What actions should I take as an undergrad?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
2nd.derivative
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:00 pm

What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby 2nd.derivative » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:50 pm

I've been seriously interested in law school for the past few years, and want to maximize my chances at getting in to a good law school. This year will be my freshman year of college at what I'd consider a mediocre state university, and I'm majoring in engineering (I know it's not ideal, but hey, I want to do IP/patent law.) Since hindsight is 20/20, I'm asking you guys for commentary on my plans, and for any other advice you wish to give me.
Here's my current situation for you to appraise:

Networking:
I've joined Linkedin
I'll be in the political science club, among other groups

Extracurriculars:
I'll be on an intercollegiate (but not NCAA) team. Should I drop this to save time?
I'm going to try to assist a local high school's JROTC program.

Academics:
I'm in the honors English/History program. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I think I can get A's, but I know it's going to be more work.
I got Kaplan's LSAT book a few years ago. It seems like I can improve most on the games section. I understand formal logic, and I can usually get the diagrams set up, its just that I'll usually make a few errors in execution.

General study habits:
I'm assuming that the old "4 hours studying for each hour in class" is a good standard to go by, is that true?
If so, this is where I could use advice the most. My current plan is to devote time from 7am to 8pm to class and studying. After accounting for time spent in class, transition, and lunch, this will give me the 4:1 ratio, without having to study on Sunday. If I become involved with clubs etc, I'll start studying an hour earlier. Assuming I have the discipline to do this, are there any serious flaws with this plan?
I'm not sure if I know how to study effectively for English and history classes. I never needed to study that hard for these in high school. Anyone have any advice?

Hopefully I didn't forget anything else really important.

Thanks.

AC Vegas
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:29 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby AC Vegas » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:56 pm

You have the ratios wrong. It's 1 hour of studying for 4 hours of class. The 4:1 ratio is boozing to whoring.

User avatar
pertristis
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:29 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby pertristis » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:57 pm

Your plan should be: obtain a high GPA, do well on the LSAT. That's what matters. Other than a few schools that are more black-boxy (Yale and Stanford come to mind), schools will care more about GPA and LSAT than they do about your four years as treasurer of the State School Baking Society.

User avatar
2014
Posts: 5834
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:53 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby 2014 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:25 pm

It's way too early for you to think about anything other than getting a good GPA.

Seriously enjoying the next 4 years of your life is important and starting out in uppity serious mode is no way to do it. Drink, get laid, get good grades, come back to us when you are a junior and re-evaluate.

dixon02
Posts: 374
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:27 am

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby dixon02 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:28 pm

Go drink a beer and chase women.

mr.hands
Posts: 892
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby mr.hands » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:37 pm

dixon02 wrote:Go drink a beer and chase women.


+1. Go have a beer and relax.

College is easy. You don't need to study 13 hours a day. Damn...

User avatar
pertristis
Posts: 374
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:29 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby pertristis » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:23 pm

My previous answer apparently was too serious.

Take up drinking whiskey.

User avatar
beachbum
Posts: 2766
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:35 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby beachbum » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:33 pm

2014 wrote:It's way too early for you to think about anything other than getting a good GPA.

Seriously enjoying the next 4 years of your life is important and starting out in uppity serious mode is no way to do it. Drink, get laid, get good grades, come back to us when you are a junior and re-evaluate.


This.

JetsFan1990
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:41 am

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby JetsFan1990 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:35 pm

"Drink, get laid, get good grades, come back to us when you are a junior and re-evaluate." Especially this.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby Nova » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:40 pm

Get a 4.0/173+

Try to enjoy yourself.

2nd.derivative
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:00 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby 2nd.derivative » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:41 pm

While I won't be chasing women or drinking, I am glad (I mean really glad) to hear that I don't have to study as much as I thought I did, and that I'll have free time. Thanks for the advice.

AC Vegas
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:29 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby AC Vegas » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:21 pm

2nd.derivative wrote:While I won't be chasing women or drinking, I am glad (I mean really glad) to hear that I don't have to study as much as I thought I did, and that I'll have free time. Thanks for the advice.


I will give you actual advice this time. There is no ratio of class time to study time. It depends on your study habits and how well you absorb information. It is more like 1:1, maybe 2:1 studying to class time if you want to do well in engineering. Feel it out once you start. Like other people said, try your best to get good grades but enjoy yourself and reevaluate in a few years if law school is really want you want to do.

bhan87
Posts: 850
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby bhan87 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:40 pm

2nd.derivative wrote:I've been seriously interested in law school for the past few years, and want to maximize my chances at getting in to a good law school. This year will be my freshman year of college at what I'd consider a mediocre state university, and I'm majoring in engineering (I know it's not ideal, but hey, I want to do IP/patent law.) Since hindsight is 20/20, I'm asking you guys for commentary on my plans, and for any other advice you wish to give me.
Here's my current situation for you to appraise:

As someone who came from a non-prestigious state school as well, I can understand your situation. Don't worry about whether your school is prestigious or not because that doesn't play a huge factor other than at the fringe ends of the spectrum (i.e. a mild boost for HYPS kids).

