Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

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rgsm1987
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Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby rgsm1987 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:05 pm

I know this thread has been done to death, but I'd really love some advice on a few specific components of my application, and what a good overall strategy would be. Here's an overview of my stats:

GPA: Somewhere in the 2.9 range from a top LAC (Amherst/Williams/Swat). A lot of A's, a few C's, a couple of F's. No upward trend except the last semester (4.0), no real excuse. Will submit an addendum.
LSAT: Just got my score back, 173. Had a cancelled score and an absent from December and February. I'm concerned that this along with my grades makes me look flaky, which I sort of am but was hoping to hide slightly better.
WE/extras: 2.5 years of strong work experience doing research at Stanford, including a few publications. Solid extracurricular volunteer work I've been doing since high school.
Recommendations/essays: Will be good.


1) Should I retake the LSAT? I wouldn't normally even consider it, but (a) I have a really crappy GPA; (b) had 5 min left before I had even started reading the final RC passage (which has never happened before) and got 4 wrong in the section; (3) I've been testing higher (last 5 PT's all 176+).

2) Should I add an addendum about the cancelled/absent scores? Or would two excuse making addendums just draw attention to the "flaky" concern?

3) Is it worth applying early somewhere? If so, where? I understand that it's not especially realistic, but I'm under a lot of a pressure to go to a T-20 School and, honestly, am not entirely convinced that law school would be worth the financial investment to me if I can't.

Thank you!!

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MrSparkle
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby MrSparkle » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:27 pm

T14 prospects according to TLS wisdom for splitters is Northwestern and maybe UVA, though your GPA might be too low. I wouldn't risk doing worse on the LSAT or only marginally better. Real LSAT scores have a habit of being 5 points lower than personal practice anyway. I wouldn't write an LSAT addendum, a high score speaks for itself. Better than having two other scores for them to think about.

If you work hard on Northwestern (and do the "optional" interview on campus perhaps, instead of via local alumni), your work experience and LSAT should make up for your GPA. Write those "Why X" essays if they offer it, or write it anyway and attach it as an addendum if they don't.

Apply early on all your apps. As in, within the first week of whenever they start accepting apps (Sept 1 or Oct 1 depending on school). Admittance is on a rolling basis, so being early will help you.

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Verity
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby Verity » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:34 pm

Don't retake. That LSAT is good enough for any school that would admit you with a 2.9 GPA.

Northwestern FTW. UVA is a longer shot, but it's possible.

I would just blanket the T20 outside HYSCCN (which won't happen), and see what sticks.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby Tom Joad » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:34 pm

Congrats on the lsat score.

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nygrrrl
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby nygrrrl » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:50 am

NU. EARLY (like, seriously, as soon as they are taking apps, get yours in.)
UVA ED.
That was the prevailing wisdom 2 years ago, when I was applying - maybe people from this past cycle will have better advice?
Also, congrats on the great LSAT!

rgsm1987
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby rgsm1987 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:10 pm

Thanks for the great advice, this is really helpful! A quick follow up question, why is it advantageous to get my app in as early as possible if I'm not applying to the school ED? So, more concretely, NW starts accepting applications on September 1st. Why does it help my chances to apply then rather than early-mid October?

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:15 pm

You'll get UVA ED as long as you convince them you're not SPS. You'll prob get NU but they won't give you any $$...so you're best bet is to just ED UVA in September

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splitbrain
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby splitbrain » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:06 pm

Blanket apps, ride the waitlists, and negotiate = profit. GPA floors are not what they used to be at the moment. Don't ED UVA.

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Chucky21
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby Chucky21 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:18 am

flem wrote:You're likely a lock at UVA if you ED, crapshoot otherwise. Probably in @ Northwestern. Apply to G'Town, Cornell and maybe Michigan, someone will bite.

Don't retake, once you're hit 172+ there's not a big difference for splitters, you're not getting scholarship money anywhere.


Northwester and UVA tend to be splitter friendly. I do not think Cornell or Michigan will bite. They seem to value a good GPA and a more 'well rounded' applicant. Even though that LSAT score is awesome, I do not think it will make up for that GPA at these schools.

