Stuff Berkeley likes.

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twenty
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Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby twenty » Tue May 28, 2013 2:40 pm

Long story short, Berkeley's my top pick outside HYS. They're also unreasonably tricky in that it's tough to figure out what the frack they want to see in an application (rejecting H/S admits, taking people that got auto-dinged from T14, etc). So! For those of you cool cats that got in to Berkeley either this last cycle or an earlier cycle, what did you do that you felt made a significant difference in your outcome at Berkeley?

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dsn32
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby dsn32 » Tue May 28, 2013 2:42 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:Long story short, Berkeley's my top pick outside HYS. They're also unreasonably tricky in that it's tough to figure out what the frack they want to see in an application (rejecting H/S admits, taking people that got auto-dinged from T14, etc). So! For those of you cool cats that got in to Berkeley either this last cycle or an earlier cycle, what did you do that you felt made a significant difference in your outcome at Berkeley?


Despite the stereotypes about Berkeley, writing my PS about my friendship with one of my gay best friends did not help. So there's that.

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suralin
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby suralin » Tue May 28, 2013 2:55 pm

Interested in this as well, particularly w.r.t. traditional splitters who got in.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby jbagelboy » Tue May 28, 2013 3:47 pm

Got into berkeley with a lower than avg GPA. I think numbers are playing a larger part than they used to with declining apps, but the "holistic approach" thing still have some hangover value.

I think as Dean Tom said in an interview, its all about the structure of your application and how everything ties together. You don't want to have a bunch of random internships, clubs, and awards from all over the place. Tailor your application, softs, undergraduate coursework or masters programs, WE, ect. to a common purpose -- give a compelling narrative for why you want to be an attorney, and moreover specifically a Boalt attorney.

This seems very vague advice, but it has some concrete examples. Its different for everyone, but basically, look at your major, minor, any activities you were involved in on campus, your summer work/internships, your postgrad WE, and think about how they informed your decision to apply to law school, and what you might want to study. It's not just a personal statement, but the entire flow of your application. You should bullshit what you need to -- I mean obviously don't make shit up that you did -- but if you need to say "this is why I did this internship" or "this job informed my decision to practice X type of law", then go for it.

In my experience, Berkeley likes 1) IP/Startup work, 2) Environmental law or interest in environmental affairs, 3) community engagement PI, 4) Some international scope, most commonly Asian. I'd pick one (or two if you can artfully combine) and run with it as a common theme. Talking about interdisciplinary research & WE and how you could contribute your SPECIFIC set of skills to the boalt community via one of these four, would be an asset.

obviously, all of this is predicated on having the right GPA/LSAT combination.

ssanonymous might be someone to PM about Berkeley apps. admitted on scholarship with a 164 I believe

062914123
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Postby 062914123 » Tue May 28, 2013 3:57 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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suralin
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby suralin » Tue May 28, 2013 4:01 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Got into berkeley with a lower than avg GPA. I think numbers are playing a larger part than they used to with declining apps, but the "holistic approach" thing still have some hangover value.

I think as Dean Tom said in an interview, its all about the structure of your application and how everything ties together. You don't want to have a bunch of random internships, clubs, and awards from all over the place. Tailor your application, softs, undergraduate coursework or masters programs, WE, ect. to a common purpose -- give a compelling narrative for why you want to be an attorney, and moreover specifically a Boalt attorney.

This seems very vague advice, but it has some concrete examples. Its different for everyone, but basically, look at your major, minor, any activities you were involved in on campus, your summer work/internships, your postgrad WE, and think about how they informed your decision to apply to law school, and what you might want to study. It's not just a personal statement, but the entire flow of your application. You should bullshit what you need to -- I mean obviously don't make shit up that you did -- but if you need to say "this is why I did this internship" or "this job informed my decision to practice X type of law", then go for it.

In my experience, Berkeley likes 1) IP/Startup work, 2) Environmental law or interest in environmental affairs, 3) community engagement PI, 4) Some international scope, most commonly Asian. I'd pick one (or two if you can artfully combine) and run with it as a common theme. Talking about interdisciplinary research & WE and how you could contribute your SPECIFIC set of skills to the boalt community via one of these four, would be an asset.

obviously, all of this is predicated on having the right GPA/LSAT combination.

ssanonymous might be someone to PM about Berkeley apps. admitted on scholarship with a 164 I believe


Hmm, this was extremely helpful (and gives me hope as a CS major). Thanks!

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jbagelboy
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby jbagelboy » Tue May 28, 2013 5:06 pm

bee wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Got into berkeley with a lower than avg GPA. I think numbers are playing a larger part than they used to with declining apps, but the "holistic approach" thing still have some hangover value.

