Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

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Great Satchmo
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Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby Great Satchmo » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:08 pm

Sorry, dumb question: most of us probably are.

I didn't go to a great undergrad, but it wasn't terrible either. If something was difficult, with a little effort and time, I never had any problems. I was in the top handful of students in my large major, granted not the most rigorous major. I look back on undergrad and realize I was very rarely challenged. I also have held academic research jobs in the almost two years since graduation, and I haven't been stumped or gotten to the point where I just couldn't do something.

However, with months of reading TLS and already worry about class standing and test-taking without even knowing which school I'll attend...I feel afraid of struggling for grades.

Sure, law school is going to be hard, and it's going to probably beat me up like the bully in middle school near the bike racks. But even thinking about a T4, where I'm well above the GPA and LSAT of entering students, I'm already feeling nervous about performance.

Maybe this is a function of being out of the classroom for almost two years. Maybe it's a function of reading too much TLS and the worry about choosing the right or wrong school. Maybe it's the concern over scholarship stipulations, even if they aren't that high of a bar.

I know myself. I'll join the clubs, do the extra-curriculars, network, study and work as much as I need to (more hours isn't necessarily better, but I know I am the person to sacrifice anything to make sure it happens).

But still...I'm worried. I know time will tell and it's probably the fear of the unknown and failure's financial consequences. Anyone else share this sentiment?

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gdane
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby gdane » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:36 pm

Somewhat. But Im a really positive person so I dont let those kinds of concerns bother me. I know I'm going to put all my time into law school. I worked my entire UG with the exception of my last semester. That semester I got a perfect GPA taking 12 credits. So even though law school is different than UG, I feel confident that if I put in all my effort and time Ill do well.

Think of it the same way. Just work hard, put effort into it and you'll do well.

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TTH
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby TTH » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:44 am

I worry a lot about having my whole grade for a class derived from one exam. I worry less about not being able to do the work than a freak accident of having a bad day, taking the test while sick, etc.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby gwuorbust » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:50 pm

gdane5 wrote:Somewhat. But Im a really positive person so I dont let those kinds of concerns bother me. I know I'm going to put all my time into law school. I worked my entire UG with the exception of my last semester. That semester I got a perfect GPA taking 12 credits. So even though law school is different than UG, I feel confident that if I put in all my effort and time Ill do well.

Think of it the same way. Just work hard, put effort into it and you'll do well.


everyone is thinking the same thing AND there is a forced curve, unlike must undergrads

mrm2083
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby mrm2083 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:57 pm

I am really worried about the writing. While I received As and B+s on my English/writing classes I feel that I am not a strong writer. Do you think this will really hurt?

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Jordan77
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby Jordan77 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:36 pm

3L here. I think you are normal in feeling nervous about grades... it is a big change from undergrad. I excelled in undergrad, but so have most people in law school. Law school is unique in that sense and provides a unique atmosphere that is both wonderful and a curse. While I cannot assure you security in getting good grades, I can provide you with some facts that remain true in law school.

- Law school grading is very arbitrary... since classes are generally graded on a mandatory curve it is hard to distinguish yourself by just getting the answer right. To stand out on a law school exam it is very important to make your analysis complete and concise. Take notes on your Professor's thoughts on cases, they will often disagree with the Court's analysis and you can get bonus points be thoroughly explaining both points of view.

- While everyone generally comes from success, there are a lot of smart people in law school who do not put in the effort to get goods grades. This may be because of personal issues, cockiness, or sheer laziness. One thing is key to success, although doesn't always result in success, and that is working hard and putting in the extra effort.

- When starting law school I had the same nerves... furthermore I wanted to transfer so I had the extra pressure of NEEDING good grades. However, I told myself one thing: "I am going to give law school my all, I am going to work hard to try and excel. If I do not get great grades, I will know that I tried my hardest and it was NOT from my lack of effort." --- Law school grades can be weird sometimes (i.e., getting great grades in classes you felt you knew nothing about or getting a horrible grade in a class you felt you had a firm handle on).

- MAKE SURE YOU DO PRACTICE EXAMS IF AVAILABLE!

- Finally, there are a number of threads you can search that provide in depth analysis of what you can do to stand out on a law school exam.

