(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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I know the top schools have large percentages of their class who take time off (~70%), but if I had, say, a 3.8x GPA, and a 175+ on the LSAT and applied straight out of undergrad, would my chances be hurt at all at top schools like Harvard, etc?
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HarvardHopeful93 wrote:I know the top schools have large percentages of their class who take time off (~70%), but if I had, say, a 3.8x GPA, and a 175+ on the LSAT and applied straight out of undergrad, would my chances be hurt at all at top schools like Harvard, etc?
It depends what you mean by "hurt".
If you take a few years off, the maturity and experience that come with that generally create a stronger personal statement. Your resume will also have something substantive on it (assuming you spend those years doing something worthwhile). So you'll have a few extra soft factors in your favor.
You can view that as a boost for taking a few years off, or you can view it as hurting you to apply straight out of undergrad. With a 3.8x and a 175+, however, you've got a pretty decent shot at top schools without a few years off. I'd still recommend some time off to mature a bit and get some work experience, which will be invaluable during OCI.
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On Campus Interview. Where you interview for firm jobs.
Anyway, in your JS1, be prepared to answer the question of why you're applying now / whether you considered taking time off to work before applying. From this year's Harvard thread:
tirakon wrote:For what it's worth, after I answered the "Why aren't you taking time off?" question, JS explicitly said something along the lines of, "That's a totally fair reason. We just want to make sure you're not applying because Mommy and Daddy think it's a good idea."
So my impression is that as long as K-JD's have a demonstrated interest in or compelling reason to go to law school, they should be fine. If they don't, a year or two of WE can provide those reasons or at least demonstrate independence on the part of the applicant.
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Keep in mind an underappreciated benefit of applying during undergrad: removes some of the downside risk of your final semester/trimester(s)/quarter(s). You're shielding somewhat if you are accepted and subsequently flunk a random exam; no such protection if you apply a year out.