40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

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johmica
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40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby johmica » Thu May 17, 2012 7:12 am

I graduated undergraduate school with a dismal 3.25 GPA in the year 2000. I then went on to complete a year of graduate work with a 4.0 Graduate GPA, before having children and finding a real job. Those children are now of ages that allow me to reconsider returning to academia. I'm seriously considering law school, with a matriculation date of 2014 (my wife still has a year and a half of undergrad work to complete before I get my turn).

I have always been a gifted test taker. I scored a 2200 on the GRE back in 2000, with a perfect 800 on the analytical section. I recently took a timed diagnostic LSAT and scored a 171, after years out of academia. I feel relatively confident that, with almost a year of regular study, I can score between 178 - 180 on the June 2013 LSAT. So now my question.

Would a perfect or near-perfect LSAT score effectively counteract my 13 year old GPA in the eyes of admissions committees? I really have my heart set on the University of Chicago, and would like to think that a perfect LSAT score would make me a shoe-in, but would like a realistic assessment of my chances from those with more experience than me.

Thanks for any help you may offer.

LSATNightmares
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Re: 40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby LSATNightmares » Thu May 17, 2012 7:27 am

I think it would. I think they would be impressed that your LSAT is so high after being out of school for so many years. You can demonstrate focus, hard work, and maturity (the elements for grades) just through your career since school. But I think you'll have to convince them, why law school? Why now?

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nygrrrl
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Re: 40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby nygrrrl » Thu May 17, 2012 8:09 am

In my experience (I had an >15 year old GPA), a solid LSAT + a good personal statement (talking about life experience and addressing "why law/why now") balanced out a similar GPA. Feel free to PM me for more details and definitely go for it: going back to law school is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

woeisme
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Re: 40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby woeisme » Thu May 17, 2012 9:11 am

180 won't counteract GPA per se, butU Chicago wouldn't be out of reach

CanadianWolf
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Re: 40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu May 17, 2012 9:26 am

You'll be fine.

As a sidenote: The median LSAT score drops by age range. For young LSAT takers the median LSAT score is about 155 whereas for all test takers it's slightly below 152.

bp shinners
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Re: 40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby bp shinners » Thu May 17, 2012 1:43 pm

While your UGPA will always be your UGPA, law schools start to give you a little wiggle room around the 10-years-of-work-experience mark. With a 178+ on the LSAT, and a strong PS, I'd expect you to have a solid shot at most of the T14.

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johmica
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Re: 40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby johmica » Fri May 18, 2012 7:28 am

Ancillary question: Is all work experience created equal? I've been a plumber for the last 12 years. Will admissions committees view my change of direction as a sign of indecision, or do you think it will be a sign of a desire to better myself? I'm anticipating a "it's all in the personal statement" kind of reply, but again, I am curious to hear the opinions of those who have more experience with this kind of thing than I do.

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JCFindley
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Re: 40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby JCFindley » Fri May 18, 2012 8:36 am

johmica wrote:Ancillary question: Is all work experience created equal? I've been a plumber for the last 12 years. Will admissions committees view my change of direction as a sign of indecision, or do you think it will be a sign of a desire to better myself? I'm anticipating a "it's all in the personal statement" kind of reply, but again, I am curious to hear the opinions of those who have more experience with this kind of thing than I do.


All the "old" people are coming out of the woodwork this week..... :D Actually, you are a young'n compared to me.

Some schools are ALL about the numbers where as others really do care a LOT about the WE and like to have at least a few, um "well seasoned" students in the mix. My feeling is if you really can score in the high 170s (and I am not doubting you can) that the GPA from long ago will matter far less to many law schools than if you had the same numbers right out of UG.

Yes, I think the PS about wanting to better yourself and why LS at this age can make a big difference. I cannot speak to Chicago specifically but I got into my top choice strictly based on my work experience as both my numbers were below their 25 percentile. On the flip side I was waitlisted at a school where I had the numbers.... From my experience the LS predictors will not do a great job in predicting how your admissions cycle will go as they cannot account for the human factor of that one Admissions Committee member that actually likes your story enough to champion you through to acceptance....

You certainly won't be locked out of most schools (except the ones that have a hard GPA floor) though I cannot predict how it will go at Chicago. I would certainly encourage you to submit an application at Chicago as no one can really guess your chances unless you find someone with exactly your background and numbers that did the same thing.

JC

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johmica
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Re: 40 year old law school applicant worried about GPA

Postby johmica » Sun May 20, 2012 5:03 pm

Much appreciation for the advice from all. And now I intend to drop off the face of the planet and study for the LSAT for a year or so. Wish me luck!




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