Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:33 pm

Hey you guys. First time poster, but long time lurker! I want to start off by saying thank you to the TLS community for all the marvelous work that has already been done before me. You guys are honestly amazing, yet terrifyingly addicting at the same time. The first time I took a diagnostic back in 2010 I received a 151. I am greatly honored to say that because of the golden nuggets of wisdom on TLS, I received a 179 retake on the October 2011 LSAT and thought I would share this guide I wrote this for some of my friend who did not know about TLS before the New Year celebrations begin as a major thank you for everything TLS has done for me. I don't think it compares to the high caliber guides that have already been posted by PithyPike, YCrevolution, Splitt3r, or TLS1776, but I just wanted to share it as a quick resource for someone who has not scavenger all that TLS has to offer. Thank you guys and everyone else who made the admissions process more bearable. I won't be posting my stats yet until the admissions cycle is completely over for me, but I am having a good ride so far! I wish you all the best. Happy New Year!

---

So You Want to get Accepted into a Top Law School?

INTRODUCTION

Well, how bad do you really want it? The reason you are reading this article is because you have decided to apply to law school. This article will not tell you why you should or should not go to law school. You should have already made this decision yourself or else this is probably not for you. What this article will do is tell you what you need to do to set yourself apart as the best candidate for the top law schools in the nation and, more importantly, it will tell you how you can do it. There is a lot of advice out there if you know where to look, but I decided to speed up that process by sharing what I believe to be the most valuable information to me in one document. Most of this information can be found on the Top Law Schools website created by Ken DeLeon. This website has the BEST ADVICE for law school admissions and I will consistently reference it throughout this article. If you haven’t heard about this website yet, then just know that you have been introduced to a goldmine waiting for you to start digging.

My guide is specifically geared towards undergraduate students who are considering the Top-14 law schools in the United States and also for those who I hope will be converted to the ‘T-14 or bust’ mentality once they have read this.

I know what it feels like to be where you are. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the suggestion of a friend to take a specific LSAT prep course together back in the summer of 2010. Changing the way I think was nerve-wracking, but at the same time it was exciting. And in the end, it all paid off. Many of my friends have asked me how did I do it, so I wanted to help out by giving you some of the collective knowledge that I found from friends and the web to easily refer to whether you just need some motivation to sign up for the first time, if you don’t know whether to retake or not, or even just general ideas on how to tackle the admissions process.

But merely reading this article isn’t enough. You should know that it takes a lot of hard work and motivation to maintain a strong GPA, hit home with an awesome LSAT score, and finalize an outstanding overall application. Aside from buying a new house, this is probably going to be one of the biggest investments you make in yourself with over $200K in tuition costs after three years with interest. Take it seriously. You might even get ‘lucky’ and lighten the blow of your student loans. For those of you who are willing to put in the work, you will get the most out of this article if you can answer my simple question: “How bad do you really want it?”

Repeat this question to yourself—How bad do I really want it? If you can honestly say that you want this really bad, you are not only going to get into a great school, but many schools are going to ask you to apply to them by handing out fee waivers faster than students passing out flyers on campus. Believe me your inbox will be bombarded with almost ten a day after you receive your LSAT score. I will help you in this journey by opening your eyes to the reality of the legal market in the United States and sharing some of the tools I used with you, but even then, this is still not enough. There is only one thing I ask for in return.

You need to motivate yourself. Your mindset is everything and you need to understand this right now. Not only for your success in law school, but also for your life. Nobody, not me, not your friends, not even your family, can motivate you as much as you can motivate yourself. Only you can push yourself, all I can do is tell you why and show you how. But, it won’t be easy and there’s still a long way to get your acceptances, so let’s get started.

DON’T GO TO JUST ANY LAW SCHOOL

Before I go into the details of what it takes to get accepted to a great law school, there is one big misconception that I would like to clarify. Some of you already have lawyers in your family; most of you don’t. Unfortunately, I did not so I held this naïve idea early on in my undergraduate career that by getting into any law school I would be successful and make a ton of money. Fortunately, through some friends and my own research online, I found out that this is an incorrect belief among many students who are applying to law school for the first time.

You are not guaranteed employment once you graduate. According to the American Bar Association, you are already in competition with over 1,000,000 other licensed attorneys in the United States for jobs (and they probably have a better resume than you do, just saying).

You need to understand that going to just any law school isn’t enough. This isn’t medical school. The supply of lawyers is greater than the demand and the lack of jobs for many recent graduates seriously made me reconsider whether this would be a smart investment. Unless you have an uncle or someone in your family who has promised to hire you to work in their law firm, you will need to hustle as an attorney in this economy if you don’t want to become an ambulance chaser. Most people don’t have the luxury of having connections in the legal field before they begin law school, and if this is the case for you, just use it as motivation to work harder. I did it. So can you. You don’t want to run after potential employers; have them on the chase for you.

