Softs, yo!

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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LoveforLaw341
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Softs, yo!

Postby LoveforLaw341 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:53 am

Yeah, softs.

[Insert acknowledgement that no one on this site thinks they matter unless you already have the numbers and/or are applying to black box schools like HYS]

What are some of yours or things you believe to be legitimate "soft" factors and how strong do you think they are?

They can only help, so I'm trying to get an idea of what the term really means and TLS users seem to know their stuff. Except for me apparently.

Feel free to speak in hypotheticals if you're worried about lurking admissions officers and don't want to outed.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby TheSpanishMain » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:53 am

I think substantive, professional (i.e post college) work experience is a decent boost. Military service is also up there.

So far in the cycle I've gotten into several schools where my numbers indicate I should have been WL'd, or at least not accepted right off the bat. I can only assume my softs were the reason why.

HYSenberg
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby HYSenberg » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:56 am

TheSpanishMain wrote:I think substantive, professional (i.e post college) work experience is a decent boost. Military service is also up there.

So far in the cycle I've gotten into several schools where my numbers indicate I should have been WL'd, or at least not accepted right off the bat. I can only assume my softs were the reason why.


Or decreasing apps and lowered standards.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby TheSpanishMain » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:02 am

HYSenberg wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:I think substantive, professional (i.e post college) work experience is a decent boost. Military service is also up there.

So far in the cycle I've gotten into several schools where my numbers indicate I should have been WL'd, or at least not accepted right off the bat. I can only assume my softs were the reason why.


Or decreasing apps and lowered standards.


Or a combination of the two.

Someone (I think it was rinkrat?) said that legitimate softs were things that the school can brag about on it's class profile page. Browse a few of those to get an idea what are/aren't legitimate softs. You'll see things like "x percentage of our class has post college work experience, we have 9 Teach for America alumni, 12 Peace Corps Volunteers, 6 military veterans, 2 published authors" etc. You won't see a lot of "71% of our class was involved in a club on campus during undergrad" or "31 of our students were involved in the Greek system".

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Tyr
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby Tyr » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:57 am

Does it have to be post-college work? I'm a non traditional student and I worked in the health care industry for about 9 years before college.

Also, I think other softs that may look good would be starting an organization (not a campus club) like a 501(c)(3) and just things that allow you to market/brand yourself so you stand out.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:05 am

I think the "can they brag about this on their web page" approach is credited. In the spirit of holistic review, though, good softs are also those that support your presentation of yourself in your application. Founding a health law organization in undergrad isn't going to be very influential if your application is all about how you want to go into tax or M&A or something. But if you have an application focused on becoming a health lawyer, your parents were doctors running their own practice and you worked for them from the time you were 16, you've volunteered/worked in other health-related fields, and you write a PS about how you want to work defending doctors from malpractice suits, founding that organization means a bit more. Still not a lot, probably, but it will make sense in light of the totality of your application. So it's not about collecting decent softs that appear on a checklist, it's about creating a convincing, coherent picture of yourself.

(This is a crappy example because I'm making it up off the top of my head, but hopefully it gives you some idea. And this kind of holistic review is going to be relevant in only a very few cases, honestly.)

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby TheSpanishMain » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:11 am

Tyr wrote:Does it have to be post-college work? I'm a non traditional student and I worked in the health care industry for about 9 years before college.



Probably not, I just meant that "I had a part time job delivering pizza" doesn't count.

NanaP
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby NanaP » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:30 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think the "can they brag about this on their web page" approach is credited. In the spirit of holistic review, though, good softs are also those that support your presentation of yourself in your application. Founding a health law organization in undergrad isn't going to be very influential if your application is all about how you want to go into tax or M&A or something. But if you have an application focused on becoming a health lawyer, your parents were doctors running their own practice and you worked for them from the time you were 16, you've volunteered/worked in other health-related fields, and you write a PS about how you want to work defending doctors from malpractice suits, founding that organization means a bit more. Still not a lot, probably, but it will make sense in light of the totality of your application. So it's not about collecting decent softs that appear on a checklist, it's about creating a convincing, coherent picture of yourself.

