PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby 09042014 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:59 pm

fastforward wrote:OP: What you are saying makes a great deal of sense, and that's the problem. Law schools are known to be irrational in making decisions, which too often are made with an eye to the USNWR rankings. A study partially underwritten by LSAC documents this: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202435994960. The same article mentions a GAO study that shows the primary reason law school tuition is increasing is the schools' perceived need to generate funds to do things (e.g. award raises to retain distinguished faculty) to boost their USNWR rankings.

Northwestern has been said to have hired unemployed grads as research assistants to protect its employment statistics, and hence its USNWR rankings. The only cite I've been able to find for this, though, attributes the information to Brian Leiter, who has been highly critical of the USNWR rankings. Leiter devised his own rankings, which buffoonishly rank Thomas Cooley (with which he has close ties) ahead of Stanford.
http://www.aolnews.com/2010/10/15/opinion-are-law-schools-scamming-students/ So we should take what Leiter says with a grain of salt. Still, the information has circulated for years and Northwestern has not denied it to my knowledge.

None of this is to discourage you from applying to Northwestern. You are correct that you actually have a quirky advantage being below the 25th percentile GPA. Northwestern accepting the GMAT in lieu of LSAT is far too new a phenomenon for anyone to meaningfully predict what your chances are. But the new policy is indeed a clear signal Northwestern is ready to entertain alternatives to traditional admissions criteria.

It sounds as though you wisely are considering alternatives to Northwestern in the event you are not offered admission there. Because you mentioned John Marshall, I suspect you may want to stay put in Chicago. If you are flexible, you just might have a shot at UC-Berkeley. They have one of the best IP programs and they value post-baccalaureate work by applicants. U-NH (formerly Franklin Pierce) might just be ideal for you, given their emphasis on IP law. If you want to stay near Chicago, Creighton in Omaha has a good IP program. Your LSAT/GPA would likely get you in there. I am acquainted with a highly successful Creighton grad with a thriving IP practice.

Ken, this site's administrator, went to Berkeley and practices IP law. His posts contain a wealth of information (as do other threads here) on IP, so you definitely should search them. I believe if you look, you will see many posts that confirm the comments here saying once you get past the admissions hurdle, you have excellent professional prospects.

All the best for success, whatever you decide.


1) I can confirm they are employing unemployed grads.

2) No way gets into Berkley.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:04 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
fastforward wrote:OP: What you are saying makes a great deal of sense, and that's the problem. Law schools are known to be irrational in making decisions, which too often are made with an eye to the USNWR rankings. A study partially underwritten by LSAC documents this: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202435994960. The same article mentions a GAO study that shows the primary reason law school tuition is increasing is the schools' perceived need to generate funds to do things (e.g. award raises to retain distinguished faculty) to boost their USNWR rankings.

Northwestern has been said to have hired unemployed grads as research assistants to protect its employment statistics, and hence its USNWR rankings. The only cite I've been able to find for this, though, attributes the information to Brian Leiter, who has been highly critical of the USNWR rankings. Leiter devised his own rankings, which buffoonishly rank Thomas Cooley (with which he has close ties) ahead of Stanford.
http://www.aolnews.com/2010/10/15/opinion-are-law-schools-scamming-students/ So we should take what Leiter says with a grain of salt. Still, the information has circulated for years and Northwestern has not denied it to my knowledge.

None of this is to discourage you from applying to Northwestern. You are correct that you actually have a quirky advantage being below the 25th percentile GPA. Northwestern accepting the GMAT in lieu of LSAT is far too new a phenomenon for anyone to meaningfully predict what your chances are. But the new policy is indeed a clear signal Northwestern is ready to entertain alternatives to traditional admissions criteria.

It sounds as though you wisely are considering alternatives to Northwestern in the event you are not offered admission there. Because you mentioned John Marshall, I suspect you may want to stay put in Chicago. If you are flexible, you just might have a shot at UC-Berkeley. They have one of the best IP programs and they value post-baccalaureate work by applicants. U-NH (formerly Franklin Pierce) might just be ideal for you, given their emphasis on IP law. If you want to stay near Chicago, Creighton in Omaha has a good IP program. Your LSAT/GPA would likely get you in there. I am acquainted with a highly successful Creighton grad with a thriving IP practice.

Ken, this site's administrator, went to Berkeley and practices IP law. His posts contain a wealth of information (as do other threads here) on IP, so you definitely should search them. I believe if you look, you will see many posts that confirm the comments here saying once you get past the admissions hurdle, you have excellent professional prospects.

