Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

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akronite08
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Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby akronite08 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:24 pm

So here's the deal - my freshman year, I didn't know what I was doing and got arrested twice for minor alcohol and marijuana misdemeanors and earned a 2.9 GPA. Then, I transferred to a top-10 journalism school and maintained a 3.8 while working at least two jobs each term. Also got in trouble with the campus police there for an alcohol offense. 170 LSAT, strong softs.

I carpet-bombed the T14 and a few other choice schools, and it seems that my criminal record is haunting me more than I figured. I'm WL'd from Columbia on down, and GWU is the best school that accepted me (still waiting on GULC and Penn). Even my fallback, Ohio State, outright dinged me along with Boston U.

Being the type of person that doesn't want to look back with regret, I'm committed to rectifying my past to attend an elite school in a future app cycle. I've stopped with the college binge drinking nonsense - that's a non-issue. I can definitely find some sort of journalism job, and I'm sure I can push my LSAT up to mid 170s in 2 or 3 years.

My question - would a stint in the military (probably as a simple enlistee) prove to these schools I'm on the straight and narrow better than a few years at an entry-level journalism job? Considering the news business and the GI Bill, it would at least make more financial sense, right?

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cinephile
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby cinephile » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:53 pm

Enlisting sounds like a huge commitment that shouldn't be done just to boost chances of getting into law school.

I wasn't even sure why you didn't get in where you wanted to be. Is it the alcohol offenses or the LSAT? Whichever, just work on that over the next year and reapply.

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Hjones33
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby Hjones33 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:09 pm

I would like to assume you know this but joining the military is a pretty big commitment that you should do because you want to do it, not for law school. Especially during wartime.

Cus it will be four years of absolute hell if you are doing it just for a law school bump.

bdubs
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby bdubs » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:12 pm

What is your cumulative LSAC GPA? Your results don't sound that anomalous to me. 170 is median or below for most T14 and your GPA is probably on the low end given your freshman year. I would guess that your GPA is the major factor in your waitlists, not your C&F addenda.

ETA: Your profile says 3.5. A 170/3.5 is not an auto admit at any T14. Ride the waitlists and then retake if you're not happy with going to GW.

Also, your "top 10" journalism program is not impressing anyone in admissions. I am also skeptical that a school that would accept a transfer with a 2.9 GPA and multiple conduct violations is really in the "top 10" of anything.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:29 pm

Yeah, a 3.5/170 is really not strong enough to guarantee you any T14s. I'd suggest either getting some WE or retaking for a 17X to make your app stronger. I had a friend with multiple alcohol violations who retook from a 168/169-17X (he had a 3.7-3.9 GPA) and he got off the WL at a T14 with the highest scholarship they had, other than a full ride.

The LSAT is a pretty compelling factor in your LS application. Bringing yours well above median would be your best shot at getting off the WLs.

ahnhub
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby ahnhub » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:34 pm

Enlisting in the military is a culture shock. You lose a lot of the freedom you've come to take for granted. If you're not totally committed to it you could end up really hating it, and maybe trying to get out. But if it's something you've truly wanted to do, then why not. 100% do not do it just for the GI Bill or law school boost (I don't think there's much of one, unless you do something truly exceptional in the military) or to distance yourself from past problems.

A 172+ should put you in very good shape, especially if you're willing to ED somewhere.

akronite08
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby akronite08 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:35 pm

Hjones33 wrote:I would like to assume you know this but joining the military is a pretty big commitment that you should do because you want to do it, not for law school. Especially during wartime.

Cus it will be four years of absolute hell if you are doing it just for a law school bump.


You're right, and I do want to do it. It's definitely not just for law school - mostly for money, like other enlistees.

Basically, it's either that or spending a comparable amount of time at a podunk newspaper chasing housefires and high school softball teams for less than 30k/year. In the end, I think I'd enjoy myself more seeing the world while making considerably more money. Not to mention Uncle Sam pitching in for my law school tuition once I'm out.

cinephile wrote:I wasn't even sure why you didn't get in where you wanted to be. Is it the alcohol offenses or the LSAT? Whichever, just work on that over the next year and reapply.

bdubs wrote:What is your cumulative LSAC GPA? Your results don't sound that anomalous to me. 170 is median or below for most T14 and your GPA is probably on the low end given your freshman year. I would guess that your GPA is the major factor in your waitlists, not your C&F addenda.


True, but my ding from OSU made me think otherwise. 170/3.5 is normally autoadmit there, and two of my recommenders are successful former Buckeyes. I think it's a combination of all these factors, and the only one I can directly improve upon is the LSAT.

And yes, it's top 10 (not that it really matters) - the transfer process was 100 times worse than the law school application cycle. I mostly made it on unique work experience.

akronite08
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby akronite08 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:38 pm

Thanks for all your input - Do you guys really think improving the LSAT alone would do the trick?

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bk1
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby bk1 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:40 pm

akronite08 wrote:Thanks for all your input - Do you guys really think improving the LSAT alone would do the trick?


If it's being a 3.5/170 that's holding you back at a school that wl'ed you then yes. If it's your past then I doubt a higher LSAT would overcome that since it seems like the only thing that would change it is time.

I think you have nothing to lose by retaking so you might as well since it can only really help you.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby crumpetsandtea » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:41 pm

akronite08 wrote:Thanks for all your input - Do you guys really think improving the LSAT alone would do the trick?

IMO, distancing yourself from the conduct issues and your GPA (aka WE) will help too, but the LSAT will do a LOT, especially if you hit the upper 170s. Of course, that's certainly not everything, and people with upper-170 scores and 3.5s have been shut out of a lot of T14s this year, but it will certainly place you in a better position than you're in now.

Plus, retaking in June could help you get off the WL at some of the schools on your list now.

akronite08
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Re: Best route to better my chances for a future cycle?

Postby akronite08 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:54 pm

crumpetsandtea wrote:
akronite08 wrote:Thanks for all your input - Do you guys really think improving the LSAT alone would do the trick?

IMO, distancing yourself from the conduct issues and your GPA (aka WE) will help too, but the LSAT will do a LOT, especially if you hit the upper 170s. Of course, that's certainly not everything, and people with upper-170 scores and 3.5s have been shut out of a lot of T14s this year, but it will certainly place you in a better position than you're in now.

Plus, retaking in June could help you get off the WL at some of the schools on your list now.


Yea, that's a good idea. I hadn't really considered retaking in June to escape WL purgatory. And as far as distancing myself from my GPA, I've only gotten one grade lower than A in three years since transferring - I think it's more the conduct monkey on my back.

Assuming I don't get off these WLs with a higher score this year, I guess it comes down to quality of life and money. I honestly think I'd enjoy 3 years of Coast Guard more than 3 years of doing intern work as a broke journalist. My dad served in Vietnam as a noncom and even he said it was a great experience. Thanks again for your guys' thoughts.




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