Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

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Garth Nader
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Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby Garth Nader » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:41 am

So new L0 (and no-longer lurker) here. I'm in the process of picking safety schools and looking for places that will give free or almost free rides that also aren't terrible (admittedly with my numbers we're drawing from the bottom of the barrel of full rides here! :p):

-LSAT of 162 (fuuuuck) GPA of 3.7 (BU undergrad since we apparently deflate. Liberal arts idiot but decent academic rigor.)
- ~2 years of work experience as a midlaw (yes it's actually a thing, guys!) paralegal. Nowhere with a really recognizable name.
-Strong intangibles (Eagle Scout, community service, long summer resume pre-graduation, random student publications, etc.)
-Want to live in New England, NY, Chicago, or DC
-Since this is safety stuff, where can I get a half ride? A full ride?

Obviously I'm not looking at biglaw here--this is a question about safeties--but what schools have non-terrible career prospects for the more humble but non-shitlaw work (I could deal as a career public defender or prosecutor if I don't have much debt, for example. Just not in Mass.



On a slight tangent: how's a 25th percentile LSAT, 75th percentile GPA going to be received by a place like BU, BC, or Fordham? I reckon I'll get into 2/3 of them (at least) but I'm worried I'll that be paying full sticker. Does a big split get at least a little bit of financial aid?

Thanks guys!

BigZuck
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:54 am

Check out http://www.mylsn.info

No such thing as a safety law school. If it doesn't make sense to go, you don't go. Gotta find a place that can get you the job you want in the place you want at an appropriate price.

You have to narrow down the geographic focus here IMO, legal hiring is generally quite regional and can be parochial in a lot of (most?) places. I'd lean toward where you have strong ties.

Also, retake

DportIA
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby DportIA » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:56 am

I mean, obviously retake your LSAT. I don't believe you mentioned you are out of attempts.

Otherwise, not good. I would try Illinois, they are in a somewhat desperate spot like many law schools trying to stop enrollment bleed. They also place very decent into Chicago for a regional school. However, Chicago is WAY DOWN overall (& I worked in Chicago last summer /am going back to Chicago) in terms of hiring from before recession. Like not good.

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twenty
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby twenty » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:04 am

Not to be too hard on you, it's pretty obvious you're trying. But you're also very much not understanding how law school admissions works. This isn't like undergrad where you have "top picks" and "safety schools." Zuck is right.

Under NO circumstances should you pay sticker or anything close to it for Fordham, BC/BU, etc.

but what schools have non-terrible career prospects for the more humble but non-shitlaw work (I could deal as a career public defender or prosecutor if I don't have much debt, for example


That's not quite how it works, it's not a "I'd be okay settling for a PD office." PD offices in many metro areas have sub-1% hire rates. It's not uncommon for wannabe ADAs to volunclerk at the DA's office for 1-2 years before getting hired.

The reality is, you really need to retake the LSAT or don't go. If you want a full ride out of BU, you really need to be looking at 167 or so.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby AReasonableMan » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:19 am

People are going to suggest you retake. The statistical likelihood of getting a real (not school funded/temp) legal job coming out improves significantly with even a 5 point score increase. The rank doesn't matter, and different schools will have different business strategies irrespective of the ranking. I would pick the city where you're from, and try to get the TT for free. It would not be prudent to move to go to a regional school. A NY TT won't get you to Boston, and the vice versa is true. Some places might want more of a tie to the region than just the law school, especially if it isn't a nationally prestigious school. For example, a Harvard student may not get asked "why Boston," because the obvious answer is it's fucking Harvard.

If you don't retake and are committed to going on a full ride I don't think it's necessarily so bleak. Just don't venture off that strategy. If there are stipulations like top half or top third, you have to be ready to drop out if you don't meet them. Assuming there's no section stacking, I don't think stips are that big of a deal because those who cannot meet the stips are likely screwed anyway. If you aren't top half at a TT, the education probably isn't worth the cost of living and lost wages.

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banjo
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby banjo » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:29 am

twenty wrote:That's not quite how it works, it's not a "I'd be okay settling for a PD office." PD offices in many metro areas have sub-1% hire rates. It's not uncommon for wannabe ADAs to volunclerk at the DA's office for 1-2 years before getting hired.


Yeah, this. In some sense, big law is easy to get. You spend a few days in a luxury hotel filled with cookies and toys. People who don't get biglaw actually have a much harder path to legal employment.

