Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

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wunderkind2
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Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby wunderkind2 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:17 pm

Hi TLS!

I just met with a pre-law advisor at my school and after browsing the forums here, it seems that you all aren't too big on pre-law advisors, so I figured I'd ask you all the same questions.

Anyway, here goes!

I'm a first-semester freshman at an elite, private non-Ivy undergraduate institution. Based on AP credit and how I was able to craft my schedule, I'll be graduating in 2.5 years as opposed to the normal 4. This semester I'm pulling a 4.0 and I imagine I'll graduate with at least a 3.8, considering the classes that I have left to take are rather similar to the ones I took this semester (I know, it's tough to project such a high GPA after barely a semester, but roll with me here). I took a practice LSAT a week ago and got a 164. In terms of my "softs," I've interned with/will intern with a number of prominent politicians from my home state, I'm very involved at my undergraduate institution (executive board of a club as a freshman, student govt., writer for the law journal, club sport athlete, community service work), and I've worked as a journalist for a variety of outlets since high school. I will be doing a legal internship this summer. I'm also in the process of publishing a book (memoir of my senior year of high school).

I took the only math course I'll have to take here as a pass/fail this semester. I plan to apply in the October of my final semester at college, which would be the Fall 2016 cycle.

Anyway, my questions are as follows (and you can probably guess how my pre-law advisor answered most of them if I'm coming for a second opinion):

1. Is the pass/fail going to kill my chances at the Top 6? What about graduating in just 2.5 years? What about both? What if I pull a 3.8+, 170+?
2. Am I going to be Mr. Conditional Acceptance come the application process?
3. Will my extracurricular involvement and work experience allow me to make a compelling case for my personal maturity, despite a truncated undergraduate experience? Do I need to write an addendum about the 2.5 year graduation? What about for the one pass/fail?
4. With a 164 as my first try on the LSAT, how high is it possible for me to go in terms of a score (realistically, please)? What test prep company would you all recommend?
5. Will any of the Top 6 (or even the Top 14) be impressed that I was able to get a Bachelor's in 2.5 years from a top-notch univ.?
6. Does anybody actually care about any of this?

Thank you all so much, and for anybody who's going to tell me not to, please just know that I'm already set in my plan and I'd prefer answers to my questions instead of advice on why I shouldn't do what I'm doing!

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WichitaShocker
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby WichitaShocker » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:59 pm

I do think you may be getting a little too excited, and counting your chickens a bit early. However, I do think you are in a good spot, you can get as high as you want on the LSAT if you study(play it safe and shoot for 180). I don't think any schools will really care one way or another about your softs (except as a tie breaker), or that you are graduating in 2.5 years. My advice to you would be to use the fact that you are set to graduate early to your advantage. Take an easy enough schedule that you have a legitimate shot at a 4.0 each semester, and don't be afraid to take 3 years to graduate to do so(hell 4 years is ok). After you have your 4.0 secured (or as close to it as possible) take a year off to study full time(40+ hours a week) for the LSAT (no matter how long it takes you to graduate). As for prep materials I used the Manhatten LSAT series and self studied. This isn't a race, and law school is not going anywhere, take your time, extra time if need be, and move to New Haven in 5 years.

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Fiero85
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby Fiero85 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:07 pm

wunderkind2 wrote:Hi TLS!

I just met with a pre-law advisor at my school and after browsing the forums here, it seems that you all aren't too big on pre-law advisors, so I figured I'd ask you all the same questions.

Anyway, here goes!

I'm a first-semester freshman at an elite, private non-Ivy undergraduate institution. Based on AP credit and how I was able to craft my schedule, I'll be graduating in 2.5 years as opposed to the normal 4. This semester I'm pulling a 4.0 and I imagine I'll graduate with at least a 3.8, considering the classes that I have left to take are rather similar to the ones I took this semester (I know, it's tough to project such a high GPA after barely a semester, but roll with me here). I took a practice LSAT a week ago and got a 164. In terms of my "softs," I've interned with/will intern with a number of prominent politicians from my home state, I'm very involved at my undergraduate institution (executive board of a club as a freshman, student govt., writer for the law journal, club sport athlete, community service work), and I've worked as a journalist for a variety of outlets since high school. I will be doing a legal internship this summer. I'm also in the process of publishing a book (memoir of my senior year of high school).

