2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Not sure where your numbers will get you? Dying to know where you stand? Come have your palms read by your fellow posters!
UglyCowboy
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:48 am

2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby UglyCowboy » Sun May 23, 2010 5:03 am

Hey all,

I'm a recent graduate from a high-ranked liberal arts college, currently some time off working for a nonprofit organization. I'm thinking about applying for law school next year, figured I'd try to assess my chances and start coming up with a game plan a little ahead of time.


I graduated with a cumulative GPA of 2.94, with a pretty noticeable upwards trend. Freshman and sophomore years were completely in the shitter (one semester was a little above a 1), junior year much stronger (mostly B+/A-) and then senior year was straight A's. Freshman year I developed a pretty serious drinking problem, had a few run-ins with the college administration and was eventually diagnosed with major depression. I'm planning on including an addendum to my application that will hopefully explain the situation (incidentally, will this even matter? I've heard it both ways, both that it helps and that no one gives a rat's ass. It'd be great to hear some opinions on this, I don't want to send in an addendum that might look whiny and won't even help). I decided to take a year off because I've heard time off can help slightly mitigate a sub-par GPA.

Luckily I'm pretty good with standardized tests. I took the LSAT earlier this year and got a 180, first and only time.


Softs:
President of Habitat for Humanity, newspaper editor, member of mock trial and the debate society. Won a writing competition at our college for a short story (I'm sure they don't care), two state writing awards when I was in high school (I'm sure they care even less). Most of my job experiences have admittedly not been related to law, but I hope will reflect well for the work I want to go into (human/civil rights law). I've worked at a marketing firm (all about the benjamins), as a volunteer tutor for inner city kids for two years, and a counselor at a rehabilitation center for people with multiple disabilities. I'm Asian, my family isn't financially disadvantaged. I have two strong recs - one from a professor I took several classes with who was there for both my early troubles and my strong finish senior year. Writing is my strong suit so I'm not sweating the personal essays.


Ideally I would love to go to Columbia or NYU. I've heard they're not very forgiving about low GPAs though. Of course I'd be ecstatic if any T14 will take me (I'll also be applying to a bunch of lower tier schools). So what, realistically speaking, do you guys think my chances are for any of those options? I've heard Northwestern in particular is generous with splitters, any other schools I should be paying extra attention to?

Thanks all,
UglyCowboy

Edit: I realize the odds of acceptances at Columbia and NYU are pretty slim, but for a wide variety of reasons those really are my absolute picks. Anything at all I could do to increase my chances even slightly? I'm open to pretty much any suggestions, I left the majority of my sense of shame at the bottom of a bottle of Ketel One a long time ago.
Last edited by UglyCowboy on Sun May 23, 2010 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

ncct07
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:24 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby ncct07 » Sun May 23, 2010 5:12 am

Based on what's been reported on LSN, slim to none. Good luck!

referencing NYU/Columbia here.....
Last edited by ncct07 on Sun May 23, 2010 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Encyclopedia Brown
Posts: 595
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:25 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby Encyclopedia Brown » Sun May 23, 2010 5:19 am

Apply Early Decision to your favorite of Virginia, Northwestern, or Georgetown. Also apply liberally to schools in the 15-30 range (lower down if you want some $$).

I would suggest NOT writing the GPA addendum. I wrote one, which probably came off as sort of whiny, and it definitely did not help.

In regards to your personal statement/essays: Write well, but don't get too crazy with it. Fly casual, Chewie.

I have similar numbers, although your grade trend and work experiences are much stronger than mine. That said, take a look at my LSN page (the link's in my profile) if you want to see some depressing splitter reality. Just please please please don't waste your Early Decision app on Columbia or NYU (like I did). This is all advice I wish I had solicited before I sent out my applications.

User avatar
creamedcats
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:44 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby creamedcats » Sun May 23, 2010 5:24 am

There are multiple examples of people with similar numbers getting into GULC either outright or off the waitlist. I would, at the very least, apply there and to your favorite other T14 schools. Ask for fee waivers. With a 180, you'll probably get them.

SweeneyTodd
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:25 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby SweeneyTodd » Sun May 23, 2010 7:58 am

Encyclopedia Brown wrote:Apply Early Decision to your favorite of Virginia, Northwestern, or Georgetown. Also apply liberally to schools in the 15-30 range (lower down if you want some $$).