All the best for success, whatever you decide.


1) I can confirm they are employing unemployed grads.

2) No way gets into Berkley.


3) Ken is a real-estate agent.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby 09042014 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:15 pm

dextermorgan wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
fastforward wrote:OP: What you are saying makes a great deal of sense, and that's the problem. Law schools are known to be irrational in making decisions, which too often are made with an eye to the USNWR rankings. A study partially underwritten by LSAC documents this: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202435994960. The same article mentions a GAO study that shows the primary reason law school tuition is increasing is the schools' perceived need to generate funds to do things (e.g. award raises to retain distinguished faculty) to boost their USNWR rankings.

Northwestern has been said to have hired unemployed grads as research assistants to protect its employment statistics, and hence its USNWR rankings. The only cite I've been able to find for this, though, attributes the information to Brian Leiter, who has been highly critical of the USNWR rankings. Leiter devised his own rankings, which buffoonishly rank Thomas Cooley (with which he has close ties) ahead of Stanford.
http://www.aolnews.com/2010/10/15/opinion-are-law-schools-scamming-students/ So we should take what Leiter says with a grain of salt. Still, the information has circulated for years and Northwestern has not denied it to my knowledge.

None of this is to discourage you from applying to Northwestern. You are correct that you actually have a quirky advantage being below the 25th percentile GPA. Northwestern accepting the GMAT in lieu of LSAT is far too new a phenomenon for anyone to meaningfully predict what your chances are. But the new policy is indeed a clear signal Northwestern is ready to entertain alternatives to traditional admissions criteria.

It sounds as though you wisely are considering alternatives to Northwestern in the event you are not offered admission there. Because you mentioned John Marshall, I suspect you may want to stay put in Chicago. If you are flexible, you just might have a shot at UC-Berkeley. They have one of the best IP programs and they value post-baccalaureate work by applicants. U-NH (formerly Franklin Pierce) might just be ideal for you, given their emphasis on IP law. If you want to stay near Chicago, Creighton in Omaha has a good IP program. Your LSAT/GPA would likely get you in there. I am acquainted with a highly successful Creighton grad with a thriving IP practice.

Ken, this site's administrator, went to Berkeley and practices IP law. His posts contain a wealth of information (as do other threads here) on IP, so you definitely should search them. I believe if you look, you will see many posts that confirm the comments here saying once you get past the admissions hurdle, you have excellent professional prospects.

All the best for success, whatever you decide.


1) I can confirm they are employing unemployed grads.

2) No way gets into Berkley.


3) Ken is a real-estate agent.


With MILLIONS in sales.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby Patriot1208 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:48 pm

It's odd the fastforward suggested on of the few schools known to put a much higher value on undergraduate GPA (boalt). Does fastforward pay attention to admissions?

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:19 pm

fastforward wrote: Leiter devised his own rankings, which buffoonishly rank Thomas Cooley (with which he has close ties) ahead of Stanford.


False. The rankings that Cooley advertises, in which it is ranked #12 and ahead of Stanford, are not the Leiter rankings. I'm pretty sure Leiter has consistently rated Stanford as one of the top few law schools. Where are you getting this accusation?

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby stugots26 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:05 pm

Fastforward,

Thank you very much for your kind words. I am intending to stay in Chicago. Ultimately, I think the combination of PhD in organic chemistry, JD, and Patent Agent makes for a pretty amazing resume regardless of the law school ranking if I'm interested in Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Law.

Everyone: Here is the last thing I will say on the matter.

1. This is from the application instructions for regular JD for Northwestern:

"Applicants may take either the LSAT or the GMAT for consideration. Both tests will receive equal weight. In cases where multiple scores exist for either the LSAT or the GMAT, we will use your highest score when evaluating your file. You are required to declare which exam to use for evaluation."

That sure sounds to me like the admissions officers pay attention to the applicant's choice as indicated rather than secretly considering both scores out of a concern for statistics.

