3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

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40something
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Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:43 pm

3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby 40something » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:08 pm

Hey there! I'm a 40-something applicant who's worked 20 years as a playwright/actor/journalist, with a couple of stints as a part-time paralegal. Now looking at law schools. I took the LSAT for the first time in December and got a 172. My old GPA is around 3.5 from HYP. (I'm waiting on a transcript.) Trying to decide whether to apply now (would just make the Feb 1 deadlines) or wait until next cycle. I'm in SoCal and will apply to schools in that area, and a few others. Scholarship money is a priority. What are my chances at money at UCLA/USC/Southwestern, and would those chances improve if I wait until next cycle? I wonder if being an older applicant counts in my favor or the opposite. Any suggestion and advice appreciated. Thanks for the feedback!
Last edited by 40something on Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

BenJ
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Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly

Postby BenJ » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:31 pm

Wait until next cycle. Unlike those graduating from college this year, you're in a stable position and can afford to wait. Your chances at admission and at scholarship money will be vastly improved by waiting and submitting your applications in September. If you apply right now, you would be likely but not guaranteed to get in at one or both of UCLA and USC, and with little or no scholarship money, but if you apply next September you will be a lock and should get decent scholarship money at one or both. Southwestern is a much lower-tier school than UCLA and USC; they will admit you no matter what, and with a ton of money, but your future career prospects would be limited a lot compared to UCLA and USC. You can get money at UCLA and USC; don't bother with Southwestern unless your immediate finances are a serious concern.

As for age, I have no idea about any direct impact, but I suspect schools like the diversity of backgrounds that having some older students brings. Generally, people long out of undergrad tend to occasionally get in with lower GPAs (and sometimes LSATs) than those recently out of school, but obviously only if they have strong work achievements in the mean time to show for their years (you seem to); those who had high GPAs but have since achieved very little would not be favored.

Also, consider applying to UC Irvine's new law program. It's a very good one, but it just opened last year, and it's very hard to predict admissions (only 4% of applicants were admitted last year for a tiny class, although their admissions will probably be somewhat more generous for 2010 and more so for 2011). However, their unpredictability could give you a serious boost. It's worth it.

postitnotes
Posts: 190
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:21 am

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly

Postby postitnotes » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:58 pm

BenJ wrote:Also, consider applying to UC Irvine's new law program. It's a very good one, but it just opened last year, and it's very hard to predict admissions (only 4% of applicants were admitted last year for a tiny class, although their admissions will probably be somewhat more generous for 2010 and more so for 2011). However, their unpredictability could give you a serious boost. It's worth it.


Isn't Irvine charging tuition now? A huge reason why it was competitive last year was because it was free for the class of 2011. I don't think paying for Irvine is a good investment. I think OP has a decent shot at money at UCLA/USC, but keep in mind that the tuition is sky-rocketing to a crazy rate for UCLA in-state. It would be cheaper (and it's probably a better investment) to move OOS for law school for 3 years and go to a T10.

BenJ
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:58 pm

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly

Postby BenJ » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:17 pm

postitnotes wrote:
BenJ wrote:Also, consider applying to UC Irvine's new law program. It's a very good one, but it just opened last year, and it's very hard to predict admissions (only 4% of applicants were admitted last year for a tiny class, although their admissions will probably be somewhat more generous for 2010 and more so for 2011). However, their unpredictability could give you a serious boost. It's worth it.


Isn't Irvine charging tuition now? A huge reason why it was competitive last year was because it was free for the class of 2011. I don't think paying for Irvine is a good investment. I think OP has a decent shot at money at UCLA/USC, but keep in mind that the tuition is sky-rocketing to an insane rate for UCLA in-state. It would be cheaper to move OOS for law school for 3 years and go to a T10.


Irvine is charging tuition, yes, but they're still a really good program with strong faculty, although they have no name. It's another decent SoCal option without really branching out to mediocre and more distant schools like U of San Diego or (cringe) Pepperdine. UCLA and/or USC would probably end up being better choices, o/c, but it's worth applying to more places just to get some flexibility.

As for out of state, I was assuming a desire to remain in the region. A 172 LSAT with good work experience (GPA doesn't matter much so far out of school, and it's decent anyway) could definitely give the OP a shot at other Cali schools like Stanford or Berkeley/Boalt if submitted in September/October, or big $$$ at safer ones like UC Hastings or UC Davis. Since cost and scholarship money is a significant factor, I don't think moving out of state is going to be worth it--moving itself incurs a pretty big cost, and outside of the T14 (most of which will admit but few of which will give $$$), job prospects are so regionalized that leaving SoCal would probably mean leaving it permanently, which doesn't sound like the OP's plan.

