A fork in the road

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Clearly
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Clearly » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:33 am

spleenworship wrote: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.


Not to be overly skeptical, but even if we assume a 170+lsat score, which is a HUGE if... the gpa puts him so far into splitter land that GPA becomes less important. The way I see it, this plan is only viable if he gets a scholly, the 2.5 puts him below the median of any respectable school, as does a 2.7...His saving grace would have to be a 98%ile LSAT. If a school extends a scholly to a 170+ 2.7, they would likely extend the same to a 172+ 2.5 on the grounds that his GPA is below the median regardless, and they're clearly headhunting a very high LSAT splitter to effect they're numbers in some way. This is just a guess obviously, but it's a guess that I wouldn't waste a year of my life to try to prove wrong. Especially when we take into account that the LSAC will likely decimate this GPA further...If they bring it down to a 2.02, would you still spend two years to reach for (The hope of) a 2.22? I wouldn't, and this is a very likely scenario.

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spleenworship
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby spleenworship » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:39 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:
spleenworship wrote: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.


Not to be overly skeptical, but even if we assume a 170+lsat score, which is a HUGE if... the gpa puts him so far into splitter land that GPA becomes less important. The way I see it, this plan is only viable if he gets a scholly, the 2.5 puts him below the median of any respectable school, as does a 2.7...His saving grace would have to be a 98%ile LSAT. If a school extends a scholly to a 170+ 2.7, they would likely extend the same to a 172+ 2.5 on the grounds that his GPA is below the median regardless, and they're clearly headhunting a very high LSAT splitter to effect they're numbers in some way. This is just a guess obviously, but it's a guess that I wouldn't waste a year of my life to try to prove wrong. Especially when we take into account that the LSAC will likely decimate this GPA further...If they bring it down to a 2.02, would you still spend two years to reach for (The hope of) a 2.22? I wouldn't, and this is a very likely scenario.


Fair enough. Personally, I would still take the year to do what I could. LSAT takes about 6 months to prep for a 170 or better, and retake if necessary.

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Clearly
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Clearly » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:52 am

spleenworship wrote:
Clearlynotstefan wrote:
spleenworship wrote: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.


Not to be overly skeptical, but even if we assume a 170+lsat score, which is a HUGE if... the gpa puts him so far into splitter land that GPA becomes less important. The way I see it, this plan is only viable if he gets a scholly, the 2.5 puts him below the median of any respectable school, as does a 2.7...His saving grace would have to be a 98%ile LSAT. If a school extends a scholly to a 170+ 2.7, they would likely extend the same to a 172+ 2.5 on the grounds that his GPA is below the median regardless, and they're clearly headhunting a very high LSAT splitter to effect they're numbers in some way. This is just a guess obviously, but it's a guess that I wouldn't waste a year of my life to try to prove wrong. Especially when we take into account that the LSAC will likely decimate this GPA further...If they bring it down to a 2.02, would you still spend two years to reach for (The hope of) a 2.22? I wouldn't, and this is a very likely scenario.


Fair enough. Personally, I would still take the year to do what I could. LSAT takes about 6 months to prep for a 170 or better, and retake if necessary.


I'm not particularly decided either way here, and totally understand your thinking here too... I just think it's too little too late. With that many credits, were talking about basically redoing an entire junior and senior year, half a full college education, just to see a gpa jump from really bad, to very bad...on top of it were speculating that he'll destroy the lsat, and on top of THAT were assuming the LSAC doesn't REALLY destroy his GPA... It's really too speculative to issue any substantive advice at this point, but I'd be wary of spending two years of our most valuable resource (time) to such a lofty, and yet somehow still mediocre goal, and I say that not to be rude at all to the OP.

BeaverHunter
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby BeaverHunter » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:17 am

I entered law school under similar circumstances. You can get in somewhere good. I applied to only 1 school (50-60) for personal reasons, with a 168 and a GPA lower than yours and got in. It's shocking how some of these schools on the up and up are whores for the LSAT. Practically speaking, guys like you and me have no business attending graduate school, but hey, so far I'm doing well and so can you. I did sciences as an undergraduate too, and despite my miserable undergraduate career I think a science background really helps you see the mechanics of the law through all the fluff.

If you are not tied to any particular area, cast a wide net for sure. Don't bank on scoring a 170 though. If you want to do this you'll have to bust your ass preparing for the LSAT.

atlas1886
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:54 am

Alright, so there is a ton of information here, but I must assert a couple points. From what I have seen so far in every interview with admissions personnel, including making direct contact with a number of schools, they DO care about the rigor of the classes. Perhaps it would be one thing if I had been a basket-weaving major from day one and gotten a 4.0...fair's fair. On the other hand, now that I have performed poorly in a hard science, I have seen it noted by numerous credible sources that it does NOT look good if I were to take a bunch of easy classes in an obvious attempt to pad my GPA. To sell myself I need a top LSAT score and an ability to say to admissions, "I'm really not as dumb as six and a half years of my UG transcript make me look...and here is proof."

