Softs that ACTUALLY matter

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calidancer2
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Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby calidancer2 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:09 am

Can we have one be-all end-all list reached on softs that actually matter/positively impact LS apps? Are there even any softs that can boost one's application that much? How much, if at all? (e.g. if you're below 25th percentile GPA or LSAT, would that be overlooked for this magical soft?) Should the personal statements elaborate/draw from these special softs?


I've looked through past posts but it doesn't appear to be any sort of consensus.
Last edited by calidancer2 on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby rad lulz » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:11 am

I predict that your thread will create consensus due to its strongly-worded demand for consensus. A real order out of years of chaos.

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calidancer2
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby calidancer2 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:12 am

rad lulz wrote:I predict that your thread will create consensus due to its strongly-worded demand for consensus. A real order out of years of chaos.



Hey, someone's gotta turn this damn ship around.

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Br3v
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby Br3v » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:13 am

rad lulz wrote:I predict that your thread will create consensus due to its strongly-worded demand for consensus. A real order out of years of chaos.


I concur.

Renzo
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby Renzo » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:26 am

Here's the consensus

What matters: Anything you've personally done, including but not limited to playing sports, having a part time job, publishing an undergraduate paper, military service.

What doesn't matter: Anything that anyone else has done that you haven't, including but not limited to playing sports, having a part time job, publishing an undergraduate paper, military service.

Flanker1067
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby Flanker1067 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:30 am

calidancer2 wrote:Can we have one be-all end-all list reached on softs that actually matter/positively impact LS apps? Are there even any softs that can boost one's application that much? How much, if at all? (e.g. if you're below 25th percentile GPA or LSAT, would that be overlooked for this magical soft?) Should the personal statements elaborate/draw from these special softs?


I've looked through past posts but it doesn't appear to be any sort of consensus.



There is some consensus on certain softs that matter, things like being a Rhodes scholar, winning a Pulitzer, or being a professional athlete. The problem is that any softs outside of the clearly extraordinary will matter more or less to the particular person evaluating you. Also, softs matter differently in different situations, for instance, working for an elite consulting firm after UG will most likely help in OCI (or whatever job search), but it's unclear whether it helps in the admissions process.

Add: What Renzo, above, said.
Last edited by Flanker1067 on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

MrAnon
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby MrAnon » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:36 am

worry less about softs and more about your hards and you'll get into any school you want.

EdgarWinter
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby EdgarWinter » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:43 am

I would guess that WE matters to a marginal extent at some schools.

Just b/c the other softs aren't that important by themselves doesn't mean that they aren't useful though. You need something to make good PS/other essays out of, and those essays often help with $$$ if not with the actual admissions decision.

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calidancer2
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby calidancer2 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:43 am

MrAnon wrote:worry less about softs and more about your hards and you'll get into any school you want.



my lsat/gpa are already set in stone (see profile if you're really curious). was just interested about the impact of softs, if any, on acceptances and if it gives any verifiable boosts.

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DCDuck
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby DCDuck » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:48 am

I have heard that Nobel prizes, Oscars and Grammy's help. Writing a best seller also might help. Olympian. Genocide refugee. Work experience can help with certain schools, and can definitely help with the job hunt after you get in to law school.

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calidancer2
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby calidancer2 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:52 am

DCDuck wrote:I have heard that Nobel prizes, Oscars and Grammy's help. Writing a best seller also might help. Olympian. Genocide refugee. Work experience can help with certain schools, and can definitely help with the job hunt after you get in to law school.



Sweet. I'm 4 for 6 so full ride at Yale y/n

Renzo
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby Renzo » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:54 am

calidancer2 wrote:
MrAnon wrote:worry less about softs and more about your hards and you'll get into any school you want.



my lsat/gpa are already set in stone (see profile if you're really curious). was just interested about the impact of softs, if any, on acceptances and if it gives any verifiable boosts.


If this is the goal, get a job. It's not he kind of "soft factor" you're asking about, but it can only help you in every aspect of life. It will look good on your resume, give you something to talk about job interviews, and help you develop important workplace skills like doing stupid shit and not complaining, and not making your boss look like an ass, and dealing with a coworker who blames you for everything, etc.; all of which will make you a better lawyer and employee after law school.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby Blessedassurance » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:01 pm

You have just about enough time to cure AIDS before the next cycle. Use this time judiciously. Over 65 million people in Africa are counting on you. Do not let them down.