Garth Nader
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby Garth Nader » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:10 am

Well, it's a bit late for me to retake at this point, unfortunately. And I'm unlikely to improve by 5 points in any event, I'd think. While I'm unlikely to get much aid from BU/BC (and a minimal amount from Fordham) I'm fairly well-aware of the grim options in a general sense. In any event,

I am in a slightly better position in Boston (and to some extent NY) because of networking. And worst case, if I go for an LLM (in tax) in 3 years I'll have a very good shot at a decent (but admittedly non-biglaw) job--I left my previous employer on very good terms. If I dropped in for a summer I'd likely get hired after graduation. It's enough to service my debt while actually having money for other things at least. So I'm a bit less price-tag-averse than some. I don't especially want to do tax. But I want to do document review even less. :p

So I'm very much in a better place than somebody just dropping into Boston with no ties but I'm in a position where I really need the big name on my diploma for that to work but I'm going to have to pay more than I'd like for it.

Since the topic has shifted a bit, how *does* one approach getting government (state or federal) work from a school like BU? (It's an area I'm considering but don't know very much about.)

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twenty
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby twenty » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:34 am

And worst case, if I go for an LLM (in tax) in 3 years I'll have a very good shot at a decent (but admittedly non-biglaw) job--


Will this job pay you an adequate-enough amount of money to service your loans from, say, BU? Unless you're able to live with your parents for three years, even a half scholarship is going to put you somewhere north of 175k of debt. A tax LLM on top of that would definitely put you up into the 250k range.

I don't especially want to do tax.


Then definitely don't do a tax LLM.

So I'm very much in a better place than somebody just dropping into Boston with no ties but I'm in a position where I really need the big name on my diploma for that to work but I'm going to have to pay more than I'd like for it.


It's a lot more binary than that - either you have the ties to be able to land a guaranteed legal job no matter what law school you go to, (at which point do UConn or something on a full ride), or you MUST go to a law school where you can count on the placement power of the school to get you a job. The very last place you want to be is with a lot of debt and no legal job.

Since the topic has shifted a bit, how *does* one approach getting government (state or federal) work from a school like BU? (It's an area I'm considering but don't know very much about.)


Ideally get in a time machine and spend a couple years on active military duty getting veteran's preference. I don't know what MA's state attorney hiring looks like nowadays, but fedgov is as brutal, or perhaps more brutal than most places.

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twenty
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby twenty » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:38 am

Well, it's a bit late for me to retake at this point, unfortunately. And I'm unlikely to improve by 5 points in any event, I'd think.


Based on what? You can reapply next cycle, and you have tons of room for LSAT improvement. Your GPA is decent enough, so that's certainly not going to be what holds you back here.

You said it yourself - it's really grim right now based on what you're looking at. But you're putting yourself in this situation when you say "late" and "unlikely." Choosing between Fordham or BU/BC at sticker is like choosing between cutting off your middle and index fingers, or your thumb. It's a false dichotomy. Choose to retake (not cut off any fingers at all), or choose not to enslave yourself to 175k-400k dollars of non-dischargeable student loan debt.

03152016
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby 03152016 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:44 am

plunge headlong into crippling debt
at a school with mediocre job outcomes
and then rack up additional debt getting a tax LLM
so you can begin a career in a practice area that doesn't interest you
in the expectation that your current employer will hire you in 2019

what could possibly go wrong

BigZuck
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:49 am

Brut wrote:plunge headlong into crippling debt
at a school with mediocre job outcomes
and then rack up additional debt getting a tax LLM
so you can begin a career in a practice area that doesn't interest you
in the expectation that your current employer will hire you in 2019

what could possibly go wrong


lol

The fact that it reads like a poem makes it even better

Yeah, that's not a good plan Garth

AReasonableMan
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby AReasonableMan » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:49 am

banjo wrote:
twenty wrote:That's not quite how it works, it's not a "I'd be okay settling for a PD office." PD offices in many metro areas have sub-1% hire rates. It's not uncommon for wannabe ADAs to volunclerk at the DA's office for 1-2 years before getting hired.


Yeah, this. In some sense, big law is easy to get. You spend a few days in a luxury hotel filled with cookies and toys. People who don't get biglaw actually have a much harder path to legal employment.

You can't assume that your willingness to work for less money makes legal aid a fallback. You're assuming the majority of the class is like you.

