31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

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mmk33
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31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby mmk33 » Thu May 05, 2011 1:39 pm

I'm a 31 year old applying to law school for the 2012-2013 1L class. Undergrad gpa of 3.74 from a prestigious university; 4.0 in grad school (phd) at an ivy league. I am currently working in academia as a professor, but I am looking to move into law. I have always been a very good test taker (SAT, GRE) but I'm taking practice LSATs and am scoring in the low 160s right now. I have a month to prepare but I'm not sure I will be able to get above 165-167. Does anyone have thoughts on whether I will be able to crack into Duke or UVA with this type of profile? According to US news 168 would put me in the 25th percentile for Duke, but I'm wondering if my past accomplishments/gpa will help with that. If I get a 164/165 do I have any shot at these school?

any thoughts are highly welcomed

I've ordered 20 practice tests and two prep books and am hoping to make a lot of improvement in the next 30 days....

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yngblkgifted
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby yngblkgifted » Thu May 05, 2011 1:43 pm

mmk33 wrote:I'm a 31 year old applying to law school for the 2012-2013 1L class. Undergrad gpa of 3.74 from a prestigious university; 4.0 in grad school (phd) at an ivy league. I am currently working in academia as a professor, but I am looking to move into law. I have always been a very good test taker (SAT, GRE) but I'm taking practice LSATs and am scoring in the low 160s right now. I have a month to prepare but I'm not sure I will be able to get above 165-167. Does anyone have thoughts on whether I will be able to crack into Duke or UVA with this type of profile? According to US news 168 would put me in the 25th percentile for Duke, but I'm wondering if my past accomplishments/gpa will help with that. If I get a 164/165 do I have any shot at these school?

any thoughts are highly welcomed

I've ordered 20 practice tests and two prep books and am hoping to make a lot of improvement in the next 30 days....


Think you'll need at least a 167 and you'll have to ED. I also think that a 167 isn't out of reach right now, but keep in mind that you can always retake in October. You should be able to definitely hit that in October.

Edit: Oh wait, maybe not. Your UG GPA is lower than I thought (rc fail). Shoot for 170 plus. Maybe just forget June and take in October.

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mmk33
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby mmk33 » Thu May 05, 2011 2:16 pm

the plan is to take the test in a month and re-take in october if I need to improve my score.

does anyone know how law schools factor in grad school grades into the process? I have 120 credits with a 3.74 (undergrad) and then 40 credits with a 4.0 (grad).

the other part of my post is will having a phd make it more likely that I can get admitted at the lower end of the LSAT range (since this makes the class more diverse, etc.) or is this just a pipe dream?

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Stonewall
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby Stonewall » Thu May 05, 2011 2:17 pm

i believe grad skool grades don't count

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buckilaw
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby buckilaw » Thu May 05, 2011 2:17 pm

Do you want to go into private practice, public interest, or legal academia?

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buckilaw
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby buckilaw » Thu May 05, 2011 2:23 pm

mmk33 wrote:the plan is to take the test in a month and re-take in october if I need to improve my score.

does anyone know how law schools factor in grad school grades into the process? I have 120 credits with a 3.74 (undergrad) and then 40 credits with a 4.0 (grad).

the other part of my post is will having a phd make it more likely that I can get admitted at the lower end of the LSAT range (since this makes the class more diverse, etc.) or is this just a pipe dream?


LSAC (and schools) only consider UGPA in calculating your GPA for admissions purposes. Most schools consider grad degrees to be a soft. It follows that they would treat a Phd similar to how they would treat a grad degree.

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mmk33
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby mmk33 » Thu May 05, 2011 2:38 pm

private practice

thanks for the responses. I figure that with my profile I will have an excellent chance for UNC (and I'm in-state so it is cheap), but I really want to go to Duke or UVA.

so basically, it sounds like my profile of 3.74/LSAT score (162-168 most likely) is virtually identical to the profile of a 21 one year old with the same profile and no additional education/teaching experience/etc.?

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby bfaiken » Thu May 05, 2011 2:46 pm

mmk33 wrote:private practice

thanks for the responses. I figure that with my profile I will have an excellent chance for UNC (and I'm in-state so it is cheap), but I really want to go to Duke or UVA.

so basically, it sounds like my profile of 3.74/LSAT score (162-168 most likely) is virtually identical to the profile of a 21 one year old with the same profile and no additional education/teaching experience/etc.?

Not identical, no. That's where softs come in. Softs help schools differentiate between numbers twins. The problem with that profile is that the 21 year old won't get into UVA or Duke either. If you hit the top end of that range, then you certainly have a chance, especially if you apply ED. The best course of action, to me at least, is to take the October LSAT, dedicate your summer to it, and do as well as possible. If you hit 170, you'll have some options, potentially including $$ from the schools you're talking about.

