4.0 at T25

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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cwhitley090

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4.0 at T25

Postby cwhitley090 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:43 am

Looking for some general advice:

I am a 1L at a T25 school and got a 4.0 for my first semester. I am considering transfer options and have a few questions:

1. I'm hesitant to apply to Chicago ED because it's binding and I don't want to give up the opportunity to apply to HYS and Columbia later. (I know YS take almost no transfers). Is this stupid? Should I just apply to Chicago and if I'm lucky enough to get in call it a day? I don't really want to be in Chicago. If I were to keep these grades up, would I stand a shot at Harvard or Columbia? How much could they slip before I fall out of contention?

2. 165/3.37 undergrad. Is this going to hurt? I know that Harvard states that only people who would have been in contention for 1L are in contention for transferring.

3. Any harm in applying to Georgetown EA? My grades can really only get worse so my feeling is strike while the iron is hot... DC is actually where I'd like to be, but not sure this transfer makes sense.

4. If I were to keep these grades up another semester, should I be transferring at all? I'll lose the connections I've built with faculty who I'll need for clerkships and will lose my GPA and scholarship (45k total). Is it better to be at the top of the class of a T25 or to be mid pack further up?

Thanks for the help. Please don't quote because I'll delete this later on.

hangingtree

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Re: 4.0 at T25

Postby hangingtree » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:09 am

Not a transfer myself but was close with a few transfers at my T10 who knew the game.

1. You probably got a decent shot at Harvard with another 4.0 and a good shot at Columbia with another 4.0. With a 3.9 or so you'd probably be in about the same spot for Columbia, but that'd probably put you out at Harvard. As you said, without a 4.1 or so this semester you probably won't be considered much for Yale and Stanford (but definitely worth the app). My two cents: ED at Chicago. I did substantially worse my second semester despite working harder and probably learning more. Your grades aren't random, but there are a lot of factors you can't control. You won't know until at least after this semester whether you just had a good combo of professors, exam formats, and courses, or whether you're just really good at law school.

2. Just take a look at the 509 disclosures; it'll give you a sense. Your LSAT/GPA won't itself hurt you much, but it does seem generally the case the Harvard likes to admit people from the T14. I do know of a TTT transfer there, but I'm pretty sure he was #1 in the class. My MVPBD had a TTT, #1-in-class transfer, and she said my school was the best she got into.

3. Transferring into Georgetown isn't an awesome deal. It's already hard enough to get a job out of Georgetown, and the transfer class is so massive that you'd have to hustle really hard. I know of a girl who transferred there and she struck out at OCI. However, better hustling there than at your T25 if you want to be in DC. My two cents: if you don't ED at Chicago, aim for NYU, Columbia, Penn, Michigan, UVA, and Duke. As long as you pull a 3.8 or so this semester, you should be able to sneak in to one of these schools.

4. You'll get a lot of insight from people on this thread and what costs and benefits to weigh, but ultimately this is just a personal decision. Personally, I don't know how much I would've gotten out of law school if I hadn't went to my (awesome) T10. It's not the cachet or whatever, but the quality of education I had and the quality of my peers. These two things had such a significant impact on me and I am really a much better person because of it. But really, if finances are more important to you or whatever, it may make more sense to stay at your school, particularly if you want to litigate. You're looking at a solid clerkship now.

merde_happens

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Re: 4.0 at T25

Postby merde_happens » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:04 pm

OP, I somewhat disagree with what's been said above as someone who transferred from a T1 to a T5 school. I think you're in better position than you're getting credit for.

1. I'm hesitant to apply to Chicago ED because it's binding and I don't want to give up the opportunity to apply to HYS and Columbia later. (I know YS take almost no transfers). Is this stupid? Should I just apply to Chicago and if I'm lucky enough to get in call it a day? I don't really want to be in Chicago. If I were to keep these grades up, would I stand a shot at Harvard or Columbia? How much could they slip before I fall out of contention?


If you don't really really want to go to Chicago, don't apply ED. If you got a 4.0 this semester then you're doing something seriously right - so long as you keep up what you're doing your grades probably will not slip. And you're going to have some great options with a 1L GPA at or near a 4.0, both if you decide to stay at your current school or if you decide to transfer. Someone in another thread was looking into whether Chicago's ED decision is binding regardless of whether you transfer - i.e. you couldn't decide to stay at your own school. If that's the case then I especially think you should not ED.

Take a look at Harvard's 509 disclosure to get a feel for the schools they tend to take transfers from and their GPA percentiles. Their 50th percentile GPA was a 3.92, so I think if you keep your grades at anything around there you'll be in really good shape. For Columbia, I think anything about a 3.8 will make you a contender.

2. 165/3.37 undergrad. Is this going to hurt? I know that Harvard states that only people who would have been in contention for 1L are in contention for transferring.


No. The only stats that matter for transferring are your 1L GPA and the school that you went to. Harvard takes a huge transfer class, the majority of which are from schools not in the T-14. I highly doubt that those are all kids with 3.8/170s who took the full scholly instead of going to Harvard.

3. Any harm in applying to Georgetown EA? My grades can really only get worse so my feeling is strike while the iron is hot... DC is actually where I'd like to be, but not sure this transfer makes sense.


Don't transfer to Georgetown. Their transfer class is huge (as are their class sizes generally) and their employment statistics aren't that great, which means that a lot of transfers strike out at OCI. You will almost certainly have better options with a high GPA from your T25 than as a transfer at Georgetown.
4. If I were to keep these grades up another semester, should I be transferring at all? I'll lose the connections I've built with faculty who I'll need for clerkships and will lose my GPA and scholarship (45k total). Is it better to be at the top of the class of a T25 or to be mid pack further up?


This really depends on you and your goals and current situation. You're going to have great options for big law as someone with a 4.0 or near to it. Where do you want to work? If you can't get to the market that you want to get to from your current school, it might make sense to transfer. Do you really want to clerk? Then it might make more sense to stay as someone who's going to get the full weight of faculty support behind them. I think you'll have to reevaluate once you see what schools you get into and what your 1L GPA ends up being.

Goldie

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Re: 4.0 at T25

Postby Goldie » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:27 pm

I had a 4.0 (and was #1 in my class at the end of 1L) at a T30 school and transferred to Harvard.

First, you'll worry all semester long about whether or not you'll get the same grades. I had virtually identical grades, and I knew a lot of other people who had virtually identical grades from first semester to second semester during 1L. Obviously not everyone does, but you are definitely doing something right and you should just keep doing that.

Second, Chicago is a great school. If you do want to transfer, it would take some of the pressure off this semester and help you know sooner where you'll be next fall. But if you'd rather be at, say, Harvard, and think you can keep similar grades, it may not be worth ED.

Third, I had a 166 LSAT and a 3.85 GPA, which aren't Harvard quality numbers, but it didn't stop me from getting in. Your 1L performance will make or break the transfer process.

Finally, as far as transferring goes, it's a deeply personal question. As someone at the top of the class at a T30 school, I knew I'd have access to a clerkship and a biglaw job. Transferring meant losing law review and friendships, but I decided it was worth making the move. Thankfully my 1L professors continued to support me in my clerkship search and I largely owe my clerkship to them. (It may be worth seeing if you can find information from previous transfers from your school to see if 1L professors at your school are good about helping transfers after they leave.) Transfers at HLS tend to do well, and many/most of us will have honors at graduation (so "mid pack" isn't inevitable). Plenty of us are at top D.C. firms. Looking back, I'm so glad I made the jump. I've had access to opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise (professors, classes, alumni connections, etc) and while the extra debt sucks, I think it'll be worth it in the long run.



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