Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

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HarveySpecterr
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Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby HarveySpecterr » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:08 pm

As the title of this thread suggests, I'm applying in the fall and concerned that my 3.3 UGPA will keep me out of the programs I really want, even if I score above the median LSAT and have excellent soft materials. However, I have a lot of work experience, and a terminal degree -- a Ph.D. in English from a top-20 program, and almost 10 years experience teaching writing at the college level -- so the two bad years of my undergrad experience were almost 15 years ago. I know some programs are very closed off to "splitters," UT-Austin for example, but I wonder if I might have any shot since I wasn't earning Cs' and below since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Any advice for me?

Also: I know that Northwestern is typically kinder to splitters; also Cornell and, perhaps, UVA. Certainly I will apply to UVA, although I'm not too interested in NW or living in Ithaca; none of the T1's seem very doable with a 3.3, and I'm hearing that if you don't get in to a T1 it's not even worth going to law school. Thoughts, anyone?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:26 pm

Funny that you mention UT - there was a poster here a couple of years ago who had a low GPA (lower than yours I think) who did very well with UT, in part because he was non-trad and his GPA was 15-20 years old (and he had done a lot of good stuff in the meantime including the military and I think engineering).

I don't know that I'd say admissions committees will automatically be more forgiving but if you get a high LSAT you will have options. You will need to apply broadly and see what happens.

(I had a PhD in history and similar teaching experience when I applied, but I didn't have T14 LSAT, so I can't really comment on those schools, but if I can answer any other questions let me know.)

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wiz
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby wiz » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:38 pm

Those are good softs in your favor, but it's hard to comment on the extent to which admissions committees will be more forgiving when comparing to traditional applicants since there just aren't a lot of datapoints to compare to your case. I would assume that the answer is "yes." Just don't know the extent of the boost.

Fwiw, the only schools you're really shut out of with that GPA are YHS and probably Chicago/Berkeley. If you can get a high enough LSAT, every other school is still in play. As you noted, UVA, Northwestern, and Michigan are particularly splitter friendly.

And as nony said, I definitely wouldn't rule out UT either. Plenty of splitters are getting into UT these days.


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TripleM
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby TripleM » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:42 pm

Forgiving may not be the right word. Perhaps a better way to describe it is that your UG GPA represents a smaller portion of your application. You really need to kill the LSAT. Double Tap it.

Schools all claim to look at your application "holistically", and not just as a GPA/LSAT. A lot of folks here roll their eyes at that. Neither the schools nor the eye rollers are completely wrong. A student who has gone K/JD, quiet honestly, doesn't have a lot of other things to look at. Much of their life is, in fact, reflected in those scores. Not so with old applicants like ourselves (PLEASE understand that I am in no way suggesting that I am better than younger applicants. In fact, I'm almost certain that I'm neither better nor more capable in most cases).

An older student has other things to offer the AdCom for consideration. There is, essentially, a lot more personhood to consider in an older student. You have built up a lifetime of actions that you can show the committee to prove that you're capable and qualified. You can say, in essence, "That GPA from x years ago doesn't really reflect who I am today. Here's XYZ things that I've done in real life and more recently that better reflect the student/attorney I would be today."

That said, UG numbers still matter. I'm old AF, probably older than you. My UG numbers are IDENTICAL to yours and are nearing two decades old. The harsh reality is that I'm not going to get into HYS (I still applied... at least make them say "no"). It's not impossible, but is implausible.

That said, I've received interviews at a number T14 schools (no word back yet), I've been accepted and offered generous scholarships to a couple of T20 and I've been offered full or near full rides to three respectable regional schools that lie in between T20 and 50.

I applied late in the cycle and am still waiting to hear back from 16 schools, including many in the T14. Most will be "no" but there's a decent chance that one or two might come through. My experience thus far has lead me to believe that if I can gain 5 points on my third take and apply at the beginning of the cycle I'd likely get a couple of "yes" answers from the T14. One Dean who waitlisted me was kind enough to personally call me and encourage me to apply to his school early next cycle.