GO TO THE BEST LAW SCHOOL

I know everyone’s situation is different, but there is a solution. Get into the best law school you can and never settle for anything less. It seems obvious right? But many people don’t have the drive to push themselves to do this. You do. Remind yourself about the fact that the better the school, the more likely that you will become an associate at that law firm in downtown that pays you a starting salary $160,000 straight out of law school. The better the school, the more likely you will get that clerkship you always wanted with the local judge in your community. The better the school, the easier you will make your life later on. Don’t go to any law school. Go to the best. Go to a Top-14 law school.

BUT WAIT, IT ALL DEPENDS

Those of you who are still skeptical should say, but wait, why should I leave my home state when my family is here and this school will probably have more connections regionally than that out-of-state school. Honestly, this is the golden question you should answer about your personal life and goals only with your family. I can’t answer this question for you. I guess my advice to those of you who have already asked this is that – it all depends.

(Pro-tip: The answer to most questions in law school is that it depends. Repeat this to yourself and profit during law school exams.)

True, there are many personal reasons why you would or would not want to leave (family, friends, climate, grandma’s cooking). However, law school will take away three years from your life whether you are at home or not. Most of my friends who are in law school right now don’t have the time to hang out with anyone, especially during finals week. There are also many practical reasons why you should seriously consider leaving if this means going to a higher ranked school in the T-14. For those of you unfamiliar with the US News & Rankings, here is a chart where you can find all the schools’ rankings. This chart also shows the 25th/75th percentile ranges for the school’s LSAT and GPAs. I printed out the T-14 in this chart out and kept it on my desk as a reminder of what I needed to do to get in this range. At this point, I had already graduated, so my GPA was already determined. It was all about hitting the perfect LSAT score.

If you break into the T-14, employers come to you during OCI or ‘On-Campus-Interviews’ during winter of your second year in law school. That is why getting into one of these schools will set you apart from the thousands of other graduates in the job hunt while you are. It is my firm belief that if you can break into the T-14 you should go to one of those schools whether or not it is in your home state without a second thought.

You need to figure out what values and goals are most important for you and then decide on how best to use your time. Set your goals before you begin studying and remind yourself what you are after if your determination begins to wane. Believe me, it’s not easy. You need to find motivation everyday. I reminded myself by telling friends about my admissions goals over dinner, pushing myself through an extra thirty minutes of pain at the gym to deserve an acceptance letter (this is a good strategy for anything really if you want to get going with your New Year’s resolutions), and by wondering how great it would feel to get that acceptance letter or phone call one day. This is why your mentality and attitude is very important. You have to want this more than anything. You can save money before law school begins.

RANKINGS & EMPLOYMENT

Sure, rankings aren’t the only things that matter in your decision, but don’t forget that they always matter in an employer’s decision. So do grades. You can enter a lower ranked school with the attitude that you are just going to work hard to be the best student in your class once the semester begins in the fall, but remember that you are not alone. So does everyone else who just begins. Nobody wants to settle for anything less than the perfect 4.0 GPA they had in college, but everyone can’t get A’s here. Sure you say that your undergraduate education was a breeze, but wait until you hear stories from friends who are already in law school. You are in for a big surprise. I have a few and they overwhelm me without the amount of reading they have to do for just one class. That reading that you thought you could leave until finals week? That’s no longer possible here. Law school isn’t easy and first year (1L) grades determine who will hire you.

Why take a greater risk with each of the final exams in your classes when you can already set yourself apart from all other potential graduates by acing one exam (the LSAT) and attending a highly ranked school and getting average grades. Who knows, you might just turn out to be above average. Even better.

Here is a more detailed account on economic factors that should influence your decision.
Here are charts that show employment statistics for specific law schools.

THE THREE ‘SIMPLY COMPLICATED’ STEPS TO ADMISSIONS SUCCESS

Admissions committees will tell you that they take a ‘holistic’ view of your application, but the first two things they will look at are your grades and your LSAT score. You can make your life much easier in law school if you follow me with these three ‘simply complicated’ steps. These steps are simple because it should be obvious that law schools look for applicants with:

(1) A high GPA
(2) A great LSAT score
(3) An interesting background

But, they are also complicated because of the nature of the application process and the intricacy of preparing yourself to sit in a four-hour exam (the LSAT!) or writing the perfect personal statement. Aspire to be great and I know that you will be able to hit high marks on all three.

(1) HIGH GPA

You can’t let partying or snoozing off in undergrad prevent you from getting a high GPA. I have had several discussions with my friends about this and I feel like your GPA is the best indicator of how well you are going to do in law school. If you cannot find the energy to work hard during undergrad, I really have no idea how you will push yourself to do well in law school. This is no longer high school. This is the real world. Wake up. I would seriously advise you to reconsider going into the legal career if your low GPA was not due to family, sickness, or some other unique circumstances. If your low GPA was due these factors, then you can write an addendum to explain your situation to the admissions committee and have them overlook grades.

The qualities that help you get a high grade point average as an undergraduate student (dedication, commitment, and time management) are the same qualities that law school admission committees are looking for in their applicants. If you want to make a strong statement about your academic capabilities in law school, you need to maintain a high GPA. Your transcript will speak for itself once you have submitted your apps and are under review. Some of the schools in the top-14 have a history of having a GPA floor – or a minimum that every applicant must have to be considered for an acceptance. There are exceptions to this minimum, but if you want to be safe, keep your overall GPA above a 3.8.

