Questions from a college sophomore

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alienoid75
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Questions from a college sophomore

Postby alienoid75 » Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:25 am

Sorry if any of these questions have been asked before. Just some background about me if it helps to answer of the questions: I'm going into my second year of college at SUNY Stony Brook as a political science major/history minor. I'm focusing on classes involving law and writing. I'm interested in animal law, but don't see how it can translate into a viable career, and most of the top schools only offer one animal law class.

1. Did you know exactly what area of law you wanted to focus on when you entered law school?
2. When should I start studying for the LSAT?
3. Do most first year students seem as clueless as me? Can anyone recommend a book that will get me acquainted with not only the admissions process, but the different areas of law and the different career prospects? I was looking into this book.
4. Any general advice about what to do while still in college?
Last edited by alienoid75 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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blurbz
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby blurbz » Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:33 am

alienoid75 wrote:Sorry if any of these questions have been asked before. Just some background about me if it helps to answer of the questions: I'm going into my second year of college at SUNY Stony Brook as a political science major/history minor. I'm focusing on classes involving law and writing. I'm interested in animal law, but don't see how it can translate into a viable career, and most of the top schools only offer one animal law class.

1. Did you know exactly what area of law you wanted to focus on when you entered law school?
2. When should I start studying for the LSAT?
3. Do most first year students seem as clueless as me? Can anyone recommend a book that will get me acquainted with not only the admissions process, but the different areas of law and the different career prospects? I was looking into this book.
4. Any general advice about what to do while still in college?


1. I'm entering law school this fall. I have only a vague idea of what I want to do and it will depend on both what I like once I start and what I'm good at. I certainly have certain values or goals that I'd like to work towards in certain broad fields, but nothing concrete yet.

2. I found out that I could graduate in three years instead of four the June before I started my third year. I started studying for the September test then, so about three or four months before should be fine.

3. I've read a few books like that--they're all fairly interesting but I'm taking them all with a grain of salt. They're worth reading but I'm not considering any one of them, or any combination of them, to be my law school bible. Only you will know what will work best for you.

4. Take the classes you're most interested in and get the best grades you can. Law schools care a lot more about your GPA than they do about the program in which it was earned. Just get those numbers as high as you can, and you'll be in good shape heading into your admissions cycle.

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joeshmo39
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby joeshmo39 » Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:39 am

1) I think very few people know what kind of law they want to do going in. I don't. I think it might be naive for us to because we know so little. Most people gravitate to constitutional law or International Law which are fields which only dubiously exist. Don't worry too much right now.

2) You should aim to take the LSAT the June between your junior and senior year. If things go poorly you will be able to take it again in September of your senior year and still get apps in early. I say you need 6-8 weeks of preparation, so start right after your junior year.

4) Get good grades. Period. Your GPA and LSAT matter more than anything else. Activities are great, get some stuff on your resume, but those won't be the deal breakers in the end. No one gives a damn if you were president of your sorority with a 3.2.

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nealric
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby nealric » Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:02 pm

1. Did you know exactly what area of law you wanted to focus on when you entered law school?
2. When should I start studying for the LSAT?
3. Do most first year students seem as clueless as me? Can anyone recommend a book that will get me acquainted with not only the admissions process, but the different areas of law and the different career prospects? I was looking into this book.
4. Any general advice about what to do while still in college?


1. No. Many don't even know when they graduate from law school. Many times, this is decided by your first employer rather than your choice.

2. It wouldn't hurt to take a look at it now, but you don't need to really start studying in earnest until 6 months or so before the exam. Count on around 200 hours of preparation for it. The LSAT is the most important part of law school admissions (it's much more important than the SAT for undergrad)

3. Yes, some even moreso. While none of the books out there are really stellar, "Law School Confidential" is mostly good (although their "book briefing" study strategy is absurd). Frankly, you can get most of what you need to know from poking around the internet.

4. Mostly, just get high grades. Don't worry too much about "strength of schedule". Hate to say it, but taking the "easy A" classes is the way to go for LS admissions. Law schools don't have the time or inclination to try to figure out what classes are "hard"- so they don't. It's not like evaluating a high school student where they can just look at how many AP classes the student took. LSAT + GPA is 90% of the admission criteria.

alienoid75
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby alienoid75 » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:12 pm

Thanks everyone so far. I have another question to add:

I get that GPA/LSAT is the top priority - but will a clear lack of varied extracurriculars look bad? I'm only in one club (pre-law society), three for the most part inactive honor societies and I volunteer 10+ hours a week at an animal shelter. A former professor has a research opportunity lined up for me next summer (involving constitutional law). Is this enough? I don't want to come across as trying too hard with all the law related stuff.

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nealric
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby nealric » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:18 pm

but will a clear lack of varied extracurriculars look bad?


No, not really. Unless you are a Rhodes scholar or something, there's nothing you can do to really impress them.

