Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

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bluchai
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Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby bluchai » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:40 pm

I received two very good job offers and would start at either job in the beginning of January. One is for the government and the other is for a financial firm. I have a week to make my final decision. If I take the government job, I have to make a commitment for at least one year, meaning I can't leave for law school in the fall. If I take the job at the financial firm, there are no stipulations as to how much time I have to commit.

For the past 16 months I've worked at a nonprofit where I thought I could gain experience in an area I wanted to practice law in. It wasn't the best work environment, got tired of relying on foundations to provide my salary, and my job security isn't so solid.

I have been estranged from my family members, who have long been unsupportive of my educational pursuits. So I've been saving money this time to hopefully cover most of my living expenses instead of taking out more loans aside from the ones that would cover law school. I've explored financial need but eligibility requirements are strict and I'm not sure explaining my situation with documentation would fly at every school. I know 2 T-14s who are not willing to consider "extenuating circumstances," I guess because so many people have extenuating circumstances and they can't accommodate everyone.

Just so others can assess my situation and provide feedback:

1. I've saved around $23,000 since graduating college in 2013. On top of the job I have now, I write web content and instruction manuals in the evenings and weekends and make extra money this way. I will be making around $12,000 more than what I make now at either the government job or financial firm. I hope I will still have the energy to continue with my additional income.

2. I paid off all my undergraduate debt.

(Will factors 1 and 2 affect financial aid? Do they consider numbers under factors 1 and 2?)

Don't know if I should just go ahead with applications and ask for a deferment, because I really think I need more experiential learning opportunities to mentally prepare myself for law school. How difficult is it to ask to save your spot for 1 year? Is "I got an appealing job" a good enough reason?

I would not mind holding off until next cycle to apply. My GPA and LSAT scores are within the range of most schools I would be happy with attending.

Any advice would be appreciated, concerning saving money, financial aid, work experience, etc. Thanks.

wunderkind2
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby wunderkind2 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:02 pm

You can defer admission for a year if you'd like, but are you sure you even want to go to law school?

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bluchai
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby bluchai » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:05 pm

wunderkind2 wrote:You can defer admission for a year if you'd like, but are you sure you even want to go to law school?


I do, sincerely, but I am painfully socially awkward and feel that I need to improve on my interpersonal skills first and be at a level I am comfortable at before I go to law school.

Phil Brooks
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby Phil Brooks » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:11 pm

I worry that you are uninformed as to how law school financing works. For your purposes, pretend "financial aid" doesn't exist. It's all merit scholarships. Here's how they work:

1. Law schools live and die by their place in the US News & World Report rankings.
2. The number one factors that goes into determining a law school's place in the ranking are the LSAT scores and GPA of its incoming class.
3. Law schools therefore offer tuition discounts (otherwise known as merit scholarships) to students with high LSAT scores and GPAs, in the hope that these students matriculate and the school can therefore record their LSAT score and GPA for rankings purposes.
4. Since many people have high GPAs but few have high LSAT scores, a high LSAT score commands a much higher price in terms of tuition discounts.
5. Similarly ranked schools will fight over a single student's high LSAT score. The student plays these schools off one another and increases the discount offers from each.

So if you want money, whether you are poor or privileged is irrelevant. Law schools will not offer you money unless it helps them. And it will only help them if you have an LSAT score that can help them in the rankings. So, it is not enough for your LSAT score to be "within the range" of the school; it must be at least above the school's 75th percentile.

Also note that if you commit to one school and then defer, the school has no incentive to offer you any money--it already has your LSAT score. Same story for if you apply ED.

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bluchai
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby bluchai » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:16 pm

Phil, this would be my second time re-applying. My LSAT score got me a full ride at a t20 but the employment rate at that school is not very good. Additionally, I didn't want to be limited in that area. I also applied not knowing what the hell I was doing. I didn't blanket the top US News rankings. I applied in a random, haphazard manner based on what people advised me with. I also received $30,000 in outside funding.

I did not go because I felt I needed to work and "earn" the opportunity to go to law school. Applying for jobs after graduating and the feedback I received on my resume and experience was very eye opening in regards to areas where I was/am deficient. I felt I needed to pay off my undergraduate debt as well.

But thank you for letting me know that my personal status has no factor in whether I get money or not. I was concerned as to how this would work out at t14s.

And thank you for the note about deferring.

Phil Brooks
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby Phil Brooks » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:24 pm

bluchai wrote:Phil, this would be my second time re-applying. My LSAT score got me a full ride at a t20 but the employment rate at that school is not very good. Additionally, I didn't want to be limited in that area. I also applied not knowing what the hell I was doing. I didn't blanket the top US News rankings. I applied in a random, haphazard manner based on what people advised me with. I also received $30,000 in outside funding.

