[176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

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Solistus
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[176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby Solistus » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:03 pm

Hi all,

I have a tendency to be rather verbose when I create threads, especially since I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the law school application process, so I'll try to keep this succinct and organized. I'll start with the stats:

LSAT: 176. Took it once, December 2010. My highest practice test scored as '170-172', IIRC, so I was pretty blown away when I got my score back.

Undergrad: 3.32 GPA, BA Political Science, University of Rochester. Graduated May 2009.

Softs: my only extra-curricular is policy debate, which I did for all 4 years of undergrad. Did quite well regionally and qualified to the NDT in my final year, but no big national tournament finishes to brag about. Had a part-time job as a web developer for the school during undergrad, spotty employment record since then (been unemployed about half the time overall since may '09). I hear debate helps a bit at schools with strong debate programs, but other than that my softs are quite weak and I'm slightly worried about that. How much does this kind of stuff matter?


Now, onto the 'what are my chances?' part. Here are some of the schools I'm interested in, in order by rank, with the % admit chances that LawSchoolPredictor reports for my LSAT/GPA. *s for my favorites.

*Stanford 25%
*Columbia 41%
Chicago 42%
*NYU 44%
Penn 55%
Virginia 63%
Michigan 79%
Northwestern 64%
*Georgetown 75%
Cornell 90%
*UCLA 82%
*UT 77%
USC 93%
George Washington 83%
UC Davis >95%
Illinois 85%
pretty much everything below that >95%


Are these numbers at all realistic overall? Any in particular that stand out as too high (or too low)? The top few seem unrealistic to me. Is Stanford actually a realistic reach? Are Columbia and NYU nearly 50/50 shots?


I'm not sure if this forum is the appropriate place to ask, but my list of safeties will be determined largely by money. Ideally, if I don't get into a school I'm really excited about going to, I'd like to find a school with a good public interest or intellectual property program that will give me a full ride or close to it, and/or with really generous loan forgiveness program for public interest law. Icing on the cake would be a blue state, near the coast, and/or cool college town. Any specific school suggestions would be awesome, or just general tips on how to narrow down the search.

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smaug_
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby smaug_ » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:16 pm

Check out LSN, but you're definitely not getting into Stanford and Columbia and Chicago are long shots. GPA floors have been tumbling, but a 3.32 might still pose problems at NYU. I'm not sure. You should be golden for MVP as you'll probably avoid yield protection.

Splitters don't have the luxury about being selective in applications or having straightforward odds. The truth is that the line between admit and waitlist is paper thin for splitters. Your best bet is to apply broadly and see who bites. Given the way that admissions have been trending, I think it is worth shooting applications to CCN down with the exception of Duke. (And Duke still could bite, so if they give you a waiver, go for it.) I would only submit one or two apps outside of the T14, and submit those to schools that you would actually attend/are in an area where you'd like to practice.

But seriously, check LSN.

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LSATSCORES2012
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby LSATSCORES2012 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:28 pm

These graphs chart the likelihood of getting admitted with certain scores. I'm showing these to you, as opposed to directing you to myLSN.info, because A) these charts are unreleased because they only contain data for the 2011-2012 cycle and B) using the search at the website is likely to be misleading because of so few data points in your region. I'm only doing this for the one's you starred because it takes a lot of time. I'd recommend playing around with the other ones in the graph section of mylsn.info and the search section of the same website.

In summary:

Stanford - OUT
Columbia - OUT (you seem to have hit a random hotspot... maybe I'm wrong, though)
NYU - IN
Georgetown - IN
UCLA - IN/WL=YP
UT - a bit confusing... probably a WL/ding

Stanford:

Image

Columbia:

Image

NYU:

Image

Georgetown:

Image

UCLA:

Image

Texas:
Image

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Solistus
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby Solistus » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:15 am

Thanks for the feedback! I've been checking LSN, but my corner of the LSAT/GPA graph tends to be pretty sparse. You think it's worth applying to Berkeley despite my low GPA? Duke is the least appealing T14 to me all around anyway, so I'll go ahead and skip 'em.