2. Let's use logical reasoning: As this is regular decision and not Early Decision, Northwestern probably expects that anyone who believes himself or herself intelligent enough to consider applying is not going to take the GMAT and only apply to one law school in a cycle. There may be some who do, but the overwhelming majority of Northwestern applicants are NOT putting all their eggs in one basket and have applied to a variety of schools. Indeed, the application even asks one to list the schools to which he or she is applying other than Northwestern. So unless one lies - and one could - and lists no other schools...Northwestern WILL KNOW, since one has listed other schools, that these JD programs do NOT accept the GMAT and require the LSAT. The admissions officers would therefore know, even if I decided not to tell them that I'd taken it, based on the other schools that I applied to, that I'd taken the LSAT and have at least one valid, reportable score.

Thus, if the law school was going to weigh both in for the decision anyway since they'd likely have access to both, why would they offer the applicant to mark off THE CHOICE OF EXAM on the application? Why not just say that applicants may take the GMAT, and then do something along the lines of including LSAT score consideration as has been debated already, given that they have access to it in the LSDAS report. The law school is leading applicants to believe that they have a choice of one or the other and not both; clearly the law school must know that most applicants have submitted multiple applications and LSAT scores therefore exist, at least for the other schools. This is why I think that the admissions officers really abide by the choice of the applicant.

3. I'm still not buying that the admissions officers are worried about outliers affecting the median. A median is much easier to maintain than a mean. If the school wants a median around 3.8 for UGPA and I'm accepted, all the school has to do is make sure there's an applicant with a UGPA higher than 3.8 to compensate, and the median doesn't change. 3.8 could be the median for two sets of GPAs:

1.7, 0.6, 3.8, 3.9, 4.0

and

3.7, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 4.0

Unless a range of the admitted GPAs is reported, including the minimum, Northwestern can accept whomever they want and not have the median affected.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby fastforward » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:38 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:
fastforward wrote: Leiter devised his own rankings, which buffoonishly rank Thomas Cooley (with which he has close ties) ahead of Stanford.


False. The rankings that Cooley advertises, in which it is ranked #12 and ahead of Stanford, are not the Leiter rankings. I'm pretty sure Leiter has consistently rated Stanford as one of the top few law schools. Where are you getting this accusation?


You're right. It's Brennan's rankings, not Leiter's, that rank Cooley so high. Thanks for calling out this serious error.
--LinkRemoved--

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby thegor1987 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:53 pm

stugots26 wrote:Fastforward,

Thank you very much for your kind words. I am intending to stay in Chicago. Ultimately, I think the combination of PhD in organic chemistry, JD, and Patent Agent makes for a pretty amazing resume regardless of the law school ranking if I'm interested in Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Law.

Everyone: Here is the last thing I will say on the matter.

1. This is from the application instructions for regular JD for Northwestern:

"Applicants may take either the LSAT or the GMAT for consideration. Both tests will receive equal weight. In cases where multiple scores exist for either the LSAT or the GMAT, we will use your highest score when evaluating your file. You are required to declare which exam to use for evaluation."

That sure sounds to me like the admissions officers pay attention to the applicant's choice as indicated rather than secretly considering both scores out of a concern for statistics.

2. Let's use logical reasoning: As this is regular decision and not Early Decision, Northwestern probably expects that anyone who believes himself or herself intelligent enough to consider applying is not going to take the GMAT and only apply to one law school in a cycle. There may be some who do, but the overwhelming majority of Northwestern applicants are NOT putting all their eggs in one basket and have applied to a variety of schools. Indeed, the application even asks one to list the schools to which he or she is applying other than Northwestern. So unless one lies - and one could - and lists no other schools...Northwestern WILL KNOW, since one has listed other schools, that these JD programs do NOT accept the GMAT and require the LSAT. The admissions officers would therefore know, even if I decided not to tell them that I'd taken it, based on the other schools that I applied to, that I'd taken the LSAT and have at least one valid, reportable score.

Thus, if the law school was going to weigh both in for the decision anyway since they'd likely have access to both, why would they offer the applicant to mark off THE CHOICE OF EXAM on the application? Why not just say that applicants may take the GMAT, and then do something along the lines of including LSAT score consideration as has been debated already, given that they have access to it in the LSDAS report. The law school is leading applicants to believe that they have a choice of one or the other and not both; clearly the law school must know that most applicants have submitted multiple applications and LSAT scores therefore exist, at least for the other schools. This is why I think that the admissions officers really abide by the choice of the applicant.

3. I'm still not buying that the admissions officers are worried about outliers affecting the median. A median is much easier to maintain than a mean. If the school wants a median around 3.8 for UGPA and I'm accepted, all the school has to do is make sure there's an applicant with a UGPA higher than 3.8 to compensate, and the median doesn't change. 3.8 could be the median for two sets of GPAs:

1.7, 0.6, 3.8, 3.9, 4.0

and

3.7, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 4.0

Unless a range of the admitted GPAs is reported, including the minimum, Northwestern can accept whomever they want and not have the median affected.


