very poor GPA, thinking about my law school chances

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nola051
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Re: very poor GPA, thinking about my law school chances

Postby nola051 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:22 am

paratactical wrote:The problem with philosophy as a major is that it fails to open doors for any great employment opportunities. If you could work for a few years (2+), it can help distance you from poor UG performances and help you in your search for legal employment. It's not an easy road to take, but it might be the right one and certainly worth considering at this point. Look into what other things you can tolerate that provide reasonable employment options and minor in philosophy.


I don't know if this is necessarily true.

Finding employment is tough for everyone. It might be especially tough for philosophy majors - and for certain humanities/social science majors in general - but that's not necessarily a reason to switch.

Employers want someone who can write, think critically, solve problems, and function independently. If you are passionate about your major and can make the case that it equipped you with those skills, then I would stick with it.

At the end of the day, I think the outside factors are just as important: undergrad work experience, involvement on your campus, strong work samples (like an honors thesis or published paper), etc.

When I was applying and interviewing for jobs, I was never once asked about grades. Some prospective employers didn't even ask about my major. In most cases, we talked about the school (which had a good reputation) and then about my thesis and work.

Some professional employment would undoubtedly help your case in applying to law schools. But I don't know that you'll need to change majors to find that, so long as you're ready to take on a long/tough job hunt.

American_in_China
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Re: very poor GPA, thinking about my law school chances

Postby American_in_China » Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:55 am

I have a 3.25
It's not crippling if you rock the LSAT. I made a 172, so worst I'm probably looking at is Wash U at near a half ride. I'm waiting for my October score to see if I improved, so I stand a chance at Michigan and UVA if I make it up to 175. Besides, if you think you're smart and will do well in law school, you're looking at lower competition, thus increasing your chances of finishing in the top 10% (I know that's blasphemy, but you can't say their isn't a difference between Wash U and Michigan in terms of their students).

Just throw yourself into the LSAT.

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emkay625
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Re: very poor GPA, thinking about my law school chances

Postby emkay625 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:22 am

TommyK wrote:1) at time of your application.
2) cost-benefit analysis. The benefit would likely be marginal. The difference between a 3.29 and 3.38 will probably be marginal, while blowing a year in tuition would probably be very costly. I don't think the difference is worth the $10k or whatever it will cost you (or your parents)
3) I think it's worthwhile to create an addendum explaining your upswing in GPA and medical issue that was a contributing factor

4) unsolicited - rock your LSAT. a 3.29 with a 170 LSAT is going to open up some doors, and probably the same doors that a 3.38 170 will open. That should be your main goal, alongside getting your GPA above the 3.0 threshold.


+1. All this.

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ahduth
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Re: very poor GPA, thinking about my law school chances

Postby ahduth » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:41 am

SarahKerrigan wrote:
paratactical wrote:The problem with philosophy as a major is that it fails to open doors for any great employment opportunities. If you could work for a few years (2+), it can help distance you from poor UG performances and help you in your search for legal employment. It's not an easy road to take, but it might be the right one and certainly worth considering at this point. Look into what other things you can tolerate that provide reasonable employment options and minor in philosophy.

I'm majoring in philosophy and plan to teach abroad after UG/before law school, not sure if the OP is interested in this, but it could be a viable option. If the OP is interested in philosophy its possible that he will perform the best GPA wise if he sticks with the major. Switching majors might not necessarily be the best option.


Ya, this. The delay also (supposedly) gives them 3.44 UGPA I guess? Kill the LSAT and ED to Northwestern?

To the person who said everyone cannot get a 170, fair enough, but you're going to hear up and down the line on here not to go to school outside the T14 or super-regionals like UCLA and Vandy. However easy or hard it is to get a 170, the reality of it is that's the number you want to top.

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TommyK
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Re: very poor GPA, thinking about my law school chances

Postby TommyK » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:41 am

BryceThayer wrote:I'd like to make it into a T20 school.


That's a fairly arbitrary distinction. It would be no less silly to say you'd like to make it into a T19 school. While employment opportunities are somewhat correlated to prestige and the USNWR is a convenient proxy for prestige ranking, I (and most of the people here) will likely advise you to look at schools that have a national reach (like many of the top 14 schools), or a strong regional school that has a very strong presence where you would like to eventually practice (for example, if you want to practice in Columbus, Ohio, choosing Ohio State makes more sense than choosing WUSTL (even though WUSTL is higher ranked than Ohio State).

I'm going to take a contrarian point of view on the "switching majors and get a few years of work experience" advice. Unless you want to do one of the following:
1) pay off debt
2) try out options outside of law and see if something really revs your engine
3) enjoy a few years outside of the studying routine
4) Go to Northwestern

I don't see a reason to. If you're set on law school, keep going. Just make sure you know what you're getting into. Taking a few years to work to seperate yourself from your undergrad performance if it's subpar is popular advice, but I question its validity at times. Anecdotally, as a somewhat nontraditional splitter, I performed similarly, if not identically, to those within my numbers range that happened to be straight out of school.

I also don't think it's a good idea to add additional years onto your education unless it's 100% paid for by some sort of scholarship. It doesnn't seem like a good idea to stick around just to provide a small increase to your gpa, considering the cost. But that's just my value judgment.

shock259
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Re: very poor GPA, thinking about my law school chances

Postby shock259 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:11 pm

Seneca wrote:
shock259 wrote:It does make me giggle that people throw out 170's on this forum like it is something that is easy to do. A small number of people are naturals and can get that score relatively easily, but most people have to freakin' bust their ass to get there. And most people probably can't get there no matter how hard they bust. 170+ is like 99th percentile.

I second the guy that is saying switch majors. At least then you'll have a chance at something when you get out if you can't pull a 170 (which is nothing to be ashamed of).

Good luck to you.


I agree that a little perspective is needed when people throw high GPAs and especially high LSAT scores around on this site, given that only about 2% of test takers will hit that mark, but I think most people even on TLS would agree that getting a 170+ is tough. It's not thrown out as advice because getting a 170 is easy, it's just that for OP and a lot of others on here, it's the only option to achieve their goals.


Well said. :)




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