Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

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Sicsofs
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Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby Sicsofs » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:20 am

I was reading a post on a REALLY low GPA and a fair LSAT and one of the replies said the poster might want to work a few years to distance himself from the GPA. Does good real world work out of college make up for poor academic records? Can your SOFS really give you that bump. I know that at the HYS level everything needs to be really tight. But at what level will your SOFS with a poor GPA make you more appealing than a candidate with a good GPA similar LSAT but no SOFS. T10? T14? T25? Numbers are so easy to define and analyze but is GPA<25 good sofs competetive with GPA>75 and no sofs and if so at what level of school.

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Sauer Grapes
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Re: Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby Sauer Grapes » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:22 am

A high enough LSAT will make up for your GPA at a lot of schools. Some schools will not accept GPAs below a certain level though.

Your work experience will only matter if they are deciding between you or a similar candidate that doesn't have the work experience. In other words, it matters, but not near as much as LSAT and GPA.

I have no doubt that I've had the success I've had in this application cycle compared to others with similar numbers due to my work experience.

eth3n
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Re: Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby eth3n » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:19 pm

I'm going to say this one more time

In terms of what law schools care about (excluding URM status)

LSAT
GPA (less important only a huge issue if you are below 3.0 or above 3.7)
DID YOU WORK 40+ HOURS DURING UG? HAVE A FAMILY DURING UG? MILITARY EXPERIENCE?
(these are the only 3 soft factors that will make a difference)
.
.
.
.
.
.
Anything else will only make a difference between two candidates with the exact same numbers.

Moral of the story, instead of wasting years of your life working, study and retake the fucking LSAT until you get 170+

Derrex
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Re: Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby Derrex » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:21 pm

I'm pretty sure they don't care that much about if you worked 40 hours during UG or having a family during UG.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:28 pm

eth3n wrote:I'm going to say this one more time

In terms of what law schools care about (excluding URM status)

LSAT
GPA (less important only a huge issue if you are below 3.0 or above 3.7)
DID YOU WORK 40+ HOURS DURING UG? HAVE A FAMILY DURING UG? MILITARY EXPERIENCE?
(these are the only 3 soft factors that will make a difference)
.
.
.
.
.
.
Anything else will only make a difference between two candidates with the exact same numbers.

Moral of the story, instead of wasting years of your life working, study and retake the fucking LSAT until you get 170+

Except for the "retake until you get 170+" part, pretty much all of the above is wrong.

Many law schools do care about post-graduation work-experience, and it seems to be the single most valuable soft (other than URM status). There are may individuals (myself included) who got into a T14 law school with a 3.0, or even sub-3.0, GPA in part due to extensive post-graduation work experience.

This still requires a high LSAT score (170+) in order to give the school reason to be interested in you; if you're below both of the school's medians there's very little point in applying. However, an LSAT at/above median and at least a year of WE (4-5 years is much more beneficial than just 1+) then some schools may be willing to overlook a truly subpar 2.x GPA. Northwestern is one particular school that's especially friendly to this, and it's worth noting that they put so much emphasis on WE that 98% of their current 1L class has at least 1 year's worth.

You need either a high LSAT score or a high GPA to get a school to even consider looking at you. But once they do look at you, having a couple years (or more) of WE can be truly valuable.

09042014
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Re: Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby 09042014 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:31 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
eth3n wrote:I'm going to say this one more time

In terms of what law schools care about (excluding URM status)

LSAT
GPA (less important only a huge issue if you are below 3.0 or above 3.7)
DID YOU WORK 40+ HOURS DURING UG? HAVE A FAMILY DURING UG? MILITARY EXPERIENCE?
(these are the only 3 soft factors that will make a difference)
.
.
.
.
.
.
Anything else will only make a difference between two candidates with the exact same numbers.

Moral of the story, instead of wasting years of your life working, study and retake the fucking LSAT until you get 170+

Except for the "retake until you get 170+" part, pretty much all of the above is wrong.

Many law schools do care about post-graduation work-experience, and it seems to be the single most valuable soft (other than URM status). There are may individuals (myself included) who got into a T14 law school with a 3.0, or even sub-3.0, GPA in part due to extensive post-graduation work experience.

This still requires a high LSAT score (170+) in order to give the school reason to be interested in you; if you're below both of the school's medians there's very little point in applying. However, an LSAT at/above median and at least a year of WE (4-5 years is much more beneficial than just 1+) then some schools may be willing to overlook a truly subpar 2.x GPA. Northwestern is one particular school that's especially friendly to this, and it's worth noting that they put so much emphasis on WE that 98% of their current 1L class has at least 1 year's worth.

You need either a high LSAT score or a high GPA to get a school to even consider looking at you. But once they do look at you, having a couple years (or more) of WE can be truly valuable.


This guy knows what he is talking about.

eth3n
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Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:36 pm

Re: Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby eth3n » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:46 pm

Well I'm not going to argue with the top forum guys. I was told by the adcoms at the school I attend that GPA basically showed who was a slacker and who put in effort. Therefore the things I mentioned could explain away a lower GPA. For the same reasons, epic work experience surely could make a low GPA look better for the same reasons.

I still think the advice to "work for a few years to distance yourself from GPA" is horrible advice when you can spend substantially less time and effort (especially ITE) to increase your LSAT score which will UNDENIABLY make up for your GPA.

TL;DR - Your right, I'm sure great work experience could make up for bad GPA. However, is this the right advice to give?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:54 pm

eth3n wrote:I still think the advice to "work for a few years to distance yourself from GPA" is horrible advice when you can spend substantially less time and effort (especially ITE) to increase your LSAT score which will UNDENIABLY make up for your GPA.

TL;DR - Your right, I'm sure great work experience could make up for bad GPA. However, is this the right advice to give?

I think you're misreading what I'm saying. I'm not saying "WE will make up for bad GPA and bad LSAT". You do still need to spend time and effort to increase your LSAT as much as possible, and I said I agreed with your "retake until you get 170+" comment. However, "WE plus LSAT will make up for a bad GPA" is what I was indicating. That requires the focus on the LSAT you're advocating.

Your problem is that you're arguing a high LSAT by itself is enough by saying folks should do it instead of getting WE. A high LSAT is necessary, but not sufficient. A high LSAT is necessary, but in order to really get a top law school to overlook a low GPA you also need the WE.

Since you can't change your GPA once you graduate, the only useful advice to give is to focus on things that will help make up for it. The two biggest things that help are 1) a high LSAT and 2) a few years of WE. I'm saying that both, combined, will help counter a low UG GPA.

eth3n
Posts: 284
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Re: Do schools discount GPA's for good work experience?

Postby eth3n » Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:57 pm

can't argue with that :P




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