Best softs?

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Fenris
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Best softs?

Postby Fenris » Sat May 08, 2010 9:12 am

First, I must apologize for taking up board space when I am sure this question has been answered thousands of times. Unfortunately this site does not have a search bar, at least not one I can locate, so I'm afraid I must waste your time.

So, what are the best "softs?" Or, since I'm going to be an undergraduate at college soon (yes I'm visiting this board embarrassingly early on) what undergrad ec's are most helpful in terms of law school admissions? Do they even matter?

I realize that softs are infinitely less important then LSAT and GPA but I have plenty of advice for those two. I am completely lost, though, when it comes to figuring what is a good and what is a weak soft. I figured I have plenty of time to utilize any advice I gather here to help me shape my college career.

Edit: I'm also not sure this is the right forum, but it seemed more appropriate than any other.

edit 2: I am an utter moron who cannot locate a search bar. Sorry!
Last edited by Fenris on Sat May 08, 2010 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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FlanAl
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Re: Best softs?

Postby FlanAl » Sat May 08, 2010 9:19 am

the search button is at the bottom of the page

from searching this site my self best softs seem to be stuff you'd do after undergraduate: americorps, peacecorps and teach for america or good post UG work experience. Military service is also supposed to be a big plus.

For stuff to do in undergrad leadership positions in whatever clubs you decide to join. Maybe try to join clubs that kinda deal with legal issues just to expose yourself. But from this site it definitely seems like the only thig that really matters is your grades in UG.

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cardnal124
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Re: Best softs?

Postby cardnal124 » Sat May 08, 2010 9:26 am

FlanAl wrote:the search button is at the bottom of the page

from searching this site my self best softs seem to be stuff you'd do after undergraduate: americorps, peacecorps and teach for america or good post UG work experience. Military service is also supposed to be a big plus.

For stuff to do in undergrad leadership positions in whatever clubs you decide to join. Maybe try to join clubs that kinda deal with legal issues just to expose yourself. But from this site it definitely seems like the only thig that really matters is your grades in UG.


+150

LSAT + UG grades FTW

Fenris
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Re: Best softs?

Postby Fenris » Sat May 08, 2010 9:28 am

cardnal124 wrote:
FlanAl wrote:the search button is at the bottom of the page

from searching this site my self best softs seem to be stuff you'd do after undergraduate: americorps, peacecorps and teach for america or good post UG work experience. Military service is also supposed to be a big plus.

For stuff to do in undergrad leadership positions in whatever clubs you decide to join. Maybe try to join clubs that kinda deal with legal issues just to expose yourself. But from this site it definitely seems like the only thig that really matters is your grades in UG.


+150

LSAT + UG grades FTW

So if I go law school straight after UG should I basically not do anything?

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cigrainger
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Re: Best softs?

Postby cigrainger » Sat May 08, 2010 9:32 am

Fenris wrote:
cardnal124 wrote:
FlanAl wrote:the search button is at the bottom of the page

from searching this site my self best softs seem to be stuff you'd do after undergraduate: americorps, peacecorps and teach for america or good post UG work experience. Military service is also supposed to be a big plus.

For stuff to do in undergrad leadership positions in whatever clubs you decide to join. Maybe try to join clubs that kinda deal with legal issues just to expose yourself. But from this site it definitely seems like the only thig that really matters is your grades in UG.


+150

LSAT + UG grades FTW

So if I go law school straight after UG should I basically not do anything?


A clear lack of softs is a very bad thing. As much as UGPA and LSAT are important, law schools get more than enough applicants who have numbers over their medians. If they just accepted people based on numbers alone, they would have a shit class who probably would not succeed in careers. As much as numbers help their rank, so do peer and judge assessments.

Point is, you need the numbers. But if you're a splitter, or you're riding the median train, you definitely need something to help differentiate you from the pack. The better your numbers are, the less important your softs are, but as I said before -- a lack of softs is a warning sign that will get someone with good numbers dinged.

