Need Law School advice from the Pros!

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SoCalStudent
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Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:25 am

Hello everyone,

I've always been interested in law school, but my performance at the undergraduate level discouraged me from making an attempt at applying two years ago. My GPA stunk, which was 2.97. I worked over 40 hours a week, and I didn't work hard enough to get all A's & B's, which I blame myself. After taking a year off of school, I decided to build off of my English degree and try to attain an M.A. I've been going to grad school for the past two years for an M.A. in Rhetoric & Composition, where I currently have a 3.56 GPA. I am going back for one more year (even though I'm done with the course work) so that I can become a TA and teach Freshman Comp., as well as work on a thesis, which I may attempt to rhetorically analyze the U.S. Constitution, or some other legal document.

I was thinking about loading up on Political Science courses, since I will only be teaching and working on my thesis. I plan on studying for the LSAT's this summer with the usage of Powerscore, etc., and taking a Princeton Review course on the weekends (July-Oct. 3). The goal is to complete the LSAT in October so that I give myself enough time to send out applications.

Currently, I volunteer as a tutor to children in low income areas that can't keep up with the reading level in their classes. I've also taught English in China for two summers. My main issue is my undregrad GPA from way back when. Since I will be taking 5-6 Political Science courses (undergrad), I was thinking that law school's may look at those grades and calculate it with my embarrassing undergrad GPA.

I want to apply to California schools: UCLA, USC, Loyola, Pepperdine, and UC Hastings. What are my chances? What score do I realistically need to pull off on the LSAT to have a shot at these schools? Any suggestions on making myself more appealing? I will be happy with any comments, even if they aren't pleasant. :)

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RickyRoe
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby RickyRoe » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:34 am

There is nothing you can do to raise that GPA since you already graduated. You would need a score in the mid 170's to get into USC or UCLA and mid 160's to get into the others.

waverider
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby waverider » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:35 am

There is no sense in taking polysci courses, it will not be calculated in your undergraduate gpa. Unfortunately from what I have heard on other threads having a MA (and a high gpa for the MA for that matter) doesn't do very much for you in the admissions process.

Spend the time prepping for the LSAT instead.

Good luck

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:46 am

Thanks guys. I was thinking that I need to score in the lower to mid 170's on the LSAT's for UCLA & USC, but I was hoping an MA thesis/course work would help in some way. I also wasn't aware that I'm basically screwed with my undergrad GPA and can't do anything about it. I should have concentrated more on school back in the days, but I had to work to keep things going at home. You both gave me some hope though, so I think I'll keep the dream alive.

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RickyRoe
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby RickyRoe » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:16 am

The MA might help, as will your other soft factors, but 90% of the application is undergrad GPA and LSAT. You will need to score pretty high, especially at California schools which tend to favor GPA over LSAT. It would not be impossible to get into USC or UCLA, but it won't be easy. Good luck to you.

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:23 pm

RickyRoe wrote:The MA might help, as will your other soft factors, but 90% of the application is undergrad GPA and LSAT. You will need to score pretty high, especially at California schools which tend to favor GPA over LSAT. It would not be impossible to get into USC or UCLA, but it won't be easy. Good luck to you.


Thanks Ricky. I made it hard on myself with the undergrad GPA, so I better bust a miracle and score in the 170's on the LSAT's. I took an LSAT prep test without studying and I scored a 161 last week. I'm planning on studying throughout the summer and also take a Princeton Review course on Sat/Sun (July-Oct). I think I need to pull off a 175 to have a chance at UCLA/USC. I hope I get brownie points with a thesis. :)

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SaintClarence27
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SaintClarence27 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:51 pm

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Last edited by SaintClarence27 on Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:57 am

SaintClarence27 wrote:For a good soft, try to find something that involves leadership, rather than membership. That would count more than a lot of other things.


Thanks for the idea! I've done the teaching thing, tutoring, and volunteering, but nothing that sticks out in regards to leadership, besides being the top banker for three years at my bank (which I'm quiting by June).

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Muckduck
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby Muckduck » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:04 am

You just need to be a strong splitter. 175 isn't necessary, but it would sure help.

Most law school admission offices say (and it is even part of some of the apps) that they take into consideration the disadvantage of working full-time while in UG. So there is hope. But sub 3.0 GPA is a serious uphill battle.

If you really want to practice law, and if you really want to head to one of those schools you mentioned, it is probably a battle worth fighting.

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DoktorZaius
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby DoktorZaius » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:20 am

SoCalStudent wrote:I took an LSAT prep test without studying and I scored a 161 last week.

161 is very respectable cold, with diligent study you could easily be in 170+ territory. If you've got the ability, performing well is just a matter of becoming comfortable with the content and presentation of the exam, so get the practice tests & do it up.

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:29 am

Muckduck wrote:You just need to be a strong splitter. 175 isn't necessary, but it would sure help.

