Prospective student

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tronimrich
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Prospective student

Postby tronimrich » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:38 am

Okay, before I begin, I've read (maybe not so extensively) most of the FAQ and have lurked the forums for a couple of days. I also realize this question may have been asked in some form that I have yet to find searching.

Currently I am attending a JC in southern California. I have a 3.0 transferable GPA and intend on transferring to a California state university majoring in either English, U.S. History, or Intl' relations.

My situation is as follows:
I am an African-American
I have many years juggling school/work (I'm 23 and basically a college junior)
My family income is roughly 90k per, with independent income below 10k per

Would I make for an easy transition to law school? Will either of the aforementioned majors better suit me for law? Which? How much do top law schools look at fresh/soph GPA? Will my major GPA weigh more heavily than GE? Am I negatively affected by being a transfer student?

I will not likely be able to afford the best preparation. Likely to have second hand materials and those $16 pts

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chem
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Re: Prospective student

Postby chem » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:07 am

tronimrich wrote:
Would I make for an easy transition to law school?


I don't know what you mean by easy transition. You certainly won't have it any harder than anyone else based on the information you have provided. If you have to juggle work and law school, it might be a difficult transition because you will not have the time required to get the grades you need

Will either of the aforementioned majors better suit me for law? Which?


None of them will better suit you for law. The best major for law school is the major you get the best grades in, unless you gun for something special like patent or tax, in which case the first has a hard science as a necessary background and the second has accounting to help

How much do top law schools look at fresh/soph GPA?


Just as much as every GPA. They primarily look at your cumulative. If you have a strong upward trend, it could factor in as a very, very small soft

Will my major GPA weigh more heavily than GE?


Major GPA doesn't matter at all compared to your general GPA. Thats what Im assuming GE is, not really sure though

Am I negatively affected by being a transfer student?


Not at all

nsbane
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Re: Prospective student

Postby nsbane » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:13 am

This is the summary of what I've learned while reading about law school. If anyone things I'm wrong, feel free to correct me:

1) No one makes an easy transition to law.

2) Any major your pick is fine; none will really prepare you for law school. Except go for something that has reading and writing - read: any liberal arts major. So yes, English, US History, Int'l relations are fine.

3) Top law schools look at your cumulative GPA. Your JC gpa will be included. If there is an upward trend, they may take that into account. But just try to get as high a gpa as you can.

4) It doesn't matter that you're a transfer student. Law schools won't penalize you for that.

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romothesavior
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Re: Prospective student

Postby romothesavior » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:27 am

Hey OP, lot of questions here so I will run through as many as I can.

You still have some time to work on your GPA, and if you know that law school is what you want to do, then your GPA and LSAT should be your sole focus. Take classes that allow you to get As, and try to get up over a 3.4.-3.5. A GPA in the mid-3 range is a lot better than one in the low-3 range.

It cannot be overstated: the LSAT is the most important test of your life, and you need to treat it as such. If you can get a 160-165+ on the LSAT, you will have a wealth of school opportunities. Pithypike's LSAT guide is one of the best approaches to self-studying for the LSAT, and I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say it has helped hundreds of applicants (myself included) raise their LSAT scores. I would read through that, and modify it to suit your needs. The most important things in studying for the LSAT are:

1. Time. You absolutely have to put in the time. The figure most often tossed out is to study 3-4 hours a day for 2-3 months. For some reason, law school applicants take the LSAT less seriously than most other professional school students. You don't have to be like the pre-med students and shut down your social life for 4 months for the MCAT, but you need to put in a few hours every day. It is a very learnable test.
2. Breaking down the questions. If you just take practice test after practice test, you will improve. But if you actually take the time to sit down and ask yourself, "Why did I miss this question? What kind of question is it? How do I improve on this type of question?", you will improve by leaps and bounds. People have improved their scores 20+ points from their diagnostics to their actual score.
3. Have the right materials. You say you will have second hand materials, and that is fine. There is really no need to take a class for the LSAT. But you are going to want PTs, a big book of questions (Kaplan Mastery is good), and the Powerscore Bibles. Yes, all of this could run you a few hundred bucks. But each individual point on the LSAT could net you tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money, and obviously having the right materials is going to get you more points. $150-200 on test prep materials doesn't seem so bad if it is bringing in 10s of thousands of bucks.

