A fork in the road

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atlas1886
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:12 pm

A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:02 am

I'd like to make this post short enough that it won't make your eyes bleed; I apologize in advance for being unable to do so. Skip to the bolded bit if you want to avoid the backstory. If you read the whole thing and respond, you are affecting the course of the rest of my life, and your time is appreciated.

After dropping out of high school and earning an adult high school diploma, I went to a community college from 2003-2006 and earned an AA, transferring to a tier 1 state university ranked nationally between 100 and 150 out of public schools by USNWR. I am an NC native and have lived here my whole life. Initially, I was a political science/philosophy major. My first semester at uni, Spring 2007, I took an astronomy class, and coupled with reading too many pop science coffee table books, I changed my major to physics, intending to get a PhD in astrophysics and become a professor. By the end of Summer 2008, I knew that Astro was not going to pan out the way that I had hoped (read: this is a field where all the low-hanging fruit has been picked, the reality is pleading for grants/donations and mind-numbing analysis of extremely dry data). From Fall 2007 to Spring 2010, I plodded through my courses, putting on a master class in mediocrity. Although there were some outside circumstances influencing my performance, I know deep down that my grades are 100% my fault. I can talk about this more if there is interest, but for now I prefer not to dwell on it.

As it stood in Spring 2010, I was enrolled in the final classes needed to graduate with a BS in Physics. One important thing to note here is that there was an informal agreement in place with the department head to waive a departmental requirement to take Chem 2. When I was virtually weeks from being finished, I took incompletes in the classes, left, and returned to my home town, where I was in middle management at a grocery store for ~1.5 years. I did, however, maintain a good relationship with the faculty and students/recent alumni, including a father-son sort of bond with one professor in particular.

During the time since deciding I didn't want to pursue a PhD in physics, circa late 2008, my motivation naturally plummeted. In addition, I have jumped from career path to career path in a neverending search that has now covered virtually all professions in the modern world. When I say this, I mean I would research a career online, think about doing it for a while, and then move on the next thing.

Fast forward to Jan 2012. I quit my job, moved back to my uni town, backpacked Colombia for two and a half weeks, turned 27 (nine years as an undergrad, off and on), and resumed an informal independent study with a view toward completing my degree in May 2012. Three of the four incomplete classes are now listed as C's, and the last class is in the works. The offer to waive Chem 2 is still on the table, so I am on course to graduate in May.

I'm now on the other side of some kind of early-mid-life crisis, and been hard at work trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. For the last few months, it's been law. More specifically, I'm interested in being a prosecutor. What's different from my past career aspirations though is that I have been proactively critiquing this interest to possibly eliminate it as a waste of time. I have sat in on district court in two different counties (it is amazing, by the way, how different this experience is when you haven't been charged with anything), as well as superior court here. I've read every scrap of first-hand information (interviews with lawyers in various positions) that I could find. I watch Law and Order, but I do things like imagining myself working in a rural shit hole, prosecuting DUIs or meth lab proprietors, while being depressed about my salary and forgetting what my wife looks like - all in an effort to keep my quest rooted in reality. The next step is to actually talk to some lawyers in person, especially prosecutors, and grill them about their life. I will continue to put myself under the microscope until I'm sure that law is what I want to do.

So, finally, we arrive at the point of this thread. My GPA, as LSAC would calculate it, is 2.56 after 156 undergraduate hours. Much of my transcript is shockingly negative; for example, I took Calc 3 three times, earning grades of F, F, C. Anyone looking at my paper case without having ever met me could justifiably assume that I'm retarded. I haven't taken the LSAT. I will be aiming at a 170+. The members of this forum probably see assertions like this all the time, but I am confident that I can do very well on it. I also have more than enough time to study (over a year). On the other hand, much of what might be discussed here is contingent on getting a good score, and I understand that. I'm white, male, and an only child. My biological parents are alive and married. I have pretty much always worked since the age of 17 but I have no truly impressive work experience, the pinnacle of which is being a grocery manager from late 2010 to Jan 2012, not long or lofty enough to affect my law school applications positively.