I did not go because I felt I needed to work and "earn" the opportunity to go to law school. Applying for jobs after graduating and the feedback I received on my resume and experience was very eye opening in regards to areas where I was/am deficient. I felt I needed to pay off my undergraduate debt as well.

But thank you for letting me know that my personal status has no factor in whether I get money or not. I was concerned as to how this would work out at t14s.

And thank you for the note about deferring.


I think it was very intelligent, in all respects, (debt, life experience, money) that you worked, and that you did not give in to the instant gratification of what was on offer.

I also had no idea what I was doing and I deferred at a T-14--please don't repeat my mistakes. Good luck.

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bluchai
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby bluchai » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:26 pm

Phil Brooks wrote:
bluchai wrote:Phil, this would be my second time re-applying. My LSAT score got me a full ride at a t20 but the employment rate at that school is not very good. Additionally, I didn't want to be limited in that area. I also applied not knowing what the hell I was doing. I didn't blanket the top US News rankings. I applied in a random, haphazard manner based on what people advised me with. I also received $30,000 in outside funding.

I did not go because I felt I needed to work and "earn" the opportunity to go to law school. Applying for jobs after graduating and the feedback I received on my resume and experience was very eye opening in regards to areas where I was/am deficient. I felt I needed to pay off my undergraduate debt as well.

But thank you for letting me know that my personal status has no factor in whether I get money or not. I was concerned as to how this would work out at t14s.

And thank you for the note about deferring.


I think it was very intelligent, in all respects, (debt, life experience, money) that you worked, and that you did not give in to the instant gratification of what was on offer.

I also had no idea what I was doing and I deferred at a T-14--please don't repeat my mistakes. Good luck.


So you deferred and they retracted money you were offered, or you deferred even in the absence of money?

Are you in law school now or re-applying all over? Sorry for so many questions.

Phil Brooks
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby Phil Brooks » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:35 pm

bluchai wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:
bluchai wrote:Phil, this would be my second time re-applying. My LSAT score got me a full ride at a t20 but the employment rate at that school is not very good. Additionally, I didn't want to be limited in that area. I also applied not knowing what the hell I was doing. I didn't blanket the top US News rankings. I applied in a random, haphazard manner based on what people advised me with. I also received $30,000 in outside funding.

I did not go because I felt I needed to work and "earn" the opportunity to go to law school. Applying for jobs after graduating and the feedback I received on my resume and experience was very eye opening in regards to areas where I was/am deficient. I felt I needed to pay off my undergraduate debt as well.

But thank you for letting me know that my personal status has no factor in whether I get money or not. I was concerned as to how this would work out at t14s.

And thank you for the note about deferring.


I think it was very intelligent, in all respects, (debt, life experience, money) that you worked, and that you did not give in to the instant gratification of what was on offer.

I also had no idea what I was doing and I deferred at a T-14--please don't repeat my mistakes. Good luck.


So you deferred and they retracted money you were offered, or you deferred even in the absence of money?

Are you in law school now or re-applying all over? Sorry for so many questions.


I got a job offer, while the school was taking very long to decide on scholarship; I deferred without getting a straight answer from the school as to what the implications would be on the (potential) scholarship; I hounded the school for months leading up to matriculation the following Fall; finally the school gave me some money (but still less than what my numbers indicate I deserved).

I'm a 3L. I've managed to make up the difference by applying successfully to 13 outside scholarships each year. But that's not a reliable back-up plan. I was very naive, and since I've been fortunate.

SPerez
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby SPerez » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:03 pm

bluchai wrote:I received two very good job offers and would start at either job in the beginning of January. One is for the government and the other is for a financial firm. I have a week to make my final decision. If I take the government job, I have to make a commitment for at least one year, meaning I can't leave for law school in the fall. If I take the job at the financial firm, there are no stipulations as to how much time I have to commit.

...So I've been saving money this time to hopefully cover most of my living expenses instead of taking out more loans aside from the ones that would cover law school....

...I really think I need more experiential learning opportunities to mentally prepare myself for law school....

I would not mind holding off until next cycle to apply. My GPA and LSAT scores are within the range of most schools I would be happy with attending.


After reading this, I'm not sure why you're unsure. It sounds like everything is pointing towards taking one of the jobs. Gives you more experience interacting with people, save even more money...I don't see the downside.

What is your concern? That your outcomes would be drastically different if you applied a year or two from now? They most likely won't.

Most schools will grant 1 year deferrals for pretty much any reason, so I wouldn't worry about that part.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law

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Rigo
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby Rigo » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:09 pm

I think the rule is that if you're at all interested in opportunities outside of law school, take those opportunities. Law school isn't going anywhere.

