want to do so please don't say that I shouldn't even worry about any of this) and my roommate has taken this approach. He is taking what is the equivalent to pre-school classes that have take home finals and papers that he can write a few hours before they are due and get an A. Now I'm not saying that he is not a smart guy, but everyone who is in his program is exactly the same way. I never see any of his classmates doing homework or going to the library. I'm not saying that my english major is the hardest degree that one could ever get, but I can safely say that I genuinely work HARD for my rhetoric classes and legal writing classes, writing papers and doing a lot of reading. This is not a rant but I do have a question. Why is my roommate's approach encouraged? Shouldn't working very little in UG put you at an extreme disadvantage for law school? Shouldn't you challenge yourself in reading and writing especially during UG? If you are working for hours and hours every night, won't the adjustment be slightly easier in law school? Let me know what you think. I would never change my major as I believe my ideas to be true, but it is slightly disappointing that my roommate is someone who I will be competing against for law school seats. What do you guys think?

dakatz
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby dakatz » Sat May 14, 2011 2:57 pm

No one says you shouldn't work hard in UG. People just suggest that you don't try and tailor your UG experience to "prep" yourself for law school. You should do what you enjoy and what you find most rewarding. At the same time, you want to take something that won't destroy your GPA (i.e. don't do pre-med unless you are damn sure you want to do pre-med). You should most certainly work hard in every course you take.

Your post relies on a number of shaky assumptions. Firstly, working long and hard isn't the same as working smart. Law school doesn't always reward those who spend night after night in the library. But it often rewards those who study the right way and the smart way, which often takes less time than one would assume. Second, you assume that because your roomie isn't working hard now, that he doesn't have another gear that he can switch to. The moment you underestimate your competition is the moment they have beaten you. I'd caution you against making these assumptions right now. Third, the "work" you do in law school is very different from the work you do during undergrad. Just by sitting in the library and studying for undergrad classes for hours in no way will actually prepare you to do well in law school. Its a whole different beast in the way you approach it so no amount of undergrad studying is going to prepare you for it. And like I said earlier, sheer quantity of time you spend studying has no relation to what the results will be.

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beachbum
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby beachbum » Sat May 14, 2011 3:03 pm

It is what it is. If you want a difficult major, switch to aerospace engineering. English at SLU is not difficult, nor is it rigorous. (And this is coming from a former A&S turned B-school student). You and your roommate are both going to be in for a substantial culture shock (in terms of workload, grading policies) when you hit law school, except he's positioning himself to attend a better school (and thus have more leeway in performance) than you.

PleaseHelpThanks
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby PleaseHelpThanks » Sat May 14, 2011 3:04 pm

PJENNEWE wrote:A lot of people on here somewhat encourage taking the easiest major possible during UG in order to maximize GPA and perhaps have more time to study for the LSAT throughout school. I just finished my freshman year (I know, i know. Law school is far away but I know what I want to do so please don't say that I shouldn't even worry about any of this) and my roommate has taken this approach. He is taking what is the equivalent to pre-school classes that have take home finals and papers that he can write a few hours before they are due and get an A. Now I'm not saying that he is not a smart guy, but everyone who is in his program is exactly the same way. I never see any of his classmates doing homework or going to the library. I'm not saying that my english major is the hardest degree that one could ever get, but I can safely say that I genuinely work HARD for my rhetoric classes and legal writing classes, writing papers and doing a lot of reading. This is not a rant but I do have a question. Why is my roommate's approach encouraged? Shouldn't working very little in UG put you at an extreme disadvantage for law school? Shouldn't you challenge yourself in reading and writing especially during UG? If you are working for hours and hours every night, won't the adjustment be slightly easier in law school? Let me know what you think. I would never change my major as I believe my ideas to be true, but it is slightly disappointing that my roommate is someone who I will be competing against for law school seats. What do you guys think?


He is going to get into better schools than you if you both get the same LSAT score. If you're ok with that, then keep taking hard classes, if you're not, try to take classes that you can get A's in so you can get the GPA up. He is doing it right and truly missing out on very little. You are gaining very little, and truly missing out on a lot (if you aren’t getting A’s). Just because you are taking easy classes, doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to read challenging books and increase your reading comprehension. Also, working your ass off on every single reading comp passage will help you a lot more in terms of law school then would reading some dumb book assigned in ENC3022.

scammedhard
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby scammedhard » Sat May 14, 2011 3:09 pm

I think your roommate is doing it the "smart way:" he/she is gaming the system.

GPAs should be put in context and take into consideration UG schools, majors, courses, course loads, etc. Because of the rankings, however, law school no longer care about any of these issues, and all that really matters is the hard, cold GPA number.

PleaseHelpThanks
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby PleaseHelpThanks » Sat May 14, 2011 3:12 pm

Also, IMO, you should switch your major to something that gives you ample time to START STUDYING THE LSAT NOW! If you really care about your future, start studying as much as you can for the LSAT, as it is the sole source of your fortune, and nothing else will come close to mattering as much, seriously!