You should also be thinking about Northwestern, which is known to emphasize work experience. I guess it's a little farther away from home than you're looking for though.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby glewz » Thu May 05, 2011 2:49 pm

mmk33 wrote:private practice

thanks for the responses. I figure that with my profile I will have an excellent chance for UNC (and I'm in-state so it is cheap), but I really want to go to Duke or UVA.

so basically, it sounds like my profile of 3.74/LSAT score (162-168 most likely) is virtually identical to the profile of a 21 one year old with the same profile and no additional education/teaching experience/etc.?


A PhD is a great soft and would likely distinguish yourself among candidates with similar numbers, so yes, it's certainly a good thing and might even compensate for a lower LSAT score. That said, admit boards are very numbers-focused.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby ladybug89 » Thu May 05, 2011 2:51 pm

What's your phd in? This makes a difference.

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mmk33
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby mmk33 » Thu May 05, 2011 3:37 pm

How much does it matter if you take the LSAT once versus twice? In other words, if I hit 166 in June and then am able to hit 170 in October how much different is that than 170 with one pull?

When I started this thread I thought that my phd would help me a lot. It sounds like I need 167+ to even have a chance at Duke and UVA. My other option is UNC, which is great because I live nearby and am in-state (making it cheap). I'm really not going to leave this area for a variety of reasons, so it's either Duke, UVA, or UNC. I think my plan will be to re-take the LSAT in October if necessary and apply ED to Duke.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby Muenchen » Thu May 05, 2011 4:10 pm

The numbers these people are putting out make your borderline at best. I would say you need something like a 170+ to have a better than even shot at both of ED to UVA and Duke.

Also here's what you should do

1. Do well on the LSAT
2. Acquire Priority Track application status for Duke and apply very early
3. After hearing from Duke, apply ED or RD to UVA based on that decision
4. ?????
5. PROFIT!

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby notanumber » Thu May 05, 2011 4:16 pm

At the age of 31, and with a desire to work in private practice, I'd be wary about sending in an application with an ED contract. $200,000 of debt in your early 30s is VERY different than $200,000 of debt in your mid 20s.

ETA: I bet you'd have a pretty solid chance at UVA or Duke with an LSAT score of 167+ Not a guarantee, but your work as a professor (even more than your PH.D.) will be a huge plus. Since you're taking the test in June, remember that you can always retake in Spet/Oct and November/December - that's when I took my test the year I applied.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby Rule11 » Thu May 05, 2011 4:26 pm

What kind of private practice are you looking for? I ask because an older student with a good/marketable Ph.D (yours must be if you're a professor) may have trouble convincing employers that he/she's serious or willing to make the substantial personal sacrifices that young lawyers have to make in order to excel. Indeed, you'll probably end up having second thoughts and regrets, unless your plan is to start a solo practice and control your own destiny (although the substantial debt associated with EDing would make that road rockier).

Either way, your takeaway from this thread is basically right. Ph.Ds usually only help at the margins, and grad grades don't help at all. Good luck!

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby paulinaporizkova » Thu May 05, 2011 4:32 pm

pretty sure virginia only takes EDers who hit one of their medians (and are not far from the other) so you'd need a 170 on the LSAT to have a shot since you don't have like a 4.0 UGPA. i think with a 167+ you are in at NU at least, and i don't know jack about duke

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby Muenchen » Thu May 05, 2011 5:06 pm

paulinaporizkova wrote:pretty sure virginia only takes EDers who hit one of their medians (and are not far from the other) so you'd need a 170 on the LSAT to have a shot since you don't have like a 4.0 UGPA. i think with a 167+ you are in at NU at least, and i don't know jack about duke


This.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby fathergoose » Thu May 05, 2011 5:09 pm

Getting into the 170s if you started in the 160s cold. Just put in a good month or two of focuses prep and pray the admissions gods smile on you.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby snichols16 » Thu May 05, 2011 5:09 pm

PMed you with some info

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Thu May 05, 2011 5:24 pm

Hi MMK,

Like you, I am 31 years old, with a PhD, currently working as a professor, and considering law school next year.

A number of people here have posted misleading information. There is strong evidence that PhDs are given much greater weight that MAs by law schools.

As an example: a close friend of mine applied to law school last year with a Phd. He got in to a school higher ranked than those you have mentioned here, even though his UGPA was slightly below the school's 25th percentile and his LSAT was exactly at the school's 25th percentile. Unlike you, he had no work experience as a professor, his PhD was from a well ranked public school - not an ivy - and his graduate GPA was substantially lower than yours. He probably had a good personal statement, but nothing else significant that would count in his favor.

Two suggestions: (1) aim higher; (2) even with a PhD, the LSAT remains the most important aspect of your application, so don't take it until you are ready.

The LSAT is more learnable than a lot of other standardized tests (for example, the GRE). I have been studying consistently for a month and a half and I still feel I have room for improvement. I would suggest waiting until October.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby Muenchen » Thu May 05, 2011 5:25 pm

Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby snichols16 » Thu May 05, 2011 5:28 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:Hi MMK,

Like you, I am 31 years old, with a PhD, currently working as a professor, and considering law school next year.

