how do you know if you have strong softs?

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vanwinkle
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon May 17, 2010 6:08 pm

SaintClarence27 wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Basic rule: The more unique it is, the "stronger" it is. Softs only help separate you from the rest of the rest of the applicant pool if they're different than the rest of the applicant pool. Served as a Navy fighter pilot, or worked in Somalia to provide food and medicine to refugees for two years, or jumped on the train tracks to save a guy who fell in front of an oncoming subway? Those are good softs. President of a student organization in undergrad? Not so much.

Really. Strong softs must be strong enough to stand out. If you can easily believe that other applicants have the same softs as you, or the same general kind of softs, then they're not strong.

This will get you *dead*, not into law school.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/15/nyc-subway-savior-leaps-aid-woman-dies-struck/?test=latestnews

I was referring to those who had already done it and survived. It seems pointless to give advice on how strong someone's softs are to a dead guy.

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Mon May 17, 2010 6:15 pm

An average soft is club membership stuff in college. Excellent softs are publications, academic distinctions (Fulbright etc), interesting W/E with a non profit, volunteering stories, life experiences, etc.

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bk1
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby bk1 » Mon May 17, 2010 6:23 pm

Maybe this?

--ImageRemoved--

chw
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby chw » Mon May 17, 2010 6:26 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
SaintClarence27 wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Basic rule: The more unique it is, the "stronger" it is. Softs only help separate you from the rest of the rest of the applicant pool if they're different than the rest of the applicant pool. Served as a Navy fighter pilot, or worked in Somalia to provide food and medicine to refugees for two years, or jumped on the train tracks to save a guy who fell in front of an oncoming subway? Those are good softs. President of a student organization in undergrad? Not so much.

Really. Strong softs must be strong enough to stand out. If you can easily believe that other applicants have the same softs as you, or the same general kind of softs, then they're not strong.

This will get you *dead*, not into law school.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/15/nyc-subway-savior-leaps-aid-woman-dies-struck/?test=latestnews

I was referring to those who had already done it and survived. It seems pointless to give advice on how strong someone's softs are to a dead guy.


I don't know, I gotta think rising on the third day to sit for the LSATs would make for a pretty compelling PS...

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SaintClarence27
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby SaintClarence27 » Mon May 17, 2010 6:30 pm

chw wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
SaintClarence27 wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Basic rule: The more unique it is, the "stronger" it is. Softs only help separate you from the rest of the rest of the applicant pool if they're different than the rest of the applicant pool. Served as a Navy fighter pilot, or worked in Somalia to provide food and medicine to refugees for two years, or jumped on the train tracks to save a guy who fell in front of an oncoming subway? Those are good softs. President of a student organization in undergrad? Not so much.

Really. Strong softs must be strong enough to stand out. If you can easily believe that other applicants have the same softs as you, or the same general kind of softs, then they're not strong.

This will get you *dead*, not into law school.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/15/nyc-subway-savior-leaps-aid-woman-dies-struck/?test=latestnews

I was referring to those who had already done it and survived. It seems pointless to give advice on how strong someone's softs are to a dead guy.


I don't know, I gotta think rising on the third day to sit for the LSATs would make for a pretty compelling PS...


I just had a prolonged discussion yesterday about stupid people jumping down on the tracks. It really wasn't all that relevant to vanwinkle's comment.

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F458JE
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby F458JE » Mon May 17, 2010 7:42 pm

kalvano wrote:

I've always found it best to begin a new endeavor on a bed of lies and deceit.


People lie, that's life. The Harvard Business Review (or WSJ) polled MBA students across the country and asked if they believed lying was necessary to advance their career's. Some huge number (like 70%) said absolutely yes.

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kalvano
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby kalvano » Mon May 17, 2010 7:46 pm

F458JE wrote:
kalvano wrote:

I've always found it best to begin a new endeavor on a bed of lies and deceit.


People lie, that's life. The Harvard Business Review (or WSJ) polled MBA students across the country and asked if they believed lying was necessary to advance their career's. Some huge number (like 70%) said absolutely yes.



Not to sound like your mother, but if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?

Lying is not a good way to start your legal career, and if you believe it's necessary, perhaps you should find another career.

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snowpeach06
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby snowpeach06 » Mon May 17, 2010 7:50 pm

I thought my press internship with a Senator was a strong soft. It wasn't. Basically it has to be something extraordinary. Wrote a book, got honored by the President or something.

