Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

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jmartelok
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Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby jmartelok » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:18 pm

Hello!

Next year, I am to begin my undergraduate studies. At this point, I'm certain I will be attending law school within the next four to five years, am hoping to eventually apply to most of the T14 schools, and would like to considerably maximize my chances of receiving merit scholarships (given that HLS and a few others do no more than some financial need grants on top of base loans). Do any of you all have any advice regarding things like LSAT prep, resume-building, or networking that you wish you had known prior to beginning your applications? Any regrets/things you wish you had done differently?

Thank you!

smile0751
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby smile0751 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:21 pm

My biggest advice is to put law out of your mind for the next 4-6 years. Study something practical like finance, economics, or programming. Get good grades. Work in that field for 1-2 years. Only then think about law school. You’ll be happier and a better applicant because of it.

jmartelok
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby jmartelok » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:24 pm

As nice as that sounds, I unfortunately have no current interests beyond law other than being a novelist, and that simply isn't practical. I would like to be a lawyer as I find the law itself to be compelling, and am currently looking for advice as far as maximizing my application/preparation. If something alternatively interesting presents itself, then I will definitely follow your advice. :) Thanks!

alexeats
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby alexeats » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:27 pm

Get a 4.0. I suck at standardized tests and so I knew I would need a safety net. I got a 160 after a lot of effort of LSAT studying but I’ve gotten until multiple t14 w money and haven’t been rejected from a t14 yet. I got a 3.98 but still it’s close. Also be super involved and have lots of internships and do something that will make you stand out to law schools.

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chargers21
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby chargers21 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:28 pm

Get an A in every class. That's the absolute best thing you can do in undergrad.

cavalier1138
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:39 pm

Stop thinking about it.

Seriously. I know you think you can't. But find something else to do with your time. Maybe focus on enjoying college? I've heard it can be a fun time.

mcmand
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby mcmand » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:46 pm

Do things that are interesting to you. If they're law and policy related, great. But don't come at it from the perspective of how to maximize law school admission chances. The only things you can do for that are good grades and a high LSAT. Everything else should be about developing as a human being. Explore your interests, meet new people, and challenge yourself. These years are a growth period for you. Don't waste them.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

smile0751
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby smile0751 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:59 pm

jmartelok wrote:As nice as that sounds, I unfortunately have no current interests beyond law other than being a novelist, and that simply isn't practical. I would like to be a lawyer as I find the law itself to be compelling, and am currently looking for advice as far as maximizing my application/preparation. If something alternatively interesting presents itself, then I will definitely follow your advice. :) Thanks!


Then spend the next four years finding other interests and passions besides the law or try (and maybe fail) to write your novel. Take chances and dive into new things. Practically, this will make you a better, more interesting applicant for both law schools and law firms. Personally, this will give you a chance to grow as a person and meet different types of people. You asked for “things you wish you knew” advice, and I think this is the best advice. It’s also the advice undergrads seem the least willing to accept.

But good luck to you! I’m not trying to dismiss your feelings, which I think are quite common. I just hope you don’t dismiss this advice too quickly.

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Barack O'Drama
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby Barack O'Drama » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:59 pm

You don't have any interests now because you haven't done anything at your age. Try different classes/internships/jobs out before going all in on law school. How do you know you want to be a lawyer?

At your age, I was 100% committed to med school. There was nothing else I was interested in. Majored in bio for almost 1.5 years and finally got an internship in the medical field. Found out I didn't like it and changed my major, worked at a law office, found the work better suited to my skills, and here I am years later. I regret so blindly setting my sights on med school without really knowing what a doctor does/what med school is like. I did it because I simply had no interests at age 17-18 beyond med school. I also regret changing my major to something as useless as I did. Major in accounting, CS, economics, etc. Something that you can get a job with should your law school plans not work out. Or, even better, if they do you'll be able to get some solid, relevant work experience. People change a lot from age 18 to 22. Keep that in mind.

I don't think you should necessarily put law school out of your mind, but keep an open mind and try new things. You never know what you may end up being interested in or what you may find out you have a talent in. Work hard and get straight As. Build relationships with profs for letters of recommendation, and enjoy college.

Law school will always be here when and if you decide to go.

Good luck
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Law 202x
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby Law 202x » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:00 am

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

181plz
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby 181plz » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:51 pm

As others have said, the best thing you can do now is get As. The other advice is good advice. I wouldn’t worry about the LSAT yet, but if ur a big nerd and are bored I guess you could buy a book and check out some 7sage videos. I actually took my first practice LSAT at 18. Just don’t let it distract from your grades

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Dcc617
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby Dcc617 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:03 am

jmartelok wrote:As nice as that sounds, I unfortunately have no current interests beyond law other than being a novelist, and that simply isn't practical. I would like to be a lawyer as I find the law itself to be compelling, and am currently looking for advice as far as maximizing my application/preparation. If something alternatively interesting presents itself, then I will definitely follow your advice. :) Thanks!


Yeah, if you graduate college with the exact same interests as what you started with then you did it wrong. Live some and then think about law school in a few years. It’ll still be there. Just keep your grades up and learn. Try to improve your writing. Etc.

