Veterans Thread

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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ScottRiqui
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby ScottRiqui » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:42 pm

JazzyMac wrote:My name is JazzyMac and I want to go to Law School. Hi everyone!! I've been perusing g the forums and researching, but I'm excited about what I've read so far. I've been in the military for 17 years; plan on attending LS full time (of course) once I retire at 20 years. No LSAT yet, and my undergrad GPA was 3.4....yikes right? I'm eligible for the Hazelwood Act and still have GI Bill benefits.

Can I be able to attend school outside of TX essentially cost free?
Can I even attend LS?
Will a 20-year career assist my application?
So much more I am anxious to know!!


Welcome to the forum!

You'll only be able to use the Hazlewood Act if you've exhausted your GI Bill benefits, and are planning on attending a public university in Texas. Until then, you'll have to use up the rest of your GI Bill. The GI Bill will cover 100% of tuition and fees at any public school in the country, but payment for private schools is capped at about $19k per year, so you'll need to make up the difference out of your savings, with loans, or by attending a school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Your 3.4 won't flat-out block you from too many schools, so right now your LSAT score is going to be the biggest variable determining where you'll be accepted.

Hang around here on TLS and learn stuff - it's a great resource. But be aware that the conventional wisdom here tends toward "GPA and LSAT determine your future to the exclusion of everything else". My suspicion is that wildly non-traditional applicants (such as those who have been out of undergrad and working for a couple of decades) are underrepresented here, and that the "Kindergarten-to-JD" applicants subconsciously (or consciously) inflate the importance of LSAT and GPA because that's all they have going for them.

I think you'll find that a 20-year military career is a bigger "soft factor" than most would believe. I'll let you know later this year when I start applying, since I'm retiring in May 2014 after 20 years.

JazzyMac
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:53 am

ScottRiqui wrote:
JazzyMac wrote:My name is JazzyMac and I want to go to Law School. Hi everyone!! I've been perusing g the forums and researching, but I'm excited about what I've read so far. I've been in the military for 17 years; plan on attending LS full time (of course) once I retire at 20 years. No LSAT yet, and my undergrad GPA was 3.4....yikes right? I'm eligible for the Hazelwood Act and still have GI Bill benefits.

Can I be able to attend school outside of TX essentially cost free?
Can I even attend LS?
Will a 20-year career assist my application?
So much more I am anxious to know!!


Welcome to the forum!

You'll only be able to use the Hazlewood Act if you've exhausted your GI Bill benefits, and are planning on attending a public university in Texas. Until then, you'll have to use up the rest of your GI Bill. The GI Bill will cover 100% of tuition and fees at any public school in the country, but payment for private schools is capped at about $19k per year, so you'll need to make up the difference out of your savings, with loans, or by attending a school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Your 3.4 won't flat-out block you from too many schools, so right now your LSAT score is going to be the biggest variable determining where you'll be accepted.

Hang around here on TLS and learn stuff - it's a great resource. But be aware that the conventional wisdom here tends toward "GPA and LSAT determine your future to the exclusion of everything else". My suspicion is that wildly non-traditional applicants (such as those who have been out of undergrad and working for a couple of decades) are underrepresented here, and that the "Kindergarten-to-JD" applicants subconsciously (or consciously) inflate the importance of LSAT and GPA because that's all they have going for them.

I think you'll find that a 20-year military career is a bigger "soft factor" than most would believe. I'll let you know later this year when I start applying, since I'm retiring in May 2014 after 20 years.


Thanks very much for responding! I keep reading mixed messages that you can indeed use your GI Bill along with the Hazelwood Act, but not the Post 9/11 *or* you have to wait until you exhaust the GI Bill before tapping the Hazelwood Act...I guess it's probably best for me to call the VA + Schools on that one. It would completely make a difference on where I attend since I plan to "live" off retirement...so either a part-time program (along with a part-time job) with a smaller school, or a full-time program somewhere else that will fund my education better.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:58 am

ScottRiqui wrote:I think you'll find that a 20-year military career is a bigger "soft factor" than most would believe. I'll let you know later this year when I start applying, since I'm retiring in May 2014 after 20 years.


I would also like to see more stories like this! A 10-year or longer vet applying for Law School. I'm also enlisted; I just happened on the bio of a Governor in another state who was prior military; but an officer I think. He also attended Law School part-time.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JWilliamsIV » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:02 am

Fellow warfighters,

In case anyone is interested in making the switch from Post 9/11 to VocRehab mid-stream at law school, do not use up all of your post 9/11 entitlement. If you have one day left of Post 9/11, you can still get the full BAH after you transition to VocRehab. If you use it all up, you get the lower BAH rate, about $600.00 in Orange County, CA, rather than the $2,100 for Post 9/11. This law has recently changed, per my VocRehab counselor. Don't f%#@ this up.

