Law school and engineering undergrad?

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xander787
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Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby xander787 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:02 pm

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Last edited by xander787 on Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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midwest17
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby midwest17 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:12 pm

Be an engineering major and get a 4.0.

In all seriousness, it's probably worth thinking about your career goals. Depending on how the curriculum at your school works, maybe focus on general ed requirements your first year (where you can hopefully maintain good grades) until you have a clearer idea of whether you want to do engineering or law. I understand having multiple interests, but accept now that if you do decide to go to law school, an engineering major won't excuse a low GPA.

If you stick with this route... keep your GPA up. Don't accept the excuse that engineering majors typically have a low GPA: remember that you're working against a tougher standard, and try to meet it.

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:50 pm

BUT do not forget that even if you end up at a school outside of the T14 you will have great job prospects in IP fields. Make sure you still maintain like a 3.5 though if you can. Also, if you do not care for any IP work maybe consider switching majors.

31415926
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby 31415926 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:58 pm

Do you want to practice patent law? If you love engineering, have the aptitude for it, and would like to (or think you might like to) eventually work in IP, stick it out.

Here's the caveat:

I think that engineering gives you some slack when it comes to admissions, but it won't get you past the "floors" each school has - and it won't get you past a low LSAT score either. So don't expect to get into HYS without a 3.7. But where a 3.1/171 Poli-Sci major might be seeing waitlists/rejections at MVP, your UCLA engineering 3.1/171 might give you an edge.

At the same time, once you're IN school I think the background opens up a lot of doors for you. You're a pretty diverse applicant, and especially with EE (which is incredibly marketable for IP) you'll have somewhat of a safety blanket when it comes to jobs, if biglaw/IP boutiques are your cup of tea.

So it's kind of a balancing act. Because at the law school admissions level, your background won't make up for a low GPA/LSAT, and at the hiring level your background won't (entirely) make up for a bad law school/poor law school grades.


midwest17 wrote:If you stick with this route... keep your GPA up. Don't accept the excuse that engineering majors typically have a low GPA: remember that you're working against a tougher standard, and try to meet it.


It's not really an excuse, it's a forced curve (at most undergraduate institutions) that sets the average for most intensive technical classes at a B- or C+ average. That's around a 2.5. It's like telling a law student not to accept the excuse that 75% of their class won't be in the top quarter. I'm not sure how UCLA is, but one of my friends graduated from a school where top 1/3 was a 3.4. Do your best, but know that there's a not insignificant chance your GPA might eventually preclude you from HYS.

Tl;dr: don't do it unless you really, really want it/like it.

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midwest17
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby midwest17 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:22 am

31415926 wrote:It's not really an excuse, it's a forced curve (at most undergraduate institutions) that sets the average for most intensive technical classes at a B- or C+ average. That's around a 2.5. It's like telling a law student not to accept the excuse that 75% of their class won't be in the top quarter.


I'm not suggesting that the difficulties of maintaining a good GPA in engineering aren't real. I'm just saying that you need to keep the appropriate frame of reference. I know from experience that when taking hard classes, it's easy to think "it's ok if I don't get a great grade in this class, since the difficulty of the class will be factored in."

If you pursue engineering, more power to you. It's going to be a lot harder to maintain a great GPA, but it's not impossible. Accept that going in, don't plan to settle for anything but great grades. Most importantly, don't be that guy who comes on here in three years saying "I have a 3.0 GPA, but I could have made a 4.0 if I majored in communications."

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:26 am

midwest17 wrote:
31415926 wrote:It's not really an excuse, it's a forced curve (at most undergraduate institutions) that sets the average for most intensive technical classes at a B- or C+ average. That's around a 2.5. It's like telling a law student not to accept the excuse that 75% of their class won't be in the top quarter.


I'm not suggesting that the difficulties of maintaining a good GPA in engineering aren't real. I'm just saying that you need to keep the appropriate frame of reference. I know from experience that when taking hard classes, it's easy to think "it's ok if I don't get a great grade in this class, since the difficulty of the class will be factored in."

If you pursue engineering, more power to you. It's going to be a lot harder to maintain a great GPA, but it's not impossible. Accept that going in, don't plan to settle for anything but great grades. Most importantly, don't be that guy who comes on here in three years saying "I have a 3.0 GPA, but I could have made a 4.0 if I majored in communications."


I like what this man has to say.

xander787
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby xander787 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:37 am

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Last edited by xander787 on Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dr123
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby dr123 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:49 am

You want to go into constitutional law? That's not a real career bro.

