Importance of Softs

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chuckbass
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Importance of Softs

Postby chuckbass » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:01 pm

Hey everyone. I know that softs clearly are important to law school admissions so I just wanted to see how important some of them could be. I'm only a sophomore in college so I still have a couple of years before applying, but at this point I'm hoping to go to a T14. So far I'm heavily involved in SGA, but my biggest two softs are that I'm on the tennis team, and hopefully I will be student body president senior year (I'm not conceded it's just that in general people run uncontested for positions). I just wanted to know if these would have much of an effect on my application.

03121202698008
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby 03121202698008 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:02 pm

Softs have very very little impact outside of veteran/TFA/cure cancer. The two most important factors by far are the LSAT and your GPA as calculated by LSDAS.

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Lt. Dan
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby Lt. Dan » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:07 pm

Those two softs are not going to get you in anywhere you wouldn't otherwise get in given whatever your #s will be.

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Donny Crane
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby Donny Crane » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:32 pm

blowhard wrote:Softs have very very little impact outside of veteran/TFA/cure cancer. The two most important factors by far are the LSAT and your GPA as calculated by LSDAS.


+1

But those would be pretty strong softs and could have an impact if OP is borderline somewhere. If your tennis team is D1, that seems pretty good.

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chuckbass
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby chuckbass » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:15 pm

Donny Crane wrote:
blowhard wrote:Softs have very very little impact outside of veteran/TFA/cure cancer. The two most important factors by far are the LSAT and your GPA as calculated by LSDAS.


+1

But those would be pretty strong softs and could have an impact if OP is borderline somewhere. If your tennis team is D1, that seems pretty good.


Tennis isn't D1, but I really thought being student body president would be a big help

Flanker1067
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby Flanker1067 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:21 pm

You thought that winning an uncontested race for a meaningless position would help you get into law school?

headandshoulderos
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby headandshoulderos » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:24 pm

is it a prestigious undergrad? if so i think it helps. but if you are saying you will run uncontested, seems like a TTT school.

i think D1 athletics is a good soft, so is TFA as mentioned, military service, or if you are like a top national X (violin player, dancer, etc)

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chuckbass
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby chuckbass » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:35 pm

Flanker1067 wrote:You thought that winning an uncontested race for a meaningless position would help you get into law school?


It's uncontested because most people that are involved in SGA in HS/UG know that everyone tells each other what they plan on running for, so people in SGA aren't fighting each other for positions. And its certainly not meaningless. It's an on-campus jobs, and it's pretty close to being a full-time job. You're pretty much in charge of everything (any club or activity, even academics), you are constantly working with deans and the president, and you oversee the budget ($1 million at my school).

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chuckbass
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby chuckbass » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:38 pm

headandshoulderos wrote:is it a prestigious undergrad? if so i think it helps. but if you are saying you will run uncontested, seems like a TTT school.

i think D1 athletics is a good soft, so is TFA as mentioned, military service, or if you are like a top national X (violin player, dancer, etc)


It's not Ivy League, but for what it is it's fairly prestigious (NE private Christian college).

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chuckbass
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby chuckbass » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:40 pm

And also we had the head of admissions from UPenn talk here a little while ago, and was very impressed when she heard that one of the girl's that had come to hear her speak about UPenn was student body president.

picklebarrel
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby picklebarrel » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:50 pm

I think the general consensus is that they just don't matter too much. They might help you write a nice and convincing personal statement, but they aren't going to carry you far beyond your numbers. Just focus on grades right now, and then the LSAT. If you find that your extracurricular activities are having a detrimental impact on your grades, just remember that grades are much more important.

MrAnon
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby MrAnon » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:54 pm

scotth724 wrote:And also we had the head of admissions from UPenn talk here a little while ago, and was very impressed when she heard that one of the girl's that had come to hear her speak about UPenn was student body president.


It may have knocked her socks off, but if that persons LSAT score is out of range for Penn she won't get admissions preference.

jeanster
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby jeanster » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:03 am

For what its worth, I just got into the school i want to go to, and the adcomm indicated that my softs had played a large role in separating me from other applicants. I'm not talking about t14 or anything, but it did help me. I've got some unique softs that most law school candidates don't. I'd say that, judging from the conversation, my work experience had the most impact.