I took the only math course I'll have to take here as a pass/fail this semester. I plan to apply in the October of my final semester at college, which would be the Fall 2016 cycle.

Anyway, my questions are as follows (and you can probably guess how my pre-law advisor answered most of them if I'm coming for a second opinion):

1. Is the pass/fail going to kill my chances at the Top 6? What about graduating in just 2.5 years? What about both? What if I pull a 3.8+, 170+?

no one will likely notice or care about one P/F course. Just don't fail the course and don't make a habit out of it

2. Am I going to be Mr. Conditional Acceptance come the application process?
3. Will my extracurricular involvement and work experience allow me to make a compelling case for my personal maturity, despite a truncated undergraduate experience? Do I need to write an addendum about the 2.5 year graduation? What about for the one pass/fail?

I graduated in 3, so even coming from someone who generally likes the idea, I think your plan could be improved. There's almost no possible way for you to be fully competitive with T14 applicants with 2-4 yrs on average more experience and accolades. I personally recommend taking advantage of that early graduation and working for 1.5 to 2.5 years before law school. You have as good of a chance as any at all top schools (except for Y/S where unicorns are still rejected annually so no one is safe lol). But you will certainly not be helped by extreme youth, and you will likely be hurt. I had some schools in the top 10 that I did not get in to (waitlisted + left hanging) even with numbers at or above both medians if you want an anecdote. Anyway, work awhile and then go to law school later if you want. It's all to your benefit. You'll make professional connections and do much better in your (more important) interviews for an actual legal job during law school. That's something to seriously consider. Presently, you run too much unnecessary risk of underperforming in your app cycle and your real job search when you are in law school. Besides, being under 21 in law school is bad enough. Seriously. But yes, the elite schools will care, and it's not so much that they will care if you are young, it's just they have plenty of applicants who aren't lacking years on the planet and/or working that help people develop more. They won't bat an eye if you just take some time to work. Some other people might recommend extending your stay in UG, or studying abroad, or taking time to travel on your own after graduation, and I think those are nice, but not necessary. Pick one if you think you'll enjoy it, don't waste your time on all three. Extending time in UG pursuing a second major or something is the least valuable of those three by the way, no one cares. Do it if it interests you or would be more enjoyable somehow.

4. With a 164 as my first try on the LSAT, how high is it possible for me to go in terms of a score (realistically, please)? What test prep company would you all recommend?

180 is possible, yes, realistically. But if that was a cold diagnostic, and timed, PT, then a reasonable goal would be over 170 or bust.

5. Will any of the Top 6 (or even the Top 14) be impressed that I was able to get a Bachelor's in 2.5 years from a top-notch univ.?

No. At least not enough to change your admission decision.

6. Does anybody actually care about any of this?

You do obviously, but pretty much no one else, sorry haha. Just use your speedy schooling plan to boost your professional experience for your age instead of rushing into law school, and you'll be fine. Good luck!

Thank you all so much, and for anybody who's going to tell me not to, please just know that I'm already set in my plan and I'd prefer answers to my questions instead of advice on why I shouldn't do what I'm doing!


P.S. don't sacrifice your GPA for anything, especially 2.5 vs 3 full years, which is still very early graduation. Drop a class if you're not on your way to a good grade, don't take anything too hard out of misguided academic curiosity, etc. Protect that GPA like the stone carved number it is. With the exception of Y/S and Berkeley, everywhere else you can get into on LSAT/GPA alone, and you can only retake the LSAT. So just be careful.

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twenty
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:08 am

I would stretch it out to three years if possible. I know you don't want to hear this, but you really don't want to go to law school at age 20. Even people entering at 22 are on the younger side, all things considering.

Echoing "don't sacrifice your GPA for anything" sentiment.

wunderkind2
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby wunderkind2 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:18 am

Whether I graduate in 2.5 or 3 years, I'm starting the next fall. The timeline is the same.

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WichitaShocker
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby WichitaShocker » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:22 am

wunderkind2 wrote:Whether I graduate in 2.5 or 3 years, I'm starting the next fall. The timeline is the same.

