Help: Apply or Wait?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
hwhalen

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Help: Apply or Wait?

Postby hwhalen » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:07 pm

3.178 UGPA/ 167 LSAT – strong soft factors, strong volunteer experience and community involvement, GPA addendum – apply now or wait for a T20 school?

Applied:

UCLA, USC, Berkeley, College of William & Mary Law (accepted)

Apply?
Georgetown, Vanderbilt
___
Sorry for the length of this post: I’ve been struggling with this decision for a month now. I was full speed ahead on my application process – ready to apply to basically across the board T20 schools, with a few safeties mixed in. Overall I was set to spend about $1000 total. I received quite a few fee waivers, but realized that due to the lateness of my application I was at a severe disadvantage. I decided to suspend my process about a week ago.

I graduated from a top15 school in 2016, but with a dismal 3.178 GPA. I added a GPA addendum, as I was hospitalized sophomore year and senior year. First for a myriad of diseases (meningitis, mono, and strep all at once) and then later for a head injury – both of which drastically affected my grades.

I’ve been spending my time working for a large law firm as a paralegal. One of my recs is from my current boss – who is not the most eloquent guy, but provided strong praise. My other is from a close personal mentor and friend from my university – attended UCLA undergrad and for his PhD. He assured me it was “beautiful” and wished that I could see it. I believe him.

My PS is unique but nothing crazy – well-written but about a more light-hearted subject than many others, I’m sure. I have more than enough life experience to write a more thought-provoking PS (personal and familial struggles with mental illness, family’s substance abuse, sibling with disabilities), but chose to go the light-hearted route.

I took the December 2015 score during the time I was suffering from my head injury and received a 160. I had rescheduled for February and took an absence. I took the December 2016 LSAT and received a 167. That was with one month of intense studying, and I believe that I can break into the 170+ realm, if given the proper time for intense study.

I spoke with my old PowerScore instructor (from two summers ago) and he mentioned remembering me and cited that he believed I had strong promise to break into the 170+ range, which would put me within an entirely different caliber of schools. He recommended I wait until the fall and try and get my LSAT up. Other professors recommended I “go with my heart.”

I’m struggling with the decision to apply to Vanderbilt and Georgetown now, or wait until I am in a much stronger position and apply in the fall – where I would have a potential for scholarships and (if possible) a higher LSAT score? Is there any detriment to applying now? I'm not in a huge rush to attend law school, but just don't want to get caught up in the "chasing the perfect LSAT score/acceptance and being a paralegal forever" rut.

I have contacts for several people on the admissions boards, and friends who attend both schools who recommend I reach out, and promised to write letters of support.

I applied to William & Mary because of a fee waiver, and do not think that I will be accepting their offer to attend. Shortly after I applied I decided to suspend my application process, but now I am reconsidering (probably a bit of overconfidence/hubris). I know this is a bit long winded, but I was hoping that someone else could provide some objective clarity to my situation. I just don’t want to have any regrets.

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Thomas Hagan, ESQ.

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Re: Help: Apply or Wait?

Postby Thomas Hagan, ESQ. » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:14 pm

Definitely 150% wait.

You'll get more acceptances letters and will get more money by applying early.
You're applying SUPER late this cycle and that will really hurt you/

I applied in early Jan last year and was waitlisted everywhere and accepted to schools with minimum $. I reapplied this year in October and I got accepted at many of the schools that waitlisted me last year(one of them gave me close to a full ride).

You don't need to rush to law school.

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floatie

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Re: Help: Apply or Wait?

Postby floatie » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:20 pm

Definitely wait. Crush your retake and apply early. Even with your GPA you're looking at good $$ from t20s and possibly a few acceptances from splitter friendly t14s.

Also, can you get at least one letter from a professor? Law schools like to see academic letters for applicants who are current students or recent grads. Employer letters are typically more acceptable if you've been out of school for 2+ years. While I'm sure the letter from a "close personal mentor and friend" is beautifully written, I'm not sure if it will provide the kind of information that adcoms are looking for in LORs (namely, your potential as a law student and employee).

hwhalen

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Re: Help: Apply or Wait?

Postby hwhalen » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:22 pm

Thanks for the response! I am starting to accept this more and more and am feeling better about staying in NYC for another year. With that in mind, I'm going to toy around with the idea of a retake - I know I can study smarter for the June test and hopefully crush it. Then spend the summer prepping for apps, taking the time they deserve.

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Ah and to clarify, the close personal friend and mentor was my professor for several years. Given more time, I could get another professor rec (2 academic, 1 professional) but am worried that a "lukewarm" rec would do more hard than good.

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floatie

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Re: Help: Apply or Wait?

Postby floatie » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:28 pm

Oh okay, if the second letter is from a professor then you're good. Good luck next cycle :)



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