I need help with deciding what is and is not usable in apps

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longhorn65
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I need help with deciding what is and is not usable in apps

Postby longhorn65 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:01 pm

Hello, I have multiple issues of concern that I hope you can help me navigate in the applications process. Any information would be great

1. I am attending A top public school in america where football is HUGE. I walked on to the official football team and made it. This was my life long dream but unfortunately my inability to perform in college was quickly realized and I had to quit football in hopes of success at college. Academics had always been my priority but football was my passion. In high school I graduated 7th in my class but since getting to college I have done terrible despite my efforts such as quitting football. About a month ago (my senior year) I found out that I have severe ADHD and it was bad enough to warrant accommodations for Undergrad. Knowing this has changed a lot for me and I am definitely a better student now. Unfortunately, I fear it is to late to really make any significant changes to my GPA (2.7). My question is should I discuss the football as a positive point showing that I can achieve what I set my mind to or does it look bad because I had to quit? Should I discuss sacrificing football (my dream) for academics? And should I submit an overall GPA addendum for my GPA regarding the late in life diagnosis of ADHD?

2. LSAC would not grant me accommodations on my test despite having to completely unrelated doctors diagnose me with sever adhd and they both suggested accommodated testing for the lsat. I dont know my score yet but I think I scored in the range of 158-162 (not good for me in relation to PT's). I really want to go to at least a top 25 school but with my recent LSAT and GPA I dont think it would be possible. Should I apply now and submit an LSAT addendum for the late discovery of ADHD and thus the denial of accommodations. Along with this I could request they wait to deny me until they can review my February LSAT(Im retaking)

3. My other concern is that I do not have a teachers LOR. This is in part due to me performing so poorly at school (I now know it was related to ADHD) I do however have 3 LOR's from distinguished attorneys who know me quite well. One of them is my boss for a year now and I work extremely close with him since he runs such a small office. Even though his office is small he is a defense attorney associated with multiple fortune 500 companies. Will this help me?

4. My boss is also an alumni at the law school I want to attend and said he is more than happy to make a phone call on my behalf as a personal recommendation. Is this something I should allow him to do this or does it seem like I am trying to ride the coat tails of an allumni to admission?

Thank you for any advice you can offer and sorry for the novel!

SPerez
Posts: 400
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:22 am

Re: I need help with deciding what is and is not usable in apps

Postby SPerez » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:40 pm

longhorn65 wrote:1. My question is should I discuss the football as a positive point showing that I can achieve what I set my mind to or does it look bad because I had to quit? Should I discuss sacrificing football (my dream) for academics? And should I submit an overall GPA addendum for my GPA regarding the late in life diagnosis of ADHD?

Yes, I would submit a GPA addendum. It won't make schools totally ignore your GPA, but it is what it is at this point so it can't hurt. The addendum could touch on both how football (especially at UT) impacted your grades as did your late ADHD diagnosis. What could really help you would be a clear and significant improvement in your grades once you began receiving accommodations/treating your ADHD. This will support your argument that you do have the ability to succeed with the accommodations despite your GPA. I get these addenda all the time, but when I look to see if they improved after treatment/accommodations and they don't then I'm only left to conclude that the ADD or whatever it is isn't actually the reason for the low grades. Similarly, if someone said "I got bad grades b/c I had to work too much. So I quit to focus on school," but I look at the transcripts and don't see an improvement in grades, the argument fails.

Don't worry about people seeing what you did as "quitting" the team. We understand that life is about choices and you had to make one for yourself. I think most people would understand someone making the decision you did upon accepting that football wasn't going to be their future, but law school might be.

longhorn65 wrote: 2. LSAC would not grant me accommodations on my test despite having to completely unrelated doctors diagnose me with sever adhd and they both suggested accommodated testing for the lsat. I dont know my score yet but I think I scored in the range of 158-162 (not good for me in relation to PT's). I really want to go to at least a top 25 school but with my recent LSAT and GPA I dont think it would be possible. Should I apply now and submit an LSAT addendum for the late discovery of ADHD and thus the denial of accommodations. Along with this I could request they wait to deny me until they can review my February LSAT(Im retaking)

I wonder if it's the best idea to continue taking it without accommodations and expecting better results. I don't know if LSAC tells you why you were denied, but would having at least a few semesters of history receiving accommodations in college help your case? Another sort of more roundabout option might be to get accommodations for the GRE or GMAT. Under the terms of their recent consent decree, they will automatically grant similar accommodations on the LSAT if you get them for other tests. (http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/jd-docs/policy-on-prior-testing-accommodations.pdf). Some might give me the side-eye for even mentioning this b/c it might seem against the spirit of the rules, but it's not a secret and something anyone could find if they looked. It's also been discussed here back when the decree was announced. I'm not saying you *should* do this, and it might not even work out for your case; I'm just mentioning it so that you are aware and can do your own research.

longhorn65 wrote:3. My other concern is that I do not have a teachers LOR. This is in part due to me performing so poorly at school (I now know it was related to ADHD) I do however have 3 LOR's from distinguished attorneys who know me quite well. One of them is my boss for a year now and I work extremely close with him since he runs such a small office. Even though his office is small he is a defense attorney associated with multiple fortune 500 companies. Will this help me?

Again, it is what it is. If even from this semester you don't have a professor you can ask, you gotta go with what you got. I think 3 attorneys is a bit overkill, especially if you've only actually worked for one of them. Personal-type letters ("I've known Johnny and his family for many years..." don't really hold much weight, if any. I would try for maybe your position coach?

longhorn65 wrote:4. My boss is also an alumni at the law school I want to attend and said he is more than happy to make a phone call on my behalf as a personal recommendation. Is this something I should allow him to do this or does it seem like I am trying to ride the coat tails of an allumni to admission?

It will of course look like you're trying to use your connections to get a boost, because that's exactly what you would be doing. Now, whether it would actually work is anyone's guess. Schools have thousands of alumni, that fact alone doesn't mean anything. I don't think I'm revealing any secrets to say that every year law schools admit students based on their connections, and it is also true that many more applicants who have "special" people make calls/write letters on their behalf STILL get denied. It's really just whether or not you feel comfortable letting your boss do that. There is almost no chance that it would negatively impact your file. Most likely it won't have any impact unless he is very influential.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law

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longhorn65
Posts: 145
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:34 am

Re: I need help with deciding what is and is not usable in apps

Postby longhorn65 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:45 am

SPerez wrote:
longhorn65 wrote:1. My question is should I discuss the football as a positive point showing that I can achieve what I set my mind to or does it look bad because I had to quit? Should I discuss sacrificing football (my dream) for academics? And should I submit an overall GPA addendum for my GPA regarding the late in life diagnosis of ADHD?

Yes, I would submit a GPA addendum. It won't make schools totally ignore your GPA, but it is what it is at this point so it can't hurt. The addendum could touch on both how football (especially at UT) impacted your grades as did your late ADHD diagnosis. What could really help you would be a clear and significant improvement in your grades once you began receiving accommodations/treating your ADHD. This will support your argument that you do have the ability to succeed with the accommodations despite your GPA. I get these addenda all the time, but when I look to see if they improved after treatment/accommodations and they don't then I'm only left to conclude that the ADD or whatever it is isn't actually the reason for the low grades. Similarly, if someone said "I got bad grades b/c I had to work too much. So I quit to focus on school," but I look at the transcripts and don't see an improvement in grades, the argument fails.

Don't worry about people seeing what you did as "quitting" the team. We understand that life is about choices and you had to make one for yourself. I think most people would understand someone making the decision you did upon accepting that football wasn't going to be their future, but law school might be.

longhorn65 wrote: 2. LSAC would not grant me accommodations on my test despite having to completely unrelated doctors diagnose me with sever adhd and they both suggested accommodated testing for the lsat. I dont know my score yet but I think I scored in the range of 158-162 (not good for me in relation to PT's). I really want to go to at least a top 25 school but with my recent LSAT and GPA I dont think it would be possible. Should I apply now and submit an LSAT addendum for the late discovery of ADHD and thus the denial of accommodations. Along with this I could request they wait to deny me until they can review my February LSAT(Im retaking)

I wonder if it's the best idea to continue taking it without accommodations and expecting better results. I don't know if LSAC tells you why you were denied, but would having at least a few semesters of history receiving accommodations in college help your case? Another sort of more roundabout option might be to get accommodations for the GRE or GMAT. Under the terms of their recent consent decree, they will automatically grant similar accommodations on the LSAT if you get them for other tests. (http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/jd-docs/policy-on-prior-testing-accommodations.pdf). Some might give me the side-eye for even mentioning this b/c it might seem against the spirit of the rules, but it's not a secret and something anyone could find if they looked. It's also been discussed here back when the decree was announced. I'm not saying you *should* do this, and it might not even work out for your case; I'm just mentioning it so that you are aware and can do your own research.

longhorn65 wrote:3. My other concern is that I do not have a teachers LOR. This is in part due to me performing so poorly at school (I now know it was related to ADHD) I do however have 3 LOR's from distinguished attorneys who know me quite well. One of them is my boss for a year now and I work extremely close with him since he runs such a small office. Even though his office is small he is a defense attorney associated with multiple fortune 500 companies. Will this help me?

