Do I have a fighting chance?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
gunnarstaal
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:41 am

Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby gunnarstaal » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:03 am

I started off at community college at twenty one. After two full years and one semester there, including one semester where I medically withdrew and a couple of “W’s”, I transferred to a mediocre liberal arts school with a 2.99. I started off poorly, earning a 2.2 GPA my first semester and taking three “W’s” and two incompletes the following semester. The following year, I began an upward trend that has me at a 3.0 currently with an anticipated graduation date of fall 2013.

I took a diagnostic completely cold last month and received a 152. I plan to take as much time off as necessary following graduation in order to adequately prepare for the real deal. I’ll be looking into a class, and perhaps private tutoring. Prior to college, I played major junior hockey in Canada until suffering a career ending injury. I've held an internship in the scouting department of a pro hockey team. There's only one college graduate in my entire extended family and no one in my family has ever pursued an advanced degree. I'm not an URM. I have a connection with a mid-size firm in the city where I live and have been guaranteed employment without any sort of requirement as to class rank or which law school I attend. I explicitly asked if this offer would be revoked if I attended “insert terrible TTTT here” and I've been assured it wouldn't matter. This is certainly somewhere that I’d be happy and would allow me to live comfortably and pay back my loans in a city where cost of living is relatively cheap.

All in all, it’ll have taken me six years to graduate and I’ll have finished with nine total “W’s”. Two of those “W’s” are from a non-credit bearing math course that was online based. I've since received an A in the course and a B+ and B in two credit bearing math courses. There’s the possibility of up to four of those “W’s” being removed completely from my transcript, so nine is the worst case scenario. I've never received an F on my transcript, if that's at all relevant. My major isn't exceptionally difficult and my school has little to no prestige.

That being said, assuming I can improve my LSAT score by eight points, can I get in anywhere decent with a 3.0 GPA, 160 LSAT, nine “W’s” on my transcript, and a college career spanning as long as the average pro athlete? What type of schools should I be looking at? Are there any schools that would be considered safe bets for me? With guaranteed employment, should I even be concerned about that? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks guys.

Lumieres
Posts: 208
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:57 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby Lumieres » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:57 am

You can get into most regional tier 2 schools with a 160+ lsat.

gunnarstaal
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:41 am

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby gunnarstaal » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:11 am

Lumieres wrote:You can get into most regional tier 2 schools with a 160+ lsat.


Thank you for the insight. Will a LSAT score of 160+ make the W's and the amount of time it took me to graduate irrelevant? Is a score of 160 a realistic estimate for me given my diagnostic score?

rwhyAn
Posts: 294
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:09 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby rwhyAn » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:08 am

gunnarstaal wrote:
Lumieres wrote:You can get into most regional tier 2 schools with a 160+ lsat.


Thank you for the insight. Will a LSAT score of 160+ make the W's and the amount of time it took me to graduate irrelevant? Is a score of 160 a realistic estimate for me given my diagnostic score?


All that really matters is your GPA and LSAT. It took me 7 years to graduate (had to take time off to work) and I had more W's than I can count. I have a 3.17/160, and I got into all of the second tier schools to which I applied last year and a couple of first tiers. My cold diagnostic was 147, and I performed 4-5 points below my PT average. So, 160 is definitely doable, but aim higher to get that $$$.

WhiskeynCoke
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:12 am

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:40 am

gunnarstaal wrote:I started off at community college at twenty one. After two full years and one semester there, including one semester where I medically withdrew and a couple of “W’s”, I transferred to a mediocre liberal arts school with a 2.99. I started off poorly, earning a 2.2 GPA my first semester and taking three “W’s” and two incompletes the following semester. The following year, I began an upward trend that has me at a 3.0 currently with an anticipated graduation date of fall 2013.

I took a diagnostic completely cold last month and received a 152. I plan to take as much time off as necessary following graduation in order to adequately prepare for the real deal. I’ll be looking into a class, and perhaps private tutoring. Prior to college, I played major junior hockey in Canada until suffering a career ending injury. I've held an internship in the scouting department of a pro hockey team. There's only one college graduate in my entire extended family and no one in my family has ever pursued an advanced degree. I'm not an URM. I have a connection with a mid-size firm in the city where I live and have been guaranteed employment without any sort of requirement as to class rank or which law school I attend. I explicitly asked if this offer would be revoked if I attended “insert terrible TTTT here” and I've been assured it wouldn't matter. This is certainly somewhere that I’d be happy and would allow me to live comfortably and pay back my loans in a city where cost of living is relatively cheap.

