Double Major or GPA Boost?

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Philosophriend
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Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Philosophriend » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:37 pm

Hello all!

First time posting, but I have been lurking over on/off for the past few months. I come to you with a question that I haven't seem to have found by sifting through older threads.

Here's my story... I'm a 4th year undergraduate, I could have graduated this spring, but decided to wait until this upcoming fall so that I can increase my GPA. I'm floating around a 2.7-2.8, and with summer/fall classes, my adviser said that a 3.2-3.3 could be possible with strong grades. My question is, should I double major so that I don't draw a suspicion from law schools when I apply (since I wont be graduating in 4 years)? Or should I just take lower-level classes to boost my GPA?

I'm a philosophy major, and after this semester will have fulfilled my requirements for the degree; I'm only 4 classes or so short of obtaining a sociology major, but I'd hate to take such high-level sociology classes and potentially hurt my GPA. Also I plan on taking the upcoming June LSAT, possibly October depending on how I feel prep wise. But what's the best method of procedure?

Thanks!

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dnptan
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby dnptan » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:43 pm

GPA >> Double Major> Single Major

In summary, a double major is ever so slightly better than a single major compared to a GPA boost. It's considered a soft. If I were to put a number, a second major would be worth maybe 0.1 in terms of GPA. But it could be more considering you're in the high 2.0s/low 3.0s.

I definitely would have preferred a 3.9 over a 3.8 with a double major for law school. For real life though, the double major is better. If you're 100% set on law and getting in the best school possible, just go for raw GPA. If you think you may want to do something outside of law, get the second major. Especially since Philosophy is not very marketable outside academia.

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zozin
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby zozin » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:48 pm

You need more than 40 credits of straight As to get to a 3.3 GPA. That probably means Summer+Fall+Spring semesters. Always stay in school (as long as it's fiscally possible/responsible) in order to raise your GPA. But I think it's hard to believe you're going to go from 120+ credits of 2.7-2.8, to 40 credits of 4.0.

Philosophriend
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Philosophriend » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:01 pm

zozin wrote:You need more than 40 credits of straight As to get to a 3.3 GPA. That probably means Summer+Fall+Spring semesters. Always stay in school (as long as it's fiscally possible/responsible) in order to raise your GPA. But I think it's hard to believe you're going to go from 120+ credits of 2.7-2.8, to 40 credits of 4.0.


I forgot to mention that I'd be taking 5 classes per semester.

dnptan wrote:GPA >> Double Major> Single Major

In summary, a double major is ever so slightly better than a single major compared to a GPA boost. It's considered a soft. If I were to put a number, a second major would be worth maybe 0.1 in terms of GPA. But it could be more considering you're in the high 2.0s/low 3.0s.

I definitely would have preferred a 3.9 over a 3.8 with a double major for law school. For real life though, the double major is better. If you're 100% set on law and getting in the best school possible, just go for raw GPA. If you think you may want to do something outside of law, get the second major. Especially since Philosophy is not very marketable outside academia.


I definitely plan on committing to law school and building a career out of it. I don't play on aiming for the highest ranked schools, more like 50+. My first choice is Case Western Reserve if that helps (I want to get into health care law and their program is among the best).

tiltedwindmill
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby tiltedwindmill » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:10 pm

Philosophriend wrote:
zozin wrote:You need more than 40 credits of straight As to get to a 3.3 GPA. That probably means Summer+Fall+Spring semesters. Always stay in school (as long as it's fiscally possible/responsible) in order to raise your GPA. But I think it's hard to believe you're going to go from 120+ credits of 2.7-2.8, to 40 credits of 4.0.


I forgot to mention that I'd be taking 5 classes per semester.

dnptan wrote:GPA >> Double Major> Single Major

In summary, a double major is ever so slightly better than a single major compared to a GPA boost. It's considered a soft. If I were to put a number, a second major would be worth maybe 0.1 in terms of GPA. But it could be more considering you're in the high 2.0s/low 3.0s.

I definitely would have preferred a 3.9 over a 3.8 with a double major for law school. For real life though, the double major is better. If you're 100% set on law and getting in the best school possible, just go for raw GPA. If you think you may want to do something outside of law, get the second major. Especially since Philosophy is not very marketable outside academia.


I definitely plan on committing to law school and building a career out of it. I don't play on aiming for the highest ranked schools, more like 50+. My first choice is Case Western Reserve if that helps (I want to get into health care law and their program is among the best).