Generally, California law firms only hire from California schools, so going to school out-of-state can make it difficult to get back into California. This is true in all states but especially true of California, which has four excellent law schools in Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA and USC and plenty of lower-tier schools to fill the ranks.

postitnotes
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Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:21 am

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly

Postby postitnotes » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:29 pm

BenJ wrote: Generally, California law firms only hire from California schools, so going to school out-of-state can make it difficult to get back into California. This is true in all states but especially true of California, which has four excellent law schools in Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA and USC and plenty of lower-tier schools to fill the ranks.


False for the T14. I am at a T14 not in California and know a fair share of people who are going back to California post-graduation. Our school primarily places in NYC, Chicago, and DC, but it's not that hard to go back to California from a top school if you already have ties to California. This guy has decent numbers, already has ties to California, and can get into a T14. COL is much lower for some of these schools than it is in LA. Practically everyone at my school had the numbers to get into UCLA/USC, those who want to go back to California not excluded, but chose to attend this school because it offers greater opportunities in general.

I think OP has a good shot at money at UCLA/USC though, but if it is sticker price, I would recommend going OOS to better schools that are probably cheaper anyway. I have also heard that employers would rather hire T14 grads over UCLA/USC in LA.

If OP wants to stay in Los Angeles DURING law school, it may be a different issue entirely from coming back to LA post-graduation, but attending a bad school like Southwestern would be a very poor investment. I think Irvine is a risky investment to pay for because it's not ABA accredited yet and employers have no experience with the school. I know it's not the same thing as obtaining post-graduation employment, but a huge reason why I got my summer job was because my employer worked with a graduate from my law school and had a really good impression of the school. I would not pay for Irvine because it doesn't have an established alumni network yet nor does it have any impression with judges/employers.

40something
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Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly

Postby 40something » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:36 pm

Thanks for the advice -- much appreciated. I am open to applying to schools outside of SoCal if it's a better value/investment, though for now I've been thinking of staying local. I guess the immediate question is timing. Do others agree with Benj that it's preferable to wait until the next cycle, in terms of acceptances and money?

40something
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Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby 40something » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:44 am

bump

mhernton
Posts: 174
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly

Postby mhernton » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:58 am

BenJ wrote:Wait until next cycle. Unlike those graduating from college this year, you're in a stable position and can afford to wait. Your chances at admission and at scholarship money will be vastly improved by waiting and submitting your applications in September. If you apply right now, you would be likely but not guaranteed to get in at one or both of UCLA and USC, and with little or no scholarship money, but if you apply next September you will be a lock and should get decent scholarship money at one or both. Southwestern is a much lower-tier school than UCLA and USC; they will admit you no matter what, and with a ton of money, but your future career prospects would be limited a lot compared to UCLA and USC. You can get money at UCLA and USC; don't bother with Southwestern unless your immediate finances are a serious concern.

As for age, I have no idea about any direct impact, but I suspect schools like the diversity of backgrounds that having some older students brings. Generally, people long out of undergrad tend to occasionally get in with lower GPAs (and sometimes LSATs) than those recently out of school, but obviously only if they have strong work achievements in the mean time to show for their years (you seem to); those who had high GPAs but have since achieved very little would not be favored.

Also, consider applying to UC Irvine's new law program. It's a very good one, but it just opened last year, and it's very hard to predict admissions (only 4% of applicants were admitted last year for a tiny class, although their admissions will probably be somewhat more generous for 2010 and more so for 2011). However, their unpredictability could give you a serious boost. It's worth it.



As a non-traditional Candidate myself I can I can sympathize. I'm moving my wife to the east coast and is has been a bit painful making the transition. You are many years out of college, so the Adcoms will pretty much ignore you UGPA, unless there is something glaring. With that being said, you may want to consider looking at Stanford. Palo Alto isn't that far north. If there are other considerations, like kids, spouse etc, then ignore this, but a 172 makes you a shoe in for UCLA and USC if you wait until next cycle. If your application is bullet-proof and submitted the first day they are accepting apps, and you have visited the schools and shown interest to the dean's of both schools, they'll be competing to bring you in. That being said, focus on USC. You live in California, you know what's going on with the UC Regents right now, no grant money to UC's while the state is in budget crisis, you'll be paying sticker price. USC's scholarship program will give a lot of money for merit on a 172. If you're planning on staying in "the industry" then USC is a great choice. so is UCLA, but look for bang for you buck. I don't see many people getting a lot of money out of UCLA in the next couple of years.