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MrSparkle
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby MrSparkle » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:35 am

rgsm1987 wrote:Thanks for the great advice, this is really helpful! A quick follow up question, why is it advantageous to get my app in as early as possible if I'm not applying to the school ED? So, more concretely, NW starts accepting applications on September 1st. Why does it help my chances to apply then rather than early-mid October?


As I said, rolling admissions...that means they offer spots to people as they receive apps. Difference is, late in the cycle, when they have 5 spots left, they don't give them to the also-rans, they'll give them to awesome late-comers or the good candidates they waitlisted.

bp shinners
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:08 pm

rgsm1987 wrote:no real excuse. Will submit an addendum.


What's that addendum going to say? If you have no real excuse, don't write an addendum - that will make you look worse than just standing on that GPA.

My recommendation isn't to not write an addendum, by the way; instead, it's to come up with something to say for at least the Fs.

rgsm1987
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby rgsm1987 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:30 pm

bp shinners wrote:
rgsm1987 wrote:no real excuse. Will submit an addendum.


What's that addendum going to say? If you have no real excuse, don't write an addendum - that will make you look worse than just standing on that GPA.

My recommendation isn't to not write an addendum, by the way; instead, it's to come up with something to say for at least the Fs.



At the risk of getting too personal-- but this is an anonymous online forum, so what the hell-- for the first three years of college I had serious academic difficulties. I wasn't able to turn in a single paper on time, and not for lack of trying. It's hard to explain, but I felt like I had a monkey mind that just wouldn't and couldn't follow a linear writing process. After two weeks of work, I'd end up with 90 pages of notes for a ten page paper and half a page of actual writing. So my grades fluctuated wildly (mostly As and Cs or Ds, virtually no Bs), depending on who would accept a paper two weeks late and who would automatically fail it. The summer going into my senior year, three years and 2 Fs too late, I went to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with anxiety disorder and ADHD. I was, and still am to a certain extent, an ADHD skeptic, but there is no denying that the treatment I started on has improved my life in immeasurable ways, and probably kept me from failing out of school. My final semester, I had a 4.0, no late papers, and was finally enjoying my work rather than breaking out into hives over it.

That said, I am not planning to write about any of that in my addendum for a number of reasons: (1) it's nowhere near the severity of circumstances many people who write addendums have surrounding poor college grades; (2) not being able to meet deadlines, even in the past = huge red flag to adcoms; and (3) mental health treatment (esp ADHD) is always controversial, and a certain part of me feels like I should have just "done better" by myself.

I thought I should at least acknowledge my low GPA in an addendum, though, so the adcom doesn't think I find a 2.9 GPA acceptable. I was planning to submit something short, to the effect of "I was immature, but hopefully my LSAT, work experience, and recommendations demonstrate the level of performance I'm capable of and expect of myself now." Bad idea?

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MrSparkle
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby MrSparkle » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:35 am

If you had an undiagnosed condition, I don't think that adcomms will just think that's an excuse you're making up. "Immature" is what most people with no excuse write...I think you have a valid reason, I'd consider still writing it. And if you're still not sure, call up admissions of law schools you're not planning to applying to, and ask them what they think of your reason.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:10 pm

The "Fs" need to be explained. Your explanation above is sufficient since you sought treatment, received a diagnosis & a successful treatment plan.

bp shinners
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby bp shinners » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:19 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The "Fs" need to be explained. Your explanation above is sufficient since you sought treatment, received a diagnosis & a successful treatment plan.


Exactly. The important part to highlight is the SUCCESSFUL treatment plan - you have proof (that 4.0 semester) that your medication is doing it's job. It has all the hallmarks of a successful GPA addendum - an explainable problem that doesn't reflect poorly on you and a reason to think it won't affect you in law school.

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catholicgirl
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Re: Please help! -- Splitter w/ F's (2.9 GPA, 173 LSAT)

Postby catholicgirl » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:38 pm

bp shinners wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:The "Fs" need to be explained. Your explanation above is sufficient since you sought treatment, received a diagnosis & a successful treatment plan.


Exactly. The important part to highlight is the SUCCESSFUL treatment plan - you have proof (that 4.0 semester) that your medication is doing it's job. It has all the hallmarks of a successful GPA addendum - an explainable problem that doesn't reflect poorly on you and a reason to think it won't affect you in law school.


Frame it like this poster said.




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