Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

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lmt

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Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby lmt » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:58 pm

Hi everyone!

I am currently a first-generation college student at a small LAC in Kentucky (3.925 GPA). Like college admissions, I realize that I need to start thinking about law school admissions early and heavily rely upon resources like TLS. By looking through these threads over break, I see that my ultimate goal should be crafting a narrative during my undergraduate years rather than a resume.

I understand that law school admissions are largely based on LSAT/GPA; however, I am looking to make myself competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships.

Right now, I have been spending the past two years exploring education policy and civic education through internships, volunteering, and classes. However, I'm continually struck by the feeling that what I'm currently doing isn't enough.

If anyone can offer any readings/ link any threads/ share their ideas on making this delineation when thinking about admissions and how to do it effectively, I would be all ears.

Thanks in advance!

Graybrow

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby Graybrow » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:06 pm

lmt wrote:Hi everyone!

I am currently a first-generation college student at a small LAC in Kentucky (3.925 GPA). Like college admissions, I realize that I need to start thinking about law school admissions early and heavily rely upon resources like TLS. By looking through these threads over break, I see that my ultimate goal should be crafting a narrative during my undergraduate years rather than a resume.

I understand that law school admissions are largely based on LSAT/GPA; however, I am looking to make myself competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships.

Right now, I have been spending the past two years exploring education policy and civic education through internships, volunteering, and classes. However, I'm continually struck by the feeling that what I'm currently doing isn't enough.

If anyone can offer any readings/ link any threads/ share their ideas on making this delineation when thinking about admissions and how to do it effectively, I would be all ears.

Thanks in advance!


Not to beat the cliche TLS drum here, but if you want to "make [yourself] competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships" you need to focus on getting a great LSAT score and not "crafting a narrative". Your narrative won't get you anything if you don't have a great LSAT. This should take precedence over everything else. If you keep that GPA and get a 176, then not much else will matter. Softs don't really matter, and the kind of softs that actually can get you into Yale can't be manufactured before your senior year starts. Stop focusing on "crafting a narrative" and start taking practice LSATs.

cavalier1138

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:14 pm

It's fine to think about law school admissions early, but the best "narrative" you can craft (seriously, it's your life, not some fictional story) is that you're a somewhat-normal human being. Take a year (or two, or three) to live and work in the world after undergrad. Law school isn't going anywhere.

icechicken

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby icechicken » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:16 pm

Graybrow wrote:Not to beat the cliche TLS drum here, but if you want to "make [yourself] competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships" you need to focus on getting a great LSAT score and not "crafting a narrative". Your narrative won't get you anything if you don't have a great LSAT. This should take precedence over everything else. If you keep that GPA and get a 176, then not much else will matter. Softs don't really matter, and the kind of softs that actually can get you into Yale can't be manufactured before your senior year starts. Stop focusing on "crafting a narrative" and start taking practice LSATs.


I agree with this, except that OP should probably focus even harder on their GPA while it is still under they control. 3.9+ is a wonderful place to be.

Aside from school and LSAT prep do what you're actually passionate about, without regard to how it might look on a law-school application. You'll be happier and more successful that way.

Graybrow

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby Graybrow » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:22 pm

icechicken wrote:
Graybrow wrote:Not to beat the cliche TLS drum here, but if you want to "make [yourself] competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships" you need to focus on getting a great LSAT score and not "crafting a narrative". Your narrative won't get you anything if you don't have a great LSAT. This should take precedence over everything else. If you keep that GPA and get a 176, then not much else will matter. Softs don't really matter, and the kind of softs that actually can get you into Yale can't be manufactured before your senior year starts. Stop focusing on "crafting a narrative" and start taking practice LSATs.


I agree with this, except that OP should probably focus even harder on their GPA while it is still under they control. 3.9+ is a wonderful place to be.

Aside from school and LSAT prep do what you're actually passionate about, without regard to how it might look on a law-school application. You'll be happier and more successful that way.


I definitely agree with both these points.

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Oneanddone?

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby Oneanddone? » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:28 pm

icechicken wrote:Aside from school and LSAT prep do what you're actually passionate about, without regard to how it might look on a law-school application. You'll be happier and more successful that way.

This is really great advice. OP, you sound a bit like me.
I worked in admissions for a while and the one thing I've learned to value the most is authenticity. Trying to check boxes will get you nowhere. Truly strong softs reflect thoughtful involvement and passionate commitment. Leave TLS behind until you have at least completed your junior year. Until then? Fly! Be free!! Education policy may still have your heart in two years, but you might also discover a new focus entirely. Undergrad is all about exploration. :)

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KENYADIGG1T

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:13 pm

lmt wrote:Hi everyone!