I would suggest NOT writing the GPA addendum. I wrote one, which probably came off as sort of whiny, and it definitely did not help.

In regards to your personal statement/essays: Write well, but don't get too crazy with it. Fly casual, Chewie.

I have similar numbers, although your grade trend and work experiences are much stronger than mine. That said, take a look at my LSN page (the link's in my profile) if you want to see some depressing splitter reality. Just please please please don't waste your Early Decision app on Columbia or NYU (like I did). This is all advice I wish I had solicited before I sent out my applications.


Bad advice regarding gpa addendum. Not to be rude EncyclopediaBrown but if yours came off as whiny perhaps you were whining. Uglycowboy, an alcohol issue and depression are serious enough explanations to provide especially considering your upward grade trend. Definitely DO write the addendum but keep it clear and to the point. There is a lot of info on TLS and in some books about good gpa addendums and bad ones. You definitely don't want to come off as whiny, just as someone explaining your circumstances and how you overcame your issue and matured (your grades reflect such). Work experience helps your case some but you're gonna need a strong addendum, great softs, and great letters of recommendation to offset your gpa. I'm optimistic for you so if you're serious about law school and you're certain about Columbia and NYU, start speaking to people in admissions and other key people so you can make your app hard to turn down. You could at least make some waitlists and avoid straight rejection possibly. But like another poster said Northwestern and Georgetown seem like great options too, and blanket T14 and lots of T1 schools (15-30).

MSUPHL
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:07 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby MSUPHL » Sun May 23, 2010 8:47 am

lol who doesnt have a drinking problem freshmen year in UG?

User avatar
cigrainger
Posts: 439
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:34 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby cigrainger » Sun May 23, 2010 9:41 am

SweeneyTodd wrote:
Encyclopedia Brown wrote:Apply Early Decision to your favorite of Virginia, Northwestern, or Georgetown. Also apply liberally to schools in the 15-30 range (lower down if you want some $$).

I would suggest NOT writing the GPA addendum. I wrote one, which probably came off as sort of whiny, and it definitely did not help.

In regards to your personal statement/essays: Write well, but don't get too crazy with it. Fly casual, Chewie.

I have similar numbers, although your grade trend and work experiences are much stronger than mine. That said, take a look at my LSN page (the link's in my profile) if you want to see some depressing splitter reality. Just please please please don't waste your Early Decision app on Columbia or NYU (like I did). This is all advice I wish I had solicited before I sent out my applications.


Bad advice regarding gpa addendum. Not to be rude EncyclopediaBrown but if yours came off as whiny perhaps you were whining. Uglycowboy, an alcohol issue and depression are serious enough explanations to provide especially considering your upward grade trend. Definitely DO write the addendum but keep it clear and to the point. There is a lot of info on TLS and in some books about good gpa addendums and bad ones. You definitely don't want to come off as whiny, just as someone explaining your circumstances and how you overcame your issue and matured (your grades reflect such). Work experience helps your case some but you're gonna need a strong addendum, great softs, and great letters of recommendation to offset your gpa. I'm optimistic for you so if you're serious about law school and you're certain about Columbia and NYU, start speaking to people in admissions and other key people so you can make your app hard to turn down. You could at least make some waitlists and avoid straight rejection possibly. But like another poster said Northwestern and Georgetown seem like great options too, and blanket T14 and lots of T1 schools (15-30).


I know it's not right, but a lot of people will view alcohol problems as within the control of the alcoholic. I would just make sure the addendum indicates how you got over it and why it won't happen again (whether you're in therapy/on meds for depression, or whatever).

SweeneyTodd
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:25 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby SweeneyTodd » Sun May 23, 2010 11:00 am

Cigrainger makes a good point. In the end, you're gonna need to write a gpa addendum about something. You have an extremely low gpa and a perfect lsat! Imagine if you were an adcomm opening your app and the first thing you see is that gpa and a perfect lsat! Wouldn't you want an explanation of some kind? Without one you leave it up to the adcomm to guess or decide you aren't a serious applicant and throw your app in the trash. I imagine an adcomm may think, "Did he leave out an explantion bc he did something really f'ed up or did he leave out an explanation because he doesn't care?" They may even think you are just a great standardized test taker as you mentioned....though a 180 may suggest some serious level of intelligence and critical/analytical thinking abilities perhaps not reflected in your gpa. My point is don't leave adcomms guessing too much because they probably don't have time to care.