Most law school admission offices say (and it is even part of some of the apps) that they take into consideration the disadvantage of working full-time while in UG. So there is hope. But sub 3.0 GPA is a serious uphill battle.

If you really want to practice law, and if you really want to head to one of those schools you mentioned, it is probably a battle worth fighting.


Thank you for the motivation! I really need it because after my UG, I got scared away after looking at the end of my trascript...2.97 CUM. GPA!! Ahhhh!! I hate using the excuse that I had to work full-time because I'm sure there are others who had to work and still pulled off good grades in their UG. I barely got into a grad program, and even there I had to pass a couple courses before being officially accepted.

My focus is to study for the LSAT's and take a course during the summer. I just have a sick feeling that I won't get into UCLA or USC with a high 170's mark because of the competition. I have to "man-up" though and at least give it a shot. I want to practice law!! I prolonged graduation one year so that I can teach a Freshman Comp. course and work on an MA thesis. I will continue to tutor kids that are falling back in their reading levels through next year so that I can have something for the apps.

When do you guys think I should apply for law schools if I take the October LSAT's?? I'm still new to the "cycles" in applying. You guys have been great on this thread, as well as the threads I've been reading since I joined. I wish I would have come on this board four years ago. :)

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:37 am

DoktorZaius wrote:
SoCalStudent wrote:I took an LSAT prep test without studying and I scored a 161 last week.

161 is very respectable cold, with diligent study you could easily be in 170+ territory. If you've got the ability, performing well is just a matter of becoming comfortable with the content and presentation of the exam, so get the practice tests & do it up.


That score gave me a boost of confidance, but it could have been a fluke as well. I guessed on three of the logic games questions and got them right to be honest. I'm going to buy the Powerscore books and all the prep tests, as I understand those are the best tools to use for the test. With the Princeton Review course, I'm going to spend a lot of coin on my test preps. But, if I have a chance to get to the mid 170's mark, it'll be worth it, even if UCLA rejects me. :)

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flyingpanda
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby flyingpanda » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:44 am

SoCalStudent wrote:
DoktorZaius wrote:
SoCalStudent wrote:I took an LSAT prep test without studying and I scored a 161 last week.

161 is very respectable cold, with diligent study you could easily be in 170+ territory. If you've got the ability, performing well is just a matter of becoming comfortable with the content and presentation of the exam, so get the practice tests & do it up.


That score gave me a boost of confidance, but it could have been a fluke as well. I guessed on three of the logic games questions and got them right to be honest. I'm going to buy the Powerscore books and all the prep tests, as I understand those are the best tools to use for the test. With the Princeton Review course, I'm going to spend a lot of coin on my test preps. But, if I have a chance to get to the mid 170's mark, it'll be worth it, even if UCLA rejects me. :)


Just as a warning, with a sub 3.0 GPA there is no sure score to get into UCLA, not even a 180. Most likely you'll be waitlisted. Higher chance, but not great at USC. As I'm sure you've heard, all the good California schools really favor GPAs. In fact if you score in the 170s, there is a chance you will make it into a higher ranked school and still get rejected from UCLA and USC. I'd suggest being willing to go out of state for a t14 school or try to score a heavy scholarship from the other CA schools.

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darknightbegins
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby darknightbegins » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:26 am

Why do those schools favor GPA so heavily?

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:21 pm

Yeah, people I've talked to tell me that UCLA takes GPA into more consideration, which is why I think I have to score at least a 175 :(. I may take aznfly's advice and apply to out-of-state schools if I score high because UCLA would probably WL me, even though another T15 school would accept me.

I had a question about EA. Does that just inform the school that you're commited to them if they choose you and that you won't go somwhere else?

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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby keg411 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:40 pm

Having a sub3 makes life very very difficult (though not totally impossible). Expect WL's no matter how strong your LSAT. Know you're not going to be quite as competitive for $$ no matter how strong your LSAT. Like it or not, some schools won't gamble on "us". Especially Cali schools.

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SaintClarence27
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SaintClarence27 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:42 pm

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Last edited by SaintClarence27 on Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:47 pm

keg411 wrote:Having a sub3 makes life very very difficult (though not totally impossible). Expect WL's no matter how strong your LSAT. Know you're not going to be quite as competitive for $$ no matter how strong your LSAT. Like it or not, some schools won't gamble on "us". Especially Cali schools.


I thought if I waited several years (four years) after my UD and improved on myself (academically and socially), that I would have a better shot at a T15 school. I hope I get a break when I apply after the October exams. :(

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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby keg411 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:54 pm

SaintClarence27 wrote:
keg411 wrote:Having a sub3 makes life very very difficult (though not totally impossible). Expect WL's no matter how strong your LSAT. Know you're not going to be quite as competitive for $$ no matter how strong your LSAT. Like it or not, some schools won't gamble on "us". Especially Cali schools.


