The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

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DerangedGoose
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The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby DerangedGoose » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:08 pm

My apologies if this belongs in the "what are my chances?" section.

I am at the end of my undergraduate career at the University of California, Irvine, and I will be finishing with around a 3.2-3.3 and a Bachelors in Business Economics, with a Russian Language minor (Im fluent).

I was one of those "smart kids" who never really studied or did homework, and just relied on test scores to lead them through. I got a 2170 on the SAT never having studied a day for it, and preliminary LSAT practice tests have placed me consistently in the 160s.

This work ethic has more or less come to screw me over. As painful as it is to know that I could have done so much better had I just applied myself a little, I know this is squarely on my shoulders and there is no one to moan to. As a result, the LSAT and a good essay are literally my only chances at getting into a good law school. I've thought for a long time, and I'm ready to apply my potential.

I've been considering law school, and the admissions statistics for all of the schools I am considering have been discouraging, to say the least. I would like to stay in California, and if I were to go by GPA alone, the only school in the top 100 I am reliably eligible for is Chapman, which has very poor employment statistics. According to calculators, even with 170+ LSAT scores, my odds of getting into UCLA dont exceed 30%.

I know I'm a smart person, I know I can be a good lawyer, and my mode of thinking makes me suited to doing well in law school. Obviously, one should not assume, but if I were to achieve a 170 or above, what would be my next step in trying to convince a good school to accept me? At our last law school fair, I spoke to several admissions representatives from different schools, some for an extended time. I can tell I made a good impression, but seeing the way their face fell when I told them my GPA was extremely frustrating.

As frustrating as it must be for academic achievers to perform poorly on standardized tests, its just as discouraging for me to have my past a continual black mark on my future. I cant be the only person that is in this boat. It seems like law schools encourage academically successful students to explain their poor test scores, but the reverse does not seem to always hold.

I'm a white male with a good, stable family. My father suffered a relatively serious hiking injury half a year ago that left him unable to work for some time, and coupled with my grandmothers failing health and medical bills, finances have been tight and stress levels have been high. This can explain my lukewarm performance as a senior, but against the stories of legitimate disadvantages that other applicants will probably field, I'm almost afraid saying these things will make it look like I'm whining.

Some people just take longer than others to get their act together. I know that applying with a strong LSAT and a weak GPA will just show me for what I was: smart and lazy. What do I do, and what do I say, to show people that I have moved past that phase of my life? How can I convince a top tier school to invest in the potential I know I have?

Thanks for your time and patience!

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Verity
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby Verity » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:13 pm

It's useless to determine your chances without a real LSAT score.

Assuming you kill it, your admission cycle will be very hard to predict. Try to get a 173+ for Cali.

Best strategy: kill the LSAT and ED to UVA. If you have work experience, ED to Northwestern. Otherwise, blanket the T25 (excluding HYS and CCN).

If your LSAT is 168-172, blanket the T15-30. T14 will probably be out. But you'll get serious money elsewhere.

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Killingly
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby Killingly » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:16 pm

I am a similarly smart/lazy person who coasted through my undergrad. I rested on my natural talent rather than work ethic, and it got me a 3.5 when I could have done much better.

That being said, I just doubt law schools want to hear it.

You could address your low gpa in your personal statement, but it'd probably just work against you. Think about it: you'd essentially be admitting that you were lazy, didn't take undergrad seriously, and are JUST deciding to turn over a new leaf after the fact. Presenting yourself in that light does not seem beneficial to you or your chances.

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cinephile
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby cinephile » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:16 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:What do I do, and what do I say, to show people that I have moved past that phase of my life? How can I convince a top tier school to invest in the potential I know I have?


You could get some distance from your undergrad GPA by working for a couple of years and demonstrating success and competence in whatever field you go into (basically just work a couple of years and get a good rec from your boss). But a 3.2 isn't that bad, depending on your LSAT score.

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Patriot1208
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:17 pm

These are my favorite threads.

*Subtle brag*
*Excuse*
*Subtle Brag*
*Excuse*
*Subtle Brag*
*Why I will pwn law school*
*Subtle brag*

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NYC Law
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby NYC Law » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:18 pm

As a similarly smart but lazy person who stressed out over GPA too much - chill. It really all comes down to the LSAT, and as long as you do decent you can go to a solid school. GPA doesn't matter nearly as much as you think it does.

