Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
79radiohead
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:15 pm

Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby 79radiohead » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:27 pm

The law school admission process has me in knots. I currently attend Penn State and have a 3.84 GPA. My major is Law and Society. My undergrad career has spanned over 10 years due to a pregnancy and an abusive relationship. I am starting my senior year in the fall. My current LSAC GPA is a disgusting 2.59. The main reason for this is that I attended a school that was not regionally accredited although they lied and said it was. It was too late for me to drop the classes so I have quite a few F's that dragged my cumulative GPA down. I have also attended 4 different undergrad institutions (including the crap one). I had to retake all of those courses so I basically wasted a year. I have always wanted to attend law school but just got real serious in the past year where I figured out all this info about my GPA. I am taking the LSAT in October and have scored around 155-160 on practice tests. I am planning on studying my butt off until then.

I am Puerto Rican and I have also worked full time during all of the years that I was going to school. Will this count as work experience?? I am 33 years old. I had all the starry eyed plans of attending a T10 but not it seems that that wont happen due to the bad GPA situation. So if I am able to pull say a 160 on the LSAT, how much will my URM status help me? I don't want to waste time on applying for schools I have no chance getting into, but I do not want to go to a Tier 3 or 4 as well. I hate depending on URM because I hate the concept, however I don't feel my LSAC GPA is indicative of my capability. I do have a significant upward trend in GPA though, so I hope that helps. Any advice on what I should do or where to apply? Be nice please :wink:

79radiohead
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:15 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby 79radiohead » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:42 pm

Also, does the different schools for undergrad hurt me??

xcedrin2000
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:04 am

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby xcedrin2000 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:51 pm

The LSAC GPA is what really matters when it comes to GPA. The number of institutions or rank of institution doesn't factor much into the admissions process although some schools have a question that asks about gaps in education. This can easily be explained in an addendum and might actually help with your PS. Definitely highlight the upward trend in grades with an addendum on your app and also I would recommend early decision to all that you would really like to attend. If you were to score in the 160's on the LSAT, pull your GPA as high as possible, and write a good PS and addendums you might have a shot at some schools in the T20. URM cycles are hard to call ( I know this personally), so cast a wide net and go for it!
Last edited by xcedrin2000 on Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

2012JayDee
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 10:49 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby 2012JayDee » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:12 pm

GPA really does matter and sometimes it doesn't matter as much how you get it as long as you've got it.
Do you have the option of staying in UG another year? If you could get another semester then could you could raise you LSAC GPA to a 3.0 or better. A sub 3.0 GPA is going to hurt you. Granted, you've probably got extenuating circumstances that completely justify it, but your apps are going to get tossed just on low GPA alone--unless you can get mid 160's or better. If you're applying with say, 2.9/165 you've got a shot at a lot of schools. but a 2.5/160 is going to really limit you.
If staying in UG a bit longer to try and boost your LSAC GPA isn't an option then the best thing you can do is work on the LSAT. You really need mid-160's to get some acceptances at any school worth attending.
You also need to work on your personal statements and addendums. People with a lot in their backgrounds tend to come off as whiney and making excuses. Don't waste time making excuses. Make your PS show off your strengths and show that despite everything you managed to persevere. Have someone look at your statement and PROOFREAD PROOFREAD PROOFREAD!!!! There can't be a single error in your statement or your apps. It has to be a flawless bit of writing. A strong PS, a few addendums to explain all the undergrads and gaps in education, and a strong LSAT and you could be looking at some good acceptances and scholarships for T20's.

Also, I don't know what region of the country you live in and whether you plan to stay in that area but don't discount lower ranked regional schools. If you live and plan to work in an area that has a solid state school or regional law school with a good reputation don't discount that just in favor of a school in the T14. You may have strong chances at a regional school to get money and your job opportunities could be much higher in certain markets.

79radiohead
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:15 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby 79radiohead » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:23 pm

Well, I still have my senior year to help my GPA. But if I am applying to enter in Fall 2013, wont they just see my current GPA on my apps? Considering my age, I am trying to avoid putting law school off for a whole other year.

2012JayDee
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 10:49 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby 2012JayDee » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:31 pm

Not sure what you mean by current GPA. You will normally have to put your GPA on your application and this should be your cumulative GPA. And then your LSAC report will generate a GPA that will be sent to the schools based on your transcripts. Often the two GPAs don't match because of the way schools calculate grades like "W" or "WF" or P/F, but there's also a lot of variances based on the classes you took that led to your degree.
If you have another year of school and your current cumulative GPA is a 2.59 then you still have one more year to get your cumulative GPA up by having 2 more semesters of a really high GPA. You could potentially raise your cumulative GPA by .5 or .6 points and get it over the 3.0 mark. When you apply the final GPA is the one they will see. If you apply when your GPA is a 2.59 then you will have to apply with that GPA but you can always update it--problem is you don't want to get your application in the reject pile because you applied with a lower GPA than you graduated with. The good thing is that you still have time to repair your GPA. Generally by the time people want to improve their GPA they can't because it's too late, but as long as you can, you should try to improve you GPA. Getting A's in undergrad is a lot more certain than scoring a certain way on the LSAT.

