FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

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HarvardHopeful93
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FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:46 pm

Hi guys!

This is my first post on the board. I stumbled upon this website the other day and I've fallen in love with it haha. So here's my story. I'm a freshman at Indiana University-Bloomington. I'm majoring in Political Science (B.A.) and will be getting a minor in either History or Philosophy. I might be doing some political internships this summer for the mayor of my local town, and hope to get to D.C. as part of an IU-DC internship program.

Anyways...I want to go to law school. And not just any law school. I want to go T14. But not just any T14, I want to go to Harvard Law School. I think if I study hard enough and prepare well, I could get a 175+ on the LSAT. And I would have to...

My GPA for Semester 1 was 2.25. Ouch :o But this semester I'm on track for at least a 3.2. It would be higher but math is holding me back. After this semester though, it's all degree courses, things that are interesting to me. If I got an A- in every class for Semesters 3-8, I would have a 3.7 MINIMUM cumulative. I calculated it out...If I could maintain around a 3.85 GPA from here on out, and if I got a 3.2 this semester, I would have a 3.75 cumulative, excluding my 1st semester of FR year. If you include that, it would drop to a 3.56.

I spoke to a pre-law advisor and he said if I wrote a "letter of addendum" explaining my first semester blunder (difficult classes, tough transition to college, homesick, etc.) and said something like "here is my S2-S8 GPA and it's 3.75", they would be willing to overlook Semester 1.

Am I screwed? Or is there hope? Would even Harvard be willing to re-calculate the GPA without my first semester if I put a letter of addendum?
I REALLY want to go to Harvard, but at the very LEAST, a top 14 law school. Can I do it?

Thanks guys,
Tom

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frotteur
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby frotteur » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:47 pm

Run.

HarvardHopeful93
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:50 pm

And just to clarify:
1st Sem.: 2.25
2nd Sem. (right now): > or = 3.2
3rd-8th Sem. GOAL: 3.85 Cumulative

GPA Cumulative Calculation using this numbers:
(Including 1st semester: 3.56
Excluding 1st semester: 3.75)

HarvardHopeful93
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:52 pm

frotteur wrote:Run.

:(

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:56 pm

That GPA isn't going to cut it.

Also, you screwed up your first semester so you recover with a 3.2? You're going to need straight As for the rest of college.
Last edited by Mr. Pancakes on Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ricking1288
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby ricking1288 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:57 pm

lol bro try back when your a senior because everything right now is just speculative

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rinkrat19
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:58 pm

No, they will not overlook your first semester or calculate your GPA without it. You could still get into some really good schools with a good enough LSAT, but probably not the top 3, and even top 6 will be tough.

Most pre-law advisors are idiots with only the vaguest notion of how to apply to law school, by the way.

HarvardHopeful93
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:00 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:No, they will not overlook your first semester or calculate your GPA without it. You could still get into some really good schools with a good enough LSAT, but probably not the top 3, and even top 6 will be tough.

Most pre-law advisors are idiots with only the vaguest notion of how to apply to law school, by the way.


Why do you say that, Rink?

And you don't think a letter of addendum explaining the circumstances will help? If I got a 177 on the LSAT, or even a 178, with a 3.75 cumulative excluding S1, you don't think they'll overlook it? Especially with strong internships and extracurriculars?

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Tom Joad
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:01 pm

Transfer to a place that gives A+s and get straight 4.33 semesters the rest of the way out.

HarvardHopeful93
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:03 pm

Mr. Pancakes wrote:That GPA isn't going to cut it.

Also, you screwed up your first semester so you recover with a 3.2? You're going to need straight As for the rest of college.


Well, considering that's a full grade point jump, I'd say it's a great turnaround. Also I understand. But I know I can do it. You should see how Ive turned it around the past 3 weeks alone...

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:04 pm

Getting that GPA up is most important right now.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:05 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:No, they will not overlook your first semester or calculate your GPA without it. You could still get into some really good schools with a good enough LSAT, but probably not the top 3, and even top 6 will be tough.

Most pre-law advisors are idiots with only the vaguest notion of how to apply to law school, by the way.


^This. You need at least a 3.7 (really, a 3.8*) to be competitive as a non-urm at Harvard. Below that, you really don't have much of a chance, even with a 180. And your first semester will absolutely be counted. Feel free to write an addendum if you have good reasons for the low grades (tough transition and feeling homesick are not good enough reasons to write an addendum).

What would your cumulative GPA be if you got a 4.0 the rest of the way?

(Also, keep in mind that you really shouldn't be Harvard or bust. There are other good law schools that could be competitive enough for with a very good LSAT score.)