This is the wrong mentality. If you are serious about a career in the legal profession, you need to be willing to take time off to put yourself in the best position possible to excel long term.

hdunlop
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby hdunlop » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:25 am

You remind me of when I was a kid and I was like, man I can't wait to be a grown-up and stay up as late as I want. And my parents were all like, but you have to pay bills and shit. I was like, oh man, I totally can't wait anyway. It will be worth it.

It's not worth it.

Enjoy what you have. Try hard and do well and shit but jeez, take it easy. You'll regret that you didn't a ton.

wunderkind2
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby wunderkind2 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:26 am

Praying this doesn't turn into a "be a kid" thread...

Moneytrees
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby Moneytrees » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:35 am

OP- chill out, focus on your grades and kill the LSAT. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to do that.

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Fiero85
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby Fiero85 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:35 am

Again, generally I'd say don't get so hung up on the timeline. Why not strengthen your app, professional network, OCI interview chops, and make money in the process?

We're trying to help man, but it's just true that if you you're targeting elite schools, you'd be well served to at least consider adjusting your plan.

Either way, keep your grades up, nail the LSAT. Apply whenever you want, but don't settle if you underperform your numbers.

Don't be too short sighted, again, OCI and real jobs are the end game. Little to no work experience and barely old enough to drink is a unnecessary hindrance to legal employment.

hdunlop
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby hdunlop » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:38 am

wunderkind2 wrote:Praying this doesn't turn into a "be a kid" thread...


It should.

1. Obviously not. Your LSAT is.
2. I don't know what that means
2. No. No. No.
4. I went from 167 to 177 without a test prep company.
5. No.
6. Your parents, I bet. And you. That's enough.

Now go have a work-life balance. You won't for the freaking rest of your life. Do so now.

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twenty
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:34 am

It's not so much "d'aww, be a kid" and more "ughh don't go to law school at 20" thing. Work for a year or two as a paralegal and see if this is actually something you want to spend your life doing. You'll either go to law school anyway (which is totally fine), but with a whole bunch of money in your bank, or alternatively you'll realize that being a lawyer is not as great as it sounds, and then decide to figure something else out.

edit> Just so we're clear, this is something ALL K-JDs should be doing, not just those that graduate in 2.5 years.

Kimikho
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby Kimikho » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:36 am

Don't go to law school before you can legally drink.

popsmurf
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby popsmurf » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:48 am

I graduated from a top law school in Michigan and regardless of your undergrad performance, law school is totally different! You should read and read again, "SPAM." I just bought 5 copies and sent them to my friends who are currently 1Ls. I only did it because I wish that I had known some of the things in that book when I started out. Although I finished at the top of my class, it never hurts to learn from someone who has been down your path. The book is on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Kimikho
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby Kimikho » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:49 am

popsmurf wrote:I graduated from a top law school in Michigan and regardless of your undergrad performance, law school is totally different! You should read and read again, my shitty e-book I just bought 5 copies and sent them to my friends who are currently 1Ls. I only did it because I wish that I had known some of the things in that book when I started out. Although I finished at the top of my class, it never hurts to learn from someone who has been down your path. The book is on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.


:lol:

hill1334
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby hill1334 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:11 am

twenty wrote:It's not so much "d'aww, be a kid" and more "ughh don't go to law school at 20" thing. Work for a year or two as a paralegal and see if this is actually something you want to spend your life doing. You'll either go to law school anyway (which is totally fine), but with a whole bunch of money in your bank, or alternatively you'll realize that being a lawyer is not as great as it sounds, and then decide to figure something else out.

edit> Just so we're clear, this is something ALL K-JDs should be doing, not just those that graduate in 2.5 years.


I would seriously consider working as a paralegal, particularly if you are interested in BigLaw. This past summer I started work as a paralegal at a v10 law firm, along with 24 other recent college graduates, as part of a two year program for individuals considering law school. Of the 25 of us who started, only 9 of us will be going onto law school. Half have already quit, and the remaining 4 or 5 have decided to pursue other opportunities going forward. Personally, I have enjoyed my experience, and I am now more certain than ever that I want to go to law school, but that has certainly not been the case for a lot of other people.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:37 pm

popsmurf wrote:I graduated from a top law school in Michigan and regardless of your undergrad performance, law school is totally different! You should read and read again, "SPAM." I just bought 5 copies and sent them to my friends who are currently 1Ls. I only did it because I wish that I had known some of the things in that book when I started out. Although I finished at the top of my class, it never hurts to learn from someone who has been down your path. The book is on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

The pitch:

A guy is a 1L at MSU. He is lost and confused. Somehow he pulls really good grades but can't forget how lost he once was. He spends his free time reading books on how to make A's in law school long after he finishes law school, and somehow has tons of close friends 3 plus years younger than him who are 1Ls at different schools. He buys tons of these books and mails it to his friends right before LS finals rather than proven books like GTM, etc.

