Very non-traditional student

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organnie
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Very non-traditional student

Postby organnie » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:16 am

Hi Folks,

First time posting here. I'm 51 years old and will be applying to Pitt's law school for the fall 2013. I'm taking the lsats for the first time in October. I'm not a great test taker...I get anxious. Also, I'm a slower reader than most. I took my first practice lsat a few weeks ago and scored a 142. I know I can improve this a bit. My guess is that I'll score in the high 140s or low 150s in October. My fear is that I won't be able to do much better than that.

I'll graduate in the spring of 2013 from Pitt with a bachelor's degree in religious studies. My GPA, currently, is 3.93.

I can't leave Pittsburgh so it has to be Duquesne or Pitt. Would MUCH rather go to Pitt because of its higher reputation and lower cost. Money's not a huge issue for me but the cheaper the better.

I know some will say "waste of time and money at your age" esp. because of the current job mkt. But, I have a lot of personal reasons for wanting to go and nothing can deter me.
Questions...

What are my chances of getting into Pitt if anyone cares to project?
Would I be considered an URM because of my age? I am female, caucasian.
Thanks all for any and all comments!!

rad lulz
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Re: Very non-traditional studet

Postby rad lulz » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:19 am

You're not a URM. But seriously at 51 you better not be taking out any debt. Especially since the job market is a festering dung-head. What are these personal reasons you speak of?

rad lulz
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby rad lulz » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:20 am

Also I love it when poasters lead with "I know I am about to make a choice which seems, on it's face, really dumb. But I want to be dumb."

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Pate
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby Pate » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:23 am

Flash forward three years. You have a law degree (median grades), and you passed the bar. Now what? Do you need to be hired by a firm, or is there a plan B.

dixon02
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby dixon02 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:30 am

http://pitt.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats/1112/

Looks like you'd need ~156 to give yourself a shot. A couple points higher in previous years, but probably not next year based on # of test takers falling. At your age, however, you really need to shoot for at least 160+ (preferably 162 so you're higher than 75th percentile) so that you get a good chunk of $$. I know you're set on this decision, but you'd simply be out of your mind to go to law school at your age at sticker. Out of your mind.

If you keep struggling, go take a class from a private company. A few thousand now could save your tens of thousands in the future.

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nygrrrl
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby nygrrrl » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:48 am

You're not an URM, you are simply considered a non-trad.
I'm going to buck the trend here and make the assumption that at 51 you've been around the block and you know your financial situation/reasons for attending law school pretty damn well and don't need a bunch of us youngsters to question you on them.
That said, work on the LSAT score. It's a learnable test to a large extent. I used the Powerscore books and
found them to be very helpful; there are also some fantastic threads on TLS about ways to study/improve
your score.
Congrats on the GPA - get that LSAT up to a 158 or so and I think you have a good shot at Pitt; get over a 160
and you should get money.
Best of luck - feel free to PM me if you have non-trad questions as I'm a non-trad, myself.

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Nova
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby Nova » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:51 am

Nice GPA. Scoring above the median on the LSAT should get you close to a full ride.

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homestyle28
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby homestyle28 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:54 am

nygrrrl wrote:...at 51 you've been around the block and you know your financial situation/reasons for attending law school pretty damn well and don't need a bunch of us youngsters to question you on them.


+1
Last edited by homestyle28 on Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby rad lulz » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:54 am

Nova wrote:Nice GPA. Scoring above the median on the LSAT should get you close to a full ride.

Pitt doesn't do those really.

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organnie
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby organnie » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:57 am

Well, without getting into a therapy session, I’m a late bloomer. I’ve been an underachiever all of my life because of a crappy upbringing. I’m a bright person and know that if given the proper support growing up, I would have been a high achiever. I want to prove to myself that I can do well in law school and pass the bar.
I currently work at Pitt pushing papers around for 40 hours a week for low pay. I tolerate the low pay because I got free undergrad tuition for me and my 2 daughters. My boyfriend and I plan on moving to NYC in 5 years when his youngest graduates from high school. If I don’t do something, I’ll be pushing papers around for 40 hours a week there too. I thought that having a law degree would give me more options in NYC and hence a better quality of life. Look at it as a retirement plan if you will ;) I don’t need to be a big shot in the field and I don’t need to be wealthy. Maybe I could do legal research or work in the courts or for a small law firm.
I’ve saved some money and my boyfriend has offered to help with my law school tuition (Pitt won’t pay for law school and besides, I’m going to quit work). I will have to incur some debt, but that doesn’t bother me. I have zero debt now.

rad lulz
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby rad lulz » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:02 am

Pitt won't do you any favors in NYC. It's a very regional school.

Also I don't know what kind of conception you have of the law, but it's basically pushing papers. Especially at small firms and the clerk.

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organnie
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby organnie » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:03 am

Wow...submitted my last msg to see all of these great replies! Thanks all!
I have been studying since December. Did all the Powerscore books. I know I won't do well in an lsat prep class. I know myself. I would gladly pay the money for one if I thought it would help. I have to study on my own terms at my own pace.
I may be underestimating how well I can do on the lsat. You've all inspired me to work harder on it. I'm studying in earnest. Preparing to do another practice test soon

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Nova
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby Nova » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:05 am

rad lulz wrote:
Nova wrote:Nice GPA. Scoring above the median on the LSAT should get you close to a full ride.