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emkay625
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby emkay625 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:03 pm

In my clearly not-an-expert opinion:

Matters - URM status, substantive full-time work experience, member of the armed forces, impressive awards like Rhodes Scholar/Pulitzer etc, having a strong tie to the school (like your parents went there, not like you really want to go), Olympic or D1 athlete

Does not matter - clubs, internships, part-time/summer work experience, any normal awards/departmental honors, Greek life, volunteer work unless it's something super-impressive (like you spent 6 months in Vietnam creating an irrigation system for a village impressive)

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calidancer2
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby calidancer2 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:06 pm

Renzo wrote:
calidancer2 wrote:
MrAnon wrote:worry less about softs and more about your hards and you'll get into any school you want.



my lsat/gpa are already set in stone (see profile if you're really curious). was just interested about the impact of softs, if any, on acceptances and if it gives any verifiable boosts.


If this is the goal, get a job. It's not he kind of "soft factor" you're asking about, but it can only help you in every aspect of life. It will look good on your resume, give you something to talk about job interviews, and help you develop important workplace skills like doing stupid shit and not complaining, and not making your boss look like an ass, and dealing with a coworker who blames you for everything, etc.; all of which will make you a better lawyer and employee after law school.



I already have one; the goal of this thread was to try and make a definitive list if at all possible. For instance, there's all those rumors of Harvard reserving a certain number of spots for Teach for America Corps members, which some of my friends who are doing that are banking on. Perhaps I should have done it this way:


Teach for America
Military experience
Published author
Peace Corps
NCAA/crazy good Athlete
Fulbright
Americorps
WE
Last edited by calidancer2 on Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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calidancer2
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby calidancer2 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:07 pm

emkay625 wrote:In my clearly not-an-expert opinion:

Matters - URM status, substantive full-time work experience, member of the armed forces, impressive awards like Rhodes Scholar/Pulitzer etc, having a strong tie to the school (like your parents went there, not like you really want to go), Olympic or D1 athlete

Does not matter - clubs, internships, part-time/summer work experience, any normal awards/departmental honors, Greek life, volunteer work unless it's something super-impressive (like you spent 6 months in Vietnam creating an irrigation system for a village impressive)



Thank you for being helpful and not snarky!

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JDizzle2015
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby JDizzle2015 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:27 pm

DCDuck wrote:I have heard that Nobel prizes, Oscars and Grammy's help. Writing a best seller also might help. Olympian. Genocide refugee. Work experience can help with certain schools, and can definitely help with the [ERROR: 404] hunt after you get in to law school.

I heard EGOTing gets you into HYS automatically.

rad lulz
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby rad lulz » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:29 pm

JDizzle2015 wrote:
DCDuck wrote:I have heard that Nobel prizes, Oscars and Grammy's help. Writing a best seller also might help. Olympian. Genocide refugee. Work experience can help with certain schools, and can definitely help with the [ERROR: 404] hunt after you get in to law school.

I heard EGOTing gets you into CCN automatically.

Agreed

Image

Law1L24
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby Law1L24 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:35 am

I think there are certain things outside of your numbers that matter, but only a few.

The personal statement does give your application a face, even if they haven't met you. Admissions committees are a bit guilty of social engineering at times. If they have a classroom full of upper class business grads from Harvard with 170s they are more likely to take a chance on the art major with a 151. They want a diverse classroom and that means a number of things, things you can show in your personal statement. In sports terminology, if they have a bench filled with great Wide Receivers, but are lacking a Tight End, they may just take the first Tight End that shows up.

Visits can also be very important. Imagine deciding whether to give a job to some guy you've never met and who hasn't taken the time to see your company versus someone who comes in, shakes your hand and shows his dedication to working there. You'd be more likely to give it to the guy who visited, even if he didn't have as good of numbers. Show up and shake as many hands as possible and it will improve your application.