I think of myself as a pretty interesting character, generally well liked and with some colorful life experience, but suffice it to say that most if it doesn't belong in my personal statement. I do feel that I have the intellectual capacity to do well in the challenging environment that is law school/practice. I do not feel that I am entitled to anything because of it or that I'm better than anyone. In fact, I think part of my problem for many years was being a complaining little shit and after undergoing the aforementioned personal Renaissance I feel strongly that I have yet to even begin proving my worth to the world. I think I'm a good guy that actually cares about treating other people with respect and that I can really shine at something if I make a decision and have the balls to pursue it.

I'm not aiming at a T14 school. A school in the top 50 would be nice, but I'm definitely looking no lower than one in the top 100. If nothing else I would like to go somewhere like Miami or Denver (tied for 77th, USNWR) and practice in the same respective state when I graduate. I'm sure Duke is out of the question, but as an NC resident, if I can become competitive at UNC or Wake Forest, that is something to consider.

With all of this said, I face some tough choices, the foremost of which is:

Option 1: If the department head doesn't waive the requirement to take Chemistry 2, I won't graduate. I could then enroll at the same university and begin taking classes as an undergraduate again to raise my GPA (philosophy, chemistry, or economics would be options). If I took two 18-hour semesters and earned straight A's, my GPA would rise to a 2.83. If I went for 48 hours (two 18-hour semesters and a 12-hour summer) and earned straight A's, the GPA would rise to a 2.90. I would pick up Chem 2 along the way and then graduate with two degrees at the same time. I would also retake a couple of the higher level math classes, to show that I'm intellectually capable of getting A's in them. This gives me at least some sort of upward trend. It also allows me to have a straight face when I send my transcript in, however less-than-ideal it may be.

Option 2: Take the degree, enter some graduate program, do well enough to get (a) great letter(s) from a professor or two, etc. This is the option being encouraged to me by the aforementioned fatherly professor, who went to MIT and Princeton. He also sat on graduate admissions for physics at a public Ivy for more than a decade. He's mentored students that have become renowned physicists, trial lawyers, patent lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc. I don't dispute his advice lightly. Ever. The problem, though, is that I don't think any graduate program I entered would be an especially competitive one, mostly because I wouldn't even be admitted if it were. Additionally, if it isn't a hard science master's, I haven't addressed the problem of my transcript looking like I couldn't hack it in a notoriously difficult major. It is worth mentioning that I could most likely get in to a nanoscience/nanoengineering master's program that is affiliated with my school and finish in less than two years.

Option 3: Take the degree, take the LSAT, apply to law school, and let the chips fall where they may.

Option 4: Take the degree, try to begin climbing the ladder in some field, and go to law school later. I really don't want to do this, because I don't feel like doing it, and because right now is not the time to be searching for jobs. It is worth noting though that there are some novel routes I could take, like trying to become a patent agent and then going to a good IP law school after a few years. Nothing really says that I would have to be a patent lawyer when I finish school.

I am open to any insight or criticism. I can't tell you how comforting it is to have a place like this where I can come and tell my story.
Last edited by atlas1886 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Jaeger
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:30 pm

Re: A fork in the road

Postby Jaeger » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:07 am

I am open to any insight or criticism. I can't tell you how comforting it is to have a place like this where I can come and tell my story.


:lol: :lol:

Anyway, your writing insinuates intelligence beyond your GPA. Good luck to you.

theaether
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:17 am

Re: A fork in the road

Postby theaether » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:32 am

I wouldn't spend that much time (2 semesters and a summer) for only the chance of getting straight A's. If you want LS, I would take the degree and take that time cracking the LSAT, unless you think you can get straight A's while studying for the LSAT.

Not sure where you're getting this sentiment from: "I haven't taken the LSAT. I will be aiming at a 170+. The members of this forum probably see assertions like this all the time, but I am confident that I can do very well on it."

At the very least, this confidence should be based on a very good diagnostic test that was taken in a realistic setting. Without even that, you might be underestimating the test.

