Should I focus more on softs?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
xylocarp
Posts: 4740
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:16 am

Should I focus more on softs?

Postby xylocarp » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:38 pm

.
Last edited by xylocarp on Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hiltopp01
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:25 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby hiltopp01 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:04 pm

xylocarp wrote:Hey all, current undergrad junior here. I'm mostly focusing on GPA and LSAT right now,


Good. Keep doing what you're doing. /thread

hiltopp01
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:25 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby hiltopp01 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:04 pm

And no, your lack of "involvement" will not matter, especially for H and CCN.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby cinephile » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:46 pm

If you're concerned, work a couple years before applying. Work experience is so much more important than a cappella groups. But right now, focus on your GPA and LSAT.

User avatar
longlivetheking
Posts: 279
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:15 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby longlivetheking » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:50 pm

cinephile wrote:If you're concerned, work a couple years before applying. Work experience is so much more important than a cappella groups. But right now, focus on your GPA and LSAT.


TITCR.

User avatar
xylocarp
Posts: 4740
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby xylocarp » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:06 pm

cinephile wrote:If you're concerned, work a couple years before applying. Work experience is so much more important than a cappella groups. But right now, focus on your GPA and LSAT.

I'm pretty sure a cappella groups are the MOST important thing.

But actually, thanks for the advice.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby blsingindisguise » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:10 pm

Think about it this way: if something is so light and non-intensive that you can sign up for it just to "have good softs" without it actually having a significant impact on your time, it's not really a good soft then, is it. Adcoms are too smart to think the fact that you joined drama club junior year is anything significant.

User avatar
Cicero76
Posts: 1276
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:41 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby Cicero76 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:28 pm

xylocarp wrote:
cinephile wrote:If you're concerned, work a couple years before applying. Work experience is so much more important than a cappella groups. But right now, focus on your GPA and LSAT.

I'm pretty sure a cappella groups are the MOST important thing.

But actually, thanks for the advice.


Whiffenpoofs get a 5 point LSAT bump for YLS.

User avatar
Happy Gilmore
Posts: 314
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:24 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby Happy Gilmore » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:35 pm

email all your old professors and ask them if they need a teaching assistant next semester. At my school those are almost invariably no-effort softs. But again, it won't make a difference.

User avatar
xylocarp
Posts: 4740
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby xylocarp » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:04 am

blsingindisguise wrote:Think about it this way: if something is so light and non-intensive that you can sign up for it just to "have good softs" without it actually having a significant impact on your time, it's not really a good soft then, is it. Adcoms are too smart to think the fact that you joined drama club junior year is anything significant.

Yeah, this is why I'm not looking for "great" or even "good" softs... just "not horrifyingly negative" softs. I'm not gunning for Y with a handful of clubs I joined a year before applying, haha.

User avatar
xylocarp
Posts: 4740
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:16 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby xylocarp » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:07 am

Happy Gilmore wrote:email all your old professors and ask them if they need a teaching assistant next semester. At my school those are almost invariably no-effort softs. But again, it won't make a difference.

Not sure my school really does the TA thing actually. At least, I've never had a TA or known anyone who's had a TA outside of science courses (of which I have taken the bare minimum).

esse est percipi
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby esse est percipi » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:13 am

I was recently looking at some of the weird results on law school numbers and found someone who had incredible numbers but did not get into Harvard, Columbia, or Chicago. On his page, he attributed this to not having any softs. This is anecdotal, of course, but it may lend consideration to the idea that softs actually are somewhat important.

Here is what my hypothesis is (which OP seemed to be hinting at by asking this question): average softs aren't going to help you, but not having them, could end up hurting you. I mean, it does say something about you if you did not get involved with your campus at all during undergraduate/did not do any service for your community/did not do any extracurricular academic endeavors. Doing volunteer work and joining an a cappella group would say a lot about you as a person IMO.

Anyways, I'm new here and haven't been looking at admission cycles as much as it appears others have. Does anyone have any experience/research on getting into a top school with below-average softs?