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bluchai
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby bluchai » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:30 pm

SPerez wrote:
bluchai wrote:I received two very good job offers and would start at either job in the beginning of January. One is for the government and the other is for a financial firm. I have a week to make my final decision. If I take the government job, I have to make a commitment for at least one year, meaning I can't leave for law school in the fall. If I take the job at the financial firm, there are no stipulations as to how much time I have to commit.

...So I've been saving money this time to hopefully cover most of my living expenses instead of taking out more loans aside from the ones that would cover law school....

...I really think I need more experiential learning opportunities to mentally prepare myself for law school....

I would not mind holding off until next cycle to apply. My GPA and LSAT scores are within the range of most schools I would be happy with attending.


After reading this, I'm not sure why you're unsure. It sounds like everything is pointing towards taking one of the jobs. Gives you more experience interacting with people, save even more money...I don't see the downside.

What is your concern? That your outcomes would be drastically different if you applied a year or two from now? They most likely won't.

Most schools will grant 1 year deferrals for pretty much any reason, so I wouldn't worry about that part.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law


I think I'm just childish and sometimes get trapped in this thinking that if I want to be a lawyer in the long run, being in law school will be "getting ahead" in life. But when I interviewed for jobs immediately after college I took note of all feedback I received regarding weaknesses in my resume, the impression I give others, etc. That feedback, as well as my experience at my current job which I will be leaving, indicated that I need to do some personal growing.

There was also some stigma attached to not going to grad/professional school right after finishing your Bachelor's at my undergrad. I really looked up to some of my professors, and to hear some of their concerns about my "regressing" or "being stuck here when I'm thirty and not doing anything worthwhile with my time" scared me. But I'm learning to work at my own pace. There's nothing wrong with going to law school when you're 25, or even 30. So I've chosen to postpone applying.

SPerez
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby SPerez » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:03 pm

bluchai wrote:There was also some stigma attached to not going to grad/professional school right after finishing your Bachelor's at my undergrad. I really looked up to some of my professors, and to hear some of their concerns about my "regressing" or "being stuck here when I'm thirty and not doing anything worthwhile with my time" scared me. But I'm learning to work at my own pace. There's nothing wrong with going to law school when you're 25, or even 30. So I've chosen to postpone applying.


Good for you, because that's a load of bollox. Maybe that's the case for PhD/tenure track folks, but not professional school like law school. I believe that if law school is truly what you want to do in life, then you will find a way to make that happen, now or later.

Best of luck to you,

Dean Perez

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haus
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby haus » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:16 pm

SPerez wrote:
bluchai wrote:There was also some stigma attached to not going to grad/professional school right after finishing your Bachelor's at my undergrad. I really looked up to some of my professors, and to hear some of their concerns about my "regressing" or "being stuck here when I'm thirty and not doing anything worthwhile with my time" scared me. But I'm learning to work at my own pace. There's nothing wrong with going to law school when you're 25, or even 30. So I've chosen to postpone applying.


Good for you, because that's a load of bollox. Maybe that's the case for PhD/tenure track folks, but not professional school like law school. I believe that if law school is truly what you want to do in life, then you will find a way to make that happen, now or later.

Best of luck to you,

Dean Perez

I agree with Dean Perez, I would even argue that for most candidates having some work experience makes you a better candidate as both a law student and later as lawyer, should you choose that path.

Good luck,

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bluchai
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Re: Apply to law school now or postpone? Conflicted.

Postby bluchai » Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:59 pm

SPerez wrote:
bluchai wrote:There was also some stigma attached to not going to grad/professional school right after finishing your Bachelor's at my undergrad. I really looked up to some of my professors, and to hear some of their concerns about my "regressing" or "being stuck here when I'm thirty and not doing anything worthwhile with my time" scared me. But I'm learning to work at my own pace. There's nothing wrong with going to law school when you're 25, or even 30. So I've chosen to postpone applying.


Good for you, because that's a load of bollox. Maybe that's the case for PhD/tenure track folks, but not professional school like law school. I believe that if law school is truly what you want to do in life, then you will find a way to make that happen, now or later.

Best of luck to you,

Dean Perez


Thank you. It seemed that most advice I was given at the school was more in line with PhD/tenure track. Granted, I was involved in things that would make one think I'd go for a PhD, but frankly, it doesn't appeal to me. When I was looking for jobs, my interviewers were blunt with me and said my "experience" wasn't even applicable for a lot of positions, so I was directed to apply at job I have now. But since I actually have some outside work experience that excludes university-funded fellowships and programs, I've gotten more "job matches" and "call backs" for interviews by HR staff. I probably wouldn't have received the offers, much less sat for interviews, at the two positions I mentioned right after I graduated college.




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