That is all.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:21 am

I know I'm new to the TLS website/forums, but I'm overwhelmed! I'm literally trying to plan my last three years and I started reading this thread from Page 1 just so I could get more insight from you all.

I previously thought that Texas was my only choice of applying due to my eligibility for the Hazelwood Act. Now I see there is a possibility I can apply at other schools out of state and possibly attend with little out of pocket.

I never converted to the Post 9/11, only because I read that you can double-dip the GI Bill with the Hazelwood Act, but not double-dip the Post 9/11...up until I read it (somewhere), I always thought they were about the same thing except one had BAH.

Any other folks converted their benefits from GI Bill to Post 9/11?
Also, anybody else had guaranteed benefits in one state, like Illinois or Texas, but chose to attend another state due to better benefits/opportunity?

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Cobretti
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby Cobretti » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:40 am

JazzyMac wrote:I know I'm new to the TLS website/forums, but I'm overwhelmed! I'm literally trying to plan my last three years and I started reading this thread from Page 1 just so I could get more insight from you all.

I previously thought that Texas was my only choice of applying due to my eligibility for the Hazelwood Act. Now I see there is a possibility I can apply at other schools out of state and possibly attend with little out of pocket.

I never converted to the Post 9/11, only because I read that you can double-dip the GI Bill with the Hazelwood Act, but not double-dip the Post 9/11...up until I read it (somewhere), I always thought they were about the same thing except one had BAH.

Any other folks converted their benefits from GI Bill to Post 9/11?
Also, anybody else had guaranteed benefits in one state, like Illinois or Texas, but chose to attend another state due to better benefits/opportunity?

Personally I would switch to 9/11 in your situation unless you are 100% set on Texas. The Montgomery GI Bill is still only $1500 a month (or did you up yours?), which is less than BAH at most major campuses. If you're looking at going to UT the BAH there is currently $1422, which IMO is not enough less to justify closing the door on going to school elsewhere. The options that the post 9/11 give you would be worth it IMO.

With that being said the other option that should seriously be considered is if you have dependents you could save the GI Bill for them and only use the Hazlewood act + loans for your degree. Based on http://www.tvc.texas.gov/Hazlewood-Act.aspx it looks like you can use the Hazlewood act as long as you aren't using another VA program (versus no longer being eligible).

Have no federal Veteran’s education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31; Pell and SEOG are not relevant) for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits;


If that is the case I'd probably rather take out the COL difference in loans and use the GI Bill for kids. If I'm wrong and you can't save the GI Bill then convert to post 9/11. And if you don't have kids I'd say convert to post 9/11 too.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:52 pm

Cobretti wrote:
JazzyMac wrote:I know I'm new to the TLS website/forums, but I'm overwhelmed! I'm literally trying to plan my last three years and I started reading this thread from Page 1 just so I could get more insight from you all.

I previously thought that Texas was my only choice of applying due to my eligibility for the Hazelwood Act. Now I see there is a possibility I can apply at other schools out of state and possibly attend with little out of pocket.

I never converted to the Post 9/11, only because I read that you can double-dip the GI Bill with the Hazelwood Act, but not double-dip the Post 9/11...up until I read it (somewhere), I always thought they were about the same thing except one had BAH.

Any other folks converted their benefits from GI Bill to Post 9/11?
Also, anybody else had guaranteed benefits in one state, like Illinois or Texas, but chose to attend another state due to better benefits/opportunity?

Personally I would switch to 9/11 in your situation unless you are 100% set on Texas. The Montgomery GI Bill is still only $1500 a month (or did you up yours?), which is less than BAH at most major campuses. If you're looking at going to UT the BAH there is currently $1422, which IMO is not enough less to justify closing the door on going to school elsewhere. The options that the post 9/11 give you would be worth it IMO.

With that being said the other option that should seriously be considered is if you have dependents you could save the GI Bill for them and only use the Hazlewood act + loans for your degree. Based on http://www.tvc.texas.gov/Hazlewood-Act.aspx it looks like you can use the Hazlewood act as long as you aren't using another VA program (versus no longer being eligible).

Have no federal Veteran’s education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31; Pell and SEOG are not relevant) for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits;


If that is the case I'd probably rather take out the COL difference in loans and use the GI Bill for kids. If I'm wrong and you can't save the GI Bill then convert to post 9/11. And if you don't have kids I'd say convert to post 9/11 too.


