Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

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Momentum
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Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Momentum » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:41 pm

Hey guys,

I'm considering cranking out an undergraduate honors thesis during my senior year. I've done the pro-con sheets and all that, but my decision has really, sadly, boiled down to this question: is doing undergraduate research a worthwhile soft on a law school application?

I understand that undergraduate research is more of a showpiece for Masters programs, but will it afford me a "well, he must be able to write well" bump from a prospective admissions committee? What do you think?

09042014
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:43 pm

Momentum wrote:Hey guys,

I'm considering cranking out an undergraduate honors thesis during my senior year. I've done the pro-con sheets and all that, but my decision has really, sadly, boiled down to this question: is doing undergraduate research a worthwhile soft on a law school application?

I understand that undergraduate research is more of a showpiece for Masters programs, but will it afford me a "well, he must be able to write well" bump from a prospective admissions committee? What do you think?


No it's not time well spent. Nobody will care what a 21 year old thinks.

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nightman09
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby nightman09 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:45 pm

I doubt it'll influence things one way or another for law school admissions, but I've found that my thesis is a nice conversation piece at job interviews (it was science research and I was subsequently published)

aliarrow
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby aliarrow » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:47 pm

It won't be substantive for law school admissions.

I still just think its a good idea though in case you ever want to get involved in academia (or more specifically plan on later pursuing a JSD/PhD). Also it gives you something substantive for your UG resume.

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savvyradish
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby savvyradish » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:04 pm

Unless you plan on taking time off before applying to law school, writing an honors thesis will probably just frustrate you, since honors typically wouldn't be conferred until the end of the year anyway.

I committed to writing an honors thesis because I thought I might like to take time off, but now that I'm going straight through, it's just a struggle.

If you plan on pursuing a PhD or going into academia at some point, writing a thesis is a great idea, but it won't really add anything substantial to your law school application. Your time would be better spent studying more for the LSAT. On the other hand, it is nice to graduate with honors, and developing a solid relationship with an advisor can't hurt in terms of recommendations.

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Borhas
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Borhas » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:13 pm

Momentum wrote:Hey guys,

I'm considering cranking out an undergraduate honors thesis during my senior year. I've done the pro-con sheets and all that, but my decision has really, sadly, boiled down to this question: is doing undergraduate research a worthwhile soft on a law school application?

I understand that undergraduate research is more of a showpiece for Masters programs, but will it afford me a "well, he must be able to write well" bump from a prospective admissions committee? What do you think?


not at all

not even close

Sandro
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Sandro » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:26 pm

Not at all. It will probably hurt you, because you should be studying for the lsat/getting as high a gpa as possible.

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dpk711
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby dpk711 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:27 pm

Use that time to study for the LSAT if you want to spend that time well.

cornellbeez
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby cornellbeez » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:24 pm

Pretty sure my senior thesis on the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis got me into the T-14.

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Momentum
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Momentum » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:50 pm

cornellbeez wrote:Pretty sure my senior thesis on the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis got me into the T-14.
How did you make that happen, exactly? Did you send it out as supplementary material or was your thesis something that won you national awards?
dpk711 wrote:Use that time to study for the LSAT if you want to spend that time well.
I'm actually taking a year off solely for that purpose (and to work, of course). Also - and I'm not sure if this will sway opinions - honors thesis earn you three graded credit hours a semester at my UG, so keeping up my 4.0 shouldn't be much more difficult than it is now.

Many of the "don't waste your time" responses assume there will be negative consequences as a result, so, assuming now that I've controlled for my GPA and LSAT (if this site has taught me anything, it's that those are my priorities) would sending in my thesis earn any soft points from an Adcomm? Or is it still a total waste of energy?

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Borhas
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Borhas » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:54 pm

If it won't effect your LSAT, and it won't hurt your GPA, then it will still be a waste of your own personal time unless 1) you can seamlessly weave the thesis into your personal statement and 2) you think it's a worthwhile endeavor academically (in the true sense of the word)

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AreJay711
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby AreJay711 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:58 pm

Momentum wrote:
cornellbeez wrote:Pretty sure my senior thesis on the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis got me into the T-14.
How did you make that happen, exactly? Did you send it out as supplementary material or was your thesis something that won you national awards?
dpk711 wrote:Use that time to study for the LSAT if you want to spend that time well.
I'm actually taking a year off solely for that purpose (and to work, of course). Also - and I'm not sure if this will sway opinions - honors thesis earn you three graded credit hours a semester at my UG, so keeping up my 4.0 shouldn't be much more difficult than it is now.