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FighterPilotF22
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby FighterPilotF22 » Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:35 pm

Major in Econ?

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Bosque
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby Bosque » Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:03 pm

nealric wrote:
but will a clear lack of varied extracurriculars look bad?


No, not really. Unless you are a Rhodes scholar or something, there's nothing you can do to really impress them.


This is not so much a application problem as it is a life problem. If all you ever do is stuff you think is going to help you prepare for law school (and by the way, it won't), you run the risk of becoming a one trick pony. So while it may not hurt you in the application process that all you are doing is "prelaw" stuff, it could hurt you in the long run when all you know is the law and you have nothing interesting to talk about (for instance, during interviews for jobs).

It doesn't need to be anything formal, but make sure that your are doing something else besides law related activities. You don't want to accidentally become an uninteresting one dimensional person. Because no one likes hanging out with that guy.

(ALSO: I hope you actually like political science and history and did not just pick those because you thought they would look good on a law school application. Because they won't, or at least they won't look any better than any other major would have. And they are unfortunately particularly useless at procuring you a job in case this whole law school thing doesn't work out for you.)

alienoid75
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby alienoid75 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:23 pm

Bosque wrote:
nealric wrote:
but will a clear lack of varied extracurriculars look bad?


No, not really. Unless you are a Rhodes scholar or something, there's nothing you can do to really impress them.


This is not so much a application problem as it is a life problem. If all you ever do is stuff you think is going to help you prepare for law school (and by the way, it won't), you run the risk of becoming a one trick pony. So while it may not hurt you in the application process that all you are doing is "prelaw" stuff, it could hurt you in the long run when all you know is the law and you have nothing interesting to talk about (for instance, during interviews for jobs).

It doesn't need to be anything formal, but make sure that your are doing something else besides law related activities. You don't want to accidentally become an uninteresting one dimensional person. Because no one likes hanging out with that guy.

(ALSO: I hope you actually like political science and history and did not just pick those because you thought they would look good on a law school application. Because they won't, or at least they won't look any better than any other major would have. And they are unfortunately particularly useless at procuring you a job in case this whole law school thing doesn't work out for you.)


I picked law as a result of enjoying political science and history. I came into college thinking I would pursue something related to globalization, and law school was in the back of my mind. The only two political science classes and one history class that fit into my schedule last semester were law related, which helped further my interest. I can definitely see that it looks like I'm trying to do stuff that will look good, but it is a topic I genuinely like. I have tons of other hobbies and interests; I'm a cellist and painter and I love to cook, but there are no related clubs at my school and I don't know how else to express these interests on an application/resume.

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Bosque
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby Bosque » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:44 pm

alienoid75 wrote:I picked law as a result of enjoying political science and history. I came into college thinking I would pursue something related to globalization, and law school was in the back of my mind. The only two political science classes and one history class that fit into my schedule last semester were law related, which helped further my interest. I can definitely see that it looks like I'm trying to do stuff that will look good, but it is a topic I genuinely like.


Fair enough. Just wanted to get on my soap box for a second. If you actually like the subject and did not just pick it because you thought that was what prelaw people are supposed to major in, more power to you. Just realize that law school is going to be pretty different.

alienoid75 wrote: I have tons of other hobbies and interests; I'm a cellist and painter and I love to cook, but there are no related clubs at my school and I don't know how else to express these interests on an application/resume.


Good! Make sure to include this. On a resume, you put those activities under the last section, usually called "Other Interests" or "Personal" or some such title. It is there pretty much entirely to provide something for you to talk about during interviews, although you also include achievements like Eagle Scout here.

A word of warning, however--if your cooking only extends to making something you found on the food network every now and again, I might not include it. You want to be able to say something about each of the activities listed there that is interesting. If your experience with the subject can be summed up in only two or three sentences, it might end up hurting you as the interviewer would have been expecting to talk about it for longer. So if you played the cello professionally, went to national festivals, or played with a local amateur symphony, include it. If you just took lessons in high school and have only touched it infrequently since, I am not so sure if you should. I would pick your three strongest activities to go in that section. Three is a good strong number.

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nealric
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby nealric » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:46 pm

Major in Econ?


Only if you like Econ and get good grades in econ classes.

I have tons of other hobbies and interests; I'm a cellist and painter and I love to cook, but there are no related clubs at my school and I don't know how else to express these interests on an application/resume.


You don't need to have formal activities to express the interest. You probably have some cello or painting related accomplishments (even informal ones) that would help your case. It could even be something like "performed Elgar's cello concerto with the XXX orchestra" or a description of your artistic endeavors.

That said, soft factors rarely have a huge impact on admissions, but they can tip an otherwise close balance.

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jennylynn
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Re: Questions from a college sophomore

Postby jennylynn » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:34 pm

Law School Confidential.




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