help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

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theduffman
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help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby theduffman » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:07 pm

Basically, I've sent out my applications this cycle, but I'm applying to some jobs/TFA and am strongly considering taking some time off. I have a few questions/things I've been thinking about, so if you have opinions on any of them let me know.

First, I'm right around a 3.0 with a 170 (my LSDAS GPA is lower because of some U/S or pass/fail classes I took, which my school allowed me to replace but LSAC counts my U's as F's). So pretty low GPA, but I am probably going to graduate with closer to a 3.15-3.2 LSDAS GPA. I have some pretty good softs and I'm Native American (wrote a diversity statement)

Second, I'm wondering how much getting rejected this year from the higher ups would impact me re-applying in a couple of years? I've applied to some reach schools like columbia, Penn etc. and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be smarter to just withdrawal them, because of the damage being rejected would do to my future prospects.

Third, would applying with a few tenths of a point higher GPA and a couple of years of WE make a big difference for me? I just feel like being URM with good softs and a pretty decent LSAT could make me a solid candidate for some of the t14's and I'm wasting it by applying with my poor GPA this cycle. Am I wrong?

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cutecarmel
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby cutecarmel » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:14 pm

Why do you want to take time off? You have a decent GPA (its not fantastic but its definately not bad either) and a really great LSAT score. On top of that you are Native American. You are a great candidate for highly-ranked law schools. I doubt you get rejected by very many.

If you do take time off, I don't think work experience will help you in terms of gaining admission.

My advice is not to withdraw and just apply now. You're more qualified than you think. Even if you don't get into all of the T14s, your qualified for many T1 schools

Renzo
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby Renzo » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:30 pm

Taking time off is always and forever a good idea. It will help you in interviews by giving you something to talk about, and it will help you by giving you a frame of reference for what it's like to be out of school. It will never hurt your chances for admission, it may help a little, depending on what you do, and there's always a chance you'll find something you'd love to do that isn't law school.

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cinephile
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby cinephile » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:02 am

Renzo wrote:Taking time off is always and forever a good idea.


Also, don't think of it as time off. Consider it as living your life. Maybe you'll get an opportunity that will never come again after you begin your legal career.

Renzo
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby Renzo » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:22 am

cinephile wrote:
Renzo wrote:Taking time off is always and forever a good idea.


Also, don't think of it as time off. Consider it as living your life. Maybe you'll get an opportunity that will never come again after you begin your legal career.


Seriously. These days, college is enough of a necessity that talking about not going straight from high school to undergrad makes sense as 'time off.' But this isn't true for grad school of any kind. It's not at all requisite for a happy and successful career, and for many people it's a terrible waste of time and money. Even if you are 100% sure that you want to go to law school, doing something else for a year or two is a good idea. And, if even 1% of you has doubts, it's mandatory that you take the time. Maybe you'll come back more certain than ever that it's a good idea; maybe you'll figure out that there's something else you want to do with your life; or, maybe, you'll figure out that there's some big adventure you want to have while you are still able.

theduffman
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby theduffman » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:05 am

Thank y'all for the input. I will seriously consider it :) and you can keep it coming if you'd like! Even if I'm not responding I promise I'm reading

American_in_China
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby American_in_China » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:34 am

I'm in a gap year, I think its a great idea if you have something valuable to do. Almost to HSK 5 in chinese and I'm going to start working at a Chinese law firm in February.

Find something productive you want to do, and do it. For me, I like learning languages, and Chinese is definitely a valuable one. Plus if I work in big law, knowing chinese might help land international clients. And I get to live in China!

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cutecarmel
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby cutecarmel » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:37 am

I'm re-reading your post and I realized that you don't want to take time off because your worried about not getting admission, but because it looks like you have found great job opportunities. In that case, taking time off to work is definately not a problem. Its a great opportunity for advancement and its normal not to go straight after college.

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romothesavior
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby romothesavior » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:18 pm

Take time off. Let me put it this way...

