Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

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ConcernedHabsFan
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Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby ConcernedHabsFan » Fri May 04, 2012 2:42 pm

Hi,

I'm a recent college grad, and I'm unsure of what to really do with my future. I haven't had any jobs I've really liked, and having a sort of mid-twenties crisis. Recently some of my friends that are lawyers suggested I apply to law school, but I don't think I have good enough grades. They say that it's still possible to get in with high LSAT scores, but they're all much older than me (in their mid to late thirties) so I'm not sure they're that aware of the current admissions process of law schools.

My grades are extremely mediocre. I have a 67.9%, which out of my Canadian University is a C+ (I'm .1% away from a B-). The class average in my faculty typically is 70%. The people in the faculty are scaled, so out of a class of 200 people in a Political Science 101 class for instance, only like 3-5 will be allowed to break 90%, with the vast majority of students sitting at 65-72%. And in order to "declare" oneself a Political Science major before Year 3, you typically have to have around a 70% to give you an idea of what that percentage means.

Also, I read that some US colleges allow for a bad grade to be replaced if you retake the class, but at my school all grades count towards graduating GPA. For instance, they put me in fourth year French in order to graduate due to my high school transcript, and I had to take French twice because my High School French class was really a fraud of a class, so the F from the first time is sitting on my transcript. But, aside from that 1 instance I don't really have an excuse for my mediocre grades, they're there because I enjoyed college life a little too much, so no family trouble/hardships I can write to Law School Admissions about.

So, I'm not sure how my grades compare on an American GPA scale to undergrads coming out of US colleges. Do I have grades decent enough to give me a chance at going to a law school in the United States? Another thing to note is, I went to a pretty decent University. It's currently ranked #21 on Times Worldwide Higher Education, #51 in US News World Rankings, and 37th in the Shanghai Jintao World University Rankings. Does that matter much to admissions? Because I took classes 1 summer at a small US liberal arts school, and I was shocked at how easily I got an A than at my University (that's not a shot at people who went to small US liberal arts schools or Americans, just an observation :P ).

Also, my lawyer friends tell me US law school admissions is very political. I'm a Canadian citizen by birth, East Asian descent and a US Permanent Resident. Will that play in, help or hurt my chances?

I'm seriously considering taking an LSAT Prep Course as I realize I'll need high LSAT scores, and would like feedback to see if I even have a shot at US law school before I drop the $1500 for the class. I don't really care if it's a Tier III school or whatever, and I've looked at some class profiles for them but they don't show much. I just hope to get in and would like a ballpark guess at my chances.

Any feedback will be much appreciated :)
Last edited by ConcernedHabsFan on Fri May 04, 2012 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri May 04, 2012 2:53 pm

Take a LSAT prep course, but beware as the prep courses vary in quality. The LSAT is very important to US law schools, not nearly as important to Canadian law schools.

The LSDAS/LSAC will report &, essentially, average grades for a retaken course. There is no forgiveness of bad grades as in much of the Canadian system.

Do not attend a Tier Three or lower law school absent a full tuition & fees scholarship and at least one other compelling reason.

ConcernedHabsFan
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Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:12 pm

Re: Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby ConcernedHabsFan » Fri May 04, 2012 2:56 pm

Take a LSAT prep course, but beware as the prep courses vary in quality. The LSAT is very important to US law schools, not nearly as important to Canadian law schools.

The LSDAS/LSAC will report &, essentially, average grades for a retaken course. There is no forgiveness of bad grades as in much of the Canadian system.

Do not attend a Tier Three or lower law school absent a full tuition & fees scholarship and at least one other compelling reason.


Hey, thanks for the quick reply.

1 of my sister's friends got into a low Tier I US law school but she didn't bother apply to any Canadian law schools. She told me it was because her grades were too low to get into Canadian ones (78% average), so I've given up hope on applying to Canadian law schools. Aside from TRU, I don't think I have a shot at all with Canadian law schools.

Also, I'm thinking of taking Kaplan. It's the only major one anywhere near where I live, and where the dates work out. I've heard decent things (both my friends that went to law school got in), but it is pricey :(
Last edited by ConcernedHabsFan on Fri May 04, 2012 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri May 04, 2012 3:00 pm

Because of your low GPA, Canadian law schools may be much more difficult for you since GPA counts for 75% & LSAT for only about 25% while the reverse is true for US based law schools.

You need to register with both LSDAS/LSAC & the Ontario equivalent to find out your law school GPA. I believe that the Ontario system offers forgiveness for bad semesters.

P.S. Law school applications to US law schools are decreasing at a fairly rapid pace while apps are increasing to canadian law schools.

P.P.S. Kaplan has received very poor reviews from many TLS posters. On-line courses are available from PowerScore, BluePrint & Testmasters, among others.

KingsBench
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Re: Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby KingsBench » Fri May 04, 2012 6:03 pm

You're not in good shape for law admissions, unfortunately. I'm assuming you're studying at UofT, which is understandably difficult, but other individuals have managed to maintain good averages despite the system of grading. Since you have no reasonable excuse for your academic record, you're not going to get much sympathy from admissions, both at home and in the US.