In your application focus on your successes since undergrad to distance yourself from the gpa and your alcohol issue (because as I mentioned cigrainger does have a point).

fenway
Posts: 178
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:30 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby fenway » Sun May 23, 2010 11:38 am

though a 180 may suggest some serious level of intelligence and critical/analytical thinking abilities perhaps not reflected in your gpa


--may suggest? he got a 180..

User avatar
Dr. Strangelove
Posts: 557
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sun May 23, 2010 12:14 pm

UglyCowboy: Which other schools are you thinking of applying to besides Columbia/NYU?

fenway
Posts: 178
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:30 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby fenway » Sun May 23, 2010 12:26 pm

also, although alcoholism should not be viewed as purely a vice, I'd agree with the previous suggestions to shy away from using that. i think you'd be well served to approach it with a "1/2 maturity 1/2 depression" angle. Put it out there that you had issues with depression but also be clear about taking responsibility for not having a disciplined approach to school upon starting out in college. i don't think you can really go wrong there

februaryftw
Posts: 170
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:01 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby februaryftw » Sun May 23, 2010 12:34 pm

How urgent is your desire to go to law school? If you could stomach not getting in next cycle of admissions, and really want NYU/Columbia, you could ED at NYU. It probably still won't happen, but if the gap is big enough in terms of what you want, and you can spend another year out of law school and be happy with it, it might be worth trying. Just don't get optimistic about it, because it looks like Columbia or NYU simply won't dip that low for GPAs, especially non-URM gpas.

More realistically, your best bet is to ED at Virginia or Northwestern. If you want NY, neither will be as good as NYU/Columbia, but they are good schools that won't hold you back if you do well in your classes. So my more serious advice is probably to get over not going to NYU/Columbia and ED at one these two schools.

Azmatt
Posts: 168
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 12:30 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby Azmatt » Sun May 23, 2010 12:41 pm

Good luck. I'm sort of in the same boat. Although, I did not score a 180. :)

I am encouraged by all the talk of Georgetown. Not everyone can go to a T1 school, but I'd like to think GT would be a good fit for you and, perhaps now, myself.

Keep us posted.

User avatar
Encyclopedia Brown
Posts: 595
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:25 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby Encyclopedia Brown » Sun May 23, 2010 1:10 pm

SweeneyTodd wrote:Cigrainger makes a good point. In the end, you're gonna need to write a gpa addendum about something. You have an extremely low gpa and a perfect lsat! Imagine if you were an adcomm opening your app and the first thing you see is that gpa and a perfect lsat! Wouldn't you want an explanation of some kind? Without one you leave it up to the adcomm to guess or decide you aren't a serious applicant and throw your app in the trash. I imagine an adcomm may think, "Did he leave out an explantion bc he did something really f'ed up or did he leave out an explanation because he doesn't care?" They may even think you are just a great standardized test taker as you mentioned....though a 180 may suggest some serious level of intelligence and critical/analytical thinking abilities perhaps not reflected in your gpa. My point is don't leave adcomms guessing too much because they probably don't have time to care.

The adcomm will not be confused or require an explanation for a high LSAT and a low GPA. They've seen it many times before, I'm sure, and they know exactly what it means. If you were in the hospital or at the deathbed of a close relative, sure... write an addendum. Alcohol issues and depression your first year of college? I'm not so sure that warrants an explanation (that's probably what they'll assume anyway), and I definitely don't think it's worth it to call attention to the weakest part of your application.

User avatar
joeshmo39
Posts: 533
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:15 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby joeshmo39 » Sun May 23, 2010 1:17 pm

I think you really have to write the addendum. The disparity is too big and there is not going to be anything else on your application that explains it (don't write about it in your PS, talk about your work there). The trend helps you and that is some ammunition you have, as well as the fact you have been functioning at a high level for years after. Also, people who are saying everyone has drinking problems freshman year: I don't know if you are trying to be funny or just not getting the magnitude of what OP is talking about, either way, your point is off the mark.

User avatar
Jones, Dow
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:42 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby Jones, Dow » Sun May 23, 2010 1:39 pm

I wouldn't mention depression or alcoholism, but would definitely write the addendum.

