Future chances at this point?

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IamJosh
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Future chances at this point?

Postby IamJosh » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:07 am

Hey all,

I'm entering sophomore year this fall at a top 20 UG. I messed up my GPA pretty badly during freshman year by choosing poor classes and not really knowing what I wanted to do, (I'm not made for the hard sciences.) I've settled on majoring in English and, likely, philosophy as well, both of which I do well in. Coming into the fall, my GPA is 2.44--Yeah, it's awful, I'm very aware.

I feel settled in now and have found my niche. I did much, much better academically in the spring than I did in the fall and I feel confident that I can continue to improve now that I know what college is actually like. My question, then, is: If I can graduate with a 3.0-3.2 and crack the mid 160's on the LSAT, would I be capable of getting into a law school that would offer good potential employment/a respectable degree?

Given that I started this post by saying I didn't know what I wanted to do last year, I know someone is already thinking, "Only go to law school if you really want to go to law school." I think I would enjoy it, and I think I would enjoy being a lawyer... But I also know, regardless of desire, law school isn't easy. And if I could only get into schools that firms wouldn't find particularly impressive, leaving me then struggling to find work, let alone work that will make the law school investment worthwhile, I may just pursue other options. I already know I'm not going to Harvard or Yale, etc., but I'm wondering if there are some decent schools out there that would take a look at an applicant with a weaker GPA caused by the hard sciences in freshman year?

Thanks.

bhan87
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby bhan87 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:27 am

You're a sophomore, so instead of speculating, focus on getting straight A's from here on out. Regardless of what you want to do after you graduate, you'll likely be aided by raising your GPA.

If you really do want to speculate, get out a calculator and calculate your GPA according to a few scenarios:

1. All A's from sophomore to senior year
2. 3.8 average from sophomore to senior year (4 As to 1 B)
3. 3.5 average from sophomore to senior year (1 A to 1 B)

Plug the GPA you get out of each scenario into:

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/?page_id=11

and fiddle around with the LSAT till you see the schools you like pop up "Strong Consider".

If you take around the same amount of units and get straight A's until you graduate, your GPA should be around a 3.5-3.6 . With an LSAT score of at least 172, you should be able to crack the T14.

But that's a big IF, so get cracking and rack up those A's

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JoeFish
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby JoeFish » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:12 am

Try to pull straight As from here on out, but don't kill yourself to do it, because if you can just get up over 3.3 and have a 172+ LSAT, you're looking at $$$ from T25s, including UIUC, IUB, WUSTL, and, with 3.3/174+, Vandy.

It's not T14, and you really need to bust to get that GPA above the water, but when I came to classes I didn't really care about, and found that the difference between a C and an A- was 3 hours of study/HW a week, and the difference between an A- and A was another 5 hours (definitely had classes like this), I would take the A- every time. I don't regret it one bit.

I will not, however, be lax on my LSAT instructions: GET THE SCORE UP; there are a million and four resources at your disposal, so no excuse for not going all out to make up for whatever your GPA ends up as.

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Kabuo
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby Kabuo » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:55 am

Ok, I got a 2.0 my first semester, a 2.6 my second. And, to make matters worse, I had about 30 AP credits that counted toward my degree but didn't count toward my GPA. I ended up slacking about as badly as I did my first year throughout the rest of undergrad (like one semester was ever above a 3.67), and I ended up with a 3.2. You need to use this as a wake-up call and get mostly As from here on out. A 3.2 is not something to shoot for, even with as bad a start as you have. Shoot for like a 3.5/3.6, and then, if you get a 170+ LSAT, you have a real shot at the T14. If you can only wrangle a 3.2 though, a high enough LSAT still gets you money at WUSTL and some other T25s.

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Samara
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby Samara » Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:58 am

Yep, like the others say, work hard on that GPA from here on out. If you can afford it, consider taking an elective or two over the summer to boost it. If you want T14, you'll need to top 170 on the LSAT, but you'll probably need to top 3.4 also. Check out http://lawschoolnumbers.com/ for more specifics.

If you look, you'll see that Duke has a GPA floor of about 3.5. Penn and Michigan have a floor around 3.4, but are willing to dip a little below. Even if you don't make to 3.4 though, you're not out. Cornell and Virginia are splitter friendly and the size of Georgetown's class means they take students with lower GPAs also. You're looking at a minimum 171 LSAT though to have a decent chance. Northwestern is also a good option for splitters, but you'll need a couple years of work experience to have a good shot there.

Of course, if you are a URM, revise your target schools upwards.

scammedhard
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby scammedhard » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:34 am

IamJosh wrote:1. If I can graduate with a 3.0-3.2 and crack the mid 160's on the LSAT, would I be capable of getting into a law school that would offer good potential employment/a respectable degree?

2. I'm wondering if there are some decent schools out there that would take a look at an applicant with a weaker GPA caused by the hard sciences in freshman year?

1. No. You are going to need better numbers than a 3.1/165 to go somewhere worthwhile. Even though you could potentially be accepted by decent schools with those numbers, the problem will be that they won't offer you any scholarship money, and without that, you will have to invest/borrow 200K to go to law school, a financial suicide. If you will soon start your sophomore year, then you need about a 3.8 from now on and in every semester if you want this law school thing to work out; that will give you about a 3.45 GPA at graduation (1/4*2.44+3/4*3.80), making you eligible for much-needed scholarships.

2. Nobody cares how you got a certain GPA; what really matters is the absolute number. And why should law schools "take a look at an applicant with a weaker GPA caused by the hard sciences in freshman year" if they have applicants from hard sciences with strong GPAs?

Let me make this very clear: if you do not get at least a 3.75 next semester, you should forget about law school. Well, "what if get a 170+ on the LSAT?" you may ask. It's possible, but remember that a 170 is about top 3 percentile, a tall order; you have to be realistic and plan your life accordingly.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:04 pm

If you're not dead set on studying the law, and you're not absolutely in love with English or philosophy (and/or getting straight As in them) how about this:

1. Switch to a business major - perhaps accounting, or one of the farce business majors if accounting is too difficult.

2. Get a job in business.

3. After some experience and a promotion or two, sit the GMAT and apply to MBA programs.

Your GPA won't matter quite so much when applying to business schools in a few years time, and you'd probably have better job prospects.

I have a philosophy degree and my wife has an English degree. Thy're not worth it unless you can get straight As, in which case you will get a good job somewhere, eventually. If you're taking the degree to get in to a good law school, but have a questionable GPA, it's too much of a risk.

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IamJosh
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby IamJosh » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:21 pm

Thanks, everyone.

I'm actually more optimistic than I was before. I realize that a 3.2 is no real dream GPA, and a 165 could be better, but I was trying to throw out realistic numbers that I could surpass with hard work rather than saying something like, "If I get straight A's for the rest of college and get a perfect LSAT can I go to Harvard?" I appreciate the responses. Definitely some things to think about.

I actually do really love English and philosophy, though. I've given serious thought to being an English professor. My major GPA in both of those is a 3.7 right now. Also, oddly enough, my school doesn't offer a business major. The closest thing is econ, but I am not so much a math guy and calculus intimidates me. There is also Human and Organizational Development (HOD) but it is widely considered to be a joke and a cop-out for people who don't want to try hard but want a degree from a reputable school. I had a class with someone last semester who told me they had a class about making resumes which included assignments like writing a resume for a burglar. I can't really see myself doing that.

apollo2015
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby apollo2015 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:23 pm

If you have been to any of your school's career fairs, consider what skills/majors the companies that come to campus are looking for. If any of them are in GPA-friendly classes, they would be good bets.