As I understand it, they will frown tremendously on "washing out" of my major...sort of the opposite effect of an upward trend.

Now, I could of course be wrong in my understanding. I'm taking everything said here into consideration.

About my actual GPA...I have a number of W's but they are nonpunitive. As for the way I calculated the GPA, I think it's right, I counted every hour attempted in UG and calculated it as such. My GPA as my colleges would report it is well into the 3's.

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sky7
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby sky7 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:29 am

1. Graduate with a degree with physics, and become a patent examiner at the USPTO.
2. Go to GW for IP (Dean Whealan, in my opinion, helps get examiners with low UG GPAs into the school).
3. ?????
4. Profit.

Seriously. So many people at GW go this route, and really recommend it.

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Clearly
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Clearly » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:45 pm

atlas1886 wrote:Alright, so there is a ton of information here, but I must assert a couple points. From what I have seen so far in every interview with admissions personnel, including making direct contact with a number of schools, they DO care about the rigor of the classes. Perhaps it would be one thing if I had been a basket-weaving major from day one and gotten a 4.0...fair's fair. On the other hand, now that I have performed poorly in a hard science, I have seen it noted by numerous credible sources that it does NOT look good if I were to take a bunch of easy classes in an obvious attempt to pad my GPA. To sell myself I need a top LSAT score and an ability to say to admissions, "I'm really not as dumb as six and a half years of my UG transcript make me look...and here is proof."

As I understand it, they will frown tremendously on "washing out" of my major...sort of the opposite effect of an upward trend.

Now, I could of course be wrong in my understanding. I'm taking everything said here into consideration.

About my actual GPA...I have a number of W's but they are nonpunitive. As for the way I calculated the GPA, I think it's right, I counted every hour attempted in UG and calculated it as such. My GPA as my colleges would report it is well into the 3's.


If your attempting to sell yourself, you need to provide benefit to them. Having a smarter student then they expected is good, but it's far secondary to how your hard numbers will shape the incoming class statistics. If a school could take a 3.5 physicist, or a 3.8 basket weaver, they will take the basket weaver 99% of the time. Of course they don't want to take idiots either, but taking hard classes to prove your smart, while risking doing no good, or even hurting your gpa, doesn't make you brave, it makes you irrational.

Keep in mind, I stand by my original opinion, I wouldn't even bother with all that work for a chance at a .2 increase in GPA...to me it's not worth it.

Rather then focusing on this relatively small part of your application...Have you taken a legit practice test yet?

atlas1886
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:25 pm

I just got my first book today - will take tonight or tomorrow. I don't know how much stock I'll put in the first score though if I'm going to spend a year studying.

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spleenworship
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby spleenworship » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:18 pm

LSAT will prove u are smart, not hard classes.

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Clearly
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Clearly » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:14 am

spleenworship wrote:LSAT will prove u are smart, not hard classes.

Bingo

ashika2212
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby ashika2212 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:32 pm

I also believe that looking at 'rigor' is mostly reserved for the top ranked schools (read: HYS) when comparing students who are all of similar GPA and LSAT and did not otherwise shine out in LORs or PS but may still be considered for admission. Even then it would probably be a very small part unless all of the courses you've been in have class averages of 90%. I really would only read their statements about rigor to make sure you don't graduate undeclared or something crazy like that.

If you have a >174 and a >3.8 because you took basket-weaving courses I doubt many of the T14 would not admit you because you spent a year and a half studying intro to something-ology.

At least that's my opinion.

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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Randomnumbers » Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:54 pm

Don't waste your time taking more undergraduate classes. If you can't raise your GPA above a 2.9, it doesn't matter anyways, as the T14 has a pretty hard 3.0 floor - I think UVA took *one* 2.93 on LSN. Your best shot is going to be getting in somewhere like WUSTL or UMN. Honestly, a 168 and you'd be in at WUSTL, you get it into the 172+ range and you could have an outside shot at a decent (20k a year or so) scholarship. [I'm pretty sure that it's formulaic, but the horrible grade trend could hurt you here, even though it would not effect your admission].

You have an outward shot, possibly, with a 176+ at NW with work experience - they've taken one person (179 and 176 respectively) in the last two classes, according to LSN. Again, so hard to predict how your grade trend would change things once you become such a random outlier. Essentially, your best shot is a great LSAT and a prayer at NW, or a 168+ and in at WUSTL.

