Non- Traditional applicant GPA question

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num1cop
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Non- Traditional applicant GPA question

Postby num1cop » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:13 pm

I am a 40yr old URM Non- Trad who is preparing to apply this cycle. I went to college in 1989 for two years and got a 1.9. I then left school for the military and when I got out, I worked as a retail manager for several years. It was a this time that I attempted to finish my degree and went to 2 separate schools; one in 96-97 and another one 99-00. I bombed both attempts due to working 70+ hr. weeks while trying to go to school. I became a police officer in 2000 and the schedule allowed me to finish my degree at yet another school in 2008 with a 3.78 GPA. I am subsequently 24 credits in to a Masters with a 3.9 GPA. I got my LSAC GPA and it is 2.44. My question is two fold: is there anyone with similar circumstances and what were your experiences with law school admissions, and is an addendum necessary to explain poor grades from over ten or more years ago.

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Opie
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Re: Non- Traditional applicant GPA question

Postby Opie » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:29 pm

I have seen people on LSN with similar situations. If I could remember the name I would give it to you, but it's been a while. They did get in to law school, though not a top one and not with a lot of money. I don't believe they were URM though.

I would say though that an addendum is very necessary in your situation and will help you immensely. If you don't write one, you'll just look like a poorly qualified candidate because there will be no context to your numbers. If I were you (and my situation is way different than yours, so take this FWIW), I would write an addendum for diversity focusing on your URM and Non-Trad status, an addendum for the GPA explaining in detail the reasons you did so poorly in your early college career, and a PS that knocks their shoes off.

You CAN go to law school. I'm not certain it's the best idea given you may not get a lot of scholarship money with that GPA and that means a lot of debt for someone who will be about 44 when they get a job as a lawyer. Your age may also hurt your chances at some law firms. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I'm thinking since you were a police officer you may be interested in public work? I don't think there will be much of an age bias in that, though I may be wrong, but the money isn't as good by any stretch.

Do you have an LSAT score? Perhaps some members could recommend schools. I'm sure Northwestern will com up since they like WE, but I think they're GPA heavy IIRC.

The formulas for admissions indices are available from LSAC somewhere. You may be able to use that to see which schools focus more on GPA.

Good luck to you!

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rinkrat19
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Re: Non- Traditional applicant GPA question

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:04 pm

Northwestern is not GPA-heavy, and in fact is quite splitter-friendly (favors LSAT over GPA) but 2.44 is awfully low even for them. NU might take a flyer on someone with that GPA but they'd have to have a killer LSAT (>173) and a great story to tell about their path to law school.

WUSTL and IU-Bloomy are a couple of splitter-friendly schools not in the T14, but which are considered top regionals. I think maybe GW as well.

Here's a decent post on applying as a splitter (this is assuming you get the LSAT to compensate for that GPA)
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=162680

num1cop
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Re: Non- Traditional applicant GPA question

Postby num1cop » Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:15 pm

Thanx for the info. Opie, public interest is exactly the area I am interested in. I am taking the LSAT in October and have been pting in the low 160s FWIW.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Non- Traditional applicant GPA question

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:39 pm

num1cop wrote:Thanx for the info. Opie, public interest is exactly the area I am interested in. I am taking the LSAT in October and have been pting in the low 160s FWIW.
With a LSAT in that range, you're probably going to need to look at respected regional schools in markets not saturated by higher-ranked schools. (i.e. you do not want to be trying to find a job in Chicago with NU and Chicago grads flooding the market, or in DC with Georgetown and every other T14 gunning for the jobs.) A JD from these regional schools is not going to be portable, so be aware that you'll be working in the school's market for the foreseeable future.

Educate yourself about the employment prospects of the schools (lawschooltransparency.com is the closest thing we have to anything realistic), the total debt you'd be graduating with, and how you'd be paying that debt back on a public interest salary. Research IBR (the federal public interest repayment program) and any LRAP program the school may have (top schools have really generous programs on top of IBR; I don't know what lower schools have).

Too many people with middling numbers go into this with their eyes closed. Law school is not necessarily a bad idea for you, but it could ruin you if you don't do it wisely.

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homestyle28
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Re: Non- Traditional applicant GPA question

Postby homestyle28 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:03 pm

I was in a similar, though not as extreme case. 3.0 UGPA, worked for several years before heading to grad school (2 MAs and a 2nd BA...long story), my cum grad school GPA was ~3.9. I'll be honest, I don't think it mattered in the slightest, I had a fairly killer LSAT and got rejected at schools that favor GPAs a number of schools I was accepted to, offered me no scholly money even though I was 10 points above median LSAT...in general I got the sense that all my grad work was a waste, at least as far as GPA goes...I think your story, and the time in between can help, but you need to crush the LSAT so schools will bother looking at your app.

My 2 cents, as always ymmv




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