University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

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minnbills
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University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby minnbills » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:54 pm

Well I guess the rush on new applicant threads is upon us. So who else is applying to the U?
Last edited by minnbills on Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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emkay625
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle

Postby emkay625 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:54 pm

I am.

PowerSnatch
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby PowerSnatch » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:49 pm

Me too.

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ThomasMN
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby ThomasMN » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:54 pm

I will certainly be a part of Minnesota's applicant pool.

PowerSnatch
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby PowerSnatch » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:59 pm

Do you guys know if there's much of an in-state preference?

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minnbills
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby minnbills » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:32 am

PowerSnatch wrote:Do you guys know if there's much of an in-state preference?


I've heard from people doing their undergrad work at umn that it's more difficult to get in coming from umn ug than from other schools. But I think that's just a myth that flies around each university with a law school.

I do know that Jean Howland in her TLS interview acknowledged MN residents get preference for admissions, I don't know what that really means though.

Anyways, good luck to everyone this cycle. I know I'm hoping I end up at the U next fall!

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ThomasMN
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby ThomasMN » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:07 pm

I can confirm from anecdotal evidence that Minnesota gives a pretty strong preference for residents. Some of the people (Minnesotans) I have seen get in definitely had sub-par numbers compared to the rest of the class at Minnesota.

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ThomasMN
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby ThomasMN » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:29 pm

Anyone happen to know how the class of 2014 is shaping up?

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daniel3.14
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby daniel3.14 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:51 am

Hi all. I'm currently a 2L at UMN.

Fair warning: Don't come here. Seriously, this place is a complete and utter joke. The administration doesn't show an ounce of respect to the students. They are complete and utter morons. This school is garbage. It boggles my mind that it's even accredited.

Why so? Examples: They played the video of "How a Bill Becomes a Law" (that Schoolhouse Rock animated thing) for us three times during my 1L year. Three times. Because it wasn't insulting enough the first time. One of the required 1L lectures featured some lady from the state legislative office (who, as far as I could gather, was some sort of clerk) telling us about what color paper they used to distinguish different forms. For an hour. If that sounds interesting, you'll be pleased to know that they have these lovely waste-of-time lectures scheduled all throughout the 1L year. And they're required.

I should mention that this is also the only T1 school, which requires you to purchase a particular brand and model of laptop. You are, incidentally, not allowed to upgrade it, on pain of being disallowed from taking the exams. You are not allowed to sell it and trade up. You are not allowed to modify it or improve it in any way. You're paying way above market price (it is, incidentally, the ugliest Lenovo model available, weighs nearly 10 lbs, and has no redeeming features whatsoever) for a piece-of-garbage machine. If you fail to check your email during a particular week in November -- or if your junk filter is overly active -- you will not be allowed to type your exams, because there is a one-week window, during which you are required to "download" a blank frame. Failure to do this during the one week interval means that you will be required to handwrite your exams.

What else? Well, the building is a dungeon. Classic 1970's architecture: zero natural light, exposed wiring and plumbing, lots of painted cinderblock and brick. The place is falling apart. There are spiders that periodically descend from the ceiling vents during class and harass the students. Oh -- and all the classes are in the basement. The law school is a four story building, but they put all the classrooms -- all of them -- in the basement. It bears mentioning that the majority of those classrooms are windowless, with exposed plumbing and insulation (and the occasional spider) dangling from the ceiling.

Truly, the physical location is vile. The bathrooms have the ambiance of a prison -- that is, when they're functioning. It's anyone's guess whether the restrooms will be open or closed-for-repairs on any given day. On that subject, here's an interesting anecdote: the first time I walked into the library, I saw a piece of dog poop by the carrels. I'm quite sure it was dog poop, because it permeated that area of the library with a distinctly fecal odor. Then again, I suppose I have no reason to be sure that it was dog poop. It was poop, at least. I have no idea how it got there, and yet there it was.

And it goes beyond just the building and the incompetent admin. The curriculum designers decided it would be fun to try out a new course on my class. It was called "Practice and Professionalism." The purpose of the course was never entirely clear, but from what I could gather, we were supposed to learn to "play nice" and to "be considerate of others." Naturally there was outrage among the students over the fact that their GPAs would be affected by the whims of some rather poorly screened adjuncts (who were, incidentally, local lawyers of no particular academic or professional distinction), and the school was ultimately forced to change the course to a Pass/Fail grading scheme in the middle of the semester.

The Legal Writing program employs adjuncts, who are distinctly incompetent and apathetic. Fortunately, they also employ student instructors, who often take over the class. So you'll be glad to know that your grade in that rather important course is largely determined by the wisdom and literary acumen of a pretentious 2L or 3L.