Also, take a full length LSAT practice test, so you know how much you will need to boost your LSAT abilities.

gens1tb
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby gens1tb » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:29 pm

I really want to suggest not majoring in Philosophy unless you really want to pursue graduate level studies and eventually work in academia. If law school is an institution you should only attend because you want to be a lawyer, then philosophy is a major you should only pursue if you want to be a philosopher. I know a lot of the JD incoming classes major in it (or political science), but it's not a useful degree on its own without graduate level work-- and even then it's a risky venture. Not to be rude, but a 3.70 isn't a great GPA in philosophy.

Even with stellar grades it's a risk, and without them you're likely going to pay for a Master's to make yourself look better, then hopefully get something on paper and move into a phd program. Or, you'll just stop with a BA/BS and be behind more marketable degrees.

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sunynp
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby sunynp » Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:49 am

If you want to bolster your GPA take extra classes at a community college or take easy credits - even if they will not apply to your degree. Community college is usually affordable. Check to see how many credits you can transfer into your school that will count for your GPA. Make sure you get As.
Once you graduate you are stuck with your GPA. Some people that are aiming for law school even delay graduating just so they can up their GPA a bit.

I don't know what degree you are taking about that deals with resumes, but Human Resources could be a potential career field. Law schools don't care what your degree is in, they care about your GPA. You should major in something that will lead you to a career outside of law, but also will help you get your GPA high enough to get you in a law school.

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Wade LeBosh
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby Wade LeBosh » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:06 pm

sunynp wrote:If you want to bolster your GPA take extra classes at a community college or take easy credits - even if they will not apply to your degree. Community college is usually affordable. Check to see how many credits you can transfer into your school that will count for your GPA. Make sure you get As.


+1

Check your profs on http://www.ratemyprofessor.com before you take their classes and try to get into the slack ones. Classes don't even need to be transferable to be counted for your LSAC GPA. Take Art History or something you're interested in, just make sure it's easy.

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IamJosh
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby IamJosh » Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:41 pm

The philosophy is sort of a "tack-on" major. The liberal arts requirement makes it so easy to major in philosophy it's almost funny. It's interesting to me, and it fills my requirements. I have no intention of stopping at a BA regardless of what I end up doing. If I major in English/philosophy, I'll either pursue a PhD in English or go to law school.

Can someone tell me how LSAC GPA is calculated? My school will only take credits from 4-year schools, and I'm limited to 2 classes across the 4 years, not to mention that the grade I earn does not apply to my GPA within the school. So, technically, I could go to Harvard one summer, take a class in astrophysics, get an A, and get nothing more than 3 credit hours toward my degree... But what would it accomplish for law school? If I took 2 classes/summer at CC's and got A's, would it matter that they won't even show up on my UG transcript?

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sunynp
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Re: Future chances at this point?

Postby sunynp » Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:18 pm

IamJosh wrote:The philosophy is sort of a "tack-on" major. The liberal arts requirement makes it so easy to major in philosophy it's almost funny. It's interesting to me, and it fills my requirements. I have no intention of stopping at a BA regardless of what I end up doing. If I major in English/philosophy, I'll either pursue a PhD in English or go to law school.

Can someone tell me how LSAC GPA is calculated? My school will only take credits from 4-year schools, and I'm limited to 2 classes across the 4 years, not to mention that the grade I earn does not apply to my GPA within the school. So, technically, I could go to Harvard one summer, take a class in astrophysics, get an A, and get nothing more than 3 credit hours toward my degree... But what would it accomplish for law school? If I took 2 classes/summer at CC's and got A's, would it matter that they won't even show up on my UG transcript?


No offense but you are looking at this wrong. If you want to go to a good law school, you have to raise your GPA. Your UG GPA is not the determining factor, it is what the CAS calculates

Transcripts are required from every UG you attend:
http://www.lsac.org/jd/apply/cas-reques ... cripts.asp

http://www.lsac.org/policies/transcript ... zation.asp -explanation of how GPA is calculated.

http://www.lsac.org/JD/apply/cas.asp - explanation of the assembly service




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