Pitt doesn't do those really.


Hmm. Youre right. I retract my previous statement. My bad for talking out of my ass, and not looking it up.

OP, look at these links to see what kind of scholarships are more likely for those schools.

http://pitt.lawschoolnumbers.com/applicants

http://duquesne.lawschoolnumbers.com/applicants

dixon02
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby dixon02 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:19 am

organnie wrote:Well, without getting into a therapy session, I’m a late bloomer. I’ve been an underachiever all of my life because of a crappy upbringing. I’m a bright person and know that if given the proper support growing up, I would have been a high achiever. I want to prove to myself that I can do well in law school and pass the bar.
I currently work at Pitt pushing papers around for 40 hours a week for low pay. I tolerate the low pay because I got free undergrad tuition for me and my 2 daughters. My boyfriend and I plan on moving to NYC in 5 years when his youngest graduates from high school. If I don’t do something, I’ll be pushing papers around for 40 hours a week there too. I thought that having a law degree would give me more options in NYC and hence a better quality of life. Look at it as a retirement plan if you will ;) I don’t need to be a big shot in the field and I don’t need to be wealthy. Maybe I could do legal research or work in the courts or for a small law firm.
I’ve saved some money and my boyfriend has offered to help with my law school tuition (Pitt won’t pay for law school and besides, I’m going to quit work). I will have to incur some debt, but that doesn’t bother me. I have zero debt now.


Not trying to crush any dreams here, but these just aren't great reasons and are mostly misinformed. Having a law degree from Pitt is not going to give you many options in NYC, and it won't give you a particularly high quality of life. It's FAR more likely to crush your retirement plan than to help it. Taking on $100k+ in debt at your age in order to maybe get a job that pays $50k a year is not the way to prepare for retirement. You'd be better off not taking on the debt and applying for jobs as a paralegal.

If you really insist on law school and want a job in NYC, you'd be better off waiting until you move to NYC and trying to get into Fordham/Cardozo/Brooklyn/St. John's. At least they're regional in the area where you want to work. As for the LSAT, keep plugging away. But if you're studying on your own and stuck in the low 150s, then you need to try something different.

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cinephile
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby cinephile » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:29 am

In all likelihood, you'd be pushing paper more than 40 hours a week for the same pay after law school. If this is just for your own personal fulfillment, not necessarily to practice, maybe you could go to Duquesne for free if you scored high enough on the LSAT? or part-time while working?

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organnie
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby organnie » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:10 pm

As much as I REALLY appreciate these comments, I am not deterred. Call it self-deception. I am a young, energetic, attractive and optimistic 51 year old already with some professional contacts through friends in NYC. I am disappointed that I won’t be considered an URM but that’s just another reason I have to work harder toward a higher lsat score.
I suspect I will only have to go about 25K-50K in debt to do this. Less if my boyfriend’s business continues to grow as it has been. If I only make 50K a year in NYC that would probably be okay. I only make 22K now. I have over 100K in my retirement accounts. Yes, maybe I’ll still be “pushing papers” but I gotta think it’ll provide me with more variety than my present clerical job.
I heard that Duquesne prepares you to practice regionally but that Pitt prepares you to practice in any state. The admissions director at Pitt said they place students all over the country. I guess if Duquesne gave me tons of money or a full scholarship, I’d consider it.
I have to go now, here, in PA. As it stands, I’ll be job hunting in NYC at 56 years of age. And who knows? Maybe the job market will be considerably better by then. I can work for 20 years or so. I’m not the type to retire in my 60s and veg on a beach every day.

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IAFG
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby IAFG » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:16 pm

What if I told you there is a 100% chance you would never work as an attorney in NY? Would that deter you? Why don't you just wait until you're in NY going to a regional NY school instead of a regional PA school? Sorry NYGrrrl but even 51 yr olds can miscalculate the lay of the land.

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BVest
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby BVest » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:21 pm

thread tl;dr -- but you're enough of a non-trad that you might consider including a diversity statement if you don't otherwise cover that topic in your PS.

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Nova
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby Nova » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:24 pm

organnie wrote:As much as I REALLY appreciate these comments, I am not deterred. Call it self-deception. I am a young, energetic, attractive and optimistic 51 year old already with some professional contacts through friends in NYC.


Plz Poast pics

The admissions director at Pitt said they place students all over the country.


Of course they did.

I have to go now, here, in PA. As it stands, I’ll be job hunting in NYC at 56 years of age. And who knows? Maybe the job market will be considerably better by then. I can work for 20 years or so. I’m not the type to retire in my 60s and veg on a beach every day


Good luck with everything. Although, you should probably just stay in PA.