I am currently a first-generation college student at a small LAC in Kentucky (3.925 GPA). Like college admissions, I realize that I need to start thinking about law school admissions early and heavily rely upon resources like TLS. By looking through these threads over break, I see that my ultimate goal should be crafting a narrative during my undergraduate years rather than a resume.

I understand that law school admissions are largely based on LSAT/GPA; however, I am looking to make myself competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships.

Right now, I have been spending the past two years exploring education policy and civic education through internships, volunteering, and classes. However, I'm continually struck by the feeling that what I'm currently doing isn't enough.

If anyone can offer any readings/ link any threads/ share their ideas on making this delineation when thinking about admissions and how to do it effectively, I would be all ears.

Thanks in advance!


So I add the following to complement what people have written above. But one of the things you can do is take classes with professors who will then recommend you. Do well in upper-level courses, and if you can swing it, take an independent study (though this might be more relevant if you were going into a PhD program, a professor can still tell adcoms about initiative, work ethic, and academic potential). The independent study is perhaps the secret ingredient to strong recommendations. To give an example, I had 4 recommenders when it came time to apply to PhD programs--I bring up this example to show how you, as an undergrad can start gameplanning now, and how you can use these "warp-drive" recommendations to offset any concerns about a borderline score/coming from a small school/both (this applied to me). With regard to my undergrad recommenders, I had:
- Taken at least 3 classes with all 3 professors, getting an A or better in all
- Co-designed and co-taught a course with 1
- Taken part in an independent study with 3 of the 4 profs, including the one with whom I co-taught.

When it came to the PhD program (at a law school, mind you) I did much the same. So when I was applying to law schools, I had 4 more recommendations in addition to the ones from undergrad.
- 4 law profs
- Taken a class with all 4
- Did an independent study with 1
- Served as a research assistant for 2
- Served as a teaching assistant for 3 of the 4
- 3 YLS alums, 1 HLS alum, and 1 Y PhD

I was obsessively strategic with my recommendations, but it has paid off immensely. Adjust accordingly relative to your career goals (I'm an academic and networking effectively is the name of the game) but you get the idea.

Hope this helps and Happy New Year :)
Last edited by KENYADIGG1T on Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KENYADIGG1T

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:15 pm

Oneanddone? wrote:
icechicken wrote:Aside from school and LSAT prep do what you're actually passionate about, without regard to how it might look on a law-school application. You'll be happier and more successful that way.

This is really great advice. OP, you sound a bit like me.
I worked in admissions for a while and the one thing I've learned to value the most is authenticity. Trying to check boxes will get you nowhere. Truly strong softs reflect thoughtful involvement and passionate commitment. Leave TLS behind until you have at least completed your junior year. Until then? Fly! Be free!! Education policy may still have your heart in two years, but you might also discover a new focus entirely. Undergrad is all about exploration. :)


I agree with this completely. If I may add, have a support system (friends/family/religion if that's your thing). Even if it doesn't show up on an application, you're gonna need it when shit gets tough in the run-up to and in law school.

MonicaYoung_LOL

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby MonicaYoung_LOL » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:27 pm

KENYADIGG1T wrote:
lmt wrote:Hi everyone!

I am currently a first-generation college student at a small LAC in Kentucky (3.925 GPA). Like college admissions, I realize that I need to start thinking about law school admissions early and heavily rely upon resources like TLS. By looking through these threads over break, I see that my ultimate goal should be crafting a narrative during my undergraduate years rather than a resume.

I understand that law school admissions are largely based on LSAT/GPA; however, I am looking to make myself competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships.

Right now, I have been spending the past two years exploring education policy and civic education through internships, volunteering, and classes. However, I'm continually struck by the feeling that what I'm currently doing isn't enough.

If anyone can offer any readings/ link any threads/ share their ideas on making this delineation when thinking about admissions and how to do it effectively, I would be all ears.

Thanks in advance!


So I add the following to complement what people have written above. But one of the things you can do is take classes with professors who will then recommend you. Do well in upper-level courses, and if you can swing it, take an independent study (though this might be more relevant if you were going into a PhD program, a professor can still tell adcoms about initiative, work ethic, and academic potential). The independent study is perhaps the secret ingredient to strong recommendations. To give an example, I had 4 recommenders when it came time to apply to PhD programs--I bring up this example to show how you, as an undergrad can start gameplanning now, and how you can use these "warp-drive" recommendations to offset any concerns about a borderline score/coming from a small school/both (this applied to me). With regard to my undergrad recommenders, I had:
- Taken at least 3 classes with all 3 professors, getting an A or better in all
- Co-designed and co-taught a course with 1
- Taken part in an independent study with 3 of the 4 profs, including the one with whom I co-taught.

When it came to the PhD program (at a law school, mind you) I did much the same. So when I was applying to law schools, I had 4 more recommendations in addition to the ones from undergrad.
- 4 law profs
- Taken a class with all 4
- Did an independent study with 1
- Served as a research assistant for 2
- Served as a teaching assistant for 3 of the 4
- 3 YLS alums, 1 HLS alum, and 1 Y PhD

I was obsessively strategic with my recommendations, but it has paid off immensely. Adjust accordingly relative to your career goals (I'm an academic and networking effectively is the name of the game) but you get the idea.

Hope this helps and Happy New Year :)


Not to counter what Kenya said because I think it's exceptionally well-thought out advice, but do remember as well that, as a student at a liberal arts college, hopefully those relationships will emerge more naturally. I'm not a PhD candidate--currently an undergrad at a liberal arts college--and my professors, all of whom graduated from Harvard, Yale, or Stanford at some point, and I became close naturally: such is the nature of liberal arts colleges, to my mind. I really value the relationships that I have with all of my recommenders--I've babysat for them, been to their homes for holidays, and so on--and I do think a huge part of fostering that relationship was simply the liberal arts environment. That's not to say that what Kenya suggests is not totally valid (and, again, wonderfully-put!). It's just to suggest that you might not necessarily need to be quite as deliberate and/or network-oriented. Hopefully, as you reflect back on your undergrad experience, you'll easily and without much thought be able to identify recommenders who would do a wonderful job of attesting to your intellectual assets.

Take what I say, of course, with a grain of salt; like I mentioned, I'm a K-JD 0L without much knowledge about law school admissions (barring what I can gather from my pre-law advisor), and I haven't heard back from any of the T3 schools at the moment. But I do think you might be wise to look towards fostering those relationships naturally--not just for the sake of recommenders, but for your own personal, emotional, and intellectual growth, as well.

Best of luck to you!

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KENYADIGG1T

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby KENYADIGG1T » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:36 pm

MonicaYoung_LOL wrote:
KENYADIGG1T wrote:
lmt wrote:Hi everyone!

I am currently a first-generation college student at a small LAC in Kentucky (3.925 GPA). Like college admissions, I realize that I need to start thinking about law school admissions early and heavily rely upon resources like TLS. By looking through these threads over break, I see that my ultimate goal should be crafting a narrative during my undergraduate years rather than a resume.

I understand that law school admissions are largely based on LSAT/GPA; however, I am looking to make myself competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships.

Right now, I have been spending the past two years exploring education policy and civic education through internships, volunteering, and classes. However, I'm continually struck by the feeling that what I'm currently doing isn't enough.

If anyone can offer any readings/ link any threads/ share their ideas on making this delineation when thinking about admissions and how to do it effectively, I would be all ears.

Thanks in advance!


So I add the following to complement what people have written above. But one of the things you can do is take classes with professors who will then recommend you. Do well in upper-level courses, and if you can swing it, take an independent study (though this might be more relevant if you were going into a PhD program, a professor can still tell adcoms about initiative, work ethic, and academic potential). The independent study is perhaps the secret ingredient to strong recommendations. To give an example, I had 4 recommenders when it came time to apply to PhD programs--I bring up this example to show how you, as an undergrad can start gameplanning now, and how you can use these "warp-drive" recommendations to offset any concerns about a borderline score/coming from a small school/both (this applied to me). With regard to my undergrad recommenders, I had:
- Taken at least 3 classes with all 3 professors, getting an A or better in all
- Co-designed and co-taught a course with 1
- Taken part in an independent study with 3 of the 4 profs, including the one with whom I co-taught.

When it came to the PhD program (at a law school, mind you) I did much the same. So when I was applying to law schools, I had 4 more recommendations in addition to the ones from undergrad.
- 4 law profs
- Taken a class with all 4
- Did an independent study with 1
- Served as a research assistant for 2
- Served as a teaching assistant for 3 of the 4
- 3 YLS alums, 1 HLS alum, and 1 Y PhD

I was obsessively strategic with my recommendations, but it has paid off immensely. Adjust accordingly relative to your career goals (I'm an academic and networking effectively is the name of the game) but you get the idea.

Hope this helps and Happy New Year :)


Not to counter what Kenya said because I think it's exceptionally well-thought out advice, but do remember as well that, as a student at a liberal arts college, hopefully those relationships will emerge more naturally. I'm not a PhD candidate--currently an undergrad at a liberal arts college--and my professors, all of whom graduated from Harvard, Yale, or Stanford at some point, and I became close naturally: such is the nature of liberal arts colleges, to my mind. I really value the relationships that I have with all of my recommenders--I've babysat for them, been to their homes for holidays, and so on--and I do think a huge part of fostering that relationship was simply the liberal arts environment. That's not to say that what Kenya suggests is not totally valid (and, again, wonderfully-put!). It's just to suggest that you might not necessarily need to be quite as deliberate and/or network-oriented. Hopefully, as you reflect back on your undergrad experience, you'll easily and without much thought be able to identify recommenders who would do a wonderful job of attesting to your intellectual assets.