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby KibblesAndVick » Sat May 14, 2011 3:12 pm

If you major in social science or liberal arts you should get an A in every single class. Don't blame others for gaming the system. Blame yourself for failing to realize how easy college is.

My GPA isn't as high as it should be because I was lazy. You still have three more years of UG. Get straight A's. No excuses.

PJENNEWE
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby PJENNEWE » Sat May 14, 2011 3:27 pm

I should probably also mention that I have been getting all As in my first year

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YankeesFan
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby YankeesFan » Sat May 14, 2011 3:28 pm

I had two fraternity brothers who did the same thing. Were in easy majors, took easier classes, and made sure the profs were easy graders. I was in a tougher major and took harder classes and my gpa was a 3.8 instead of their 4.0s. In the end, neither of them were able to break 155 on the LSAT. I broke 160. I truly think if your major doesn't at least require a little bit of intellectual development, your wasting your time. No one says you have to take the hardest classes around, but they will not only prepare you to think rationally, but develop your work ethic so you will have no trouble marathon-style studying for the LSAT.

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northwood
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby northwood » Sat May 14, 2011 3:28 pm

Dude you are a freshman. COllege flies by, so have fun. Keep your grades up.Take classes in the subject matter that interests you. 3 years from now you may realize that you dont want to go to law school. If you know that you want to go to law school, then take an easier major and make sure to book all of your classes. Understand that you may change your mind, and when you do- change your major and go from there. As long as your gpa is as high as possible it doesnt matter what your major was for law school. But if you decide to do something else- then it may matter what your major was.

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krasivaya
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby krasivaya » Sat May 14, 2011 7:54 pm

I can legitimately say that my course load has helped a lot with my performance on the RC section, reading an insane number of research articles each semester definitely helps with speed reading and comprehending complex arguments.

On that note, I'd start out easy and go hard. I've taken freshman courses with *huge* workloads and tough grading systems that didn't really stimulate me at all intellectually. They really just seemed like a way to haze out the weaker students. When I got to upper division, I did a lot less pointless and a lot more intellectually engaging work. The grading system is also a lot more lenient, nearly everyone in hard upper division courses gets A's.

So, enjoy college now. Take easy general education requirements, don't try, get A's, bump your GPA. That way, when you get to your junior/senior year and you have legitimately interesting course offerings, you can actually risk taking a hit to take honors courses or tough classes that are stimulating and beneficial.

akaBlondie
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby akaBlondie » Sat May 14, 2011 8:04 pm

You can take easy classes to game the system and still challenge yourself. If I could redo my college experience I would have either taken really easy classes to get the 4.0, or I would have taken classes that were immediately applicable to actual jobs.

Really, the BEST thing I did (and I should have been doing right from the start) was to get credit for internships. The connections and experience I got doing those were vastly more important than any class I took.

So maybe take easy classes and challenge yourself with some interesting internships.

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coldshoulder
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby coldshoulder » Sat May 14, 2011 11:05 pm

krasivaya wrote:I can legitimately say that my course load has helped a lot with my performance on the RC section, reading an insane number of research articles each semester definitely helps with speed reading and comprehending complex arguments.

On that note, I'd start out easy and go hard. I've taken freshman courses with *huge* workloads and tough grading systems that didn't really stimulate me at all intellectually. They really just seemed like a way to haze out the weaker students. When I got to upper division, I did a lot less pointless and a lot more intellectually engaging work. The grading system is also a lot more lenient, nearly everyone in hard upper division courses gets A's.

So, enjoy college now. Take easy general education requirements, don't try, get A's, bump your GPA. That way, when you get to your junior/senior year and you have legitimately interesting course offerings, you can actually risk taking a hit to take honors courses or tough classes that are stimulating and beneficial.

I feel like I'm one of the only people that went to a school where getting A's in 5000 level courses was almost impossible.

weston11
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby weston11 » Sat May 14, 2011 11:53 pm

I would say that you're doing the right thing by challenging yourself as an english major in ug (vs. taking mindless easy A classes), but not because doing so will make law school easier. Rather, by spending a significant amount of time reading and writing a) you are going to become a better writer--which will pay off big in the long-term regardless of what you end up doing-- and b), as someone previously mentioned, years of high-level reading will put you at a distinct advantage when it comes to the reading comprehension section of the lsat. I always found the RC section to be incredibly easy, and I attribute that almost entirely to the enormous amounts of dense history/philosophy reading I did in ug

But really there's no reason you shouldn't be getting As in english classes just like your roomate is getting in whatever easy classes he's taking. If you're putting in the work, and it sounds like you are, then make sure it's paying off. If it's not, then figure out what you're doing wrong (talk to a prof, etc) and adjust accordingly. Make sure that if you put substantial work in to these classes, you're going to end up with an A. Thus, not only will you get the benefits (above) of taking difficult courses, but you also won't be at a disadvantage in terms of having a lower gpa when applying to law school.