Mikey
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby Mikey » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:44 am

Enjoy undergrad. You say you don't have interests now besides law, but trust me, there's plenty of subjects in college you can explore that you may find one or multiple you really like. Getting the highest grades possible should be a top priority, though.

Meet new people, join clubs you are interested in, maybe do some internships. Just have fun in college but take your grades seriously.
Last edited by Mikey on Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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whodareswins
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby whodareswins » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:45 am

+1 to good grades in undergrad.

But also, don't forget to have fun and take part in things your peers are doing like volunteering, getting work experience, having a social life, etc.

Law school and the legal profession may be very different in 7-8 years from now, so be prepared to be flexible with your goals.

Good luck!

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MercW07
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby MercW07 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:25 pm

The best advice I could give is do as much as you can in college while still maintaining your grades. Everyone here has mentioned grades, and yes they are extremely important to the schools you will apply to, but please don't spend the next 4 years of your life in the library. Go out, have fun, meet people, join clubs, do cool things that can go on your resume. College is an amazing time and I can almost guarantee you will not be the same person you are today when you graduate so enjoy the ride, then worry about law school.

Slippin' Jimmy
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby Slippin' Jimmy » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:12 pm

Major in something that you can get good grades in and get a job from. Then don't think about law school until at least your Junior year, which is when you should start prepping for the LSAT. After that you will have the option to either go straight through or take a couple years to get some real work experience.

sd812
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby sd812 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:15 pm

Like other posters have said, the best thing you can do is keep your grades up. Don't slack and get as close to a 4.0 as you can. Unfortunately, I didn't do well my first two years of college, and even with a great LSAT score and good grades my junior and senior years of college, my GPA is holding me back in terms of both admissions and scholarship offers. An A in an easier class is better than an A- or B+ in a harder class; law schools really do not take your major or the courses taken into account when evaluating your GPA.

That's not to say you should only take easy classes regardless of your interests, but just focus on getting the best possible grades -- don't blow off assignments, slack on studying for midterms, etc. Even your freshman grades will follow you.

cityb101
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby cityb101 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:05 am

First, DON'T start worrying about the LSAT until your junior year. At that point, you can start working on logic games and maybe take the LSAT the June after your senior year. But until then, push it to the back of your mind.

Second, take classes you like and do well in them. You don't need to be a political science/government/philosophy major. DON'T major in pre-legal studies. If you decide to do a pre-professional major (like business), be sure to minor or at least take a lot of non pre-professional courses--law schools like to see these more traditional classes on your transcript. Don't bother taking a logic course unless you want to take one (you can learn all the logic you need from LSAT prep books or courses), but philosophy and other humanities classes will certainly help hone relevant skills for law school. Don't be afraid to major in something "weird," but make sure it's something you truly enjoy. Most of all, find professors whose classes you like and develop relationships with them. Go to office hours. If you can, write a thesis or assist with research. This will enrich your college experience AND set you up for fabulous letters of rec.

Third, get involved but be responsible with your time. Don't overextend yourself--grades are ultimately more important than extracurriculars. If you truly WANT to be president of two clubs, go for it--but don't do it simply to put it on your resume. Don't limit yourself to activities that are stereotypically pre-law (mock trial, debate team, etc.); if you want to found an environmental awareness club, go for it! If you want to join an East Asian dance group, do it! This is the one time in your life when you really have--almost--all the freedom in the world to try new things and learn.

Last, but certainly not least, ENJOY!

totesTheGoat
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby totesTheGoat » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:53 pm

This may not be popular advice, but go work a few years between undergrad and law school, and I'm not just talking about a gap year. A legal career is a huge time, effort, and money commitment, and you should get some real life experience working hard, progressing in a career, and paying bills before you decide to pull the trigger on law school.

The single worst thing you could do is plan your undergrad based on the presumption that you're going to law school. Plan your undergrad based on finding something that has decent prospects for a paying job when you graduate and something that interests you. Then, when the time comes, you have the option to go to law school on your own terms rather than being forced into it because your Starbucks job isn't paying the bills.
Last edited by totesTheGoat on Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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poptart123
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby poptart123 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:28 pm

Have a lot of fun. You will never have the sort of time or opportunities you have in college again. Don't waste it.

jmartelok
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Re: Advice for Soon-to-be Undergrad

Postby jmartelok » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:06 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:This may not be popular advice, but go work a few years between undergrad and law school, and I'm not just talking about a gap year. A legal career is a huge time, effort, and money commitment, and you should get some real life experience working hard, progressing in a career, and paying bills before you decide to pull the trigger on law school.

The single worst thing you could do is plan your undergrad based on the presumption that you're going to law school. Plan your undergrad based on finding something that has decent prospects for a paying job when you graduate and something that interests you. Then, when the time comes, you have the option to go to law school on your own terms rather than being forced into it because your Starbucks job isn't paying the bills.


It's a bit late, but I wanted to say that that hit a bit close to home because I just ended my 2-year long miserable stint with Starbucks.




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