1. I am interested in pharmaceutical patent law as well. I got a Chemistry undergrad but am interested on your take on the necessity of a PhD, at 23 I am already an old man and unsure if I want to be in school until 30+, obviously the PhD helps (In fact I've actually read a job application for a pharmaceutical patent agent which actually REQUIRED a PhD in Chem or Biochem!). Obviously you are going to have a bias towards it, and I think I already have my own answer which is the better my LSAT the less I will need it. But I am curious nevertheless, most helpful information would be about any of your colleagues that may have went into IP? Do they all have PhDs? What would their employment prospects have been like without them? Was it 135K starting salary vs. 125K, or more like 135 vs. 95?

2. Just send NU an e-mail and ask them if they HAVE TOO report your LSAT score to US News. Whether or not they 'consider' it is meaningless if they must report an LSAT if it has been taken. I think LSAC has to report it to the schools you apply too, so it's going to have to be a matter of whether the schools have to report it to US News rankings

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby 09042014 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:48 pm

If you are a working Patent Agent see about doing part time at Chi Kent or something.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby stugots26 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:52 am

Well I'm not yet a patent agent. I just started studying the Manual of PEP, and I've got the next eight months - when not teaching - to study it before law school starts. Since I know an IP firm partner in Chicago, my plan is to attempt to pass the patent bar within time to sell myself with it for the summer after L1. As a PhD with a patent bar, I can do freelance work for said firm beyond the end of the summer, and far beyond all of its other interns, and pay off my debt with the freelance work, and probably count on the firm for a job after I'm done with law school.

09042014
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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:13 pm

stugots26 wrote:Well I'm not yet a patent agent. I just started studying the Manual of PEP, and I've got the next eight months - when not teaching - to study it before law school starts. Since I know an IP firm partner in Chicago, my plan is to attempt to pass the patent bar within time to sell myself with it for the summer after L1. As a PhD with a patent bar, I can do freelance work for said firm beyond the end of the summer, and far beyond all of its other interns, and pay off my debt with the freelance work, and probably count on the firm for a job after I'm done with law school.


See if he can get you a full time Patent Agent job after you pass the patent bar and then go to a local law school part time. It's a lot safer because you'll work off debt as you go.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby stugots26 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:20 pm

I'll probably wind up at John Marshall. They're the ones who turned me on to the Patent Bar to begin with, and they're literally two blocks up my street in downtown Chicago, so it's ultra-convenient. They also have a great IP program.

John Marshall allows daytime students to transfer to part time after the first year, I believe. Between being a professor at a city college and some patent agent work I'm sure I'll be able to minimize my debt.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:28 pm

stugots26 wrote:I'll probably wind up at John Marshall. They're the ones who turned me on to the Patent Bar to begin with, and they're literally two blocks up my street in downtown Chicago, so it's ultra-convenient. They also have a great IP program.

John Marshall allows daytime students to transfer to part time after the first year, I believe. Between being a professor at a city college and some patent agent work I'm sure I'll be able to minimize my debt.


What is your LSAT score? Do you have a shot at Chicago Kent? They are in the loop as well.

John Marshall has a bad reputation, but if you already have a job lined up it isn't that important.

What is your LSAT anyway?

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby stugots26 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:34 pm

158 on the LSAT. I took every Preptest released, averaging 167, was doing really well on review books. No idea what happened.

Based on the calculators, Chicago Kent is still a possibility.

Aside from NU, I applied to Chicago-Kent, Loyola, John Marshall, and DePaul.

Why is John Marshall's reputation so bad?

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby robotclubmember » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:21 pm

dextermorgan wrote:
kehoema2 wrote:
stugots26 wrote:How would a low GPA hurt a median?


You can't be serious that you have a PhD if you need to ask this question.

I guess they don't teach basic statistics in Chemistry PhD programs that admit sub-3.0 GPA students.


OP is right, to an extent.

Law schools report medians, not means. Example.

