splitter (176/3.32), preparing to apply, a few ?s

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Solistus
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splitter (176/3.32), preparing to apply, a few ?s

Postby Solistus » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:36 am

Hi all. Like the title says, I've already taken the LSAT and got a 176. It was a surprising score, but definitely a welcome surprise! My GPA, while decent, is not of the same caliber - 3.32, BA in Poli Sci. I've got a shortlist of targets and some that are safeties by the LSP numbers. I have a few specific questions, and I'd also like some feedback/suggestions on my list of schools.

Questions:
    I have three LORs from undergrad professors. I'm confident that all three will be solid recs. Is that enough?

    I'm planning on setting a deadline for myself to finish editing the PS and submit the completed application by the first week of November. If I'm ready sooner, great, but I want to make sure I have time to edit and get feedback on my PS. Is that early enough that I won't be shooting myself in the foot due to rolling admissions?

    I've read that early decision is a bad idea if you're hoping for any scholarship money, and that it doesn't change your chances much anyway. Is that true, or should I go ahead and ED to one of my top choices if I can have my app ready in time?



Now, onto which schools to apply to. I'm not heart-set on a particular field/specialty yet, but I would prefer to have private sector big law / business law as a backup, and focus in something like int'l law, legislative/government law or public interest work - *if* I can expect good employment prospects and a manageable debt-to-income ratio. With that in mind, my list so far, in descending order of school ranking:

    NYU
    UC Berkeley
    U Penn
    Cornell
    Georgetown
    UCLA
    UT Austin
    USC
    George Washington

My current plan is to weed out any on that list that are not as good fits as I thought, add any good matches I overlooked, and pick maybe 2-3 schools lower in T1 which are known to be generous with scholarship and financial aid money. I'm not super picky about location, as long as it's a decent place to live, but I'd prefer a school with decent placement opportunities in the NY or DC markets or anywhere on the west coast. Like I said, any and all suggestions are welcome.

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Hawkeye Pierce
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Re: splitter (176/3.32), preparing to apply, a few ?s

Postby Hawkeye Pierce » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:42 am

I have three LORs from undergrad professors. I'm confident that all three will be solid recs. Is that enough?

Yes
I'm planning on setting a deadline for myself to finish editing the PS and submit the completed application by the first week of November. If I'm ready sooner, great, but I want to make sure I have time to edit and get feedback on my PS. Is that early enough that I won't be shooting myself in the foot due to rolling admissions?

Yes. Might as well try to get it in before the Oct LSAT scores come out though.
I've read that early decision is a bad idea if you're hoping for any scholarship money, and that it doesn't change your chances much anyway. Is that true, or should I go ahead and ED to one of my top choices if I can have my app ready in time?

Yes, you likely won't receive scholarship money. If you're EDing, it likely means that your numbers are subpar, which means that you wouldn't have received merit-aid anyway.

No, ED can make a significant difference at certain schools: Mich, UVA, NU in particular (off the top of my head)
but I would prefer to have private sector big law / business law as a backup, and focus in something like int'l law, legislative/government law or public interest work

There's no such thing as international law.

Add Mich, UVA, Duke, and NU (if you have WE post-graduation). If you want DC, go to the best school possible, it's extremely hard to break into that market.

Check LSN to see what your chances are at each school (ED/RD), and to see what financial aid packages people with similar numbers received.

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Errzii
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:09 am

Re: splitter (176/3.32), preparing to apply, a few ?s

Postby Errzii » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:51 am

Solistus wrote:Hi all. Like the title says, I've already taken the LSAT and got a 176. It was a surprising score, but definitely a welcome surprise! My GPA, while decent, is not of the same caliber - 3.32, BA in Poli Sci. I've got a shortlist of targets and some that are safeties by the LSP numbers. I have a few specific questions, and I'd also like some feedback/suggestions on my list of schools.

Questions:
    I have three LORs from undergrad professors. I'm confident that all three will be solid recs. Is that enough?

    I'm planning on setting a deadline for myself to finish editing the PS and submit the completed application by the first week of November. If I'm ready sooner, great, but I want to make sure I have time to edit and get feedback on my PS. Is that early enough that I won't be shooting myself in the foot due to rolling admissions?

    I've read that early decision is a bad idea if you're hoping for any scholarship money, and that it doesn't change your chances much anyway. Is that true, or should I go ahead and ED to one of my top choices if I can have my app ready in time?