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Br3v
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Br3v » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:43 am

Option 1: If the department head doesn't waive the requirement to take Chemistry 2, I won't graduate. I could then enroll at the same university and begin taking classes as an undergraduate again to raise my GPA (philosophy, chemistry, or economics would be options). If I took two 18-hour semesters and earned straight A's, my GPA would rise to a 2.83. If I went for 48 hours (two 18-hour semesters and a 12-hour summer) and earned straight A's, the GPA would rise to a 2.90. I would pick up Chem 2 along the way and then graduate with two degrees at the same time. I would also retake a couple of the higher level math classes, to show that I'm intellectually capable of getting A's in them. This gives me at least some sort of upward trend. It also allows me to have a straight face when I send my transcript in, however less-than-ideal it may be.


I believe LSAC calculates grades from your first degree only, so if I understand you correctly and you have not graduated then this may be an ok option to boost that GPA up before being officially awarded your degree.

Option 2: Take the degree, enter some graduate program, do well enough to get (a) great letter(s) from a professor or two, etc. This is the option being encouraged to me by the aforementioned fatherly professor, who went to MIT and Princeton. He also sat on graduate admissions for physics at a public Ivy for more than a decade. He's mentored students that have become renowned physicists, trial lawyers, patent lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc. I don't dispute his advice lightly. Ever. The problem, though, is that I don't think any graduate program I entered would be an especially competitive one, mostly because I wouldn't even be admitted if it were. Additionally, if it isn't a hard science master's, I haven't addressed the problem of my transcript looking like I couldn't hack it in a notoriously difficult major. It is worth mentioning that I could most likely get in to a nanoscience/nanoengineering master's program that is affiliated with my school and finish in less than two years.


Originally thought this was best idea as it may distract from your UG performance in the sense that you can provide addendums explaining why your UG perfromace was why it was, and if you perfromed well in masters program it could show you know are taking school more seriously. Common TLS wisdom is in general grad school does not really matter, but if $ is not a problem for you (getting the degree wise) this could also be an option, maybe even leaning towards this because you may be eligible for better jobs if law school doesn't work out (you do not attend LS)

Option 3: Take the degree, take the LSAT, apply to law school, and let the chips fall where they may.


You maybe could pull a school around the low 70's (not really sure maybe 50's though I am far from an expert on that), however be warned that the law market is bleak, and you should aim to graduate with little or no debt if you arent going to a top school (top 14ish)

Option 4: Take the degree, try to begin climbing the ladder in some field, and go to law school later. I really don't want to do this, because I don't feel like doing it, and because right now is not the time to be searching for jobs. It is worth noting though that there are some novel routes I could take, like trying to become a patent agent and then going to a good IP law school after a few years. Nothing really says that I would have to be a patent lawyer when I finish school.


May be most logical, but if you dont want to dont do it. I dont know, we only get one life.

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Geetar Man
Posts: 585
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Geetar Man » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:49 am

atlas1886 wrote:I'd like to make this post short enough that it won't make your eyes bleed; I apologize in advance for being unable to do so. Skip to the bolded bit if you want to avoid the backstory. If you read the whole thing and respond, you are affecting the course of the rest of my life, and your time is appreciated.

After dropping out of high school and earning an adult high school diploma, I went to a community college from 2003-2006 and earned an AA, transferring to a tier 1 state university ranked nationally between 100 and 150 out of public schools by USNWR. I am an NC native and have lived here my whole life. Initially, I was a political science/philosophy major. My first semester at uni, Spring 2007, I took an astronomy class, and coupled with reading too many pop science coffee table books, I changed my major to physics, intending to get a PhD in astrophysics and become a professor. By the end of Summer 2008, I knew that Astro was not going to pan out the way that I had hoped (read: this is a field where all the low-hanging fruit has been picked, the reality is pleading for grants/donations and mind-numbing analysis of extremely dry data). From Fall 2007 to Spring 2010, I plodded through my courses, putting on a master class in mediocrity. Although there were some outside circumstances influencing my performance, I know deep down that my grades are 100% my fault. I can talk about this more if there is interest, but for now I prefer not to dwell on it.

As it stood in Spring 2010, I was enrolled in the final classes needed to graduate with a BS in Physics. One important thing to note here is that there was an informal agreement in place with the department head to waive a departmental requirement to take Chem 2. When I was virtually weeks from being finished, I took incompletes in the classes, left, and returned to my home town, where I was in middle management at a grocery store for ~1.5 years. I did, however, maintain a good relationship with the faculty and students/recent alumni, including a father-son sort of bond with one professor in particular.