A GPA addendum doesn't have to be anything more than "Please consider my upward trend, as it is more reflective of my true capabilities." MAYBE say there was some personal issues that affected your grades that you worked out, but you don't need to explain these things away. I think that a lot of people on here think that if they have a good enough "reason," the adcomm will say, "oh, it's okay, we'll let this person in..." I would be willing to bet that unless it's some big external factor (e.g., my dad died and I had to start working 40 hours a week, etc.) adcomms view most of these as excuses. Now I'm not trying to downplay the significance of what you went through, OP, but I wouldn't bring it up. To be completely honest with you, an adcomm knows that LS is going to be one of the most (if not THE most) difficult experiences of your life. I think if you mention alcoholism and depression they might be worried that the stress of school could bring out some old, bad habits. I'm not saying that will happen to you--I hope it doesn't--but if I'm an adcomm, I think the addendum makes me more worried rather than willing to accept the GPA.

So to bring this full circle, my advice is to write the addendum in 3 or 4 sentences and to simply say as you evaluate this GPA, please consider the trend, as the recent is more reflective of my capabilities.

Good luck!

**I wrote a GPA addendum this same way, and I'm convinced that it helped. I had a low overall GPA, strong trend, a couple years post B.S., and I was admitted to a school where my GPA was below the 25% by a good amount (and LSAT was not above median).

februaryftw
Posts: 170
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:01 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby februaryftw » Sun May 23, 2010 2:13 pm

Jones, Dow wrote:I wouldn't mention depression or alcoholism, but would definitely write the addendum.

A GPA addendum doesn't have to be anything more than "Please consider my upward trend, as it is more reflective of my true capabilities." MAYBE say there was some personal issues that affected your grades that you worked out, but you don't need to explain these things away. I think that a lot of people on here think that if they have a good enough "reason," the adcomm will say, "oh, it's okay, we'll let this person in..." I would be willing to bet that unless it's some big external factor (e.g., my dad died and I had to start working 40 hours a week, etc.) adcomms view most of these as excuses. Now I'm not trying to downplay the significance of what you went through, OP, but I wouldn't bring it up. To be completely honest with you, an adcomm knows that LS is going to be one of the most (if not THE most) difficult experiences of your life. I think if you mention alcoholism and depression they might be worried that the stress of school could bring out some old, bad habits. I'm not saying that will happen to you--I hope it doesn't--but if I'm an adcomm, I think the addendum makes me more worried rather than willing to accept the GPA.

So to bring this full circle, my advice is to write the addendum in 3 or 4 sentences and to simply say as you evaluate this GPA, please consider the trend, as the recent is more reflective of my capabilities.

Good luck!

**I wrote a GPA addendum this same way, and I'm convinced that it helped. I had a low overall GPA, strong trend, a couple years post B.S., and I was admitted to a school where my GPA was below the 25% by a good amount (and LSAT was not above median).


I second this advice. An addendum will draw attention to your upward trend, so you want to have one. But I don't think a previous history of alcoholism or depression are things you want to underscore in an application. Strike a tone of confidence in your progression and what it means for your academic abilities.

User avatar
autarkh
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:05 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby autarkh » Sun May 23, 2010 3:55 pm

Mental health issues don't have the stigma that they used to. If you really had depression, and you were able to deal with it and rebound, there's no reason you shouldn't mention it in a GPA addendum. It's a legitimate reason for your low GPA. The key is to illustrate that you've got it under control and that it is not going to recur at any moment. A successful work history and a strong upward grade trend, sustained over several quarters/semesters, will do this.

It's better to directly answer the question of how someone with your GPA managed to get a perfect LSAT score, than to leave it to adcomm's imagination. Maybe they won't be sympathetic. But there's a better chance of them being sympathetic to the real story of your personal growth than to a litany of bullshit excuses (or to it being left unexplained). My advice: be sincere. It worked for me.
Last edited by autarkh on Sun May 23, 2010 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby romothesavior » Sun May 23, 2010 3:57 pm

I think Northwestern would be a good choice. You'd almost certainly get in there.

recaldo
Posts: 129
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:30 am

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby recaldo » Sun May 23, 2010 4:10 pm

bullshit. i know ppl at both schools with below 3s and high lstats. u will get in if u apply. promise.

UglyCowboy wrote:Hey all,

I'm a recent graduate from a high-ranked liberal arts college, currently some time off working for a nonprofit organization. I'm thinking about applying for law school next year, figured I'd try to assess my chances and start coming up with a game plan a little ahead of time.