*http://harvard.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:06 pm

Tom Joad wrote:Transfer to a place that gives A+s and get straight 4.33 semesters the rest of the way out.

+1

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:09 pm

HarvardHopeful93 wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:No, they will not overlook your first semester or calculate your GPA without it. You could still get into some really good schools with a good enough LSAT, but probably not the top 3, and even top 6 will be tough.

Most pre-law advisors are idiots with only the vaguest notion of how to apply to law school, by the way.


Why do you say that, Rink?

And you don't think a letter of addendum explaining the circumstances will help? If I got a 177 on the LSAT, or even a 178, with a 3.75 cumulative excluding S1, you don't think they'll overlook it? Especially with strong internships and extracurriculars?


Rankings have made applying to law school mostly be a numbers game. Harvard reports your overall GPA to usnews. A person might have a compelling addendum (you really don't from what you've said in this thread), but the harsh reality is that they are mostly seen by admissions people as two numbers: overall GPA and LSAT score. Strong softs can affect things (i.e. URM, millitary, rhodes scholar, etc.), but internships and extracurriculars are something that everybody does.

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rinkrat19
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:29 pm

HarvardHopeful93 wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:No, they will not overlook your first semester or calculate your GPA without it. You could still get into some really good schools with a good enough LSAT, but probably not the top 3, and even top 6 will be tough.

Most pre-law advisors are idiots with only the vaguest notion of how to apply to law school, by the way.


Why do you say that, Rink?

And you don't think a letter of addendum explaining the circumstances will help? If I got a 177 on the LSAT, or even a 178, with a 3.75 cumulative excluding S1, you don't think they'll overlook it? Especially with strong internships and extracurriculars?
They have to report your cumulative GPA. Some schools will just not go below a certain cutoff, whatever else you bring to the table. Harvard can have its pick of the 178s, including those who got a 4.0. Why would they take your 3.56?

Virtually every. single. time. someone comes on TLS reporting what their pre-law advisor told them, it's totally wrong. TLS is all the pre-law advisor you need.

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mattviphky
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby mattviphky » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:30 pm

HarvardHopeful93 wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:No, they will not overlook your first semester or calculate your GPA without it. You could still get into some really good schools with a good enough LSAT, but probably not the top 3, and even top 6 will be tough.

Most pre-law advisors are idiots with only the vaguest notion of how to apply to law school, by the way.


Why do you say that, Rink?

And you don't think a letter of addendum explaining the circumstances will help? If I got a 177 on the LSAT, or even a 178, with a 3.75 cumulative excluding S1, you don't think they'll overlook it? Especially with strong internships and extracurriculars?


With a 3.75 and 178, you would most likely get into H. However, you won't have a 3.75, because they DO take your entire gpa into consideration. Also, many people don't know when this when they start, but when you apply for law school, LSAC (the company that handles your applications), has its own formula for figuring your GPA, and they never help. For instance, I got a D in a class my 1st semester. But i retook the class as a junior and got an A. On my school transcript, it showed me having an A, and it adjusted my gpa accordingly. But when I applied for law school, LSAC will omit the adjustments your school made when you retook classes. So my D is permanent, no matter what grade I raised it to. So if you have a bad grade, retaking the class won't help. So MAKE SURE TO DO WELL IN EVERY CLASS!

I'm sorry, but Harvard will have plenty of applicants with strong extracurriculars and internships, high LSAT scores, and who didn't get bad grades their first semester of college. The things people do to pad their application may look good to the typical school, but great internships and extracurriculars are EXPECTED at harvard, you would be at a disadvantage if you didn't have them.

However, don't give up hope. Stay motivated to get into Harvard, and who knows what will happen. Just work your ass off, try to get a 3.6+ GPA, and when the time comes, slam your LSAT. You could get into Harvard, but there would be no shame in falling a little short by going to Columbia, Chicago, Penn, or whatever.

I know it sucks that you got a shit gpa your first year of college, but many people do. At least you figured it out in time. Too many people get to their Junior year or whatever and when they realize how restrictive lsac can be, they are screwed before they even started.

HOWEVER, there is no rule saying that you need to graduate in 4 years. If you can afford to take an extra year to take bullshit classes to boost your GPA, and you really want Harvard that badly, then go for it.

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Tom Joad
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:37 pm

It is also important to remember that the odds of getting a 175+ on the LSAT are approximately .6% so you really can't count on a super high LSAT score.

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specialsnowflake
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby specialsnowflake » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:41 pm

HarvardHopeful93 wrote:
Mr. Pancakes wrote:That GPA isn't going to cut it.