So take that for what you will...

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yuzu
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby yuzu » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:24 pm

jeanster wrote:For what its worth, I just got into the school i want to go to, and the adcomm indicated that my softs had played a large role in separating me from other applicants. I'm not talking about t14 or anything, but it did help me. I've got some unique softs that most law school candidates don't. I'd say that, judging from the conversation, my work experience had the most impact.

So take that for what you will...


Could be true, but take it with a grain of salt - everyone wants you to think they loved your story & you're a special snowflake, etc, etc, so that you will be convinced to come to their school. Best way of telling for real is to look at the dots on LSN and seeing what happened to others with your numbers.

cidergirl
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby cidergirl » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:33 pm

jeanster wrote:For what its worth, I just got into the school i want to go to, and the adcomm indicated that my softs had played a large role in separating me from other applicants. I'm not talking about t14 or anything, but it did help me. I've got some unique softs that most law school candidates don't. I'd say that, judging from the conversation, my work experience had the most impact.

So take that for what you will...


what dd u do? im tryng to fgure out f i shld highlight college club leadership postions or my job (whch snt great, but ive been out of school for 3 years)

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JDizzle2015
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby JDizzle2015 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:38 pm

scotth724 wrote:And also we had the head of admissions from UPenn talk here a little while ago, and was very impressed when she heard that one of the girl's that had come to hear her speak about UPenn was student body president.

Dean Post says the sweetest things but please differ to TLS wisdom on this. It is in the deans' interest to project a holistic approach so take what they say with a grain of salt.

Your non-D1 tennis and SGA President position are "okay" softs and would serve as tiebreakers against you and another K-JD applicant.

My advice is to focus ALL of your energy to getting perfect grades. Your GPA (and eventual LSAT) will help take you much further than your SGA position would in the law school application process. If you know your responsibilities as SGA President won't affect your grades, then by all means do it. A tiebreaker isn't a bad thing but you have to have the numbers to be in a situation where a tiebreaker would matter.

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MachineLemon
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby MachineLemon » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:34 am

I read somewhere (volokh, I think) that 80-90% of admissions decisions can be predicted based on GPA, LSAT, and race. Some of that 10-20% is probably under-performance (i.e. getting into a worse school that you should). Thus, if half are over-performers, then softs matter in 5-10% of cases. Of course, how much your soft will allow you to jump in the rankings is another question entirely.

Put simply, feel free to reach (especially with waivers), but don't rest your future hopes on your softs.

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pupshaw
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby pupshaw » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:57 pm

scotth724 wrote:I'm not conceded


Conceited. The most important soft of all is correct grammar in your PS.

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emkay625
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby emkay625 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:01 pm

scotth724 wrote:
Flanker1067 wrote:You thought that winning an uncontested race for a meaningless position would help you get into law school?


It's uncontested because most people that are involved in SGA in HS/UG know that everyone tells each other what they plan on running for, so people in SGA aren't fighting each other for positions. And its certainly not meaningless. It's an on-campus jobs, and it's pretty close to being a full-time job. You're pretty much in charge of everything (any club or activity, even academics), you are constantly working with deans and the president, and you oversee the budget ($1 million at my school).


This is my concern. It sounds like this would interfere with your ability to maintain a high GPA, and GPA > softs.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby JamMasterJ » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:41 pm

are you a division 1 tennis player? Otherwise, your softs are nothing above average. Just work on the two most important things, LSAT and GPA

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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby thederangedwang » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:16 pm

Since i am a D1 tennis player i thought i would share my insight so far into my own application cycle

I am a D1 tennis player for a school in a mid-major conference. But, my team is pretty good, we are consistently ranked top 25 in the national rankings and have qualified for the NCAA's for the last 10 yrs in a row..in addition, we have gotten to the sweet 16 several times

so how has it affected my cycle? well, from what i can tell, it has only helped me in a marginal sense since it i wrote what i consider to be a very good ps around my tennis life....all the adcomms that talked to me so far said something to the effect of "i enjoyed reading ur ps"...however, none of them actually mentioned my tennis and how they liked i was an athlete or what not...so i suspect my ps helped me, not my D1 athletics per se.....

it really does come down to numbers, D1 athletics im sure helped me, but they certainly didnt open any doors that were locked...