I think as Dean Tom said in an interview, its all about the structure of your application and how everything ties together. You don't want to have a bunch of random internships, clubs, and awards from all over the place. Tailor your application, softs, undergraduate coursework or masters programs, WE, ect. to a common purpose -- give a compelling narrative for why you want to be an attorney, and moreover specifically a Boalt attorney.

This seems very vague advice, but it has some concrete examples. Its different for everyone, but basically, look at your major, minor, any activities you were involved in on campus, your summer work/internships, your postgrad WE, and think about how they informed your decision to apply to law school, and what you might want to study. It's not just a personal statement, but the entire flow of your application. You should bullshit what you need to -- I mean obviously don't make shit up that you did -- but if you need to say "this is why I did this internship" or "this job informed my decision to practice X type of law", then go for it.

In my experience, Berkeley likes 1) IP/Startup work, 2) Environmental law or interest in environmental affairs, 3) community engagement PI, 4) Some international scope, most commonly Asian. I'd pick one (or two if you can artfully combine) and run with it as a common theme. Talking about interdisciplinary research & WE and how you could contribute your SPECIFIC set of skills to the boalt community via one of these four, would be an asset.

obviously, all of this is predicated on having the right GPA/LSAT combination.

ssanonymous might be someone to PM about Berkeley apps. admitted on scholarship with a 164 I believe


Slightly OT, but I've heard that it's a bad idea to write a Why Law PS. Was yours entirely Why Law?


Eh. I tailored it slightly for each school, but essentially yea, why X law school would be a good fit given my goals, how I could grow as an intellectual & professional, and how my experience would contribute added value to the law school/university. I guess I talked mostly about past experiences not about law school tho

Another thing for Berkeley is they typically appreciate a longer PS. My PS was ~2 pages for most schools; for cal I did 3.5. I think this is pretty common.

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Postby 062914123 » Tue May 28, 2013 5:19 pm

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jbagelboy
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby jbagelboy » Tue May 28, 2013 5:52 pm

bee wrote:Interesting. Did you have significant WE at the time you applied? I can see why you would do Why Law if you could work legitimate WE into it. I only ask because I'm leaning towards a PS that's more life story-ish, but I'm worried that it won't seem "professional" enough.


I don't know about "significant", but definitely legitimate. I started working FT at a relatively well known firm (in relevant industries) after graduation and I was working at it while applying. I also had FT WE from summers that I tied in.

Life story is fine if you have something significant or life-altering that occurred, but I don't see how you could write a PS like that without tying it back to Law and how those life experiences made you want to practice law. Why would admissions care otherwise? I told a life story of sorts via the intersection of my interests and my personal/professional experiences; drew on some childhood anecdotes but mostly stayed focus on recent work. I have done some interesting things and lived in some cool international places, but they did not involve a great amount of hardship -- my family up until the recession a few years ago was pretty solidly upper middle class -- so my "story" didn't stress a pity or "achieving despite obstacles" theme, if thats what you are referring to.

you definitely don't want your PS to come across as excusing yourself. that's why they have an Addendum section for GPA/LSAT issues.

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Postby 062914123 » Tue May 28, 2013 6:06 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ti Malice
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby Ti Malice » Tue May 28, 2013 8:20 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:Long story short, Berkeley's my top pick outside HYS. They're also unreasonably tricky in that it's tough to figure out what the frack they want to see in an application (rejecting H/S admits, taking people that got auto-dinged from T14, etc). So! For those of you cool cats that got in to Berkeley either this last cycle or an earlier cycle, what did you do that you felt made a significant difference in your outcome at Berkeley?


I'm not sure how useful my advice is with my numbers, but Berkeley admitted me in nine days, including Christmas and New Year's, so maybe they saw other things they liked. (Some of the advice below might be elementary and obvious, but I don't know your background, so I'll write it anyway. And it might be of use to some future applicant who stumbles across this thread.)

I had several years of PI-oriented WE prior to applying. This probably helped on its own, and it certainly helped me craft a powerful PS. My job involved a lot of work with attorneys in non-profit legal organizations (mostly), with administrative and judicial courts, and with state and federal government agencies, so the "why law?" aspect was pretty self-evident. I think the PS is pretty important for Berkeley, whereas even with many other non-YHS T14s, it's closer to a "just don't completely screw this up" sort of undertaking. Make sure that your PS is something you're proud of having produced, both substantively and stylistically. (On the latter point, don't lard up your language with scads of adjectives and adverbs, avoid the passive voice, and don't use the word "passion.") I submitted the exact same PS to every school. When I finally whittled my 3.5-page first draft down to my two-page final product, I was so pleased with the result that I thought adding anything back in weakened it, so I didn't include anything extra for the Berkeley PS. However, my two-page PS in 11-point Garamond turned out to be around two and two-thirds pages in 12-point TNR, so that's how I submitted it. And I see know that it would have been exactly three pages in 12-point Book Antiqua, another professional-looking font. Point being that you don't necessarily have to fluff up your PS from other schools if you find the result less satisfactory than the shorter version.