All in all, it’ll have taken me six years to graduate and I’ll have finished with nine total “W’s”. Two of those “W’s” are from a non-credit bearing math course that was online based. I've since received an A in the course and a B+ and B in two credit bearing math courses. There’s the possibility of up to four of those “W’s” being removed completely from my transcript, so nine is the worst case scenario. I've never received an F on my transcript, if that's at all relevant. My major isn't exceptionally difficult and my school has little to no prestige.

That being said, assuming I can improve my LSAT score by eight points, can I get in anywhere decent with a 3.0 GPA, 160 LSAT, nine “W’s” on my transcript, and a college career spanning as long as the average pro athlete? What type of schools should I be looking at? Are there any schools that would be considered safe bets for me? With guaranteed employment, should I even be concerned about that? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks guys.


I hate to break it to you, but your GPA will probably take a massive hit when LSAC calculates it. Im pretty sure LSAC counts W's on transcripts as "F's", so not only will law schools see the W's, they will count them as "F's" in calculating your GPA. You need to do whatever you can to get as many of these off your transcript as possible. I don't think the courses worth 0 credits will be counted though. Still... I'm sure you can imagine the effect that 9 F's will have on your GPA.

I don't think you can count on a GPA anywhere near 3.0 unless you can hide the W's. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news man.

User avatar
scruffy556
Posts: 219
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby scruffy556 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:01 pm

Ws only count as fs if they are punitive, in which case they would be treated as an f on his transcript already

gunnarstaal
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:41 am

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby gunnarstaal » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:28 am

@Scruffy556 or anyone who can clarify: I believe my W's are non-punitive. I always withdrew prior to the deadline and on my transcript there are just W's. My advisor also told me upon graduation we will be petitioning for the removal of a few. Can I be sure that these are not F's given this information?

@rwhyAn: I hope you don't find this rude or invasive, but if someone a lot more convincing than I asked for a ballpark estimate, how many W's would you say were on your transcript? Just curious.

Thanks for the information guys.

User avatar
scruffy556
Posts: 219
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby scruffy556 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:19 am

gunnarstaal wrote:@Scruffy556 or anyone who can clarify: I believe my W's are non-punitive. I always withdrew prior to the deadline and on my transcript there are just W's. My advisor also told me upon graduation we will be petitioning for the removal of a few. Can I be sure that these are not F's given this information?

@rwhyAn: I hope you don't find this rude or invasive, but if someone a lot more convincing than I asked for a ballpark estimate, how many W's would you say were on your transcript? Just curious.

Thanks for the information guys.


Then you're good to go. From lsac: grades exempt from calculation include "Withdraw, Withdraw/Pass—only if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive." I have double digit withdraws on my transcripts too and it was not a problem.

Good luck with your cycle.

Eco
Posts: 325
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby Eco » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:44 am

The good news here is your cold diagnostic is 152. I started with a 155, took Blueprint (the best course, you should take it), and got a 170 on the actual exam. I think with good studying an 8 to 15 point increase is normal, so starting at 152 is great.

User avatar
WokeUpInACar
Posts: 5513
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:11 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby WokeUpInACar » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:35 am

WhiskeynCoke wrote:
gunnarstaal wrote:I started off at community college at twenty one. After two full years and one semester there, including one semester where I medically withdrew and a couple of “W’s”, I transferred to a mediocre liberal arts school with a 2.99. I started off poorly, earning a 2.2 GPA my first semester and taking three “W’s” and two incompletes the following semester. The following year, I began an upward trend that has me at a 3.0 currently with an anticipated graduation date of fall 2013.

I took a diagnostic completely cold last month and received a 152. I plan to take as much time off as necessary following graduation in order to adequately prepare for the real deal. I’ll be looking into a class, and perhaps private tutoring. Prior to college, I played major junior hockey in Canada until suffering a career ending injury. I've held an internship in the scouting department of a pro hockey team. There's only one college graduate in my entire extended family and no one in my family has ever pursued an advanced degree. I'm not an URM. I have a connection with a mid-size firm in the city where I live and have been guaranteed employment without any sort of requirement as to class rank or which law school I attend. I explicitly asked if this offer would be revoked if I attended “insert terrible TTTT here” and I've been assured it wouldn't matter. This is certainly somewhere that I’d be happy and would allow me to live comfortably and pay back my loans in a city where cost of living is relatively cheap.

All in all, it’ll have taken me six years to graduate and I’ll have finished with nine total “W’s”. Two of those “W’s” are from a non-credit bearing math course that was online based. I've since received an A in the course and a B+ and B in two credit bearing math courses. There’s the possibility of up to four of those “W’s” being removed completely from my transcript, so nine is the worst case scenario. I've never received an F on my transcript, if that's at all relevant. My major isn't exceptionally difficult and my school has little to no prestige.

That being said, assuming I can improve my LSAT score by eight points, can I get in anywhere decent with a 3.0 GPA, 160 LSAT, nine “W’s” on my transcript, and a college career spanning as long as the average pro athlete? What type of schools should I be looking at? Are there any schools that would be considered safe bets for me? With guaranteed employment, should I even be concerned about that? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks guys.


I hate to break it to you, but your GPA will probably take a massive hit when LSAC calculates it. Im pretty sure LSAC counts W's on transcripts as "F's", so not only will law schools see the W's, they will count them as "F's" in calculating your GPA. You need to do whatever you can to get as many of these off your transcript as possible. I don't think the courses worth 0 credits will be counted though. Still... I'm sure you can imagine the effect that 9 F's will have on your GPA.

I don't think you can count on a GPA anywhere near 3.0 unless you can hide the W's. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news man.

Don't listen to this guy, he is almost certainly wrong. IF you are absolutely set on law school, you should take as many easy classes as possible to improve your GPA before graduating. Also I would not settle for a 160 LSAT. There are MANY people from this board that have gone from cold diagnostic scores in the low 150s to breaking 170 on the actual exam. Check out the incredibly helpful study plans in the LSAT prep forum and honestly don't stop retaking the LSAT until you are absolutely positive that you have maxed out your potential. Good luck!

User avatar
gaud
Posts: 5790
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:58 am

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby gaud » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:41 am

^ that is good advice

gunnarstaal
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:41 am

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby gunnarstaal » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:29 pm

Appreciate the help.

User avatar
Pneumonia
Posts: 1644
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby Pneumonia » Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:12 pm

It sounds like OP may have some trouble managing course loads (perhaps to due to family, illness, etc, in other words not necessarily a negative personal reflection). If it is the case that bulking up on easy classes may force more "W's" or "B's" then I'd be careful about it. If finances and circumstances permit though, definitely consider adding on some easy classes.

Also, aim for 180. 152, if indeed completely cold, is a solid diagnostic and indicates potential for big gains.

User avatar
Micdiddy
Posts: 2190
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:38 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby Micdiddy » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:28 pm

gunnarstaal wrote:I have a connection with a mid-size firm in the city where I live and have been guaranteed employment without any sort of requirement as to class rank or which law school I attend. I explicitly asked if this offer would be revoked if I attended “insert terrible TTTT here” and I've been assured it wouldn't matter.


So, all you need to do is go to ANY school? I don't see a single thing you should be worried about except that this guy might change his mind. Dozens of schools will take anyone with a pulse. If you end up with a 2.5 and 152 you're still going to law school.
With that said, I would still work to increase my numbers for scholarship opportunities, but it sounds like you're pretty set to me.

gunnarstaal
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:41 am

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby gunnarstaal » Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:01 pm

@Pneumonia: You're probably correct. I've had some health issues and combined with a forty minute commute to school and a full time job, the juggling act has been quite difficult. I do attend a small liberal arts school as well, so selecting classes that best accommodate my situation isn't always possible. Is this something that schools will take into consideration with respect to W's and a less than stellar cumulative GPA? I do know that under different circumstances I would be able to give my undivided attention to my studies and thus be more successful. This would be possible in law school as I don't intend on keeping my job and my health problems are in the past. EDIT: Since the health issues are in the past, I would be fine bulking up on classes. I've been on a consistent upward trend for awhile now and I have earned a 3.4 and a 3.6 the past two semesters.