Networking:
I've joined Linkedin
I'll be in the political science club, among other groups

Extracurriculars:
I'll be on an intercollegiate (but not NCAA) team. Should I drop this to save time?
I'm going to try to assist a local high school's JROTC program.

Some extracurriculars are good, but not because it'll seriously help with law admissions. Rather, you should do them because you find them interesting and participating in them makes you a well-rounded person in general. However, CAUTION. You're stacking a lot up on activities that'll take up a significant amount of your time. The truth is, law school admissions are heavily numbers based. A 3.8 / 170 with no ECs will easily get admitted over a 3.6 /165 with plenty of ECs. If any of these activities will jeopardize your grades, get out of them if you're serious about law school.

Academics:
I'm in the honors English/History program. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I think I can get A's, but I know it's going to be more work.
I got Kaplan's LSAT book a few years ago. It seems like I can improve most on the games section. I understand formal logic, and I can usually get the diagrams set up, its just that I'll usually make a few errors in execution.

You're majoring in Engineering right? Don't stack up on unnecessary courses and focus on the bare minimum of courses you need to graduate. Don't forget that it takes 4 A's to make up for 1 B if you want to get above a 3.8. Above a 3.8 will make you competitive for mid T14, but things get iffy when you reach HYSCCN status. Realistically, you want to shoot as close to a 4.0 as possible, and the ratio to raise one B to above a 3.9 is pretty ridiculous. Honors programs don't offer much tangible benefit. You will ALWAYS want to have an A in a normal course over a B in an honors course. Law schools honestly won't care whether you took the honors version of the course, especially if your an engineering major.

In terms of LSAT studying, don't worry about that now. Stacking up multiple A's should be your main focus because once each semester is done, those grades are SET IN STONE. There are no do-overs in terms of course grades. In my personal case, my first quarter (school didn't follow a semester system) of B's took a painstaking amount of work to raise back above a 3.8 (remember the 4 to 1 ratio). You'll have plenty of time to study for the LSAT later. You won't need more than 6 months, at most, to exhaust your entire supply of prep material.


General study habits:
I'm assuming that the old "4 hours studying for each hour in class" is a good standard to go by, is that true?
If so, this is where I could use advice the most. My current plan is to devote time from 7am to 8pm to class and studying. After accounting for time spent in class, transition, and lunch, this will give me the 4:1 ratio, without having to study on Sunday. If I become involved with clubs etc, I'll start studying an hour earlier. Assuming I have the discipline to do this, are there any serious flaws with this plan?
I'm not sure if I know how to study effectively for English and history classes. I never needed to study that hard for these in high school. Anyone have any advice?

This schedule will take a lot of discipline and I don't think it's feasibly maintainable. A lot of the stuff you're adding to your schedule will not help your chances at law school, which is your biggest flaw. As brutal as this may be, you might want to cut all but one (maybe two) clubs. Getting a leadership position in that one club may be a boost, but no amount of leadership positions will make up for mediocre grades. Realistically, you want keep to a 9 to 5 schedule or less during college. Trust me, you'll regret not relaxing a bit before entering law school (there will be plenty of time for 12 hours / day schedules later).

Hopefully I didn't forget anything else really important.

Thanks.

User avatar
Br3v
Posts: 4174
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby Br3v » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:28 pm

7 am - 8 pm?

I honestly don't know what you could study with that much time every day! I know (assume) your a freshman, but rest assured you'll figure out what study schedule works for you but I can tell you it's not 13 hrs a day.

Have fun, but remember your goals. Not all of your friends will care about their gpa, so remember to hold yourself accountable to your own standard but also don't allow yourself to miss out on all the awesome experiences you are about to make.

User avatar
Tom Joad
Posts: 4542
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:56 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby Tom Joad » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:30 pm

1. Don't join LinkedIn

2. Master the tongue tornado

bhan87
Posts: 850
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby bhan87 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:44 pm

Br3v wrote:7 am - 8 pm?

I honestly don't know what you could study with that much time every day! I know (assume) your a freshman, but rest assured you'll figure out what study schedule works for you but I can tell you it's not 13 hrs a day.

Have fun, but remember your goals. Not all of your friends will care about their gpa, so remember to hold yourself accountable to your own standard but also don't allow yourself to miss out on all the awesome experiences you are about to make.


This is sage advice. Also this reminds me, other undergrads applying to law school can be a hotbed of misinformation. Case in point, pre-law societies.... I haven't seen a worse source of bad advice than pre-law societies that preach that ECs on your resume are the most important thing to have and that taking law-related courses is important in undergrad. Consulting TLS will ultimately one of the best decisions you've made.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: What actions should I take as an undergrad?

Postby cinephile » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:51 am

Continue with your engineering degree. It's important to have a plan B.

Also, don't drop sports or other fun activities in your life. Whatever minimal time you'll save won't necessarily be used efficiently for studying and you'll miss out on opportunities to enjoy yourself.

Also, I'd recommend spending sometime in a foreign country if you can. If it doesn't work with you major, maybe you can find a summer internship or something like that.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: finaciardi, White Dwarf and 1 guest