Why is that, anyway? What makes Cali schools different in that respect?


I don't know what the psychology is behind it, but if you look at LSN, the top California schools seem to only WL/reject below 3.0's. All of the acceptances are extremely high LSATs and/or special cirumstances (extreme non-trads, URM's, etc.). I'm linking this year, but it hasn't been that different in past year. And at schools like Loyola, look at the difference between low 3.0's and sub 3.0's. It's remarkable.

http://ucla.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://usc.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://hastings.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://davis.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://pepperdine.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://loyola.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:01 pm

keg411 wrote:
SaintClarence27 wrote:
keg411 wrote:Having a sub3 makes life very very difficult (though not totally impossible). Expect WL's no matter how strong your LSAT. Know you're not going to be quite as competitive for $$ no matter how strong your LSAT. Like it or not, some schools won't gamble on "us". Especially Cali schools.


Why is that, anyway? What makes Cali schools different in that respect?


I don't know what the psychology is behind it, but if you look at LSN, the top California schools seem to only WL/reject below 3.0's. All of the acceptances are extremely high LSATs and/or special cirumstances (extreme non-trads, URM's, etc.). I'm linking this year, but it hasn't been that different in past year. And at schools like Loyola, look at the difference between low 3.0's and sub 3.0's. It's remarkable.

http://ucla.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://usc.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://hastings.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://davis.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://pepperdine.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats
http://loyola.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats


Wow, even Loyola only accepted six sub-3.0's?? Loyola is a nice school, but I thought they were more lenient. Pepperdine didn't accept a sub-3.0, and Hastings accepted three. Looks grim even if I kick but on the LSAT.

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flyingpanda
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby flyingpanda » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:40 am

I don't know the philosophy behind it, but I'm sure the schools have their reasons. I can say that those lucky/smart/driven enough to score a 170+ score will have some good options on the table.

WUSTL, Indiana-Bloomington, GW, Illinois are all splitter friendly and you could get some money from them.

NU, UVa, Georgetown all are willing to take splitters and these 3 schools carry enough heft that you'd be able to come back to CA to practice law (At least this is my plan, I'll let you guys know in 3 years if it works out).

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squ1rtle
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby squ1rtle » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:49 am

Just FYI, your LSAC GPA is calculated differently from your UGPA.

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:20 am

aznflyingpanda wrote:I don't know the philosophy behind it, but I'm sure the schools have their reasons. I can say that those lucky/smart/driven enough to score a 170+ score will have some good options on the table.

WUSTL, Indiana-Bloomington, GW, Illinois are all splitter friendly and you could get some money from them.

NU, UVa, Georgetown all are willing to take splitters and these 3 schools carry enough heft that you'd be able to come back to CA to practice law (At least this is my plan, I'll let you guys know in 3 years if it works out).


Good luck at UVA my friend! So, you're not going to wait on UCLA's decision?? I'm also lacking internships; what internships did you do? Did you go through UCLA or outside?

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flyingpanda
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby flyingpanda » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:14 am

SoCalStudent wrote:
aznflyingpanda wrote:I don't know the philosophy behind it, but I'm sure the schools have their reasons. I can say that those lucky/smart/driven enough to score a 170+ score will have some good options on the table.

WUSTL, Indiana-Bloomington, GW, Illinois are all splitter friendly and you could get some money from them.

NU, UVa, Georgetown all are willing to take splitters and these 3 schools carry enough heft that you'd be able to come back to CA to practice law (At least this is my plan, I'll let you guys know in 3 years if it works out).


Good luck at UVA my friend! So, you're not going to wait on UCLA's decision?? I'm also lacking internships; what internships did you do? Did you go through UCLA or outside?


I can't wait on UCLA because I did binding early decision to UVa, also UCLA's waitlist is notoriously hard to get accepted from. I did an internship for the legal department of a tech company and some volunteer work at a hospital. I got them through connections, so not sure how much I can help you on where to find an internship sorry. My advice is to cast a wide net and send your resume to a lot of places.

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SoCalStudent
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Re: Need Law School advice from the Pros!

Postby SoCalStudent » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:37 am

aznflyingpanda wrote:I can't wait on UCLA because I did binding early decision to UVa, also UCLA's waitlist is notoriously hard to get accepted from. I did an internship for the legal department of a tech company and some volunteer work at a hospital. I got them through connections, so not sure how much I can help you on where to find an internship sorry. My advice is to cast a wide net and send your resume to a lot of places.


Oh I see. Just to be sure, an ED can be placed on only one app, right? I actually did an internship/volunteer program at a hospital for 1 1/2 years, but that was over three years ago. Would it ok to still note this on the app in Oct.? I'm volunteering right now with kids and reading comprehension. I'll think of something else to do during the summer, seeing is I'm just going to study for the LSAT's.




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