Again, it is what it is. If even from this semester you don't have a professor you can ask, you gotta go with what you got. I think 3 attorneys is a bit overkill, especially if you've only actually worked for one of them. Personal-type letters ("I've known Johnny and his family for many years..." don't really hold much weight, if any. I would try for maybe your position coach?

longhorn65 wrote:4. My boss is also an alumni at the law school I want to attend and said he is more than happy to make a phone call on my behalf as a personal recommendation. Is this something I should allow him to do this or does it seem like I am trying to ride the coat tails of an allumni to admission?

It will of course look like you're trying to use your connections to get a boost, because that's exactly what you would be doing. Now, whether it would actually work is anyone's guess. Schools have thousands of alumni, that fact alone doesn't mean anything. I don't think I'm revealing any secrets to say that every year law schools admit students based on their connections, and it is also true that many more applicants who have "special" people make calls/write letters on their behalf STILL get denied. It's really just whether or not you feel comfortable letting your boss do that. There is almost no chance that it would negatively impact your file. Most likely it won't have any impact unless he is very influential.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law


Thank you very much for all of your concise and honest information. I should say that none of the attorney's are family friends or even long time acquaintances. The one I work for has introduced me to the other two through related case work and a business trip. They each individually wrote me saying they thought I would make a good attorney and that I had all the characteristics they liked to see in young law students. Does this make any difference or is it still to much?

As for the LSAT accommodations honestly it is more than likely an illegal denial per the CONSTENT DECREE. I quoted multiple errors they made in the review process with respect to the decree, and some of which were just factually incorrect conclusions based on the information I submitted but they didn't care or even try to correct it because it was to late to request a review. I will reapply next time submitting more information and quoting the decree withing my request and we will see how that goes but who know's with LSAC. That being said I know I can perform better by myself my weakest section is games which is the most teachable. Your advice on possibly seeking accommodations elsewhere is not a bad idea actually. I really am not trying to cheat the system but rather I am just lacking the long documentation LSAC looks for.

Final question to you, I have one semester left of undergrad. It will be my only full semester with testing accommodations and medication, If I were to do very well do you think one semester would be enough to convince the admissions council that these two things allow me to perform competitively in a top law school?

SPerez
Posts: 400
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:22 am

Re: I need help with deciding what is and is not usable in apps

Postby SPerez » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:32 am

longhorn65 wrote:Thank you very much for all of your concise and honest information. I should say that none of the attorney's are family friends or even long time acquaintances. The one I work for has introduced me to the other two through related case work and a business trip. They each individually wrote me saying they thought I would make a good attorney and that I had all the characteristics they liked to see in young law students. Does this make any difference or is it still to much?

(...)

Final question to you, I have one semester left of undergrad. It will be my only full semester with testing accommodations and medication, If I were to do very well do you think one semester would be enough to convince the admissions council that these two things allow me to perform competitively in a top law school?


LORs like that, where the person didn't supervise your work and hasn't known you long or very well, would actually be "not enough" rather than "too much". However many words they use in the letter, all they can really say is that based on their limited interaction with you you seem like a nice kid.

As for whether your single upcoming semester, should you knock it out of the park, would be "enough" is anyone's guess. "Enough" is subjective and will be different at different schools. Some would take you right now even if you got a 150 on the LSAT. Others wouldn't take you unless you got a 180, no matter what your reasons for your grades. Some evidence that with proper accommodations and treatment you can handle challenging academic work is better than zero evidence, which is what you currently have. My rule of thumb is that your "good" recent grades have to be as good as your old, bad grades were bad. So in your case, that's basically a 4.0 for this coming semester.

Long term, it may be a better plan to put off law school for a few years. This would give you time to perhaps build a record sufficient to receive accommodations on the LSAT (if that's the issue). It would also allow you to, say, pursue a graduate degree (with accommodations) to demonstrate that you can perform well in graduate-level courses. Again, more evidence is better than some evidence.

Dean Perez

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Ron Don Volante
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Re: I need help with deciding what is and is not usable in apps

Postby Ron Don Volante » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:51 am

DP has to temper what he says, of course, so I'll say it: Law school sounds like a truly terrible idea here. At least at any point in the near future.

Even if you get an accommodation, with your GPA as low as you're insinuating, you're going to need to kill the LSAT to open up any reasonable doors. That might not even be the biggest obstacle for success here, though.

You're looking at a long, hard road to making even a modest career as a financially-solvent attorney a reality; I would advise you to seek greener pastures.




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