During the time since deciding I didn't want to pursue a PhD in physics, circa late 2008, my motivation naturally plummeted. In addition, I have jumped from career path to career path in a neverending search that has now covered virtually all professions in the modern world. When I say this, I mean I would research a career online, think about doing it for a while, and then move on the next thing.

Fast forward to Jan 2012. I quit my job, moved back to my uni town, backpacked Colombia for two and a half weeks, turned 27 (nine years as an undergrad, off and on), and resumed an informal independent study with a view toward completing my degree in May 2012. Three of the four incomplete classes are now listed as C's, and the last class is in the works. The offer to waive Chem 2 is still on the table, so I am on course to graduate in May.

I'm now on the other side of some kind of early-mid-life crisis, and been hard at work trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. For the last few months, it's been law. More specifically, I'm interested in being a prosecutor. What's different from my past career aspirations though is that I have been proactively critiquing this interest to possibly eliminate it as a waste of time. I have sat in on district court in two different counties (it is amazing, by the way, how different this experience is when you haven't been charged with anything), as well as superior court here. I've read every scrap of first-hand information (interviews with lawyers in various positions) that I could find. I watch Law and Order, but I do things like imagining myself working in a rural shit hole, prosecuting DUIs or meth lab proprietors, while being depressed about my salary and forgetting what my wife looks like - all in an effort to keep my quest rooted in reality. The next step is to actually talk to some lawyers in person, especially prosecutors, and grill them about their life. I will continue to put myself under the microscope until I'm sure that law is what I want to do.

So, finally, we arrive at the point of this thread. My GPA, as LSAC would calculate it, is 2.56 after 156 undergraduate hours. Much of my transcript is shockingly negative; for example, I took Calc 3 three times, earning grades of F, F, C. Anyone looking at my paper case without having ever met me could justifiably assume that I'm retarded. I haven't taken the LSAT. I will be aiming at a 170+. The members of this forum probably see assertions like this all the time, but I am confident that I can do very well on it. I also have more than enough time to study (over a year). On the other hand, much of what might be discussed here is contingent on getting a good score, and I understand that. I'm white, male, and an only child. My biological parents are alive and married. I have pretty much always worked since the age of 17 but I have no truly impressive work experience, the pinnacle of which is being a grocery manager from late 2010 to Jan 2012, not long or lofty enough to affect my law school applications positively.

I think of myself as a pretty interesting character, generally well liked and with some colorful life experience, but suffice it to say that most if it doesn't belong in my personal statement. I do feel that I have the intellectual capacity to do well in the challenging environment that is law school/practice. I do not feel that I am entitled to anything because of it or that I'm better than anyone. In fact, I think part of my problem for many years was being a complaining little shit and after undergoing the aforementioned personal Renaissance I feel strongly that I have yet to even begin proving my worth to the world. I think I'm a good guy that actually cares about treating other people with respect and that I can really shine at something if I make a decision and have the balls to pursue it.

I'm not aiming at a T14 school. A school in the top 50 would be nice, but I'm definitely looking no lower than one in the top 100. If nothing else I would like to go somewhere like Miami or Denver (tied for 77th, USNWR) and practice in the same respective state when I graduate. I'm sure Duke is out of the question, but as an NC resident, if I can become competitive at UNC or Wake Forest, that is something to consider.

With all of this said, I face some tough choices, the foremost of which is:

Option 1: If the department head doesn't waive the requirement to take Chemistry 2, I won't graduate. I could then enroll at the same university and begin taking classes as an undergraduate again to raise my GPA (philosophy, chemistry, or economics would be options). If I took two 18-hour semesters and earned straight A's, my GPA would rise to a 2.83. If I went for 48 hours (two 18-hour semesters and a 12-hour summer) and earned straight A's, the GPA would rise to a 2.90. I would pick up Chem 2 along the way and then graduate with two degrees at the same time. I would also retake a couple of the higher level math classes, to show that I'm intellectually capable of getting A's in them. This gives me at least some sort of upward trend. It also allows me to have a straight face when I send my transcript in, however less-than-ideal it may be.