Why do you suggest only 1-2 schools below T14? I have family members who will help me with the app fees, and I thought it would be smart to apply to a good number of safeties. If I don't get into a T14, I would rather start 1L at a lower T1 school that offers me a generous aid package than wait another cycle to re-apply. I'm actually leaning toward public interest law rather than BigLaw, and I was hoping to get at least one full ride offer to have as a backup. Also, while I'm not heart-set on any one market, California is definitely high on my list of preferences, and I was planning on applying to three non-T14 Cali schools (UCLA/USC/UC Davis).

As for yield protection - does each school see the total list of schools you applied to? If so, I assume applying to lots of safeties makes all of them more likely to waitlist you.

Here's a list of sub-T14 schools I was planning on potentially applying to (*s for schools I was pretty sure about applying to):

*UCLA
*UT Austin
Vanderbilt
*USC
Minnesota
*George Washington
Washington
Emory
BU
BC
*UC Davis
*Illinois
*Wisconsin

I considered UCLA and USC targets (being in Cali is a big plus for me, and from my research they both seem like strong enough schools for employment prospects that I could justify paying close to sticker if I strike out with the T14). UT as well, and I live in Austin so I'm in-state, with friends and family and potentially even free housing in town, so that seems like a no-brainer.

George Washington is appealing as a safety/backup for Georgetown - DC is also a big plus for me, and GW seems like a good fit for me (my ideal jobs after graduation would be a court clerkship, anything inside the Beltway, or IP law if I go private sector - GW is very strong in all three).

UC Davis, Illinois and Wisconsin were the bottom tier of safeties I had planned on. I should be almost an auto-admit at all three, hopefully with a hefty offer of merit money from at least one of them, and all three are in great locations.

The others on the list were just more targets/safeties I would want to go to if the price was right and I didn't get a better offer. Unless I get into one of my top reaches, money will be a part of my decision, so I had planned on sending out a ton of apps to see who bites and use initial offers to negotiate for more at the schools I'd prefer to go to. Is that a bad strategy?

edit: wrote this before seeing LSATSCORES2012's comment, the above was directed at hibiki.

LSATSCORES2012 - thanks so much for doing those charts with the latest data for me! I assume x axis is GPA and y axis is LSAT, correct?

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smaug_
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby smaug_ » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:36 am

I wouldn't send an app to Berkeley either, I just spaced it before.

One major misconception that you seem to have is that you'll get significantly more money from a T1 school than you will from a T14. As a splitter, you're less likely to have a chance at money. I would seriously doubt that you'll get a full ride offer from a T25 school. My cycle was a bit odd, but there was only a 20k difference between the amount of aid from my top school and from my T1 safety. If you drop significantly lower you might be able to get some full tuition scholarships, but those schools are far far riskier than attending a T14 with a small scholarship. (Or a very well discounted T1)

If you're public interest or bust, you should consider a T14 even more heavily than if you were BIGLAW or bust. From what I've read (seriously, I hate posting stuff like this so I hope someone with more experience can talk to this) you need a PI orientated resume from the outset for PI. But, if you can swing PI straight away, a nice LRAP program will help take care of your debt. With your numbers, the conventional wisdom would be to aim solidly at NYU if PI is your aim. That said, if you're willing to work biglaw, any T14 will give you more security than a T1. If you don't desire biglaw at all you should then consider a T1 school more seriously.

If you have connections to Texas and are a Texas resident, applying to Texas is a great call. Beyond that, if you have an interest in California, I suppose it makes some sense to drop an application or two to there. Beyond that it seems utterly superfluous to me. Once you drop down from the T14 a bit, you're no longer going to be able to use those scholarships for negotiations. The "only apply to 1-2" thing has nothing to do with yield protection and everything to deal with diminishing returns. Most of those schools/offers will be fungible outside of UT (which might be a fantastic option depending on the amount of aid they offer.)

theaether
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby theaether » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:15 am

hey i have the same stats as you and also have a BA from the same graduating class. got into nyu and cls this cycle, wl and withdrew everywhere else. my thoughts:

i don't get the point of applying to all 3 of davis, illinois, and wisconsin. i'm just not seeing a lot of planning involved in selecting these places. they're so disparate.

what will you do if those lower end schools give you half scholly? 3/4? full? will it be worth it to go, or is finding a job better? honestly given employment stats, even 1/2 or more scholly at some of these schools is highly questionable because you're still going to be 6 figures (100-150k) in debt and with poor employment prospects.