(1A) LSAC RECALCULATES YOUR GPA

And if you didn’t know this already, the LSAC calculates your GPA in a unique method. If you transferred from a community college, those grades will also be factored in to your overall GPA, even if they aren’t on your university’s transcript. If you took summer school classes at a community college, those will also be factored in to your GPA. Bad news: That B you got as a high school student while taking a night class at your community college will be factored in too. Good news: Any A+’s you received will count as a 4.3 instead of a 4.0. Yeah, I wish I had more of those too…

(1B) STRONG GRADE TREND

Didn’t have a good quarter/semester your freshman year? No problem. The same thing happened to me until I got my act together during my winter quarter and figured out how to balance my life with my new class schedule. Adaptation is key and admission committees are willing to overlook a few bad grades early on in your undergraduate career if they see a strong grade trend following up until your graduation. Don’t be discouraged if this happened to you. But, if I could go back to my freshman year, I would have never let that happen. Your overall GPA is what matters most to the admissions committee and not your departmental GPA. Sure you can write an addendum about why they should focus more on one over the other, but seriously I wouldn’t even bother unless you have a very good/unique reason.

(1C) FINAL REMARKS

Your overall GPA influences the ranking of the law school once they have admitted the incoming class. That is what it matters to them so much because they don’t want to lose their status as an elite school. Push yourself to get as close to (or above!) a 4.0 as possible.

(2) HIGH LSAT

The most important part of your application is probably your LSAT score. The Law School Admissions Council administers this test as a semi-objective indicator of how you would perform in law school. If you have a low GPA, this is your chance to redeem yourself. If you have a high GPA, then this is where you can stand out. The magic number that you want to hit is any score above 170. Once you hit this level, you will almost guarantee yourself admission to several of the top-14 law schools as long as you don’t screw up your application.

The LSAT is scored in a range from 120-180 with either 99, 100, or 101 questions. There are five sections to the test with a 15-minute break between sections three and four. Four of the sections are graded and one section is experimental which doesn’t count towards your overall score. Each section is timed for 35 minutes and the time constraint is usually one of the biggest problems for most test takers. One new factor to the LSAT is that the experimental was consistently given as either sections 1, 2, or 3, but starting with the October 2011 test, Section 4 became a new possibility. I know it sucks. It happened to me and I had no clue it was coming.

The trick to getting a great LSAT score is no trick at all. Three months of plain hard work and practice is a necessary amount for most, but it might not be sufficient for all. The test is administered four times every year in February, June, October, and December. I took the test twice. Once in October 2010, and then I retook in October 2011. Both times I studied for three months straight from July until October while working part-time. You need to find the test date that will work best for you based on availability and class schedule. I figured that the summer would be the most convenient because I was able to set aside a lot of time in the morning to study for the test. I will tell you what worked best for me and you can pick and choose what works for you.

By the way, there is a free practice test available on the LSAC webpage that you can use as your diagnostic to see where you are before any preparation. I got a 151 on my first one. Go figure.

(2A) BLUEPRINT PREP & LSAT PREP CLASSES

There are several avenues for you to take towards getting a high LSAT score. First, you might consider signing up for a test preparation company that usually costs above $1200-$1500. I took a prep course with Matt Riley at Blueprint Prep during the summer of 2010 and I believe that it was a great introduction to all the material of the LSAT and would definitely recommend it to someone who learns better in a classroom setting or likes being tutored. Our class had around 80 students enrolled, but Matt would randomly call out students to read and answer questions, so keep your guard up. Here is a link to Blueprint’s website. I really have no idea about any other prep courses, but I think that Blueprint sets the gold standard for big prep classes. Take it or leave it.

The best part of this specific course for me was that Matt is naturally hilarious who can really teach well. I actually enjoyed going to class because it was a nice break from the other summer classes I was taking at my university at the time. I had a handful of friends in this class and it was really easy to make several more as the year went on. I wouldn’t recommend taking university courses while you are studying for the LSAT, but I guess it helped me balance my time without focusing heavily on one or the other. In either case, I would definitely recommend taking an LSAT preparation class if you have the time and money to do so.

(2B) BUY THE POWERSCORE BIBLES

Another avenue you can take is to self-study. I believe that the studying you do by yourself at your own home is critical towards getting a high score. Even though I took a prep course my first time around, I knew there was still more I had to put in on my own time. I supplemented my Blueprint books with the Powerscore Bibles during my last month of studying. I wish I had started earlier with the powerscore bibles. After my graduation, I retook the LSAT in October 2011 with three months of self-studying and received a way better score than last year. My most important resource for retaking the LSAT was using the Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible and Logic Games Bible that I bought from Amazon.