In short, this place is garbage. From the people to the physical location. Absolute crap. My biggest regret in life was coming here. If you're planning on applying -- DON'T. If you're accepted -- REFUSE. For my part, I was lulled by the promise of big financial aid and geographic convenience. Huge mistake. Biggest mistake I ever made, in fact. I say this with utter sincerity -- no hyperbole or exaggeration. Worst decision of my life. I cannot express how much I hate this school, its building, its policies, its policymakers, the whole design of its curriculum. Words fail me.

Anything good about it? Most of the profs are okay. There are some stinkers, but the majority are good. But you can certainly find faculty of comparable quality at any number of other, better schools in the same ranking range as UMN, minus the brain dead admin, crappy weather, shoddy curriculum design, and dungeon-classrooms. Opt for one of those other schools. If this is the only school that accepts you, then just take the LSAT again and do another round of applications the following year. Nothing justifies coming to this hell hole.

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Robespierre
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby Robespierre » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:49 pm

Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.

No seriously, thanks for posting. Very sobering.

When you say you were "lulled by the promise of big financial aid," are you saying you didn't get the aid you were promised?

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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby buddythedog » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:31 pm

Hi UMN applicants. I’m also a 2L at UMN. I am thrilled to be at UMN’s law school. Most of the people I know are happy to be here as well. I’ve made amazing friends and connected with brilliant professors. I’m so happy that I chose the U.

I want to share my thoughts on a few of danliel3.14’s very strong opinions. As with any argument – there are two sides to the story here.

1. As to the Schoolhouse Rock videos – I only had this video shown to me twice: once in a legislative history research lecture and once in the first class of my statutory interpretation class. I don’t think that the professors intended to be insulting. They were only trying to make law school “fun” by showing a funny video rather than diving right into what is typically a dry subject.

2. As to the required 1L lectures – Yes, there are required 1L lectures. This is law school – most schools will have required lectures.

3. As to the required laptop – The laptop program strikes a nerve with some. They are expensive, but they come fully loaded with the newest Windows, Microsoft Office, antivirus software and all the software you will need to take exams. They also come with a 3 year warranty for anything – even if it’s your fault (except I think the battery loses its warranty after a year…not sure). The law school’s IT department is amaziinnnggg. They know everything about this particular type of computer. If you have an issue with your computer, they will take out your hard drive and put it in a loan computer that you can use until your comp is fixed. If you forget your charger at home, the library keeps extras for you to borrow. These are perks that you can only get if you have a standardized computer throughout the school. Also, note that you can use whatever computer you want to take notes or write papers – you only need to use the Lenovo computer for exams.

4. As to having to handwrite exams if you don’t get a certain email – I have never seen a classmate handwrite an exam. They sent out about 8 emails during a month and a half span reminding us to download the necessary software. If you ever check your emails or talk to your classmates, you won’t miss this deadline.

5. As to the building being a dungeon – The law school definitely has an old school feel to it. Most classrooms are located below the first floor. There are windows in some rooms, but not in the big lecture rooms. Legal writing and 2L/3L seminars are often on the second or fourth floor – so don’t think you’re doomed to the subplaza forever! I have to agree with daniel3.14 that overall, it is not the most attractive building. I think it’s worth noting that the library (where you will likely spend much of your 1L) has a ton of windows. I haven’t noticed exposed wiring and plumbing, poop, or spiders – I’ll keep an eye out for those. Lastly, I’ve never seen the bathrooms closed for repair – only closed for cleaning, which I think we can agree is a good thing.

6. As to physical location – We’re a 5 minute bus ride to downtown and a 10 minute bus ride to uptown. I don’t mind the location at all. Being close to downtown is great for interviews and informational lunches.

7. As to the “incompetent admin” – The Practice and Professionalism (P&P) class daneil3.14 talked about has been at the law school for the past 3 years. They bring in actors from the undergrad to act as clients, witnesses or opposing parties for us to practice interviewing. This class might be less useful for outgoing and socially aware 1Ls, but it is really critical for more shy or introverted 1Ls. As a more outgoing person, I didn’t feel that this class was completely necessary for me, but it was fun nonetheless. You get to play attorney! And since none of us have been attorneys yet, this is the best experience we can get.

The issue with P&P last year was that in the previous two years of its existence, it was never a graded it class, it was only a pass/fail. Last year, the admin decided to make it graded in the hopes that students would put more effort into the class. We were all pretty furious. The class is graded in part by adjunct professors (local attorneys) who teach small sections of 10 students or so. It’s not fair to have each class graded separately when each adjunct professor has different expectations. The 1Ls signed a petition put together by the 1L law council reps in the hopes of changing P&P’s grading to pass/fail. When the administration received the petition, they decided to bring the class back to pass/fail. I’m pretty sure this shows that the administration actually listens to students, which is the opposite of what daniel3.14 is trying to argue. Further, I disagree that the adjuncts were poorly screened. My adjunct was from a major firm (Fredrikson & Byron – a 250+ firm), and was really experienced. I think it was great to learn from somebody who worked in the field – it was a nice change of pace from the theoretical instruction we get in most of our other classes.

