Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

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dsn32
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Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby dsn32 » Sun May 01, 2011 4:07 pm

Hey everyone, I'm a rising junior in undergrad currently trying to figure out the best plan of action moving forward in terms of applying to law schools, taking the LSAT, etc. I just had a couple of questions that I was hoping some of you could answers, as I'd assume you all know more than I do at this point in the process.

1. What are the pros and cons of applying early in my senior year with a slightly lower GPA (I'd estimate a 3.53) vs. applying in late December/early Jan. with a slightly higher GPA (est. 3.58). I realize these aren't the greatest numbers, but they are being dragged down by a pitiful fall semester of my freshman year and have trended upward ever since.

2. What boost, if any, does the reputation of your undergraduate institution give you? I'm under the impression that this means little in the application process and in terms of being more favorable towards a slightly lower GPA (FWIW, I go to a top 5 public university).

3. I have not taken a diagnostic yet, but I do plan on doing so in the very near future. I anticipate my weaknesses to be on the LG and LR sections, and my strength going in as RC. What would be the best course of action after my diagnostic (i.e. a course at TestMasters, Princeton Review, Kaplan vs. intensive self-teaching)?

4. Lastly, I feel that I will have very solid "softs", including near full-time employment that most would consider relevant work experience in a professional field. Obviously, this takes up time, and I'm wondering if my focus would be better spent elsewhere if I do decide to go full-steam ahead in the law school process.

Thanks for any help! I look forward to any/all reponses!

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Knock
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby Knock » Sun May 01, 2011 4:15 pm

dsn32 wrote:Hey everyone, I'm a rising junior in undergrad currently trying to figure out the best plan of action moving forward in terms of applying to law schools, taking the LSAT, etc. I just had a couple of questions that I was hoping some of you could answers, as I'd assume you all know more than I do at this point in the process.

1. What are the pros and cons of applying early in my senior year with a slightly lower GPA (I'd estimate a 3.53) vs. applying in late December/early Jan. with a slightly higher GPA (est. 3.58). I realize these aren't the greatest numbers, but they are being dragged down by a pitiful fall semester of my freshman year and have trended upward ever since.


Pros are a slightly earlier application, which is helpful since admissions are rolling. Cons are a slightly lower GPA, but unless the GPA boost takes you from below a school's median to above it isn't going to make a big difference. You could always apply to and update your GPA wen you get you fall grades. That's probably the best way to go, especially since you won't know for sure how your grades will be. This is the best of both worlds.

2. What boost, if any, does the reputation of your undergraduate institution give you? I'm under the impression that this means little in the application process and in terms of being more favorable towards a slightly lower GPA (FWIW, I go to a top 5 public university).


Most people on these boards will say that undergrad doesn't matter at all. I'm inclined to agree with a certain caveat. For the top schools (perhaps the T6: HYSCCN), I have noticed that people with a top undergrad (HYPS or a strong ivy) often out perform their numbers. But top 5 public university is a pretty meaningless distinction, and I don't think your undergrad will be strong enough to give you a slight boost that the very top schools may (or may not). Your undergrad won't get you into any schools where your numbers aren't strong enough to get into anyways, and it won't hurt you. It's all going to come down to GPA + LSAT.

3. I have not taken a diagnostic yet, but I do plan on doing so in the very near future. I anticipate my weaknesses to be on the LG and LR sections, and my strength going in as RC. What would be the best course of action after my diagnostic (i.e. a course at TestMasters, Princeton Review, Kaplan vs. intensive self-teaching)?


I favor intensive self-teaching. I'd only recommend a course if you have trouble sticking with a study schedule. The best advice i'd have is to pick up the Powerscore LG + LR Bibles and work through them, then take PTs. See the LSAT forum for much more detailed advice. Also check out the LSAT Blog (google it) for lots more good advice, and study calendars.

4. Lastly, I feel that I will have very solid "softs", including near full-time employment that most would consider relevant work experience in a professional field. Obviously, this takes up time, and I'm wondering if my focus would be better spent elsewhere if I do decide to go full-steam ahead in the law school process.