Don't look at specialized program ranks, they are basically meaningless- go to the best regional school with $$$ or to a T-14.

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McAvoy
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby McAvoy » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:13 pm

Philosophriend wrote:
zozin wrote:You need more than 40 credits of straight As to get to a 3.3 GPA. That probably means Summer+Fall+Spring semesters. Always stay in school (as long as it's fiscally possible/responsible) in order to raise your GPA. But I think it's hard to believe you're going to go from 120+ credits of 2.7-2.8, to 40 credits of 4.0.


I forgot to mention that I'd be taking 5 classes per semester.



Why? Max out your credit load, particularly if you're going to take "easy" classes. There's no reason not to.

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McAvoy
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby McAvoy » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:15 pm

You should work to get it as high as possible, but, honestly, you are going to be unable to get it to a point where it is not a significant negative factor for your application (if you're not taking the seven year route).

Once you're below the 25th percentile, you're below the 25th percentile -- spend all of this extra time and effort on destroying the LSAT, as that's the only way you're going to get a law school opportunity worth taking.

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Otunga
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Otunga » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:18 pm

If you'd be able to reasonably afford it, consider adding a 'practical' major, that way you can increase your GPA with more classes and have a better chance at a job if LS/being an attorney doesn't materialize. If not, no sense of putting yourself in more debt if you're committed to LS.

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Tlucidum
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Tlucidum » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:29 pm

Will_McAvoy wrote:Once you're below the 25th percentile, you're below the 25th percentile -- spend all of this extra time and effort on destroying the LSAT, as that's the only way you're going to get a law school opportunity worth taking.



While I absolutely agree that the LSAT should garner the majority of a splitter's attention, the TS is sitting below a 3.0. If TS can make it to a 3.3ish, wouldn't that put him/her above many more GPA floors than even a 3.0, thereby broadening his/her horizons?

Philosophriend
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Philosophriend » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:31 pm

Will_McAvoy wrote:
Philosophriend wrote:
zozin wrote:You need more than 40 credits of straight As to get to a 3.3 GPA. That probably means Summer+Fall+Spring semesters. Always stay in school (as long as it's fiscally possible/responsible) in order to raise your GPA. But I think it's hard to believe you're going to go from 120+ credits of 2.7-2.8, to 40 credits of 4.0.


I forgot to mention that I'd be taking 5 classes per semester.



Why? Max out your credit load, particularly if you're going to take "easy" classes. There's no reason not to.


5 classes is the most I can take per semester.

Will_McAvoy wrote:You should work to get it as high as possible, but, honestly, you are going to be unable to get it to a point where it is not a significant negative factor for your application (if you're not taking the seven year route).

Once you're below the 25th percentile, you're below the 25th percentile -- spend all of this extra time and effort on destroying the LSAT, as that's the only way you're going to get a law school opportunity worth taking.


Well I live in Cleveland, and have also looked at Cleveland Marshall which isn't nearly as high ranked as others are competing for, I feel like a 3.2/3.3 GPA with a 155-160+ LSAT would make me a decent candidate.

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McAvoy
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby McAvoy » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:38 pm

Tlucidum wrote:
Will_McAvoy wrote:Once you're below the 25th percentile, you're below the 25th percentile -- spend all of this extra time and effort on destroying the LSAT, as that's the only way you're going to get a law school opportunity worth taking.



While I absolutely agree that the LSAT should garner the majority of a splitter's attention, the TS is sitting below a 3.0. If TS can make it to a 3.3ish, wouldn't that put him/her above many more GPA floors than even a 3.0, thereby broadening his/her horizons?


No, definitely, that's why I said in the unquoted portion to get it as high as you can. I guess what I meant was, there is much, much more room for growth as far as the LSAT goes, and the effort spent improving that is going to be proportionally more valuable than improving GPA, at this point.

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McAvoy
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby McAvoy » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 pm

Philosophriend wrote:
Well I live in Cleveland, and have also looked at Cleveland Marshall which isn't nearly as high ranked as others are competing for, I feel like a 3.2/3.3 GPA with a 155-160+ LSAT would make me a decent candidate.


Look at LST -- being a decent candidate for Cleveland Marshall is not putting yourself anywhere close to a decent situation. Same for Case. Ohio State is a really bad investment if you're taking much debt, too. You need to aim higher; buckle down and shoot for a 170.