Loans: Negative ghostrider.

I'm on the VA website now looking up converting. I'm not sure if I incur any service commitments by doing that. Thanks for the advice! I was never "set" on going to TX, I just always assumed that was my only choice if I wanted to be debt free...I've only made the decision to go to Law School last year. Now I have the chance to make all of it a reality. I see the world is my oyster, so there are a lot of decisions and ideas and thoughts...everything to consider! :)

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:19 pm

JazzyMac wrote:Loans: Negative ghostrider.

I'm on the VA website now looking up converting. I'm not sure if I incur any service commitments by doing that. Thanks for the advice! I was never "set" on going to TX, I just always assumed that was my only choice if I wanted to be debt free...I've only made the decision to go to Law School last year. Now I have the chance to make all of it a reality. I see the world is my oyster, so there are a lot of decisions and ideas and thoughts...everything to consider! :)


You may have already found this, but the Montgomery GI Bill doesn't have a "transfer to dependents" option, and transferring the Post-9/11 GI Bill incurs an additional four years of service commitment.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby Cobretti » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:19 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
JazzyMac wrote:Loans: Negative ghostrider.

I'm on the VA website now looking up converting. I'm not sure if I incur any service commitments by doing that. Thanks for the advice! I was never "set" on going to TX, I just always assumed that was my only choice if I wanted to be debt free...I've only made the decision to go to Law School last year. Now I have the chance to make all of it a reality. I see the world is my oyster, so there are a lot of decisions and ideas and thoughts...everything to consider! :)


You may have already found this, but the Montgomery GI Bill doesn't have a "transfer to dependents" option, and transferring the Post-9/11 GI Bill incurs an additional four years of service commitment.

That additional commitment has to be retroactive though right? I couldn't imagine they'd ask a 20yr man to do 24 in order to transfer... Of course its the military so anything is possible.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:23 pm

Cobretti wrote:
ScottRiqui wrote:
JazzyMac wrote:Loans: Negative ghostrider.

I'm on the VA website now looking up converting. I'm not sure if I incur any service commitments by doing that. Thanks for the advice! I was never "set" on going to TX, I just always assumed that was my only choice if I wanted to be debt free...I've only made the decision to go to Law School last year. Now I have the chance to make all of it a reality. I see the world is my oyster, so there are a lot of decisions and ideas and thoughts...everything to consider! :)


You may have already found this, but the Montgomery GI Bill doesn't have a "transfer to dependents" option, and transferring the Post-9/11 GI Bill incurs an additional four years of service commitment.

That additional commitment has to be retroactive though right? I couldn't imagine they'd ask a 20yr man to do 24 in order to transfer... Of course its the military so anything is possible.


It's not retroactive - you have to serve (at least) four more years after the transfer of GI Bill benefits. What I'm unsure of is what happens if you hit high-year tenure and are forced out before you finish the four years.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:41 pm

I meant converting my GI Bill to Post 9/11 before I left the military. No transfers, just changing from one to the other.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:45 pm

JazzyMac wrote:I meant converting my GI Bill to Post 9/11 before I left the military. No transfers, just changing from one to the other.


Ah, gotcha. Yeah, that's just one form (VA Form 22-1990), and no additional service obligation.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby Metanoia » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:35 am

JazzyMac wrote:I meant converting my GI Bill to Post 9/11 before I left the military. No transfers, just changing from one to the other.


How many months of eligibilty do you have left? If you exhaust your CH 30 benefits, you'll be entitled to 12 months of CH 33, but if you transfer before CH 30 is exhausted, you'll be entitled to however many months you have left. It's counter-intuitive, but if you have less than 12 months left under the old GI Bill, you'll get a much better deal if you use it all up (make sure you don't have a single day left) and then apply for the post-9/11 GI Bill.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:33 pm

Metanoia wrote:
JazzyMac wrote:I meant converting my GI Bill to Post 9/11 before I left the military. No transfers, just changing from one to the other.


How many months of eligibilty do you have left? If you exhaust your CH 30 benefits, you'll be entitled to 12 months of CH 33, but if you transfer before CH 30 is exhausted, you'll be entitled to however many months you have left. It's counter-intuitive, but if you have less than 12 months left under the old GI Bill, you'll get a much better deal if you use it all up (make sure you don't have a single day left) and then apply for the post-9/11 GI Bill.


I have 22 months and some days left. I am reading up the conversion information. It looks like I can apply to convert *now*, but put the effective date for waaayyyyy in the future, when I'm absolutely certain the 22 months will be completed. Once my 22 months expire, the 9/11 will automatically kick in and pay the final 12 months...