PolySuyGuy
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby PolySuyGuy » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:26 pm

organnie wrote:Hi Folks,

First time posting here. I'm 51 years old and will be applying to Pitt's law school for the fall 2013. I'm taking the lsats for the first time in October. I'm not a great test taker...I get anxious. Also, I'm a slower reader than most. I took my first practice lsat a few weeks ago and scored a 142. I know I can improve this a bit. My guess is that I'll score in the high 140s or low 150s in October. My fear is that I won't be able to do much better than that.

I'll graduate in the spring of 2013 from Pitt with a bachelor's degree in religious studies. My GPA, currently, is 3.93.

I can't leave Pittsburgh so it has to be Duquesne or Pitt. Would MUCH rather go to Pitt because of its higher reputation and lower cost. Money's not a huge issue for me but the cheaper the better.

I know some will say "waste of time and money at your age" esp. because of the current job mkt. But, I have a lot of personal reasons for wanting to go and nothing can deter me.
Questions...

What are my chances of getting into Pitt if anyone cares to project?
Would I be considered an URM because of my age? I am female, caucasian.
Thanks all for any and all comments!!



Advice: Your GPA is phenomenal. Get some tutoring on the LSAT and find out not only how to read faster but how to do better. It can be done. You are trained to think one way and the LSAT wants you to think another.

I don't think you are old, if the current economic situation keeps up, you will be working until you are at least 80. Nearly 30 years in a career is still a long time.

Best of luck and congratulations on your high GPA and finishing college.

rad lulz
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby rad lulz » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:31 pm

Pitt is actually placing a decent amount of its grads into employment and underemployment. But I get it OP, you are a special snowflake.

ajaxconstructions
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby ajaxconstructions » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:33 pm

I have a feeling OP might face age discrimination in biglaw hiring. 51 is grandma age.

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JCFindley
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby JCFindley » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:16 pm

Somebody hand me my walker so I can push back all these naysayers.....

Thanks....

Now, you are not a URM but nontraditional students can have equally unpredictable luck with admissions committees. Is there anything in your background to make you really stand out? Heck, if you're a good writer you can spin raising two kids while working a mind numbing job and getting them through college while going to school yourself to sound like something Mother Theresa would be proud of..... (And it is in fact a BIG accomplishment.)

Lets talk about this LSAT thingy.... Look, you do NOT get that kind of GPA without 1. being intelligent and 2. having a darn good work ethic..... Those two things CAN get you a great LSAT score. If what you are doing now isn't working then change the routine and try something different but I would take Vegas odds that you can do a LOT better than you are practicing now....

There has been a lot of advice on here and some of it applies to you. I am certainly not going to try and talk you out of going but doing it with an eye on the final goal is a key. First, do what you have to do with that LSAT to get $$$ for school and avoid as much debt as possible. Boy friends are great and all but unless you have that legal marriage licence bridal in his mouth he can walk away and leave you high and dry. I would recommend planning on doing it on your own and anything he chips in, well that's frosting on the cake.

Going to Pitt with the plan to move to NYC.... hmmm, Pitt is in fact a regional school and you are going to have a hard time finding a job in NYC upon graduation. On the other hand, you will likely find a job in Pittsburgh so realistically you may need to plan on staying in Pitt until you know what you are doing.... Then you could try and find a job in NY or just hang your own shingle. OR, as suggested above perhaps look at some of the NYC area schools now. With your GPA a good LSAT will get you a full ride at a multitude of schools there. Either way you may be looking at a long distance relationship for a little while anyway....

Employers can't ask your age but they can get an idea from your resume..... NY Girl already has me reworking mine to shave off a few years and I am looking at good hair dyes. But then, I am not particularly interested in biglaw anyway so will see how much bias there is in the areas I am interested in.

There ARE in fact ways to make things happen just stay smart about it. Minimizing debt while maximizing job potential is the key IMO. I am also somewhat of an extreme nontraditional myself so have thought a lot of this through.

Feel free to PM me as well if you like.

JC

Edit: Link added; Check out this thread, http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=143047

jared6180
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Re: Very non-traditional student

Postby jared6180 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:28 pm

Could not agree more with the comments above suggesting you go to a NYC school. If you can't get into a Top 14 school, you absolutely need to go to a law school in the region you intend to practice. In NYC your region is basically NYC unless you ALREADY have some stellar connections you have failed to mention at this point.

Ageism is unfortunate, but it is real. As an older student myself I will tell you it is something that is in the back of my mind...and I am 32, not 51.

Whatever you do, don't think you are in the 1% that will be in the top of your class, and get a great job. That thinking will but you in another category of 1%ers, and then you will be living in a tent in Central Park, and leaving all manner of things behind in the park and wondering why nobody will hire you at 55 with a JD from Pitt. Then you will become bitter at the world, because you didn't listen to TLSers that really want you to logically defend your position instead of running off of pure emotion. Then you will buy a gun, and go into an office building and go off screaming "I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO TLS, flem, RAD LULZ, NOVA, AND OTHERS ALL TRIED TO HELP ME BUT I WOULDN'T LISTEN!" I think we all know how that story ends, and it's not cute. Listen to the people here, be a paralegal, get a 170+ on the LSAT, go to Fordham or maybe NYU, be a great attorney, but don't try to be in the 1%.




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