I've never met a person who wishes they had gone straight through. A lot of people who went straight through including me) wishes they had taken time off. Take that FWIW.

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basilseal
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby basilseal » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:27 pm

I'll have 2+ years WE by the time I start next fall and am SO GLAD that I did this. Even though I work in a non-legal field I have (1) had some great experiences and met fascinating people (2) gained real-life skills that would be useful in most any office job and (3 and most importantly) have just spent a little time in the "real-world": getting up every morning, doing work, paying rent/bills and thus having some sense of how dollars work, and having responsibilities where success or failure determine if I have money for a roof over my head and food in my mouth. It's sort of weird for me to think about going to law school without any of this in my head.

PS That's not to say that the K-JD route is wrong for everyone, by any means. But avoiding it was for the best in my own situation, FWIW.

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gaud
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby gaud » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:30 pm

I'll jump in for some more 'time-off love' .

Taking a year off has given me time to accomplish many things I would have never had time for if I'd gone straight into law school.

theduffman
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby theduffman » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:50 pm

cutecarmel wrote:I'm re-reading your post and I realized that you don't want to take time off because your worried about not getting admission, but because it looks like you have found great job opportunities. In that case, taking time off to work is definately not a problem. Its a great opportunity for advancement and its normal not to go straight after college.

Lol well, not quite.
I'm more hoping I get Teach For America because its something I'd reallly like to do, but I'm also applying to a job or two. Really I'm asking if I should pull my apps to my super reaches now because it would damage my future chances if I'm rejected now (plus just wanted to solicit general advice)

Renzo
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby Renzo » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:26 am

theduffman wrote:
cutecarmel wrote:I'm re-reading your post and I realized that you don't want to take time off because your worried about not getting admission, but because it looks like you have found great job opportunities. In that case, taking time off to work is definately not a problem. Its a great opportunity for advancement and its normal not to go straight after college.

Lol well, not quite.
I'm more hoping I get Teach For America because its something I'd reallly like to do, but I'm also applying to a job or two. Really I'm asking if I should pull my apps to my super reaches now because it would damage my future chances if I'm rejected now (plus just wanted to solicit general advice)


I would put the apps in, if the fees don't hurt you. At best, you get accepted to your dream school, and they let you defer. At worst, you wast some time and a little money.

jeanster
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby jeanster » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:29 am

I took a year off and I'm loving it. All my buddies from undergrad are slaving away for finals right now, and I get to relax knowing that those are a year off for me. When I decided to take a year off, I kind of set some goals that I could do in a year: move to a better apt, save _______ amount before school, get a dog, complete a marathon. Done with all but the full marathon (ran a half last week, the full is a couple months away)

Some people aren't goal oriented, but it's helped me out. I'd definitely advise anyone to take a year off, but everyone is different.

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Samara
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby Samara » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:48 am

Count me as another vote for gaining work experience first. It can only help your apps. If you decide to work and apply again in two years, having applies previously won't hurt you.

CanadianWolf
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:00 am

Apply now to see what your options are. This is a great year to apply to reach schools since applications are down. If you get rejected at Penn, Columbia & other T-14 law schools, you can always reapply later with work experience. But offering definitive advice in your situation is little more than speculation without knowing of your actual options. Plus, some law schools allow two year deferrals if accepted, then offered a two year Teach For America opportunity. Most law schools will grant one year deferrals for travel or work.

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Fred_McGriff
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby Fred_McGriff » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:42 am

Renzo wrote:Taking time off is always and forever a good idea.


Enjoy your early 20s and get some good work / life experience, don't piss them away in law school. Three years off was a great decision personally and financially.

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fashiongirl
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Re: help deciding to take off time or go straight to law school

Postby fashiongirl » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:11 pm

I took some time off unintentionally and ended up working for a year until I finally took the LSAT and started applying. It really gives you a sense of the real world as others have mentioned and also allowed me to save enough for a down payment on a condo, start saving for retirement and investing. I love that it gave me those opportunities but I wouldn't have minded going straight to school either.




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