...which is absolutely flippin' awesome.

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Cobretti
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby Cobretti » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:53 pm

JazzyMac wrote:
Metanoia wrote:
JazzyMac wrote:I meant converting my GI Bill to Post 9/11 before I left the military. No transfers, just changing from one to the other.


How many months of eligibilty do you have left? If you exhaust your CH 30 benefits, you'll be entitled to 12 months of CH 33, but if you transfer before CH 30 is exhausted, you'll be entitled to however many months you have left. It's counter-intuitive, but if you have less than 12 months left under the old GI Bill, you'll get a much better deal if you use it all up (make sure you don't have a single day left) and then apply for the post-9/11 GI Bill.


I have 22 months and some days left. I am reading up the conversion information. It looks like I can apply to convert *now*, but put the effective date for waaayyyyy in the future, when I'm absolutely certain the 22 months will be completed. Once my 22 months expire, the 9/11 will automatically kick in and pay the final 12 months...

...which is absolutely flippin' awesome.

22 months is only used when you're actually in classes, meaning you only have about 7.5 months per academic year that counts towards it. Meaning you have literally the perfect amount to cover 99% of law school as it stands. If you use the montgomery up you aren't going to get a chance to use the post 9/11. You should really switch right now.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:59 pm

I'm sorry, but I truly don't understand. Why would I switch right now? I'm finished school for now, until I apply to LS two years from now. Can you please explain?

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby ScottRiqui » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:18 pm

JazzyMac wrote:I'm sorry, but I truly don't understand. Why would I switch right now? I'm finished school for now, until I apply to LS two years from now. Can you please explain?



Why would you want to use the Montgomery GI Bill for 22 months (essentially all of law school)? All you would get is the Montgomery GI Bill benefit, which is $1564/month.

But if you convert that to 22 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill now, then you can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for law school. That pays 100% of tuition/fees at a public school, or up to $19,198 per year at a private school (plus you get to use the Yellow Ribbon Program if your school participates). Then there's the $1000/year book stipend, and that sweet, sweet monthly BAH check (which could easily be more than the entire Montgomery GI Bill benefit just by itself). And as a final kicker, when you've exhausted the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you get back the $1200 you originally paid into the Montgomery GI Bill.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:28 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
JazzyMac wrote:I'm sorry, but I truly don't understand. Why would I switch right now? I'm finished school for now, until I apply to LS two years from now. Can you please explain?



Why would you want to use the Montgomery GI Bill for 22 months (essentially all of law school)? All you would get is the Montgomery GI Bill benefit, which is $1564/month.

But if you convert that to 22 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill now, then you can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for law school. That pays 100% of tuition/fees at a public school, or up to $19,198 per year at a private school (plus you get to use the Yellow Ribbon Program if your school participates). Then there's the $1000/year book stipend, and that sweet, sweet monthly BAH check (which could easily be more than the entire Montgomery GI Bill benefit just by itself). And as a final kicker, when you've exhausted the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you get back the $1200 you originally paid into the Montgomery GI Bill.


Okay, I'm currently doing research on the the GI Bill benefits and I didn't know how one would be so much better than the other. The 9/11 of course sounds like a great deal.

I was however, always under the impression that the GI Bill was more beneficial in some ways while the Post 9/11 was more beneficial other ways.

For instance, if I were to attend Texas, use the Hazelwood Act, and then receive the GI Bill...?

I'm just asking wild questions. While I'm totally not smart on this, I know that there isn't a one size fits all benefit when it comes to the VA.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby ScottRiqui » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:40 pm

JazzyMac wrote:
ScottRiqui wrote:
JazzyMac wrote:I'm sorry, but I truly don't understand. Why would I switch right now? I'm finished school for now, until I apply to LS two years from now. Can you please explain?



Why would you want to use the Montgomery GI Bill for 22 months (essentially all of law school)? All you would get is the Montgomery GI Bill benefit, which is $1564/month.

But if you convert that to 22 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill now, then you can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for law school. That pays 100% of tuition/fees at a public school, or up to $19,198 per year at a private school (plus you get to use the Yellow Ribbon Program if your school participates). Then there's the $1000/year book stipend, and that sweet, sweet monthly BAH check (which could easily be more than the entire Montgomery GI Bill benefit just by itself). And as a final kicker, when you've exhausted the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you get back the $1200 you originally paid into the Montgomery GI Bill.


Okay, I'm currently doing research on the the GI Bill benefits and I didn't know how one would be so much better than the other. The 9/11 of course sounds like a great deal.