8. As to Legal Writing – I have the same feelings about the legal writing adjuncts as I do about the P&P adjuncts – these are attorneys who practice legal writing every day. Who better to learn from? My legal writing instructor was engaging and approachable. I guess I had the opposite experience as daniel3.14. These adjuncts are also great contacts for your future job hunt. I have known more than one person who has secured a summer job through one of their adjuncts.

Finally, to answer Robespierre’s question – I received a small scholarship to attend the U. I think I am supposed to maintain a 2.5 to keep it. The curve is set between a 3.0 and a 3.3 – so getting a gpa below a 2.5 would be a challenge.

So obviously, daniel3.14 and I have had different experiences here at the law school. I could not be happier with my choice. Please excuse me for getting all defensive – but the U was one of my top choices and I am thrilled to be here – so it’s a little offensive to hear someone tell you that you’re school sucks and that you’ve made a terrible decision.

Feel free to PM me or post here if you have any questions for me.

Good luck with applications!

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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby daniel3.14 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:19 pm

A fuller discussion of the faults and merits (what few there may be) of UMN may be found here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=165679


buddythedog wrote:1. As to the Schoolhouse Rock videos – I only had this video shown to me twice: once in a legislative history research lecture and once in the first class of my statutory interpretation class. I don’t think that the professors intended to be insulting. They were only trying to make law school “fun” by showing a funny video rather than diving right into what is typically a dry subject.


Hi buddythedog! I agree there are two sides, and with the utmost respect for your perspective, I'd like to respond to your reactions, which I believe elide over some of the very severe problems at UMN Law.

I never meant to suggest that they intended the Schoolhouse Rock thing to be insulting. And the absence of intent hardly makes it any less insulting in effect. And twice is still too much, wouldn't you say? And it rather demonstrates the absence of coordination in the curriculum, no?

buddythedog wrote:2. As to the required 1L lectures – Yes, there are required 1L lectures. This is law school – most schools will have required lectures.


The complaint is not that there are required lectures. That's absurd. Of course every law school will have required lectures. The issue is how they're not tied to any course, how they're not integrated (or poorly integrated) into the other coursework you're doing, and how many of the lectures are an utterly insulting waste of time. Did you go to the one where the lady from the legislative office came to explain what color paper they used when filing bills and amendments to bills, etc.?

How about the one where George the librarian played that unbelievably lame video of himself sipping a martini and explaining where to find stuff in the library? Not only did he totally fail to explain where stuff was in the library (he did not once give any reference to how to get to any of the locations in the video), but to this day, I have not figured out why he opted to show us a video of himself talking into the camera in the first place, when he was right there, and he could've explained it to us in person. I mean, why would you go to give a presentation, and instead of actually presenting the stuff, show a video of yourself presenting the stuff (poorly), while you sat in the audience watching yourself giving a presentation of stuff?

buddythedog wrote:3. As to the required laptop – The laptop program strikes a nerve with some. They are expensive, but they come fully loaded with the newest Windows, Microsoft Office, antivirus software and all the software you will need to take exams. They also come with a 3 year warranty for anything – even if it’s your fault (except I think the battery loses its warranty after a year…not sure). The law school’s IT department is amaziinnnggg. They know everything about this particular type of computer. If you have an issue with your computer, they will take out your hard drive and put it in a loan computer that you can use until your comp is fixed. If you forget your charger at home, the library keeps extras for you to borrow. These are perks that you can only get if you have a standardized computer throughout the school. Also, note that you can use whatever computer you want to take notes or write papers – you only need to use the Lenovo computer for exams.


Really? That's like saying the computer comes fully equipped with a keyboard and monitor.

You know that inexpensive laptops also come "fully loaded with the newest Windows, Office, and antivirus software," right? It's not like the cost of Windows 7 is what bumped the price of this thing over the $1k mark. And the 3 year warranty is not for anything. It doesn't cover theft, for example. And for heaven's sake, it is totally ridiculous to hold up these standard features as something special. What product doesn't come with a warranty these days? It's true, the UMN laptop comes with an extended warranty, which you're paying for. The only difference is that you weren't given the option to opt out with this one.

Also, the law school IT department is not amazing. They know bupkis about computers, and their only solution to any problems you might have is to replace your hard drive with a new one, effectively causing you to lose all the data you had on your old one. They have no special technical knowledge that a marginally precocious preteen nerd wouldn't have.