Option 2: Take the degree, enter some graduate program, do well enough to get (a) great letter(s) from a professor or two, etc. This is the option being encouraged to me by the aforementioned fatherly professor, who went to MIT and Princeton. He also sat on graduate admissions for physics at a public Ivy for more than a decade. He's mentored students that have become renowned physicists, trial lawyers, patent lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc. I don't dispute his advice lightly. Ever. The problem, though, is that I don't think any graduate program I entered would be an especially competitive one, mostly because I wouldn't even be admitted if it were. Additionally, if it isn't a hard science master's, I haven't addressed the problem of my transcript looking like I couldn't hack it in a notoriously difficult major. It is worth mentioning that I could most likely get in to a nanoscience/nanoengineering master's program that is affiliated with my school and finish in less than two years.

Option 3: Take the degree, take the LSAT, apply to law school, and let the chips fall where they may.

Option 4: Take the degree, try to begin climbing the ladder in some field, and go to law school later. I really don't want to do this, because I don't feel like doing it, and because right now is not the time to be searching for jobs. It is worth noting though that there are some novel routes I could take, like trying to become a patent agent and then going to a good IP law school after a few years. Nothing really says that I would have to be a patent lawyer when I finish school.

I am open to any insight or criticism. I can't tell you how comforting it is to have a place like this where I can come and tell my story.



OP, in my opinion, I think you should take those classes and ace them, thus bringing your GPA up (Option 1), assuming you have not already received your first bachelors degree; your post is a little vague on this. The reason I say this is because your numbers (GPA+LSAT) are what the LS admissions will principally consider. As of right now, with a 2.56 GPA, you will definitely need a 170+ to attend any school worth attending, unless you're a URM (under represented minority). If you can bring your GPA up to a 2.9, this will give you a little bit (See: Marginally) of leeway with your LSAT.

Scoring a 170+ is not easy. I mean, its the 97th percentile, meaning, not many people achieve this feat. That's not to say that it's impossible, but I just don't think you should count on it. I do, however, believe that anyone can test into the 160s.

I believe someone with a 2.9 and a 165+ LSAT should go to a strong regional school, which seems to me like a plan you should be aiming for. Your GPA is holding you back from a lot of schools, but fear not, the T14 is still within reach if you crush the LSAT with a 170+, since you have work experience. (See: Northwestern)

You should check out LSN (http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com) to see where you stand compared to other applicants. There's a search feature that allows you to be specific with your numbers.

Further, an upward grade trend would marginally help you as well.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Im not in law school, yet, but I have been on these boards long enough to give some helpful advice.

Finally, OP, I'm glad that you're finally taking some initiative and figuring out what to do with your life. From the sound of your story, it's been drawn out for too long and its time to pick up all of your sticks and build a damn house already.

-GM.

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spleenworship
Posts: 4421
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby spleenworship » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:10 am

TL;had to skim

Look, given the options you presented I would do this:

1, Get up your GPA any way you can to 3.0 or slightly above for undergrad.
2. Get a masters in a hard science only if you want to do patent law. Grad GPA/success doesn't seem to mean much.
3. Otherwise (or after your MS) prep the shit out of the LSAT. Get all the Powerscore bibles, and take every practice test in existence. Use the LSAT prep forums here.
4. Don't worry about repeated classes... only GPA and LSAT really matter for first culling. After that your ability to explain your situation and emphasize your softs (preferably more briefly) will be handy.
5. Take LSAT, get good score. WIth 160 or better you can break top 100 with a 3.0. Top 50 will require 168 or better. With a year or two of work experience and a 170 or better, you could go to Northwestern (in the T14). I cannot emphasize enough how important the LSAT is. Consider this: If you get a 167 and get into a T50 at the bottom, you can use that to get a half ride (or more) with no stipulations at a strong regional ranked in the 60s-90s.
6. Apply to law schools in your range.
7. ?????
8. Profit

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: A fork in the road

Postby shoeshine » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:18 am

I read the whole story. You are going to have an uphill battle to get into any respectable law school.