I was however, always under the impression that the GI Bill was more beneficial in some ways while the Post 9/11 was more beneficial other ways.

For instance, if I were to attend Texas, use the Hazelwood Act, and then receive the GI Bill...?

I'm just asking wild questions. While I'm totally not smart on this, I know that there isn't a one size fits all benefit when it comes to the VA.


I just had the VA part of TAP class this morning, and none of us in the class could think of a reason to keep/use the MGIB, unless maybe you wanted to go to school while still on active duty, the program you were attending cost less than $1500/month, and you would exhaust the MGIB before you separated, leaving you with 12 months of P911GIB to use after you separated. Other than that, the P911GIB has been beefed up so much that it's pretty much the clear winner. It's not that the VA offers both because one is better for some people while the other one is better for other people. Instead, the MGIB is pretty much the "old and busted" at this point, and the P911GIB is the "new hotness" that's replaced it. I don't even think the MGIB is still an option for new recruits - it's pretty much just us relics who have it and have to decide what to do with it.

As for the Hazlewood Act, I'd use up the GI Bill first and save the Hazelwood Act, if for no other reason than it's good for the rest of your life, whereas you only have ten years to finish using up the MGIB, or fifteen years to finish using up the P911GIB. That's what I'm planning on doing - use 23 months of the P911GIB for law school, use my remaining 13 months for something else or just let it lapse, and then use the Hazlewood Act way in the future for either a PhD, or a second bachelor's in something fun like photography when I retire for good.

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:47 pm

I understand what you're saying now. Good points and good plans.

So what schools are everyone (retired military) applying to? Why did you decide to go to LS after the military? Do you all think you're "cut out" for law?

Tell me everything the proverbial they say not to put in applications. :)

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby ScottRiqui » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:01 pm

JazzyMac wrote:I understand what you're saying now. Good points and good plans.

So what schools are everyone (retired military) applying to? Why did you decide to go to LS after the military? Do you all think you're "cut out" for law?

Tell me everything the proverbial they say not to put in applications. :)


Well, I'm retiring in May after 20 years, and going back to Arlington, Texas. That's home for me, and my parents are 79 & 81, so I'll want to be close by when their health starts failing. That means that I'm pretty much just looking at SMU and UT. Two years ago, I wouldn't have had a shot at UT with my uGPA, but there may be a snowball's chance now.

Planning on getting into IP/Patent law. My undergraduate was computer science & engineering, and the Navy sent me for a master's in applied physics a few years ago, so I have the scientific background required to take the patent bar. I'm hoping that because the specialized education requirements for IP, the market won't be quite as saturated as other areas of law, and that it will help when it comes to finding a job. I've had a little bit of legal exposure while in the Navy (legal officer in a couple of my squadrons), and the structure/order of it appealed to me - that's mainly why I'm going to law school.

Have you had TAP class yet? They'll cover résumés and interviewing in detail, and a lot of the advice is applicable when doing your applications/personal statement/etc.

My biggest advice would be not to rule out any schools out-of-hand simply because the "conventional wisdom" here on TLS says that you won't be accepted, or because you don't see any applicants with your numbers being accepted on lawschoolnumbers.com. The people here and on LSN are only a fraction of the total applicant pool, and I believe that non-traditional applicants (especially ones with military service) are pretty under-represented in both places. The number of people taking the LSAT and applying to law school has been dropping like a stone over the past year or two, so schools are being less picky than they have been in the past.

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SemperLegal
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby SemperLegal » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:36 pm

Out of curiosity, whats the highest rank we have on TLS? From my very anecdotal evidence it seems that most vet law students were 0-3s with E-5 running a far second.

Apparently I am the OP, so Im doing this via poll

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby Army2Law » Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:17 am

SemperLegal wrote:Out of curiosity, whats the highest rank we have on TLS? From my very anecdotal evidence it seems that most vet law students were 0-3s with E-5 running a far second.

Apparently I am the OP, so Im doing this via poll


I think I remember there being a former Navy O5 on here. I may be wrong, though.

Unrelated:

Does anyone have any experience with using Post-9/11 to get reimbursement for the Bar Exam?

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Cobretti
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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby Cobretti » Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:23 am

SemperLegal wrote:Out of curiosity, whats the highest rank we have on TLS? From my very anecdotal evidence it seems that most vet law students were 0-3s with E-5 running a far second.

Apparently I am the OP, so Im doing this via poll

I was E-5 select when I got out

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Re: Veterans Thread

Postby JazzyMac » Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:47 am

Plan on attending TAP at the beginning of 2014, and then again a year later.

I'll start studying for the LSAT January 2015, and will test June 2015.




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