Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
ucsti
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:44 pm

Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby ucsti » Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:31 am

I just joined and was hoping someone might weigh in on my particular situation. I applied to Loyola, UCLA, Southwestern, USC, Irvine, and Columbia (only because they waived the application fee). To date I have been accepted to southwestern, wait-listed at Loyola, and removed from the wait-list at Irvine.

I am somewhat disappointed with my results, especially because I did not receive any scholarship money at southwestern.

My LSAT is a 169 and my GPA is a 3.43. My intangibles are decent- my last year I interned at an IT company and was an assistant teacher in a political philosophy class.

I realize that my GPA is holding me back, in fact I was told so by Irvine. I was hoping to get some goodwill since I carried a 3.75 through my last year and a half of school. Another problem is that I applied in the middle of january. Finally my test was taken under accommodations, although I sincerely hope this does not effect their decision.

Based upon statistics I thought I would receive money at southwestern, comfortably be admitted to Loyola, and hoped to be admitted to one of Irvine, USC or UCLA.

I am now trying to decide on whether to go to southwestern, or attend Loyola if admitted, or reapply early in the next cycle.

If I reapplied I would be retaking the LSAT to improve my score.

What would you do in my situation?

SLS_AMG
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:18 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby SLS_AMG » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:04 am

I guess I would retake. I think you might have to improve several points though, because USC and UCLA like high GPAs. Not sure about Irvine.

When did you apply?

User avatar
dpk711
Posts: 1242
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:24 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby dpk711 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:25 am

You are going to need a 170+ for USC/UCLA. All of the elite Cali schools are GPA-whores. Also, your cumulative GPA is what matters, upward grade trend is a weak soft at best.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18421
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby bk1 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:29 am

As a semi-splitter, CA is going to be rough. USC/UCLA/Boalt aren't really going to want you with that GPA and a sub170 (heck even with a higher score Boalt is unlikely to take you). This basically leaves you with trying to get UCD/UCH/UCI with money or one of the T14's that take 168/169 LSATs (just Cornell/UMich). UCD/UCH are pretty stingy when it comes to money but I don't understand why you didn't even apply to them (they are superior schools to Loyola and Southwestern) and UCI is an unknown because they don't have any grads yet so their employment prospects are hard to get a definitive grasp on.

You should retake/reapply. As it stands right now, a 169 really leaves you in a tough spot as the only T14's that might take you UMich/Cornell (they sometimes take 168's and 169's). If your score doesn't go up you should ED to UMich (where you have an okay shot via ED even with a 169), but if you don't get Cornell or UMich you should be aiming for a small scholarship to UCD/UCH/UCI. If you do get a 170+ that does open up more of the lower T14 as possibilities as well as UCLA/USC as well. Though with a 170-172 you still may want to ED to give yourself a boost if you would prefer a lower T14 over UCLA/USC. The lower T14's that will be most forgiving to your GPA will be UMich/UPenn/UVa (GULC will as well but GULC is seen as slightly worse than those schools).

User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:34 am

Sounds like you did have a crappy cycle (so far)- sorry to hear that. Unfortunately many or most of the CA schools do seem to put almost ridiculous emphasis on GPA. Not sure how much a higher LSAT will help for the higher-ranked CA schools you have applied to because of the GPA emphasis, but I imagine it could help. But I would think you would have a very strong shot at Davis and Hastings, potentially with some money as your numbers stand. Loyola without money doesn't sound to me like a very good option, but it may not be the end of the world either. I don't know much about Southwestern, but I believe it is a TTT school, so going without significant scholly is almost definitely not a good idea. With a 169 you will prob get some close to full schollys (or full) at lower T1. You prob would get in and/or get scholly at WUSTL. Honestly I would call some T25 schools on Monday, explain your situation and see if they will let you apply way past the deadline. I got an exception made during my cycle over a year ago, and I imagine that some schools may grant and exception (though it wasn't nearly this late, but seriously I don't think it would hurt to try, especially if you are not inclined to waiting out another year). Sounds like you got screwed by the CA law school scene, but ultimately you should have some good options even if it does mean waiting another year and/or retaking.