This is what really concerns me though:

atlas1886 wrote:(it is amazing, by the way, how different this experience is when you haven't been charged with anything)


Do you have a criminal record? If so you may not be able to pass the C&F portion of the bar. I would look into this before I even thought about applying to law school.

Good luck.

vacate123
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:51 am

Re: A fork in the road

Postby vacate123 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:23 am

I'm a little surprised I read this novel.

Anyway, OP, you have a likeable, pathetic way about you, so I'll be blunt.

Try to get a 176+ and apply to Northwestern or Georgetown. If either of those stick, go. Else, don't go.

atlas1886
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:12 pm

Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:44 am

shoeshine wrote:I read the whole story. You are going to have an uphill battle to get into any respectable law school.

This is what really concerns me though:

atlas1886 wrote:(it is amazing, by the way, how different this experience is when you haven't been charged with anything)


Do you have a criminal record? If so you may not be able to pass the C&F portion of the bar. I would look into this before I even thought about applying to law school.

Good luck.


Not criminal, a few minor traffic things like a seatbelt violation, inspection, etc. In NC district courts do some misdemeanors, traffic, etc. At the last session I attended there was a single mother who kicked the window out of a squad car, a charge for defecating in a public hallway (!), and so on. I felt like I was sitting in the audience at a movie.

atlas1886
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:12 pm

Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:50 am

Additionally, I should add: I'm not afraid to go to a lower ranked school in the top 100 with the goal of transferring after my first year, as long as that school is in an area I wouldn't hate to live in (which is most states that don't touch salt water except Colorado and Illinois). If I didn't have the grades to significantly upgrade after working my ass off as a 1L, I would have no problem conceding that maybe I'm not as smart as I thought.

vacate123
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:51 am

Re: A fork in the road

Postby vacate123 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:05 am

atlas1886 wrote:Additionally, I should add: I'm not afraid to go to a lower ranked school in the top 100 with the goal of transferring after my first year, as long as that school is in an area I wouldn't hate to live in (which is most states that don't touch salt water except Colorado and Illinois). If I didn't have the grades to significantly upgrade after working my ass off as a 1L, I would have no problem conceding that maybe I'm not as smart as I thought.

You're probably just as smart as you think you are - but that says nothing about how smart your competition will be at whatever law school you end up at and where you'd place on that spectrum - frankly, there's no way to guess at that either. There's little point trying to go to a top 100 law school with a "goal of transferring." This is a disastrous investment of time, money, and your life.

Listen, if you don't get into a t14 out of the gate, please don't burn your time, money, and life going to a non-t14 school without a full scholarship.

Only go to a non-t14 if they give you full ride.

atlas1886
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:12 pm

Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:17 am

Geetar Man wrote:OP, in my opinion, I think you should take those classes and ace them, thus bringing your GPA up (Option 1), assuming you have not already received your first bachelors degree; your post is a little vague on this. The reason I say this is because your numbers (GPA+LSAT) are what the LS admissions will principally consider. As of right now, with a 2.56 GPA, you will definitely need a 170+ to attend any school worth attending, unless you're a URM (under represented minority). If you can bring your GPA up to a 2.9, this will give you a little bit (See: Marginally) of leeway with your LSAT.

Scoring a 170+ is not easy. I mean, its the 97th percentile, meaning, not many people achieve this feat. That's not to say that it's impossible, but I just don't think you should count on it. I do, however, believe that anyone can test into the 160s.

I believe someone with a 2.9 and a 165+ LSAT should go to a strong regional school, which seems to me like a plan you should be aiming for. Your GPA is holding you back from a lot of schools, but fear not, the T14 is still within reach if you crush the LSAT with a 170+, since you have work experience. (See: Northwestern)

You should check out LSN (http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com) to see where you stand compared to other applicants. There's a search feature that allows you to be specific with your numbers.

Further, an upward grade trend would marginally help you as well.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Im not in law school, yet, but I have been on these boards long enough to give some helpful advice.

Finally, OP, I'm glad that you're finally taking some initiative and figuring out what to do with your life. From the sound of your story, it's been drawn out for too long and its time to pick up all of your sticks and build a damn house already.

-GM.


You are correct - I do not yet have a degree. When I run various scenarios on lawschoolpredictor.com, I can see the dramatic difference it makes to have 170+ on the LSAT. And yes, I understand that difference is there because scoring that high is statistically quite rare.