And the fact that you have the "option" of buying a second laptop is hardly a bonus. Are you seriously claiming that the laptop program is not bad, because you could always opt to pay for another laptop and use the $1275 Lenovo only for exams?

I mean seriously. This merits special attention: you're arguing that it's reasonable for the school to require that you purchase a crappy laptop at a huge markup, because they aren't forbidding you from purchasing a second laptop? That's your reasoning for why the laptop program isn't so bad? Because the administration is gracious enough to give you permission to purchase an additional laptop? After you paid $1275 for the piece-of-crap they required you to buy. Seriously? This seems sensible to you?

Let's be clear, the Lenovo is junk. Utter junk. See this video of my laptop booting up (it takes more than five minutes): http://youtu.be/EtQA0MmdPWg.

Alternatively, go to the linked discussion above to get a fuller description of the crappiness of the UMN laptop program.

buddythedog wrote:4. As to having to handwrite exams if you don’t get a certain email – I have never seen a classmate handwrite an exam. They sent out about 8 emails during a month and a half span reminding us to download the necessary software. If you ever check your emails or talk to your classmates, you won’t miss this deadline.


I check email. I don't check my spam filter, but I check email. And I downloaded ExamSoft. I just didn't download the blank frames you need to take the exams on ExamSoft. I thought I did when I logged in after installing ExamSoft. Apparently it did not work, and the "warnings" that I had failed to "download the exams" (which, to repeat, are not the exams -- they're blank frames) evidently went to my spam filter. I missed the magic download deadline, and I had to handwrite my exams. Let me repeat: I HAND WROTE MY FALL EXAMS. You don't know anyone who had to? Meet ME. What's the fallout?

My Fall GPA (handwritten): 2.7 (bottom 25%)
My Spring GPA (typed): 3.8 (top 25%)
My future career in law: Screwed.

You think that's fair? You think that discrepancy looks like a plausible gauge of performance? And you want to know what Dean Keyes told me about my crappy Fall semester grades? She basically told me I was stupid, and I should study harder. Then she condescended to me about how much of a change law school must be from what I was used to in undergrad, and how I should read some "study tips" to improve. Gee whiz, thanks Dean Keyes!

You know what's the kicker? The 3.8 that I got for Spring Semester, I didn't even study for those exams. I was so depressed about what happened Fall semester, I barely studied at all. I got a 3.8 with maybe two days of studying before the exams. Not for each exam. For all the exams total. Two days studying. That got me a 3.8. My very intensive studying for Fall semester though... that earned me a 2.7. That's right. Bottom of the bottom quartile.

So don't tell me that this isn't an issue.

I should've been at the top of my class. I should've been eligible for OCI, eligible to transfer to better schools. It was abundantly clear from my class performance prior to exams that I knew the material far better than "average."

But instead of being at the very top of the class, as my Spring semester grades suggest I would've been if I'd been allowed to take the exam like most of the other students -- if I continue to score in the top quartile for the remainder of my time here, I might be able to nudge my overall GPA out of the bottom quartile. You think that's a good deal, do you? You think that's a fair administration of sensible school policies?

Now, to be clear, I don't mind that the exam policy is retarded. I don't mind that they offer NO explanation why they arbitrarily forbid downloading the blank exam frames after a particular magical week in November. I don't mind that the policy actually has no conceivable justification whatsoever. That's all okay. Stupid policies are fine.

And you know, I also don't mind that the administration is composed of inflexible imbeciles. That's fine, too. Stupid people in charge of the place aren't necessarily a deal breaker.

The problem is really the combination of retarded policy and inflexible application of said retarded policy. That is why UMN Law is the most overrated school in the country, and should more properly be counted in the 2nd tier.

buddythedog wrote:5. As to the building being a dungeon – The law school definitely has an old school feel to it. Most classrooms are located below the first floor. There are windows in some rooms, but not in the big lecture rooms. Legal writing and 2L/3L seminars are often on the second or fourth floor – so don’t think you’re doomed to the subplaza forever! I have to agree with daniel3.14 that overall, it is not the most attractive building. I think it’s worth noting that the library (where you will likely spend much of your 1L) has a ton of windows. I haven’t noticed exposed wiring and plumbing, poop, or spiders – I’ll keep an eye out for those. Lastly, I’ve never seen the bathrooms closed for repair – only closed for cleaning, which I think we can agree is a good thing.


Again, I would direct anyone curious on this point to visit this thread: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=165679. I've posted numerous photos of the law school. "Not attractive" does not begin to describe the state of disrepair of the building. Community colleges look nicer than Mondale Hall. That's not rhetoric, that's a fact. Look at the pictures. Worse than an inner city high school.

buddythedog wrote:6. As to physical location – We’re a 5 minute bus ride to downtown and a 10 minute bus ride to uptown. I don’t mind the location at all. Being close to downtown is great for interviews and informational lunches.