There are several parts to studying well for the LSAT. First, you need to adjust the way you think to think like a lawyer. This means that you need to understand the concepts of premises, assumptions, and conclusions and spot them quickly in an argument. There are three different section types: Logical Reasoning, Logic Games, and Reading Comprehension. Each section has its own strategies, but I found that the Powerscore books set me up to think the fastest and to attack each question type in the Logical Reasoning Section. One quick disclaimer: there is one strategy I disagree with in the Powerscore Logical Reasoning Bible. In the book, they tell you to read the stimulus first and the question later. I practiced using Blueprint’s Method by reading the question first and the stimulus later. This way, you don’t just read the stimulus; you attack it. This is a skill known as being an ACTIVE reader. You should already know what you are looking for while you are reading based on the question type (Must be True, Flaw, Assumption, etc.) The Blueprint Method worked perfectly for me in the Logic Games section, but the bibles should be your go-to resources for most of your preparation. Feel free to supplement these books with as many course materials as needed. I don’t think you will need to.

(2C) TEST TAKING TIPS

I cannot explain the test taking strategies as well as the BluePrintPrep or Powerscore Bibles did for me without plagiarizing their commercially available information. Seriously, spend some money and buy your books, prep tests, online video, or private tutoring if needed. You won’t regret it and it will pay back tenfold or more in the future.

Here are a few tips I wrote down to myself in a notebook while I was studying for the LSAT:

1) Read actively and be SINCERELY interested in the material. Focus. Focus. Focus.
2) Concentrate on nothing but the test and increase your brain endurance.
3) WORK FAST, but don’t overlook details.
4) Use the Powerscore books and review specific question types you missed.
5) Review both right and wrong answers after every practice exam.
6) Take one test every other day and review tests in the days between.
7) Use an analog watch set to 11:25 for Section 1 and let it go for 35 minutes until 12:00. Then until 12:35 for section two. Backtrack and repeat for the next three sections.
8 ) Try to take as many PrepTests as possible, but don’t burn yourself out.
9) Understand why right answers are right and wrong answers are wrong.
10) Familiarize yourself with patterns in different question types. They are all essentially the same questions using different elements.
11) Fill in your answer choices in CHUNKS. For LR, fill after every page. LG, fill after each game. RC, fill after each passage.
12) Always look for MISSING LINKS between elements/variables in the stimulus for Logical Reasoning.
13) DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING BLANK. Guess if you have to. You won’t lose points.
14) It is ok to skip harder questions and come back to them later. If you are on the last 2 LR questions with no time left, guess D or E. They are statistically most likely to be correct.
15) Eat a BIG BREAKFAST and pack a water bottle and protein bars for the break.
16) Don’t forget your ticket stub with photo ID.
17) The last month before the real test, try to replicate all testing conditions during practice.
18) Never cancel your test on test day.

For more information, check out the advice of test takers who got 180s (One, Two, Three).

Go to this page if you want recent updates and Great Advice on How to Get 160+. I used this page periodically and found some of the strategies/schedules very informative to helping me make my own. Check it out.

(2D) Test Takers in LA

I took the LSAT for the first time at UCLA and retook the exam the next year at Southwestern Law School. I highly recommend taking the test at Southwestern Law School. Their proctors are amazingly accurate with time and the tables are much bigger than the small desks that UCLA offers students who are taking the LSAT on their campus. Southwestern also has a huge parking lot available for everybody who will be driving alone to the testing center and their administrators are very well organized. The rooms are also comfortably air-conditioned. I was really glad that I did not sign up for UCLA’s testing center again because I did not need to flip back and forth between my answer sheet and the test booklet to fill in answers.

Even though the first time I visited Southwestern was when I drove there for my test, I felt really comfortable in that setting. However, I would absolutely recommend for you to drive to your testing center before the actual test day, so you won’t encounter any problems with directions while driving there on the real day. Also, don’t forget to have all your materials (pencil, photo id, food, ticket stub) packed in a one-gallon plastic bag the night before the test. And don’t forget to set your alarm clock. Be there early!

Sign ups for Southwestern fill up very quickly; once you know you are going to take the test, sign up ASAP. Make an account with http://www.lsac.org. This is the official website for everything law school related: LSAT testing centers, transcripts, recommendation letters, applications. You can decide to defer the test date until later if you want to, but for now know that you should sign up as soon as possible

You can find out how other testing centers were ranked here. I would rank Southwestern as a 10/10. I would rank UCLA a 7/10 just because of the small desks and I think that’s generous.

(2E) Retaking the LSAT: Costs and Benefits Analysis

You are given the option to retake the LSAT at most three times. If you are studying for the test for the first time, do not start thinking about retaking until you have actually gotten your score. Push yourself to do it all in one go or else you might burn yourself out if you try to the second test within three months of the first one. But, retaking the LSAT is no longer a major hurdle to gaining acceptances to top law schools.

Many law schools have dropped the procedure of averaging LSAT scores because of LSAC’s policy of asking law schools only for the highest LSAT scores of admitted applicants. Thus, there is really no big worry to retaking the LSAT unless you are aiming for the Top Three Schools: Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. These three claim that they will look at your scores holistically and Harvard says that it will specifically take your average. You should be aiming for those three if you are really serious and try to get your best score in one shot. But retaking will not completely prevent you from gaining acceptances into these schools.