@Micdiddy: That's correct. While I'm not aiming for a prestigious law school, I would like to go somewhere that isn't regarded as a joke in the legal community. If my situation would make that impossible I'd probably have to reevaluate this whole thing, but I think the element of guaranteed employment might still make it OK. I don't know that I could justify paying full price at one of the worst law schools in the country though. Do you, or anyone, think that I should look to choose a lower ranked law school regardless and try to go for free because of my situation? I don't know too much about differences in schools at this point, but I'm aware that many tier 4 schools have ugly attrition rates and unreasonable scholarship stipulations. While I'm confident in my abilities, I'm not naive and I don't know that I'd be very happy at a school if I chose to attend strictly based on a scholarship and then had it revoked. Are there lower ranked schools with more reasonable scholarship stipulations or is it pretty much standard across the board? If I have an LSAT well above a schools 75th percentile will I have leverage to negotiate stipulations? Should I not be entertaining this and just attend the best law school possible? Are high attrition rates at lower ranked schools something that warrants caution or is it more or less simply a reflection of the lack of admission standards that Micdiddy alluded to?

User avatar
Pneumonia
Posts: 1644
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby Pneumonia » Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:41 pm

[quote="gunnarstaal"]Is this something that schools will take into consideration with respect to W's and a less than stellar cumulative GPA? I do know that under different circumstances I would be able to give my undivided attention to my studies and thus be more successful. This would be possible in law school as I don't intend on keeping my job and my health problems are in the past.

In respect to W's the consensus seems to be that they don't matter, especially if they are health related. In regard to it offsetting your GPA the answer is no. Not that you don't have valid reasons for underperforming, but to adcoms GPA qualifications are largely useless unless they're pretty major and even then aren't guaranteed to have any effect.

One option you might look at is taking courses from a community college, especially if they are online. As long as they are taken before you graduate they'll count toward your GPA.

User avatar
Micdiddy
Posts: 2190
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:38 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby Micdiddy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:06 am

gunnarstaal wrote:@Pneumonia: You're probably correct. I've had some health issues and combined with a forty minute commute to school and a full time job, the juggling act has been quite difficult. I do attend a small liberal arts school as well, so selecting classes that best accommodate my situation isn't always possible. Is this something that schools will take into consideration with respect to W's and a less than stellar cumulative GPA? I do know that under different circumstances I would be able to give my undivided attention to my studies and thus be more successful. This would be possible in law school as I don't intend on keeping my job and my health problems are in the past. EDIT: Since the health issues are in the past, I would be fine bulking up on classes. I've been on a consistent upward trend for awhile now and I have earned a 3.4 and a 3.6 the past two semesters.

@Micdiddy: That's correct. While I'm not aiming for a prestigious law school, I would like to go somewhere that isn't regarded as a joke in the legal community. If my situation would make that impossible I'd probably have to reevaluate this whole thing, but I think the element of guaranteed employment might still make it OK. I don't know that I could justify paying full price at one of the worst law schools in the country though. Do you, or anyone, think that I should look to choose a lower ranked law school regardless and try to go for free because of my situation? I don't know too much about differences in schools at this point, but I'm aware that many tier 4 schools have ugly attrition rates and unreasonable scholarship stipulations. While I'm confident in my abilities, I'm not naive and I don't know that I'd be very happy at a school if I chose to attend strictly based on a scholarship and then had it revoked. Are there lower ranked schools with more reasonable scholarship stipulations or is it pretty much standard across the board? If I have an LSAT well above a schools 75th percentile will I have leverage to negotiate stipulations? Should I not be entertaining this and just attend the best law school possible? Are high attrition rates at lower ranked schools something that warrants caution or is it more or less simply a reflection of the lack of admission standards that Micdiddy alluded to?


I would definitely get the cheapest education possible and applying to bad schools will help you do that. Obviously, weigh their stipulations with their offer and pick the best one.
There's no point going to a "better" school cause anyone you get into with that gpa will probably be pretty awful anyway. You have a very special, very lucky circumstance where you're be employed no matter what. Go cheap.

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Do I have a fighting chance?

Postby bp shinners » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:28 am

gunnarstaal wrote:If my situation would make that impossible I'd probably have to reevaluate this whole thing, but I think the element of guaranteed employment might still make it OK.


I have no idea your connection to this firm, but I would strongly recommend treating the situation as if you didn't have guaranteed employment. While you may trust the people telling you that you'll be hired, a lot can happen in 3-5 years that might prevent that from happening.

As to the other questions, you're not in horrible shape. The GPA is a little low, but a good LSAT score can do wonders. Don't aim for a 160, aim much higher. A low-150 diagnostic is a very strong start, and you should be able to improve over the 8-10 points it would take to get you into the 160s.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], echonov, jjcorvino, Lexaholik and 10 guests