Agreed. Location is not a problem.

buddythedog wrote:7. [. . .] The issue with P&P last year was that in the previous two years of its existence, it was never a graded it class, it was only a pass/fail. Last year, the admin decided to make it graded in the hopes that students would put more effort into the class. We were all pretty furious. The class is graded in part by adjunct professors (local attorneys) who teach small sections of 10 students or so. It’s not fair to have each class graded separately when each adjunct professor has different expectations. The 1Ls signed a petition put together by the 1L law council reps in the hopes of changing P&P’s grading to pass/fail. When the administration received the petition, they decided to bring the class back to pass/fail. I’m pretty sure this shows that the administration actually listens to students, which is the opposite of what daniel3.14 is trying to argue. Further, I disagree that the adjuncts were poorly screened. My adjunct was from a major firm (Fredrikson & Byron – a 250+ firm), and was really experienced. I think it was great to learn from somebody who worked in the field – it was a nice change of pace from the theoretical instruction we get in most of our other classes.


Mixed bag, buddythedog. Most of the people with whom I've spoken on the topic have indicated that their adjuncts were idiots. And this makes sense, because they're not paying them anything, and they're not offering anyone qualified any incentive to come do the work. Of course there will be exceptional people who do it out of a sense of duty or community or whatever. But that's not the general rule.

Also, you surely realize that the students were threatening walkouts at the point the admin made the change. And really, do you think that the first complaint they received was in the form of the petition? They received a steady flow of complaints, angry emails, and group visits to the dean's office. They only caved when it became clear that 90+% of the students were ready to stage a walkout. This is not evidence of their being "receptive" to student complaints. It merely shows that their monumental inflexibility does, at the very end, have a breaking point. And that breaking point is when 90+% of students threaten mass protest.

And as I said before, the problem is not just the inflexible (and stupid) admin. The problem really inflexibility combined with imbecilic policy. Why did they make P&P a graded course in the first place? Mind you, I'm not even of the opinion that it shouldn't eventually be graded. I just think that in its inchoate form, without any clear objectives or evaluative methodology, it was obviously not ready to be a graded course. Some brain dead moron in the administration decided to green light it anyhow. I mean, it takes anyone with two braincells about five seconds to see that this is a bad idea. How much care and attention do you suppose was put into this curriculum change? This is pretty clear-as-daylight evidence of the sheer, abject, incomparable incompetence of the buffoons managing the school.

buddythedog wrote:8. As to Legal Writing – I have the same feelings about the legal writing adjuncts as I do about the P&P adjuncts [. . . ]


Ditto my earlier comments.

buddythedog wrote:So obviously, daniel3.14 and I have had different experiences here at the law school. I could not be happier with my choice. Please excuse me for getting all defensive – but the U was one of my top choices and I am thrilled to be here – so it’s a little offensive to hear someone tell you that you’re school sucks and that you’ve made a terrible decision.


I did not take your attitude to be "defensive" at all (what I mean is that although you were "defending" the school, I didn't think that it was in a catty or otherwise unreasonable way). Look, you've got a different perspective, and you're entitled to it. I bear you no ill will for it, and I think that it's helpful to anyone considering UMN to get all perspectives, including perspectives that are different from my own. Let a thousand flowers bloom -- the more info prospective law students have, the better. And I'm also glad that you're happy with your experience at UMN. From what you've written, I'd suggest that you might be an exceedingly optimistic person -- indeed, optimistic bordering on psychosis, but that's not altogether a bad thing. I'm honestly, sincerely, truly happy that you're enjoying your time at UMN Law. I just don't think you're being entirely objective in your evaluation. If you think that "the school isn't forbidding you from buying a second laptop," is a reasonable defense of the laptop program, then it seems to me that you might be making excuses for inexcusable policies.

I do think, however, that your framing of some of the issues warranted the above responses, which I hope you will likewise find inoffensive, constructive, and in the spirit of fairly evaluating the school. Mainly, I do feel like you're "making excuses" for what are some pretty plain deficiencies in the school, and regarding obvious faults (the P&P snafu) as merits (they needlessly created the easily foreseeable problem, and then they dragged their heels as long as possible before fixing it -- you can't give them credit for fixing it under those facts -- come on!). I would also suggest (again) that you read through the thread I linked to at the top of this post.

buddythedog wrote:Good luck with applications!


Seconded.