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Horsefeathers
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby Horsefeathers » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:21 pm

I'm basically a product of cinephile's advice. I ended undergrad with a 3.2 (3.19 LSAC GPA), and worked in a substantive job for almost 3 years. I was successful at work, left with stellar recs, and got a 173 on the LSAT. I applied earlyish to Northwestern with a "WHY NU Essay" and was admitted.

This path is generally a pretty safe bet for NU, provided you can interview decently. The other T14's are still a total crapshoot. Even ED at Virginia can be chancy if it's not early in the fall.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:22 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:These are my favorite threads.

*Subtle brag*
*Excuse*
*Subtle Brag*
*Excuse*
*Subtle Brag*
*Why I will pwn law school*
*Subtle brag*

:lol: but not so subtle, imHo

mallen
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby mallen » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:22 pm

Honesstly, you sound a bit arrogant. But, regardless--

I feel your pain. I wonder quite routinely how vastly different my cycle would have been if I had a few more A's on my transcript.

What i did -- got a real job. learned the value of hard work. Learned what actually constituted hard work. You learn work ethic real quick when your income depends on it.

It sounds like a full-time job would do you good. It'd strengthen your application and (perhaps!) give you some of that "real-world" humility.

acrossthelake
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:25 pm

FantasticMrFox wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:These are my favorite threads.

*Subtle brag*
*Excuse*
*Subtle Brag*
*Excuse*
*Subtle Brag*
*Why I will pwn law school*
*Subtle brag*

:lol: but not so subtle, imHo


I thought IMHO stood for in my honest opinion? It's humble?!!

ETA: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18478

Nevermind it can be both!

DerangedGoose
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby DerangedGoose » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:25 pm

Verity wrote:
Assuming you kill it, your admission cycle will be very hard to predict. Try to get a 173+ for Cali.

Best strategy: kill the LSAT and ED to UVA. If you have work experience, ED to Northwestern. Otherwise, blanket the T25 (excluding HYS and CCN).

If your LSAT is 168-172, blanket the T15-30. T14 will probably be out. But you'll get serious money elsewhere.


Some people say that with an MBA, any school below a certain rank is not really worth your time. Is this true for law schools as well? If so, whats the cutoff?


Killingly wrote:I am a similarly smart/lazy person who coasted through my undergrad. I rested on my natural talent rather than work ethic, and it got me a 3.5 when I could have done much better.


So what did you say when you applied? What was your LSAT? Where did you get in?


cinephile wrote:
You could get some distance from your undergrad GPA by working for a couple of years and demonstrating success and competence in whatever field you go into (basically just work a couple of years and get a good rec from your boss). But a 3.2 isn't that bad, depending on your LSAT score.



This is kind of random, but I have a lot of musical talent and have recently been given an opportunity to pursue a potential career in production/DJing. How would a couple years of that look, even with moderate success? Is being successful at something you love looked down upon if its not considered a serious career?

As for arrogance, thats not how I'm trying to come across. Im just laying out what I perceive as facts. Theres a million other applicants that will score just as well on the LSAT and have a great GPA, so what cause do I have to be arrogant?


So basically what Im getting from all this is that I really have no chance to stay in California at a decent school?

splitmuch
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby splitmuch » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:28 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:My apologies if this belongs in the "what are my chances?" section.

I am at the end of my undergraduate career at the University of California, Irvine, and I will be finishing with around a 3.2-3.3 and a Bachelors in Business Economics, with a Russian Language minor (Im fluent).

I was one of those "smart kids" who never really studied or did homework, and just relied on test scores to lead them through. I got a 2170 on the SAT never having studied a day for it, and preliminary LSAT practice tests have placed me consistently in the 160s.

This work ethic has more or less come to screw me over. As painful as it is to know that I could have done so much better had I just applied myself a little, I know this is squarely on my shoulders and there is no one to moan to. As a result, the LSAT and a good essay are literally my only chances at getting into a good law school. I've thought for a long time, and I'm ready to apply my potential.