Those are really the only two things I see that really matter. The other things can't hurt and can add to that "diversity" factor mentioned in the personal statement part but overall they are not worth messing with. Don't bother wasting a year getting a graduate degree or working in a law firm if your only goal is to use it for law school, just take some time to write a thoughtful personal statement and take a weekend to visit a school.

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JDizzle2015
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby JDizzle2015 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:36 am

I disagree.

Law1L24 wrote:If they have a classroom full of upper class business grads from Harvard with 170s they are more likely to take a chance on the art major with a 151.

Incorrect. If you find me one school on LSN that has classrooms filled with 170s (i.e. 170 median) that takes chances on a non-URM 151, then I'll believe that one of those schools exist.

Law1L24 wrote:Visits can also be very important. Imagine deciding whether to give a job to some guy you've never met and who hasn't taken the time to see your company versus someone who comes in, shakes your hand and shows his dedication to working there. You'd be more likely to give it to the guy who visited, even if he didn't have as good of numbers. Show up and shake as many hands as possible and it will improve your application.

This is what I thought at the beginning of this cycle, but after visiting schools and meeting AdComms I've realized that they really don't have the time to connect you to your file. Visits are mainly for the applicant to get to know the school (which I found very helpful), not the other way around. Unless you do something extremely out of the ordinary, you're just going to be one of (at least) hundreds of qualified applicants they meet. Btw, it's much easier to mistakenly do something memorable that puts a negative mark on your file than a positive one (i.e. someone had their grandma bake cookies for Penn's AdComm).

Law1L24 wrote:Don't bother wasting a year getting a graduate degree or working in a law firm if your only goal is to use it for law school, just take some time to write a thoughtful personal statement and take a weekend to visit a school.

Also disagree. There are top schools that really like work experience/time off after UG (e.g. Harvard and Northwestern) and no law schools hold work experience against applicants so on a purely probability scale (i.e. improving your chances at the highest number of schools), work experience and/or a grad degree might help if your numbers are in the ballpark. Most top schools advertise the high percentage of matriculates having had done something, anything, between UG and attending their law school--this makes me believe that it is a somewhat desirable quality in an applicant. (Columbia's latest class only had 35% direct through college; Penn: 37%; Michigan: 30%; UVA: 35%; Harvard: 24%; Northwestern: 5%; etc.) Sure, this may be just what the applicant pool looks like and not self-selected by law school AdComms, but the fact that most of these statistics are followed by a paragraph with what people have done (military, TFA, banking, athletics, consulting, law-related jobs, list of different masters degrees) makes me think that it does matter slightly, very slightly.

There are almost no "magical softs". Arbitrarily, I would guess that a "magical soft" has to be so uniquely amazing that it vastly overshadows the prospects of going to a top law school: Nobel Prize, Olympian, AdComm recognizing your name from ESPN/CNN/other news outlets, etc. Other than that, emkay625's post lists the types of things that are "good" softs, but far from game changers (other than URM status which is obviously outside of our control).

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JCFindley
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby JCFindley » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:15 pm

I'll let ya know at the end of the cycle if any of my softs mattered then let ya know what they are......

As likely as that happening is the fact that I will be too busy to post because I will be prepping 60 hours a week for the LSAT retake so I don't have to worry about softs. But who knows how much they count or don't count with any particular individual on an Ad Comm so I applied way above my hards anyway and will find out soon enough.

I'll let ya know how detrimental applying late in the cycle is while I am at it......

JC

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laxbrah420
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby laxbrah420 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:20 pm

Arsonist matters
Nazi, too.

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fltanglab
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby fltanglab » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:38 am

I've outperformed consistently in my cycle I would guess because of my personal statement in combination with multiple softs. I think a truly compelling PS can push you one way or another (and I have heard an example of this happening to someone else) and no single soft matters alone unless it's one of those great accomplishments listed. But a combination of multiple good softs can make a slight difference. I think I also have a very clear focus in my softs, so that might be a more compelling "package", but who knows.

There won't be an all-inclusive list of good softs though, only of the exceptional ones.

Napt
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby Napt » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:42 am

Being black is a pretty good soft.

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R86
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Re: Softs that ACTUALLY matter

Postby R86 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:11 pm

:D
Last edited by R86 on Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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