On another note, if I didn't go to grad school or take any more undergrad courses, I would be working (I took a job with Whole Foods but not in management...I would probably move up within six months if I stay though) and probably do some volunteer travel stuff. I speak decent Spanish and have a soft goal of becoming fluent by the end of the year.

atlas1886
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:12 pm

Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:30 pm

Two questions, then:

It seems that, on paper, going for more UG classes is the best route to take. Is there an upward limit on the number of credit hours LSAC will look at? If I went for 48 more hours, I would be at 204 undergraduate hours.

Is there a consensus on starting LSAT preparation too early? I'd like to prepare over the next year or more but everything I find indicates a proper timeframe of 3-6 months.

tesoro
Posts: 472
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby tesoro » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:53 pm

I don't have a lot to add here, other than about the patent agent bit. You might get into a law school. You might even get into a great law school. But your odds of being hired as a patent agent (or patent lawyer post-grad) at a market-paying law firm may be de minimis. Patent departments appear to place a heavy emphasis on undergraduate grades when hiring patent agents, or lawyers who might prosecute patent applications, and are likely to screen you out prior to the interview process.

If this is your goal, or even your "safety net," please discuss the feasibility of doing so with working patent lawyers and patent agents prior to entering law school, because it might be your achilles heel even if you get a 4.0 GPA at a T14 law school. It is possible that a high GPA in a masters program may act to cure this issue (but won't help you much with law school admission).

Please take this with a grain of salt, as it is all anecdotal, but I have a ~3.5 UG GPA in a desirable engineering field, and have been told that it is barely in the range of "acceptable" to firms I've applied to.

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Re: A fork in the road

Postby theaether » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:01 pm

atlas1886 wrote:
I'd like to prepare over the next year or more but everything I find indicates a proper timeframe of 3-6 months.


There's a great guide in the content competition subforum where the writer, a 180 scorer, says that he started about a year before his LSAT. I personally did a 5-6 month plan, starting off with a few days a week and then really ramping up near the last 2 months. It worked well for me, and I don't think an intensive 3 month plan would have worked as well, because burning out can really happen.

If you have the option to so, I would start as early as possible and plan to take every single practice test under the sun. I had to get obsessed with the test to get a great score.

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JustE
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby JustE » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:08 pm

vacate123 wrote:I'm a little surprised I read this novel.

Anyway, OP, you have a likeable, pathetic way about you, so I'll be blunt.

Try to get a 176+ and apply to Northwestern or Georgetown. If either of those stick, go. Else, don't go.


tl;dr. But, this sounds like the way to go.

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ben4847
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby ben4847 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:08 pm

Take the road less traveled.

atlas1886
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:43 pm

Thanks for all the replies. The only thing I know for sure at this moment is that no matter what I do the LSAT has got to be my priority until I take it.

ben4847 wrote:Take the road less traveled.


What do you mean, or are you just trolling?

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ben4847
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby ben4847 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:23 pm

atlas1886 wrote:Thanks for all the replies. The only thing I know for sure at this moment is that no matter what I do the LSAT has got to be my priority until I take it.

ben4847 wrote:Take the road less traveled.


What do you mean, or are you just trolling?


just kidding.

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spleenworship
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby spleenworship » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:24 pm

atlas1886 wrote:Two questions, then:

It seems that, on paper, going for more UG classes is the best route to take. Is there an upward limit on the number of credit hours LSAC will look at? If I went for 48 more hours, I would be at 204 undergraduate hours.



They will take however many it took for you to get your Bachelors. Once you have it, they don't calculate anything else in (I wish I had taken a few more easy classes before graduation... oh well).

They took 181 hours from me and added them up.

So, personally, if I was in your situation I would take 24 more (2 semesters) of easy classes getting 3.5-4.0 per semester (preferably 4.0)... which should up your GPA above 3.0, and then work on the LSAT. 3.0 or better means that any cutoffs (explicit or implicit) probably won't apply to you. But even 48 hours isn't going to get you above 3.2, realistically, so I wouldn't bother.

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Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:05 pm

48 hours at a 4.0 will put me at 2.90 with 204 hours total.

