Advice: Deferring Admission

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presidents42
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:59 pm

Advice: Deferring Admission

Postby presidents42 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:20 pm

Hi everyone,

I was recently accepted as a 2013 Teach for America corps member. I want to do PI law ultimately, and applied to TFA thinking I likely did not have a chance for admission. I was pleasantly surprised. I genuinely believe in what TFA stands for, want to give teaching and my students my all, and while I am not 100% sure I will want to leave after my two year teaching commitment has ended, law school is something I see at some point in my future. I have not considered teaching as a permanent career before, and at this time I hope that my TFA experiences will allow me to have more experience and more focus in PI law. I was accepted by several schools this cycle, including Case Western, one of my top choices, with a scholarship of 35K the first year with 30 for my 2 and 3Ls. This would bring the total tuition to about 39k for all three years, which I can handle. I really want to do TFA, but I am afraid that if the market improves and applications rise after I am finished with my TFA experience the scholarship will no longer be available. Without generous financial aid law school is out of the picture for me. I have the GPA and SOFs for almost any school right now (3.93 and multiple leadership roles, internships, community service etc.), but I could also stand to improve my LSAT substantially. (Low 160s, could probably improve it with serious studying) Most people say DO NOT DO NOT go to law school unless you are 110% sure you want to go. I know I am not hugely enthusiastic about it at this time given the bleak employment prospects and debt, but some day I hope to have a legal career, and I am confident in that. In my shoes, what would you do?

Try to negotiate with the school?
Do TFA and hope I end up with better offers in a few years even if the application numbers pick up again?
Take the scholarship knowing it likely won't be there?

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Advice: Deferring Admission

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:30 pm

Forget deferring -- withdraw. Do not attend Case now or ever. You have a stellar GPA. If you're going to attend law school, you need to dedicate yourself to studying for the LSAT and retaking, whether now or after TFA. Don't waste that beautiful GPA on that dump of a law school.

If you ultimately attend a non-T14, it should be with a full-tuition/no-stips scholarship. Really, though, you should retake for a 173+ and either attend YHS or a T14 for free.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Advice: Deferring Admission

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:32 pm

You should do what you are most passionate about regardless of future considerations and calculus. For example, if you REALLY want to do TFA do it, just assume you will likely lose the $$$. I always try to make decisions looking at the "worst case scenario"

All of this said, TFA is one of those things that schools are most lenient about re: deferrals.

One more thing to keep in mind in negotiating -- your scholarship today won;t be worth quite the same 3 years from now due to the rising tuition -- so perhaps the school will go for it!

presidents42
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:59 pm

Re: Advice: Deferring Admission

Postby presidents42 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:54 pm

Thank you both for your replies. Biglaw is not a concern, but I hear PI jobs are increasingly competitive. At this point I am trying to go to the school that is most financially attainable without going below the second tier. Case's location and international human rights program are of interest, and I am honestly not sure if I'd be able to break 170. I would only defer if my scholarship would still be there, which is looking like a long shot anyways. Is it acceptable to ask a school to hold it in order for you to defer?

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Advice: Deferring Admission

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:11 pm

presidents42 wrote:Thank you both for your replies. Biglaw is not a concern, but I hear PI jobs are increasingly competitive. At this point I am trying to go to the school that is most financially attainable without going below the second tier. Case's location and international human rights program are of interest, and I am honestly not sure if I'd be able to break 170. I would only defer if my scholarship would still be there, which is looking like a long shot anyways. Is it acceptable to ask a school to hold it in order for you to defer?


First off, specialty programs mean nothing in law school. Case's international human rights program is just advertising garbage. Not one person graduating from Case will work in that field (unless they have unbelievably incredible preexisting ties to it and some really powerful connections). Almost every person who gets a job in international human rights comes from YHS, and even then the jobs are nearly impossible to get. Every school worth attending will classes on the subject and possibly even IHR clinics. Schools know that applicants are crazy for "international law" and "international human rights," so even though virtually no one ends up working in those fields, schools respond to the demand with relevant courses and programs.

As for the LSAT, how hard did you study for your low 160s? With that GPA and the current volume of applicants, even a 168 would put you in good shape for NYU on down.

presidents42
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:59 pm

Re: Advice: Deferring Admission

Postby presidents42 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:14 pm

I studied with generic books at the end of the summer for about a month, maybe 5-7 hours a week max. I was working full time, and when I got back to school I had to start working on my graduation thesis, had some unexpected things happen and wasn't able to give it the time I really should have. During fall semester I studied probably 2-4 hours a week. My main issue is reading comp. (Looking at 10-12 missed questions on average...) I'm not going to lie and say I didn't try at all, but surely I could have studied smarter and for a longer amount of time. I really need to target RC.

As far as connections, I have two family members in government agencies with "international law" jobs, but I do not want to rely on nepotism.

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Dr. Dre
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Re: Advice: Deferring Admission

Postby Dr. Dre » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:18 pm

why waste your time in things that don't matter

retake

mtmc
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Re: Advice: Deferring Admission

Postby mtmc » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:18 am

As a current 2011 corps member, thought I'd share a little of my own experience. I would highly recommend that you spend the time to retake the LSAT during your two years as a corps member. While teaching can be strenuous, there is definitely time in there to study if you make it happen.

While TFA may help you if you are a borderline candidate, you definitely do need the numbers first. With that said, I am a relatively borderline candidate that retook the LSAT (3.83/167) and have been accepted at numerous T-14 schools with a strange amount of waitlists/holds at the top schools. Furthermore, lots of significant scholarships from T-20 schools.

Most importantly, TFA is an extremely powerful experience that will definitely reshape many of the conceptions that you currently hold. It is definitely not an experience for everyone and your heart really does need to be in the right place or it can be a grueling and even depressing experience. Another way to think about it is a few years to really figure out what it is you want to do.

PM me if you'd like to discuss more!




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