As for the other factors you mentioned, income won't matter at all, and juggling work/school won't help much, if at all, and what your major is will have almost no impact on your application cycle. I wouldn't worry about any of these things being a factor. Being African American will help you a lot. Under-represented minorities get a significant boost for law school admissions. However, it is not a golden ticket; you'll need to have decent numbers. Law school admissions is a numbers game, first and foremost. If you can get over a 160 on the LSAT and can get your GPA up to the mid-3s, you'll be in very good shape as an AA applicant. Being white, I don't know a ton about AA cycles, but we have a URM Forum where I'm sure you can learn a lot.

Finally, you want to ask yourself why you want to go to law school. Law school is a very difficult road right now and it is not a path to riches for most students. Many students, especially at lower tier law schools, are struggling to find jobs at all. If you want to go to law school and have good reasons for it, then get your numbers up and go for it. I just wanted to add this caveat, because far too many people go to law school who have no business being there. Do your research (TLS is a great source for that!) and put yourself in a position to get some good school offers.

Best of luck.

tronimrich
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Re: Prospective student

Postby tronimrich » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:36 am

In pithypike's guide I read he recommends studying in noisy conditions to somehow mitigate 'gameday' pressures. Is this true? What would be noisy? A university library or with the TV on?

KingsBench
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Re: Prospective student

Postby KingsBench » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:01 am

tronimrich wrote:In pithypike's guide I read he recommends studying in noisy conditions to somehow mitigate 'gameday' pressures. Is this true? What would be noisy? A university library or with the TV on?


I would recommend going to the library or a coffee shop - the goal is to simulate less-than-ideal conditions which will prepare you in the event you face a similar situation at your own exam.

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furcifer
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Re: Prospective student

Postby furcifer » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:46 am

Expect to have to pee and poo but being too nervous that you'll lose time to do it, but then realizing that said thoughts are burning up time anyways, and then deciding to go, then the proctor gives the 5 minute warning and you change your mind........... :| Ah yes, Good times. Good times.

KingsBench wrote:
tronimrich wrote:In pithypike's guide I read he recommends studying in noisy conditions to somehow mitigate 'gameday' pressures. Is this true? What would be noisy? A university library or with the TV on?


I would recommend going to the library or a coffee shop - the goal is to simulate less-than-ideal conditions which will prepare you in the event you face a similar situation at your own exam.

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romothesavior
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Re: Prospective student

Postby romothesavior » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:13 am

tronimrich wrote:In pithypike's guide I read he recommends studying in noisy conditions to somehow mitigate 'gameday' pressures. Is this true? What would be noisy? A university library or with the TV on?

This is one of those "modify" things. I didn't do that. You definitely don't have to follow pithypike or any of the other guides 100%.

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puremorning
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Re: Prospective student

Postby puremorning » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:04 pm

One thing that Chem said really stuck out, "No one makes an easy transition to law school." That being said, you might be able to benefit from summer courses that many schools offer for URMs and people who are below median but still have lots of potential. I'm not sure where you're looking, but many mid-range schools offer a summer program that helps prep you for law school. Some you can apply for, others you're selected.

tronimrich
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Re: Prospective student

Postby tronimrich » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:06 am

Really appreciate the replies.

One last question, at least for this thread: Is there a point in which it is too early to study for the LSAT? Maybe I am really giddy about it, or I actually love law and the language of it, I just feel like being 2+ years out might be too early.

nsbane
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Re: Prospective student

Postby nsbane » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:23 am

tronimrich wrote:Really appreciate the replies.

One last question, at least for this thread: Is there a point in which it is too early to study for the LSAT? Maybe I am really giddy about it, or I actually love law and the language of it, I just feel like being 2+ years out might be too early.