In reality, getting a worse score than your initial score is definitely possible and it obviously will not look good. However, I believe it’s highly unlikely if you are true to yourself about why you want to retake. If you are serious about retaking, then I believe that you can do better. You have to listen to yourself and also be careful with who you listen to. I could only count half a dozen people who advised me to retake from my immediate friends while everybody else thought I was foolish even for considering doing so with my first score.

Only listen to the people who believe in you. Never listen to anyone else who tells you otherwise. And always listen to yourself. Those six people were really monumental in pushing me to go ahead and retake when I could have fell prey to the majority opinion. At the end of the day, retaking the test was probably one of the best decisions I made in my life. And it could be the same for you if you are currently on the borderline. A difference of 5+ points on your LSAT can mean the difference between getting into a school in the T-14 or not. It can also mean the difference between getting a full ride or no merit-based scholarship money at all. Do what you think is right, but don’t be afraid to risk your first score if you feel like you can do better. Most law schools in the T-14 will only look at your highest LSAT score.

The most valuable advice I found on retaking the LSAT can be read here.

(3) THE LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS GAME

The worst kept secret of law school admissions is that it is a big numbers game. Some people will tell you that the least important part of your application is your application itself. This might be true, but it doesn’t mean that you can completely overlook this section in your admissions process. The personal statement is where you can stand out creatively and individually. Everybody is given an LSAT score and a GPA, but not everybody has gone through the same life circumstances that you have. Hopefully, you have not had an uneventful life up until this point and have done some things worthwhile. For instance, you might have interned for a congress member, worked at an entertainment law firm, volunteered at a courthouse, or made a breakthrough in cancer research. These experiences are what will set you apart in some of the most important parts of your application. Here is some valuable advice you can on parts of like your Personal Statement, Recommendation Letters, Why “X” Law School, and/or Resume.

Here is some important information on the admissions process.
Here is a guide to LSAC forms, transcripts, etc.

MY ADVICE ON PERSONAL STATEMENTS

“Show, don’t tell.” I can’t repeat this gem of creative writing enough. The personal statement is the most important part of the application. I drafted and redrafted my personal statement several times before I came up with a product that I thought would best fit me as an applicant to law school. There are several things I want you to consider when writing your personal statement. First, think about it as a formal interview with the admissions committee. You are basically given free reign to discuss any factors you believe that make you the best applicant for their law school within a 2-paged double-spaced page limit, but you don’t want to tell them, you want to show, describe and inspire. Choose a theme about overcoming obstacles or seeking new experiences. You want to sound interesting, confident, and ready to enter the legal field. Don’t make this a sob story. If anything, you can make it a story about redemption.

Start strong and end stronger. If you haven’t learned this yet in undergrad, your introduction and conclusion will probably be the two things your readers remember. You need to have a hook in the beginning and tie the conclusion to the introduction with fireworks at the end. Don’t fill up your personal statement with every single experience that has influenced your life, but with the most meaningful ones. Your writing will come naturally with events that have significantly impacted you. Also, choose the experiences that are relevant to any qualities that will make you a great student in law school. Make your statement memorable to the committee.

CONCLUSION

At the end of the day, you are your only competition. You decide how far you want to push yourself and whether you can do better than your previous best. You are going to be successful in many things if you can change the way you approach your life to see things as they could be. Don’t let stress or failures hold you down whether it’s with undergraduate classes, the LSAT, or life itself. Exploit them as a springboard to greater success. Everyone makes some mistakes along the way. That’s fine. That’s not called failure, that’s called experience. And never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something or you can’t change. Never listen to them. They just believe that they can’t do it themselves and that’s why they hold you down. I was lucky to be surrounded by a group of friends who all are on their own path to success and have great goals for themselves, so I know the value of being surrounded by the right group of friends. Mark Twain said it best, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Disclaimer: Neither BluePrint Prep, Powerscore, nor TLS have endorsed this study guide. You should really look at the material I have linked to online its entirety, as this is merely a glimpse of all the information I have gathered over two years. There are also many other study guides on there if you look through the forum. If there is any information that is missing and you believe should be added to this study guide, message or comment and I will edit it in. Feel free to give this to any friend or family member who is considering attending law school in the future.

TL;DR – If you want to get into a top law school, all you need to do is: maintain a high GPA, score an outstanding LSAT score, and craft an incredible, inspirational application. Easy enough.

THANK YOU SO MUCH TLS!!! Happy New Year to all.

User avatar
lovejopd
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby lovejopd » Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:47 am

tag Thx!!!

User avatar
tooswolle
Posts: 491
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:48 am

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby tooswolle » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:09 am

Too much to read at once. Tag for future reference.

User avatar
top30man
Posts: 1224
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:11 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby top30man » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:16 am

Tagged as well. Thanks.

User avatar
JDizzle2015
Posts: 638
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:16 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby JDizzle2015 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:09 pm

IMO, all the exam tips are credited.

Thank you for the contribution!

ETA: I took the LSAT at UCLA first and then at SW as well. Cancelled my UCLA score because the tiny desks did end up bugging me enough where I felt like it impacted my score. Take the LSAT at SW if you can. I heard Pepperdine isn't bad either (and you can go to the beach after the LSAT :lol: ).