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Magnolia
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby Magnolia » Sat May 14, 2011 11:57 pm

So to summarize: OP is taking harder classes than his roommate. OP believes that these classes will make him better prepared for law school than his roommate. OP has a 4.0.

Am I missing something? Why the fuck is OP complaining?

BeaverHunter
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby BeaverHunter » Sun May 15, 2011 2:13 pm

What major could your roommate possibly have that is easier than English?

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northwood
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby northwood » Sun May 15, 2011 2:16 pm

communications is pretty easy.

HWS08
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby HWS08 » Sun May 15, 2011 2:23 pm

BeaverHunter wrote:What major could your roommate possibly have that is easier than English?


My thoughts exactly. The average English major GPA at my UG was something like a 3.9, and I'm pretty sure that's not because all of the English majors were naturally smarter than the Econ/Math/hard sciences majors.

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minnbills
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby minnbills » Mon May 16, 2011 4:55 pm

HWS08 wrote:My thoughts exactly. The average English major GPA at my UG was something like a 3.9, and I'm pretty sure that's not because all of the English majors were naturally smarter than the Econ/Math/hard sciences majors.


Wow. I've never heard of grade inflation that extreme. The median (or maybe avg) gpa in the liberal arts program at my school is 3.14.

To the OP- it's important to take classes you're interested in and work hard. Don't let your roommate or any of his proponents dissuade you.

Undergrad is crucial for developing writing skills, among other things, that will be helpful in your career. Maturing intellectually is priceless, and it is a lifelong process.

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TheKingintheNorth
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby TheKingintheNorth » Tue May 17, 2011 12:33 am

northwood wrote:Dude you are a freshman. COllege flies by, so have fun. Keep your grades up.Take classes in the subject matter that interests you.


This is important.

Building on that, if you're truly and completely committed to law school (and you definitely shouldn't be) then you're going to want to maximize your GPA. Whether maximizing your GPA entails taking an easy major or taking a major you're interested in is entirely up to you. Know that easier classes sometimes entail more busywork and if you're a particular kind of person that might end up giving you a whole lot of A minuses in classes that should be As.

Moreso than your major, the pre-law gunners most underused tool is ratemyprofessors.com (or being social and asking around, but hey you're on the internet so ill give you an internet answer). Yes there are certain professors everyone will take in any major, but know that you will be given a choice among professors in any major and you should pick the lightest grader. Take classes in the subjects you like, but feel free to take the easier professors.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Tue May 17, 2011 1:11 am

Hopefully we've all seen this:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... -math.html

There is a FOURTEEN point difference in mean LSAT scores between a physics/maths major and a criminal justice major. Perhaps some of that is mere correlation, but only some of it.

Since LSAT score matters more than GPA, and a top LSAT score is much harder to achieve than a high GPA, I would suggest taking courses to develop LSAT-relevant skills even if they pose some risk to your GPA. If you're already taking English literature courses, perhaps add some maths and philosophy. Of course, you could also do things to improve your LSAT relevant skills in your own time.

shoeshine
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby shoeshine » Tue May 17, 2011 1:23 am

Law schools only care about the GPA number because it is hard and almost impossible to compare the level of rigor from one UG major to the next across thousands of different undergraduate institutions. The LSAT is the great equalizer so that is why it is given more weight. Your roommate is stupid if he is taking easy classes and not investing his time in some other activity that will help him get into a good law school. If you have an easy major you should have more time to focus on LSAT prep and softs(WE, volunteering, clubs, etc).

Take my advice. Switch to an easy major and start working on LSAT prep and your softs.

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nphsbuckeye
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby nphsbuckeye » Tue May 17, 2011 1:32 am

northwood wrote:communications is pretty easy.

My art classes were cake. If you're an art major and can't at least pull a Cum Laude...

porcausadevoce
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Re: Easy now...harder later?

Postby porcausadevoce » Fri May 20, 2011 10:26 pm

I think OP's instincts are right on. You shouldn't necessarily look to take classes that are unduly labor-intensive or stress skills that you won't use in law school (taking hard physics classes, etc.), but you can improve your reading comprehension and writing ability enormously in college. If you don't advantage of that opportunity to grow by taking challenging, stimulating courses (that force you to meet with professors to improve drafts of your written work, to discuss points of the reading with classmates), you will be behind those who did, plain and simple. And unless you get into HYS (and even then), you need to finish towards the top of your class to really open doors for yourself anyway.

It's definitely a difficult line to walk, but you're right to see the other side of the equation - you need to improve your analytical ability and writing in college in order to be successful in law school, and your performance in law school is critical for your job prospects, no matter where you go.




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