Hope this stuff helps... in short, RELAX and work hard. As long as you do those things you will set yourself up with the POTENTIAL to get good grades.

FWIW, I was at a T2 my first year and finished in the Top 15% even though my LSAT would have pegged me in the last quartile of grades.

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GordonGekko
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby GordonGekko » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:00 pm

I am scared shitless of not performing well. Like many on here, I've been a big fish in small ponds for most of my life. Now I am faced with joining other big fish in a much bigger lake.

I am just about to finish Getting to Maybe and have found it to be very, very informative. I plan on reading all the E&E's along with Law School Confidential and the Delaney book on legal reasoning. I will also do LEEWS in the weeks leading up to the start of classes in August.

This sounds gunnerific I realize, but I will not be one of those obnoxious pricks in class who loves the sound of his own voice. Nor will I be reluctant to share notes or display any other "gunner" traits. In fact, I have a very laid back personality which has served me well amidst overly-competitive piranhas in my current profession.

I will have one chance at being successful in law school, though, and I'll be damned if I don't give myself the best chance to achieve it.

rando
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby rando » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:06 pm

GordonGekko wrote:I am scared shitless of not performing well. Like many on here, I've been a big fish in small ponds for most of my life. Now I am faced with joining other big fish in a much bigger lake.

I am just about to finish Getting to Maybe and have found it to be very, very informative. I plan on reading all the E&E's along with Law School Confidential and the Delaney book on legal reasoning. I will also do LEEWS in the weeks leading up to the start of classes in August.

This sounds gunnerific I realize, but I will not be one of those obnoxious pricks in class who loves the sound of his own voice. Nor will I be reluctant to share notes or display any other "gunner" traits. In fact, I have a very laid back personality which has served me well amidst overly-competitive piranhas in my current profession.

I will have one chance at being successful in law school, though, and I'll be damned if I don't give myself the best chance to achieve it.


If you want to give yourself the best chance to achieve success, please at least read some of the threads here about 0L prep before you read all the E&E's etc. Please.

BTW, law school grading isn't arbitrary. FWIW

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MC Southstar
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby MC Southstar » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:07 pm

My writing is gonna be fail.

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GordonGekko
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby GordonGekko » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:30 pm

rando wrote:
GordonGekko wrote:I am scared shitless of not performing well. Like many on here, I've been a big fish in small ponds for most of my life. Now I am faced with joining other big fish in a much bigger lake.

I am just about to finish Getting to Maybe and have found it to be very, very informative. I plan on reading all the E&E's along with Law School Confidential and the Delaney book on legal reasoning. I will also do LEEWS in the weeks leading up to the start of classes in August.

This sounds gunnerific I realize, but I will not be one of those obnoxious pricks in class who loves the sound of his own voice. Nor will I be reluctant to share notes or display any other "gunner" traits. In fact, I have a very laid back personality which has served me well amidst overly-competitive piranhas in my current profession.

I will have one chance at being successful in law school, though, and I'll be damned if I don't give myself the best chance to achieve it.


If you want to give yourself the best chance to achieve success, please at least read some of the threads here about 0L prep before you read all the E&E's etc. Please.

BTW, law school grading isn't arbitrary. FWIW



Thanks, but I've been lurking here for two years and have read most of the attention worthy threads on the matter during that time. The most vehement insistence that pre-reading E&E's is not helpful seems to come from those who did not take the trouble to read them before classes began. Arrow and others have found it helpful (albeit marginally), so I'll take my chances.

I see you are Emory class of 2011. How did OCI treat you this year?

rando
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby rando » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:34 am

GordonGekko wrote:

Thanks, but I've been lurking here for two years and have read most of the attention worthy threads on the matter during that time. The most vehement insistence that pre-reading E&E's is not helpful seems to come from those who did not take the trouble to read them before classes began. Arrow and others have found it helpful (albeit marginally), so I'll take my chances.


Hmm. Can't say I particularly agree with that statement. There are many people that did do it and seem to be bummed about doing so as they wasted their summers or made asses of themselves at some point 1L year. I didn't do it. So obviously take that FWIW. That being said I know many people who did. And many did not do that well this year. I don't particularly think it will hurt you if you take the right approach but I am certain it won't help.

I see you are Emory class of 2011. How did OCI treat you this year?


Very well.