Do something you like, just have SOMETHING there. But the really good softs that FlanAl mentioned will help if, for example, you have median numbers or are a splitter.

Fenris
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Re: Best softs?

Postby Fenris » Sat May 08, 2010 9:35 am

I'm fairly positive I'm going to do debate (NFA Policy LD, not policy so it won't destroy me)

How many other EC's would I have to do? I also may coach debate.

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cardnal124
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Re: Best softs?

Postby cardnal124 » Sat May 08, 2010 9:37 am

Fenris wrote:So if I go law school straight after UG should I basically not do anything?


No, you should find a good soft that you are interested in. The best thing to do is focus on something that seems to be unique and interests you (i.e. starting a food shelter, curing cancer, or something less bad ass but still unique). Focus on that and be able to write a solid personal statement based on that among other things (getting an LOR, resume, etc.).

What I was trying to say is that 95% of your law school admissions will be determined by numbers alone. However, depending what schools you want to go to and eventually have the numbers for, those softs matter (i.e. HYS).

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cigrainger
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Re: Best softs?

Postby cigrainger » Sat May 08, 2010 9:39 am

cardnal124 wrote:
Fenris wrote:So if I go law school straight after UG should I basically not do anything?


No, you should find a good soft that you are interested in. The best thing to do is focus on something that seems to be unique and interests you (i.e. starting a food shelter, curing cancer, or something less bad ass but still unique). Focus on that and be able to write a solid personal statement based on that among other things (getting an LOR, resume, etc.).

What I was trying to say is that 95% of your law school admissions will be determined by numbers alone. However, depending what schools you want to go to and eventually have the numbers for, those softs matter (i.e. HYS).


That's what I meant to say, but my hangover meant rambling instead.

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cardnal124
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Re: Best softs?

Postby cardnal124 » Sat May 08, 2010 9:39 am

Fenris wrote:I'm fairly positive I'm going to do debate (NFA Policy LD, not policy so it won't destroy me)

How many other EC's would I have to do? I also may coach debate.


Quality of EC's > Quantity IMHO. It's better to lead and be dedicated to a group or two than to follow in 20.

Fenris
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Re: Best softs?

Postby Fenris » Sat May 08, 2010 9:42 am

It also seems to me there are very few unique, or even somewhat unique softs. Are there any especially overplayed ones? Is debate too common? (though even if it is I like it too much to stop doing it)

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pinkzeppelin
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Re: Best softs?

Postby pinkzeppelin » Sat May 08, 2010 9:55 am

Do whatever you are passionate about. If you join organizations for the resume line you will never be successful in them and people will know what's going on. College isn't like high school where everyone in every organization is just doing it to put it on their college application.

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cardnal124
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Re: Best softs?

Postby cardnal124 » Sat May 08, 2010 9:59 am

If you like debate, do debate. But do it big to make it unique. Volunteer to help coach a local high school debate team, do what you can to lead your schools, etc. Get an LOR from someone there. Thats what may turn a "common" soft into something that might help you more.

I also agree with the Ledhead that you should focus on stuff you like. Not only will it help you more in the organizations, it will get you into a school that may be a better fit because they like those softs more than most.

JOThompson
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Re: Best softs?

Postby JOThompson » Sat May 08, 2010 10:23 am

The best softs are rare softs. Think Fulbright, Marshall, Rhodes, etc.

Debate is a decent one, especially if you win regional or national awards. I feel that my debate experience partially explains my better than predicted cycle. Ultimately though, most softs won't allow you to exceed the strength or your LSAT/GPA.

yeff
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Re: Best softs?

Postby yeff » Sat May 08, 2010 11:15 am

pinkzeppelin wrote:Do whatever you are passionate about.


You are already ridiculously on track with regard to what is most important for admissions (LSAT, GPA).

Don't let the minor effect a soft might have one way or the other determine what you do.