User avatar
sach1282
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:50 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby sach1282 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:59 pm

Post this in the TLS content competitions section. Good job, it's very well written.

User avatar
GirlStop
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:49 am

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby GirlStop » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:03 pm

Thanks for sharing!

Question: Would you recommend a Blueprint course to a re-taker who already understands the basic concepts?

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby keg411 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:13 pm

You can’t let partying or snoozing off in undergrad prevent you from getting a high GPA. I have had several discussions with my friends about this and I feel like your GPA is the best indicator of how well you are going to do in law school. If you cannot find the energy to work hard during undergrad, I really have no idea how you will push yourself to do well in law school. This is no longer high school. This is the real world. Wake up. I would seriously advise you to reconsider going into the legal career if your low GPA was not due to family, sickness, or some other unique circumstances. If your low GPA was due these factors, then you can write an addendum to explain your situation to the admissions committee and have them overlook grades.


Are you in law school yet? No? Well, my 2.8 undergrad GPA and awesome lawl skool grades say "fuck you".

(And yes, I mad)

User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:49 pm

GirlStop wrote:Thanks for sharing!

Question: Would you recommend a Blueprint course to a re-taker who already understands the basic concepts?


I would recommend it, but I would say it's not necessary. If you need a structured study plan and homework deadlines, then yes, definitely take Blueprint. However, I think with all the study plans here on TLS, you can save yourself a lot of time and a lot of money if you are willing to follow it.

I don't know your situation, but if you already have a grasp of the basic concepts, I would say stick to Powerscore and reviewing practice tests. That was my major breakthrough. I started taking 3 practice tests a week until I was consistently scoring in the 170's. Just practice practice practice. The more time you spend with real test questions, the better you will do.

Good luck. You got this! :)

User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:49 pm

keg411 wrote:
You can’t let partying or snoozing off in undergrad prevent you from getting a high GPA. I have had several discussions with my friends about this and I feel like your GPA is the best indicator of how well you are going to do in law school. If you cannot find the energy to work hard during undergrad, I really have no idea how you will push yourself to do well in law school. This is no longer high school. This is the real world. Wake up. I would seriously advise you to reconsider going into the legal career if your low GPA was not due to family, sickness, or some other unique circumstances. If your low GPA was due these factors, then you can write an addendum to explain your situation to the admissions committee and have them overlook grades.


Are you in law school yet? No? Well, my 2.8 undergrad GPA and awesome lawl skool grades say "fuck you".

(And yes, I mad)


Thanks for the feedback <3

User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:52 pm

sach1282 wrote:Post this in the TLS content competitions section. Good job, it's very well written.


Thanks Sach!! I didn't even think about that. I'll give it a shot if more people agree, but I feel like I still have some things to add to this guide. Waiting for someone (like Keg411) to critique it and point out missing parts.

User avatar
oaken
Posts: 339
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:27 am

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby oaken » Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:13 pm

Shaggy wrote:I know everyone’s situation is different, but there is a solution. Get into the best law school you can and never settle for anything less. It seems obvious right? But many people don’t have the drive to push themselves to do this. You do. Remind yourself about the fact that the better the school, the more likely that you will become an associate at that law firm in downtown that pays you a starting salary $160,000 straight out of law school. The better the school, the more likely you will get that clerkship you always wanted with the local judge in your community. The better the school, the easier you will make your life later on. Don’t go to any law school. Go to the best. Go to a Top-14 law school.


Seriously? I mean, I'm not necessarily outright disagreeing with you, I'm just a 0L who's mainly been lurking for a few months. But this advice seems contrary to virtually all advice I've read elsewhere. I mean, you barely even address scholarships/financing your law school tuition. Maybe if "going to the best law school" means paying sticker at UChicago vs a half scholarship at Emory or something, then I would "go to the best law school," but I think the simplistic statement to "go to the best law school you can" without a big fat "it depends" and a more serious examination of financial costs/payoffs makes me really hesitate to take your guide seriously. You kind of address it later on (saying "it depends", I know), but your main assumption that people wouldn't go to a great law school is because they would be homesick. Tuition never really comes into your guide here, and for most people it's as important, if not more important, as the likelihood of getting a high salary after. And then you say that everyone who goes to lower-ranked schools would have the same mentality of getting to the top, but idk, smarter people, in general, go to better schools. You can't just outright dismiss the idea that people may actually find more success at lower-ranked schools, and you barely allow for that to be a possibility.

Just try to avoid these absolutist statements (see also: "Never cancel on test day" - does this mean "never cancel" or "think about it over the next few days", and why would you want to reconsider cancelling? There are surely some advantages to doing so, no? If you're going to bring it up, please explain why you say what you do)

It's just that, you say in your introduction that your goal in making the guide is to convert the reader to a "T14 or bust" mentality, and as someone in this exact audience (considering paying sticker at T14s vs heavy scholarships at T20-30 schools, none of which are in regions I'm originally from), you've really failed to convince me. That whole section really just comes down to you saying that better schools = more money in the future and an almost belittling dismissal of why choosing a cheaper school is a viable option (the main reason you'd do it is because you'd be homesick). The whole thing just seems kind of naive to me. You really really sound like a 0L giving advice that should be given by a law school graduate. But hey, I'm a 0L too, what do I know.