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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby shoeshine » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:05 pm

daniel3.14 wrote:A fuller discussion of the faults and merits (what few there may be) of UMN may be found here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=165679


buddythedog wrote:1. As to the Schoolhouse Rock videos – I only had this video shown to me twice: once in a legislative history research lecture and once in the first class of my statutory interpretation class. I don’t think that the professors intended to be insulting. They were only trying to make law school “fun” by showing a funny video rather than diving right into what is typically a dry subject.


Hi buddythedog! I agree there are two sides, and with the utmost respect for your perspective, I'd like to respond to your reactions, which I believe elide over some of the very severe problems at UMN Law.

I never meant to suggest that they intended the Schoolhouse Rock thing to be insulting. And the absence of intent hardly makes it any less insulting in effect. And twice is still too much, wouldn't you say? And it rather demonstrates the absence of coordination in the curriculum, no?

buddythedog wrote:2. As to the required 1L lectures – Yes, there are required 1L lectures. This is law school – most schools will have required lectures.


The complaint is not that there are required lectures. That's absurd. Of course every law school will have required lectures. The issue is how they're not tied to any course, how they're not integrated (or poorly integrated) into the other coursework you're doing, and how many of the lectures are an utterly insulting waste of time. Did you go to the one where the lady from the legislative office came to explain what color paper they used when filing bills and amendments to bills, etc.?

How about the one where George the librarian played that unbelievably lame video of himself sipping a martini and explaining where to find stuff in the library? Not only did he totally fail to explain where stuff was in the library (he did not once give any reference to how to get to any of the locations in the video), but to this day, I have not figured out why he opted to show us a video of himself talking into the camera in the first place, when he was right there, and he could've explained it to us in person. I mean, why would you go to give a presentation, and instead of actually presenting the stuff, show a video of yourself presenting the stuff (poorly), while you sat in the audience watching yourself giving a presentation of stuff?

buddythedog wrote:3. As to the required laptop – The laptop program strikes a nerve with some. They are expensive, but they come fully loaded with the newest Windows, Microsoft Office, antivirus software and all the software you will need to take exams. They also come with a 3 year warranty for anything – even if it’s your fault (except I think the battery loses its warranty after a year…not sure). The law school’s IT department is amaziinnnggg. They know everything about this particular type of computer. If you have an issue with your computer, they will take out your hard drive and put it in a loan computer that you can use until your comp is fixed. If you forget your charger at home, the library keeps extras for you to borrow. These are perks that you can only get if you have a standardized computer throughout the school. Also, note that you can use whatever computer you want to take notes or write papers – you only need to use the Lenovo computer for exams.


Really? That's like saying the computer comes fully equipped with a keyboard and monitor.

You know that inexpensive laptops also come "fully loaded with the newest Windows, Office, and antivirus software," right? It's not like the cost of Windows 7 is what bumped the price of this thing over the $1k mark. And the 3 year warranty is not for anything. It doesn't cover theft, for example. And for heaven's sake, it is totally ridiculous to hold up these standard features as something special. What product doesn't come with a warranty these days? It's true, the UMN laptop comes with an extended warranty, which you're paying for. The only difference is that you weren't given the option to opt out with this one.

Also, the law school IT department is not amazing. They know bupkis about computers, and their only solution to any problems you might have is to replace your hard drive with a new one, effectively causing you to lose all the data you had on your old one. They have no special technical knowledge that a marginally precocious preteen nerd wouldn't have.

And the fact that you have the "option" of buying a second laptop is hardly a bonus. Are you seriously claiming that the laptop program is not bad, because you could always opt to pay for another laptop and use the $1275 Lenovo only for exams?

I mean seriously. This merits special attention: you're arguing that it's reasonable for the school to require that you purchase a crappy laptop at a huge markup, because they aren't forbidding you from purchasing a second laptop? That's your reasoning for why the laptop program isn't so bad? Because the administration is gracious enough to give you permission to purchase an additional laptop? After you paid $1275 for the piece-of-crap they required you to buy. Seriously? This seems sensible to you?

Let's be clear, the Lenovo is junk. Utter junk. See this video of my laptop booting up (it takes more than five minutes): http://youtu.be/EtQA0MmdPWg.

Alternatively, go to the linked discussion above to get a fuller description of the crappiness of the UMN laptop program.

buddythedog wrote:4. As to having to handwrite exams if you don’t get a certain email – I have never seen a classmate handwrite an exam. They sent out about 8 emails during a month and a half span reminding us to download the necessary software. If you ever check your emails or talk to your classmates, you won’t miss this deadline.


I check email. I don't check my spam filter, but I check email. And I downloaded ExamSoft. I just didn't download the blank frames you need to take the exams on ExamSoft. I thought I did when I logged in after installing ExamSoft. Apparently it did not work, and the "warnings" that I had failed to "download the exams" (which, to repeat, are not the exams -- they're blank frames) evidently went to my spam filter. I missed the magic download deadline, and I had to handwrite my exams. Let me repeat: I HAND WROTE MY FALL EXAMS. You don't know anyone who had to? Meet ME. What's the fallout?