User avatar
hephaestus
Posts: 2385
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby hephaestus » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:15 am

Softs don't matter. Kill the LSAT and everything else will follow. That and your GPA should be your only focus.

User avatar
ArtistOfManliness
Posts: 518
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:56 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:02 am

esse est percipi wrote:I was recently looking at some of the weird results on law school numbers and found someone who had incredible numbers but did not get into Harvard, Columbia, or Chicago. On his page, he attributed this to not having any softs. This is anecdotal, of course, but it may lend consideration to the idea that softs actually are somewhat important.

Here is what my hypothesis is (which OP seemed to be hinting at by asking this question): average softs aren't going to help you, but not having them, could end up hurting you. I mean, it does say something about you if you did not get involved with your campus at all during undergraduate/did not do any service for your community/did not do any extracurricular academic endeavors. Doing volunteer work and joining an a cappella group would say a lot about you as a person IMO.

Anyways, I'm new here and haven't been looking at admission cycles as much as it appears others have. Does anyone have any experience/research on getting into a top school with below-average softs?


You have to think... what types of people usually don't have softs? Weird ones. Who get weird LORs and have weird interviews

hiltopp01
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:25 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby hiltopp01 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:03 am

esse est percipi wrote:Anyways, I'm new here and haven't been looking at admission cycles as much as it appears others have. Does anyone have any experience/research on getting into a top school with below-average softs?


Yeah; get good grades and a high LSAT.

20141023
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:17 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby 20141023 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:22 am

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
t-14orbust
Posts: 2064
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:43 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby t-14orbust » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:25 am

kappycaft1 wrote:I'm not sure that everyone in this thread is being fair when it comes to the role that softs can play during the admission cycle. If you truly believe that you have a legitimate chance of curing AIDS, writing a NY Times best-seller, winning a gold medal at the Olympics, or receiving a Nobel Prize, then don't go to lawl skewl.

User avatar
Ramius
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby Ramius » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:25 am

kappycaft1 wrote:I'm not sure that everyone in this thread is being fair when it comes to the role that softs can play during the admission cycle. If you truly believe that you have a legitimate chance of curing AIDS, writing a NY Times best-seller, winning a gold medal at the Olympics, or receiving a Nobel Prize, then I think that it is worth it to sacrifice some of the time you're spending on the LSAT / your GPA to pursue these activities.


If you're doing any of those things currently, you should probably be ignoring law school in general and focusing more on a very different future.

Edit: Scooped

Humbert Humbert
Posts: 400
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:46 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby Humbert Humbert » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:37 am

The best thing you could do is to go out and get a job, for so many reasons. It gives you a much more mature perspective on life (making your own money, paying rent/bills, learning how to be accountable/efficient in a professional setting) than a K-JD has.

Admissions-wise, yeah it might not make a big difference. But people with solid work experience do noticeably better during OCI than their K-JD counterparts (go browse through the Legal Employment section). In the end, isn't that what this is all about?

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9635
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:44 am

On campus shit (clubs, student senates and leadership, volunteering, ect) is irrelevant to admissions. Those aren't the "softs" that help one gain admission. A few actual 'softs' that have an impact have been mentioned. As a k-jd, substantive summer work experience -- particularly the summer before you apply -- would be the strongest asset to your application. This includes typical professional work, such as consulting or finance summer gigs (which you would apply to this fall -- interning at a major law firm or pseudo-clerking could fwll into this category unless its just nepotism); international fellowships at the usual suspect world bodies such as NATO, European commission, ect; or a very concrete and funded public interest position with a recognized domestic entity.

Indirectly speaking, some campus involvement or athletics can help obtain these types of internships or jobs post-grad. Deloitte (for example) loved competitive athletes and mock trial/MUN folks, and stressed these qualities in their OCR -- not for actuarial, just management -- one could argue as a result that stupid campus clubs and shit help net a prestigious job which provides a small boost, but this is all too tenuous for me. Law schools themselves wont care.