It's probably best to distance yourself from your university record, and spend a couple of years doing full-time work. That way, along with a stellar LSAT score, you'll have a shot at some decent schools down south. I'll repeat the caution of some of the previous posters and say that the attitude that you "don't really care if it's a Tier III school or whatever" is something you really should shy away from - getting in a TTT and doing it just for the sake of saying you got your JD will probably put you further in debt and in a bind trying to find legal work once you graduate (look at their employment statistics).

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shintopig
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Re: Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby shintopig » Fri May 04, 2012 6:37 pm

Your GPA I believe is about a 2.4/2.5. I think a C+/B- is around there. Check on Google; search "GPA Conversion".

Take the LSAT Prep Class if you think you can't score a 168+ by yourself. I've heard Testmasters is pretty good from both the instructors and students. I took Kaplan; it was alright. There are plenty of people who score stellar LSATs and make it into top law schools. I doubt you'll crack T14, but if you score a nice 170+ you'll have a good shot I think at some darn good schools.

Check online about which schools take splitters too; aka. people with high LSATs and low GPAS. I know TLS has a listing of schools which will sort of give preference to LSAT over GPA more than others, so check that as well.

Best of luck.

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Veyron
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Re: Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby Veyron » Fri May 04, 2012 6:55 pm

If you can get into ANY Canadian law school, do it. A US law school you could get into with those grades would not yield very good employment prospects.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri May 04, 2012 10:40 pm

Unlikely that OP can get into any Canadian law school since GPA is by far the single most important admissions factor & the LSAT is factored in the admissions process at about 25% versus 75% for one's GPA.

P.S. @ ConcernedHabsFan: I'll send a PM that may help resolve your situation.

ConcernedHabsFan
Posts: 22
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Re: Getting into US Law School out of Canadian University

Postby ConcernedHabsFan » Sat May 05, 2012 5:40 am

P.P.S. Kaplan has received very poor reviews from many TLS posters. On-line courses are available from PowerScore, BluePrint & Testmasters, among others.


Take the LSAT Prep Class if you think you can't score a 168+ by yourself. I've heard Testmasters is pretty good from both the instructors and students. I took Kaplan; it was alright. There are plenty of people who score stellar LSATs and make it into top law schools. I doubt you'll crack T14, but if you score a nice 170+ you'll have a good shot I think at some darn good schools.


I'm really only taking Kaplan because my 2 lawyer friends said they took it and it was helpful. The only other course within 75 minutes from where I live is Testmasters. Prior to me Googling "LSAT prep course", I've never heard of them, so I've read they're reputable but majority of students seems to take Kaplan. All my college friends either go with private tutors, Kaplan or Princeton Review. I'm most concerned about being able to take practice LSATs over and over again in a test like environment with a proctor and other people. My test taking ability itself I'm not too worried about, I've taken many 3 difficult hour multiple choice Finals (with no breaks) over 4 years of college (I credit Finals as the reason I even graduated, because me in first year of college was not a fan of "projects" or "homework").

It's probably best to distance yourself from your university record, and spend a couple of years doing full-time work. That way, along with a stellar LSAT score, you'll have a shot at some decent schools down south. I'll repeat the caution of some of the previous posters and say that the attitude that you "don't really care if it's a Tier III school or whatever" is something you really should shy away from - getting in a TTT and doing it just for the sake of saying you got your JD will probably put you further in debt and in a bind trying to find legal work once you graduate (look at their employment statistics).


The issue is I'm having trouble finding full-time work I like, or that pays even enough for me to live comfortably independently (this also makes me getting into good MBA programs not an option). So "spending a couple years working" is not an option for me right now, because I don't want to spend more years working as a temp, unemployed, or a full-time waiter.

One of the people that recommended I go to law school actually came out of a Tier III Law School. She was the one that suggested I try to apply, since prior to talking to her I just thought I didn't really have any shot at law school (I had no idea there were such a thing as Tier III law schools in the US). I also recently just got my US permanent residency, so that makes law school a bit cheaper too - I never considered it prior to getting this. She actually couldn't find work after graduation, but ended up started her own practice, and is pretty happy right now. On the flip-side, my buddy that graduated out of a Tier I school quit being a lawyer, hated that career more than anything, and now works as a sports coach for a city community center.

But I've had lawyers tell me that everyone needs lawyers and the pay is good, I've had lawyers tell me the pay is overrated, I've had lawyers tell me the outlook for lawyer employment is bleak the next few years especially out of Tier IIIs, and I've had lawyers even tell me not to listen to other lawyers because they're trying to protect their profession :x :| So I was hoping to get feedback from actual college students and law students. Aside from the actual career prospects though, I think I would enjoy the material covered in law school (I'm actually enrolled in a business program this fall, and law school would be another option for me if I don't like this business program).

I'm just trying to figure out what my chances are of getting into law school is. Because I don't have the strongest hand at the table, I wasn't sure if I should even bet if the odds are very stacked against me. And frankly, I think my few lawyer friends overrate my intelligence :roll: But I'm gathering from your guy's feedback is, best bet is to take an LSAT prep course, score really high on the test, and only apply to law schools that favour LSAT scores over GPA. So, that's what it looks like I'm going to try to do. Realistically, I probably need to score in at last the 80 percentile to have a shot at getting into a Tier III, right?

Again, I appreciate the time everyone took to write out their advice :)




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