I graduated with a cumulative GPA of 2.94, with a pretty noticeable upwards trend. Freshman and sophomore years were completely in the shitter (one semester was a little above a 1), junior year much stronger (mostly B+/A-) and then senior year was straight A's. Freshman year I developed a pretty serious drinking problem, had a few run-ins with the college administration and was eventually diagnosed with major depression. I'm planning on including an addendum to my application that will hopefully explain the situation (incidentally, will this even matter? I've heard it both ways, both that it helps and that no one gives a rat's ass. It'd be great to hear some opinions on this, I don't want to send in an addendum that might look whiny and won't even help). I decided to take a year off because I've heard time off can help slightly mitigate a sub-par GPA.

Luckily I'm pretty good with standardized tests. I took the LSAT earlier this year and got a 180, first and only time.


Softs:
President of Habitat for Humanity, newspaper editor, member of mock trial and the debate society. Won a writing competition at our college for a short story (I'm sure they don't care), two state writing awards when I was in high school (I'm sure they care even less). Most of my job experiences have admittedly not been related to law, but I hope will reflect well for the work I want to go into (human/civil rights law). I've worked at a marketing firm (all about the benjamins), as a volunteer tutor for inner city kids for two years, and a counselor at a rehabilitation center for people with multiple disabilities. I'm Asian, my family isn't financially disadvantaged. I have two strong recs - one from a professor I took several classes with who was there for both my early troubles and my strong finish senior year. Writing is my strong suit so I'm not sweating the personal essays.


Ideally I would love to go to Columbia or NYU. I've heard they're not very forgiving about low GPAs though. Of course I'd be ecstatic if any T14 will take me (I'll also be applying to a bunch of lower tier schools). So what, realistically speaking, do you guys think my chances are for any of those options? I've heard Northwestern in particular is generous with splitters, any other schools I should be paying extra attention to?

Thanks all,
UglyCowboy

Edit: I realize the odds of acceptances at Columbia and NYU are pretty slim, but for a wide variety of reasons those really are my absolute picks. Anything at all I could do to increase my chances even slightly? I'm open to pretty much any suggestions, I left the majority of my sense of shame at the bottom of a bottle of Ketel One a long time ago.

eaters333
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby eaters333 » Sun May 23, 2010 4:21 pm

congrats on that 180...your cycle is unpredictable because of your lsat score... just apply wherever you want in the T-14

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby Grizz » Sun May 23, 2010 4:31 pm

recaldo wrote:bullshit. i know ppl at both schools with below 3s and high lstats. u will get in if u apply. promise.


Nice anecdote. I am sure your friends are 100% representative of the sub 3 high LSAT population as a whole.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby Grizz » Sun May 23, 2010 4:33 pm

eaters333 wrote:congrats on that 180...your cycle is unpredictable because of your lsat score... just apply wherever you want in the T-14


Sigh. No T-14 are good bets without ED contracts. If you're not willing to ED (substantially increasing your chances at the schools mentioned above), apply to lots more than the T-14, and leverage your LSAT score for fee wavers.

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby romothesavior » Sun May 23, 2010 4:38 pm

rad law wrote:
eaters333 wrote:congrats on that 180...your cycle is unpredictable because of your lsat score... just apply wherever you want in the T-14


Sigh. No T-14 are good bets without ED contracts. If you're not willing to ED (substantially increasing your chances at the schools mentioned above), apply to lots more than the T-14, and leverage your LSAT score for fee wavers.


I agree with you, but I do think some T14s will bite. Schools like to be able to say their LSAT range includes a 180.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: 2.94/180, upward trend and time off. Size me up.

Postby Grizz » Sun May 23, 2010 4:42 pm

romothesavior wrote:
rad law wrote:
eaters333 wrote:congrats on that 180...your cycle is unpredictable because of your lsat score... just apply wherever you want in the T-14


Sigh. No T-14 are good bets without ED contracts. If you're not willing to ED (substantially increasing your chances at the schools mentioned above), apply to lots more than the T-14, and leverage your LSAT score for fee wavers.


I agree with you, but I do think some T14s will bite. Schools like to be able to say their LSAT range includes a 180.


The sub 3.0 indicated ED for me, even considering the 180, but really with a 180, who really knows.




Return to “What are my chances?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests