Advice for undergrad.

topcheese88
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Advice for undergrad.

Postby topcheese88 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:40 am

I'm a junior legal studies major at UMass, Amherst. Right now my GPA is a 3.0--my in major GPA is a 3.6 (not sure if that matters). I'm thinking about taking the LSATs in October 2010 and applying after. I'm assuming I'm not going to do too poorly on the LSATs (I'm going to take a Kaplan prep course right before I take the test), I'd assume at least an average score, what are my options for schools? I have some good work/internship experience with companies that aren't law firms, but I did things like read and research legal documents. I also did an internship with a company in Greece, which I'm hoping will look good.

Also...what do people think about waiting until I graduate to apply to schools so I can use the extra semesters to boost my GPA? Would this require me to take a whole year off?

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englawyer
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby englawyer » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:46 am

if you get an "average" LSAT score you are screwed (150). High LSAT is key.

Most of the other stuff is nice to have, but won't budge your cycle much.

If the 4th year will really boost your GPA, it is worth it. The 3.0 is what you have now, and it is kind of low for law schools. How high could you boost it?

topcheese88
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby topcheese88 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:52 am

Well it is a 3.0 right now and I'm mid 2nd semester junior year. In 3 semesters I would hope I could get it to at least a 3.2-3.3

But if I waited to apply until I'm done with undergrad would that mean I would have to take that entire next school year off?

skip james
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby skip james » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:53 am

englawyer wrote:if you get an "average" LSAT score you are screwed (150). High LSAT is key.

Most of the other stuff is nice to have, but won't budge your cycle much.

If the 4th year will really boost your GPA, it is worth it. The 3.0 is what you have now, and it is kind of low for law schools. How high could you boost it?


yeah i agree. don't rush law school apps, this is your future career you're looking at here. take that extra year and pad your schedule with fluff classes, and take a bunch of community college courses (you might even be able just to take a bunch of online community college classes). you actually have the opportunity to fix your gpa since you haven't graduated yet, so take advantage of it. i'd give my left testicle to have a shot like yours.

and since you'd end up having to take a year off, you don't have to take the lsat until that year rolls around, so focus now on your gpa, then when you have the time to really hit the lsat studying hard, do so.

don't think of delaying your law school apps as an impediment. think of it as an opportunity.

topcheese88
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby topcheese88 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:54 am

Also does my major GPA matter at all? Considering that I take a lot of legal based courses and I have a 3.6 in my major.

skip james
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby skip james » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:54 am

topcheese88 wrote:Also does my major GPA matter at all? Considering that I take a lot of legal based courses and I have a 3.6 in my major.


no. the only thing that matters is your lsac gpa.

skip james
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby skip james » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:55 am

topcheese88 wrote:Also does my major GPA matter at all? Considering that I take a lot of legal based courses and I have a 3.6 in my major.

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/

there's a tool on this site that'll let you figure your lsac gpa out.

topcheese88
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby topcheese88 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:03 am

according to that predictor site my 66 semester credit hours give me a 3.11, not much different

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englawyer
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby englawyer » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:43 am

topcheese88 wrote:Well it is a 3.0 right now and I'm mid 2nd semester junior year. In 3 semesters I would hope I could get it to at least a 3.2-3.3

But if I waited to apply until I'm done with undergrad would that mean I would have to take that entire next school year off?


a 3.3 is in much better shape. for example, with a high LSAT (172) you could head to georgetown. 167 would put you in BU/BC ish territory. 161 would get you Northeastern.

topcheese88
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby topcheese88 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:47 am

How much is is possible to raise your GPA in one semester? If possible, I'd probably apply in the fall if I could pull off a cum. 3.2 by the end of this spring semester. ill sure as hell try.

Also what is the difference between my school's GPA and the lsac GPA?

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MBZags
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby MBZags » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:41 am

You could take a bunch of classes at your local CC this summer to boost your GPA.

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OneKnight
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby OneKnight » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:12 am

Take the gap year. That's the only way to include each of your remaining semesters' GPA into your LSAC GPA because decisions are out WAY before you'd get your final degree GPA. Plus, you want to get apps out early, so you wouldn't even have next semester's grades (Fall 2010) except to send an updated transcript. Just focus on your remaining semesters of college - an upward trend looks good and it's what you should be focusing on now.
Then, during your gap year, spend your free time prepping for the LSAT (hundreds of hours before you take it).

This, if you want T14 or anywhere near it (T20)

topcheese88
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby topcheese88 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:49 pm

Thanks for the advice. I'll probably see where my GPA is at the end of this semester and then make a decision.

JasonR
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby JasonR » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:55 pm

Just remember that your LSAT score is by far the single most important part of your profile as a candidate for admission at any law school.