User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:37 am

bk1 wrote:As a semi-splitter, CA is going to be rough. USC/UCLA/Boalt aren't really going to want you with that GPA and a sub170 (heck even with a higher score Boalt is unlikely to take you). This basically leaves you with trying to get UCD/UCH/UCI with money or one of the T14's that take 168/169 LSATs (just Cornell/UMich). UCD/UCH are pretty stingy when it comes to money but I don't understand why you didn't even apply to them (they are superior schools to Loyola and Southwestern) and UCI is an unknown because they don't have any grads yet so their employment prospects are hard to get a definitive grasp on.

You should retake/reapply. As it stands right now, a 169 really leaves you in a tough spot as the only T14's that might take you UMich/Cornell (they sometimes take 168's and 169's). If your score doesn't go up you should ED to UMich (where you have an okay shot via ED even with a 169), but if you don't get Cornell or UMich you should be aiming for a small scholarship to UCD/UCH/UCI. If you do get a 170+ that does open up more of the lower T14 as possibilities as well as UCLA/USC as well. Though with a 170-172 you still may want to ED to give yourself a boost if you would prefer a lower T14 over UCLA/USC. The lower T14's that will be most forgiving to your GPA will be UMich/UPenn/UVa (GULC will as well but GULC is seen as slightly worse than those schools).


+1. This generally is better than my advice, though my advice may add pieces re: non-T14 schools.

Real Madrid
Posts: 835
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 12:21 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Real Madrid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:47 am

bk1 wrote:As a semi-splitter, CA is going to be rough. USC/UCLA/Boalt aren't really going to want you with that GPA and a sub170 (heck even with a higher score Boalt is unlikely to take you). This basically leaves you with trying to get UCD/UCH/UCI with money or one of the T14's that take 168/169 LSATs (just Cornell/UMich). UCD/UCH are pretty stingy when it comes to money but I don't understand why you didn't even apply to them (they are superior schools to Loyola and Southwestern) and UCI is an unknown because they don't have any grads yet so their employment prospects are hard to get a definitive grasp on.

You should retake/reapply. As it stands right now, a 169 really leaves you in a tough spot as the only T14's that might take you UMich/Cornell (they sometimes take 168's and 169's). If your score doesn't go up you should ED to UMich (where you have an okay shot via ED even with a 169), but if you don't get Cornell or UMich you should be aiming for a small scholarship to UCD/UCH/UCI. If you do get a 170+ that does open up more of the lower T14 as possibilities as well as UCLA/USC as well. Though with a 170-172 you still may want to ED to give yourself a boost if you would prefer a lower T14 over UCLA/USC. The lower T14's that will be most forgiving to your GPA will be UMich/UPenn/UVa (GULC will as well but GULC is seen as slightly worse than those schools).



I think this is good advice for the most part, though somewhat pessimistic. Cornell's LSAT median is 168, and Michigan's is 169. So to say that these schools "sometimes take 168s and 169s" is an extreme understatement. The OP's GPA is unquestionably the thing holding him back.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18421
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby bk1 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:52 am

Real Madrid wrote:I think this is good advice for the most part, though somewhat pessimistic. Cornell's LSAT median is 168, and Michigan's is 169. So to say that these schools "sometimes take 168s and 169s" is an extreme understatement. The OP's GPA is unquestionably the thing holding him back.


I meant in relation to OP's GPA, not in general. The majority of people around OP's numbers at both these schools got waitlisted. OP's best bet is definitely UMich ED if the LSAT does not go up, but I wouldn't say it is any better than 50/50.

jarofsoup
Posts: 1952
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:41 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby jarofsoup » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:56 am

Did you majorly screw up your personal statement or something. With a 3.43 and 169 you should have gotten into some thing in the T-50. You should have been a auto admit at Loyola LA...

what about BC, BU, GWU, WUSTL, Hastings, Davis, USD? Did you apply. Did you have strong letter of recommendations.
Last edited by jarofsoup on Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18421
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby bk1 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:59 am

jarofsoup wrote:Did you majorly screw up your personal statement or something. With a 3.43 and 169 you should have gotten into some thing in the T-50. You should have been a auto admit at Loyola LA...


This. There seems like something is wrong with OP's app considering the results from Southwestern/Loyola.