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4166
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby Clearly » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:27 am

Work on your LSAT skills. Nothing about your story suggests 160 is where you should give up.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby Nova » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:40 am

79radiohead wrote:
1. I am Puerto Rican and I have also worked full time during all of the years that I was going to school. Will this count as work experience??

2. I am 33 years old. I had all the starry eyed plans of attending a T10 but not it seems that that wont happen due to the bad GPA situation. So if I am able to pull say a 160 on the LSAT, how much will my URM status help me?

3. I don't want to waste time on applying for schools I have no chance getting into, but I do not want to go to a Tier 3 or 4 as well. I hate depending on URM because I hate the concept, however I don't feel my LSAC GPA is indicative of my capability. I do have a significant upward trend in GPA though, so I hope that helps. Any advice on what I should do or where to apply?

4. Be nice please :wink:


1. Yes that counts.

2. URM will give you a bump, but because of your LGPA, dont count on getting into any school where you do not hit the LSAT median. A 160 would likely get you into several T2, and give you a shot at lower T1s. I really want to stress the importance of hitting the LSAT median at whatever school, because that gives the adcomms two very good reasons to admit you. A URM who sures up their LSAT median will definitely get a close look.

3. DO NOT depend on URM status. Your LSAT score is much more important than your URM status. Numerically speaking (And trust me, admissions is mostly about numbers), the trend will not help much. You will still have one of the lowest LGPA at any T100 school. Psychologically speaking, a strong upward trend will dispel some doubt about whether or not you are capable of being successful in LS in the adcomm's minds. My advice is to go to the LSAT prep forum and read the sticky about how to score 160+ on the LSAT. I can not advise you about what schools you should be considering, because that is largely determined on your LSAT score and geographic preference. Where are you from, and what part of the country would you like to practice?

4. ;)

79radiohead wrote:Also, does the different schools for undergrad hurt me??


No
Last edited by Nova on Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:42 am

Clearlynotstefan wrote:Work on your LSAT skills. Nothing about your story suggests 160 is where you should give up.

1) This.

2) PM'd you details, but short version is, don't give up.

clwilson6
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:31 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby clwilson6 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Much of what has been posted prior to this is correct but, as someone who was in a similar situation, there are so many other factors that play into law school admissions that aren't about the numbers. Your prior work experience, volunteer service and life experiences add value to your application that cannot be underestimated. If I understand your situation correctly, here it what I suggest:

1) Make sure you either want to practice law to begin with or just get a law degree to shore up a career goal that you're interested in pursuing. Being an attorney isn't always (or in most cases) the high paying gravy train to wealth that everyone seems to think it is.

2) Work very hard in your remaining undergrad education to improve your GPA. Even if your GPA isn't at the schools median, an upward trend can really help and speaks volumes about your ability to overcome adversity and be successful.

3) Work very hard on getting the best LSAT score you possibly can. Retake if you do not get the score that you want or need and feel that you can do much better. Nothing worse than retaking and getting a lower score than you previously did.

4) Research schools that you're interested in and try to get a sense of what their looking for outside of the posted median GPA/LSAT combo. Some schools are more interested in diversity than others. Some schools really like people with work experience, while other schools really like individuals who want to work in certain specific areas of law that they specialize in.

5) You have to have a very persuasive PS. The meat and potatoes of your app will be your GPA/LSAT but don't discount the flavor and desirability of a good PS and addendum. Think of your addendum statements as the additional sides and your PS as dessert. You can go without these items but if you do you'll feel as if you didn't get a full meal. Make sure you serve up a five star, four course meal. If the main course doesn't satisfy, there's always dessert.

Regardless of whatever GPA/LSAT you have, don't let the posted medians prevent you from applying to whatever school you want to attend. I used law school predictor to give me an idea of what schools I had a chance at attending. Needless to say, many of the schools it said that I would have no chance at I got accepted to and some of the schools that it said I would get accepted to, I was waitlisted or rejected.

6) Get as many app waivers as possible and cast a very wide net in your application pool. Don't be afraid to apply to all of the T14 schools if you can afford it but don't forget to apply to statistically safe schools also.

In the end, no one can predict how your cycle will go. URM's have the most outrageous cycles and you'll always hear about those outliers that shock and amaze. I've heard of URM's with a GPA of 3.00 and LSAT of 155 making it into Columbia. However, you should always keep your feet on the ground and your head out of the clouds. Don't expect that this will be you just because your a URM. You have to leverage your best qualities and display them for the admissions boards to review.