Not to promulgate special snowflake syndrome, but a wide array of people comprise a given law school class. Most people entering law have some desire to help other people, and some people take this more seriously than others. A lot of people would rather do legal aid than have a big law job, aren't motivated by money. Also, a random person pursuing a post-bachelor degree is likelier to be from a rich family than an average person. Some of these people will value salary differently than you.

Big law isn't easy to get by any means especially from the schools you're likely to be considering. However, you have some estimated guess of your prospects very early on in the game. In PD you may not know till you graduate.

Nomo
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby Nomo » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:23 am

If you are 100% sure this midlaw firm would welcome you back for a summer and then hire you full-time then I think you'll likely find an option that works for you (the cheaper the better). If the firm's top partners haven't made that kind of promise, then I think you're in a pretty bad position and I don't think you should go to law school at this time.

There just aren't any good options for a person with a 3.7 and a 162. I think its hard for a lot of people like you to see that because you've probably been successful most of your life and in the abstract those aren't bad numbers. But we're not in the abstract, we're in 2014. Tuition is just way too high. The number of job openings is way to low.

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fats provolone
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby fats provolone » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:26 am

Nomo wrote:There just aren't any good options for a person with a 3.7 and a 162.

i dunno, all he has to do is study for a test and he could save hundreds of thousands of dollars. that seems like a pretty sweet option.

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sublime
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby sublime » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:30 am

..

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pancakes3
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:45 am

Nomo wrote:If you are 100% sure this midlaw firm would welcome you back for a summer and then hire you full-time then I think you'll likely find an option that works for you (the cheaper the better). If the firm's top partners haven't made that kind of promise, then I think you're in a pretty bad position and I don't think you should go to law school at this time.


Which leads me to ask - why did you already quit? Did you talk to your boss about law school, possibly going p/t and keeping your job? Did you ask about summering after 1L? It's only December. You could have had 8 more months of employment/paychecks.

Garth Nader
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby Garth Nader » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:52 am

Summering 1L: Yes--they want me back.

Why so early: personal issues.


As a point of interest, how much aid would make schools like U Illinois or UC Davis worthwhile investments. Obviously going free is better (duly noted) and sticker is irresponsibly high, but there is surly a point where there is a decent ROI?

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mist4bison
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby mist4bison » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:53 am

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Last edited by mist4bison on Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rigo
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby Rigo » Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:28 am

Garth Nader wrote:Why so early: personal issues.

Here's a good quote from another thread:
timbs4339 wrote:It is very difficult to think of a personal circumstance that could make you (a) have to go to law school this year, and (b) means that if you don't go this year you'll never go at all. It's possible, and perhaps you have such a story, but usually when people come on this forum it is some form of:

I want to tell people I meet at parties I'm doing something important with my life
My parents are telling me to get a job and move out
I don't have any options for white collar post-grad work so I'm going to run to law school
I'm like super-bored at my entry-level job
I want to get into that big pile of money as fast as possible
I decided I was doing this six months ago and I'm stubborn as fuck
My ex-boyfriend who I thought I was going to marry is going to law school in Cambridge

All of these seem personal and overwhelming to the people who come on here- but they are really not. Thousands of people do it each year because of crap like this, and that's why the posters are being curt.

Garth Nader wrote:As a point of interest, how much aid would make schools like U Illinois or UC Davis worthwhile investments. Obviously going free is better (duly noted) and sticker is irresponsibly high, but there is surly a point where there is a decent ROI?

Depends on your goals. UIUC was very generous with scholarships last cycle. They'll likely be looking to raise their median from 161 to 162 so you could be looking at some decent money from there. Retake for a mere few points higher and it could mean a $120,000 scholarship from them.
UIUC is not advisable if you are gunning for biglaw or do not want to practice in Illinois. Actually, none of the schools you'd get into are good if you want biglaw or geographic mobility. Both California and Chicago are tie-centric markets.

Garth Nader
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby Garth Nader » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:16 pm

Alright, so talking about my play if I did defer until next year:

1: I've already pulled the trigger on applications at this point--what's the best way to handle that? How to approach applying, being accepted, and then reapplying the next cycle?

2: While my biggest weakness is logic games, I'm not 100% confident that I'll do hugely better (slightly better, yes) how many points would justify a retake?

3: I know Illinois is is pretty regional but after a first job (2 years) how hard is it to break into a market where you have some ties (Boston).

4: Are there any general rules of thumb about how BU/BC hand out financial aid?

5: A (for argument's sake) 3.7/365 is 50th/25th for a school like Cornell. Is it better to pay sticker for Cornell or half (?) off BU/BC)?

