Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
mudiverse
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:31 am

Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby mudiverse » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:05 pm

Hi folks,

Long time lurker here with a somewhat unconventional background. I would love to hear your opinion on how my profile would do in some of the T14 schools.

I graduated a large public state school with GPA: 3.55 and LSAT: 165 with two degrees (Business and Classics) in the top 10%. For the past two years, I have been working as a consultant in a widely recognized firm in the hi-tech/media space. I have some interesting extracurriculars including environmental volunteering and marathon running. I currently have strong ties to the east coast.

I want to go to law school partly because I am academically curious and strongly interested in learning about law as a means of better understanding the political/legal system's influence on the business world. The other part is because I would love to work in BigLaw or continue on to use law school analytical skills in private-sector industry. I also believe I went to a mediocre uni and am interested in rebranding myself and building a network for future opportunities. I hear that Northwestern might be a strong fit for me, as well as some JD/MBA programs.

What do you guys think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

User avatar
Rigo
Posts: 11941
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby Rigo » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:28 pm

mudiverse wrote:GPA: 3.55 and LSAT: 165 ... I would love to work in BigLaw.

You're going to have to retake. You will need to attend a Top 13 law school to have more than a 50% chance of getting Biglaw.
A 165 is too low to overcome a relatively mediocre GPA. Even if you got into some lower T13's, then you would be paying close to sticker price and it would be unwise to take on that much debt.
Here are the medians for this year's entering 1L class:
Image

Retake for both a better chance at admission and getting scholarships.

03152016
Posts: 9189
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 am

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby 03152016 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:32 pm

Image

no shot

mudiverse
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:31 am

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby mudiverse » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:36 pm

Dirigo wrote:
mudiverse wrote:GPA: 3.55 and LSAT: 165 ... I would love to work in BigLaw.

You're going to have to retake. You will need to attend a Top 13 law school to have more than a 50% chance of getting Biglaw.
A 165 is too low to overcome a relatively mediocre GPA. Even if you got into some lower T13's, then you would be paying close to sticker price and it would be unwise to take on that much debt.

Retake for both a better chance at admission and getting scholarships.


Thanks for the data - so based on this information I sit basically sit on or below the 25th percentile on all of the T14 for GPA/LSAT. I want to add a caveat that despite the low GPA I still landed Magna Cum Laude. Regardless, I guess this means that I would have to get seriously lucky to get in based on numbers alone. To what extent do you think my Work Experience would help? I tend to think its a big boost over some of the kids that are K-JD.

Also does coming from a Classics/Business major count as a plus? I feel like I would be a strong fit for programs that value multi-disciplinary fields (Penn?).

Thanks again for the response

EDIT: additional info

User avatar
Rigo
Posts: 11941
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby Rigo » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:42 pm

mudiverse wrote:To what extent do you think my Work Experience would help? I tend to think its a big boost over some of the kids that are K-JD.

Unfortunately law school admissions, unlike MBA programs, is almost completely numbers-based. Sure extensive work experience is a good soft factor, but softs only come into play at the margins. A k-jd with 3.75/168 will beat you almost ten times out of ten. That's just the nature of the game.
mudiverse wrote:Also does coming from a Classics/Business major count as a plus? I feel like I would be a strong fit for programs that value multi-disciplinary fields (Penn?).

Undergraduate majors do not help or hurt with law school admissions.
Speaking of MBA though, why aren't you pursuing that by itself instead of a joint degree? That seems like a wiser investment for you.

mudiverse
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:31 am

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby mudiverse » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:54 pm

Dirigo wrote:
mudiverse wrote:To what extent do you think my Work Experience would help? I tend to think its a big boost over some of the kids that are K-JD.

Unfortunately law school admissions, unlike MBA programs, is almost completely numbers-based. Sure extensive work experience is a good soft factor, but softs only come into play at the margins. A k-jd with 3.75/168 will beat you almost ten times out of ten. That's just the nature of the game.
mudiverse wrote:Also does coming from a Classics/Business major count as a plus? I feel like I would be a strong fit for programs that value multi-disciplinary fields (Penn?).

Undergraduate majors do not help or hurt with law school admissions.
Speaking of MBA though, why aren't you pursuing that by itself instead of a joint degree? That seems like a wiser investment for you.


A good question - the reality of the situation is that I am probably a better fit for the mba program, but having come from an undergrad business program, the coursework is nearly identical and I feel it would be redundant. I really dislike mba programs because you don't truly learn much substantive stuff - it's all in the networking, and while thats not bad its not what I'm looking for.

I am saddened by the information you are telling me (and a little skeptical that an adcom's job may as well be a macro in an excel spreadsheet). Don't law schools strongly speak out about how they do a "holistic" admissions review?

Nevertheless if I hit 170 (what looks to be the 75% at most T14) - would I then be a lock for the lower T14? This would make me hit the 25th GPA and 75th for LSAT.

Thanks for your thoughts.

User avatar
hillz
Posts: 1050
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:41 pm

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby hillz » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:03 pm

I think you have to keep in mind that softs can matter, but unless you have incredible softs (being an Olympic athlete, curing cancer, etc.), they won't be enough to overcome subpar stats. Softs matter more when a school is comparing candidates with very similar numbers.

Focus first on making a better LSAT score (170+ if possible) and then writing the best personal statement you can & getting good LORs.

03152016
Posts: 9189
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 am

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby 03152016 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:04 pm

mudiverse wrote:I am saddened by the information you are telling me (and a little skeptical that an adcom's job may as well be a macro in an excel spreadsheet). Don't law schools strongly speak out about how they do a "holistic" admissions review?

admissions are driven by selectivity because it factors so heavily into usnwr
mylsn/lawschoolnumbers has 72,106 data points in the t14 alone
this data is available for you to view anytime you'd like

adcomms say whatever they need to say to drive up applicants and lower their offer rate
you're free to believe them despite 72,106 data points which show that the admissions process is numbers driven in the vast, vast majority of cases

imo, your softs are not nearly strong enough to have any effect on your chances of admission with a 3.55 and 165
maybe if you were on the bubble it would help, but you're not close

User avatar
Rigo
Posts: 11941
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:19 pm

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby Rigo » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:06 pm

mudiverse wrote:Don't law schools strongly speak out about how they do a "holistic" admissions review?

Yes they do, but it's really just a lot of talk. The schools first and foremost care about their rankings and one of the few elements of the rankings they can control is their medians.
There are exceptions. Yale and Stanford are known for being especially holistic, as is Berkeley.
mudiverse wrote:Nevertheless if I hit 170 (what looks to be the 75% at most T14) - would I then be a lock for the lower T14? This would make me hit the 25th GPA and 75th for LSAT.

Yes and you'd probably be in with some decent money. With declining applications, schools are really shelling out for those high LSAT scores. Especially since you're considering a joint degree where you'll have a whole extra year of tuition and COL expenses, cost minimization is key. Think of each LSAT point as being at least an extra $25k saved. Never again will you get paid that much for such a small amount of effort.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby twenty » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:15 pm

Law schools do claim to evaluate candidates holistically, but this is, quite frankly, bullshit. Perhaps someone would receive more scholarship money based on their soft factors (which is not something to ignore), but someone with a 165 and a 3.5 is not going to Northwestern. That's not to say you couldn't with a retake, but that is to say you're not going to right now. Like, for example, of the 19 applicants with roughly your numbers that we have data for that applied to Northwestern over the last four years, 15 of them were rejected, 3 were waitlisted, and one was accepted. The one person that was accepted was a URM-lite.

