TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

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kitt kat
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Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:39 pm

TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby kitt kat » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:50 pm

Hey all, first post. Sorry if it's in the wrong place --- but please don't flame me for it. Ughhh.

Anyhow, here's my situation:

I am currently a senior at USC set to graduate this spring. "USC?" you say, "Well why the fuck is she asking for application advice?"

This is where the dilemma comes in.

I was an idealist at 18 years-old. I signed four years of my life away to obtain a useless degree --- I'll be graduating with a BFA in Screenwriting from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. (More like the School of Cantankerous Assholes, but whatever.) Needless to say, a year into the program I was miserable; the teachers and students were sexist, my work was panned because it was "not mainstream" (USC film LOVES it some Hollywood explosion movies) and I just wanted out --- not of USC, but the division. My parents said no, blah blah blah...And here I am about to graduate with a 3.0 (disgusting) because I decided to study "art" and instead of having to study for a test like a history major, I was graded on the merit of my work in the eyes of the teacher; if the teacher was into big-budget stuff, my tiny indie film was given a C. Sad, true, over it really. (Mostly, I got bad grades because I didn't see the point in some of the classes; half of them really were equivalent to Intermediate Cow Tipping, or something.)

However, halfway through my time at USC with the encouragement of my boyfriend, I picked up a minor in Music Industry. It was something I really loved --- I was considering an MA in Musicology/Popular Music Studies for a while because I'm a contemporary music nerd and would love to spend the rest of my days writing drawn-out books about post-punk, but there's no living in that, sadly. While doing the whole music business thing, I got really involved in my law classes, worked at a couple labels, began doing freelance music journalism, etc. It was then that my original career plan --- oh hey, law school --- popped up again. My goal is to become an entertainment lawyer working in music and dealing primarily with copyright law and contracts. I go nuts over that stuff.

Long story short --- here I am wondering if this is even possible. I have, like I said, an essentially useless degree that, if I don't go get another degree, only sets me up for Assistant Manager at Starbucks. (Yay!)

I know that before I apply, I am going to wait a while. I'll probably begin applying in Spring 2011, idealistically.

I am currently waiting to hear back from Teach for America; I made it through all the interviews and this will be my final yes or no answer. If I am given a spot in LA, I will do it and apply to law school at the end of the term. If I don't get LA, I'll try and get a job at a record label for the time being; hoping I get placed in some legal affairs department for the experience.

Should I even bother applying? Will a school laugh in my face when I come to them with a screenwriting degree? Will working for a year or two help my chances at all? (I'm not stupid; hell, I wouldn't be at USC if I was. I had a 2200 SAT, so I'm sure my LSAT will be decent, if not good, as I test well.) If screenwriting taught me anything, though, I can now write my way out of a hole; I think that will be helpful too.

Will TFA boost my chances at all either? Has anyone here done TFA and seen it be a positive factor in admissions? Did it give you a nice break from academia, expose you to the real world and help you save up? (Because, honestly, I'd love to teach for a while; just can't do it forever.)

Planning on LSAT classes, etc. Rec letters shouldn't be hard. Etc etc etc etc. Basically want to know if taking some time is a good idea for me to save money/pay off my USC loans and if TFA or going into the job force would help at all.

I also want to know what schools I should look at. I need to stay in LA. I'm so connected with the music scene and business here, it would be stupid for me to go elsewhere. Top choices, in order, are UCLA, USC and Loyola --- but honestly, Loyola seems like a waste of my time and money. (Am I right?) Any other LA/So. Cal law schools with stellar entertainment programs I should look at? (Not even entertainment, really...Copyright is good too!)

I would apply to Stanford, but I grew up 15 minutes away; not really looking to go back there. Ditto on UCB. Not really interested in Southwestern, Thomas Jefferson, etc; I think I'm a bit too smart for that.

But hey, if some school in...I dunno, NYC has an amazing copyright program, do share that with me, too! (Although I don't do well in the cold...Oh well.)

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radical4peace
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Re: TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby radical4peace » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:51 am

Hey,
I did TFA in New Jersey and commend you for your interest in the program. Even with a lower GPA, if you really knocked their socks off you might be getting an offer to teach in a low-income school for two years of your life. It's an amazing, life-changing experience but it is NOT just a break from academia. It does give a *slight* boost to a law school app but honestly, this is not a good reason to do TFA. Law schools are mainly going to care about your LSAT and your GPA and won't mind much what your degree is in. Kick ass on the LSAT -- this will give you the most options.
Feel free to PM me if you have more questions about TFA, and best of luck!