At lower schools, I have no idea - Splitters can be tough to predict, and most splitters at least have good grade trends. Frankly, if you couldn't get decent grades the last few years in your undergrad, taking out a 200k prayer on getting good grades in law school seems a hell of a risk. And given your history of changing your mind and dropping out, taking out a 200k prayer seems incredibly risky. Get your degree, study your ass off and nail the LSAT (or just nail the LSAT, some people can skip the first step there). Get a job working as a law clerk or a paralegal or something to get an actual good look at a law office and flipping papers around all day for a year before you start law school (as you are looking at next cycle anyways). I'd be mostly scared at your history of getting bored studying a boring subject and spending 2 years being a mediocre student. Lower ranked student at a lower ranked school might not even get to be a lawyer in a shithole.

atlas1886
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:47 pm

I am leaning heavily toward enough classes to get my GPA to a 3.0. It turns out my uGPA so far is actually 2.64 @ 154 hours. If I am successful in obtaining a retroactive withdrawal for one particular F (almost died in a cycling accident that semester but apparently never turned in the withdrawal forms after agreeing with the prof to take a W) it will rise to 2.70 @ 151 hours. Either way, 48 more hours of A's will get me to right around 3.0.

Additionally, I am going to try for some local internships involving immigration that I am personally interested in, and I just agreed to take on a part-time management role in my second job.

All is not lost yet! In the back of my mind I think about how nice it would be to become a competitive applicant at UNC - $16k a year at such a good school (and one that I'm fond of) is hard not to want.

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Re: A fork in the road

Postby spleenworship » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:09 pm

atlas1886 wrote:I am leaning heavily toward enough classes to get my GPA to a 3.0. It turns out my uGPA so far is actually 2.64 @ 154 hours. If I am successful in obtaining a retroactive withdrawal for one particular F (almost died in a cycling accident that semester but apparently never turned in the withdrawal forms after agreeing with the prof to take a W) it will rise to 2.70 @ 151 hours. Either way, 48 more hours of A's will get me to right around 3.0.

Additionally, I am going to try for some local internships involving immigration that I am personally interested in, and I just agreed to take on a part-time management role in my second job.

All is not lost yet! In the back of my mind I think about how nice it would be to become a competitive applicant at UNC - $16k a year at such a good school (and one that I'm fond of) is hard not to want.


Glad to hear and good luck.

atlas1886
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:14 pm

I'm also increasing the frequency at which I go and watch court sessions - it seems to motivate and somehow relax me. Hopefully at some point I'll be able to establish a relationship with lawyers from different ends of the bar...maybe even a judge if I do it right.

I'll update this thread when there is more to add. For now, thank you all very much for responding - I have a lot of good information to sort through and digest.

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Clearly
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby Clearly » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:52 am

Glad to hear circumstances are improving a bit, but I'm still not on board personally. Your talking about 48 credits man! That's two full time years! And your assuming your going to straight a every one of them? Which obviously isn't easy or this predicament wouldn't exist at all. I'm a numbers fiend, I do anything to boost them, but this is too nuts for my blood. The best advice you'll get is forget all about this conversation till you get a real grasp on your LSAT abilities... Post after post of people discussing 99th %ile scores here, which obviously 98% of people never see, as an assumption we can rely on to offer advice in how you spend two very valuable years of your life.

Keep up with the dedication, I'm just trying to politely point out the other perspective of what .2gpa change is worth, which varies so much on LSAT scores, schools of choice, etc.
Good luck!

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dingbat
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby dingbat » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:47 am

Do not go to grad school before law school unless you want to be an eternal student.
LSAC doesn't factor it in when calculating your GPA
Take the LSAT. If its high (165+) you'll be under consideration as a splitter.
Schools where 165+ is normal probably have GPA floors above 3.0 anyway (just look at the medians)
The schools you mentioned (Denver & Miami) have a 25-75 range that's lower, so if you can score closer to 170 you might have a fair shot as a super splitter already
If you can't break 160, you'll be looking at a TTT and years of trying to build a solo practice while waiting tables at McDonalds

If you're applying next cycle anyway, you've got a year to bust out as many A's as possible (max out your classes through December and apply in January when your new grades become available). You're still probably looking at schools in the bottom half of the rankings, but can try a hail mary pass to a few T50s
Duke ain't gonna happen

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Re: A fork in the road

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:01 am

OP: Based on your shocking lack of accomplishment during a seemingly directionless 27 years, I doubt that you would be able to complete the first semester of law school. Contrary to popular myth, BSing will not get one through law school. In my opinion, you lack the necessary level of maturity to even complete the law school application process, much less a semester of law school.