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GordonGekko
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby GordonGekko » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:58 am

That being said I know many people who did. And many did not do that well this year. I don't particularly think it will hurt you if you take the right approach but I am certain it won't help.



This fascinates me. I am under the impression (from many on this board and anecdotal evidence through friends at various schools) that very, very few people take the time and trouble to do any extensive 0L prep. Maybe 5% of the incoming class at TTTs and considerably less as the ranking of the school improves.

And congrats on your success at the job search. I think you misinterpreted the question as a dig of some sort, which is likely my fault for not elaborating on the inquiry. I know a recent Tulane graduate who is attempting to relocate to Atlanta, and she is having one heck of a difficult time in spite of a decent rank (top quartile). I'm glad to hear others are faring well.

rando
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby rando » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:13 pm

GordonGekko wrote:
That being said I know many people who did. And many did not do that well this year. I don't particularly think it will hurt you if you take the right approach but I am certain it won't help.



This fascinates me. I am under the impression (from many on this board and anecdotal evidence through friends at various schools) that very, very few people take the time and trouble to do any extensive 0L prep. Maybe 5% of the incoming class at TTTs and considerably less as the ranking of the school improves.

And congrats on your success at the job search. I think you misinterpreted the question as a dig of some sort, which is likely my fault for not elaborating on the inquiry. I know a recent Tulane graduate who is attempting to relocate to Atlanta, and she is having one heck of a difficult time in spite of a decent rank (top quartile). I'm glad to hear others are faring well.


I did interpret that as a dig. But I generally don't get in such discussions here. I would imagine that getting into the ATL market from Tulane is brutal. I know people in the top quarter here that don't have jobs. If she is looking for a firm gig I don't see any way she will land something without connections.

As far as prep. The people that I know who did come from various schools (friends from UG etc.). I do not know, and haven't thought about, the difference between TTT's and top schools regarding prep, but I can see arguments that cut both ways.
When I say "many" - I mean, maybe 5 who did "extensive prep." Two did very well. Though he does not attribute it to the prep. The other person keeps things close and doesn't really mention her 0L prep because she thinks it is embarrassing. I don't know her thoughts on the issue.
The others were your classic "gunners." They kind of touted that they did a ton of summer prep. And well, as gunners who do poorly do, they stopped raising their hands and talking about law school after grades came back 1L year.

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GordonGekko
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby GordonGekko » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:27 pm

Valuable insight, thanks for the response.

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Jordan77
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby Jordan77 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:46 pm

rando wrote:
BTW, law school grading isn't arbitrary. FWIW



How do you figure? Sure it is not completely arbitrary, but when a professor is forced to use a mandatory curve and only issue 10% As and 80% Bs how does he distinguish which ones get As? You cannot possibly tell me that every professor can make a judgment call on which 10% clearly should get the As when they might have been willing to give 30% As... hence a lot of the time you can write an excellent paper that hits all the same points, but the professor just picks one to be an A and the other to be a B. A lot of the time a professor will just pick the paper that agrees with their view on the subject and not what the law actually is (Constitutional law comes to mind where many differ).

So how you can go about saying law school grading isn't arbitrary is beyond me... are you even in law school?

rando
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby rando » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:09 am

Jordan77 wrote:
rando wrote:
BTW, law school grading isn't arbitrary. FWIW



How do you figure? Sure it is not completely arbitrary, but when a professor is forced to use a mandatory curve and only issue 10% As and 80% Bs how does he distinguish which ones get As? You cannot possibly tell me that every professor can make a judgment call on which 10% clearly should get the As when they might have been willing to give 30% As... hence a lot of the time you can write an excellent paper that hits all the same points, but the professor just picks one to be an A and the other to be a B. A lot of the time a professor will just pick the paper that agrees with their view on the subject and not what the law actually is (Constitutional law comes to mind where many differ).

So how you can go about saying law school grading isn't arbitrary is beyond me... are you even in law school?


Sigh... this is always the argument from those who don't get great grades. Sure, a professor might have been willing to give 30% A's, but that is not the way law school works. The professors have known this for decades and adjust their exams accordingly. You act like the exam is made up of one short answer question on which everyone knew the material and applied it equally. In reality, exams are generally slogfests dominated by those who know the materially most thoroughly, apply the law most clearly, and argue differing points of view most proficiently.
You can continue to go through life thinking that your median grades were just as good as others' A's. I imagine that will get you a long way.
Can you explain to me how all the top students do the best on all the exams, how all the median students tend to stay right in the middle, and those on the bottom, well they never talk about grades or law school at all?