Ironically, here at CCN, seems like most students participated in those kinds of vaulted bullshit softs regardless, but thats less to do with admission requirements and more just a competitive personality thing. I didn't give a shit about college extracurriculars.. No clubs or volunteering.. I just worked part time all 4 yrs and full time every summer and after graduation (I liked being paid for what I was spending my time doing :P just kidding -- two of my internships were unpaid -- but work nonetheless)

I think your current "softs" are fine, just keep your grades up, do a cool internship this summer at some recognizable entity, and rock the LSAT. Dont get distracted by the fluff

esse est percipi
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby esse est percipi » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:11 pm

hiltopp01 wrote:
esse est percipi wrote:Anyways, I'm new here and haven't been looking at admission cycles as much as it appears others have. Does anyone have any experience/research on getting into a top school with below-average softs?


Yeah; get good grades and a high LSAT.



So...what is your experience/research? Everyone on these boards seems to be completely undervaluing average softs, but I haven't seen any evidence to back this strong bias up.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22806
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:25 pm

People here are generally relying on the information available at lawschoolnumbers.com, as well as a lot of self-reported information (garnered through quite a few application cycles) that shows that people get admitted where their LSAT/GPA are competitive, mostly regardless of softs. Softs can make a difference at the extremes - excellent, truly unusual softs (like those described by kappycaft1 above) can bump a candidate up a bit, and negative softs - which is really usually character and fitness issues, not so much the failure to have interesting softs - can hurt you. But law school admissions is overwhelmingly about the numbers you offer. If you're up against another candidate with the same numbers, then softs can make a difference, but that's usually it.

(Softs don't go into calculating a school's USNWR ranking, you see.)

(Also, the collective wisdom is that the above may hold less true for Stanford and Yale, because their admissions process is more of "black box" - good numbers are necessary but not sufficient, since they can pick from the cream of the crop.)

If you want research in the sense of published peer-reviewed studies, I can't offer any - it's pretty much crowd-sourced wisdom around here. Posters have done some interesting statistical stuff about GPA/LSAT and admissions (for instance: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=210245; also a lot of kappycaft1' posts), but it's hard to quantify softs.

esse est percipi
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby esse est percipi » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:38 pm

Well, wouldn't it be fair to assume that the people with high numbers usually have good/average softs? The type of person that gets a good GPA is usually the type of person that is involved with a lot of different things. I mean, if anyone wants a shot at getting a (good) job after undergraduate (before applying to law school), they *need* to have good/average softs on their resume. People with the foresight to get good numbers would definitely recognize this.

It's too bad more people aren't including what their softs are on law school numbers, but I have seen a few profiles now that seem to indicate that not having softs can hurt you in admission to Harvard, Columbia, and Chicago (as well as Stanford, Yale, and presumably Berkeley).

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22806
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:49 pm

I think that's a little much to assume, depending on how you define good/average softs.

In any case, the degree to which softs matter for the very top schools tends to get debated quite a bit here, but I think most of the discussion around here is people asking whether good softs x, y, and z will help them in their application, which is why the general answer is no (people are hoping softs will make up for any lack in GPA/LSAT, and they generally won't). I'm sure having literally no softs at all can be a problem, depending on your numbers and goals and the reasons why you have no softs. But admissions is still primarily numbers.

User avatar
Cicero76
Posts: 1276
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:41 pm

Re: Should I focus more on softs?

Postby Cicero76 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:00 pm

esse est percipi wrote:Well, wouldn't it be fair to assume that the people with high numbers usually have good/average softs? The type of person that gets a good GPA is usually the type of person that is involved with a lot of different things. I mean, if anyone wants a shot at getting a (good) job after undergraduate (before applying to law school), they *need* to have good/average softs on their resume. People with the foresight to get good numbers would definitely recognize this.

It's too bad more people aren't including what their softs are on law school numbers, but I have seen a few profiles now that seem to indicate that not having softs can hurt you in admission to Harvard, Columbia, and Chicago (as well as Stanford, Yale, and presumably Berkeley).


I kind of agree. Ask Lavitz about his stellar numbers and their resulting perplexingly awful cycle. Softs must matter in some sense, even if it's that the vast majority of high scorers have a base level of "average" softs.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], woojin1287, Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests