A couple of questions about law school admissions

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insert_name
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A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby insert_name » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:56 pm

Hi, I am going to be an incoming second year at a top public school. Up until now, I was going to major in biology and take the pre-med route, but my horrendous grades in o-chem and the like are disappointing.

Right now, I have a 2.97 GPA (it was a 3.2 first semester). I am disappointed with myself, but now that I think about it, I'm not sure if biology is the right way for me to go. People have always said that my strong points are in writing and expressing my opinions, and I feel like I could do well in law school (obviously that is up to the law school to decide...).

I have a couple of questions. I understand there is no "pre-law" track as there is for premed. What is a good major though? I am interested in pursuing philosophy with a minor in computer science. However, my concern is that if i don't get into law school, philosophy doesn't exactly yield good job prospects...

As for experience, I have worked in research laboratories for *finding* cures for diseases. But that is more related to biology than it is to law. How do I go about getting internships that are good for law?

Do you think I could successfully pull my GPA up if I major in philosophy and english and still get accepted to a top law school? (Keep in mind my current GPA) Also, it would be great if you knew anyone in similar positions.


Also, one last question. I am disabled (no hearing at all, not from birth, but lost it during high school). How much would this affect me in terms of getting into law school? Would they think that I wouldn't survive? Also, if i do get in, would they provide accommodations to help me out? This is a serious concern lol. I also want to note that I can't really hear on the phone, so I'm not sure if i should hastily switch to law from biology.

Any advice would be appreciated. I truly am interested in law right now, since my grandparents and my uncle are both lawyers.

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Bronte
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby Bronte » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:03 pm

Major in whatever you'd like. People will say major in something easy so as to get good grades, which would include not double majoring. There's some truth to this, except that there's also something to be said for trying to get something out of undergrad, and trying to major in something that has its own value.

As far as experience, law school admissions is a numbers game. Your LSAT score is the most important variable. That said, it's good to get experience. Just try to get interesting internships and do interesting activities.

As to your hearing disability, this will not negatively effect your chances of success in admissions except to the extent that it makes it harder to get good grades and do well on the LSAT, which I'm sure you can find ways to mitigate. If anything, your disability will be viewed as a positive diversity factor.

insert_name
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby insert_name » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:18 pm

Ok, thank you!

I'm thinking about majoring in philosophy right now with a minor in Computer Science. What is a *good* GPA in order to get into a top school? 3.5+?

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Bronte
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby Bronte » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:26 pm

insert_name wrote:Ok, thank you!

I'm thinking about majoring in philosophy right now with a minor in Computer Science. What is a *good* GPA in order to get into a top school? 3.5+?


For the most part the consensus on this forum is that you should not go to law school outside of the top 14 schools plus a few others unless that school is the dominant school in the region in which you want to practice and you have a scholarship, in-state tuition, or both. You should also strongly consider what being a lawyer involves, which is for the most part technical writing, reading, and research. The legal market is extremely bad right now, the worst it's been in history.

To get into the schools mentioned, you would want to have a 3.5+, assuming you can break at least 165-168 on the LSAT. 170 is really the magic number. Those scores are very hard to get. You can look at 25th to 75th percentile GPAs of the incoming classes at these schools here: http://top-law-schools.com/rankings.html.

scammedhard
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby scammedhard » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:49 pm

insert_name wrote:Ok, thank you!

I'm thinking about majoring in philosophy right now with a minor in Computer Science. What is a *good* GPA in order to get into a top school? 3.5+?

Don't make the mistake of minoring in CS and majoring in Philosophy. Do it the other way around: major in CS and minor in Philosophy.
Think long-term. A CS degree is very useful (and lucrative) by itself, unlike a useless Philosophy degree. Also, a CS degree coupled to a JD will have far greater employment opportunities than a Philosophy degree with a JD.

bdubs
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby bdubs » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:58 pm

What kind of law school aspirations do you have? Keep in mind that a 2.97 GPA is a hard sell to most law schools. Even if you pull it up in the 3.3-3.4 region, you will be hard pressed to be in consideration at top schools. If you are ok going to a school that is not the top of the top, then proceed with trying to raise your UPGA by taking on an easier major. If you won't be satisfied with the opportunities that will be presented to you when attending a lower level school (most likely at full sticker price), you should think twice before choosing your undergrad path based on law school admissions.

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Bronte
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby Bronte » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:00 pm

scammedhard wrote:
insert_name wrote:Ok, thank you!

I'm thinking about majoring in philosophy right now with a minor in Computer Science. What is a *good* GPA in order to get into a top school? 3.5+?

Don't make the mistake of minoring in CS and majoring in Philosophy. Do it the other way around: major in CS and minor in Philosophy.
Think long-term. A CS degree is very useful (and lucrative) by itself, unlike a useless Philosophy degree. Also, a CS degree coupled to a JD will have far greater employment opportunities than a Philosophy degree with a JD.


Yeah I would recommend to any undergraduate to major in computer science, another engineering area, accounting or finance, economics, or if you have the chops for it, mathematics or another hard science. However, to a greater or lesser extent, these majors will be harder to get good grades in. Accounting and finance probably to the least extent, although this might require a transfer application to the business school, which your current GPA might make difficult.

insert_name
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby insert_name » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:09 pm

Ok, good point. I'm considering economics as a major too.

Well, the 2.97 is due to o-chem. Is it impossible to bring it up now? Am I pretty much screwed?

What differences are there between a lower-tier and higher-tier law school? I mean, besides ranking...and why should i only go to schools in the T-14 range?

thanks

bdubs
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby bdubs » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:21 pm

insert_name wrote:Ok, good point. I'm considering economics as a major too.

Well, the 2.97 is due to o-chem. Is it impossible to bring it up now? Am I pretty much screwed?

What differences are there between a lower-tier and higher-tier law school? I mean, besides ranking...and why should i only go to schools in the T-14 range?

thanks


It all depends how many credits you have taken and how many you have left to go as to where your GPA can go. I would try to realistically assess your potential performance in a new major and and figure out where your GPA would be by the time you would graduate. You can use the LSAC GPA calculator on LSN to get a sense of what it means for you applications.

You can still get into a T14 if you can get your GPA up into the 3.4+ range and get an LSAT above 170 (98th percentile, so it's not easy). Those schools are the ones with the best job prospects (40-80% get jobs that pay $160k or are of equivalent prestige). Lower tier schools drop off very quickly in terms of job prospects, with only the top 15-20% getting those highly desireable jobs.

scammedhard
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby scammedhard » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:23 pm

insert_name wrote:What differences are there between a lower-tier and higher-tier law school? I mean, besides ranking...and why should i only go to schools in the T-14 range

The issue is JOBS. Most T14 grads still finds jobs, the rest not so much. Of course, other factors need to be considered, like scholarships offers, in-state tuition when applicable, etc. Overall, though, I'd say that no school outside the T14 is worth paying full price, and no school (with very few exceptions) outside the Tier 1 are worth attending, even with substantial scholarships.

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Bronte
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby Bronte » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:36 pm

scammedhard wrote:
insert_name wrote:What differences are there between a lower-tier and higher-tier law school? I mean, besides ranking...and why should i only go to schools in the T-14 range

The issue is JOBS. Most T14 grads still finds jobs, the rest not so much. Of course, other factors need to be considered, like scholarships offers, in-state tuition when applicable, etc. Overall, though, I'd say that no school outside the T14 is worth paying full price, and no school (with very few exceptions) outside the Tier 1 are worth attending, even with substantial scholarships.


With a few more days on this forum, you'll learn all about this OP. It's enough to say that your prospects of landing gainful employment drop off significantly after the T14 schools or so. If you're not aware, law school at sticker involves taking on a about $200,000 in debt, which can be crippling absent a high paying job.

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:52 pm

scammedhard wrote:
insert_name wrote:Ok, thank you!

I'm thinking about majoring in philosophy right now with a minor in Computer Science. What is a *good* GPA in order to get into a top school? 3.5+?

Don't make the mistake of minoring in CS and majoring in Philosophy. Do it the other way around: major in CS and minor in Philosophy.
Think long-term. A CS degree is very useful (and lucrative) by itself, unlike a useless Philosophy degree. Also, a CS degree coupled to a JD will have far greater employment opportunities than a Philosophy degree with a JD.

I meh'd. Law has always seemed like a natural transition from being philosophy major. But maybe the OP will realize that they don't want to go to law school in a few years, so... Yeah. Don't expect a stampede of employers with your degree in philosophy.

Oh, and avoid paying sticker.

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JoeFish
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby JoeFish » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:51 am

I've always been a big proponent of the mathematics... but do something you'll like, which goes hand in hand with getting good grades (at least for some people, like me), and don't major in anything or really take any classes thinking "this will look great on a law school application". GPA and LSAT. That GPA will be tough to get into elite range, but work really hard on the LSAT and you'll either get into a T14, maybe with money, or into a splitter-friendly T25 with $$$

acrossthelake
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby acrossthelake » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:28 pm

scammedhard wrote:
insert_name wrote:Ok, thank you!

I'm thinking about majoring in philosophy right now with a minor in Computer Science. What is a *good* GPA in order to get into a top school? 3.5+?

Don't make the mistake of minoring in CS and majoring in Philosophy. Do it the other way around: major in CS and minor in Philosophy.
Think long-term. A CS degree is very useful (and lucrative) by itself, unlike a useless Philosophy degree. Also, a CS degree coupled to a JD will have far greater employment opportunities than a Philosophy degree with a JD.


Yeah, this. If you have the chops for CS as a minor, just major in it. Though, this will probably be to the detriment of your GPA. Still.

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chem
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby chem » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:36 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
scammedhard wrote:
insert_name wrote:Ok, thank you!

I'm thinking about majoring in philosophy right now with a minor in Computer Science. What is a *good* GPA in order to get into a top school? 3.5+?

Don't make the mistake of minoring in CS and majoring in Philosophy. Do it the other way around: major in CS and minor in Philosophy.
Think long-term. A CS degree is very useful (and lucrative) by itself, unlike a useless Philosophy degree. Also, a CS degree coupled to a JD will have far greater employment opportunities than a Philosophy degree with a JD.


Yeah, this. If you have the chops for CS as a minor, just major in it. Though, this will probably be to the detriment of your GPA. Still.


If you have the chops for a CS minor, get an EE degree

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Emma.
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby Emma. » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:39 pm

OP: After I read your post I wondered whether your disability would affect your job prospects (despite the ADA) and did a quick google search for "deaf lawyer." The first thing I saw was this blog, which might be helpful to you: http://deaflaw.wordpress.com/.

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Verity
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby Verity » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:43 pm

Get straight As for the next 3 years, major in CS, get a 180, and profffffit.

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cmckid
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Re: A couple of questions about law school admissions

Postby cmckid » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:54 pm

As sarcastic as verify is being, that's basically it. I'm out of the top 3 for sure because of my GPA, and prbably out of the top 6 unless my retake pushes me above 175. Major in something which you wouldn't mind having a career in balanced with how easily you can ace it (which will make it easier to have a career in it too). If you think you can do well in CS (pull your GPA to a 3.5 or higher) and get a 168+ on the LSAT, you'll be in great position when you apply to law school.




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