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radical4peace
Posts: 50
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Re: TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby radical4peace » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:53 am

Oh and one more thing -- teaching is not the best way to save up, especially in LA. If you take a rural teaching position or teach on a reservation with provided housing for teachers, then you can save up. But on around 40k/year in an urban location you are not going to save up very much.

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atlantalaw
Posts: 156
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Re: TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby atlantalaw » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:40 am

law schools don't care about your major. they do care about gpa though, and you are on the low end for that.

the most important thing in your application is your lsat score. gpa is second-most important. you can overcome a low gpa with a high lsat. you would be called a splitter, and where you get accepted would be less predictable. thus, you would have to apply to more schools. so, i'll emphasize, for a chance of admission to a good law school, you really need to rock the lsat.

tfa probably won't give you a noticeable boost. are you black or hispanic by any chance? that would increase your chances of admission.

granger
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Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:35 pm

Re: TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby granger » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:52 am

Most important question is what you think of Life Without Buildings.

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kitt kat
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Re: TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby kitt kat » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:19 am

To answer some questions...

I applied to all my undergraduate institutions as "Hispanic." My dad is an immigrant from a Latin American country, so technically I'm half and bilingual. However, I didn't see any boost on my undergraduate admissions for being Hispanic at all. (Guess I'm still bitter about my high SAT, 4.5 GPA, super involvement and Hispanic status not getting me into Princeton. Ughhh. Oh well, right?) Does this help more with law school? If so...interesting. (??)

And I'm totally not doing TFA for law school itself. Law school was always in the back of my head...but so was teaching. I figure this is the best way for me to do both. I've worked at elementary schools by USC for a while and I simply love it. Teaching kids how to read and exposing them to the world of reading is such a joy for me; I'm SO crossing my fingers for Kindergarten --- it would be amazing. So yeah, definitely something I've thought about and if it gets handed to me, I'm taking it no questions asked. (And somehow I've managed to live in LA for four years on modest cash...$40,000 a year would be totally doable, after I pay rent and bills of course. Still trying to grapple with the "parents not paying rent anymore" situation come June. Sigh.)

Also, does anyone know if "legacy" or "alumni" status at a school helps? (This is assuming my chances of USC will increase simply because I went there for my BFA as well.)

LSATs are a big concern for me simply because they seem so daunting. I was helping a friend study for hers and she wanted to see how I fared. Took one of her practice things, and if she scored it correctly, I got a 170. But who knows how accurate books are, really.

Total bummer about the degree thing, though; I would think they'd cut me slack for the whole art school bullshit. :(

Thnx guys; keep any more helpful comments coming!!

Jockin Jay-Z
Posts: 123
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby Jockin Jay-Z » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:16 am

If you scored a 2200 and 170 on a diagnostic, with a little prep, you should be able to get it into the 170s consistently. A 3.0/170 isn't great, but some pretty decent law schools like splitters. WUSTL and GWU, for example, love splitters like you. Your choices for T30 schools are somewhat limited (but not entirely so), but somebody who is as clearly intelligent as you are should not pass up law school because of a 3.0, if that's what you want to do. Considering you might be classified as a URM, your chances look actually pretty decent. TFA seems like a good soft, too.
Last edited by Jockin Jay-Z on Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

ConsideringLawSchool
Posts: 313
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:18 pm

Re: TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby ConsideringLawSchool » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:16 am

kitt kat wrote:Hey all, first post. Sorry if it's in the wrong place --- but please don't flame me for it. Ughhh.

Anyhow, here's my situation:

I am currently a senior at USC set to graduate this spring. "USC?" you say, "Well why the fuck is she asking for application advice?"

This is where the dilemma comes in.

