Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

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Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby mudiverse » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:49 pm

I have been lurking/searching this forum for more in-depth information on the admissions profile for the top cali schools (Boalt/SLS) - but there seems to be little consensus on the typical admitted applicant besides the GPA floor for both schools.

I am a splitter (3.59/165 preparing for retakes until 170+) with work experience in consulting, with a laser-focus on these schools. Obviously there is nothing I can do about my GPA, but what else can I do other than up my LSAT and tailor my personal statement/supp. essays to get into these schools? Is there substantial evidence of an Early Decision boost (the numbers available are sparse)?

Thanks for any feedback.

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Re: Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby Auxilio » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:25 am

Stanford (although honestly I would not count on getting in with your GPA) really likes Stanford specific LoR. Do not ED to Berkeley, or anywhere that does not give full tuition for ED, law school is almost never worth paying sticker, and if you ED there is no reason for them to offer you money. If you could get into Berkeley ED I am sure you could get a very large amount from UCLA, which would be the better choice in California. Legitimately I would pretend ED'ing to someplace except for say NW just does not exist as an option, because it does not exist as a rational option.

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Re: Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby middlebear » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:37 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure these two both don't offer an ED option.

Is there a reason for the "laser-focus" on these two in particular, other than them being the top two in CA? Like above said, UCLA could give you both a better chance of admission (though you never know with the Berkeley black box) and more $$.

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Re: Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:49 am

Based on LSN, I don't think you'll get into Stanford, although Berkeley might be a possibility. Unfortunately for you, both of those schools tend to place a lot of weight on GPA compared to their peers. You could definitely write "Why Stanford"/"Why Berkeley"/etc. essays to increase your chances, but they're not going to make up for numbers that don't meet their standards. Your first priority should be getting a high LSAT score, so focus on that.

At any rate, if you're set on practicing in CA, you should (once you get your LSAT score high enough) apply to all T14 schools plus UCLA and USC. Even if you can't get Stanford or Berkeley, you should be able to leverage other T14 acceptances to get a pretty good scholarship from UCLA or USC. Or just attend a lower T14 school with a scholarship. Plenty of people practice in CA after earning their JDs elsewhere.

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Re: Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:17 am

You've picked the two most traditionally GPA-heavy schools in the T14, in a relative sense. Even with a 170 LSAT, it is highly unlikely you will obtain admission to Boalt with anything less than a 3.7 or Stanford with anything less than a 3.8-3.85. Above these lower bounds admissions are still what TLS commonly refers to as a "black box." A higher LSAT gives you a marginally stronger chance but there are diminishing returns without higher college grades. I would start setting your sights on a different set of schools or a strong scholarship at UCLA.

As for what they like in the abstract? A strong academic background aside from GPA, i.e., attending an elite school, writing an honors thesis, letters from prolific and prominent faculty; a strong narrative, i.e., a thorough commitment to public interest with sincere college extracurriculars tied to a personal story with concrete service oriented goals to boot, or a tech-heavy profile with tech-oriented legal work in mind backed by publication in STEM, substantive experience in start-ups, ect., as just two examples; excellent writing and by that I mean personal statements; blah blah blah.

the more interesting you are and the more positive that profile appears on paper the better for you


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Re: Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby kartelite » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:34 am

The GPA is probably a deal breaker for both...mine was 3.78 with a 176 and those were the only two schools that flat out rejected me (WL then reject at Yale). I had really good softs and was living in the Bay Area, so I'm pretty sure the GPA was the issue.


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Re: Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby arose928 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:44 pm

I think I beat the odds, but I did get into Boalt with a 3.6/167. And they said it couldn't be done! There's no ED for Boalt but you are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Which I actually didn't do and still somehow beat the odds. But yeah I should emphasize that I beat the odds, and if you look around there are both people with the same numbers as me that got rejected, and people with even higher numbers that got rejected.

FWIW, when I asked Boalt students/alum about PS and LORs, they said to make sure that they all complement each other to create a whole package and they are all building the same case. And that case should be why you're going to law school and what you will bring to the university. So for instance I'm aiming to go into PI and my PS spoke to that as did both of my LORs (and my resume, since I have several years of related work experience). Of course I have no idea why they admitted me but I like to think that all my materials together created a clear and compelling case. That's the one thing in your control to really craft.

Unfortunately I'd have to concur that Stanford seems like a no go, even with a 170+ LSAT.

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Re: Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:00 am

arose928 wrote:I think I beat the odds, but I did get into Boalt with a 3.6/167.

You did beat the odds but you at least had a median LSAT score


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Re: Getting into Berkeley / Stanford?

Postby Adr070 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:37 am

I had a similar gpa, with a 175 LSAT, and seven years of relevant work experience. I got into Cal, but not Stanford. TBH though, you are better off applying outside CA, where they'll prioritize your LSAT more. I ended up getting strong scholarship offer from two top-six schools in other parts of the country, while Cal offered me nothing, and wouldn't even match the offers from the other schools.

That being said, if you want to work in the Bay Area, its going to be really tough coming from elsewhere, even at a higher-ranked school. I lived in the Bay Area for >2 decades before law school, go to a top five school, and still struck out at the Bay Area firms in OCI.

Overall, you may have a much easier time getting into other schools with your stats, but they will provide you more networking opportunities in law school. If you end up going elsewhere, and you want to be in the Bay, make sure you spend every break in the Bay, networking every chance you get.

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