Here's the deal, my thoughts and any on here are pretty useless. Focus on the LSAT. Kill it. Apply. Either they will "forgive" or they won't but there's no way to find out if you're the special snowflake until you try. My opinion, and everyone else's, is either a guess or an anecdote at far as what relevance it has to you.

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Rigo
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby Rigo » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:20 pm

Maybe they've changed this cycle, but I would not call UT-Austin closed off to splitters. I get that's besides the main point of your post, but since you mentioned it, I thought I would give you hope in case that is your top choice. You should be good if you hit their 75th percentile LSAT and show interest in them specifically.
If you're a Texas resident, I think you have a solid leg up.

But to answer your question simply, yes. Having a phd and extensive work experience is a pretty decent soft too.

KPUSN07
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby KPUSN07 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:56 am

TripleM wrote:Forgiving may not be the right word. Perhaps a better way to describe it is that your UG GPA represents a smaller portion of your application. You really need to kill the LSAT. Double Tap it.

Schools all claim to look at your application "holistically", and not just as a GPA/LSAT. A lot of folks here roll their eyes at that. Neither the schools nor the eye rollers are completely wrong. A student who has gone K/JD, quiet honestly, doesn't have a lot of other things to look at. Much of their life is, in fact, reflected in those scores. Not so with old applicants like ourselves (PLEASE understand that I am in no way suggesting that I am better than younger applicants. In fact, I'm almost certain that I'm neither better nor more capable in most cases).

An older student has other things to offer the AdCom for consideration. There is, essentially, a lot more personhood to consider in an older student. You have built up a lifetime of actions that you can show the committee to prove that you're capable and qualified. You can say, in essence, "That GPA from x years ago doesn't really reflect who I am today. Here's XYZ things that I've done in real life and more recently that better reflect the student/attorney I would be today."

That said, UG numbers still matter. I'm old AF, probably older than you. My UG numbers are IDENTICAL to yours and are nearing two decades old. The harsh reality is that I'm not going to get into HYS (I still applied... at least make them say "no"). It's not impossible, but is implausible.

That said, I've received interviews at a number T14 schools (no word back yet), I've been accepted and offered generous scholarships to a couple of T20 and I've been offered full or near full rides to three respectable regional schools that lie in between T20 and 50.

I applied late in the cycle and am still waiting to hear back from 16 schools, including many in the T14. Most will be "no" but there's a decent chance that one or two might come through. My experience thus far has lead me to believe that if I can gain 5 points on my third take and apply at the beginning of the cycle I'd likely get a couple of "yes" answers from the T14. One Dean who waitlisted me was kind enough to personally call me and encourage me to apply to his school early next cycle.

Here's the deal, my thoughts and any on here are pretty useless. Focus on the LSAT. Kill it. Apply. Either they will "forgive" or they won't but there's no way to find out if you're the special snowflake until you try. My opinion, and everyone else's, is either a guess or an anecdote at far as what relevance it has to you.


Out curiosity - how did you score on the LSAT?

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HarveySpecterr
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby HarveySpecterr » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:56 am

Thanks for the helpful comments, everyone. This is an exciting process, and I love how many people out there are willing and ready to talk about these things -- in my own little nerdy world, inhabited mainly by my wife and a small child, I don't know anyone who wants to talk about LSATS or law school or any of this. So this is awesome.

KPUSN07, regarding the LSAT, I haven't taken an official one yet -- I just registered to take it in June -- but on my first timed, practice test I scored a 162. That was before studying at all. My reading comp. and logical reasoning were fine, but logic games kicked my tail. Since then, I've hammered logic games (7Sage on YouTube is amazing), and I'm confident it'll raise my score significantly. I actually *like* doing logic games now, as nerdy as it sounds.. When I get a free moment, a nice pen and blank legal pad entice me more these days than a crossword puzzle. So that's where I am; trying to get my 162 up, hopefully, another 8 points or so. UT-Austin is my top choice, and a lot of the other threads on here have me worried to death that they're going to see my 3.3 UGPA (at a not very intellectually rigorous school) and throw me in the "no" pile. I hope what they say about the "holistic" approach is more true than so many people would lead one to believe.

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HarveySpecterr
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby HarveySpecterr » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:17 pm

KPUSN07 wrote:
TripleM wrote:Forgiving may not be the right word. Perhaps a better way to describe it is that your UG GPA represents a smaller portion of your application. You really need to kill the LSAT. Double Tap it.

Schools all claim to look at your application "holistically", and not just as a GPA/LSAT. A lot of folks here roll their eyes at that. Neither the schools nor the eye rollers are completely wrong. A student who has gone K/JD, quiet honestly, doesn't have a lot of other things to look at. Much of their life is, in fact, reflected in those scores. Not so with old applicants like ourselves (PLEASE understand that I am in no way suggesting that I am better than younger applicants. In fact, I'm almost certain that I'm neither better nor more capable in most cases).

An older student has other things to offer the AdCom for consideration. There is, essentially, a lot more personhood to consider in an older student. You have built up a lifetime of actions that you can show the committee to prove that you're capable and qualified. You can say, in essence, "That GPA from x years ago doesn't really reflect who I am today. Here's XYZ things that I've done in real life and more recently that better reflect the student/attorney I would be today."

That said, UG numbers still matter. I'm old AF, probably older than you. My UG numbers are IDENTICAL to yours and are nearing two decades old. The harsh reality is that I'm not going to get into HYS (I still applied... at least make them say "no"). It's not impossible, but is implausible.

That said, I've received interviews at a number T14 schools (no word back yet), I've been accepted and offered generous scholarships to a couple of T20 and I've been offered full or near full rides to three respectable regional schools that lie in between T20 and 50.

I applied late in the cycle and am still waiting to hear back from 16 schools, including many in the T14. Most will be "no" but there's a decent chance that one or two might come through. My experience thus far has lead me to believe that if I can gain 5 points on my third take and apply at the beginning of the cycle I'd likely get a couple of "yes" answers from the T14. One Dean who waitlisted me was kind enough to personally call me and encourage me to apply to his school early next cycle.

Here's the deal, my thoughts and any on here are pretty useless. Focus on the LSAT. Kill it. Apply. Either they will "forgive" or they won't but there's no way to find out if you're the special snowflake until you try. My opinion, and everyone else's, is either a guess or an anecdote at far as what relevance it has to you.


Out curiosity - how did you score on the LSAT?


Oh you were asking about A Nony's LSAT. (Sorry, I'm just figuring out how this thing works.) I, too, was wondering about those LSAT numbers. And whether a ph.d. in history successfully led to a career in law.

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TripleM
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby TripleM » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:13 pm

"Check it against your list 'n see consistency!"
I scored 164, twice. Consistency. I'm planning to retake in June. This cycle has left me optimistic enough that I may want to see what opportunities present if I were to apply day one next cycle.
In the interest of full disclosure I'm also a URM, and may enjoy a more forgiving assessment of my numbers than others.
In speaking to some of the people in the offices, though, I've come to believe that they were more interested in the fact that I have years of experience researching and writing for major newspapers and an unusual work history that demands exceptional discipline as well as some academic chops.
Again, they always look at the whole picture, it's just that those of us who are older can offer a larger picture with greater detail.

BTW, in at GULC today!

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potus
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby potus » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:50 pm

TripleM wrote:"Check it against your list 'n see consistency!"
I scored 164, twice. Consistency. I'm planning to retake in June. This cycle has left me optimistic enough that I may want to see what opportunities present if I were to apply day one next cycle.
In the interest of full disclosure I'm also a URM, and may enjoy a more forgiving assessment of my numbers than others.
In speaking to some of the people in the offices, though, I've come to believe that they were more interested in the fact that I have years of experience researching and writing for major newspapers and an unusual work history that demands exceptional discipline as well as some academic chops.
Again, they always look at the whole picture, it's just that those of us who are older can offer a larger picture with greater detail.

BTW, in at GULC today!


Congrats on GULC! This really resonates with me. I underperformed, though, after studying for years but still went forward with this cycle and while I was happy with the offers I got, I still see a lot of missed opportunities that would've been filled with a higher score. While I'm getting older, I'm happy to be able to fill up my resume (published articles, grad school, management position) and I'm sure I would be more interesteing in interviews, but one thing that really excited me recently was going to Admitted Students Days and experiencing mock classes. I just loved the entire environment and really put into perspective what I want to do in the future. Really inspires me to retake again one last time, and shoot for a better law school next cycle.