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tommytahoe
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby tommytahoe » Mon May 17, 2010 10:55 pm

Well, starting generally (and not including the saving a small country nonsense), things that seem to stand out are:
(1) Work experience during/after university, especially so if you were involved in a significant way either in a collaborative setting or with significant responsibilities/leadership. Work done in public interest, or business, or really anything substantive where you worked professionally and among a group, means a lot to adcomms;
(2) Volunteer/community involvement —If you do more than just transparently sign up for school groups to fill the resume, but rather jump into even one or two solid efforts where you get a lot out of it, help others maybe, esp. if you take on a leading role in the process, these things count a lot (esp. also of you weave into your PS somehow). It shows ambition, organization, energy, etc.
(3) Traveling abroad or to different cultures/communities, maybe as part of a school exchange, or even after university, as part of teaching program or anthropology or whatever. Even substantive working in a US inner-city environment working with like a PD's office shows that you appreciate the diversity of experiences that law schools cherish.

So, I'm no expert, and I am not an adcomm. Plus, those things to me just seem like a FEW things that can help you demonstrate to adcomms something beyond just school + one or two internships. But even if you wren;'t able to work in Ghana, or work in Silicon Valley on a small internet start-up company, or do Teach for America, you can amass a preponderance of evidence of softs too. Throw in a couple internships, some summer volunteer work, maybe Prez/VP for one campus group, also artistic endeavors like dance or music to show you are well-rounded. If one of those softs was something in which you really stepped up and got involved in an issue, or taking on mucho responsibilities, they recognize that stuff.
These are sufficient to get acknowledged, yes, but not enough to wow anybody. Still, i imagine the most impressive work could be one student who worked in a community legal aid center for two summers, and took on increasing responsibility, got a ton out of it, and used it to form a narrative in their PS. Write about it well, not just as a pro forma exercise demonstrating a facsimile of civic duty, and I'm sure an adcomm would see that as very impressive. May not make you stand out above everybody, but if you amass softs that don't just scream "I'm applying to law school, can you tell?", then you would at least stand above the thousands who don't do much at all.

procrastinator
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby procrastinator » Mon May 17, 2010 11:28 pm

Just my two cents:

Softs aren't about having the wildest, most unique experience ever. They may think, "hey, that's pretty cool" that you made Nancy Pelosi's coffee, but it might only add a couple of points and won't distinguish you as anything more than well-connected.

Softs are about providing a holistic picture of an applicant through a variety of experiences that distinguish their excellence and ambitions as a leader or scholar.

People who have a lot of titles in their resume, especially for things like student groups, greek stuff, or a whole bunch of scattered community service that doesn't really show much commitment to one area they feel strongly about, really don't shine as anything but resume whores.

People who show significant dedication to long term projects, worked at the student newspaper for several years and became an editor, got an internship and were asked to stay on or come back the next year with a promotion, etc. all show someone with genuine drive and ambition.

Also, just may be my bias, but I'd think leading/pioneering/creating/founding/advancing makes for a hell of a lot stronger soft than any kind of volunteer work, unless you can show you did one of those things in the course of it.

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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Tue May 18, 2010 9:32 am

F458JE wrote:
kalvano wrote:

I've always found it best to begin a new endeavor on a bed of lies and deceit.


People lie, that's life. The Harvard Business Review (or WSJ) polled MBA students across the country and asked if they believed lying was necessary to advance their career's. Some huge number (like 70%) said absolutely yes.


MBA's don't have a binding ethics enforcement body that can make quite sure you don't have a career for lying to them. The cost-benefit of making up some phony minor soft versus the risk of being found out by C&F makes no sense no matter how sociopathic you are.

xqhp82
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby xqhp82 » Tue May 18, 2010 9:58 am

Would exaggeration of a soft make one less guilty than lying about your work history? say someone held an exec position in a school club but was a bit of a slacker. i think most people would brag about how active of a committee member he/she is with a twist of word choice and all. i think that's what many people, if not all, do.

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F458JE
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby F458JE » Tue May 18, 2010 12:01 pm

kalvano wrote:Lying is not a good way to start your legal career, and if you believe it's necessary, perhaps you should find another career.




If you honestly believe that the majority of lawyers never lie, you have another thing coming :!: I honestly do not know what to say if you are that naive.

d34d9823
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby d34d9823 » Tue May 18, 2010 12:03 pm

F458JE wrote:
kalvano wrote:Lying is not a good way to start your legal career, and if you believe it's necessary, perhaps you should find another career.
If you honestly believe that the majority of lawyers never lie, you have another thing coming :!: I honestly do not know what to say if you are that naive.

If you honestly believe that ANYONE at the top of a cutthroat profession has been ethical for their whole career, you have another think coming.