I've been considering law school, and the admissions statistics for all of the schools I am considering have been discouraging, to say the least. I would like to stay in California, and if I were to go by GPA alone, the only school in the top 100 I am reliably eligible for is Chapman, which has very poor employment statistics. According to calculators, even with 170+ LSAT scores, my odds of getting into UCLA dont exceed 30%.

I know I'm a smart person, I know I can be a good lawyer, and my mode of thinking makes me suited to doing well in law school. Obviously, one should not assume, but if I were to achieve a 170 or above, what would be my next step in trying to convince a good school to accept me? At our last law school fair, I spoke to several admissions representatives from different schools, some for an extended time. I can tell I made a good impression, but seeing the way their face fell when I told them my GPA was extremely frustrating.

As frustrating as it must be for academic achievers to perform poorly on standardized tests, its just as discouraging for me to have my past a continual black mark on my future. I cant be the only person that is in this boat. It seems like law schools encourage academically successful students to explain their poor test scores, but the reverse does not seem to always hold.

I'm a white male with a good, stable family. My father suffered a relatively serious hiking injury half a year ago that left him unable to work for some time, and coupled with my grandmothers failing health and medical bills, finances have been tight and stress levels have been high. This can explain my lukewarm performance as a senior, but against the stories of legitimate disadvantages that other applicants will probably field, I'm almost afraid saying these things will make it look like I'm whining.

Some people just take longer than others to get their act together. I know that applying with a strong LSAT and a weak GPA will just show me for what I was: smart and lazy. What do I do, and what do I say, to show people that I have moved past that phase of my life? How can I convince a top tier school to invest in the potential I know I have?

Thanks for your time and patience!


You said you are smart, but then said you got a 2170, a 3.2 in a business major, and are consistently testing in the 160s...

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bk1
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby bk1 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:29 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:Some people say that with an MBA, any school below a certain rank is not really worth your time. Is this true for law schools as well? If so, whats the cutoff?


It's more of a sliding scale than a hard cutoff. And it can make sense to go to a lower school if you can snag a substantial scholarship. Generally speaking, the T14 are worth 200k debt, the T18 are worth 150k debt, the T50 are worth 100k debt, and anything less than that you should be going on a full ride.

DerangedGoose wrote:So what did you say when you applied? What was your LSAT? Where did you get in?


Don't make excuses for your GPA. Just accept that it is bad and know that the only thing that will save you is a high LSAT.

DerangedGoose wrote:So basically what Im getting from all this is that I really have no chance to stay in California at a decent school?


Pretty much. If you want to work in CA after law school, your best bet would be going to a lower T14 at sticker.

DerangedGoose
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby DerangedGoose » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:33 pm

splitmuch wrote:
You said you are smart, but then said you got a 2170, a 3.2 in a business major, and are consistently testing in the 160s...


I wasnt aware that a 2170 on the first new SAT was such a terrible score? When I took it, there were only three perfect scores in the whole state. Its gotten considerably easier since then.

Ive never touched LSAT materials before and scored mid 160s in practice. Were people just rosing my glasses for shits and giggles?

Ill just boil it down to these questions:

-What is the ranking cutoff for a "good" school?

-With my statistics, will I be able to attend a "good" CA school?

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NYC Law
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby NYC Law » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:33 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:
Some people say that with an MBA, any school below a certain rank is not really worth your time. Is this true for law schools as well? If so, whats the cutoff?





The cut off isn't nearly as drastic for law schools as for Business schools. I was just looking at Fordham's business school stats (ranked in the 90-100 range) and it boasts a 30% employment rate (and thats what they report to US News).

It just depends on costs and other factors. In CA though, I'd be very wary of going to anything besides Stanford. (Not an elitism tone, the CA market is just horrible right now) - Unless you have a science/tech background.

If its a non-saturated market (MA, MN, Iowa, etc) or a Market that appears to be healthier (NY) you can dip lower into the rankings

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:36 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
FantasticMrFox wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:These are my favorite threads.

*Subtle brag*
*Excuse*
*Subtle Brag*
*Excuse*
*Subtle Brag*
*Why I will pwn law school*
*Subtle brag*

:lol: but not so subtle, imHo


I thought IMHO stood for in my honest opinion? It's humble?!!

ETA: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18478

Nevermind it can be both!
:shock: never used it as "honest" before...well mainly because i never needed to give false opinions on the internet

DerangedGoose
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby DerangedGoose » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:37 pm

Is it worth it to delay graduation or take extra classes to boost my GPA? Or will that be plainly obvious when I send my transcripts in?