Also, you screwed up your first semester so you recover with a 3.2? You're going to need straight As for the rest of college.


Well, considering that's a full grade point jump, I'd say it's a great turnaround. Also I understand. But I know I can do it. You should see how Ive turned it around the past 3 weeks alone...


come on.. is anyone else thinking flame or am i the only one?

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aekea
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby aekea » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:48 pm

OP, my first quarter in undergrad I had something around a 2.6 GPA. I did much better for the rest of my undergrad and eventually bumped my GPA up to a 3.59. I got a 178 on my LSAT and applied to Harvard this cycle as a non-URM with normal softs (and when I say normal I mean similar to the ones you expect to have). I'm still on hold, but I anticipate eventually being wait-listed or straight rejected. The numbers I have are basically your best case scenario. You can't erase that GPA. Schools will not care that you did better after your first quarter and and addendum will have basically no effect.

Edit: I have gotten into a lot of great schools, however with some significant scholarship money. All is not lost if you don't get into Harvard.

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JDizzle2015
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby JDizzle2015 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:57 pm

Unfortunately, 3.56 will put you out at H. Still a decent shot outside HYS if you kill the LSAT. It is extremely early, but I would recommend trying to take a practice test before assuming a 175+.

Also, I hope I'm not the only one who finds it strange for someone who was born in 1993 to be in college. I mean it makes sense... I just have an uneasy feeling about it that I can't shake off.

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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby iowalum » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:06 pm

JDizzle2015 wrote:Unfortunately, 3.56 will put you out at H. Still a decent shot outside HYS if you kill the LSAT. It is extremely early, but I would recommend trying to take a practice test before assuming a 175+.

Also, I hope I'm not the only one who finds it strange for someone who was born in 1993 to be in college. I mean it makes sense... I just have an uneasy feeling about it that I can't shake off.


^^ this completely. It sounds so young.

But I would echo considering taking an extra year to boost your GPA or taking some community college classes on the side where you can get A+'s. I wrote an addendum for my low GPA, and even if they read it I don't think it helped. You either have the numbers they want or you don't. Luckily you still have time, so do whatever you have to to get the GPA up and take some serious time (really.) to study for the LSAT. Leave yourself some time to retake.

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby DaftAndDirect » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:10 pm

JDizzle2015 wrote:Unfortunately, 3.56 will put you out at H. Still a decent shot outside HYS if you kill the LSAT. It is extremely early, but I would recommend trying to take a practice test before assuming a 175+.

Also, I hope I'm not the only one who finds it strange for someone who was born in 1993 to be in college. I mean it makes sense... I just have an uneasy feeling about it that I can't shake off.


1993...college?

Image

Dude spend your time getting the absolute best grades you can in undergrad (at IU you should try to enjoy yourself a bit as well, awesome campus). After that focus on the LSAT.

Perhaps most importantly, use the next four years to figure out why you want to be a lawyer. If you find that it's absolutely the path you want to take in life, there are a zillion great ways to become a lawyer outside of attending Harvard law school.

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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:17 pm

Guys, I REALLY, REALLY appreciate all this advice. Yes, I'm young haha. And no, I'm not flaming. haha. But I must say...would Harvard frown upon a fifth year of college? I am sure I could get a better GPA with a fifth year...but are they going to look at it and say: "Oh he couldn't graduate in five years, he can't handle HLS" or "he took the fifth year just to pad his stats"...could this hurt me somehow? And btw...if I DID take a fifth year, would I need to write a letter of addendum explaining why it took an extra year?

HarvardHopeful93
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:19 pm

And just to clarify, Harvard is my goal and my #1. I am using the scores of that school as a measuring stick for myself. If I fall short of Harvard, then I obviously will go somewhere else haha...but I DO want T14. Not settling for outside T14.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: FROSH at IU, Interested in Law School, Advice?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:22 pm

HarvardHopeful93 wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:No, they will not overlook your first semester or calculate your GPA without it. You could still get into some really good schools with a good enough LSAT, but probably not the top 3, and even top 6 will be tough.

Most pre-law advisors are idiots with only the vaguest notion of how to apply to law school, by the way.


Why do you say that, Rink?

And you don't think a letter of addendum explaining the circumstances will help? If I got a 177 on the LSAT, or even a 178, with a 3.75 cumulative excluding S1, you don't think they'll overlook it? Especially with strong internships and extracurriculars?


If you've only worked hard enough to earn a 2.5 or whatever first semester at IU it's a huge presumption to think you can get an LSAT of 177 and finish with perfect grades from here on out.
Last edited by bernaldiaz on Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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