Austin and UCLA and USC? such wildly differing markets. one's good for getting you a job in TX, the others are good for getting you a job in CA. what do you want to do?

be prepared to deal with waitlist city within the t14. they will keep you on the wings until a good portion of their class is finalized. from there, they'll grab you and other splitters as needed to shore up the LSAT medians. u can apply anywhere from 4 to 14, probably excluding berk and duke. the trinity is completely out. i would try to gun for nyu, penn, and UVA.

hope this stream of consciousness helped you somewhat my fellow splitter

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Solistus
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby Solistus » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:14 am

My list is looking like this now:

Columbia
Chicago
NYU
Penn
Virginia
Michigan
Northwestern
Georgetown
Cornell
UCLA
UT
USC
George Washington
UC Davis

theaether:

"i don't get the point of applying to all 3 of davis, illinois, and wisconsin. i'm just not seeing a lot of planning involved in selecting these places. they're so disparate."

I'm not too strongly attached to any one regional market, and I'm considering several different specialty areas; the schools I get into will play a big role in those decisions. For example, I'd love to do public interest law, but only if I'm either at one of the very best PI law programs in the country, or can graduate with relatively little debt due to some combination of aid money and loan forgiveness programs. I'd like to study IP law, but only if I could aim for a job in the tech industry or involving public policy. Speaking of which, any job working for, or lobbying to, a state or federal legislative body would also be very appealing to me, so DC area schools have a natural draw to me. Since I'm a splitter and it's hard to predict where I'll get in, my approach is to apply broadly and make up my mind once I know which schools will admit me.

Basically, if I can't get into one of my very top choices, then I'd rather be at the strongest program in a small regional market than at a mediocre CA/NY/DC region school.

As for those three in particular:

* Davis is the lowest-ranked Cali school that I would feel comfortable at based on employment and salary stats versus cost of attendance. Davis has a strong Public Interest program and a pretty substantial LRAP for PI graduates. Plus, it's an hour or two from San Fran with way lower cost of living.

* Wisconsin has lots of clinic programs that sound really cool, and strong job placement stats in WI/IL/MN. Plus, I hear Madison is a really great place to live. That said, I'll probably cut this from my list (as I already have in my new list above), because I don't think I'd want to go at full price and it sounds like I should forget about the buying down strategy altogether.

*Illinois... OK, I really don't have a great reason for this to be on my list. It sounds like a strong school in general, and I wouldn't mind working in the Chicago market, but there's no really compelling reason for it to be here and it sounds like setting my sights this low is a waste of time and money, so it's off the list as well.


"what will you do if those lower end schools give you half scholly? 3/4? full? will it be worth it to go, or is finding a job better? honestly given employment stats, even 1/2 or more scholly at some of these schools is highly questionable because you're still going to be 6 figures (100-150k) in debt and with poor employment prospects. "

I didn't think any of the schools on my list were low enough to be all that bad for job placement. I would only go to a lot of the schools on my first couple lists if they gave me at least 1/2 scholly, probably more for some of them, but it sounds like I would have to go much lower on the list to guarantee big money offers like that, so now I'm thinking that I should only apply to schools I would pay full sticker for.

"Austin and UCLA and USC? such wildly differing markets. one's good for getting you a job in TX, the others are good for getting you a job in CA. what do you want to do?"

See above, not heart-set on any one market yet. I would happily attend any of those 3 if it were my best offer.

"be prepared to deal with waitlist city within the t14. they will keep you on the wings until a good portion of their class is finalized. from there, they'll grab you and other splitters as needed to shore up the LSAT medians. u can apply anywhere from 4 to 14, probably excluding berk and duke. the trinity is completely out. i would try to gun for nyu, penn, and UVA. "

I'll brace myself for the WLs. Hopefully I get at least one straight-up acceptance so I can be a bit less stressed out by them.

"hope this stream of consciousness helped you somewhat my fellow splitter"

Definitely. Congrats on NYU and Columbia!

theaether
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby theaether » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:29 am

Solistus wrote:I didn't think any of the schools on my list were low enough to be all that bad for job placement.



alright, but just consider:

ucla is 280k coa 60% employment
usc is 270k coa 64% employment
davis is 270k coa 55% employment

scary stuff, for being highly ranked "tier 1" schools

edit: not saying not worth an app, i guess just saying more for future decision making purposes

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thelawyler
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby thelawyler » Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:40 am

Is law school admissions, there is no such thing as a safety.

Apply broadly in T14 and you'll be fine.

Klerris
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby Klerris » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:09 am

Hello! First off, congrats on the score!
I have semi-similar numbers (same LSAT-lower GPA) and also graduated May '09. I just wanted to echo what people seem to be saying- blanket CCN on down and be ready to ride some waitlists. A possible strategy could be to send out all your apps early except for UVA then ED there (the deadline is in Jan I believe) if for some reason you get dinged everywhere else. (Which is my plan)

Also, if you haven't already, read Samara's post "How to be a Successful Splitter." He condensed a lot of the wisdom on the boards into one place. Worth checking out.

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Solistus
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby Solistus » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:39 am

theaether wrote:
Solistus wrote:I didn't think any of the schools on my list were low enough to be all that bad for job placement.



alright, but just consider:

ucla is 280k coa 60% employment
usc is 270k coa 64% employment
davis is 270k coa 55% employment

scary stuff, for being highly ranked "tier 1" schools

edit: not saying not worth an app, i guess just saying more for future decision making purposes


Where are you getting those numbers? I see much higher employment stats for those schools on TLS and USNews. All three also offer substantial loan forgiveness programs to public interest graduates.

Klerris: thanks! Reading now.

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2014
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby 2014 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:34 am

Lawschooltransparency.com, check it out.

Your most recent list of schools is solid don't let people bog you down with where you should or shouldn't attend right now, you can worry about that in March. You will have several t14 options and probably 2/3 of CCN off the wl so you will be in a solid place come this time next year.

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Smumps
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby Smumps » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:25 pm

It doesn't make sense to not blanket the T-14 and any other school you are interested in. You're going to receive fee waivers, which cut down application costs. Second, scholarship leverage. For example, Duke. They do prefer GPA, but have dipped pretty low this year (I was in w/3.5) and next year should be more sparse in terms of applicants.

My thought is you should ED NYU. Otherwise, MVP on down should be no problem if they aren't too scared off by that GPA.

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smaug_
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby smaug_ » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:38 pm

Smumps wrote:
My thought is you should ED NYU. Otherwise, MVP on down should be no problem if they aren't too scared off by that GPA.


Don't do this. You would lose the ability to negotiate scholarships. Your GPA should be fine at MVP. I think it would be foolish to ED anywhere when you'll likely have a range if decent options with money.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:11 pm

hibiki wrote:Your GPA should be fine at MVP.


Unfortunately your LSAT won't be, especially at V and P. A little high for them.

I seriously doubt it will make sense for you to attend a non T-14 when it comes time to make a decision.

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mindarmed
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Re: [176 / 3.3] Extreme Splitter, got my BA in '09, lots of ?s

Postby mindarmed » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:17 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
hibiki wrote:Your GPA should be fine at MVP.


Unfortunately your LSAT won't be, especially at V and P. A little high for them.

I seriously doubt it will make sense for you to attend a non T-14 when it comes time to make a decision.


Do splitters actually get YPed? Wondering because I'll be 3.1/177 (gpa boosting all year should get it around to 3.3) by the time I apply




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