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midwest17
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby midwest17 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:05 am

xander787 wrote:I know how bad my question sounds when I mention the low GPA averages of engineers, but I'm not just trying to switch to an "easy" major. When I chose engineering, I knew it was hard. Very hard. The reason I'm beginning to throw around the idea of leaving it is purely because the career path I think I want to pursue is completely different than it was a year ago. I've realized that while I may do well at engineering and while it may be a subject that I have some interest in, I may not be as satisfied with that career for the far foreseeable future as I would if I were to, say, go to law school and study constitutional law. At the same time, I am nervous about changing because I know that I could most likely do moderately well at engineering and then have a very great deal of job security after undergrad because of the constant demand for engineers, but I have to balance that with the inevitable fact that it adds a hindrance to me if I truly want to apply to T14 law schools in which GPA is a large factor. Thus I'm stuck with the dilemma of staying an engineer to have a backup plan, applying to law school, and hoping my GPA doesn't prevent me from getting into where I want to go, or, giving up the security of an engineering degree and just betting completely on law school and changing my major in accordance with that. I hope that all makes sense


This is all a good point, and I definitely didn't mean to sound like I was criticizing you for considering switching to something with an easier GPA curve.

I'll fall back on my initial suggestion: to the extent that you can do so without getting off track in your school's engineering department, take your first year (and maybe even your second) to take gen ed classes and electives in other majors you might consider, with an engineering class or two as well. Doing so should give you the time you need to come to a more informed choice about your future without taking too much of a hit to your GPA. (And taking a few engineering classes might put you in a better position to estimate where your GPA will end up with an engineering major.)

There's going to come a point, though, when you do have to make that decision. It comes down to how much more you want to do law than engineering, and that's up to you.

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midwest17
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby midwest17 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:06 am

dr123 wrote:You want to go into constitutional law? That's not a real career bro.


Also, this.

There are various fields in which you will get to make constitutional arguments. But constitutional law is not a career.

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typ3
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby typ3 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:17 pm

FWIW Engineering + Law degree isn't a cake walk for employment either despite what people would say..

My wife has a 4.0 in ME from a b1g university first in her engineering class, top 5% in my law class as a 3L with multiple jurisprudence awards and her 1L and 2L SA's both in major markets and top firms were both busts due to the glutted legal market. She is actually headed back to a former employer who is an OEM that ships globally in the med device market. In her words, "I wasted my time not being an engineer right out of school instead of coming here."

Although she did get 20+ bids at Loyola but the hour/work life balance is garbage considering it's considerably better in a corp as an engineer. If you want to work at a slave patent mill in chi or something you'll probably be fine OP. Just consider the employment safety between the two.

Kimikho
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby Kimikho » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:39 pm

You sound like a smart kid, and I'm sure you've looked up what the requirements are to be an engineer. Many states outright require you to have a degree in it (as opposed to just passing the exam, etc). In all honesty, this is most likely your only chance to pursue that dream.

Yeah, your GPA matters tremendously--but if you are good at engineering, then you are good at it and should (for the most part) get good grades. One of my closest friends is studying mechanical engineering and math, and she has a 3.94. She has frequently said that if she had to study something like communications, she would not have as high of a GPA.

What people said before is true--don't use the harsh grading curve as a crutch. If you take some intro to engineering classes this year and are not doing so well, don't tell yourself that "no one gets As," because someone does get As and that person should be you. If you pick the right major for yourself, then your grades will all fall into place. Think of how weird it is when someone's major GPA is lower than their overall GPA--you don't want to be that person. Whatever you do, it should be what you are absolutely best at.

I'm not trying to project on you or anything, but if there is one thing I would have done differently in undergrad, I would have majored in engineering. So watching someone reject that because he is scared of the GPA consequences makes me sad :[.

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guillaume_aus
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Re: Law school and engineering undergrad?

Postby guillaume_aus » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:50 pm

I am a third year EE, and, like you, I don't really see myself as an engineer long-term. I'm also not particularly drawn to IP. But I would strongly recommend keeping your EE major, as I have. You very well may not have any interest in law school four years from now, and you really shouldn't have a problem getting some sort of employment with an EE degree from UCLA. It's not at all impossible to keep up a good GPA as an Electrical Engineer, at least at at my school, which is ranked nearly identically to yours. I would only recommend dropping the EE if you do absolutely dismally in the intro courses, or if you find yourself completely miserable. I would also recommend experiencing the cushiness of the sort of internship that EE students get.

Also, another similarity in our circumstances: we had exactly the same first LSAT practice score.




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