Instead, explore and find something you are passionate about. Quality > quantity, depth of involvement over breadth, IMO.

FWIW, this is also a valuable life strategy.

RickyMack
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Re: Best softs?

Postby RickyMack » Sat May 08, 2010 1:14 pm

Depending on where you're looking into softs are necessary, however they are not sufficient. When you think about it if you have outstanding grades and scores and go for a top 10 school, everyone else will also have high scores and grades so why choose you over someone with the grades and scores but they also have softs?

Another thing to take note of is something called yield protection (YP). It's for people with over the median marks for schools. schools will deny students that should be "auto admits" because they know that they probably applied to the school as a safety and will go to a higher ranked school if offered. I think having softs might mitigate this to an extent by showing that there is more to you than just studying, as focusing on purely your numbers infers you only care about getting into the best school and haven't taken an interest to the surrounding community or society in general, however this is just my opinion and I have no evidence to back this claim up.

On the same token having great softs over grades and test scores will in no circumstances mitigate low numbers, unless you have a GREAT story of extreme poverty or overcoming dire circumstances which would explain your very low numbers, i.e. being a non traditional applicant usually out of school for a good deal of time. though you'd need a good test score, i don't think anything can make up for a 2.3 GPA and 140 lsat.

xqhp82
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Re: Best softs?

Postby xqhp82 » Sat May 08, 2010 2:49 pm

would it look bad if i have too many varieties of softs on my resume? i'm sure there are people who are involved in more things than i do, but i tend to involve in things that are unrelated (voluntary work, orchestra, cultural society, tutoring, etc) would it give the impression that i'm not focused and really passionate in a particular area?

also under the 'personal interests' column, are there any particular things that i should avoid putting down? im thinking travelling, cooking, photography and composing

yeff
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Re: Best softs?

Postby yeff » Sun May 09, 2010 12:28 am

xqhp82 wrote:would it look bad if i have too many varieties of softs on my resume? i'm sure there are people who are involved in more things than i do, but i tend to involve in things that are unrelated (voluntary work, orchestra, cultural society, tutoring, etc) would it give the impression that i'm not focused and really passionate in a particular area?

also under the 'personal interests' column, are there any particular things that i should avoid putting down? im thinking travelling, cooking, photography and composing


variety can help make you more interesting / play against type. but those all seem pretty normal.

fwaam
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Re: Best softs?

Postby fwaam » Sun May 09, 2010 11:46 am

Really people. You're overthinking this. The point is just to be involved in something. Actually do something--don't just show up to meetings. Volunteer work is good, internships are good, part-time and summer jobs doing interesting or law-related or skill-building things are good (i.e. working at a law firm, being a camp counselor, or being a research assistant--all good. Working at McDonald's, not so much, although it's still better than doing nothing). Leadership positions in clubs are good. Being involved in clubs that benefit the community somehow is good. Being involved in activities that build skills (debate) or show that you're a fun/well-rounded person (intramural sports) is good. Studying abroad in unusual or challenging countries is good, doing volunteer work while you're there is also good.

The only way you can really go wrong here is to a) not do anything, because then schools will think you either studied all the time or partied all the time, depending on your GPA, or b) half-heartedly do things you're not really interested in, never really achieving anything or jumping from activity to activity because you get sick of them. I guess you could also go wrong by only doing activities where you can't really distinguish yourself--i.e. you could go to every meeting of the ballroom dance club for four years and absolutely love it, but if that's all you do and you never win awards/become a ballroom dance teacher/distinguish yourself in some other way, it's not really going to help you.

Your first year or so of college though, I wouldn't worry too much about that. Do the things that sound good to you, and after a semester or two reevaluate, ask yourself if you like the things you're doing, if you have the chance to distinguish yourself in the next couple of years (remember, if you're going straight from UG, you'll be applying early in your senior year, ideally), if you like this activity enough to put in the effort you'd need to distinguish yourself.

But don't let your GPA suffer, because that's still more important.




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