Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

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ampm
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Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby ampm » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:17 pm

Greetings to the collective wisdom of tls.

I'm a bioengineering, econ double major from a top university. 3.37 shitty gpa because of lack of focus my sophomore year.

I've recently been looking into pursuing a Masters degree partly out of my own interest and partly because I feel that it will show my potential much better than the crap I pulled in undergrad. Afterwards, I'll be looking into law.

How do law schools consider Masters programs?

Also, if I still end up going into a school not in the T20, what is the competition like in terms of transferring to a school IN the T20 or T14? Is it virtually impossible? Does everyone try to follow this plan?

Really appreciate all your guys's help and congratulations to those of you getting into your dream school for the Fall!

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:25 pm

An MA would help your application a little, but not much. Unfortunately, MAs are quite common. Your MA GPA wouldn't count at all, unless it is bad, in which case it would hurt your application.

Outside of the t14, a large proportion of students want to transfer upwards if they have the grades, and it is impossible to predict or guarantee what grades you will get in law school. You would be gambling with something like a 1/10 chance of being able to transfer, at most.

The best thing you could do would be to kick butt on the LSAT and apply ED to at least one LSAT-friendly lower t14 school. Virginia has accepted at least half a dozen ED applicants with GPAs below 3.4 and high LSATs this cycle, according to LSN. If you applied ED to Virginia early and got rejected, you could apply ED to at least one or two other t14 schools after that.

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spleenworship
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby spleenworship » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:01 am

Masters in bioengineering could equal patent law, which is FTW. If econ, only do if you want an econ PhD someday- useless for law school applications/being an everyday lawyer.

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spleenworship
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby spleenworship » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:03 am

ampm wrote:
Also, if I still end up going into a school not in the T20, what is the competition like in terms of transferring to a school IN the T20 or T14? Is it virtually impossible? Does everyone try to follow this plan?


Oh yeah, and chances of transfer are between 10-30% depending on your school. Ultimately it is impossible to predict ability to transfer as the grading curve + any given individual = eff knows what your grades will be.

ampm
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby ampm » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:39 am

AntipodeanPhil wrote:An MA would help your application a little, but not much. Unfortunately, MAs are quite common. Your MA GPA wouldn't count at all, unless it is bad, in which case it would hurt your application.


Are you saying that more priority is placed on undergraduate GPA even if the candidate decided to go for a masters? I have a pretty strong upward trend starting Junior year.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:48 am

ampm wrote:
AntipodeanPhil wrote:An MA would help your application a little, but not much. Unfortunately, MAs are quite common. Your MA GPA wouldn't count at all, unless it is bad, in which case it would hurt your application.

Are you saying that more priority is placed on undergraduate GPA even if the candidate decided to go for a masters? I have a pretty strong upward trend starting Junior year.

Graduate GPAs aren't a significant factor for law school admissions, unless they are bad. There are two reasons for this: (1) almost all graduate students get good grades; and (2) undergraduate GPAs figure into the USNews rankings, whereas graduate GPAs do not.

An upward trend is certainly better than a downward trend, but ultimately it is the number that matters.

As the other poster points out, an MA in a patent-law relevent area might help you get a job, but it wouldn't count much for admissions.

ampm
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby ampm » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:35 am

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
ampm wrote:
AntipodeanPhil wrote:An upward trend is certainly better than a downward trend, but ultimately it is the number that matters.


How strong of an upward grade trend helps?

I went from a 3.04 at the end of my sophomore year, consistently took upper division engineering and economics courses and brought it up to a 3.37 by the end of my last semester.

Unfortunately, I didn't listen to many of my peers who said take grade boosting classes since I didn't believe in that mentality and so that is where I am today.

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spleenworship
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby spleenworship » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:48 am

ampm wrote:
AntipodeanPhil wrote:
ampm wrote:
AntipodeanPhil wrote:An upward trend is certainly better than a downward trend, but ultimately it is the number that matters.


How strong of an upward grade trend helps?

I went from a 3.04 at the end of my sophomore year, consistently took upper division engineering and economics courses and brought it up to a 3.37 by the end of my last semester.

Unfortunately, I didn't listen to many of my peers who said take grade boosting classes since I didn't believe in that mentality and so that is where I am today.


Upward trend helps, but not much really. 3.37 engineering with a 165+ should get you into some good t1 schools, but you really 170+ is what u want for t14. T6 is probably out of your reach though, sorry.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:20 am

spleenworship wrote:
ampm wrote:How strong of an upward grade trend helps?

I went from a 3.04 at the end of my sophomore year, consistently took upper division engineering and economics courses and brought it up to a 3.37 by the end of my last semester.

Unfortunately, I didn't listen to many of my peers who said take grade boosting classes since I didn't believe in that mentality and so that is where I am today.


Upward trend helps, but not much really. 3.37 engineering with a 165+ should get you into some good t1 schools, but you really 170+ is what u want for t14. T6 is probably out of your reach though, sorry.

+1 What spleen said.

The upwards trend has to be easy to spot - admissions reps aren't going to study your transcript in detail or get out their calculators - but even then it doesn't help much. It isn't possible to give precise numbers.

Taking easy, grade-boosting classes might have helped your GPA, but taking classes that challenge you should help you to develop LSAT-relevant skills and also help you to succeed once you get to law school (depending on what the classes were).

ampm
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Re: Is it worth pursuing a Masters before applying?

Postby ampm » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:07 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
spleenworship wrote:
ampm wrote:How strong of an upward grade trend helps?

I went from a 3.04 at the end of my sophomore year, consistently took upper division engineering and economics courses and brought it up to a 3.37 by the end of my last semester.

Unfortunately, I didn't listen to many of my peers who said take grade boosting classes since I didn't believe in that mentality and so that is where I am today.


Upward trend helps, but not much really. 3.37 engineering with a 165+ should get you into some good t1 schools, but you really 170+ is what u want for t14. T6 is probably out of your reach though, sorry.

+1 What spleen said.

The upwards trend has to be easy to spot - admissions reps aren't going to study your transcript in detail or get out their calculators - but even then it doesn't help much. It isn't possible to give precise numbers.


Thanks for the help you two!

Yea in terms of applying, I've pretty much ruled out the top 10. When I do submit my applications, I will probably submit to the last few in the T14, #15 to # 20 (the few in the T20), and some safeties.




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