Honestly, assuming you're the writer and your book isn't lying - you were top of the class at Cooley, isn't your book proof you should retake the LSAT? You're top of the class and your post grad livelihood is parroting and scamming the public to buy your book for $15 a pop? What's your take home per purchase? $10? With six figure loans, this is your plan?

wunderkind2
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby wunderkind2 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:46 pm

Basically as long as I have the numbers, it won't hurt me that it took just 2.5 years to get them?

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twenty
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:48 pm

Right.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:57 pm

wunderkind2 wrote:Basically as long as I have the numbers, it won't hurt me that it took just 2.5 years to get them?

One thing to consider is you may not want to interview as a 21 yr old k-jd. But your age is irrelevant. Your numbers aren't worth less because you're younger.

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logdog
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby logdog » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:27 pm

You'll probably improve a lot if you actually work on mastering the LSAT. Your (projected and ambitious) gpa combined with your (projected and ambitious) LSAT score will get you into a good law school, but most of your classmates probably will not like you because you seem like the typical k-jd gunner type.

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StylinNProfilin
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby StylinNProfilin » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:02 pm

Kimikho wrote:Don't go to law school before you can legally drink.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby nothingtosee » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:12 pm

wunderkind2 wrote:Basically as long as I have the numbers, it won't hurt me that it took just 2.5 years to get them?


I disagree, actually.
Especially the higher up you aim, your age will work against you.
Last year YLS had a single k-jd.
Harvard is only a quarter k-jd.

So if your LSAT doesn't come back 175+ I think there's a reasonable chance you'll get waitlist/dinged at the top.

Also employers won't want to hire you.

Also, life experience and responsibility and polish and knowing how to mingle &c

Also, be a kid. Do a year abroad teaching English or something.

eta: judging by being able to graduate in 2.5 years as even a possibility, I imagine you're at a public school or not super high ranked private, which will work against you at the top. Of course it's not dispositive, but it is a factor.

wunderkind2
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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby wunderkind2 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:49 pm

nothingtosee wrote:
wunderkind2 wrote:Basically as long as I have the numbers, it won't hurt me that it took just 2.5 years to get them?


I disagree, actually.
Especially the higher up you aim, your age will work against you.
Last year YLS had a single k-jd.
Harvard is only a quarter k-jd.

So if your LSAT doesn't come back 175+ I think there's a reasonable chance you'll get waitlist/dinged at the top.

Also employers won't want to hire you.

Also, life experience and responsibility and polish and knowing how to mingle &c

Also, be a kid. Do a year abroad teaching English or something.

eta: judging by being able to graduate in 2.5 years as even a possibility, I imagine you're at a public school or not super high ranked private, which will work against you at the top. Of course it's not dispositive, but it is a factor.


I'm at a top-ranked private non-Ivy, I just had a good number of AP credits and I'm basically taking the maximum summer and winter credits available. As for your stats, what percentage of Yale/Harvard's applications were K-JD? What were their stats? How many above-median candidates were rejected because of K-JD status? You give some numbers but fail to elaborate on their relevance. I have a hard time making anything of what you say when I have no context. Thanks!

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Re: Slew of LS questions from a 1st-semester undergrad freshman

Postby BigZuck » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:01 pm

There are so many more valuable/interesting/productive things you can do with your early 20s, like hang out with friends, drink, travel, date non-law students, etc. Don't waste those years on law school, that would be tragic.

Just get a 4.0 and have MAXIMUM FUN for the next 4 or so years, then take a couple years off and do cool/fun stuff, and then go to law school. Or, ideally you will have found something better to do with your life and you don't even have to go to law school. That's what's called a win/win




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