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F458JE
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby F458JE » Tue May 18, 2010 5:53 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
F458JE wrote:
kalvano wrote:Lying is not a good way to start your legal career, and if you believe it's necessary, perhaps you should find another career.
If you honestly believe that the majority of lawyers never lie, you have another thing coming :!: I honestly do not know what to say if you are that naive.

If you honestly believe that ANYONE at the top of a cutthroat profession has been ethical for their whole career, you have another think coming.



Except for Obama, right? I mean he has never lied to the people of this country! haha

Understand that I am not endorsing lying, just stating what I presumed was the obvious. :P

Kretzy
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby Kretzy » Tue May 18, 2010 6:04 pm

procrastinator wrote:Just my two cents:

Softs aren't about having the wildest, most unique experience ever. They may think, "hey, that's pretty cool" that you made Nancy Pelosi's coffee, but it might only add a couple of points and won't distinguish you as anything more than well-connected.

Softs are about providing a holistic picture of an applicant through a variety of experiences that distinguish their excellence and ambitions as a leader or scholar.



I think this is very credited. A group of activities, volunteer projects and work experiences that paint a more complete picture of you as an applicant (and dovetail to a common theme) makes for the most compelling package you could present.

fwaam
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby fwaam » Tue May 18, 2010 6:15 pm

Sias wrote:Living abroad for a few years is one of the few softs that's both "strong" and actually somewhat common. I'm not talking about studying abroad for a year, but living in another country for 2+ years so that you can also list being somewhat proficient in another language.

Otherwise, softs are almost always weak. A lot of people come here thinking that community service, athletics, or a "special" background (I quotation because these are almost always just an overly dramatized sob story about a person's upbringing) are strong. They aren't. This stuff is filler and will buff an application sure, but it won't compensate for below median numbers like a "strong" soft might.


This makes no sense. The OP wants to know what's average, what's above average, what's below average. By definition, the vast majority of applicants can't be below average. They're average. I'd guess "average" in the overall applicant pool means some club memberships, maybe a leadership position or two, an internship or two and probably some half-assed volunteer work.

Maybe you do have to be really outstanding to outperform your numbers, but you're pretty well guaranteed to underperform if you haven't done anything.

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F458JE
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby F458JE » Tue May 18, 2010 7:53 pm

fwaam wrote:
Sias wrote:
Otherwise, softs are almost always weak.


This makes no sense.




You misunderstood what Sias said. S/he simply means that "softs" do not play a huge role in admission's decision. GPA and LSAT probably account for 85-95% of the decision of whether you are admitted or not. The remaining 15% or so will depend on undergrad instituion, the color of your skin, and then how strong your softs are.

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kalvano
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby kalvano » Tue May 18, 2010 8:48 pm

F458JE wrote:
kalvano wrote:Lying is not a good way to start your legal career, and if you believe it's necessary, perhaps you should find another career.




If you honestly believe that the majority of lawyers never lie, you have another thing coming :!: I honestly do not know what to say if you are that naive.



You know who doesn't have to lie?

Good lawyers.

d34d9823
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby d34d9823 » Tue May 18, 2010 8:56 pm

kalvano wrote:You know who doesn't have to lie?

Good lawyers.

Yeah, because they can tell the truth and still be shady ethically. Some of the very top firms have done some extremely shady things just in the past few months (seriously, I'm not naming names, but read ATL). If you think law is a profession for noble white knights, I don't know what to tell you. A huge part of law in this country right now is showing your client how to do unethical stuff legally.

procrastinator
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby procrastinator » Tue May 18, 2010 9:02 pm

The law is created by a bunch of unethical lawyers-turned-politicians. Let's all just aim to not be like them, mmmkay?

d34d9823
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby d34d9823 » Tue May 18, 2010 10:35 pm

procrastinator wrote:The law is created by a bunch of unethical lawyers-turned-politicians. Let's all just aim to not be like them, mmmkay?

I'm not advocating it, I'm just trying to point out the naivety of a view that says "people at the top don't lie or cheat; if you're good you don't need it."

procrastinator
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby procrastinator » Tue May 18, 2010 11:08 pm

Well, I'd argue that Congress is the top, and every single one of them lied or cheated to get and/or stay there. Except for maybe Ron Paul, because it'd be way easier for him to lie and cheat :D

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kalvano
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby kalvano » Tue May 18, 2010 11:36 pm

I enjoy the people with no fucking clue about how to practice law who have already decided the only way to be successful is to lie and cheat.

d34d9823
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Re: how do you know if you have strong softs?

Postby d34d9823 » Tue May 18, 2010 11:52 pm

kalvano wrote:I enjoy the people with no fucking clue about how to practice law who have already decided the only way to be successful is to lie and cheat.

Dude, reading comprehension...it's a good thing.




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