Student 1: 2.9 GPA, 177 LSAT
Student 2: 3.6 GPA, 172 LSAT
Student 3: 3.9 GPA, 170 LSAT

The mean would be 3.47, while the median would be 3.60. This is the reason why schools are more splitter-friendly in the direction of a high LSAT score. They are much rarer than high GPA's, and the reality is that any GPA below a median of 3.6, for example, will have the same impact on the statistics. A 2.5 and a 3.5 would result in the same median if the median is 3.6. How's that for basic statistics?

That said, I think any GPA below 3.0 is a serious detriment. Also, the absence of a reportable LSAT score means you actually aren't a splitter. You're just a guy with a terrible GPA, as far as USNWR statistics go, which is what law schools really care about. I think the substitution of GMAT for LSAT is intended for a different kind of candidate than Ph.D's (think people in business with finance/accounting/consulting experience). But you have substantial work experience as well. It's worth a try, but honestly, I wouldn't hold out much hope.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby masochist » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:36 pm

stugots26 wrote:158 on the LSAT. I took every Preptest released, averaging 167, was doing really well on review books. No idea what happened.

Based on the calculators, Chicago Kent is still a possibility.

Aside from NU, I applied to Chicago-Kent, Loyola, John Marshall, and DePaul.

Why is John Marshall's reputation so bad?


People assume JM will admit anyone. I don't think this is true, but that is their reputation. FWIW, people have told me that JM also has a reputation for producing graduates with more practical knowledge than most of the other Chicago schools, and there are a few small firms that preferrentially recruit JM grads. Of course, these firms also pay far less than the market rate.

Kent sounds like a great option for patent work.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby thegor1987 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:02 am

Desert Fox wrote:
stugots26 wrote:Well I'm not yet a patent agent. I just started studying the Manual of PEP, and I've got the next eight months - when not teaching - to study it before law school starts. Since I know an IP firm partner in Chicago, my plan is to attempt to pass the patent bar within time to sell myself with it for the summer after L1. As a PhD with a patent bar, I can do freelance work for said firm beyond the end of the summer, and far beyond all of its other interns, and pay off my debt with the freelance work, and probably count on the firm for a job after I'm done with law school.


See if he can get you a full time Patent Agent job after you pass the patent bar and then go to a local law school part time. It's a lot safer because you'll work off debt as you go.


If he even has to take out any debt at all, don't patent agents make like 70-100k per year working full time?

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby Pneumatic » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:00 am

stugots26 wrote:I'd like to thank the last few posters for their contributions.

I'd like to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Look, bottom line - I didn't do well on the LSAT. I saw that Northwestern accepts the GMAT. So I took it, and rocked it. I'm playing to my strengths.

I've been doing the equivalent of office work - in a lab - for six years, while earning my PhD. And now I'm a professor in Chicago. I just don't think that an undergraduate GPA should really factor into the decision, given that Northwestern prides itself on work experience, and I've proven in my case that I've risen above and beyond the undergraduate GPA of NINE YEARS AGO. I'm not a typical law student, and I shouldn't be treated as a typical applicant.

Northwestern doesn't seem like a school that wants to focus on statistics and medians and ratings. They're doing something different already by accepting the GMAT.

Yes, I meant that an outlier like me for an undergraduate GPA wouldn't affect a median like I would an average.

Northwestern knows that I want to study Intellectual Property Law and that I want to make that my career. Why I should still be penalized, at 31, for an undergraduate GPA that was last relevant at 22, is kind of a mystery to myself and anyone who I've discussed my status with.

Like I asked to begin with, what's the normal range for GMAT that Northwestern likes, at least for the JD-MBA program?


"I just don't think that an undergraduate GPA should really factor into the decision".

Not to be an ass, but I think your GPA could be the deciding factor and your minimizing its importance because its your biggest weakness. Because of your high GMAT score, if your LSAT score isn't too low (obviously they are going to look at it to assess you, to some extent, even if they say there not at all) since you have a high GMAT and work experience they have to take that GPA seriously. In my opinion and if I was an Adcom, that GPA would hold serious weight in my mind. Let's try to be a bit more realistic. To say your GPA doesn't matter is absurd. Look at it this way. If you had a 1.0 would that matter? GPA matters its the second most important factor, regardless that its NW.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby robotclubmember » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:56 am

stugots26 wrote:I'd like to thank the last few posters for their contributions.

I'd like to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Look, bottom line - I didn't do well on the LSAT. I saw that Northwestern accepts the GMAT. So I took it, and rocked it. I'm playing to my strengths.