Just my two cents, this may have come off a little meaner than I meant. It's very well-written though, and seems to be a lot of generally sound advice, especially in the sections about applying to schools and LSAT preparation, if not so much in the sections about deciding which schools to go to. And I know that these "guides" are solely the OP's opinions, not, say, mine. I guess if I could always write my own guide, although I know I never would (nor would be capable of it if I wanted to :))

EDIT: Oh, and Happy New Year!

User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:50 am

oaken wrote:
Shaggy wrote:I know everyone’s situation is different, but there is a solution. Get into the best law school you can and never settle for anything less. It seems obvious right? But many people don’t have the drive to push themselves to do this. You do. Remind yourself about the fact that the better the school, the more likely that you will become an associate at that law firm in downtown that pays you a starting salary $160,000 straight out of law school. The better the school, the more likely you will get that clerkship you always wanted with the local judge in your community. The better the school, the easier you will make your life later on. Don’t go to any law school. Go to the best. Go to a Top-14 law school.


Seriously? I mean, I'm not necessarily outright disagreeing with you, I'm just a 0L who's mainly been lurking for a few months. But this advice seems contrary to virtually all advice I've read elsewhere. I mean, you barely even address scholarships/financing your law school tuition. Maybe if "going to the best law school" means paying sticker at UChicago vs a half scholarship at Emory or something, then I would "go to the best law school," but I think the simplistic statement to "go to the best law school you can" without a big fat "it depends" and a more serious examination of financial costs/payoffs makes me really hesitate to take your guide seriously. You kind of address it later on (saying "it depends", I know), but your main assumption that people wouldn't go to a great law school is because they would be homesick. Tuition never really comes into your guide here, and for most people it's as important, if not more important, as the likelihood of getting a high salary after. And then you say that everyone who goes to lower-ranked schools would have the same mentality of getting to the top, but idk, smarter people, in general, go to better schools. You can't just outright dismiss the idea that people may actually find more success at lower-ranked schools, and you barely allow for that to be a possibility.

Just try to avoid these absolutist statements (see also: "Never cancel on test day" - does this mean "never cancel" or "think about it over the next few days", and why would you want to reconsider cancelling? There are surely some advantages to doing so, no? If you're going to bring it up, please explain why you say what you do)

It's just that, you say in your introduction that your goal in making the guide is to convert the reader to a "T14 or bust" mentality, and as someone in this exact audience (considering paying sticker at T14s vs heavy scholarships at T20-30 schools, none of which are in regions I'm originally from), you've really failed to convince me. That whole section really just comes down to you saying that better schools = more money in the future and an almost belittling dismissal of why choosing a cheaper school is a viable option (the main reason you'd do it is because you'd be homesick). The whole thing just seems kind of naive to me. You really really sound like a 0L giving advice that should be given by a law school graduate. But hey, I'm a 0L too, what do I know.

Just my two cents, this may have come off a little meaner than I meant. It's very well-written though, and seems to be a lot of generally sound advice, especially in the sections about applying to schools and LSAT preparation, if not so much in the sections about deciding which schools to go to. And I know that these "guides" are solely the OP's opinions, not, say, mine. I guess if I could always write my own guide, although I know I never would (nor would be capable of it if I wanted to :))

EDIT: Oh, and Happy New Year!


You are right about how I made too many absolute statements without backing them up substantially. What I wanted to get across from the 'T-14 or bust mentality' is that from everything I have read on TLS, the general consensus is that there is a big difference between T-14 and T-25.... even if it is just barely outside the T-14 like Texas, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and USC. If I didn't do a good job convincing even one person, then I know I have to bring in more arguments as this was not enough as it is. My purpose in making it sound so near to an absolute statement is that I don't want anyone to aim low and be happy with that decision. I think what I will edit it to say is that if it is in the T-14, then you can choose based on location and scholarship, but once you get outside the T-14 it is a lot more difficult.

Never cancel on test day just means exactly that on test day. Give yourself a break for one day and don't let emotions run ahead of you. Should have clarified that as well, but I knew why I made the note for myself in my notebook. I should go into more details about those tips just to avoid any ambiguity.

Love the feedback and Happy New Year to you as well. Seriously thank you, I really need more honest and detailed feedback like this.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18410
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby bk1 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:00 am

Shaggy wrote:You are right about how I made too many absolute statements without backing them up substantially. What I wanted to get across from the 'T-14 or bust mentality' is that from everything I have read on TLS, the general consensus is that there is a big difference between T-14 and T-25.... even if it is just barely outside the T-14 like Texas, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and USC.


But there is also a big difference between 100k debt and 200k debt.

User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:18 am

bk1 wrote:But there is also a big difference between 100k debt and 200k debt.


True, but I feel like many people fear going into debt for the wrong reasons. Being in debt is not a bad thing. Taking out a loan and being able to consistently pay the minimum on-time will be important later on down the line when you are considering buying a car or a house. That's what banks or credit unions use to decide on how much to lend to you when you are making these big decisions.

