Switching to Law senior year

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Pathoma

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Switching to Law senior year

Postby Pathoma » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:01 am

Hey so I'm a totally newbie at the Law School admissions game. I started off college not exactly knowing what to do, I ended up taking some science classes and wrecking my GPA early on. So I'm sitting at a 3.2 GPA right now after finishing my junior year. I have thought long and hard about different fields and have decided that law is where my passion lies. I just feel like my GPA will totally tank my app even if I manage a decent LSAT like 160+. My questions:

1) If I were to do a post bacc to repair my GPA, would law schools weigh the post bacc GPA the same as my Ugrad?

2) If not, do you think getting a Master's degree in psychology (my undergrad major) with a high GPA would look good for law admissions?

3) Is there any hope for getting into a T14, and if not, how about a tier 1?

4) Let's say next year, I graduate with a 3.4 GPA, decent ECs, and a 162 LSAT. I apply broadly to law schools...what type of app cycle can I expect?

Thanks

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pancakes3

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:03 am

no, no, yes, no. the only thing that matters is undergrad GPA and LSAT. don't plan for a 162. aim for a 174.

TLSDookie

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby TLSDookie » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:30 am

Had a super low gpa and wasn't sure I wanted to do law school, so decided to do a masters and work first. Despite pulling a 3.8 in my masters and getting meaningful work experience, my results were extremely consistent with what my uGPA/LSAT would have predicted. Don't bother doing a masters just to make up for a low undergrad gpa. If you want to go to law school bust your ass studying for the LSAT, retake if you get below a 168 if you're aiming for T-14 (attainable with a 3.4). A high LSAT is the only way to make up for a low GPA.

That said, if you do have an upward trend after a bunch of Cs in difficult science classes freshman year, that will help your gpa outperform what precedent predicts to a slight degree.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:38 am

Law schools can't report graduate GPAs to USNWR for their ranking - only undergrad GPAs count. So doing a graduate degree isn't going to help you. In the grand scheme of things it can be a modest soft factor that helps you a little, but UGPA and LSAT carry so much weight in law school admissions that doing a grad degree just to help your undergrad GPA is not at all worth it. (If you had some other reason to do the degree, sure, but not to fix your UGPA.)

You can get into T14s but you will need a much higher LSAT than 162.

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EnderWiggin

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby EnderWiggin » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:45 am

Two more semesters of UG classes are the credited way to help your GPA; as others have said, a graduate GPA is not going to have any kind of ameliorating effect on your UG GPA. A lot of people in these fora will recommend that you finish those two semesters, go get some work experience, and if you still have the itch to go to law school down the road, apply then with a stronger app.

cavalier1138

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:35 am

I'll actually go slightly against the grain and say that a graduate degree (degree, not the GPA) can be a good boost for your application. It's certainly not worth doing just to try and improve your law school chances, but if you want to do a master's degree first, it isn't totally devoid of benefits.

Dads707

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby Dads707 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:27 pm

Would it be possible to take a bunch of 'no-load' Community College classes before applying for graduation to up the GPA?

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby Barack O'Drama » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:07 pm

Dads707 wrote:Would it be possible to take a bunch of 'no-load' Community College classes before applying for graduation to up the GPA?


nony is correct, as are the users above her. However, taking some community college classes over the summer may help to boost your GPA. Take a bunch of sociology classes or something. I had a friend who was trying to boost a GPA for a certain grad program (wasn't law) and he took 4 classes over the summer consisting of geography, intro to music, etc. Addcomms will probably catch on, but at the end of the day the numbers will be sine qua non.

I think if you can get yourself to a 3.4-3.5 and a mis 170s LSAT you will have a very good chance at T14.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pathoma

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby Pathoma » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:21 am

Thanks for the replies guys. I guess law school admissions really hinges on that LSAT. Which is cool because I can still control it. About the GPA though, would it be useful to extend my undergraduate career by 2 semesters by loading up on easy classes. So basically I would take 5 years to graduate and have like 30 extra credits where I could potentially improve my overall uGPA to 3.4-3.5 range. Assuming finances are not a problem, do you all consider this a reasonable plan to help my GPA?

And about the LSAT, historically, standardised tests have not been my thing necessarily. Let's say I do not get an incredible 170+ score. Let's say I do get lower 160s, and get into a tier 1 but not elite law school. What is the general consensus on the drop-off in career outlook going from a T-14 to a school in the 15-40 range?