If near full-time employment is hurting your GPA, and you can afford to stop working or reduce your hours, then i'd recommend doing so. Your GPA + LSAT is exponentially more important than any softs you have, and really this is understating the importance of it. Softs are really not important.

I'll leave off with this: get the highest LSAT score you possibly can. That's everything in LS admissions. It's also perhaps the best investment of time-to-reward that you'll ever get in your entire life. A few point boost on your LSAT can get you into a whole different tier of schools, or get you $150,000 in scholarship money to the school you previously were paying sticker at.

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nealric
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby nealric » Sun May 01, 2011 4:20 pm

Hey everyone, I'm a rising junior in undergrad currently trying to figure out the best plan of action moving forward in terms of applying to law schools, taking the LSAT, etc. I just had a couple of questions that I was hoping some of you could answers, as I'd assume you all know more than I do at this point in the process.

1. What are the pros and cons of applying early in my senior year with a slightly lower GPA (I'd estimate a 3.53) vs. applying in late December/early Jan. with a slightly higher GPA (est. 3.58). I realize these aren't the greatest numbers, but they are being dragged down by a pitiful fall semester of my freshman year and have trended upward ever since.

2. What boost, if any, does the reputation of your undergraduate institution give you? I'm under the impression that this means little in the application process and in terms of being more favorable towards a slightly lower GPA (FWIW, I go to a top 5 public university).

3. I have not taken a diagnostic yet, but I do plan on doing so in the very near future. I anticipate my weaknesses to be on the LG and LR sections, and my strength going in as RC. What would be the best course of action after my diagnostic (i.e. a course at TestMasters, Princeton Review, Kaplan vs. intensive self-teaching)?

4. Lastly, I feel that I will have very solid "softs", including near full-time employment that most would consider relevant work experience in a professional field. Obviously, this takes up time, and I'm wondering if my focus would be better spent elsewhere if I do decide to go full-steam ahead in the law school process.

Thanks for any help! I look forward to any/all reponses!


1. Depends on your LSAT. If you do well and are looking at top schools, it would probably best to take a year off and wait until after graduation to apply. Getting into the 3.6 range will put you within the 25/75th percentile spread and many top schools.

2. Very, very little. It can be better to have a 4.0 in communications from Podunk U than to have a 3.6 in Engineering from MIT for law school admissions.

3. The best course is to study your arse off. No class can replace hard work unless you are just naturally gifted at the LSAT. If you are taking a class, Testmasters is probably the best. My experience is that Princeton Review/Kaplan are mostly aimed at getting people from 145s to 155s. Testmasters is more aimed at getting people from 160 to 170.

4. Softs don't matter much from an admissions standpoint, but if you can put a few years in a professional field I think it would be well worth it before diving into laws school. I was very glad I took a year off before law school.

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dsn32
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby dsn32 » Sun May 01, 2011 4:24 pm

Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.

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Knock
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby Knock » Sun May 01, 2011 4:27 pm

dsn32 wrote:Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.


None unless it's a public school where they reserve a certain percentage of seats for state residents. The only T14 I know that is like this is University of Virginia. In the T1, I think University of North Carolina reserves a certain percentage of seats for state residents as well. There may be others.

Alumni don't receive a boost either, except perhaps in the most slight way possible that isn't going to get you in anyways if you're numbers aren't in the school's range anyways.

09042014
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby 09042014 » Sun May 01, 2011 4:30 pm

dsn32 wrote:Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.


Virgina gives a boost. Michigan, Penn and Cornell don't.

Private schools don't care for obvious reasons.

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Muenchen
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby Muenchen » Mon May 02, 2011 9:59 am

Desert Fox wrote:
dsn32 wrote:Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.


Virgina gives a boost. Michigan, Penn and Cornell don't.

Private schools don't care for obvious reasons.


Texas gives a boost as well. Also, Penn and Cornell are private..... :|

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed May 04, 2011 12:45 am

Desert Fox wrote:
dsn32 wrote:Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.


