Debate and law school apps

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vintage_vogue
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Debate and law school apps

Postby vintage_vogue » Tue May 04, 2010 3:29 pm

Former college debaters: please advise.

I'm a rising senior at a Tier 1 undergraduate school with a 3.63 GPA and expected LSAT around 170.

I'm trying to decide whether raising my GPA to 3.7 (by investing my all in my classes next year and quitting debate) or winning a handful of championship debate titles next year (my partner and I are pretty darn good) would be more impressive to a law school admissions committee.

Do T14 law schools privilege debate as an extracurricular activity? Would a stellar debate record serve as a GPA booster? Would an addendum that explained how I have literally been out of town (read: not in the library) every other weekend for all of my undergraduate career be persuasive?

Feynman
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby Feynman » Tue May 04, 2010 3:31 pm

I would say the 3.7 would be of more use, honestly. But that is a great soft. Why do you have to choose between the two?

vintage_vogue
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby vintage_vogue » Tue May 04, 2010 3:33 pm

I would need a 3.9-4.0 for both semesters in upper-division coursework in order to pull my GPA up to a 3.7. Sounds kinda impossible in a world where winning championships takes a ton of time (roughly 8 hours of research per week, 4 hours of practice, and average of 20 hours of travel and competition).
Last edited by vintage_vogue on Tue May 04, 2010 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JuTMSY4
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby JuTMSY4 » Tue May 04, 2010 3:33 pm

How about focusing entirely on the LSAT and kicking that up a few points?

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romothesavior
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 04, 2010 3:34 pm

Feynman wrote:I would say the 3.7 would be of more use, honestly. But that is a great soft. Why do you have to choose between the two?


No, it is not a great soft. Maybe an adcomm here or there will be impressed with OP's success, but it is not going to give him a bump or anything like that. Undergraduate involvement is about a weak of a soft as you can get.

Example: My partner and I won the state moot court competition two years in a row and I won top attorney one year. I think I lost one round in over 20+ rounds of competition during my three years on the team. It didn't matter one tiny bit in terms of law school acceptance.

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gilagarta
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby gilagarta » Tue May 04, 2010 3:35 pm

As a former HS debater, I know how amazingly rigorous debate is in college. If you have a handful of titles to show for it, I think that would make WAY more of an impact than less than .1 GPA difference. I would think law schools would really respect debate experience, particularly if you're very good at it.

Now if quitting debate would mean you could get a 3.8 or higher, I might think about it more seriously. A significantly higher GPA for you could make the difference between getting into a T-14 and getting into HYS.

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ArthurEdens
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby ArthurEdens » Tue May 04, 2010 3:35 pm

Expected LSAT? You'll catch hell for that here.

The GPA hinges on whether your target schools have median GPAs between 3.63 and 3.7. Remember your goal is to have (if possible) both GPA and LSAT above a school's medians. If you have both, your scholarship money will skyrocket.

They won't care about your out-of-town explanation. I wouldn't expect your debate titles to dazzle anybody either. Frame of reference: adcomms aren't impressed with PhDs either. They play the numbers game.

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gilagarta
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby gilagarta » Tue May 04, 2010 3:37 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Feynman wrote:I would say the 3.7 would be of more use, honestly. But that is a great soft. Why do you have to choose between the two?


No, it is not a great soft. Maybe an adcomm here or there will be impressed with OP's success, but it is not going to give him a bump or anything like that. Undergraduate involvement is about a weak of a soft as you can get.

Example: My partner and I won the state moot court competition two years in a row and I won top attorney one year. I think I lost one round in over 20+ rounds of competition during my three years on the team. It didn't matter one tiny bit in terms of law school acceptance.


How do you know that it didn't make a difference?

Feynman
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby Feynman » Tue May 04, 2010 3:37 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Feynman wrote:I would say the 3.7 would be of more use, honestly. But that is a great soft. Why do you have to choose between the two?


No, it is not a great soft. Maybe an adcomm here or there will be impressed with OP's success, but it is not going to give him a bump or anything like that. Undergraduate involvement is about a weak of a soft as you can get.

Example: My partner and I won the state moot court competition two years in a row and I won top attorney one year. I think I lost one round in over 20+ rounds of competition during my three years on the team. It didn't matter one tiny bit in terms of law school acceptance.


Well, it ought to matter considering it is one of the few things that will directly translate to legal practice (even though with the USNEWS game, they are all numbers whores). But OP should take your experience seriously. I thought he should focus on his grades anyway, given your experience it seems like the easy choice.

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extempore88
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby extempore88 » Tue May 04, 2010 3:39 pm

.
Last edited by extempore88 on Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 04, 2010 3:39 pm

gilagarta wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
Feynman wrote:I would say the 3.7 would be of more use, honestly. But that is a great soft. Why do you have to choose between the two?


No, it is not a great soft. Maybe an adcomm here or there will be impressed with OP's success, but it is not going to give him a bump or anything like that. Undergraduate involvement is about a weak of a soft as you can get.

