Do I need the work experience boost?

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gjsi222
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Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby gjsi222 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:18 pm

I'm trying to go T14 with hopefully some funding. Top 20 is acceptable. My GPA is a 3.3 in a natural science and my LSAT is a 172. I have work experience in college (if Starbucks counts as work experience) and will have completed a research project in biochemistry by the time I've graduated. I'm looking at NYU, UPenn, Berkeley (ha! with my GPA?), UCLA, Northwestern (work experience likely required for me), Vanderbilt, and University of Washington (safety). No particular order of preference until I actually get accepted. My GPA is below the median for all these schools but my LSAT makes up for it. How vital would post undergrad work experience be to gaining admission ? If it matters, I'd likely be working in environmental science or at a laboratory. Possibly working for a biochem company doing something outside benchwork. How many years would you suggest? How can I fit my work experience into my application? Many law schools make it clear work experience helps students succeed - how did your work experience affect your ability to excel in law school?

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LET'S GET IT
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby LET'S GET IT » Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:43 pm

gjsi222 wrote:I'm trying to go T14 with hopefully some funding. Top 20 is acceptable. My GPA is a 3.3 in a natural science and my LSAT is a 172. I have work experience in college (if Starbucks counts as work experience) and will have completed a research project in biochemistry by the time I've graduated. I'm looking at NYU, UPenn, Berkeley (ha! with my GPA?), UCLA, Northwestern (work experience likely required for me), Vanderbilt, and University of Washington (safety). No particular order of preference until I actually get accepted. My GPA is below the median for all these schools but my LSAT makes up for it. How vital would post undergrad work experience be to gaining admission ? If it matters, I'd likely be working in environmental science or at a laboratory. Possibly working for a biochem company doing something outside benchwork. How many years would you suggest? How can I fit my work experience into my application? Many law schools make it clear work experience helps students succeed - how did your work experience affect your ability to excel in law school?


1L here so I can't speak as to whether work experience helped me excel in law school since I haven't gotten grades yet. That being said, it helped quite a bit in the admissions process. Schools seem to give a bump to applicants with some real work experience. This particularly holds true for Northwestern, they rarely take applicants with no work experience. I outperformed my numbers, I believe, based almost entirely on my resume and my PS. I would suggest maybe 2ish years of work experience, but that's just a guess. Best of luck!

gjsi222
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby gjsi222 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:50 pm

Thanks for the info. I'm not sure if I'm necessarily business oriented just yet but Northwestern has my eye at the moment. You may not be able to speak on this, but what if during my interview I admit my stats are subpar and would prefer deferred admission after a year or two of work experience? Some may consider this to be highlighting my weaknesses but my GPA simply doesn't make the cut. I hear NW likes splitters and I'm probably not as extreme as most. Do you think this sort of deal would boost my chances?

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Rigo
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby Rigo » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:01 pm

WE is not vital to admissions. That being said, getting WE is good from a maturity standpoint and will help distance you from your GPA a bit.
The main part where WE is an advantage is during OCI.

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LET'S GET IT
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby LET'S GET IT » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:05 pm

gjsi222 wrote:Thanks for the info. I'm not sure if I'm necessarily business oriented just yet but Northwestern has my eye at the moment. You may not be able to speak on this, but what if during my interview I admit my stats are subpar and would prefer deferred admission after a year or two of work experience? Some may consider this to be highlighting my weaknesses but my GPA simply doesn't make the cut. I hear NW likes splitters and I'm probably not as extreme as most. Do you think this sort of deal would boost my chances?


I wouldn't go this route. School are trying to hit target medians for this class, not for their class 2 or 3 years from now. I wouldn't mention deferral in the interview, no way. Makes it sound as if you aren't all in on LS. Northwestern, I think, is the most splitter friendly of any T14 school, and may be the only one not to have any GPA floor whatsoever. Your GPA is what it is, but I think you are in at NU, and will probably snag a couple other T14's, and are a lock for big money at some T20's.

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Rigo
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby Rigo » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:08 pm

I'm not sure what your career goals are or where you have ties, but I would add WUSTL to your list, even if just solely to use as leverage when negotiating scholarships.

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downbeat14
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby downbeat14 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:13 pm

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Last edited by downbeat14 on Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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hillz
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby hillz » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:16 pm

Disclosure: 0L here.

I have a few years of WE under my belt and feel that it has added a depth to my application that would not have been there if I had applied straight out of undergrad. Taking a few years off also gave me time to mature and make sure I really did want to go to grad school.

It definitely is possible to have lots of success in law school without WE but still, I think it can't do anything but help. I agree with everyone else - you shouldn't draw attention to weaknesses in your app during interviews.

gjsi222
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby gjsi222 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:48 pm

Thanks for all the responses, guys. To those suggesting WUSTL: I hate St. Louis and am not a fan of the midwest in general except Chicago. I haven't done any research on employment placement for WUSTL but I assume it's mostly regional with some departing for larger markets. However, feel free to convince me otherwise.

downbeat14 wrote:Agree with the other posters re: benefits of WE, but...

the flip side is that we are in literally one of the biggest buyers markets in recent memory. Apps are so far down, and the higher scoring levels are WAY down. I think you might be able to get a crazy outcome this cycle, that may not be around in a couple of years if we hit the bottom of this thing and apps go back up... it's going to have to happen eventually.