I've been doing the equivalent of office work - in a lab - for six years, while earning my PhD. And now I'm a professor in Chicago. I just don't think that an undergraduate GPA should really factor into the decision, given that Northwestern prides itself on work experience, and I've proven in my case that I've risen above and beyond the undergraduate GPA of NINE YEARS AGO. I'm not a typical law student, and I shouldn't be treated as a typical applicant.

Northwestern doesn't seem like a school that wants to focus on statistics and medians and ratings. They're doing something different already by accepting the GMAT.

Yes, I meant that an outlier like me for an undergraduate GPA wouldn't affect a median like I would an average.

Northwestern knows that I want to study Intellectual Property Law and that I want to make that my career. Why I should still be penalized, at 31, for an undergraduate GPA that was last relevant at 22, is kind of a mystery to myself and anyone who I've discussed my status with.

Like I asked to begin with, what's the normal range for GMAT that Northwestern likes, at least for the JD-MBA program?


Considering they just began allowing the GMAT, there is no data on this, however, the median for the MBA program is 710, and I would say that is probably similar to what they would consider the median for law school applicants using a GMAT.

As you grow further apart from your undergrad GPA, its relevance does drop marginally in the admissions process, but its relevance isn't going away. Simply put, in most cases, it is a fair indicator of one's academic discipline, and although the same could be argued for graduate programs, let's face it, almost all graduate programs rampantly inflate grades. Law schools need yardsticks to compare mass amounts of applicants, and none of them are perfect, but undergrad GPA is a much better indicator than grad GPA, because it can be applied to everybody more evenly. And like I said with grade inflation, which is hard to dispute in most grad programs, the reality is that a person who got a 2.8 in undergrad and a 3.8 in grad studies is probably a lot closer to the 2.8 when compared to the rest of the students applying for law school. Adcomms know it, and it's why they don't use your grad GPA if you have one for much...

The low LSAT score isn't going to convince anyone that your undergrad GPA should be ignored either. Yes, you have a high GMAT score, because 50% of it is quant and the LR and RC are objectively much easier to the point of being a joke (after sitting for the LSAT I grabbed GMAT OG12 and did the diagnostic at the front. Every single LR and RC question right in about half the time that was allotted, lol). I just don't think the GMAT is intended as a shortcut for people who can't perform on the LSAT. NU didn't allow GMAT submission as a way for people with great math skills to backdoor in, because high school algebra knowledge isn't really that important in the field of law. They want people from business specifically, that's why they accept the GMAT and not other tests. If they wanted people from science specifically, they would accept the GRE instead (and I'm sure they do take people from science backgrounds, but probably want an LSAT score from them). In reality, they will probably look at your undergrad GPA more than your GMAT, because you're not the kind of applicant who should be using the GMAT...

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby stugots26 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:53 am

I get a little annoyed when people on here don't consider a PhD in the hard sciences to mean much.

While the few classes I took may practice grade inflation, and that may be the case why my graduate GPA was almost 4, I was doing research and teaching as well from the week I arrived in the program.

I ran my own lab and performed independent research approximately 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, 50.5 weeks a year for slave wages for 6 years in a stinky lab, inhaling fumes, that no one working in "the real world" would ever have put up with. I had annual reviews, progress reports, and regular oversight, despite no financial incentive to produce results and no reasonable, predicted graduation schedule. It was the hardest thing in the world to come in to work the morning after an important reaction failed and find a way to work around the problem. I handled the extra weight as a TA that the rent-a-lecturer organic professors weren't willing to pull, and oftentime felt like I was lecturing myself. I wager that I had just as much real world experience as anyone else on this forum.

My graduate career matured me as an individual far beyond the person who got such a low undergraduate GPA, as the letter of recommendation from my advisor will attest. My research made the cover of a major scientific journal in February. I built character and serious, professional academic skills, and as much as an undergraduate GPA should be taken into consideration, so should all that I've accomplished and done to grow above it in the years since.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby IAFG » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:12 pm

stugots26 wrote:I get a little annoyed when people on here don't consider a PhD in the hard sciences to mean much.

dude. law school. you're talking about a major career change to something barely related. it's like saying, why don't med schools value my advanced grasp of constitutional law? because it's totally fucking unrelated. you want people to be impressed by your work in the hard sciences, STAY IN YOUR OWN FIELD.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:47 pm

OP, here is the deal. People on here are giving you realistic advice and information. You, clearly, don't like what you are hearing. But, that doesn't change the truth of it all. I had an employer grill me about not having any EC's on my resume from college. I said that I played a sport and worked and didn't really have time if I wanted to have a day off, keep my high gpa, etc. That employer still said I should have had another EC and didn't really give me a pass.