79radiohead
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:15 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby 79radiohead » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:33 pm

2012JayDee wrote:Not sure what you mean by current GPA. You will normally have to put your GPA on your application and this should be your cumulative GPA. And then your LSAC report will generate a GPA that will be sent to the schools based on your transcripts. Often the two GPAs don't match because of the way schools calculate grades like "W" or "WF" or P/F, but there's also a lot of variances based on the classes you took that led to your degree.
If you have another year of school and your current cumulative GPA is a 2.59 then you still have one more year to get your cumulative GPA up by having 2 more semesters of a really high GPA. You could potentially raise your cumulative GPA by .5 or .6 points and get it over the 3.0 mark. When you apply the final GPA is the one they will see. If you apply when your GPA is a 2.59 then you will have to apply with that GPA but you can always update it--problem is you don't want to get your application in the reject pile because you applied with a lower GPA than you graduated with. The good thing is that you still have time to repair your GPA. Generally by the time people want to improve their GPA they can't because it's too late, but as long as you can, you should try to improve you GPA. Getting A's in undergrad is a lot more certain than scoring a certain way on the LSAT.


What I meant by my current GPA is that it is a 2.59 on my Acad. Summary Report based on all of my grades through Spring 2012. I am starting my senior year in the fall. So when I apply in the next few months, they will not be able to see my senior grades because I haven't completed the classes yet. So I am not sure if I should apply now and hope for the best (that they dont trash my app bc of low GPA) or if I should wait until next cycle once all of Senior grades are in. I just don't know if it is worth waiting a whole cycle not knowing how much higher I can get my GPA. I am old enough already, lol.

79radiohead
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:15 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby 79radiohead » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:39 pm

clwilson6 wrote:Much of what has been posted prior to this is correct but, as someone who was in a similar situation, there are so many other factors that play into law school admissions that aren't about the numbers. Your prior work experience, volunteer service and life experiences add value to your application that cannot be underestimated. If I understand your situation correctly, here it what I suggest:

1) Make sure you either want to practice law to begin with or just get a law degree to shore up a career goal that you're interested in pursuing. Being an attorney isn't always (or in most cases) the high paying gravy train to wealth that everyone seems to think it is.

2) Work very hard in your remaining undergrad education to improve your GPA. Even if your GPA isn't at the schools median, an upward trend can really help and speaks volumes about your ability to overcome adversity and be successful.

3) Work very hard on getting the best LSAT score you possibly can. Retake if you do not get the score that you want or need and feel that you can do much better. Nothing worse than retaking and getting a lower score than you previously did.

4) Research schools that you're interested in and try to get a sense of what their looking for outside of the posted median GPA/LSAT combo. Some schools are more interested in diversity than others. Some schools really like people with work experience, while other schools really like individuals who want to work in certain specific areas of law that they specialize in.

5) You have to have a very persuasive PS. The meat and potatoes of your app will be your GPA/LSAT but don't discount the flavor and desirability of a good PS and addendum. Think of your addendum statements as the additional sides and your PS as dessert. You can go without these items but if you do you'll feel as if you didn't get a full meal. Make sure you serve up a five star, four course meal. If the main course doesn't satisfy, there's always dessert.

Regardless of whatever GPA/LSAT you have, don't let the posted medians prevent you from applying to whatever school you want to attend. I used law school predictor to give me an idea of what schools I had a chance at attending. Needless to say, many of the schools it said that I would have no chance at I got accepted to and some of the schools that it said I would get accepted to, I was waitlisted or rejected.

6) Get as many app waivers as possible and cast a very wide net in your application pool. Don't be afraid to apply to all of the T14 schools if you can afford it but don't forget to apply to statistically safe schools also.

In the end, no one can predict how your cycle will go. URM's have the most outrageous cycles and you'll always hear about those outliers that shock and amaze. I've heard of URM's with a GPA of 3.00 and LSAT of 155 making it into Columbia. However, you should always keep your feet on the ground and your head out of the clouds. Don't expect that this will be you just because your a URM. You have to leverage your best qualities and display them for the admissions boards to review.


I am sure I want a law career. That hasn't waivered for me in the past 15 years and the more exposure I get to law related classes and law in the real world, the more I like it. While the income would be nice, that really isn't my main focus. I just want to start my career. I have wasted too many years on nonsense, and I am very focused at this point. That law school predictor is horrible on the nerves, lol. With regard to waivers - do I just call the school and ask? I did inquire about some info from Penn State and Regent (although this is not in my top choices) and they both sent me emails saying that when I apply that my fee will be waived.

I am also not quite sure how to go about my PS. I do have many obstacles that I have overcome, but I do not want to harp on them way too much and come acrossy whiny, pompous or arrogant. I just recently got that Ivey Guide which has some pretty cool pointers, but almost gave me too many ideas.

clwilson6
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:31 pm

Re: Non-Traditional, WE , Low GPA URM - Chances of admission??

Postby clwilson6 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:39 pm

In response to your question RadioHead about calling the schools about waivers, you can do that but most likely many of the admissions boards are pretty busy going through applications to really give you an answer right off the bat. I'd e-mail the Dean of Admissions requesting a waiver and explain to them why you would be interested in attending their school, your financial situation and why you would need a waiver and why you would be a good fit for their school. Give it about a week to settle in and then give them a call if you hadn't heard anything back. Some schools may want to look through their applications before deciding on handing out waivers to see what kind of diversity they have in order to get an idea of what they need to fill out their classes. Additionally, some of my waivers just showed up on LSAC without even receiving a response from the school so you might want to check that pretty consistently.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], TakeItToTrial, Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests