Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
northwood

Moderator
Posts: 5041
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 7:29 pm

Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby northwood » Sun Apr 01, 2018 7:35 pm

Law 202x wrote:What O'Drama said. When I started college, I was interested in nothing. Now I'm interest in everything. Funny how that works.



I agree with this. I changed what I wanted to do with my life/ major multiple times between high school graduation and sophomore year of college. Get good grades, have fun, try everything, stay out of trouble and think about law school your junior/ senior year or even after working for a year or two after.

User avatar
totesTheGoat

Moderator
Posts: 819
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:32 pm

Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby totesTheGoat » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:01 am

Gamble2 wrote:Get a 4.0 and start studying for the LSAT NOW. Yes, NOW!

Many people in this thread will tell you its too early to start studying for the LSAT and that you shouldn't even think about that sort of stuff until the end of undergrad. These are the same people who will tell you to retake while working full time when you realize your LSAT score isn't high enough for T-14 w/ money. It is infinitely easier to study for the LSAT now then later, and you don't even necessarily need to study super hard but you do need to put in the foundations if you want to be a high scorer (165+). Few people who take the LSAT are able to reach that level within a single year and fewer still are able to do it after multiple years while working full time. If you put in the work now and study at a consistent pace until its time to apply you should be close to around a 90th percentile score which is what you will need to get into a great law school on a scholarship assuming no URM boosts.

Trust me when I say it fucking sucks to have a good GPA and then be told that you need to take a year or multiple years off between undergrad and law school because your LSAT score was not high enough. It can be extremely stressful and difficult to also study for the LSAT and support yourself [assuming you have no one to take care of your bills while on your gap year(s)]. You don't want put yourself through that. Do yourself a favor and start familiarizing yourself with the Exam from now while also maintaining a good uGPA. I'd prioritize the uGPA obviously because at least in theory you could take the LSAT as often as you want but you only get one shot at undergrad.

It may seem like a lot but trust me when I say you will never have as much free time to devote to the LSAT as when you are in the early years of undegrad. Take advantage of it.


Oh this is such awful advice. If it takes you 4 years of diligent studying to get a decent LSAT score, there's something going on beyond the LSAT just being hard. Take all the effort that you would be putting into the LSAT and do better at undergrad (and I don't mean only your GPA). You want your undergrad job prospects to be as bulletproof as possible so that if it takes you longer than 3 or 6 months to get your ideal LSAT score, you're not scraping by on 60 hours/week of minimum wage while trying to find some spare time to study. There are plenty of us out there that studied for the LSAT and got decent scores (including substantial improvement on our original scores) while working real jobs. It may take a year or even 18 months to get the score you want, but waiting a year or two for law school is much easier when you're working a real job.

Go to college, pick an employable major, kick ass at school, do the requisite internships, research assistantships, and extracurriculars to have stellar job prospects, and get everything lined up to start a career job based on your UG major. Then, as you get to your senior year of college, start getting prepared for taking the LSAT. Study for a year or so while working your job, and take the LSAT when you feel you're ready. Retake until you get the score you want. Then submit law school applications. Ideally, you'll be walking onto campus with a huge shiny scholarship, a pile of cash you've been saving from your career job, 2 years of real work experience, and a resume that sticks out from all the K-JDs.

Gamble2

New
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:21 pm

Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby Gamble2 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:06 am

totesTheGoat wrote:
Gamble2 wrote:Get a 4.0 and start studying for the LSAT NOW. Yes, NOW!

Many people in this thread will tell you its too early to start studying for the LSAT and that you shouldn't even think about that sort of stuff until the end of undergrad. These are the same people who will tell you to retake while working full time when you realize your LSAT score isn't high enough for T-14 w/ money. It is infinitely easier to study for the LSAT now then later, and you don't even necessarily need to study super hard but you do need to put in the foundations if you want to be a high scorer (165+). Few people who take the LSAT are able to reach that level within a single year and fewer still are able to do it after multiple years while working full time. If you put in the work now and study at a consistent pace until its time to apply you should be close to around a 90th percentile score which is what you will need to get into a great law school on a scholarship assuming no URM boosts.

Trust me when I say it fucking sucks to have a good GPA and then be told that you need to take a year or multiple years off between undergrad and law school because your LSAT score was not high enough. It can be extremely stressful and difficult to also study for the LSAT and support yourself [assuming you have no one to take care of your bills while on your gap year(s)]. You don't want put yourself through that. Do yourself a favor and start familiarizing yourself with the Exam from now while also maintaining a good uGPA. I'd prioritize the uGPA obviously because at least in theory you could take the LSAT as often as you want but you only get one shot at undergrad.

It may seem like a lot but trust me when I say you will never have as much free time to devote to the LSAT as when you are in the early years of undegrad. Take advantage of it.


Oh this is such awful advice. If it takes you 4 years of diligent studying to get a decent LSAT score, there's something going on beyond the LSAT just being hard. Take all the effort that you would be putting into the LSAT and do better at undergrad (and I don't mean only your GPA). You want your undergrad job prospects to be as bulletproof as possible so that if it takes you longer than 3 or 6 months to get your ideal LSAT score, you're not scraping by on 60 hours/week of minimum wage while trying to find some spare time to study. There are plenty of us out there that studied for the LSAT and got decent scores (including substantial improvement on our original scores) while working real jobs. It may take a year or even 18 months to get the score you want, but waiting a year or two for law school is much easier when you're working a real job.

Go to college, pick an employable major, kick ass at school, do the requisite internships, research assistantships, and extracurriculars to have stellar job prospects, and get everything lined up to start a career job based on your UG major. Then, as you get to your senior year of college, start getting prepared for taking the LSAT. Study for a year or so while working your job, and take the LSAT when you feel you're ready. Retake until you get the score you want. Then submit law school applications. Ideally, you'll be walking onto campus with a huge shiny scholarship, a pile of cash you've been saving from your career job, 2 years of real work experience, and a resume that sticks out from all the K-JDs.



What do you define as "decent" LSAT score? Anything under 165 is laughable if you want T-14 w/ money. Anything under 173 is laughable if you want HYS or CCN w/ money. That kind of score doesn't materialize out of nowhere unless you are a genius. It can take years of studying to achieve a +170. But sure, wait until your last year of undergrad to study for the LSAT. And then when you get a 160 watch these same people tell you to work full time and study for the LSAT when you could have frontloaded your studying during a time when you had the least amount of responsibilities you will likely ever have.

I'm not telling OP to spend every waking moment of undergrad studying for the LSAT but he should be gaining fluency in the test as early as possible if he wants to be in range for a 170 by the time he's ready to apply. If OP is a natural genius and PTs a cold 160 then sure he could probably knock out a high score in less than a year. But if not he will follow your advice and then post a: "Got a 160 on the LSAT, Retake or ???" in the next 3 years.

User avatar
totesTheGoat

Moderator
Posts: 819
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:32 pm

Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby totesTheGoat » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:25 pm

Gamble2 wrote:What do you define as "decent" LSAT score? Anything under 165 is laughable if you want T-14 w/ money. Anything under 173 is laughable if you want HYS or CCN w/ money. That kind of score doesn't materialize out of nowhere unless you are a genius. It can take years of studying to achieve a +170.


I'd say "decent" is 160+, depending on the person's situation. The more financially vulnerable they are, the less risk they need to be taking, and the higher their score should be. I'm also not a T-14 or bust type. I'd think twice before going T2 or below, but there's nothing wrong with going to a top-tier regional school, assuming that you aren't paying sticker. Frankly, a soon-to-be undergrad shouldn't be worrying about getting into HYSCCN law school. What a friggin waste of time and emotional energy. They could've spent that time and effort making their undergrad resume stand out so that they get a decent shot at a good job without a graduate degree.

There's something wrong if somebody needs more than 18 months to break 160. Either you're studying wrong, you're not studying intensely enough, or you may need to rethink law school*. The LSAT is a learnable test, and there are tons of resources out there to get you additional points within weeks, not months. For example, the logic games are completely learnable. It's a pity if you give up points in that section. Plenty of everyday non-geniuses make up 20 or more points in 6 months.

* Whether or not the LSAT is a particularly good predictor of law school performance, the inability to effectively study for and achieve on a learnable test, no matter the content, is a negative indicator.


But sure, wait until your last year of undergrad to study for the LSAT. And then when you get a 160 watch these same people tell you to work full time and study for the LSAT when you could have frontloaded your studying during a time when you had the least amount of responsibilities you will likely ever have.

I'm not telling OP to spend every waking moment of undergrad studying for the LSAT but he should be gaining fluency in the test as early as possible if he wants to be in range for a 170 by the time he's ready to apply. If OP is a natural genius and PTs a cold 160 then sure he could probably knock out a high score in less than a year. But if not he will follow your advice and then post a: "Got a 160 on the LSAT, Retake or ???" in the next 3 years.


The point is that this kid is in high school. They haven't even stepped foot on campus for real yet. The idea that they need to be prepping for a JD before they crack open their first college textbook is insane. There's a line between gently guiding your path in the direction of law school and completely overdoing it, and this crosses that line by a mile. This kid needs to focus on getting good grades in a major that actually has job prospects, possibly getting some work experience, and figuring out what they want to do with their life. Then, 3 years from now, if law is still on their radar, they can start planning their path into law school. At that point, if it takes them 3 years to get a decent LSAT score, all they have to do is take a gap year. It's more likely at this point that the OP will change their mind about law school sometime in the next 4.5 years than it taking them 3 years to crack a 165 LSAT.

jmartelok

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:12 pm

Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby jmartelok » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:06 pm

Hi! Sorry to kick a dead horse, but I wanted to thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I (a girl, by the way) am going into my undergraduate studies at Tulane with a major in Social Policy & Practice/Political Science because I think that it's incredibly interesting and I will do well in it, not for pre-law reasons. If I choose to do so, I will only begin studying for the LSAT sometime around my junior year but will continue to do logic puzzles in the meantime because those are apparently a component and I've done those for fun since I was in middle school. I appreciate your help and advice!

TrustMeImALawStudent

New
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:37 pm

Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby TrustMeImALawStudent » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:49 pm

Take classes you're interested in. Law schools really don't seem to care about what type of undergrad classes applicants take. They care about your LSAT and GPA numbers. If law-themed classes are offered, take a few of those to see if you like them. But undergrad law-themed courses (feminism and law, introduction to international law, etc.) aren't like actual law classes, fyi.

Also, don't feel like you need to take a logic class as you get closer to studying for the LSAT. I took a logic class for that reason and I don't think it helped at all and I spent 4 months hating that class and it lowered my GPA. Further, start LSAT prep a full year before you plan to apply and utilize the threads on this forum for tips and motivation.

I would also try to do an internship in a law office or legal aid clinic at least once during your undergrad summers. That can give you a feel for whether you like office work or not. Legal work is primarily Westlaw research and pushing papers while sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day. The exciting stuff doesn't happen very often.

jmartelok

New
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:12 pm

Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby jmartelok » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:37 pm

That's what I'm doing, actually! I am taking a symbolic logic course but that's because it's an alternative to calculus which I would prefer to not have to retake. The internship is very good advice, thank you! I'm hoping I can find some sort of legal nonprofit work at some point either through the ACLU, SPLC (I have worked with them before and they were incredible), or an immigration nonprofit where I can use my Spanish. Strangely enough, I love the routine, standardization, and logic of pushing papers, so I think clerical/office internships (and possibly eventual legal work) and I will get along just fine. Thank you!

mcmand

Silver
Posts: 723
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:45 pm

Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby mcmand » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:09 am

Really glad you took our advice to heart. You'll get a lot more out of undergrad, and it sounds like you're starting to!

Enjoy it and check back in as you go forward. Thank you for updating us!



Return to “Law School Admissions Forum�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Cjjd23 and 23 guests