When people say extraordinary soft...

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collegebum1989
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When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby collegebum1989 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:03 pm

what are some examples? In all seriousness, what sort of soft (besides veteran, URM, etc) helps one over-perform their numbers (ex. below 25th percentile GPA/at median LSAT).

Are there examples of applicants on this forum who were admitted to a reach school that would have otherwise suggested an auto-deny based on their numbers?

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gaud
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby gaud » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:05 pm

Olympian

collegebum1989
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby collegebum1989 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:09 pm

i know the traditional examples (olympian, cancer survivor, etc).

I'm interested in what it is that makes a soft extraordinary...is it the difficulty associated with achieving that soft, or the fact that many people don't have it that distinguishes you from most other applicants

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rinkrat19
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:11 pm

Writing a best-seller
Olympian
Teenage self-made millionaire
Medal of Honor

Stuff that only a few people have done. Something that gets your name in Wikipedia, not just mentioned in the local paper.

collegebum1989
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby collegebum1989 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:25 pm

what about an international research fellowship that only 50 people get in your field nationally, and $45k research grant to conduct a pilot study in a developing nation to introduce a new technology for global health applications.

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JCFindley
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby JCFindley » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:33 pm

collegebum1989 wrote:what about an international research fellowship that only 50 people get in your field nationally, and $45k research grant to conduct a pilot study in a developing nation to introduce a new technology for global health applications.


How many people are in your field? How many people applied for the grant? Was it 50 out of 50 thousand or were there only 100 applications for the grant?

Not being snarky here but all that info would matter and you would probably have to explain why it makes you stand out.

In my case I got an award that 6 out of 100 thousand people received and it did make a difference. I was also military in a relatively unique career field.

It will come down to how you sell it.

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TTH
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby TTH » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:34 pm

collegebum1989 wrote:what about an international research fellowship that only 50 people get in your field nationally, and $45k research grant to conduct a pilot study in a developing nation to introduce a new technology for global health applications.


How Lawyers Think: If you're pulling all this research money, why are you becoming a lawyer?

A good way to define "extraordinary" would be two criteria: exclusivity and prestige. Is it something that's hard to do/get/important and can the law school brag about it on its website and alumni fundraising materials without having to explain it?

"This year, the TTH School of Law at TLS University is proud to count among the incoming class of 2016 a Rhodes Scholar and a Silver Star recipient."

collegebum1989
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:06 am

TTH wrote:
collegebum1989 wrote:what about an international research fellowship that only 50 people get in your field nationally, and $45k research grant to conduct a pilot study in a developing nation to introduce a new technology for global health applications.


How Lawyers Think: If you're pulling all this research money, why are you becoming a lawyer?

A good way to define "extraordinary" would be two criteria: exclusivity and prestige. Is it something that's hard to do/get/important and can the law school brag about it on its website and alumni fundraising materials without having to explain it?

"This year, the TTH School of Law at TLS University is proud to count among the incoming class of 2016 a Rhodes Scholar and a Silver Star recipient."


Yes, its definitely one of those types of fellowship programs like the Fulbright (actually organized and supported by the same umbrella organization, International Institute of Education). However, the program is not as well-known as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, etc. since its an STEM fellowship restricted to my field (biomedical engineering).

Not sure what the acceptance rate of the program was, so I'm not sure if I should report an estimate somehow. What's more interesting is the project that I will be doing: which is a pilot study of a portable HIV-monitoring device developed at a top-5 medical school. I'm introducing this system into my country of origin (developing nation) and performing work with HIV-infected patients. I'm also the first one in the fellowship program to travel to this particular country.

This is different from the Fulbright, since I had to arrange the research contacts, patient samples, and prepare all the research proposals and IRB documents necessary to make this project happen. So I'm not sure if I'm underselling this experience by just saying its a fellowship like other programs, which are like extended study-abroad or teaching programs.

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franklyscarlet
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby franklyscarlet » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:11 am

collegebum1989 wrote:
TTH wrote:
collegebum1989 wrote:what about an international research fellowship that only 50 people get in your field nationally, and $45k research grant to conduct a pilot study in a developing nation to introduce a new technology for global health applications.


How Lawyers Think: If you're pulling all this research money, why are you becoming a lawyer?

A good way to define "extraordinary" would be two criteria: exclusivity and prestige. Is it something that's hard to do/get/important and can the law school brag about it on its website and alumni fundraising materials without having to explain it?

"This year, the TTH School of Law at TLS University is proud to count among the incoming class of 2016 a Rhodes Scholar and a Silver Star recipient."


Yes, its definitely one of those types of fellowship programs like the Fulbright (actually organized and supported by the same umbrella organization, International Institute of Education). However, the program is not as well-known as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, etc. since its an STEM fellowship restricted to my field (biomedical engineering).

Not sure what the acceptance rate of the program was, so I'm not sure if I should report an estimate somehow. What's more interesting is the project that I will be doing: which is a pilot study of a portable HIV-monitoring device developed at a top-5 medical school. I'm introducing this system into my country of origin (developing nation) and performing work with HIV-infected patients. I'm also the first one in the fellowship program to travel to this particular country.

This is different from the Fulbright, since I had to arrange the research contacts, patient samples, and prepare all the research proposals and IRB documents necessary to make this project happen. So I'm not sure if I'm underselling this experience by just saying its a fellowship like other programs, which are like extended study-abroad or teaching programs.


wait... why are you going to law school?

collegebum1989
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:24 am

lol because I am ultimately interested in IP/patent work. This is a one-year project.

I applied for this program when I was still interested in pursuing a PhD, and decided research wasn't right for me (at least for the rest of my career) after submitting my application to this program. After getting it, I had a year gap between grad school and law school so I decided that this would be something awesome I could do for a year before law school as opposed to a BS 9-5 job as an engineer.

So now, its just another soft on my law school app, but I have no idea where it fits into the application.

BlueDiamond
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby BlueDiamond » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:38 am

I feel like the responses here have already answered your question. When you said what the soft was nobody on here had any reaction except for "what is that?" kind of responses. It has to be something that jumps off the page - a massive majority of admissions staff won't read something on your resume that they have never heard of an go look it up. Almost everyone applying has some sort of award/grant/scholarship/achievement that goes on their resume. It basically goes to exclusivity and prestige as someone else has said - if it is a well-known award/grant it will get recognized. As someone else said, a good test is to look at law school websites that say "we have 7 fulbrights, a rhodes, etc."

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TTH
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby TTH » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:42 am

collegebum1989 wrote:
So now, its just another soft on my law school app, but I have no idea where it fits into the application.


Here's where it fits.

If you have say . . . a 3.5/172 and this fellowship, you're a less competitive applicant than someone with a 3.5/174 who can proudly claim he was Vice President and Social Chair of his fraternity.

Sorry.

collegebum1989
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:57 am

Glad to know that a Fulbright-er who teaches English to kids will get a higher bump than an engineer validating technology in a resource-limited setting...no offense, but one is obviously harder than the other.

We get shafted in every aspect of the law school application process lol.

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TTH
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby TTH » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:10 am

If it helps, T14 AdComms don't go nuts over Fulbrights either. Beyond Rhodes/Marshall/Truman, there's not a ton of this stuff that's that preftigious.

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TheThriller
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby TheThriller » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:21 am

its a numbers game, softs only matter when candidates offer the same benefit median wise to schools.

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Yukos
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby Yukos » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:26 am

collegebum1989 wrote:Glad to know that a Fulbright-er who teaches English to kids will get a higher bump than an engineer validating technology in a resource-limited setting...no offense, but one is obviously harder than the other.

We get shafted in every aspect of the law school application process lol.


lol sorry no one cares about this thing we've never heard of.

Should've just asked "would adcomms care about X" instead of hiding your question in "what's a great soft" and then getting pissed that no one's impressed by you.

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:36 am

Yukos wrote:
collegebum1989 wrote:Glad to know that a Fulbright-er who teaches English to kids will get a higher bump than an engineer validating technology in a resource-limited setting...no offense, but one is obviously harder than the other.

We get shafted in every aspect of the law school application process lol.


lol sorry no one cares about this thing we've never heard of.

Should've just asked "would adcomms care about X" instead of hiding your question in "what's a great soft" and then getting pissed that no one's impressed by you.


Well I'm impressed.......... but no it won't really help you much.

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PDaddy
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby PDaddy » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:17 am

rinkrat19 wrote:Writing a best-seller
Olympian
Teenage self-made millionaire
Medal of Honor

Stuff that only a few people have done. Something that gets your name in Wikipedia, not just mentioned in the local paper.


I don't know about the local paper thing - especially if your "local paper" is the NYT, the Washington Post, the LAT, or the Chicago Sun - but I agree with the rest.

You could be an Olympian, an amputee awarded with a Purple Heart or Congressional Medal of Freedom, or just a kid who started ice-cream business at age 12 and sold it for millions of dollars at age 21...it goes on and on...

There's no list; it's the kind of thing you just know when you see it. In fact, EVERYONE knows it when they see it. It can be just about any accomplishment that an average person could not do...something that belies his/her age, experience or physical capabilities, or is extraordinary for having been conceivably born with "normal" capabilities (Olympic athletes fall into the latter category). It could also just be an act that shows extraordinary commitment for someone's socioeconomic background, etc.

For example, economically disadvantaged students who put in years of public service (I'm talking up to a decade of service from the time they are 10-11) have every excuse to focus entirely on themselves in college. When they not only continue their service but excel academically (and in other ways on top of that), it's extraordinary.

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manofjustice
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby manofjustice » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:25 am

gaud wrote:Olympian


TIC.

OP it's all about numbers unless the school is Northwestern and has specifically banked on WE winning the day for its OCI...or is Harvard and can at least weed out the obvious aspies in a phone interview. Those would be the only two schools for which softs really matter.

...unless of course you are talking about "two candidates of equal merit, whom do you choose." Well it's based on your personal statement. (If your softs make for a better personal statement, then to this limited extent, they partially matter.)

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Yukos
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby Yukos » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:33 am

manofjustice wrote:
gaud wrote:Olympian


TIC.

OP it's all about numbers unless the school is Northwestern and has specifically banked on WE winning the day for its OCI...or is Harvard and can at least weed out the obvious aspies in a phone interview. Yale, Stanford or Berkeley. Those would be the only two three schools for which softs really matter.

...unless of course you are talking about "two candidates of equal merit, whom do you choose." Well it's based on your personal statement. (If your softs make for a better personal statement, then to this limited extent, they partially matter.)

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cahwc12
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby cahwc12 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:27 am

There was a case I saw a few years ago of an AA female who got into a few of HYS with pretty decent URM numbers and wrote her PS about being raised as a sex slave in africa. If that sounds like you it'll probably be a good boost.

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sunynp
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby sunynp » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:39 am

So it isn't an extraordinary soft but it still has value for your application.Write a PS about it or at least mention it. Make sure you explain it somewhere. And it will help you a great deal when it comes to getting a job, which is the point of going to law school.

At the same time, don't hate on people who win Fulbright scholarships or do Teach for America. Those are accomplishments too. They may be just as smart as you are or even better than you at taking law school exams. Just focus on the reality of the process.

Everyone thinks that what they did was amazing and challenging.

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dingbat
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby dingbat » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:07 am

TheThriller wrote:its a numbers game, softs only matter when candidates offer the same benefit median wise to schools.

Spoken like someone who thinks a soft is being president of your frat.

For most people, it's a numbers game, with softs only serving as tie-breakers. But that's because most people don't have the kind of softs that are unusual. As has already been said here, Fullbright/Rhodes is one (although, typically these come with an excellent GPA and will more often than not produce a high LSAT), Olympian is another, as is starting your own company and selling it for millions. Congressional medal of honor is another.

The list goes on, but as you can see, it's a very small pool of people who even have these softs, even less who then apply to law school. Basically, if it's something everyone has heard of and everyone knows it's very rare and incredibly difficult to accomplish, then it'll probably be a good soft.

If it's something no one ever heard of, maybe you can mention it in a PS and maybe the adcoms will go through the effort of looking it up and maybe they'll consider it something special. That's a lot of maybes.

$$$$$$
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby $$$$$$ » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:11 am

Who cares what law school adcoms think of your fellowship, it sounds like one that IP employers would be crazy impressed with. If you get into a T-14 there is probably a 99.99% chance you get biglaw IP with that fellowship. To be honest, the reason Rhode Scholars get into top schools is because getting into Harvard is easy compared to getting a Rhodes Scholar, you need the grades, the ambition, everything...getting a 170 on the LSAT isn't that hard if you can grab a Rhodes Scholar. Just crush the LSAT, go to a T14 and be IP secure.

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JCFindley
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Re: When people say extraordinary soft...

Postby JCFindley » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:33 am

dingbat wrote:
TheThriller wrote:its a numbers game, softs only matter when candidates offer the same benefit median wise to schools.

Spoken like someone who thinks a soft is being president of your frat.

For most people, it's a numbers game, with softs only serving as tie-breakers. But that's because most people don't have the kind of softs that are unusual. As has already been said here, Fullbright/Rhodes is one (although, typically these come with an excellent GPA and will more often than not produce a high LSAT), Olympian is another, as is starting your own company and selling it for millions. Congressional medal of honor is another.

The list goes on, but as you can see, it's a very small pool of people who even have these softs, even less who then apply to law school. Basically, if it's something everyone has heard of and everyone knows it's very rare and incredibly difficult to accomplish, then it'll probably be a good soft.

If it's something no one ever heard of, maybe you can mention it in a PS and maybe the adcoms will go through the effort of looking it up and maybe they'll consider it something special. That's a lot of maybes.


Yupp....




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