Advice Needed

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Artistry
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:31 pm

Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:16 pm

I'd been lurking here for a while, reading the various threads for their content and knowledge. Not sure where my thread should go, so I decided to post here.

Residency: Alaska
GPA: 3.5
LSDA GPA: 3.0
LSAT: 153 (ugh!)
Ties: Alaska (mostly), New Mexico (partly), bay area of California (minimal)
URM: No
Legal interests: Criminal law (prosecution or private practice defense)
No UG debt.

Lots of bad mistakes early on in college, but I've gradually been able to fix everything with time. I was "young" so to speak.

Would either like to end up in/around the great lakes or the pacific northwest. Would accept Texas or New Mexico also. I joke that, as an Alaskan, because I've lived up there for as long as I have, I can live just about anywhere and be content. :wink:

I would also like to pursue a joint degree (JD/Masters) if at all possible, so that my job prospects would be better should getting a legal job after school not go so well. Obviously the market is saturated with lawyers, but I believe I might be able to find a niche somewhere.

Schools applied to: Seattle U, Willamette, Wayne St., Syracuse, Penn State, Texas Tech, SMU (part time).

Rejected: New Mexico

Admitted: Toledo

Waitlisted: Akron (will likely withdraw unless $ comes)

Personally, I think that I should try for the LSAT again (I know for certain that I didn't do as well as I had in practice; I was starting to get in the low 160's prior to test time) and work a bit in order to prepare for the next admissions cycle. I studied for about two months using prep tests and advice I've found online. That said, my family (which is planning on paying for school) is urging for me to go sooner rather than later. I'd rather not break their backs with the costs of further education if I can help it.

My questions are as follows: what are my chances at the schools I've indicated? Would taking (and improving) the LSAT score help in terms of these prospects?

Thanks for any advice!
Last edited by Artistry on Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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moonman157
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:26 pm

Re: Advice Needed

Postby moonman157 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:23 pm

Artistry wrote:I'd been lurking here for a while, reading the various threads for their content and knowledge. Not sure where my thread should go, so I decided to post here.

Residency: Alaska
GPA: 3.5
LSDA GPA: 3.0
LSAT: 153 (ugh!)
Ties: Alaska (mostly), New Mexico (partly), bay area of California (minimal)
URM: No
Legal interests: Criminal law (prosecution or private practice defense)
No UG debt.

Lots of bad mistakes early on in college, but I've gradually been able to fix everything with time. I was "young" so to speak.

Would either like to end up in/around the great lakes or the pacific northwest. Would accept Texas or New Mexico also. I joke that, as an Alaskan, because I've lived up there for as long as I have, I can live just about anywhere and be content. :wink:

I would also like to pursue a joint degree (JD/Masters) if at all possible, so that my job prospects would be better should getting a legal job after school not go so well. Obviously the market is saturated with lawyers, but I believe I might be able to find a niche somewhere.

Schools applied to: Seattle U, Willamette, New Mexico, Toledo, Akron, Wayne St., Syracuse, Penn State, Texas Tech, SMU (part time).

Personally, I think that I should try for the LSAT again (I know for certain that I didn't do as well as I had in practice; I was starting to get in the low 160's prior to test time) and work a bit in order to prepare for the next admissions cycle. I studied for about two months using prep tests and advice I've found online. That said, my family (which is planning on paying for school) is urging for me to go sooner rather than later. I'd rather not break their backs with the costs of further education if I can help it.

My questions are as follows: what are my chances at the schools I've indicated? Would taking (and improving) the LSAT score help in terms of these prospects?

Thanks for any advice!


This is definitely the correct thing to do. I can't say too much about your chances at those schools, but in all honesty you really don't want to go to them anyway. That LSAC GPA won't help, but a score in the mid to upper 160s, or even cracking 170, will certainly give you much better options, or scholarship money at a regional school (since it seems like that's what you may be going for). I would stress to your parents that law school is an unbelievably huge investment; not just in terms of money, which alone is huge, but also the fact that this is setting up your career and the rest of your life. One year off to give yourself significantly better options is well worth it.

Artistry
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:41 pm

Question: Might it be better, since I'm hoping to get a JD/Masters joint degree to get into a masters program that has a law school present? After a year, the graduate GPA might be better such that I merit consideration for law school.

As it stands, I could probably get into a decent masters program (I'm hoping for criminal justice/criminology/social work, since my UG was criminal justice also; currently have a 3.75 GPA concerning solely my CJ courses).

NOTE: Seattle U, Toledo, and Syracuse were considered precisely because of the JD/Masters possibilities; short of that, I probably wouldn't consider attending those schools.
Last edited by Artistry on Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

snehpets
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby snehpets » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:42 pm

Artistry wrote:Question: Might it be better, since I'm hoping to get a JD/Masters joint degree to get into a masters program that has a law school present? After a year, the graduate GPA might be better such that I merit consideration for law school.

As it stands, I could probably get into a decent masters program (I'm hoping for criminal justice/criminology, since my UG was criminal justice also; currently have a 3.75 GPA concerning solely my CJ courses).


only your first undergrad degree counts towards your GPA. definitely retake either way.

ETA: you might know that and just be saying that it would make your application look better. perhaps that's true but when it comes down to it most schools care about your GPA in terms of how it affects their ranking, so if they have two people scoring a 153, one with a 3.0 and a master's degree and one with a 3.5 and no master's degree chances are they're going to go with the 3.5

tennisking88
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby tennisking88 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:44 pm

Artistry wrote:Question: Might it be better, since I'm hoping to get a JD/Masters joint degree to get into a masters program that has a law school present? After a year, the graduate GPA might be better such that I merit consideration for law school.

As it stands, I could probably get into a decent masters program (I'm hoping for criminal justice/criminology, since my UG was criminal justice also; currently have a 3.75 GPA concerning solely my CJ courses).


MA won't help much as far as admissions goes. Your GPA isn't great, but it's really the LSAT that's holding you down. I would retake to try to get as much aid as possible, because those schools are not great.

Artistry
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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:31 pm

Re: Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:04 pm

tennisking88 wrote: MA won't help much as far as admissions goes. Your GPA isn't great, but it's really the LSAT that's holding you down. I would retake to try to get as much aid as possible, because those schools are not great.


I figured that, if I retake and do better, I might have a fighting chance at the University of Washington or somewhere in the mid-west like Ohio State or something.

Granted, the schools I highlighted aren't great (and they weren't exactly what I was thinking of when considering law school) but unless I get really lucky getting a job with the government, I will have to pursue graduate/professional educational options. I will have some time to retake the LSAT if I wish, but probably no more than a year (I could retake it twice within that window, if necessary).

As far as "regional schools" are concerned, I always thought that anything outside the US News top 14 was considered "regional". If there is truth to that, then outside that T14 (and maybe a few others) it wouldn't matter too much where I wanted to go to school (besides where I want to live, work, $$$ offered, etc.).

tennisking88
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby tennisking88 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:49 pm

Artistry wrote:
tennisking88 wrote: MA won't help much as far as admissions goes. Your GPA isn't great, but it's really the LSAT that's holding you down. I would retake to try to get as much aid as possible, because those schools are not great.


I figured that, if I retake and do better, I might have a fighting chance at the University of Washington or somewhere in the mid-west like Ohio State or something.

Granted, the schools I highlighted aren't great (and they weren't exactly what I was thinking of when considering law school) but unless I get really lucky getting a job with the government, I will have to pursue graduate/professional educational options. I will have some time to retake the LSAT if I wish, but probably no more than a year (I could retake it twice within that window, if necessary).

As far as "regional schools" are concerned, I always thought that anything outside the US News top 14 was considered "regional". If there is truth to that, then outside that T14 (and maybe a few others) it wouldn't matter too much where I wanted to go to school (besides where I want to live, work, $$$ offered, etc.).


They are absolutely regional, you're right, but make sure 1) that region is actually hiring lawyers, 2) the school places well, is well known in that region, and isn't totally overwhelmed by their competition (a-la UW vs U Seattle). Also, gotta take cost into consideration. Do not even think about going to these schools at sticker price. That's why you unfortunately have to retake.

Artistry
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:54 pm

tennisking88 wrote:They are absolutely regional, you're right, but make sure 1) that region is actually hiring lawyers, 2) the school places well, is well known in that region, and isn't totally overwhelmed by their competition (a-la UW vs U Seattle). Also, gotta take cost into consideration. Do not even think about going to these schools at sticker price. That's why you unfortunately have to retake.

In all fairness to me, at least I didn't apply to Gonzaga; I've heard some terrible things about that place. At least with Seattle, I could get a JD/Masters in CJ like I had originally planned.

You're right though; sticker is nuts. Then again, my family is pretty insistent (and willing to pay sticker). I just hope they can understand the reality of the situation and help me out just a little bit longer....

tennisking88
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby tennisking88 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:59 pm

Artistry wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:They are absolutely regional, you're right, but make sure 1) that region is actually hiring lawyers, 2) the school places well, is well known in that region, and isn't totally overwhelmed by their competition (a-la UW vs U Seattle). Also, gotta take cost into consideration. Do not even think about going to these schools at sticker price. That's why you unfortunately have to retake.

In all fairness to me, at least I didn't apply to Gonzaga; I've heard some terrible things about that place. At least with Seattle, I could get a JD/Masters in CJ like I had originally planned.

You're right though; sticker is nuts. Then again, my family is pretty insistent (and willing to pay the bill). I just hope they can understand the reality of the situation and help me out just a little bit longer....


I think SMU PT would be a good choice. It's got a very good rep in the Dallas area. Again, gotta get that LSAT up though. I'd tell your parents 1) law school will always be there, 2) applicants are dropping even further next cycle, so your chances at admission/money is greater, 3) an improvement on the LSAT (159+) could net you tens of thousands in aid, or get you admission to a much better school.

Artistry
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:31 pm

Re: Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:03 am

tennisking88 wrote:
Artistry wrote:
tennisking88 wrote:They are absolutely regional, you're right, but make sure 1) that region is actually hiring lawyers, 2) the school places well, is well known in that region, and isn't totally overwhelmed by their competition (a-la UW vs U Seattle). Also, gotta take cost into consideration. Do not even think about going to these schools at sticker price. That's why you unfortunately have to retake.

In all fairness to me, at least I didn't apply to Gonzaga; I've heard some terrible things about that place. At least with Seattle, I could get a JD/Masters in CJ like I had originally planned.

You're right though; sticker is nuts. Then again, my family is pretty insistent (and willing to pay the bill). I just hope they can understand the reality of the situation and help me out just a little bit longer....


I think SMU PT would be a good choice. It's got a very good rep in the Dallas area. Again, gotta get that LSAT up though. I'd tell your parents 1) law school will always be there, 2) applicants are dropping even further next cycle, so your chances at admission/money is greater, 3) an improvement on the LSAT (159+) could net you tens of thousands in aid, or get you admission to a much better school.

I've been told as much by my professors about SMU; being an Alaskan, I'm not sure I could handle the heat, so to speak.... :D

Nah weather isn't an issue. All the points you've given are valid, though. Maybe I'll enlist a tutor or something to help me with the LSAT. After all, if i was getting 160's in practice, I might be able to do better with some extra help.

Consequently, how much of a disadvantage is it to apply to law school as an Alaskan? There is no law school up here, and that means I'll have to pay out-of-state sticker prices for school (barring financial aid).

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eringobragh
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby eringobragh » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:46 pm

Artistry wrote:Consequently, how much of a disadvantage is it to apply to law school as an Alaskan? There is no law school up here, and that means I'll have to pay out-of-state sticker prices for school (barring financial aid).


Disadvantage? I would say none [at least in reference to the items you mention]. Being Alaskan is a great form of diversity that law schools yearn for. It boosts your application. Out-of-state sticker? Most law schools that have the in-state option allow you to have in-state tuition after one year of residency, and when you bang out the LSAT and get your 160+, you'll be looking at merit scholarships that will help you avoid paying sticker.

[And yes, the closest you should ever get to Gonzaga is watching them on CBS in March. :) ]

Artistry
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:16 am

@eringobragh: +1 concerning Gonzaga. Good thing Ohio State took care of them, huh?

Part of the reason why I would like to avoid paying sticker (and perhaps get and waiver to pay in-state rates) is because of the permanent fund dividend. That is roughly $1,500 a year that could be earned simply by virtue of maintaining residency in Alaska while going to school.

Makes my life a bit easier, to be sure.

I just hope I can make a wise decision; fortunately, I am still finishing my undergrad, and have the chance to raise my GPA with a big semester. We'll see what happens.

Many thanks to all those who gave their advice!

Artistry
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:21 pm

Update: I was accepted into Toledo today, even with my dubious credentials. :shock:

So at the very least, my options are Toledo JD/MCJ or retake (and I'm still leaning towards the retake).

Is not going to law school better than going to a dubious law school? That'd be like in chess: having no development being better than having bad development.

justicefishy
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby justicefishy » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:41 am

Artistry wrote:Update: I was accepted into Toledo today, even with my dubious credentials. :shock:

So at the very least, my options are Toledo JD/MCJ or retake (and I'm still leaning towards the retake).

Is not going to law school better than going to a dubious law school? That'd be like in chess: having no development being better than having bad development.


YES. Do not go to a dubious law school. Do not waste three years of your life, get into six figures of debt, and pull out your hair for a degree that won't get you a job. Retake.

Artistry
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:18 am

justicefishy wrote:
Artistry wrote:Update: I was accepted into Toledo today, even with my dubious credentials. :shock:

So at the very least, my options are Toledo JD/MCJ or retake (and I'm still leaning towards the retake).

Is not going to law school better than going to a dubious law school? That'd be like in chess: having no development being better than having bad development.


YES. Do not go to a dubious law school. Do not waste three years of your life, get into six figures of debt, and pull out your hair for a degree that won't get you a job. Retake.

But would it matter where I went to school if I returned to Alaska? I do have ties there, and I'm pretty sure it's one of the few places in the country that could use a few more lawyers. This isn't in defense of Toledo; I'm aware it's a dubious choice, at best. That being said, I'm just wondering if it matters that much if returning to Alaska is the goal.

Consequently, where is the legal demand these days? Any specific places in the country where it would be easier to find legal work?

Also, I'll say this again: I won't have debt because my family will help pay any outstanding costs. That being said, I don't want to burden them if I can help it, and I know that job prospects typically at a TTT are questionable at best, generally. I just wonder if any of that will matter if I return to Alaska upon graduating.

Artistry
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Artistry » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:54 am

Update: rejected at New Mexico. Disappointing, considering I have ties to that state, but not surprising, given the raw numbers.

Will probably retake unless someone offers me decent $, and I don't see that happening from anywhere, given the numbers.




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