A number of people here have posted misleading information. There is strong evidence that PhDs are given much greater weight that MAs by law schools.

As an example: a close friend of mine applied to law school last year with a Phd. He got in to a school higher ranked than those you have mentioned here, even though his UGPA was slightly below the school's 25th percentile and his LSAT was exactly at the school's 25th percentile. Unlike you, he had no work experience as a professor, his PhD was from a well ranked public school - not an ivy - and his graduate GPA was substantially lower than yours. He probably had a good personal statement, but nothing else significant that would count in his favor.

Two suggestions: (1) aim higher; (2) even with a PhD, the LSAT remains the most important aspect of your application, so don't take it until you are ready.

The LSAT is more learnable than a lot of other standardized tests (for example, the GRE). I have been studying consistently for a month and a half and I still feel I have room for improvement. I would suggest waiting until October.


Agreed. PhD matters, despite the ideas those on TLS like to perpetuate.

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Muenchen
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby Muenchen » Thu May 05, 2011 5:47 pm

Instead of just taking the word of random people on the internet, I want to show you at least one data point in favor of NO IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT YOU HAVE A PHD

Here are two people on LSN, same exact stats (170, 3.7 so similar to you if you got a 170). Yes yes, I know it's self-reported and whatnot, but at least look at them and keep it in mind.

PhD: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/masochist
UVA: WL
Duke: In

No PhD: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/irishlark
UVA:In
Duke:In


Yes, there applications were probably different, they probably applied at different times, etc. But please don't think a PhD makes up for numbers. Numbers are the bottom line.

snichols16
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby snichols16 » Thu May 05, 2011 5:50 pm

Muenchen wrote:Instead of just taking the word of random people on the internet, I want to show you at least one data point in favor of NO IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT YOU HAVE A PHD

Here are two people on LSN, same exact stats (170, 3.7 so similar to you if you got a 170). Yes yes, I know it's self-reported and whatnot, but at least look at them and keep it in mind.

PhD: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/masochist
UVA: WL
Duke: In

No PhD: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/irishlark
UVA:In
Duke:In


Yes, there applications were probably different, they probably applied at different times, etc. But please don't think a PhD makes up for numbers. Numbers are the bottom line.


True. But I will say with my usual caveat that prestige matters with PhD. A PhD from University of Phoenix means nothing. A PhD from a good school means a lot. Not saying masochist has a PhD from Phoenix, but a PhD is a strong soft that can and does make up for numbers.

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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby whymeohgodno » Thu May 05, 2011 5:52 pm

snichols16 wrote:
Muenchen wrote:Instead of just taking the word of random people on the internet, I want to show you at least one data point in favor of NO IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT YOU HAVE A PHD

Here are two people on LSN, same exact stats (170, 3.7 so similar to you if you got a 170). Yes yes, I know it's self-reported and whatnot, but at least look at them and keep it in mind.

PhD: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/masochist
UVA: WL
Duke: In

No PhD: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/irishlark
UVA:In
Duke:In


Yes, there applications were probably different, they probably applied at different times, etc. But please don't think a PhD makes up for numbers. Numbers are the bottom line.


True. But I will say with my usual caveat that prestige matters with PhD. A PhD from University of Phoenix means nothing. A PhD from a good school means a lot. Not saying masochist has a PhD from Phoenix, but a PhD is a strong soft that can and does make up for numbers.


A PhD from Harvard won't matter a lot for law school admissions. More than other softs but not nearly enough to make up for numbers below both medians.

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Muenchen
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Re: 31 year old Phd; 3.74 UGPA; 4.0 grad gpa; taking LSAT in Jun

Postby Muenchen » Thu May 05, 2011 5:54 pm

snichols16 wrote:
Muenchen wrote:Instead of just taking the word of random people on the internet, I want to show you at least one data point in favor of NO IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT YOU HAVE A PHD

Here are two people on LSN, same exact stats (170, 3.7 so similar to you if you got a 170). Yes yes, I know it's self-reported and whatnot, but at least look at them and keep it in mind.

PhD: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/masochist
UVA: WL
Duke: In

No PhD: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/irishlark
UVA:In
Duke:In


Yes, there applications were probably different, they probably applied at different times, etc. But please don't think a PhD makes up for numbers. Numbers are the bottom line.


True. But I will say with my usual caveat that prestige matters with PhD. A PhD from University of Phoenix means nothing. A PhD from a good school means a lot. Not saying masochist has a PhD from Phoenix, but a PhD is a strong soft that can and does make up for numbers.


Prestige matters for UG too, but I don't think you will find any poster on here that will tell you that you can rely on the rank of your other school to get in to a law school. In general, they don't care as long as it's not an internet school. PhD school prestige cannot be quanitified and considered in rankings.




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