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Re: A fork in the road

Postby spleenworship » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:54 am

CanadianWolf wrote:OP: Based on your shocking lack of accomplishment during a seemingly directionless 27 years, I doubt that you would be able to complete the first semester of law school. Contrary to popular myth, BSing will not get one through law school. In my opinion, you lack the necessary level of maturity to even complete the law school application process, much less a semester of law school.


You are in a grumpy mood this morning. Don't be so hard on OP. All we know is from a few posts in an online forum.

I completed my first semester above median despite 30+ years of occasionally directionless wandering. And BSing worked on at least one class to get me a B.

TheZoid
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby TheZoid » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:20 am

If you can get your GPA up to above a 3.0 then it might be worth the extra undergrad courses, because you won't be autodinged at the majority of good schools, and keep options open a bit more. If you can't, just study your ass off for the LSAT, get something in the high 160's+, and target WUSTL, Wake, and other splitter friendly schools. You can still get some money out of those schools with a good LSAT, so just go in that direction if the 3.0 GPA is unattainable.

CanadianWolf
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:24 pm

I've reread OP's entire original post in this thread. On the positive side, OP writes well & exhibits intelligence. Unfortunately, however, my impression remains that OP is more talk than substance. If not, then prove it.

P.S. I'm not trying to be unkind. My intention is to motivate. Lawyers cannot rely on special exceptions or "on the kindness of strangers".

atlas1886
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby atlas1886 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:59 pm

The most valuable thing I have going for me currently is a number of years of life experience. My current focus is on actually deciding that law is what I MUST do with my life...I feel that if I reach this conclusion then I will do what it takes to make it happen. There are at last some encouraging signs that this might be the right path for me.

My court-observing has escalated, and I am starting at an immigration/refugee law non-profit next week as an unpaid volunteer. Part of my work there will be with prosecutors so I'm thrilled to have a shot at getting to know an ADA.

As far as when I'll apply - I will probably look to matriculate no earlier than in the fall of 2014 if I decide to go. This is do-or-die in my situation so I have to make damned sure I get it right.

I really don't have a problem with the preceding comments - you SHOULD have to prove you aren't full of shit before you're handed massive opportunities that many people are fighting for.

MissJewsbury
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby MissJewsbury » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:28 pm

Let's assume a couple of things to begin. I'll assume that you will indeed score highly on the LSAT. I'll assume, because I don't think you've mentioned it, that money isn't a particular concern. I'll assume that you are actually serious about going to law school (even though you mention nanowhatthehellever rather casually...).
Now, imagine yourself two years from now interviewing with a hard ass dean at your dream school.
Which situation would you rather be in:
1. Explaining how you realized you wanted to be a lawyer, then spent two years raising your gpa to a 3.0 and spent 9 (or whatever) years in undergrad, then slammed the LSAT, and now want them to take a chance on you.
2. Explaining how you realized you wanted to be a lawyer, got the hell out of undergrad after wandering around for way too long (which can be sort of endearing), slammed the LSAT, got into a TT-TTT law school, and (now that you've proven to yourself that you can make the grades and actually want to be a lawyer) you want to transfer.

Now, let's say that the hard ass dean isn't buying it and says NO. Will you be better off with a 200+ hour degree and then deciding whether or not to go to said TT-TTT or a year into law school and deciding if you should finish? Your decision.

lawlcat4179
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby lawlcat4179 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:56 pm

Well, there seems to be a lot of debate between whether the OP should take all these extra classes to boost his GPA for law school. Being partial to creative solutions, I suggest the following:

1. Prep for the LSAT, get a high score (168+ for WUSTL, 170+ for any shot at NU)
2. Apply to those schools and see if you get in.
3. If you get in, go. If you don't get in, go back and either raise your GPA, enter a grad program, or give up on law school.

Unless I'm forgetting something, when applying to law school, they merely stipulate that you have a degree by the time you matriculate. Meaning that if things work out as you hope (you get accepted), do whatever you need to do to officially finish your degree. If things don't work out as you hope, then you can go ahead with the previous plan of going back and boosting the GPA, entering a grad program, etc.

It just seems like that solution would give OP the best of both worlds. It would give him the chance to get into a top school without wasting 2 years/money boosting the GPA, but if he gets denied he would still have the opportunity to try again.

I have a tendency to believe that the GPA is so low that boosting it .2 or .3 wouldn't really matter much at the schools he's targeting. Nonetheless, with this plan he could find out basically risk free.

Thoughts?

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dingbat
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Re: A fork in the road

Postby dingbat » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:05 pm

atlas1886 wrote:The most valuable thing I have going for me currently is a number of years of life experience.

spending 8+ years in college doesn't count as life experience.
You're going to have to find a way to put a positive spin on it in your PS.




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