6: Best approaches for prepping? Kaplan is shit. What actually works?

7: How to handle personal statements etc. on a repeat app? Redo, modify, or keep roughly as-is?

8: Anything else I should know?

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mist4bison
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby mist4bison » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:26 pm

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Last edited by mist4bison on Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bl1nds1ght
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby bl1nds1ght » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:32 pm

Garth Nader wrote:1: I've already pulled the trigger on applications at this point--what's the best way to handle that? How to approach applying, being accepted, and then reapplying the next cycle?

You can just withdraw your apps. They truly won't care if you reapply next cycle.

Garth Nader wrote:2: While my biggest weakness is logic games, I'm not 100% confident that I'll do hugely better (slightly better, yes) how many points would justify a retake?

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=236980

^ This is hands down the best way to study for LG.

Garth Nader wrote:5: A (for argument's sake) 3.7/365 is 50th/25th for a school like Cornell. Is it better to pay sticker for Cornell or half (?) off BU/BC)?

Personally, with your goals and ties to the Boston area, I would go half off at BU/BC, but that's just me. If you don't care too much about biglaw, then go with the lower debt.

Garth Nader wrote:6: Best approaches for prepping? Kaplan is shit. What actually works?

Self study and/or 7sage. There are a lot of great guides on this forum.

Garth Nader wrote:8: Anything else I should know?

That you are totally making the right choice. You can do this. An improvement over your 162 if your biggest problem area is LG will be a breeze if you dedicate yourself.

Good luck, OP.

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Rigo
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby Rigo » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:49 pm

Garth Nader wrote:Alright, so talking about my play if I did defer until next year:
1: I've already pulled the trigger on applications at this point--what's the best way to handle that? How to approach applying, being accepted, and then reapplying the next cycle?
Withdraw your apps now or withdraw later. It really doesn't matter.

2: While my biggest weakness is logic games, I'm not 100% confident that I'll do hugely better (slightly better, yes) how many points would justify a retake?
Since your weakness is LG, you will no doubt improve your score. It is by far the easiest section to improve on.

3: I know Illinois is is pretty regional but after a first job (2 years) how hard is it to break into a market where you have some ties (Boston).
Extremely hard. Don't go to Illinois with any hope of returning to Boston.

4: Are there any general rules of thumb about how BU/BC hand out financial aid?
Unfortunately, they're known for being extremely stingy. Unless they change their m.o., don't expect much.

5: A (for argument's sake) 3.7/165 is 50th/25th for a school like Cornell. Is it better to pay sticker for Cornell or half (?) off BU/BC)?
Cornell's new LSAT medians are 166-167-169, so it is more of an uphill climb than your hypothetical. The answer to your question depends on your goals. Both options sound pretty crappy to me, tbh.

6: Best approaches for prepping? Kaplan is shit. What actually works?
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=224012
These are the resources many of us initial takers are using. Scroll down to where I discuss LG drilling. The Cambridge packets + 7sage are really good.

7: How to handle personal statements etc. on a repeat app? Redo, modify, or keep roughly as-is?
Generally schools will want something updated/different, but if you withdraw before they review your app, then it won't really matter I guess. That's a very minor issue in the scheme of things.

8: Anything else I should know?
If you actually sit out the cycle and retake, your future self will be very thankful. I am so happy I didn't rush off to law school because I know I would have regretted it later (I was looking at schools that objectively suck and didn't know the whole retake mantra back in 2012).

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twenty
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby twenty » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:55 pm

As a side note, BU gives its Early Decision acceptances full rides. Though with a 167-168, you'd probably be looking at decent money from Cornell, so maybe ED BU isn't the best call at that point.

I dunno. You're not in a bad position, OP. It's not like you have to go from the 150s to 170+ and still not get much money because you're a splitter. Figure out your weak points, study, retake, profit.

Garth Nader
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Re: Best school these numbers can get a free ride at?

Postby Garth Nader » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:22 pm

Further questions:

1: Aren't this year's medians a bit skewed so far? All the first picks are in but not everybody just yet.

2: My apps have been in for a while now--many (if not most) are under review. Does withdrawing after receiving an offer from people and reapplying next cycle hurt you? At this point they'll have already seen my apps.

3: What are the general rules for retaking? What happens (god forbid!) if I have slightly lower scores than 162 on the second round and for some colossally stupid reason don't catch this fact and cancel?




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