Now, onto which schools to apply to. I'm not heart-set on a particular field/specialty yet, but I would prefer to have private sector big law / business law as a backup, and focus in something like int'l law, legislative/government law or public interest work - *if* I can expect good employment prospects and a manageable debt-to-income ratio. With that in mind, my list so far, in descending order of school ranking:

    NYU
    UC Berkeley
    U Penn
    Cornell
    Georgetown
    UCLA
    UT Austin
    USC
    George Washington


Realistically, you're probably not going to get decent scholarship money at a top school anyway due to the diminished bargaining power of splitter numbers. I think the real question is whether you would prefer to go to a highly ranked school at sticker or a lower regional school with some money. If the former, I would just ED to the highest ranked school you actually want to attend. Personally with those numbers and given your considerations, I would say ED to NYU but YMMV. Out of T14, you should also be in at least Cornell or Georgetown, if not both. Penn is more difficult and ED might help there but I'm not sure. UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC unfortunately have been really strict on the GPA floors so I would say your chances at those schools are less likely even with ED, especially Berkeley, but if you get a waiver or don't mind spending the money go ahead and apply. Pure guesstimating I would say <10% Berkeley, 15-25% UCLA/USC pending on softs and other factors. I have similar numbers so I'm hoping for some splitter love also this upcoming cycle, good luck.

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Tiago Splitter
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:20 am

Re: splitter (176/3.32), preparing to apply, a few ?s

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:17 am

Errzii wrote:Realistically, you're probably not going to get decent scholarship money at a top school anyway due to the diminished bargaining power of splitter numbers. I think the real question is whether you would prefer to go to a highly ranked school at sticker or a lower regional school with some money. .


+1. But with that GPA, I'd go even further. You aren't getting big money down the rankings until WUSTL. I'd say apply ED to your favorite school from CCNMVP. CCN are going to be tougher even with ED, but there is enough of a chance that if you really love one you should take the plunge.

The fact is splitters just don't get to enjoy the normal trade-off of getting more money as they go down the rankings, making ED a more viable option. Of course, if you can't stomach the thought of sticker price, you should just apply to 15 or so schools and see what sticks.

Also +1 to Hawkeye's comments.

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Solistus
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:23 am

Re: splitter (176/3.32), preparing to apply, a few ?s

Postby Solistus » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:49 pm

Thanks for the replies, folks! A few followup questions and clarifications:

* When you say there's no such thing as international law, what do you mean exactly? There are i-law programs at top schools, and there are lawyers hired by the State Dept. and NGOs like the UN; are there just too few related jobs for it to be a viable option, or are you saying it's literally not an offered specialization/focus area?

* As for merit money: I should have been more clear, but I know I won't get much/any from the schools I listed. I want to add some *additional* schools that I would have a good shot at merit money from, to add as safeties. I'm thinking the lower half of T1 in general gives me a decent shot at merit offers, once I get down to schools where my GPA is at least close to average, but I'd like to know if there are some specific schools in this range that are A) good schools to begin with and B) known to give out more scholarship money than others in general, and/or specifically for high LSATs.

* Comparing LSN graphs to LSP estimates, it looks like LSP is way over-optimistic for my numbers at some of the schools I listed, but correct that I should almost certainly get offers from most schools below the top 20 to 25-ish if none of my softs are atrocious. Is that about right?

Gotta get back to work now, I'll check this thread when I get home. I appreciate all the advice; this whole process seemed overwhelming enough *before* I started a 40 hour job on a late shift, and I'm having a lot of trouble deciding on a list of schools to apply to. One last question: aside from potentially having to write additional essays for certain schools, and the app fees, is there any reason to limit the number of schools I apply to? Schools don't check that and hold it against you or anything, do they?

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Tiago Splitter
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:20 am

Re: splitter (176/3.32), preparing to apply, a few ?s

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:44 pm

Solistus wrote:* When you say there's no such thing as international law, what do you mean exactly? There are i-law programs at top schools, and there are lawyers hired by the State Dept. and NGOs like the UN; are there just too few related jobs for it to be a viable option, or are you saying it's literally not an offered specialization/focus area?


Both. There aren't a lot of people working in legal jobs for international organizations (relative to people who'd like to), and there really is no "International Law" specialty. Lawyers who work internationally tend to specialize in something else and work their way towards cross-border and overseas deals and litigation. The best way to get there is to work for a strong firm in the US with a satellite foreign office. But you won't get trained in law school as an International Lawyer and then go try Qadaffi at the Hague.

Solistus wrote:* As for merit money: I should have been more clear, but I know I won't get much/any from the schools I listed. I want to add some *additional* schools that I would have a good shot at merit money from, to add as safeties. I'm thinking the lower half of T1 in general gives me a decent shot at merit offers, once I get down to schools where my GPA is at least close to average, but I'd like to know if there are some specific schools in this range that are A) good schools to begin with and B) known to give out more scholarship money than others in general, and/or specifically for high LSATs.


A lot of midwest schools, like WUSTL, Indiana and Illinois will pay big money for splitters. Minnesota probably also falls in this group. None of these schools, though, offer you a good shot at NYC or DC.

Solistus wrote:* Comparing LSN graphs to LSP estimates, it looks like LSP is way over-optimistic for my numbers at some of the schools I listed, but correct that I should almost certainly get offers from most schools below the top 20 to 25-ish if none of my softs are atrocious. Is that about right?


LSP doesn't account for GPA floors. Your LSAT is above the 75th at every school except Harvard and Yale, but plenty of schools from Yale on down just aren't interested in a 3.3 GPA. Nothing you can do about that now.

I'd ED Columbia or NYU in your shoes, but that's just one man's opinion.




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