The moral of that story is this, law schools, like employers, have specific things they look for. They don't really care about your sob story or what you think is important. They care about what they think is important. Just because you think that your Ph'D should be regarded at a much higher level than it is, doesn't change the fact that it won't be. Stop whining and moaning. Just accept what people are telling you and do the best you can with what you have.

You should, without a doubt, retake the LSAT. You are unlikely to get into the MBA program at Northwestern and it would seem that you are also unlikely to get into the JD program. No one here can give you a definitive answer on how the GMAT v. LSAT score will play out, but a lot of people have had good solid educated guesses. Honestly, you won't find the answer to that question until you apply, adcoms won't really tell you the truth, none of us know for sure, and you can't possibly know. Apply if you want, but be happy to end up at a tough t2 or t3 school that will offer you marginal job prospects. Or, take the easier route of studying your ass off and retaking the LSAT. Either way, good luck to you OP.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby masochist » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:59 pm

stugots26 wrote:I get a little annoyed when people on here don't consider a PhD in the hard sciences to mean much.



It does, but your GPA and LSAT mean more. A PhD does not make you so profoundly unique that you should be automatically accepted as a result of having one. There are a number of people applying this cycle with PhDs. This may not be what you want to hear (and I promised myself I would never give this advice on TLS), but you need to retake the LSAT. A PhD does mean something, and it would be a great soft factor if it were combined with at least one number close to the median of the school you are targeting. You can't do anything about your UG GPA, so increasing your LSAT score is the only way to go.

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby robotclubmember » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:44 pm

stugots26 wrote:I get a little annoyed when people on here don't consider a PhD in the hard sciences to mean much.

While the few classes I took may practice grade inflation, and that may be the case why my graduate GPA was almost 4, I was doing research and teaching as well from the week I arrived in the program.

I ran my own lab and performed independent research approximately 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, 50.5 weeks a year for slave wages for 6 years in a stinky lab, inhaling fumes, that no one working in "the real world" would ever have put up with. I had annual reviews, progress reports, and regular oversight, despite no financial incentive to produce results and no reasonable, predicted graduation schedule. It was the hardest thing in the world to come in to work the morning after an important reaction failed and find a way to work around the problem. I handled the extra weight as a TA that the rent-a-lecturer organic professors weren't willing to pull, and oftentime felt like I was lecturing myself. I wager that I had just as much real world experience as anyone else on this forum.

My graduate career matured me as an individual far beyond the person who got such a low undergraduate GPA, as the letter of recommendation from my advisor will attest. My research made the cover of a major scientific journal in February. I built character and serious, professional academic skills, and as much as an undergraduate GPA should be taken into consideration, so should all that I've accomplished and done to grow above it in the years since.


It sounds like your work is very admirable. But does it necessarily translate to law school success? If a Barry Bonds has a great batting average in baseball, does that mean he will win on the next season of Top Chef? If Stephen Hawking has the mental capacity to unravel mysteries of the universe, does it mean that he is also going to be well-suited to leading a Fortune 500 company? Josh Groban is a pretty talented musician. I suppose that means he has a compelling case that he would also have the aptitude to pick up a scalpel and perform brain surgery?

The point I'm trying to make is that different disciplines require different aptitudes. And there are yardsticks applied to measure those aptitudes. And most law school admissions committees feel that your undergrad GPA and LSAT score are the two most important yardsticks to measure the aptitudes that THEY (i.e., not you) feel are important to determining the likelihood of your success in THEIR program. You can't get around that, and being successful in one field doesn't mean much to the gatekeepers of a completely different field if you don't have the numbers to back it up.