I'm also considering this. It's difficult to tell if application stats will continue to behave the way they are or if prospective students will seize the opportunity and numbers will go back up. I'm actually not going to be in this application cycle; I graduate Spring 2016. Hopefully things get even worse (er, better) next year.

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Rigo
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby Rigo » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:53 pm

gjsi222 wrote:Thanks for all the responses, guys. To those suggesting WUSTL: I hate St. Louis and am not a fan of the midwest in general except Chicago. I haven't done any research on employment placement for WUSTL but I assume it's mostly regional with some departing for larger markets.

That's all fine and dandy, but you missed what I said. I said to use them for scholly negotiation with other schools because WUSTL is very generous. You could say "Hey Northwestern, I really want to matriculate but I was offered a full ride from WUSTL. Can you sweeten the pot?"

I'm not saying you have to consider attending WUSTL. If you had a 172/3.9 then you wouldn't necessarily have to bother with WUSTL, but you have a 172/3.3 so you need to be more strategic in order to get the most desirable outcome possible.

gjsi222
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby gjsi222 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:12 pm

Dirigo wrote:
gjsi222 wrote:Thanks for all the responses, guys. To those suggesting WUSTL: I hate St. Louis and am not a fan of the midwest in general except Chicago. I haven't done any research on employment placement for WUSTL but I assume it's mostly regional with some departing for larger markets.

That's all fine and dandy, but you missed what I said. I said to use them for scholly negotiation with other schools because WUSTL is very generous. You could say "Hey Northwestern, I really want to matriculate but I was offered a full ride from WUSTL. Can you sweeten the pot?"

I'm not saying you have to consider attending WUSTL. If you had a 172/3.9 then you wouldn't necessarily have to bother with WUSTL, but you have a 172/3.3 so you need to be more strategic in order to get the most desirable outcome possible.


Ah yes, I understand. It might also be a good idea to do this with Colorado at Boulder or another less prestigious school that would possibly offer a large scholarship. I say Boulder because if I want to abandon my BigLaw aspirations for substantially less debt with a more moderate income I can do it in an awesome state. Thanks for the tip!

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Rigo
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby Rigo » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:25 pm

gjsi222 wrote:
Dirigo wrote:
gjsi222 wrote:Thanks for all the responses, guys. To those suggesting WUSTL: I hate St. Louis and am not a fan of the midwest in general except Chicago. I haven't done any research on employment placement for WUSTL but I assume it's mostly regional with some departing for larger markets.

That's all fine and dandy, but you missed what I said. I said to use them for scholly negotiation with other schools because WUSTL is very generous. You could say "Hey Northwestern, I really want to matriculate but I was offered a full ride from WUSTL. Can you sweeten the pot?"

I'm not saying you have to consider attending WUSTL. If you had a 172/3.9 then you wouldn't necessarily have to bother with WUSTL, but you have a 172/3.3 so you need to be more strategic in order to get the most desirable outcome possible.


Ah yes, I understand. It might also be a good idea to do this with Colorado at Boulder or another less prestigious school that would possibly offer a large scholarship. I say Boulder because if I want to abandon my BigLaw aspirations for substantially less debt with a more moderate income I can do it in an awesome state. Thanks for the tip!

Colorado is known for being stingy with scholarships (my TLS friend from Colorado complains about it frequently).
Also, if you're not from Colorado or even the Rocky Mountain West region in general, that really isn't a smart move. Ties are very important in those smaller markets.

I think you should stick around TLS a little more and follow this forum and the Choosing & What Are My Chances forums. I was very naive before joining TLS before reading countless tidbits of advice to other applicants. Gaining knowledge about both the application process and legal hiring practices will really open your eyes and allow you to make prudent decisions.
Your 172 is impressive and by getting a lay of the land, you will be able to ride that score as far as your can toward a successful future.

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RZ5646
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby RZ5646 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:38 pm

Only Northwestern cares about WE.

GPA + LSAT + don't do anything that would prevent you from passing bar C&F = 95% of the admissions decision at every other school.

gjsi222
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby gjsi222 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:56 pm

Good thing I've got some time to do more research. I've lurked some but I still have many question regarding the career and specific schools. That's too bad to hear about Colorado. I have no legal ties except my mother's husband and a judge in my area, but I'm ready to get out of Kentucky.

gjsi222
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Re: Do I need the work experience boost?

Postby gjsi222 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:17 pm

Dirigo wrote:Also, if you're not from Colorado or even the Rocky Mountain West region in general, that really isn't a smart move. Ties are very important in those smaller markets.


Hm, can you elaborate on this? I am aware the BigLaw markets are mostly CA, NY, and Chicago and this is a potential path for me. However, if I decide instead I'd rather work in a smaller market because of location (Washington state, Colorado, parts of CA, even AZ) or more substantial scholarships, can I not just network and build ties while I'm there? Those native to the market would obviously have an advantage, but is it truly that difficult to break in? I'd rather do this than take on BigDebt and be restricted to wherever I can get a job in BigLaw.




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