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HarveySpecterr
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby HarveySpecterr » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:03 pm

Wait a minute. So if you got into Georgetown, why don't you want to go? If you're set on going some place else, why did you apply to GTown? I'm conused.. (I feel like if I get into ANY of the places I apply first cycle, I'll choose the best one and get going. Even if it means student loans).

Are you applying cycle after cycle until you get into a specific program? Or get a specific amount of aid?

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HarveySpecterr
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby HarveySpecterr » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:09 am

TripleM wrote:"Check it against your list 'n see consistency!"
I scored 164, twice. Consistency. I'm planning to retake in June. This cycle has left me optimistic enough that I may want to see what opportunities present if I were to apply day one next cycle.
In the interest of full disclosure I'm also a URM, and may enjoy a more forgiving assessment of my numbers than others.
In speaking to some of the people in the offices, though, I've come to believe that they were more interested in the fact that I have years of experience researching and writing for major newspapers and an unusual work history that demands exceptional discipline as well as some academic chops.
Again, they always look at the whole picture, it's just that those of us who are older can offer a larger picture with greater detail.

BTW, in at GULC today!


So is there believed to be a considerable advantage to applying "day 1?"

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TripleM
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Re: Are admissions committees more forgiving of "Splitters" if non-traditional students

Postby TripleM » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:58 am

HarveySpecterr wrote:
So is there believed to be a considerable advantage to applying "day 1?"


Not to day one specifically, but to applying earlier in the cycle. There are a finite number of seats in each class and a finite number of dollars available to the students who fill those seats. Most schools assess candidates on some sort of rolling basis beginning long before the application deadline. The later you apply, the more of those seats and dollars have already been handed out. If you apply at or near the deadline you're likely to be in the middle of a surge of applications that hits their office at the very time they have the fewest seats left to offer.

Some believe that the schools will also feel more able to take a risk on a splitter or someone with low numbers early in the cycle. Schools are rated, in part, on their LSAT and GPA medians. In order to take a shitty GPA, like mine, they have to be confident that they can admit a student with a GPA above their targeted median in order to balance out my low number. It's not like they're sitting there matching up number to number on individual apps, but it's something they certainly track. Early in the cycle they've got a lot of runway left to admit those high performing students. There are a lot of seats and so it's easier for them to justify taking a risk on someone like myself.

I'm not sure if your previous question about GULC was to me, but I'll answer just in case... I would like to attend GULC. It's one of my top choices. That said, I can't attend GULC or any other school, at any cost. I've got a wife and kid and so I've got to balance choosing the right program with also choosing the right debt. I can't pay sticker because I'd essentially be mortgaging my kid's college education in order to pay for my own. If you don't apply, you can't get accepted nor can you get a scholarship offer.

If GULC offers me a significant discount on tuition, I'll probably go. If not, I'll take again in June in hopes of scoring better and with the knowledge that I can apply earlier in the day.

Also, I took the Feb LSAT and those scores didn't come out until march, after the deadline for many schools.I had to apply and hope that my score would improve. It didn't, but I couldn't wait to find out.

Final thought, I believe that unusual candidates need to apply broadly. Candidates who have high marks across the board are low risk gambles for schools. They offer advantages to the schools rankings and are a proven quantity academically. Splitters like myself are a riskier gamble. A person reading my app has to ask, "They've not really proven themselves nor are they going to help our rankings, but do their life experiences offer us something valuable?" Different people are going to answer that in different ways and the same person is going to answer that question differently on different days. How many risks have they taken that day? That week? Did they have a fight with their loved one that morning? Does your app land on the desk of someone who likes to visit Vegas or prefers the predictability of staying in a Disney Brand hotel while visiting Disneyland?

Choose a shit ton of schools you could see yourself at, apply to all of them. Invest in some sort of professional help to make sure that your essays shine a bright light on what sets you apart from the all-star KJD.




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