A few questions

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A few questions

Postby jippy5 » Tue May 24, 2011 3:47 pm

I apologize if I initially come off as rather ignorant, but I am very new to the process and right now I am just looking for advice on a few things.

I am currently a 21 year old who just finished up my junior year of undergrad. I am majoring in Business Economics and double minoring in Business Communications and Sports Management at a state school. I am an All-Region performer in an NCAA sport and have been chair representative for the Student-Athlete Advisory Counsel for two years at my school.

Currently, my cum. GPA is a 3.11, but according to the LSDAS GPA calculator I found on the Internet, I would fall in the range of only having a 2.83. I have some reasoning behind this (called "softs" as I've learned), as there was a fairly serious medical incident that occurred to me during the spring of 2010 semester that might have contributed to a drop in grades. While I am not extremely proud of my current academic standing, I am not totally ashamed and will obviously work with what I have.

I have always had an interest in attending law school, and right now I am in the process of researching some schools. Ideally I'd like to be able to study in the NYC area (I am from suburban NYC so could potentially commute, but at least know the area) but would be willing to attend anywhere if it means a good education. The economy has hit my family hard as my father has been in and out of unemployment and working odd jobs to make ends meet. Thankfully I go to a state school so the loan repayments I will be required to make for undergrad won't be too overwhelming, but I am hoping that the LSAC will grant me a fee waiver on the LSAT (I've heard that if I get a test waiver, most schools will wave admissions fees as well).

I know that the correlation is rather unbalanced and cannot be successful in terms of projection, but the last standardized test I took was the SAT and I fell into the 92nd percentile. Through my research, I have found that 92nd percentile LSAT scores are around 165. I plan on registering for the October testing session and I am hoping that I will be able to achieve this score. Within the next week or so I plan to purchase some testing material (books, sample tests, etc.) and begin to study and practice throughout the summer. I haven't determined a set routine in my study ways as of yet, but I will soon.

I also have another scenario that might work in my favor. I am a caucasian male and was raised Jewish, but my father was born in South Africa and I have dual citizenship. I know that this probably won't qualify me for URM status on applications, but possibly an addendum could be added that could pull some weight with an admissions office?

I realize that a 2.83 LSDAS (3.11 uGPA) and a 165 LSAT is somewhat of a splitter score, but I do have confidence in myself and my ability to obtain this if I work hard enough in my studying and practicing. I wanted to come here to pose a few things. Firstly, just to introduce myself, as I feel like this website will be able assist me throughout the process and I plan on sticking around for a bit. Secondly, I'd like to pose some questions. As a rookie to the process I am very unfamiliar with anything more than what I've learned through my Internet searching and thus I'd like to get more direct opinions as to what schools I should be aiming to look at, how I should approach my studying, what I can do to boost my potential in front of an admissions board, etc.

Thanks to all

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Re: A few questions

Postby YaSvoboden » Tue May 24, 2011 3:58 pm

Of the things you mentioned the best boosts are being an NCAA athlete and that's about it. If your South African connection has influenced you in some way then you can throw it in to a diversity statement if you think that is appropriate, it doesn't sound like it would be. There are student-athletes on here that can answer first hand about that part of your app, but I don't recall reading about any significant boost.

It's true that previous tests are not a great indicator of LSAT ability, I scored 93rd percentile ACT and am currently testing above that and hoping to get higher, others have a different experience. To give yourself the best odds for law school get that GPA up while you still can. Getting above 3.0 seems quite possible, make it happen. Along with that you need a good LSAT score. There are tons of ways to study for it. Read a few stickies, some 180 articles, take a diagnostic and come back with more concrete questions on how to study.

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Re: A few questions

Postby fundamentallybroken » Tue May 24, 2011 4:01 pm

Softs are activities and experiences you have outside of school. To help explain low grades, you use an addendum. In other words, your medical problem is something you should put in an addendum, your NCAA sports participation is a soft.

Take your senior year and raise gpa as much as possible. Then, take the LSAT and score as high as possible (SAT has no correlation whatsoever to the LSAT.) Then, and only then, can you start deciding what schools to target.

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Re: A few questions

Postby jippy5 » Wed May 25, 2011 12:00 am

Thanks for the replies. I believe that the NCAA soft could help, and I do believe the South African aspect can help. I am in the process of discussing the possibility of traveling internationally with the South African national team upon graduation with the officials in charge on their end. I believe that if that happened, I'd be able to include that in the diversity statement. I also spent ten days in both my sophomore and junior years of high school in the Yucatan peninsula and rural El Salvador, respectfully, doing humanitarian work through a local organization. I would assume that these two experiences combined with the potential of traveling with the S.A team could bring on a diversity statement geared towards international experience and general worldly knowledge, but I could be wrong. I should know about the S.A team by the fall, probably right around the time of the LSAT.

The medical addendum that occurred was a series of unexplained nocturnal seizures that caused me to miss nearly an entire month of class. I was in and out of emergency rooms and doctor's offices and had trouble focusing in class for some time. Because it was already passed my school's deadline to withdraw from classes without paying a fee, I stuck out the semester. It ended up hurting me in the end, obviously resulting in the fairly drastic grades decrease. Since the occurrence I have been prescribed medication and have had no ill-effects. I am aware that an addendum wouldn't fully do away with the LSDAS GPA being so low, but as I've read, it might help a little bit with an admissions board.

I am also aware that the SAT and the LSAT don't correlate at all, and was posing the 92nd percentile aspect as more of a self proclaimed expectancy/guidance than anything else. I'd be pleased with anything at or above a 165. I have yet to take any diagnostic/practice exams but I have spoken with several people that have experienced it and read through some sample questions online and believe that if I can put the time in properly, I will be able to succeed in that.

A few questions I'd like to ask if you guys don't mind answering for me once again. Firstly, what are some of the best study guides and study habits out there? I have read some conflicting opinions on some different products and approaches and I'd like to hear some more if you don't mind. Secondly, how important are the recommendations, and from what area should they come from? Ie: once I start the application process, should I be looking to get the top notch recs from academia, athletics, or from someone in the business world (I have developed a good working relationship with a few lawyers and politicians in my area that I feel would be comfortable enough to provide a recommendation)?

I know that these questions are early in the process for me considering I've yet to take the LSATs, but I am pretty excited at the prospect of everything happening and would like to get the ball rolling on gaining as much knowledge as possible.

Much appreciated

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Re: A few questions

Postby jkay » Wed May 25, 2011 12:25 am

Take worthless classes next year, don't graduate. Get all A's. Continue getting A's through fifth year. Graduate.

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Re: A few questions

Postby BeaverHunter » Wed May 25, 2011 2:04 pm

Just a thought on the SAT/LSAT correlation...people who take the LSAT are or will soon be college graduates, people who take the SAT are or will soon be high school graduates. So by and large the baseline for the LSAT is higher so I would not expect this score, although you certainly could get it or higher with study and practice.

Take a practice test, see how you do. To get into a worthwhile school you'll need at least a 160 (and probably higher) with your GPA.

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