Are you even in law school? Your attention to detail is severely lacking since it is clearly stated in my profile. I'm not surprised that you think law school grading is arbitrary.

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Mickey Quicknumbers
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby Mickey Quicknumbers » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:02 am

Yes. I go to an academically challenged college. In one instance I can think of a 4000 level major class that I studied a total of about 10 hours, went to 1/3 of the classes, and still got an A because 1) the class was easy 2) the kids were so dumb the teacher put a curve on it anyways. Outside of the LSAT i've never spent more than one day studying for a test, I haven't had more than 9 hours of total classroom time a week since my senior year of high school, and have written maybe a total of 12 pages in 'papers' my last 4 semesters. If you doubt me on this, look at my old posts and see how lackluster my writing skills are (seriously). I'm afraid of what it's going to be like to be pushed academically for the first time, and have a curve bring my grade down instead of up. I've always been "naturally smarter" than most of the kids in my class (but when you go to Free Shoes University that's really not saying a lot). We'll see what it feels like to be a normal sized fish in pond suffering from range depression. My plan is to slowly remove my soul this summer, study the law 8 hours a day with machine-like efficiency, and then rehumanize myself and make friends when I get a job.

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Borhas
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby Borhas » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:04 am

I've been a slightly above average student all the way from elementary school through college

I expect the same results in LS

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Jordan77
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby Jordan77 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:52 pm

rando wrote:
Jordan77 wrote:
rando wrote:
BTW, law school grading isn't arbitrary. FWIW



How do you figure? Sure it is not completely arbitrary, but when a professor is forced to use a mandatory curve and only issue 10% As and 80% Bs how does he distinguish which ones get As? You cannot possibly tell me that every professor can make a judgment call on which 10% clearly should get the As when they might have been willing to give 30% As... hence a lot of the time you can write an excellent paper that hits all the same points, but the professor just picks one to be an A and the other to be a B. A lot of the time a professor will just pick the paper that agrees with their view on the subject and not what the law actually is (Constitutional law comes to mind where many differ).

So how you can go about saying law school grading isn't arbitrary is beyond me... are you even in law school?


Sigh... this is always the argument from those who don't get great grades. Sure, a professor might have been willing to give 30% A's, but that is not the way law school works. The professors have known this for decades and adjust their exams accordingly. You act like the exam is made up of one short answer question on which everyone knew the material and applied it equally. In reality, exams are generally slogfests dominated by those who know the materially most thoroughly, apply the law most clearly, and argue differing points of view most proficiently.
You can continue to go through life thinking that your median grades were just as good as others' A's. I imagine that will get you a long way.
Can you explain to me how all the top students do the best on all the exams, how all the median students tend to stay right in the middle, and those on the bottom, well they never talk about grades or law school at all?

Are you even in law school? Your attention to detail is severely lacking since it is clearly stated in my profile. I'm not surprised that you think law school grading is arbitrary.



Sorry, I didn't take the time to browse your profile... my attention to detail must be extremely lacking because I haven't done that!

Regarding saying anyone who says law school grading is arbitrary must be some sort of slacker of student with average grades... well that really doesn't make sense. I am in the top 15% and I will even say that grades are largely arbitrary. Of course there will always be top notch students and those who don't get it... but for a large majority of student they are stuck in the middle fighting over a mandatory curve.

Do you think if you were given the same stack of 80 papers to grade 3-4 times that your distribution of grades would be the same? I think not.

But hey, reasonable minds can differ so I will leave it at that!

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dlac
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Re: Anyone insecure about future academic performance?

Postby dlac » Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:57 pm

Yes and I would wager a tidy sum that the majority of your classmates feel the same way.

I'm going to a T14 school this fall that I honestly think I have no business being at. My LSAT was at the lower quartile and while my GPA was upper quartile, it was after slavishly dedicating myself to econ/ps degrees at a decent public school. I am scared sh*** as I peruse the incoming class facebook group and see harvard, yale, columbia, etc. grads filling the roster. Sweet jesus.




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