Example: My partner and I won the state moot court competition two years in a row and I won top attorney one year. I think I lost one round in over 20+ rounds of competition during my three years on the team. It didn't matter one tiny bit in terms of law school acceptance.


How do you know that it didn't make a difference?


LSP and LSN were about 100% accurate with my cycle. I didn't get into any schools I didn't expect to, I didn't get rejected by any schools I expected to get into, and I was waitlisted where I was 50/50.

Kretzy
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby Kretzy » Tue May 04, 2010 3:46 pm

In what style of debate do you compete?

Top debaters in NPDA/APDA and NDT/CEDA seem to get a decent boost. As far as 'how good' a soft it is, there isn't a cut-and-dried answer. National championships (or major recognition) in any of those organizations is a really big soft, speaking as someone who has one. I'm not saying you're going to strongly out-perform your numbers, but it'll help if you're below median, as my LSAT was for 4 schools where I was accepted.

PM me if you have specific questions or advice in regards to highlighting debate on your application.

vintage_vogue
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby vintage_vogue » Tue May 04, 2010 3:55 pm

ArthurEdens,
Expected LSAT? You'll catch hell for that here.


Meh, I'm not really worried. I test smarter than I am and 99.9% of the time score better on actual tests than practice tests. (Let's just say I'm a tad competitive.)

JuTMSY4
How about focusing entirely on the LSAT and kicking that up a few points?


K. That sounds like an easy solution.

Kretzy,
In what style of debate do you compete?


NPDA. (If you don't mind my asking, what league did you compete in?)

Also how far below median for those 4 schools was your LSAT? I'm trying to decide how much of a boost the titles are.

gilagarta,
Now if quitting debate would mean you could get a 3.8 or higher, I might think about it more seriously. A significantly higher GPA for you could make the difference between getting into a T-14 and getting into HYS.


Am I screwed even with a 3.7? Mathematically, there is no way I can swing a 3.8 at this point.

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gilagarta
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby gilagarta » Tue May 04, 2010 4:01 pm

vintage_vogue wrote:Am I screwed even with a 3.7? Mathematically, there is no way I can swing a 3.8 at this point.


No, you're not screwed, especially if you swing a high LSAT. Your GPA is probably lower than the median for most T-14 schools, but with a 170 or higher you'll still be a great candidate. And this is where your soft factors can make a difference. A school could see your great softs as a reason to let you in over someone with a slightly higher GPA. I firmly believe that softs make a difference. Also, write a stellar PS.

People on TLS think that everything is a number's game, but it really isn't when you're talking about top schools. It might be 98% or even 99% of it - but when you're looking at the top schools, that 1-2% makes a huge difference.

Kretzy
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby Kretzy » Tue May 04, 2010 4:04 pm

extempore88 wrote:On a related note, how do employers look at forensics success? I have a debate resume like OP's. Does that bode well for me or will it have a negligible impact?


It will have a positive impact for those in the upper echelons of competition, and a similar impact as a normal ECA for those with more average successes.

Far more debaters than IEers head off to LS anyway, so high-performing IE folks (say, finals at NFA, or a similarly-situated organization) are slightly more unique.

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holydonkey
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby holydonkey » Tue May 04, 2010 4:06 pm

vintage_vogue wrote:Am I screwed even with a 3.7? Mathematically, there is no way I can swing a 3.8 at this point.
3.7 + 169/170 is good for MVP. Get a 171/172 for CCN. 176+ for HYS. 168 + 3.7 + ED is good for Gtttown/Cornell.

270910
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby 270910 » Tue May 04, 2010 9:40 pm

Feynman wrote:Well, it ought to matter considering it is one of the few things that will directly translate to legal practice (even though with the USNEWS game, they are all numbers whores). But OP should take your experience seriously. I thought he should focus on his grades anyway, given your experience it seems like the easy choice.


ahahahaha, stupid 0Ls are stupid :lol:

Mr. Pablo
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby Mr. Pablo » Tue May 04, 2010 9:48 pm

I'll say what I say in all of these kinds of threads- your softs will matter in relationship to people with similar numbers. Sure, you and the other guy with the 3.7/170 will compete with your 'soft' factors. Neither of you will compete with the 176/3.9 or the 160/3.0.
/most likely

thwalls
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby thwalls » Tue May 04, 2010 9:59 pm

Although people around here want to have you believe that your softs are irrelevant, in reality, no body around here really knows. The only people who KNOW how much your softs will matter are the people on the admissions committee. My numbers were middle of the road for the school I wanted (3.2/161) but I also have work experience and a PhD. So even though a slew of people with similar numbers just got an acceptance, I got a large scholarship. You never know what is going to sway the people in that room. I agree that your numbers are 75% of the equation but your softs can make a big difference in getting you in or getting you money. My experience has been proof that numbers aren't the whole story, not by a long shot.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby Kilpatrick » Tue May 04, 2010 10:06 pm

I think there are some softs that matter. Having a PHD seems to be a plus, military experience is another. Debate club? Not so much.

EricBerry
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Re: Debate and law school apps

Postby EricBerry » Wed May 12, 2010 3:25 am

non unique: you're already getting rejected




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