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bjsesq
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby bjsesq » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:39 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:
splitmuch wrote:
You said you are smart, but then said you got a 2170, a 3.2 in a business major, and are consistently testing in the 160s...


I wasnt aware that a 2170 on the first new SAT was such a terrible score? When I took it, there were only three perfect scores in the whole state. Its gotten considerably easier since then.

Ive never touched LSAT materials before and scored mid 160s in practice. Were people just rosing my glasses for shits and giggles?

Ill just boil it down to these questions:

-What is the ranking cutoff for a "good" school?

-With my statistics, will I be able to attend a "good" CA school?


Forum search "managamy." You'll find your situations nearly identical.

Total Litigator
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby Total Litigator » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:40 pm

I'm not one for scholarly pursuits, but I am a cocktail party demi god. I can charm the panties off of any gal, and have any business associate invite me over for dinner within five minutes of talking to them. Just imagine a more handsome, clever, sexy Ari Gold and that is me. If that image is not clicking for you, you need to get a better imagination or stop watching shit cable television.

Do you think this will help me applying to and during law school? Maybe as far as schmoozing/sleeping with professors and getting good grades / pwning networking events and getting biglaw goes? Also, I imagine I could probably get high 170's on the LSAT. That's just a hunch, but I'm never wrong.

I really appreciate any advice you all may have, and sorry to hijack the thread.

But seriously, Ari Gold x10 with a 12 inch penis.
Last edited by Total Litigator on Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NYC Law
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby NYC Law » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:40 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:Is it worth it to delay graduation or take extra classes to boost my GPA? Or will that be plainly obvious when I send my transcripts in?


No, just study hard for the LSAT.

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bk1
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby bk1 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:40 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:Is it worth it to delay graduation or take extra classes to boost my GPA? Or will that be plainly obvious when I send my transcripts in?


If you can boost your GPA above a 3.0 it's worth it. It will be obvious, but the schools won't care because all that matters to them is your LSAC GPA.

splitmuch
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby splitmuch » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:40 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:
splitmuch wrote:
You said you are smart, but then said you got a 2170, a 3.2 in a business major, and are consistently testing in the 160s...


I wasnt aware that a 2170 on the first new SAT was such a terrible score? When I took it, there were only three perfect scores in the whole state. Its gotten considerably easier since then.

Ive never touched LSAT materials before and scored mid 160s in practice. Were people just rosing my glasses for shits and giggles?

Ill just boil it down to these questions:

-What is the ranking cutoff for a "good" school?

-With my statistics, will I be able to attend a "good" CA school?


I never said it was "terrible" (what is that something around 90th percentile?) I just don't see it as justification for "smart," especially in the context of the other evidence you provide.

splitmuch
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby splitmuch » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:42 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:Is it worth it to delay graduation or take extra classes to boost my GPA? Or will that be plainly obvious when I send my transcripts in?



Probably better off graduating, getting WE and applying to NU with a good LSAT than delaying graduation.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:43 pm

DerangedGoose wrote:Is it worth it to delay graduation or take extra classes to boost my GPA? Or will that be plainly obvious when I send my transcripts in?

I'd personally do it because that 3.2 in a major that really isn't that great is ugly :( I have friends who delayed graduation to boost their GPA and complete another major that was more useful.

The Jerk
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Re: The smart people that underachieved -- what did you do?

Postby The Jerk » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:50 pm

Total Litigator wrote:I'm not one for scholarly pursuits, but I am a cocktail party demi god. I can charm the panties off of any gal, and have any business associate invite me over for dinner within five minutes of talking to them. Just imagine a more handsome, clever, sexy Ari Gold and that is me. If that image is not clicking for you, you need to get a better imagination or stop watching shit cable television.

Do you think this will help me applying to and during law school? Maybe as far as schmoozing/sleeping with professors and getting good grades / pwning networking events and getting biglaw goes? Also, I imagine I could probably get high 170's on the LSAT. That's just a hunch, but I'm never wrong.

I really appreciate any advice you all may have, and sorry to hijack the thread.

But seriously, Ari Gold x10 with a 12 inch penis.



lolz




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