Conversely, with the same GPA, and raising the LSAT score to 170: of 17 applicants, 13 were accepted, 4 were waitlisted, and not a single person was rejected. Assuming that the "holistic" profiles of these people were otherwise similar enough to the people with 165s, that should quickly dispel any myth as to an adcom doing anything other than evaluating candidates by their LSAT/GPA combos.

umichman
Posts: 188
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:56 am

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby umichman » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:20 pm

no offense, but you are pretty conventional for t13 law student i think. just raise lsat, that really seems to be all that matters since ur GPA is stuck

User avatar
DCfilterDC
Posts: 2665
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:55 pm

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby DCfilterDC » Sun Dec 14, 2014 8:07 pm

I'm still waiting for the part where you're an "unconventional applicant."

mudiverse
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:31 am

Re: Unconventional Applicant - where should I apply?

Postby mudiverse » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:52 pm

Brut wrote:
mudiverse wrote:I am saddened by the information you are telling me (and a little skeptical that an adcom's job may as well be a macro in an excel spreadsheet). Don't law schools strongly speak out about how they do a "holistic" admissions review?

admissions are driven by selectivity because it factors so heavily into usnwr
mylsn/lawschoolnumbers has 72,106 data points in the t14 alone
this data is available for you to view anytime you'd like

adcomms say whatever they need to say to drive up applicants and lower their offer rate
you're free to believe them despite 72,106 data points which show that the admissions process is numbers driven in the vast, vast majority of cases

imo, your softs are not nearly strong enough to have any effect on your chances of admission with a 3.55 and 165
maybe if you were on the bubble it would help, but you're not close


I appreciate this brutal honesty.

Dirigo wrote:
mudiverse wrote:Don't law schools strongly speak out about how they do a "holistic" admissions review?

Yes they do, but it's really just a lot of talk. The schools first and foremost care about their rankings and one of the few elements of the rankings they can control is their medians.
There are exceptions. Yale and Stanford are known for being especially holistic, as is Berkeley.
mudiverse wrote:Nevertheless if I hit 170 (what looks to be the 75% at most T14) - would I then be a lock for the lower T14? This would make me hit the 25th GPA and 75th for LSAT.

Yes and you'd probably be in with some decent money. With declining applications, schools are really shelling out for those high LSAT scores. Especially since you're considering a joint degree where you'll have a whole extra year of tuition and COL expenses, cost minimization is key. Think of each LSAT point as being at least an extra $25k saved. Never again will you get paid that much for such a small amount of effort.


That is excellent advice. I am happy to hear that a 170 could get me into my targets of lower T14. I believe the jump from 165 to 170 is maybe ~10 questions or so. Hopefully I can hit this in time for next year. I had never considered myself eligible for scholarship money; it seems like there is not much data out there on who gets these things. Perhaps a business focused program like NYU Jacobson might be able to pull through.

twenty wrote:Law schools do claim to evaluate candidates holistically, but this is, quite frankly, bullshit. Perhaps someone would receive more scholarship money based on their soft factors (which is not something to ignore), but someone with a 165 and a 3.5 is not going to Northwestern. That's not to say you couldn't with a retake, but that is to say you're not going to right now. Like, for example, of the 19 applicants with roughly your numbers that we have data for that applied to Northwestern over the last four years, 15 of them were rejected, 3 were waitlisted, and one was accepted. The one person that was accepted was a URM-lite.

Conversely, with the same GPA, and raising the LSAT score to 170: of 17 applicants, 13 were accepted, 4 were waitlisted, and not a single person was rejected. Assuming that the "holistic" profiles of these people were otherwise similar enough to the people with 165s, that should quickly dispel any myth as to an adcom doing anything other than evaluating candidates by their LSAT/GPA combos.


twenty. That evidence is strong and hard to refute. I guess I should expect these sort of tactics from people who are selling a career on the decline. Despite this, I think there is a large confirmation bias for those who report their numbers/admissions status on sites like mylsn and etc. i.e. a sample size of 17 or 19 is enough to raise eye-brows, but not necessarily telling the full story. Perhaps I am optimistic but I think there are still ways to still ring bells for adcomms other than numbers, however the water is too murky to know for sure.

Thanks for your comments all. I will dive back into retaking and see if I can make it to my goals.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baby Gaga, HydroFlask666, proteinshake, texasellewoods, URM_lawnerd and 5 guests