As is known, NU is the one top law school in which they choose to allow the GMAT. You can try applying to NU with the GMAT, but I really believe that you are not the type of candidate they had in mind who should be using a GMAT instead of the LSAT, and I feel it will be frowned upon and your chances of admission are low. The GMAT would be appropriate for business professionals and/or people who have high GPA's. I hope that you do send an application and can come back here and tell us all off and give us a big "I told you so!" I really do. That said, it is too late in the cycle to have even a chance. You should really apply ED next cycle, and then I feel that you do have a chance. But your chances will be strongest with a high LSAT. Even though NU says the GMAT is weighted equally to the LSAT, I think that they have certain expectations of who should be using each type of test, and the LSAT is still more important in USNWR rankings. No matter how much adcomms may try to lie through their teeth about the importance of USNWR rankings, it is well known that they are of utmost importance to the law school's interests. As far as stats go, without an LSAT, you lack the benefit of being a splitter (which NU is friendly towards), but rather, you're a guy with low GPA and no LSAT to offset, and GMAT's aren't reportable in USNWR. Low GPA's require special mitigation on applications. That's why I don't think the GMAT will get you in in this case. Even a 750 GMAT, compared by percentile, is only equal to a ~170 LSAT, and 170 is too low for you to have a chance at NU with the low GPA.

If I were you, here is what I would do:
-Prepare diligently for LSAT and try to achieve at least a 172. If you're as smart as you think, this shouldn't be a big deal. And in reality it isn't. Go to twitter and search "LSAT"... I don't think you'll find your competition to be that intimidating. :)
-Get recommendation letters from professors, not advisers. Academic adviser LOR's are frowned by adcomms upon because they have no perspective on your academic performance other than second-hand accounts. Those second-hand accounts are usually transcripts, to make matters worse.
-Go to the personal statement forum and do a lot of research in figuring out a way to sell the value of your experience in science to a graduate program specializing in legal studies. Swap PS's with another user.
-Write a compelling GPA addendum. Shouldn't be hard. You were in a tough program at UPenn and it's in the past.
-Apply ED to NU next cycle.

This is the best advice I can give. If it were easy to get into a top law school, they wouldn't exactly be "tops" now would they? It's possible, but not likely by any means with current stats.

PS: A PhD and JD? I hope you're not just trying to notch your belt compensate for anything... trust me, no amount of degrees makes your penis bigger. ;)

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Re: PhD Scientist, low undergrad GPA, 750 GMAT NWJD

Postby ThreeYears » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:52 pm

stugots26 wrote:I get a little annoyed when people on here don't consider a PhD in the hard sciences to mean much.

While the few classes I took may practice grade inflation, and that may be the case why my graduate GPA was almost 4, I was doing research and teaching as well from the week I arrived in the program.

I ran my own lab and performed independent research approximately 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, 50.5 weeks a year for slave wages for 6 years in a stinky lab, inhaling fumes, that no one working in "the real world" would ever have put up with. I had annual reviews, progress reports, and regular oversight, despite no financial incentive to produce results and no reasonable, predicted graduation schedule. It was the hardest thing in the world to come in to work the morning after an important reaction failed and find a way to work around the problem. I handled the extra weight as a TA that the rent-a-lecturer organic professors weren't willing to pull, and oftentime felt like I was lecturing myself. I wager that I had just as much real world experience as anyone else on this forum.

My graduate career matured me as an individual far beyond the person who got such a low undergraduate GPA, as the letter of recommendation from my advisor will attest. My research made the cover of a major scientific journal in February. I built character and serious, professional academic skills, and as much as an undergraduate GPA should be taken into consideration, so should all that I've accomplished and done to grow above it in the years since.


Now you are just venting. You are annoyed because you are poorly-informed. If you did your research, you would realize that a PhD in hard sciences, while still valuable, is quickly deteriorating in its quality and persuasiveness without a supporting performance in LSAT.

Getting into a PhD program in Biology and Chemistry is extremely easy. I will not get into details here, but anyone disagreeing with my assertion has a different definition on "easy" from me. Due to the high demand of human labor to perform hands-on biological or chemical experiments, recruiting graduate students is the only viable approach. We are cheap labors. Nothing more. It's no longer a training system like used to be 20 years ago.

When the admission dean at Berkeley was asked about the trend of recent applicants' pool. One trend he spotted is that more and more people with advanced degrees are applying to law school, including people "...with PhD in molecular biology..." Not a good sign, I must say. And here you are, still arguing we deserve some respect for our PhD degrees and the hard work behind this title. It is completely irrelevant. You will not be compared to other applicants, you will be compared to your peers, people also having PhDs in hard sciences, but at the time can score high on LSAT and write good application essays. Although I doubt there is any quota on how many PhDs a school will recruit, but I imagine they would stop at a certain point because we are non-traditional applicants.

To conclude: you are not unique, there are a sizable pool of PhD applicants and you are competing in that pool, not the general applicants. This is the assumption. And you have to re-organize all your arguments based on this assumption.




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