My Fall GPA (handwritten): 2.7 (bottom 25%)
My Spring GPA (typed): 3.8 (top 25%)
My future career in law: Screwed.

You think that's fair? You think that discrepancy looks like a plausible gauge of performance? And you want to know what Dean Keyes told me about my crappy Fall semester grades? She basically told me I was stupid, and I should study harder. Then she condescended to me about how much of a change law school must be from what I was used to in undergrad, and how I should read some "study tips" to improve. Gee whiz, thanks Dean Keyes!

You know what's the kicker? The 3.8 that I got for Spring Semester, I didn't even study for those exams. I was so depressed about what happened Fall semester, I barely studied at all. I got a 3.8 with maybe two days of studying before the exams. Not for each exam. For all the exams total. Two days studying. That got me a 3.8. My very intensive studying for Fall semester though... that earned me a 2.7. That's right. Bottom of the bottom quartile.

So don't tell me that this isn't an issue.

I should've been at the top of my class. I should've been eligible for OCI, eligible to transfer to better schools. It was abundantly clear from my class performance prior to exams that I knew the material far better than "average."

But instead of being at the very top of the class, as my Spring semester grades suggest I would've been if I'd been allowed to take the exam like most of the other students -- if I continue to score in the top quartile for the remainder of my time here, I might be able to nudge my overall GPA out of the bottom quartile. You think that's a good deal, do you? You think that's a fair administration of sensible school policies?

Now, to be clear, I don't mind that the exam policy is retarded. I don't mind that they offer NO explanation why they arbitrarily forbid downloading the blank exam frames after a particular magical week in November. I don't mind that the policy actually has no conceivable justification whatsoever. That's all okay. Stupid policies are fine.

And you know, I also don't mind that the administration is composed of inflexible imbeciles. That's fine, too. Stupid people in charge of the place aren't necessarily a deal breaker.

The problem is really the combination of retarded policy and inflexible application of said retarded policy. That is why UMN Law is the most overrated school in the country, and should more properly be counted in the 2nd tier.

buddythedog wrote:5. As to the building being a dungeon – The law school definitely has an old school feel to it. Most classrooms are located below the first floor. There are windows in some rooms, but not in the big lecture rooms. Legal writing and 2L/3L seminars are often on the second or fourth floor – so don’t think you’re doomed to the subplaza forever! I have to agree with daniel3.14 that overall, it is not the most attractive building. I think it’s worth noting that the library (where you will likely spend much of your 1L) has a ton of windows. I haven’t noticed exposed wiring and plumbing, poop, or spiders – I’ll keep an eye out for those. Lastly, I’ve never seen the bathrooms closed for repair – only closed for cleaning, which I think we can agree is a good thing.


Again, I would direct anyone curious on this point to visit this thread: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=165679. I've posted numerous photos of the law school. "Not attractive" does not begin to describe the state of disrepair of the building. Community colleges look nicer than Mondale Hall. That's not rhetoric, that's a fact. Look at the pictures. Worse than an inner city high school.

buddythedog wrote:6. As to physical location – We’re a 5 minute bus ride to downtown and a 10 minute bus ride to uptown. I don’t mind the location at all. Being close to downtown is great for interviews and informational lunches.


Agreed. Location is not a problem.

buddythedog wrote:7. [. . .] The issue with P&P last year was that in the previous two years of its existence, it was never a graded it class, it was only a pass/fail. Last year, the admin decided to make it graded in the hopes that students would put more effort into the class. We were all pretty furious. The class is graded in part by adjunct professors (local attorneys) who teach small sections of 10 students or so. It’s not fair to have each class graded separately when each adjunct professor has different expectations. The 1Ls signed a petition put together by the 1L law council reps in the hopes of changing P&P’s grading to pass/fail. When the administration received the petition, they decided to bring the class back to pass/fail. I’m pretty sure this shows that the administration actually listens to students, which is the opposite of what daniel3.14 is trying to argue. Further, I disagree that the adjuncts were poorly screened. My adjunct was from a major firm (Fredrikson & Byron – a 250+ firm), and was really experienced. I think it was great to learn from somebody who worked in the field – it was a nice change of pace from the theoretical instruction we get in most of our other classes.


Mixed bag, buddythedog. Most of the people with whom I've spoken on the topic have indicated that their adjuncts were idiots. And this makes sense, because they're not paying them anything, and they're not offering anyone qualified any incentive to come do the work. Of course there will be exceptional people who do it out of a sense of duty or community or whatever. But that's not the general rule.