Take what I say, of course, with a grain of salt; like I mentioned, I'm a K-JD 0L without much knowledge about law school admissions (barring what I can gather from my pre-law advisor), and I haven't heard back from any of the T3 schools at the moment. But I do think you might be wise to look towards fostering those relationships naturally--not just for the sake of recommenders, but for your own personal, emotional, and intellectual growth, as well.

Best of luck to you!


I think you might be closer to the mark than I am in the sense that your advice also works well with what other posters have said about just being curious for its own sake and doing things one loves (I happen to love school LOL). Jokes aside, I am coming from a personal background that made it almost imperative that I take the path I did, but I think there's a balance to be struck here OP.

MonicaYoung_LOL

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Re: Sophomore Undergraduate- Crafting a Narrative

Postby MonicaYoung_LOL » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:37 pm

KENYADIGG1T wrote:
MonicaYoung_LOL wrote:
KENYADIGG1T wrote:
lmt wrote:Hi everyone!

I am currently a first-generation college student at a small LAC in Kentucky (3.925 GPA). Like college admissions, I realize that I need to start thinking about law school admissions early and heavily rely upon resources like TLS. By looking through these threads over break, I see that my ultimate goal should be crafting a narrative during my undergraduate years rather than a resume.

I understand that law school admissions are largely based on LSAT/GPA; however, I am looking to make myself competitive for HYS or T14 with merit scholarships.

Right now, I have been spending the past two years exploring education policy and civic education through internships, volunteering, and classes. However, I'm continually struck by the feeling that what I'm currently doing isn't enough.

If anyone can offer any readings/ link any threads/ share their ideas on making this delineation when thinking about admissions and how to do it effectively, I would be all ears.

Thanks in advance!


So I add the following to complement what people have written above. But one of the things you can do is take classes with professors who will then recommend you. Do well in upper-level courses, and if you can swing it, take an independent study (though this might be more relevant if you were going into a PhD program, a professor can still tell adcoms about initiative, work ethic, and academic potential). The independent study is perhaps the secret ingredient to strong recommendations. To give an example, I had 4 recommenders when it came time to apply to PhD programs--I bring up this example to show how you, as an undergrad can start gameplanning now, and how you can use these "warp-drive" recommendations to offset any concerns about a borderline score/coming from a small school/both (this applied to me). With regard to my undergrad recommenders, I had:
- Taken at least 3 classes with all 3 professors, getting an A or better in all
- Co-designed and co-taught a course with 1
- Taken part in an independent study with 3 of the 4 profs, including the one with whom I co-taught.

When it came to the PhD program (at a law school, mind you) I did much the same. So when I was applying to law schools, I had 4 more recommendations in addition to the ones from undergrad.
- 4 law profs
- Taken a class with all 4
- Did an independent study with 1
- Served as a research assistant for 2
- Served as a teaching assistant for 3 of the 4
- 3 YLS alums, 1 HLS alum, and 1 Y PhD

I was obsessively strategic with my recommendations, but it has paid off immensely. Adjust accordingly relative to your career goals (I'm an academic and networking effectively is the name of the game) but you get the idea.

Hope this helps and Happy New Year :)


Not to counter what Kenya said because I think it's exceptionally well-thought out advice, but do remember as well that, as a student at a liberal arts college, hopefully those relationships will emerge more naturally. I'm not a PhD candidate--currently an undergrad at a liberal arts college--and my professors, all of whom graduated from Harvard, Yale, or Stanford at some point, and I became close naturally: such is the nature of liberal arts colleges, to my mind. I really value the relationships that I have with all of my recommenders--I've babysat for them, been to their homes for holidays, and so on--and I do think a huge part of fostering that relationship was simply the liberal arts environment. That's not to say that what Kenya suggests is not totally valid (and, again, wonderfully-put!). It's just to suggest that you might not necessarily need to be quite as deliberate and/or network-oriented. Hopefully, as you reflect back on your undergrad experience, you'll easily and without much thought be able to identify recommenders who would do a wonderful job of attesting to your intellectual assets.

Take what I say, of course, with a grain of salt; like I mentioned, I'm a K-JD 0L without much knowledge about law school admissions (barring what I can gather from my pre-law advisor), and I haven't heard back from any of the T3 schools at the moment. But I do think you might be wise to look towards fostering those relationships naturally--not just for the sake of recommenders, but for your own personal, emotional, and intellectual growth, as well.

Best of luck to you!


I think you might be closer to the mark than I am in the sense that your advice also works well with what other posters have said about just being curious for its own sake and doing things one loves (I happen to love school LOL). Jokes aside, I am coming from a personal background that made it almost imperative that I take the path I did, but I think there's a balance to be struck here OP.


+1, well put! Definitely up to each individual to find the balance :)



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