Many of the "don't waste your time" responses assume there will be negative consequences as a result, so, assuming now that I've controlled for my GPA and LSAT (if this site has taught me anything, it's that those are my priorities) would sending in my thesis earn any soft points from an Adcomm? Or is it still a total waste of energy?


Do you want to do it? I think this answers your question.


If it can make a difference on your ps or app that is just a bonus.

Bumi
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Bumi » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:58 pm

nightman09 wrote:I doubt it'll influence things one way or another for law school admissions, but I've found that my thesis is a nice conversation piece at job interviews (it was science research and I was subsequently published)


My undergrad research sounds ultra technical and awesome, and I definitely found it to be a plus in job interviews coming out of undergrad. Thank god nobody ever asked me what grade I got on it.

However, since I applied to law school roughly five hundred years later, I highly doubt anyone in law school admissions noticed or cared.

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Knock
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Knock » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:42 am

Momentum wrote:Hey guys,

I'm considering cranking out an undergraduate honors thesis during my senior year. I've done the pro-con sheets and all that, but my decision has really, sadly, boiled down to this question: is doing undergraduate research a worthwhile soft on a law school application?

I understand that undergraduate research is more of a showpiece for Masters programs, but will it afford me a "well, he must be able to write well" bump from a prospective admissions committee? What do you think?


Is the only way you get honors by doing a thesis? If so, then do it if you want, but be warned it's a huge headache and pain in the ass. Probably not worth it to be honest, but if you really want honors it's not going to kill you. But if you don't need it for honors, then definitely don't.

But to answer the question you ask in the OP, no, it's not a worthwhile soft at all.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Bildungsroman » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:56 am

Nobody gives a shit about undergrad research.

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tea_drinker
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby tea_drinker » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:51 am

Borhas wrote:If it won't effect your LSAT, and it won't hurt your GPA, then it will still be a waste of your own personal time unless 1) you can seamlessly weave the thesis into your personal statement and 2) you think it's a worthwhile endeavor academically (in the true sense of the word)


+1

Total Litigator
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Total Litigator » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:18 am

Momentum wrote:Hey guys,

I'm considering cranking out an undergraduate honors thesis during my senior year. I've done the pro-con sheets and all that, but my decision has really, sadly, boiled down to this question: is doing undergraduate research a worthwhile soft on a law school application?

I understand that undergraduate research is more of a showpiece for Masters programs, but will it afford me a "well, he must be able to write well" bump from a prospective admissions committee? What do you think?


I would say write the thesis if you are genuinely interested in a a certain field, and you have some other relevant experience in that field. Put in the correct context on a resume and personal statement, this helps you present your application as part of a compelling narative. Law schools want to see that a student already has as a passion and has shown some initiative in pursuing it. If you can pull all this off, the thesis is a soft when put in the context of your overall application. Additionally, it can help you in the job application process. I wrote about something I was interested in, and I was hired my 1L summer because, as luck would have it, my thesis topic (which was economics related) coincided perfectly with one of the firm's priorities/interests that summer.

So in short, do the thesis if you can build off of your current resume and experiences with it. If you are just writing a thesis for the sake of writing a thesis, chances are it won't help you much at all down the road.

cornellbeez
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby cornellbeez » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:31 pm

Momentum wrote:
cornellbeez wrote:Pretty sure my senior thesis on the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis got me into the T-14.
How did you make that happen, exactly? Did you send it out as supplementary material or was your thesis something that won you national awards?


haha, I was taking the piss. I didn't have any exciting ECs, and I decided not to write a thesis (too much work). I never considered getting a PhD in Econ and didn't think it was worth it.

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Cupidity
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Re: Undergraduate Research: time well spent?

Postby Cupidity » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:37 pm

It can be a valuable employment soft if it is relevant to your longterm career interests. If your dream is to do juvenile defense and your senior thesis involves criminal recidivism in impoverished communities, it will jump out when you interview. My senior thesis was on the extension of suspect class to include homosexuals in the aftermath of Lawrence, and it was the subject of a 2 minute discussion when I interviewed for the AG civil rights division.




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