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TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:26 pm
by TLSCLB
Hey guys,

I just graduated in May 2013 and will be taking a year off (or two) before applying to law school. Currently, I am debating whether to do TFA (which I'm currently at Institute for) or whether to do the White House Internship instead. I was just informed today that I was accepted for the WHI; I had given up hope of getting in a while ago. I was hoping to get some feedback from y'all on which one would be better for a law school applicant applying in this cycle.

Couple of things: LSAT & GPA are set in stone and won't be changing, so let's keep the feedback about these two options and avoid "drop both and study more for the LSAT so you can get a 180 and go anywhere."

Really appreciate the feedback guys!

If it helps, I can list my personal pros and cons for each one, but I'm mainly trying to figure out which one would impress law schools more and why. So try to focus on that if you can.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:31 pm
by JasonH
LSAT and GPA. Are they your Pro's or are they your Con's?

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:37 pm
by kay2016
If you have the chance to do the WH Internship.. Do it.

But that's just my $0.02

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:41 pm
by nothingtosee
Cliche time:
This decision is kind of like "Should I breakup with my SO?" In that if you're asking it, you know the answer.
TFA is brutal and will crush your soul. WHI will be relatively chill.

If you want to work with kids so desperately, you wouldn't ask the question.
You don't, so you should do WHI.

$.02

(But srsly Institute is all rainbows and inspiration, it's not similar to teaching whatsoever. Unless you've been cussed out by a kid and it was nbd)

Also, if you quit now, your school district will be able to hire a full time teacher. If you decide you hate your life and quit in October, your kids are F'ed [even though they will be the reason you quit])

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:36 pm
by TLSCLB
JasonH wrote:LSAT and GPA. Are they your Pro's or are they your Con's?


Sorry, I meant pro and cons in terms of what I like/dislike about both TFA & WHI.

EDIT: Removed LSAT & GPA for the ppl who can't follow directions.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:38 pm
by TLSCLB
nothingtosee wrote:Cliche time:
This decision is kind of like "Should I breakup with my SO?" In that if you're asking it, you know the answer.
TFA is brutal and will crush your soul. WHI will be relatively chill.

If you want to work with kids so desperately, you wouldn't ask the question.
You don't, so you should do WHI.

$.02

(But srsly Institute is all rainbows and inspiration, it's not similar to teaching whatsoever. Unless you've been cussed out by a kid and it was nbd)

Also, if you quit now, your school district will be able to hire a full time teacher. If you decide you hate your life and quit in October, your kids are F'ed [even though they will be the reason you quit])


I don't want to work with kids desperately, that much is true. However, I've survived Institute so far, and have gotten into the groove of lesson planning and class management, so I'm skeptical on how much TFA will crush my soul. You probably have a point though.

Appreciate all the two cents, please keep them coming!

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:50 pm
by doublehoohopeful
Hey OP would you mind PMing me how your WHI cycle played out? I'm applying for this fall and I'm curious about which department has given you an offer, just to get an idea of where at least one department is at in their process.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:38 pm
by MyNameIsFlynn!
TFA is an attempt at resume padding. White House internship would be legit resume padding... the kind people might actually give a shit about. White House by a mile.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:40 pm
by stillwater
if you do the WH internship, you may get a stain on your blue dress

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:40 am
by twenty
WHI, no question.

Actually, eff law school, lateral the WHI into something in DC. You'll be making as much as your in-house buddies six years from now, but with significantly better hours, significantly more interesting work, and significantly less (i.e, no) debt.

edit> Was confusing WHI with the White House Fellows. Would still take WHI over TFA, no questions asked.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:52 am
by lijun
pm'ed

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:46 am
by tirakon
MyNameIsFlynn! wrote:TFA is an attempt at resume padding. White House internship would be legit resume padding... the kind people might actually give a shit about. White House by a mile.


This is terrible advice.

TFA is a 2-year, paid commitment to educate underserved low-income children. You'll learn real skills, and actually help people. Plus, it's somewhat prestigious.

The White House internship is basically xeroxing documents and fetching coffee, except for a branch of the White House. It's a cool line on your resume, and you'll probably have some interesting experiences, but it's still an unpaid internship post-college. This is not the White House Fellows program, which is genuinely prestigious and substantial. About a hundred people get a White House internship per term (there are three terms a year: winter semester, spring semester, summer).

The White House internship is also temporary. After your term is up, you'll be on your own without a job.

I'm not saying the White House internship is bad. It's really great for a summer in college. But once you've graduated, I think TFA would be a stronger and more substantial credential.

(Note: Don't take this necessarily as endorsement of TFA. The program definitely isn't perfect.)

Feel free to PM me with further questions.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:02 am
by bizzybone1313
I regret till this day not doing TFA after undergrad. They contacted and interviewed me and my dumbass thought to myself: What am I going to do between the time I graduate in December and start work in August? Well, duh, I was going to study for the LSAT during this time period and get the stupid test out of the way. The biggest mistake I have ever made. Instead, I went to go work in January for a bunch of dickheads that are going to badmouth me to law firms during the OCI period. I would have been selected as a TFA applicant: I grew up working class; am the son of immigrant parents and am a URM. I would have loved to be a positive role model to little at risk boys and girls. I use to be one of them.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:50 am
by AntipodeanPhil
If at all possible, you should do both. Is there any way TFA would let you start a year later?

If you just graduated, you really shouldn't rush into law school unless there is absolutely nothing else you can see yourself doing. The longer you wait, the more the economy will have (probably) improved. And you have the rest of your life to be a lawyer -- the sooner you start, the sooner you'll be sick of it and start dreaming of other things you could have done.

Lastly, what are your career interests after law school? If you have plans to work for the federal government, I can imagine the WHI helping in that respect. It would signal an interest in working for the government, and it would also be something you could talk about at interviews.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:54 am
by John_rizzy_rawls
MoHendy wrote:My GPA is [EDIT: sub-3.5 & LSAT sub-165] for those who need it for whatever reason.



You need to retake.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:14 am
by stuckinthemiddle
Yeah.

This decision will be absolutely irrelevant without a higher LSAT score. Law schools care only about the numbers.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:31 am
by cinephile
bizzybone1313 wrote:Instead, I went to go work in January for a bunch of dickheads that are going to badmouth me to law firms during the OCI period.


Don't worry about it. It's unlikely that they'll ask let alone call references. If anything, they may contact your 1L summer employer. And if you can't trust them as a reference, don't give their contact info.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:33 am
by El_Gallo
MyNameIsFlynn! wrote:TFA is an attempt at resume padding. White House internship would be legit resume padding... the kind people might actually give a shit about. White House by a mile.


This is horrible advice. They are both short term gigs for recent college grads. Neither is going to be a game changer. However, TFA is actually a fairly prestigious line on your resume that gives you substantive experience helping others. Most importantly, it's a real jerb. At the end of the day, the WHI is an unpaid internship where you do secretary style work.

OP if you think you handle two years of TFA, do it. It's a great experience. Use your summer between first and second year to study and retake the LSAT.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:43 am
by Vexed
MyNameIsFlynn! wrote:TFA is an attempt at resume padding. White House internship would be legit resume padding... the kind people might actually give a shit about. White House by a mile.


You've got those completely backwards.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:59 am
by TLSCLB
AntipodeanPhil wrote:If at all possible, you should do both. Is there any way TFA would let you start a year later?

If you just graduated, you really shouldn't rush into law school unless there is absolutely nothing else you can see yourself doing. The longer you wait, the more the economy will have (probably) improved. And you have the rest of your life to be a lawyer -- the sooner you start, the sooner you'll be sick of it and start dreaming of other things you could have done.

Lastly, what are your career interests after law school? If you have plans to work for the federal government, I can imagine the WHI helping in that respect. It would signal an interest in working for the government, and it would also be something you could talk about at interviews.


Haven't checked yet...though I'm skeptical about that. I also don't know how I would feel about potentially not going to law school for three years...too long a period for me. One-two years I can take, three not so much.

I am interested in working for the government down the line, but my game plan as of now is just to find a good law firm when I get out of law school. So I suppose WHI is somewhat of a plus for me in that department, but not too much.

Appreciate all the feedback guys! Minus the usual guys telling me to retake the LSAT despite me saying that that wouldn't happen -_-

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:00 am
by JamMasterJ
It doesn't matter for LS application, but I think the White House thing would be useful during hiring.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:48 am
by you'rethemannowdawg
Better for you? TFA. It's prestigious and may give you real skills, although it's not going to matter much with a 3.4 and a 164.

Better for society? Do the White House internship. You are everything that is wrong with TFA recruits. Underprivileged students in needy areas need dedicated teachers, not resume padders who are just looking for a feel-good vacation for two years so they can get a real job and make $$$.

http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/open-lett ... a-recruits

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:48 pm
by CyanIdes Of March
Pretty clear you're going to do the WH thing and end up somewhere between Georgetown and Columbia. Your URM status and mediocre/low numbers are going to make ALL of the difference, nothing else matters at this point.

But beyond that, you shouldn't even be considering TFA if you don't care about the actual mission. You'd just be robbing kids of a good mentor, and good mentors of a chance to make a difference, all for the great payout of nothing. Besides being a waste of your time professionally, it should at least be a bit of a difficult question for you morally.

MoHendy wrote:EDIT: Removed LSAT & GPA for the ppl who can't follow directions.


This makes you one of the lucky few who got away with saying something really douchey when people were trying to help you without the topic being derailed.

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:47 pm
by TLSCLB
CyanIdes Of March wrote:Pretty clear you're going to do the WH thing and end up somewhere between Georgetown and Columbia. Your URM status and mediocre/low numbers are going to make ALL of the difference, nothing else matters at this point.

But beyond that, you shouldn't even be considering TFA if you don't care about the actual mission. You'd just be robbing kids of a good mentor, and good mentors of a chance to make a difference, all for the great payout of nothing. Besides being a waste of your time professionally, it should at least be a bit of a difficult question for you morally.

MoHendy wrote:EDIT: Removed LSAT & GPA for the ppl who can't follow directions.


This makes you one of the lucky few who got away with saying something really douchey when people were trying to help you without the topic being derailed.


I don't know where everyone got off thinking I didn't care for TFA. I very much do and have enjoyed teaching my kids tremendously. I'm trying to make a very difficult decision here, and you guys are right, if I didn't care for TFA I wouldn't have brought my question here anyway, considering I don't really use forums like these normally.

Additionally, I'm trying to make my decision early so that the recruiters that selected me have adequate time to find a replacement. If I can do this before signing my contract, it makes their job even easier. So a little less judging would be much appreciated.

As for LSAT-GPA comments, I asked nicely at the start and still got the usual ppl coming in and being like "you have no hope, retake." Don't think my response is douchey at all, but to each his own I suppose. My question wasn't "GPA-LSAT-URM rate me" it was simply share your opinion on which of these two opportunities looks more attractive to law schools.

Again, thank you as always to those responding with sincere advice!

Re: TFA or White House Internship Better for Law School?

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:53 pm
by you'rethemannowdawg
MoHendy wrote:
CyanIdes Of March wrote:Pretty clear you're going to do the WH thing and end up somewhere between Georgetown and Columbia. Your URM status and mediocre/low numbers are going to make ALL of the difference, nothing else matters at this point.

But beyond that, you shouldn't even be considering TFA if you don't care about the actual mission. You'd just be robbing kids of a good mentor, and good mentors of a chance to make a difference, all for the great payout of nothing. Besides being a waste of your time professionally, it should at least be a bit of a difficult question for you morally.

MoHendy wrote:EDIT: Removed LSAT & GPA for the ppl who can't follow directions.


This makes you one of the lucky few who got away with saying something really douchey when people were trying to help you without the topic being derailed.


I don't know where everyone got off thinking I didn't care for TFA. I very much do and have enjoyed teaching my kids tremendously. I'm trying to make a very difficult decision here, and you guys are right, if I didn't care for TFA I wouldn't have brought my question here anyway, considering I don't really use forums like these normally.

Additionally, I'm trying to make my decision early so that the recruiters that selected me have adequate time to find a replacement. If I can do this before signing my contract, it makes their job even easier. So a little less judging would be much appreciated.

As for LSAT-GPA comments, I asked nicely at the start and still got the usual ppl coming in and being like "you have no hope, retake." Don't think my response is douchey at all, but to each his own I suppose. My question wasn't "GPA-LSAT-URM rate me" it was simply share your opinion on which of these two opportunities looks more attractive to law schools.

Again, thank you as always to those responding with sincere advice!


Again, the fact that you are wondering which of these looks more attractive to law school, and that you're considering interning somewhere instead, shows that you don't care enough about TFA. Do the kids a favor and go be a DC intern.