Also, you surely realize that the students were threatening walkouts at the point the admin made the change. And really, do you think that the first complaint they received was in the form of the petition? They received a steady flow of complaints, angry emails, and group visits to the dean's office. They only caved when it became clear that 90+% of the students were ready to stage a walkout. This is not evidence of their being "receptive" to student complaints. It merely shows that their monumental inflexibility does, at the very end, have a breaking point. And that breaking point is when 90+% of students threaten mass protest.

And as I said before, the problem is not just the inflexible (and stupid) admin. The problem really inflexibility combined with imbecilic policy. Why did they make P&P a graded course in the first place? Mind you, I'm not even of the opinion that it shouldn't eventually be graded. I just think that in its inchoate form, without any clear objectives or evaluative methodology, it was obviously not ready to be a graded course. Some brain dead moron in the administration decided to green light it anyhow. I mean, it takes anyone with two braincells about five seconds to see that this is a bad idea. How much care and attention do you suppose was put into this curriculum change? This is pretty clear-as-daylight evidence of the sheer, abject, incomparable incompetence of the buffoons managing the school.

buddythedog wrote:8. As to Legal Writing – I have the same feelings about the legal writing adjuncts as I do about the P&P adjuncts [. . . ]


Ditto my earlier comments.

buddythedog wrote:So obviously, daniel3.14 and I have had different experiences here at the law school. I could not be happier with my choice. Please excuse me for getting all defensive – but the U was one of my top choices and I am thrilled to be here – so it’s a little offensive to hear someone tell you that you’re school sucks and that you’ve made a terrible decision.


I did not take your attitude to be "defensive" at all (what I mean is that although you were "defending" the school, I didn't think that it was in a catty or otherwise unreasonable way). Look, you've got a different perspective, and you're entitled to it. I bear you no ill will for it, and I think that it's helpful to anyone considering UMN to get all perspectives, including perspectives that are different from my own. Let a thousand flowers bloom -- the more info prospective law students have, the better. And I'm also glad that you're happy with your experience at UMN. From what you've written, I'd suggest that you might be an exceedingly optimistic person -- indeed, optimistic bordering on psychosis, but that's not altogether a bad thing. I'm honestly, sincerely, truly happy that you're enjoying your time at UMN Law. I just don't think you're being entirely objective in your evaluation. If you think that "the school isn't forbidding you from buying a second laptop," is a reasonable defense of the laptop program, then it seems to me that you might be making excuses for inexcusable policies.

I do think, however, that your framing of some of the issues warranted the above responses, which I hope you will likewise find inoffensive, constructive, and in the spirit of fairly evaluating the school. Mainly, I do feel like you're "making excuses" for what are some pretty plain deficiencies in the school, and regarding obvious faults (the P&P snafu) as merits (they needlessly created the easily foreseeable problem, and then they dragged their heels as long as possible before fixing it -- you can't give them credit for fixing it under those facts -- come on!). I would also suggest (again) that you read through the thread I linked to at the top of this post.

buddythedog wrote:Good luck with applications!


Seconded.


QFP

MNbound
Posts: 51
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby MNbound » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:18 pm

I'm applying to the U this cycle. However, as a recently graduated UMN undergrad with a 165 and a 3.6, I don't know if I have much of a chance and I'm definitely not paying sticker.

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MentalGopher
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby MentalGopher » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:38 pm

Applying right now.

Lilberkie
Posts: 51
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby Lilberkie » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:48 am

MentalGopher wrote:Applying right now.

Good luck! I'm applying today. Any idea how long it will take to hear back?

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minnbills
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby minnbills » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:16 pm

I think things moved pretty slow last year.

I'm still waiting on my last LOR to get uploaded so I can submit

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Maye
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby Maye » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:26 pm

I am tentatively in

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hal20
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby hal20 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:44 pm

I don't know how much this means for speed of processing, but I've already been "In Review" since 9/27.

northerniowan
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby northerniowan » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:48 pm

I just applied yesterday with Binding Early Decision. Any idea of how much that helps get into the U?

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minnbills
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby minnbills » Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:30 pm

Complete today

North- I'm not sure but if you're above at least one median it will probably be a nice boost.

pdftlvson
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby pdftlvson » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:24 pm

hal20 wrote:I don't know how much this means for speed of processing, but I've already been "In Review" since 9/27.


+1

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DonnaDraper
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby DonnaDraper » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:32 pm

Checking in! $20 bucks says I get Waitlisted.

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msblaw89
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby msblaw89 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:49 pm

I have been in review for about 2 weeks now

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fltanglab
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Re: University of Minnesota applicants 2011-12 cycle (c/o 2015)

Postby fltanglab » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:35 am

msblaw89 wrote:I have been in review for about 2 weeks now


About three or four for me.




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