Virgina gives a boost. Michigan, Penn and Cornell don't.

Private schools don't care for obvious reasons.

Michigan operates essentially like a private school.
I would also say that the Cali schools, Illinois and IU have a slight boost to instaters

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Veyron
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby Veyron » Wed May 04, 2011 12:57 am

Desert Fox wrote:
dsn32 wrote:Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.


Virgina gives a boost. Michigan, Penn and Cornell don't.

Private schools don't care for obvious reasons.


Extremely subtle Penn and Cornell are state schools trolling. Well struck!

09042014
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby 09042014 » Wed May 04, 2011 1:28 am

Veyron wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
dsn32 wrote:Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.


Virgina gives a boost. Michigan, Penn and Cornell don't.

Private schools don't care for obvious reasons.


Extremely subtle Penn and Cornell are state schools trolling. Well struck!


You are going to tell me the University of Pennsylvania isn't public? Cornell is a public school obs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornell_Un ... e_Sciences

09042014
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby 09042014 » Wed May 04, 2011 1:29 am

JamMasterJ wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
dsn32 wrote:Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.


Virgina gives a boost. Michigan, Penn and Cornell don't.

Private schools don't care for obvious reasons.

Michigan operates essentially like a private school.
I would also say that the Cali schools, Illinois and IU have a slight boost to instaters


Illinois has no reason to give a boost to instaters. In fact they actually lose money because they can charge out of staters more.

brandonfoy
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby brandonfoy » Wed May 04, 2011 1:33 am

1. DEFINITELY apply as early as possible as admission committees know to expect a grade update from a senior in college. Just make sure you work you butt off and get all A's. Adding relevant extracurriculars wouldn't hurt either.

2. Reputation may play a role, but more important is the data they have on the past law school applicants from your university. More specifically, they'll look at your GPA and LSAT score in relation to fellow alumni to see where you stand.

3. Self test is good, but there's a lot to be said about a well designed LSAT prep course. I highly highly recommend Blueprint Prep's Movie 2.0. Go on youtube and search "blueprint lsat prep" or go to blueprintprep.com and check out sample videos. They take you step by step through the entire LSAT and you're given homework (very important) which is many of the past LSATs. It's about $820, but there's no price you can put on knowing the LSAT inside and out. Blueprint's Movie 2.0 will give you all the tools you need to murder that crazy ass test.

4. How they look at your softs has much to do with you GPA and LSAT score. Your GPA is quite good, now you just need a stellar LSAT score. They're called "softs" for a reason. So I wouldn't worry much about spending precious time building your resume when you could be spending that time on LSAT prep.

Bottom line: Do yourself a favor and study your ass off for the LSAT. It is by far the most important thing left undecided on your future applications. Blueprints Movie comes with several recent full-length LSATs and once you've made it through the entire product you will be able to spot each individual question type and know exactly how to attack it.
You can forget everything in this thread and still be okay if you remember that mastering the LSAT takes time & commitment. Start studying now and apply in October (ahead of you LSAT score) and come December you'll have all the top schools breathing down your neck to get you in their institution.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Planning Stages of Law School Prep, A few questions

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed May 04, 2011 2:16 am

Desert Fox wrote:
JamMasterJ wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
dsn32 wrote:Thanks! I guess one additional question I'd pose as well would be:

How much of a boost (if any) are in-state students (and alumni for that matter) given in T14? T1? Ideally I'd like to stay where I went to undergrad, but I'm fully aware of needing to get a 170+ with my undergrad GPA, no easy feat.


Virgina gives a boost. Michigan, Penn and Cornell don't.

Private schools don't care for obvious reasons.

Michigan operates essentially like a private school.
I would also say that the Cali schools, Illinois and IU have a slight boost to instaters


Illinois has no reason to give a boost to instaters. In fact they actually lose money because they can charge out of staters more.

I guess their's is more centered on UIUC students. They can admit high gpas without LSAT scores




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