Catsinthebag

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby Catsinthebag » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:31 am

From the amount of questioning and second-guessing and trying to game out hypotheticals with random ideas, I'd say you need some time in between regardless, so go grab an MA and/or work a few years. You'll have an advantage over a lot of folks when you begin at the end of the day.

Pathoma

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby Pathoma » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:58 am

Catsinthebag wrote:From the amount of questioning and second-guessing and trying to game out hypotheticals with random ideas, I'd say you need some time in between regardless, so go grab an MA and/or work a few years. You'll have an advantage over a lot of folks when you begin at the end of the day.

Not sure how you made the connection that me asking hypotheticals means I need to take gap years but thanks for the input.

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pancakes3

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:40 am

Pathoma wrote:
Catsinthebag wrote:From the amount of questioning and second-guessing and trying to game out hypotheticals with random ideas, I'd say you need some time in between regardless, so go grab an MA and/or work a few years. You'll have an advantage over a lot of folks when you begin at the end of the day.

Not sure how you made the connection that me asking hypotheticals means I need to take gap years but thanks for the input.


His reasoning is flawed but the advice holds merit on other grounds.

1) Distancing yourself from your GPA can only help and at worse of no effect.
2) Work experience might not have too big an impact on admissions (literally 90% GPA/LSAT) but does have impact when it comes to interviews.
3) Taking a gap year gives you more time to study for the LSAT and maximize your opportunities.
4) Depending on what kind of job you're able to pull, gap year might lead to better opportunities than being a lawyer. If nothing else, you'll be in your 20's and with disposable income. That is not to be wasted just to get a 1-2 year headstart on your prestigious law career.

Catsinthebag

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby Catsinthebag » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:28 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Pathoma wrote:
Catsinthebag wrote:From the amount of questioning and second-guessing and trying to game out hypotheticals with random ideas, I'd say you need some time in between regardless, so go grab an MA and/or work a few years. You'll have an advantage over a lot of folks when you begin at the end of the day.

Not sure how you made the connection that me asking hypotheticals means I need to take gap years but thanks for the input.


His reasoning is flawed but the advice holds merit on other grounds.

1) Distancing yourself from your GPA can only help and at worse of no effect.
2) Work experience might not have too big an impact on admissions (literally 90% GPA/LSAT) but does have impact when it comes to interviews.
3) Taking a gap year gives you more time to study for the LSAT and maximize your opportunities.
4) Depending on what kind of job you're able to pull, gap year might lead to better opportunities than being a lawyer. If nothing else, you'll be in your 20's and with disposable income. That is not to be wasted just to get a 1-2 year headstart on your prestigious law career.


Reasoning was pretty much on point tho!

mrclean17

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Re: Switching to Law senior year

Postby mrclean17 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:37 pm

Pathoma wrote:Thanks for the replies guys. I guess law school admissions really hinges on that LSAT. Which is cool because I can still control it. About the GPA though, would it be useful to extend my undergraduate career by 2 semesters by loading up on easy classes. So basically I would take 5 years to graduate and have like 30 extra credits where I could potentially improve my overall uGPA to 3.4-3.5 range. Assuming finances are not a problem, do you all consider this a reasonable plan to help my GPA?

And about the LSAT, historically, standardised tests have not been my thing necessarily. Let's say I do not get an incredible 170+ score. Let's say I do get lower 160s, and get into a tier 1 but not elite law school. What is the general consensus on the drop-off in career outlook going from a T-14 to a school in the 15-40 range?


My two cents:

Do whatever you can to improve your GPA - if that means an extra year of easy classes and you can afford it, go for it. Also do whatever you can to maximize your LSAT score - if that means a gap year so you can study longer, go for it.

I'm going to UC Hastings, literally school number 50 on this year's rankings. My LSAT was a 162 and my GPA was a 3.1 (so I'm assuming you would get accepted to this and perhaps other T1 schools), but I have a unique scenario where tuition is free, hence my decision to attend.

Employment prospects are dismal - only about half the class has a job requiring a JD 9 months after graduation, and I think only 70 percent of the class passed the BAR. If you need to take out loans to pay for COL/tuition, I would not attend - taking out ~100k in loans for a 50/50 shot of employment is a pretty big gamble. Many other school in this range have similar employment statistics... There is a big drop off between T14 and T50. Your chance at a BigLaw job in a T50 is slim. if that's what you're going for I wouldn't attend. If you're okay making around 60k/ year when you graduate or opening your own firm because there's no jobs, you will still have the opportunity to do so.

I'm sure there are other, more frequent posters who will be able to better comment on the difference; This is just my humble opinion.



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