I wouldn't do it by taking easy classes, though...chemistry would be the best choice on paper so I could show I'm not too dumb for a hard science.

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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Scuppers » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:12 pm

Take LSAT, then decide.

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spleenworship
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby spleenworship » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:06 am

atlas1886 wrote:48 hours at a 4.0 will put me at 2.90 with 204 hours total.

I wouldn't do it by taking easy classes, though...chemistry would be the best choice on paper so I could show I'm not too dumb for a hard science.


Why do you keep saying hard science?? Law schools don't give a shit about hard sciences. The only people you have to impress with hard sciences is med schools. Take the easiest classes you can for those 48 hours. And with a 2.8-2.9 get a 165 or better and take a scholarship at a strong regional.

All law schools really care about is gpa + LSAT + ability to write coherent sentences. Don't try to impress them with the classes you take, they don't care. Just get your gpa up. Take history or sociology or effing dance classes- whatever is easy tht you are interested in and ace them. Then throw in your personal statement how much finishing school with a dual bachelors in whatever your first major was + sociology or whatever was meaningful to you. They don't care if it is obvious you are playing the game, they just want to know you can.

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Clearly
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Clearly » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:49 am

Alrighty, I'll give my two cents on everything here.

Starting with the Robert Frost reference. A+ to you.

Moving on. I'm going to disagree here about spending 2 years to still be below a 3.0 ...While the difference is substantial, its not two years of your life substantial. The only upside to this might be seeing where the legal market is in two years. It's easy to get wrapped up in the law school statistics game, but keep these numbers in mind... We get roughly 70 years to be alive several of them will be spent in diapers(on both ends of the spectrum)... I'm not spending 1/35th of my entire existence to move from a 2.5 to a 2.9.

The LSAT is an acquired skill, but it's awfully hard to say you'll place in the 97%ile without even a practice test to base that off of. I respect confidence, but I also respect those who realize only 3% will see that score. I'm not saying you can't, in fact, I believe you can...but pick up an LSAT and start proving it to yourself. It takes time, and you should get started.

You also seem to have a substantial misunderstanding of how the LSAC, and by extension law schools, look at your UG experience, so I'll try to sum it up as relevant to your situation:
1) They don't give a shit about physics, or chemistry, or hard sciences, or for that matter any major. Some schools might indicate they do, but even so if a difference is detectable it'd be insignificant
2) They don't care at all which specific classes you took, or what your grades are in them. They care about your overall GPA and less-so, your GPA relative to your UG peers. Retaking hard classes to prove your smart enough to do well in them is an absolutely terrible idea.
3) You really don't know your GPA, especially with your cluster-fuck UG experience, it's almost guaranteed the LSAC is going to interpret your GPA differently then your undergrad. I cant predict it because I don't have your transcript, but with the W's, and the retakes, and such, your GPA could be wildly different from your expectations.

If you did want to pursue increasing your GPA, you have exactly one smart way to do it. Step one, DO NOT take that chem class, lest you complete your first UG degree, and set your GPA in stone. Step two, register for as many 100 level easy easy easy classes as you can. Don't even think about a science, or retaking something you struggled with, or any of that shit. Your schedule should consist of around 18 credits of basket-weaving 101. You wouldn't be proving anything taking hard classes, and you'd run a very real risk of hurting the cause.

Before you do any of this, keep in mind, financially this plan is a huge gamble outside of a significant scholly. The law market sucks, people think they're always a shoe-in for prosecutor spots and the such, but remember...Every school above you on the list will have graduates that don't get big-law too...They will be looking to public service as a backup plan, while you are using it as a primary plan.

I have much more to say, but I just realized I have a 5 page paper due tomorrow morning. I'm going to go cry a little, then get to work. Also, I apologize for the lack of grammar, too tired to care.

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spleenworship
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby spleenworship » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:18 am

dunno, poster above...

I agree with almost everything you said except that it might not worth the two years. I know a lot of schools have a sort of "floor" GPA where they won't accept anything below. And given that LSAC will probably work over OP's GPA.... Might be worth it anyway. At least for 24 hours or so just to get above a 2.7, which is what I hear the usual floor is.




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