I was an idealist at 18 years-old. I signed four years of my life away to obtain a useless degree --- I'll be graduating with a BFA in Screenwriting from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. (More like the School of Cantankerous Assholes, but whatever.) Needless to say, a year into the program I was miserable; the teachers and students were sexist, my work was panned because it was "not mainstream" (USC film LOVES it some Hollywood explosion movies) and I just wanted out --- not of USC, but the division. My parents said no, blah blah blah...And here I am about to graduate with a 3.0 (disgusting) because I decided to study "art" and instead of having to study for a test like a history major, I was graded on the merit of my work in the eyes of the teacher; if the teacher was into big-budget stuff, my tiny indie film was given a C. Sad, true, over it really. (Mostly, I got bad grades because I didn't see the point in some of the classes; half of them really were equivalent to Intermediate Cow Tipping, or something.)

However, halfway through my time at USC with the encouragement of my boyfriend, I picked up a minor in Music Industry. It was something I really loved --- I was considering an MA in Musicology/Popular Music Studies for a while because I'm a contemporary music nerd and would love to spend the rest of my days writing drawn-out books about post-punk, but there's no living in that, sadly. While doing the whole music business thing, I got really involved in my law classes, worked at a couple labels, began doing freelance music journalism, etc. It was then that my original career plan --- oh hey, law school --- popped up again. My goal is to become an entertainment lawyer working in music and dealing primarily with copyright law and contracts. I go nuts over that stuff.

Long story short --- here I am wondering if this is even possible. I have, like I said, an essentially useless degree that, if I don't go get another degree, only sets me up for Assistant Manager at Starbucks. (Yay!)

I know that before I apply, I am going to wait a while. I'll probably begin applying in Spring 2011, idealistically.

I am currently waiting to hear back from Teach for America; I made it through all the interviews and this will be my final yes or no answer. If I am given a spot in LA, I will do it and apply to law school at the end of the term. If I don't get LA, I'll try and get a job at a record label for the time being; hoping I get placed in some legal affairs department for the experience.

Should I even bother applying? Will a school laugh in my face when I come to them with a screenwriting degree? Will working for a year or two help my chances at all? (I'm not stupid; hell, I wouldn't be at USC if I was. I had a 2200 SAT, so I'm sure my LSAT will be decent, if not good, as I test well.) If screenwriting taught me anything, though, I can now write my way out of a hole; I think that will be helpful too.

Will TFA boost my chances at all either? Has anyone here done TFA and seen it be a positive factor in admissions? Did it give you a nice break from academia, expose you to the real world and help you save up? (Because, honestly, I'd love to teach for a while; just can't do it forever.)

Planning on LSAT classes, etc. Rec letters shouldn't be hard. Etc etc etc etc. Basically want to know if taking some time is a good idea for me to save money/pay off my USC loans and if TFA or going into the job force would help at all.

I also want to know what schools I should look at. I need to stay in LA. I'm so connected with the music scene and business here, it would be stupid for me to go elsewhere. Top choices, in order, are UCLA, USC and Loyola --- but honestly, Loyola seems like a waste of my time and money. (Am I right?) Any other LA/So. Cal law schools with stellar entertainment programs I should look at? (Not even entertainment, really...Copyright is good too!)

I would apply to Stanford, but I grew up 15 minutes away; not really looking to go back there. Ditto on UCB. Not really interested in Southwestern, Thomas Jefferson, etc; I think I'm a bit too smart for that.

But hey, if some school in...I dunno, NYC has an amazing copyright program, do share that with me, too! (Although I don't do well in the cold...Oh well.)


I think it's great that you're interested in doing TFA, and I'm glad to see in your second post that it sounds as though you're doing it out of a genuine interest in teaching. As I'm sure you've figured out by this point in the process, TFA is incredibly hard work. Everyone seems to agree that no amount of preparation can truly get you ready for what you'll face.

If you don't get accepted to TFA, I'd consider applying directly to teach in an innercity or other poor neighborhood. Since you said you're interested in kindergarden, try applying to teach Head Start (no certification required).

I'd encourage you not to worry for now about the LSAT / law school prospects and, instead, just to live the TFA/other teaching experience and see where it takes you.

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atlantalaw
Posts: 156
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:37 am

Re: TFA, Wait a Year...Or Should I Even Apply at All?

Postby atlantalaw » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:49 pm

this is going to sound like a weird question, but what type of hispanic are you? like puerto rican, cuban...? i heard only certain types of hispanics get a boost. minorities in law school are viewed differently in law school admission than undergrad admission, so this might help. being the right kind of hispanic will help.




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