Does work/life experiences override mediocre GPA for T14s?

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Does work/life experiences override mediocre GPA for T14s?

Postby justbubbles » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:04 pm

Let's say for example we have a candidate who has:

- A fairly decent LSAT score (accommodated LSAT score stemming from disability);
- A lifelong disability from birth (medical documentation available);
- A UG from a top Ivy school;
- Despite physical challenges, worked for about a decade at top Fortune 500 companies;
- Solid references (employer and personal);
- BUT his/her undergrad GPA is subpar (sub 2.00), due to factors beyond his/her control (hospitalization, health condition, missed exams, etc). :(

Obviously one cannot go back in time and change that, but clearly the candidate overcame many adversities since then.

I know schools like HLS, NU and a few others encourage candidates with post-UG work experience, but how to identify this to the adcomms? Through the PS? Addendum? Interviews (if offered)? :?

Would appreciate some suggestions. Thanks.
Last edited by justbubbles on Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Does work/life experiences override mediocre GPA for T14s?

Postby Grizz » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:08 pm

With a sub 2.0 GPA probably not. Worth a try though with a high LSAT.

Also if you've got a sweet job at F500 company, i would suggest not going to lawl school.

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Re: Does work/life experiences override mediocre GPA for T14s?

Postby yuzu » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:54 pm

Of course it's a negative factor, but I think there's definitely a chance given the length of time.

The first question I'd have if I were an adcomm is whether applicant's life has changed so that he/she will now do better academic work. Time since undergrad is one factor, but applicant might also show:
- taken courses XYZ recently at local college and aced them
- disability no longer causes frequent hospitalization, is now under control
- work references say applicant works really hard, does as good a job as peers, and disability doesn't hugely affect work product
- show a semester when disability was less disruptive in undergrad, and show how grades were OK then

The biggest reason they care (aside from rankings) is that the GPA reflects how good an applicant's work will be. Will the applicant get bad grades in law school and again blame it on the disability, or will he/she now be able to overcome the challenges? If the applicant missed exams then, will he/she miss exams now? These four suggestions would show them that the disability is no longer a problem.

As far as where to discuss this, I think a GPA addendum or the PS would be fine. It depends on whether you want to make overcoming this a PS topic and write a whole lot, or if you just want to make some brief points and focus on some other aspect for the PS.

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