EDIT: This google doc will give you an even better idea than LST: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub ... anc&gid=16

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Tlucidum
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Tlucidum » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:46 pm

Will_McAvoy wrote:No, definitely, that's why I said in the unquoted portion to get it as high as you can. I guess what I meant was, there is much, much more room for growth as far as the LSAT goes, and the effort spent improving that is going to be proportionally more valuable than improving GPA, at this point.


Ah yes, then I completely agree!

Philosophriend
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Philosophriend » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:00 pm

Will_McAvoy wrote:
Philosophriend wrote:
Well I live in Cleveland, and have also looked at Cleveland Marshall which isn't nearly as high ranked as others are competing for, I feel like a 3.2/3.3 GPA with a 155-160+ LSAT would make me a decent candidate.


Look at LST -- being a decent candidate for Cleveland Marshall is not putting yourself anywhere close to a decent situation. Same for Case. Ohio State is a really bad investment if you're taking much debt, too. You need to aim higher; buckle down and shoot for a 170.

EDIT: This google doc will give you an even better idea than LST: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub ... anc&gid=16


So you're saying that I should aim higher than Cleveland Marshall because of their poor employment stats? Even with a decently high LSAT score, with my GPA where it is I don't think I could get into a top 30 school.

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McAvoy
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby McAvoy » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Philosophriend wrote:
So you're saying that I should aim higher than Cleveland Marshall because of their poor employment stats? Even with a decently high LSAT score, with my GPA where it is I don't think I could get into a top 30 school.


In a word - yes. Maybe 10% of their classes have desirable outcomes; why would you ever want to put yourself in such a situation?

That's simply not true; if you get close to a 170, you will get in to at least a few top 20 schools. There was someone on TLS who got in to Texas w/ money this cycle, for example, with a 2.8. If you get above 3.0 and get a 170, you'll have a fair shot of getting in to like a Cornell or G-Town, at least. Play around on LSN. If you're in that conversation, even, then you're probably looking at getting into Ohio State for a level of tuition that would make it a reasonable choice. Either way, just get studying.

xmking07
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby xmking07 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:38 pm

Being at or around a 3.0 isn't necessarily the end of the world (although I would say try to get it as high as you can without staying in UG for an outlandish amount of time, adcomms might look down on the extended time). Just browse through the LSAT prep forum and take a few months to study for it heavily, score near a 170 and enjoy the t25 with some money at a few places.

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Quest4Knowledge
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Quest4Knowledge » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:19 pm

Philosophriend wrote:My question is, should I double major so that I don't draw a suspicion from law schools when I apply (since I wont be graduating in 4 years)? Or should I just take lower-level classes to boost my GPA?


I don't think staying an extra year draws suspicion, unless you're taking random 1st year electives. I would take lower level classes that are still somewhat related to your field of interest so you can raise your gpa substantially, especially if you think the double major might hurt it.

xmking07
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby xmking07 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:20 pm

Quest4Knowledge wrote:
Philosophriend wrote:My question is, should I double major so that I don't draw a suspicion from law schools when I apply (since I wont be graduating in 4 years)? Or should I just take lower-level classes to boost my GPA?


I don't think staying an extra year draws suspicion, unless you're taking random 1st year electives. I would take lower level classes that are still somewhat related to your field of interest so you can raise your gpa substantially, especially if you think the double major might hurt it.


I'm not entirely convinced of this. I understand the motivation, but tacking on another year of elective courses that do not gain an extra major/honors might seem a bit unwarranted. I read somewhere else on this board that taking longer than the 4 years to get a degree in a single major can/is frowned upon by adcoms. It may not be a death sentence, but it may not be wholly beneficial either.

If you can swing it, take the second major if you elect to stay and strive for A's. If you don't find that feasible, email admissions at schools that interest you and think you have a viable shot at attending to ask their viewpoint on the matter.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Double Major or GPA Boost?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:31 pm

xmking07 wrote:I read somewhere else on this board that taking longer than the 4 years to get a degree in a single major can/is frowned upon by adcoms. It may not be a death sentence, but it may not be wholly beneficial either.

To the extent this might matter, it would only be at the very top schools and only on the margins. More importantly, we know that GPA falls behind only the LSAT on the importance scale, and is way ahead of everything else. If you can meaningfully improve your GPA (especially above a median) at a reasonable cost it makes sense even if it looks kinda weird to one or two adcomms.




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