(This is a crappy example because I'm making it up off the top of my head, but hopefully it gives you some idea. And this kind of holistic review is going to be relevant in only a very few cases, honestly.)



Agree with this.....Additionally, legitimate softs may include things like volunteer work, or coming out of the "hood" and making something out of yourself (not sure if that qualifies as a soft but it's def something that can help you overcome weak areas on an app)

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Tyr
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby Tyr » Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:51 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think the "can they brag about this on their web page" approach is credited.


I agree. I think it all comes down to branding yourself as an applicant. What may be a good soft for one person may not be a good soft for another (it goes back to making a compelling image of who you are as an applicant). However, there are the obvious ones that are going to be great no matter who you are, but we're assuming the applicant in question is not a Rhodes Scholar or something similar.

PalmBay
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby PalmBay » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:09 pm

Disclaimer: I do not purport to be an expert and I reserve the right to be wrong.

There is no denying that the LSAT score is the #1 factor for law schools. Keep in mind I'm not saying it's the only thing that matters.
It's always interesting to see people who have LSAT scores in the high 160s with a GPA in the low 2.0s, and they're admitted to awesome schools.

Where softs come into play is when your numbers aren't good enough for an obvious admit, and not bad enough for an obvious rejection. Since law schools can't just admit everyone and anyone, and because there are going to be a TON of applicants with the same exact LSAT score and close GPAs, they then turn to softs which, IMO, include LOR, PS, resume, and other interesting things you've done.

Example:
***

160 median LSAT school

170 LSAT score applicant (with no red flags, c/f issues, etc.) easy admit. Probably don't even look at softs.

159 LSAT score applicant... this school will have to admit plenty of applicant below the median, with potentially hundreds of applicants with a score of 159 it becomes clear where other factors (and 'softs') become important.

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midwest17
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby midwest17 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:12 pm

PalmBay wrote:Disclaimer: I do not purport to be an expert and I reserve the right to be wrong.

There is no denying that the LSAT score is the #1 factor for law schools. Keep in mind I'm not saying it's the only thing that matters.
It's always interesting to see people who have LSAT scores in the high 160s with a GPA in the low 2.0s, and they're admitted to awesome schools.

Where softs come into play is when your numbers aren't good enough for an obvious admit, and not bad enough for an obvious rejection. Since law schools can't just admit everyone and anyone, and because there are going to be a TON of applicants with the same exact LSAT score and close GPAs, they then turn to softs which, IMO, include LOR, PS, resume, and other interesting things you've done.

Example:
***

160 median LSAT school

170 LSAT score applicant (with no red flags, c/f issues, etc.) easy admit. Probably don't even look at softs.

159 LSAT score applicant... this school will have to admit plenty of applicant below the median, with potentially hundreds of applicants with a score of 159 it becomes clear where other factors (and 'softs') become important.


A lot of the people who are below one median will be above the other. I'm not denying that people below both medians are admitted, but I doubt it's anywhere close to half the class. Just something to keep in mind.

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guano
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby guano » Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:03 pm

Most softs are a tie breaker at most schools - you won't outperform, but if you're borderline it might help. Just about everyone has softs and it is more likely that a complete absence of softs will harm you rather than that having softs actually helps.

The kind of softs that really matter most candidates won't have, like Rhodes Scholar, Olympic medal, etc.

The one soft that is readily available and actually makes a difference (at some schools) is military.

gregfootball2001
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby gregfootball2001 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:25 pm

I was at the LSAT median, and below the GPA median, for my first choice school. I got in with a small amount of scholly. I was an international opera singer for six years. I think the soft helped.

mx23250
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Re: Softs, yo!

Postby mx23250 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:13 pm

Strong softs matter A LOT, contrary to what people on here believe. The decisions rolling in for my cycle certainly attest to it since I'm getting offers and excellent scholarship $$ from schools that, according to people on here along with prediction programs, I would be an auto-reject at due to my numbers. It's just my experience though.




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