Real Madrid
Posts: 835
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 12:21 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Real Madrid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:06 am

Could it have something to do with LSAT accommodations? Or perhaps you applied super late in the cycle?

Danteshek
Posts: 2172
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Danteshek » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:08 am

There must be something more to this story. Loyola does not yield protect. I want to know more about this accommodation. Do you have a criminal record?

User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:11 am

Danteshek wrote:There must be something more to this story. Loyola does not yield protect. I want to know more about this accommodation. Do you have a criminal record?


Oh, didn't see that before. Yeah, that could def help explain it. I think schools don't consider LSATs taken with an accommodation in the same light as those without it, especially if the accommodation involved a time-extension. It seems based on the cycle results like the LSAT was weighted more like a low 160s result.

User avatar
JoeFish
Posts: 353
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:43 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby JoeFish » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:18 am

jarofsoup wrote:what about BC, BU, GWU, WUSTL, Hastings, Davis, USD?


You'd have a very good shot at UIUC. But if you're set on CA... it's true, you might have to settle for a drop in rankings. Still, though, that's an unfortunate cycle. If you do retake and improve your score a touch, and make sure there isn't any huge problem with your app, you could probably do a lot better.

User avatar
3v3ryth1ng
Posts: 295
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:48 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:35 pm

jarofsoup wrote:Did you majorly screw up your personal statement or something. With a 3.43 and 169 you should have gotten into some thing in the T-50. You should have been a auto admit at Loyola LA...

what about BC, BU, GWU, WUSTL, Hastings, Davis, USD? Did you apply. Did you have strong letter of recommendations.


I want to echo this, and most other responses in this thread. You either have extremely bad luck, or something about your application was flawed in a way you haven't disclosed. You should have had a lock on Loyola at least.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4855
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Borhas » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:45 pm

your gpa will probably cut you out of contention for Berkeley, USC, and UCLA... retaking won't help matters too much unless you do much better (because your LSAT is already above median and your GPA will remain below median)

retaking may help you get into a T14 (though that would be an uphill climb too) and then you'd have a good shot at moving back out West, or maybe get a better scholarship from Loyola or USD. With that GPA your best odds would have been at UCD or UCH

either way, try again next year, cast a wider net, get some work experience

ucsti
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:44 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby ucsti » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:30 am

Thanks for the responses everyone. I will try to briefly cover all the questions.

First, no I do not think there was a major flaw in my application. I have no criminal record (that I am aware of). I believe my essays were well written and compelling. My letters of recommendation were from a respected judge in Los Angeles and from a professor who I believe thought well of my capabilities (I taught a class of his when he was absent and graded all his students papers for a semester.)

I guess it was my GPA and maybe applying late in the cycle (mid january). I did speak to UCLA and Loyola beforehand and they said applying at this time would have no impact on my application.


Right now I am considering going to Loyola, at full sticker, should I be accepted off the wait-list. If I don't get in I guess I will retake and reapply. I didn't sleep the night before the lsat and I think that negatively impacted my performance. I only applied to Los Angeles area schools because that is where I would like to practice and because I have a place to live here for free during law school. I guess I need to do more research to see whether going to
a higher ranked out of state school that I could feasibly get in to would outweigh the benefits of going to school in this area. Ideally I would like to go to UCLA USC or Irvine. I would be happy at any other school but I would really like to get scholarship money.

071816
Posts: 5511
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:06 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby 071816 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:33 am

ucsti wrote:Thanks for the responses everyone. I will try to briefly cover all the questions.

First, no I do not think there was a major flaw in my application. I have no criminal record (that I am aware of). I believe my essays were well written and compelling. My letters of recommendation were from a respected judge in Los Angeles and from a professor who I believe thought well of my capabilities (I taught a class of his when he was absent and graded all his students papers for a semester.)

I guess it was my GPA and maybe applying late in the cycle (mid january). I did speak to UCLA and Loyola beforehand and they said applying at this time would have no impact on my application.


Right now I am considering going to Loyola, at full sticker, should I be accepted off the wait-list. If I don't get in I guess I will retake and reapply. I didn't sleep the night before the lsat and I think that negatively impacted my performance. I only applied to Los Angeles area schools because that is where I would like to practice and because I have a place to live here for free during law school. I guess I need to do more research to see whether going to
a higher ranked out of state school that I could feasibly get in to would outweigh the benefits of going to school in this area. Ideally I would like to go to UCLA USC or Irvine. I would be happy at any other school but I would really like to get scholarship money.


Don't pay sticker at Loyola, especially with those numbers. If I were you I would consider reapplying super early next cycle.

Danteshek
Posts: 2172
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Danteshek » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:45 am

I'll answer any questions you have about Loyola off line. PM me. I'm a 3L.

ucsti
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:44 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby ucsti » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:57 am

Yes, and I don't know whether testing with accommodations effects the application or not. No one can tell you one way or the other of course

jarofsoup
Posts: 1952
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:41 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby jarofsoup » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:01 am

A 169 is a great score. You should have had a lot of admits

expat17
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby expat17 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:29 am

dpk711 wrote:You are going to need a 170+ for USC/UCLA. All of the elite Cali schools are GPA-whores. Also, your cumulative GPA is what matters, upward grade trend is a weak soft at best.


I'm sorry, but I have to absolutely disagree. Unless you're after HYS (which from your post, it looks like you're not) then there is no reason for you to retake. No matter what TLS-ers tell you, 169 is a good LSAT score, and perfectly suited to apply to the schools that you're interested in.

I have roughly the same stats and was admitted to UCLA/USC/Boalt in CA, and other low t14s and T20s with significant $$. Although, as a caveat, I am out of school a few years and have spent some time building up an interesting resume and background.

This is what I suggest you: do not re-take, but re-apply. Spend the summer volunteering / interning in something legal related that you are interested in (because it sounds like you are straight out of undergrad - apologies if I got this wrong), whether it's a low-income clinic or the IP division of a company. Take time to re-assess your application. Re-write a compelling and reflective essay about why you want to go to law school in general, and why you want to go to THAT school that you are applying to specifically (for advice on PS-writing, I highly suggest the PS section of the Ivey Guide to LS Admissions book). It also wouldn't hurt to get another letter of rec from wherever you end up spending the summer - something that can speak to your profile beyond numbers - personality, dedication, interest, future career path, background, diversity (which can be broader defined than maybe you initially thought), etc.

THEN, make sure you have all your ducks in a row in terms of your re-applications. Submit them no later than October. Apply to Loyola, Pepperdine, UCI, USC, UCLA, USD, Hastings, and maybe throw in another 1 or 2 that integrate well with the CA market and that you wouldn't mind seeing yourself attending for 3 years. For each of your applications, make sure your PS specifically weaves in why you would be a good fit at their school, and what drives you for wanting to attend. Take some time to look through the websites and gather info (even on TLS) about the things that attract you to each school.

Whatever it is that held back your applications this cycle (I personally think it's your late application, but it may be a little yield protect in Loyola's case and probably a bit of "beige" syndrome (read: boring and without a spark) for USC/UCLA) you can overcome it. You just need to really sit down, review your apps, and improve your applications as much as possible over the summer, applying no later than the end of October.

Your cycle sounds odd. I do not think a re-take is at all necessary. But, I would highly recommend to NOT attend Loyola at sticker, let alone Southwestern. Given the employment statistics for each, it is just not a safe investment at this time. If you follow the above steps, you should be able to at least get $$ at Loy/Pep/USD, if not an admission to UCI/Hastings/USC.

Good Luck.

User avatar
JoeFish
Posts: 353
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:43 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby JoeFish » Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:50 am

expat17 wrote: No matter what TLS-ers tell you, 169 is a good LSAT score, and perfectly suited to apply to the schools that you're interested in.


Just not sure this is sound advice. According to the 10-11 cycle on LSN, the lowest GPA USC admitted with a 169 is a 3.56, and UCLA admitted 4 of 25 people who applied with a 169 and less than 3.75. 169/3.43 is not a ding at either school, but probably not an acceptance either.

The reason TLS people say "RETAKE" all of the time is because at this point (applicant has stated that he/she is out of school) virtually the only thing that the applicant has control over is LSAT score. If the OP volunteers this summer and rewrites the PS, that will basically give the OP a tiebreaker over all the other applicants with LSATs of about 169 and 3.4-3.6s. If OP gets that score up just 3 tiny little points to 172, presumably passing most of those between those two scores, then OP would fall between the lowest GPA admit and highest GPA WL at 172 for USC, and would find that 5 of 10 172s were admitted to UCLA with less than 3.75.

I know the process isn't completely deterministic like that, and as most people on this thread have been saying, the app needs to be looked over for any serious errors. It never hurts to improve one's PS, or to apply earlier. But the single most powerful thing an applicant can do is increase the LSAT score. In this particular case, at these two particular schools, a 169 to 172 represents the odds of admission doubling, at least.

expat17
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby expat17 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:03 am

JoeFish wrote:
expat17 wrote: No matter what TLS-ers tell you, 169 is a good LSAT score, and perfectly suited to apply to the schools that you're interested in.


Just not sure this is sound advice. According to the 10-11 cycle on LSN, the lowest GPA USC admitted with a 169 is a 3.56, and UCLA admitted 4 of 25 people who applied with a 169 and less than 3.75. 169/3.43 is not a ding at either school, but probably not an acceptance either.

The reason TLS people say "RETAKE" all of the time is because at this point (applicant has stated that he/she is out of school) virtually the only thing that the applicant has control over is LSAT score. If the OP volunteers this summer and rewrites the PS, that will basically give the OP a tiebreaker over all the other applicants with LSATs of about 169 and 3.4-3.6s. If OP gets that score up just 3 tiny little points to 172, presumably passing most of those between those two scores, then OP would fall between the lowest GPA admit and highest GPA WL at 172 for USC, and would find that 5 of 10 172s were admitted to UCLA with less than 3.75.

I know the process isn't completely deterministic like that, and as most people on this thread have been saying, the app needs to be looked over for any serious errors. It never hurts to improve one's PS, or to apply earlier. But the single most powerful thing an applicant can do is increase the LSAT score. In this particular case, at these two particular schools, a 169 to 172 represents the odds of admission doubling, at least.



I appreciate that the re-take advice is often warranted, but personally in OP's situation (for OP's target schools, market, etc) I would not recommend it.

What people proclaiming "retake!" often ignore, is that it is not guaranteed that OP's score will go up. This is a huge presumption. It could go down. For the range of target schools OP is after, 169 really should do the trick. If OP was only denied UCLA/USC and these were their top picks, I might agree with the retake. BUT, because OP was waitlisted at Loyola as well, (to me) it sounds like there was something off about the overall application package, and not just a numbers problem.

I think there is much greater weight on applying early than people on TLS often give credit for. As someone with worth stats lower than OP (LSAT and GPA) who was accepted to all the target schools and beyond, I would suggest simply a re-apply.

I know exceptions to the rule can't be the rule, but OP's stats on roughly on target - if not a USC admit, then I think the OP will have very good chances at UCI/Hastings and Loy/Pep/USD with money ... which seems to be the goal. The Loyola WL (to me) indicates that there may be some more overall issues with the application, rather than just numbers.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4855
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Need some good advice on California Law Schools admissions

Postby Borhas » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:21 am

I guess it was my GPA and maybe applying late in the cycle (mid january). I did speak to UCLA and Loyola beforehand and they said applying at this time would have no impact on my application.


they were probably BSing you


Right now I am considering going to Loyola, at full sticker, should I be accepted off the wait-list. If I don't get in I guess I will retake and reapply. I didn't sleep the night before the lsat and I think that negatively impacted my performance. I only applied to Los Angeles area schools because that is where I would like to practice and because I have a place to live here for free during law school. I guess I need to do more research to see whether going to
a higher ranked out of state school that I could feasibly get in to would outweigh the benefits of going to school in this area. Ideally I would like to go to UCLA USC or Irvine. I would be happy at any other school but I would really like to get scholarship money.


reapply early next cycle, don't waste a 169 LSAT on a no scholly offer from Loyola

retake and try to get above USC or UCLA's median LSAT (which I thought you were already above of, but if not then this could help you a lot)... also as others have said, apply early. It helps more than anything other than LSAT, URM, GPA, and Work Experience status. W/ that said, barring a 170+ score, you're pretty much shot out of USC,UCLA




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], henryyou and 3 guests