I can not make a valid analysis right now because I am no expert on financial aid. I guess all I can say is thatyou have to look at the short-term costs v. long-term benefits of going to a better ranked school. $200,000 in debt with a fixed interest rate can be paid off over time. But hey I'm just an 0L assuming that you'll end up going to BigLaw like the rest of the pack.

User avatar
PDaddy
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:40 am

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby PDaddy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:53 am

As someone who has helped several students get into top law schools, I can say that at various points your advice is either incomplete, redundant (much of the info you proffer is not new to 95% of TLSers) or completely wrong. Some examples include your advice to use PowerScore. Have you ever heard of Manhattan, which is fast becoming a (if not THE) preferred LSAT prep system? What about the LSAC SuperPrep? Have you heard of Kaplan Mastery or Kaplan Advanced?

More importantly, your discussion neglects the subtle nuances pertaining to test prep. For example, taking prep-tests every other day is a recipe for disaster for most people - at least in the first two months of prep. Early on, it is most important to take more "short" timed and untimed tests, and break down the different question types. And the accepted standard prep time is now six months, not three. Most people scoring below 160 should take at least six months of prep to score above 170, and they should not consider their practice scores indicative that they are ready until they can hit 175+ in 10 full, timed tests with experimental and writing sections before they should feel comfortable that they are scoring in the 170's.

Your advice about applying to T14's seems to indicate that one cannot reach his goals by attending lower ranked schools. This is simply false. You give no consideration to tuition rates, scholarships (and the conditions for keeping them), geographic and specialty concerns that may warrant attending lower ranked schools, etc. Should an aspiring entertainment lawyer really choose Cornell over UCLA because Cornell is a T14?

Another poster says you sound like an 0L giving out admissions advice (much of it regurgitated and well-known, I might add); I am in complete agreement with it.

User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:08 pm

PDaddy wrote:As someone who has helped several students get into top law schools, I can say that at various points your advice is either incomplete, redundant (much of the info you proffer is not new to 95% of TLSers) or completely wrong. Some examples include your advice to use PowerScore. Have you ever heard of Manhattan, which is fast becoming a (if not THE) preferred LSAT prep system? What about the LSAC SuperPrep? Have you heard of Kaplan Mastery or Kaplan Advanced?

More importantly, your discussion neglects the subtle nuances pertaining to test prep. For example, taking prep-tests every other day is a recipe for disaster for most people - at least in the first two months of prep. Early on, it is most important to take more "short" timed and untimed tests, and break down the different question types. And the accepted standard prep time is now six months, not three. Most people scoring below 160 should take at least six months of prep to score above 170, and they should not consider their practice scores indicative that they are ready until they can hit 175+ in 10 full, timed tests with experimental and writing sections before they should feel comfortable that they are scoring in the 170's.

Your advice about applying to T14's seems to indicate that one cannot reach his goals by attending lower ranked schools. This is simply false. You give no consideration to tuition rates, scholarships (and the conditions for keeping them), geographic and specialty concerns that may warrant attending lower ranked schools, etc. Should an aspiring entertainment lawyer really choose Cornell over UCLA because Cornell is a T14?

Another poster says you sound like an 0L giving out admissions advice (much of it regurgitated and well-known, I might add); I am in complete agreement with it.


Completely true. As I said in the first paragraph before I submitted this to TLS, I wrote this guide as an introduction for some of my friends who aren't familiar with TLS, so I was writing it for a completely different audience and decided to post this here because I knew I would get more critical responses. In either case, everything here is regurgitating all the information I found on TLS, and at times focused more heavily on some advice rather than others as another poster said earlier. Thanks.

User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:09 pm

PDaddy wrote:Another poster says you sound like an 0L giving out admissions advice (much of it regurgitated and well-known, I might add); I am in complete agreement with it.


That's because I am a 0L.

User avatar
Bildungsroman
Posts: 5548
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Bildungsroman » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:10 pm

While I'm sure you're qualified to write a guide to improving on the LSAT, your post indicates that you're a 0L and have not completed your admissions cycle yet, so I'd say that your writing a guide to law school admissions is extremely premature.

User avatar
Shaggy
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby Shaggy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:20 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:While I'm sure you're qualified to write a guide to improving on the LSAT, your post indicates that you're a 0L and have not completed your admissions cycle yet, so I'd say that your writing a guide to law school admissions is extremely premature.


All I gotta say is 'retaking is for suckers' would have cost me several acceptances and scholarships. I might not be giving the best advice because this is the information that struck me to work harder, but I am trying to get some people motivated to change their attitude. If I can get one person to believe that they can do better, then I can be happy with my work.

Hope you are enjoying Chicago tho! Looks like you had a great cycle.

User avatar
89vision
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: Shaggy's Guide to Law School Admissions

Postby 89vision » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:26 pm

Shaggy wrote:

If I can get one person to believe that they can do better, then I can be happy with my work.

[/quote]

Your work sounds quite noble.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: PRinNYC and 4 guests