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Opie
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby Opie » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:33 pm

Always remember that almost any law applicant has SOMETHING noteworthy on their app (within the T14 anyway, and probably withing the T30). That's why LSAT and GPA are so important (also, it's hard to rank based on softs). Law school is full of club presidents, fraternity presidents, etc. If you want a soft that stands out, you have to do something that affects THE WORLD, not your college.

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JDizzle2015
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby JDizzle2015 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:26 am

thederangedwang wrote:Since i am a D1 tennis player i thought i would share my insight so far into my own application cycle

I am a D1 tennis player for a school in a mid-major conference. But, my team is pretty good, we are consistently ranked top 25 in the national rankings and have qualified for the NCAA's for the last 10 yrs in a row..in addition, we have gotten to the sweet 16 several times

so how has it affected my cycle? well, from what i can tell, it has only helped me in a marginal sense since it i wrote what i consider to be a very good ps around my tennis life....all the adcomms that talked to me so far said something to the effect of "i enjoyed reading ur ps"...however, none of them actually mentioned my tennis and how they liked i was an athlete or what not...so i suspect my ps helped me, not my D1 athletics per se.....

it really does come down to numbers, D1 athletics im sure helped me, but they certainly didnt open any doors that were locked...

This is great advice. Your PS was about another tennis player with your name, right? That was really well written.

OP, again, do not let any soft interfer with your GPA.

jeanster
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby jeanster » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:13 pm

cidergirl- I played D1 sports, am pretty actively involved in high-endurance races, and clerked for a judge during/after college.

I don't think that D-1 athletics distinguishes any applicant at all. I've read someone on here stating that "law schools had better appreciate the sacrifices I made while all the other people had more time to study for the lsat, eat, get fat, etc"--> terrible attitude. Unless someone on the admissions committee actually played sports in college (rather unlikely if you consider the route that many athletes take post-graduation), then they can't fully appreciate the sacrifices you've made because they just don't have that shared experience.

I would totally agree with most posters on this topic so far- I should emphasize that I know my softs will play a marginal point in most of my cycle, but I have the feeling that they got me into the school I wanted to go to. I was average for the admissions and not local (which they seem to prefer), so I think that I was the 5% on the cusp that could have gone either way and that my softs pushed me in.

Concentrate on LSAT and GPA. By far the most important. Had i studied harder for the lsat, I wouldn't have had to rely on my softs.

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willwash
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Re: Importance of Softs

Postby willwash » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:08 pm

When I apply for the 2013 cycle I will have 6.5 years active duty Navy, including 2 combat deployments, over 1,000 hours in the E-2C Hawkeye (earning 2 air medals) and over 150 arrested landings. I transferred to a more prestigious undergrad halfway through college, then I got married between my junior and senior years and had to wait tables to support my pregnant wife all through my senior year. The Navy then took an extra 6 months processing my application after I graduated, so for almost 2 years we, a family of 3 and then (and now) 4, were on food stamps, until I joined the Navy. Now I am a LT (O-3) making about 100k a year. I had to set aside my lifelong dream of going to law school because my personal situation became such that I needed to obtain immediate gainful employment, and only now, 5 to 6 years after graduating, am I revisitng the idea of law school.

And yet, even with these outstanding softs, with my 3.49 UGPA, many doors are closed to me no matter how highly I score on the LSAT. I'd probably be an auto-deny at HYS+Columbia and NYU even with a 180. I think my only realistic shot at t14 is if I get at least a 171 and apply in-state, ED to UVA, or if I somehow bust a 176+ and apply ED to splitter-friendly Chicago and rely on my softs to give me a little extra forgiveness of the UGPA. I guess I'd probably get into GULC with 3.49/17X with those softs as well...but it all hinges on an outstanding LSAT score.

Tennis and SGA are great, but the other responders are correct in that they will probably detract from your academic performance now, and that that distraction will overwhelmingly cancel out any marginal benefit to your application that may be derived from participation in these activities. If I could trade all of my softs for a .31 higher UGPA, my law school prospects would improve drastically.




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