Your LSAT score is good for 5 years. Start studying when you have free time. Take when you are doing the practice exams really well. Then you could apply right away, or wait up to five years before you apply for school.

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Bashy
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Re: Prospective student

Postby Bashy » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:30 am

nsbane wrote:
tronimrich wrote:Really appreciate the replies.

One last question, at least for this thread: Is there a point in which it is too early to study for the LSAT? Maybe I am really giddy about it, or I actually love law and the language of it, I just feel like being 2+ years out might be too early.


Your LSAT score is good for 5 years. Start studying when you have free time. Take when you are doing the practice exams really well. Then you could apply right away, or wait up to five years before you apply for school.


All of this is solid. Since you're two years out, you could try to plan to take the LSAT when you're not taking very many/difficult classes. The June administrations are popular options, since you're (presumably) not in school.

Also, the LSAT doesn't contain much, if any, law. It's all logical/analytical reasoning and reading comp. Still, if you take your preparation seriously you might find yourself starting to enjoy doing logic games and reasoning.

tronimrich
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Re: Prospective student

Postby tronimrich » Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:58 am

:D Okay so tonight I took my first PT in entirety. I had not looked at a LSAT question, although I have skimmed a few resources on how to tackle them (all of which taken from TLS). I scored 160 with 73 correct responses. -4 LG, -7 LR1, -10 LR2, -7 RC.

Is it wise to commit more time to struggling sections this early in the study phase (preparing for June '12)? I haven't yet purchases the bibles but I do have 30 PTs a friend gave me.

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johansantana21
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Re: Prospective student

Postby johansantana21 » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:00 am

tronimrich wrote::D Okay so tonight I took my first PT in entirety. I had not looked at a LSAT question, although I have skimmed a few resources on how to tackle them (all of which taken from TLS). I scored 160 with 73 correct responses. -4 LG, -7 LR1, -10 LR2, -7 RC.

Is it wise to commit more time to struggling sections this early in the study phase (preparing for June '12)? I haven't yet purchases the bibles but I do have 30 PTs a friend gave me.


Purchase the LG+LR bibles.

Kill the LSAT.

Enjoy T14 with $$.

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Mr. Somebody
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Re: Prospective student

Postby Mr. Somebody » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:07 pm

tronimrich wrote::D Okay so tonight I took my first PT in entirety. I had not looked at a LSAT question, although I have skimmed a few resources on how to tackle them (all of which taken from TLS). I scored 160 with 73 correct responses. -4 LG, -7 LR1, -10 LR2, -7 RC.

Is it wise to commit more time to struggling sections this early in the study phase (preparing for June '12)? I haven't yet purchases the bibles but I do have 30 PTs a friend gave me.

A 160 is an excellent starting point. I scored a 160 on my first try and after six months got in the 99th percentile on the actual test. You got plenty of time so use the materials listed in pithypikes guide and focus on drilling question types.

tronimrich
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Re: Prospective student

Postby tronimrich » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:52 pm

hey all. Another question. How valuable, if at all, is a LoR from a relative that is also an alumna of a program I would like to pursue?

I realize most programs want a professional letter and an educational letter. How much weight is put on the letter from a boss/colleague etc? I have absolutely zero work experience in a legal setting and wonder if this would cause issues. I do understand that the admittance process heavily favors numbers more than anything.

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romothesavior
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Re: Prospective student

Postby romothesavior » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:29 pm

tronimrich wrote:hey all. Another question. How valuable, if at all, is a LoR from a relative that is also an alumna of a program I would like to pursue?

I realize most programs want a professional letter and an educational letter. How much weight is put on the letter from a boss/colleague etc? I have absolutely zero work experience in a legal setting and wonder if this would cause issues. I do understand that the admittance process heavily favors numbers more than anything.

I don't think you should put too much stock in LORs. They are helpful if you are on the cusp at a school, but they really can't make up for your numbers. Generally, LORs from relatives are not the best idea. Try to find people who know you well and can speak to your abilities as a student and/or as a professional.

Also, the overwhelming majority of law students have no legal work experience. Most don't even have substantive work experience. It won't hurt you at all.




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