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englawyer
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby englawyer » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:02 pm

MBZags wrote:You could take a bunch of classes at your local CC this summer to boost your GPA.


+1 for example bunker hill community college charges roughly 200 per course last time i checked. if you take 5-6 courses this summer and get all A's, that would be a significant bump.

viking138
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby viking138 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:05 pm

I don't think anyone mentioned this, but Kaplan isn't the best prep course out there. Search for some of the threads on best prep courses on this forum -- both Princeton Review and Kaplan generally get pretty poor marks.

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Mattalones
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby Mattalones » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:18 pm

skip james wrote:
topcheese88 wrote:Also does my major GPA matter at all? Considering that I take a lot of legal based courses and I have a 3.6 in my major.

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/

there's a tool on this site that'll let you figure your lsac gpa out.

That site WAY under-predicted my acceptances even after I clicked URM. Having only GPA and LSAT can only give you a loose guideline. You PS and experience play a large role because there are actual people reading you application. ... Keep that in mind.

Shrimps
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby Shrimps » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:32 pm

MBZags wrote:You could take a bunch of classes at your local CC this summer to boost your GPA.


Really?

Oh, and if you're a URM, really, you play by different rules. As a white male, I need to stay conscious of the fact that this law school predictor thingie may be a bit too optimistic for ME.

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raperez129
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby raperez129 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:45 pm

I would say boost your GPA. Totally worth taking the year off. FWIW - I think LS would have kicked my a$$ right out of UG.

topcheese88
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby topcheese88 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:18 pm

I'm a white male.

Also at UMass when you take courses at other schools only the credits transfer in, the grade doesn't affect your GPA unfortunately.

I say Kaplan because there is a test center literally a 30 second walk from my house in Amherst. What are better LSAT prep courses?

skip james
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby skip james » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:53 pm

Mattalones wrote:
skip james wrote:
topcheese88 wrote:Also does my major GPA matter at all? Considering that I take a lot of legal based courses and I have a 3.6 in my major.

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/

there's a tool on this site that'll let you figure your lsac gpa out.

That site WAY under-predicted my acceptances even after I clicked URM. Having only GPA and LSAT can only give you a loose guideline. You PS and experience play a large role because there are actual people reading you application. ... Keep that in mind.


Er.. I posted the link so he could calculate his LSAC gpa, not so that he could check his chances of admittance.

yeff
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby yeff » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:56 am

topcheese88 wrote:I'm a white male.

Also at UMass when you take courses at other schools only the credits transfer in, the grade doesn't affect your GPA unfortunately.


Even if UMass does not accept it, LSAC will. And since the point is to boost your LSAC GPA not your UMass GPA, it is fine.

But LSAT matters more. I think you should not view the prep class as your prep. More like an intro. Do it to get a baseline understanding, then prep yourself by taking practice tests. See the stickied threads.

tomwatts
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby tomwatts » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:08 am

I'm not even sure what else there is in Amherst in the way of LSAT prep, but my impression is that we have a pretty strong Princeton Review office out there. (And I'll just mention that those of us at TPR are usually offended to be mentioned in the same breath as Kaplan in the LSAT world; we've deliberately pushed ourselves as far away from that model of course as we can in the past few years.)

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OneKnight
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby OneKnight » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:23 am

Mattalones wrote:
skip james wrote:
topcheese88 wrote:Also does my major GPA matter at all? Considering that I take a lot of legal based courses and I have a 3.6 in my major.

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/

there's a tool on this site that'll let you figure your lsac gpa out.

That site WAY under-predicted my acceptances even after I clicked URM. Having only GPA and LSAT can only give you a loose guideline. You PS and experience play a large role because there are actual people reading you application. ... Keep that in mind.


It has been pretty accurate for me, and I know for others it has WAY over-predicted (particularly GPA splitters). Take it with a grain of salt for sure...

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Mattalones
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Re: Advice for undergrad.

Postby Mattalones » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:44 am

skip james wrote:
Mattalones wrote:
skip james wrote:
topcheese88 wrote:Also does my major GPA matter at all? Considering that I take a lot of legal based courses and I have a 3.6 in my major.

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/

there's a tool on this site that'll let you figure your lsac gpa out.

That site WAY under-predicted my acceptances even after I clicked URM. Having only GPA and LSAT can only give you a loose guideline. You PS and experience play a large role because there are actual people reading you application. ... Keep that in mind.


Er.. I posted the link so he could calculate his LSAC gpa, not so that he could check his chances of admittance.

That is true, but the title of this thread is "Advice for undergrad." He should know (if he doesn't already) that it is just a rough guideline.




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