UC Irvine has a lot of aspirations and they are marketing well, but you are a professional, would you hire a completely unknown commodity?? NYU or UCLA film student, or a film student from Chatham College. Chatham is a real school, in Pittsburgh, PA, but pretty much unknown to anyone outside of the city. Irvine is in the same position with the legal community. They haven't had a class graduate yet, so what kind of lawyers are they producing??? How are they at passing the California state bar??? I personally would not and did not risk it.
Good Luck.

postitnotes
Posts: 190
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:21 am

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly

Postby postitnotes » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:21 pm

40something wrote:Thanks for the advice -- much appreciated. I am open to applying to schools outside of SoCal if it's a better value/investment, though for now I've been thinking of staying local. I guess the immediate question is timing. Do others agree with Benj that it's preferable to wait until the next cycle, in terms of acceptances and money?


With your numbers, I think that you are okay applying to USC/UCLA this cycle even now and will probably still get some merit aid. According to LSN, USC has not started giving out aid amounts yet while UCLA has. However, there is no shame in riding out the economy and waiting it out a year, which should be easier given you are a non-trad. USC/UCLA both were supposedly rocked really hard at OCI.

I agree with the other poster regarding schools. If you really want to stay local, I would strongly consider USC over UCLA. The UCs are foreseeably going to increase tuition even more your 2L and 3L years. (The in-state tuition is already planned to be 50k by your 2L/3L years.) The UCs don't have enough money to provide for much need-based aid, and the fact is that most aid is not reinstated 2L and 3L years. My cousin who is at Berkeley now did not get any financial aid 2L year and will not get any 3L year because they did not renew his aid after 1L year, and this is a pretty common occurrence. (Example - If they tell you that you will get 10k per year, expect to only get 10k total.)

40something
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Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby 40something » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:22 pm

Thanks again for the advice. What, if I may ask, is OCI?

Pearalegal
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:50 am

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby Pearalegal » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:32 pm

40something wrote:Thanks again for the advice. What, if I may ask, is OCI?


On campus interviews. I don't mean to sound like a douche, but you should probably do a bunch of research before starting law school so you know those basic things and what exactly you're getting into, especially as you'll be leaving law school in a much different point in your life than most students. Or maybe you already have, and just didn't know OCI was a common abbreviation.

I'd wait.

leftofthedial
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:43 pm

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby leftofthedial » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:01 am

Pearalegal wrote:
40something wrote:Thanks again for the advice. What, if I may ask, is OCI?


On campus interviews. I don't mean to sound like a douche, but you should probably do a bunch of research before starting law school so you know those basic things and what exactly you're getting into, especially as you'll be leaving law school in a much different point in your life than most students. Or maybe you already have, and just didn't know OCI was a common abbreviation.

I'd wait.


I've done a lot of research, and I had no idea what an OCI was. Does that term only exist on message boards?

Pearalegal
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:50 am

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby Pearalegal » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:06 am

leftofthedial wrote:
I've done a lot of research, and I had no idea what an OCI was. Does that term only exist on message boards?


Not in the slightest, its a very common term in legal hiring both on and off campus. My attorneys who do OCI use it, as do the hiring partners I know.

No worries though, hardly an important thing if you've done all your research about how the employment process works and simply just missed the term.

sibley
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Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby sibley » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:08 am

lol. 'elderly.'

Pearalegal
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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:50 am

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby Pearalegal » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:09 am

sibley wrote:lol. 'elderly.'


Haha, yeah, I forgot to give a smiley face to that.

Good luck friend! It might not hurt to apply this year and see what you get.

leftofthedial
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:43 pm

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby leftofthedial » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:15 am

Pearalegal wrote:
leftofthedial wrote:
I've done a lot of research, and I had no idea what an OCI was. Does that term only exist on message boards?


Not in the slightest, its a very common term in legal hiring both on and off campus. My attorneys who do OCI use it, as do the hiring partners I know.

No worries though, hardly an important thing if you've done all your research about how the employment process works and simply just missed the term.


Oh right. I know what that is...just not used to the acronym.

40something
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: 3.5/172, late and elderly: Apply now, or wait?

Postby 40something » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:25 pm

40something wrote:My old GPA is around 3.5 from HYP. (I'm waiting on a transcript.)


Okay, got my 20-year-old transcript. Looks like I had a 3.42, not 3.5. Make any difference?




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