First post, so cut me a bit of slack, eh?
So here I am at midnight in the suburbs of Chicago, with stacks of LSAT books at hand, and the tunes of Coachella drowning out the thunderstorm at the window--I am quite serious about my potential journey to Northwestern.
Before I go on, I'd like to introduce myself and give a little bit of background on how I came to post on TLS this fine evening.
I turned 25 a few weeks ago and currently work as an auditor at a local firm. I travel about two dozen weeks a year across the country and have recently became managing clients. To get here, I graduated from UIUC with a Masters in Accounting and obtained my CPA certification. I also passed the CFE (Certified Fraud Examiners) exam and will received my certification upon completing two years of work experience (this August).
I took a PR LSAT prep class to 'get my feet wet' during my graduate year at UIUC. I focused much heavier on my grades as I planned to take the class again for free. I did end up doing extremely well in my 5th year with a 4.04 LSAC GPA, but the next time I scheduled my PR class for ended up outside they one year rage (so I had to pay again). Long story short, after taking the class geared towards to October 2011 exam, I did not feel ready and backed out.
Now here I am a half year later, studying hard for the June LSAT during busy season at work (taxes due on Tuesday!). I know I need to score really well in addition to having solid softs. I am hoping (realistically) that a 168, 3.6UG GPA, 4.04G GPA, CPA, CFE, and a some great work experience/LOR's will put me in good contention. As I already have a steady job, law school is NOT a must for me and I will basically only attend one of three schools or bust: Northwestern (dream, give myself 15% shot), Notre Dame, or Wash U (STL). Originally I looked to UIUC as they were climbing the rankings (and I love the campus), but after their recent scandal and huge drop in rankings, it's essentially out of the pictures.
Anyways, as Imentioned, my sister recently attended and I live in the area (will be moving to Lakeview this summer), so I do not have to many 'culture' questions (except how good was the last Wigmore Follies?!). From what I have seen, I would give almost anything to attend (including not going to Wrigleyville with my friends tonight).
I would like to ask though, aside from studying for the LSAT, what else can I do to improve my chances from now until application time (September?). Currently, I plan to intern at a law firm in Shanghai for 4 weeks starting in July (and ending right before Lolla!). I feel that this combined with my CFE will provide some sort of 'bridge' from my business background to law. Before attending, I also planned to give myself a month of so in the summer to unwind, travel, etc. My current job pays well enough that I can 'afford' to do so even with the debt looming ahead.
Speaking of debt, as a good bean counter, I have analyzed this too. With standard raises and significant figure parental support (which I am extremely thankful for), I really wouldn't have much debt afterwards (~65k). It would then take me 4 years of earning the typically misquoted $160k (which I know is still difficult to obtain even with a JD from NW) to 'break even' with what I would have made as an auditor, but I would presumably be making double.
Overall, I have done my research and put in my study time. I know the importance of hard numbers, but I just want to work and give myself every 'boast' possible.
Thanks for you time, sorry for the long-winded introduction, but I just wanted to clarify that I'm some clueless K-JD that doesn't know anything about the school, area, application process, etc.