I think LORs are pretty important for Berkeley as well. Obviously these are mostly out of your control at this point -- both because the profs who will write your letters have already evaluated and graded you, and because some profs are just better at writing LORs than others -- but you should do what you can to ensure that they're strong. Hopefully you have some go-to mentor-professors. If you don't have particularly close relationships with the professors you'd like to write your LORs, at least provide them with as much info as possible to help them write a strong LOR. The way in which many applicants on TLS, and no doubt in general, ask for LORs just stuns me. If you still live reasonably close to your college/university, it's unacceptable to just ask for the LOR by email and be done with it. Depending upon how well you know the professor (e.g., she doesn't know you from Adam, or she would recognize your face, or she's very familiar with you and your work), you can initiate communication by email, but you need to go see the prof in person during his or her office hours. Go talk with them and have an actual human conversation. If you have some interesting WE, let them know what you've been up to since you graduated. Connect that with your interest in law school and your career goals, if possible. Ask the prof not just if she would be willing to write you a recommendation -- ask her if she feels she would be able to write you a strong recommendation (assuming you don't know for certain in advance that this would be the case). If you did outstanding written work for the prof, take your graded papers for her to review before writing the LOR. If you have an impressive transcript, include an unofficial copy. Include your résumé, listing any scholarships, awards, distinctions, and so forth. If your PS is ready or close to ready, include that as well. Basically, help your profs write something specific and memorable about you as much as you can.

By the way, notwithstanding the common portrayal of Berkeley as somewhat indifferent to the LSAT relative to its peers, higher LSAT scores strongly increase one's chances of admission. If you think you can improve your score, you should retake. Compare the three results below (GPA as 3.8-4.0 for all three graphs; LSAT ranges of 165-169, 170-174, and 175-180, respectively).

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sinfiery
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby sinfiery » Tue May 28, 2013 10:13 pm

Numbers plus apply early!

Used the same old 2 page PS as everywhere else with almost no softs.

Ti Malice
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby Ti Malice » Tue May 28, 2013 11:37 pm

Yeah, forgot the apply early bit. That would definitely help. Pretty sure they fill up most of their class before any other T14. This graph is old (you've probably seen it before), but the information is still relevant. Boalt admits most of its class in the first two or three weeks of December.

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dnptan
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby dnptan » Wed May 29, 2013 9:47 am

Boalt is a great school. If it weren't for the facts that I a) live in Boston and b) got WLd at Harvard I would have definitely gone. As of now I'm just riding out the waitlist and planning to apply next year.

I sent in my apps to all my schools (inc. Berk) at the last possible day, and my stats were 170/3.82. Given that Boalt is not very predictable vs. numbers alone, I think my biggest advantage to overcome the late apps were my recommendation letters (from my employers; IP consulting) and my PS on a (failed) startup company. I'd have to agree that they're very holistic with a lot of emphasis on IP/startups. I also have a degree in ENG so I think that helped. Oh, and (at the time of my app) 6 months WE with IP consulting.

Hope this helps. Feel free to PM if you want a copy of my PS/resume.

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twenty
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby twenty » Wed May 29, 2013 12:52 pm

Thank you all for your help. I did apply right around Thanksgiving, which I'm guessing probably hurt my application somewhat. I'll give it another go next cycle and see what happens. :)

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jbagelboy
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby jbagelboy » Wed May 29, 2013 1:17 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:Thank you all for your help. I did apply right around Thanksgiving, which I'm guessing probably hurt my application somewhat. I'll give it another go next cycle and see what happens. :)


fwiw I applied ~Nov 1. I think this is why I was passed up in the first wave and didn't get in until 1/14. I recommend early-mid October.

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elterrible78
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby elterrible78 » Thu May 30, 2013 1:36 am

Sinfiery pointed me in this direction. For what it's worth, take a look at my analysis on Berkeley here...seems like the "apply early" mantra is probably backed up by numbers.

http://admissionsbythenumbers.blogspot. ... keley.html

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sublime
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby sublime » Thu May 30, 2013 1:41 am

..

thelawdoctor
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby thelawdoctor » Thu May 30, 2013 2:19 am

On the bright side if Berkeley shoots you down, CA is overflowing with CBE schools that only require an AA with a 2.0 GPA and a 130 LSAT........(some are even self paced, self proctored through the postal mail!) :|

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ManOfTheMinute
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Thu May 30, 2013 2:21 am

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Last edited by ManOfTheMinute on Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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sublime
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby sublime » Thu May 30, 2013 2:24 am

..

thelawdoctor
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby thelawdoctor » Thu May 30, 2013 4:01 pm

sublime wrote:
thelawdoctor wrote:On the bright side if Berkeley shoots you down, CA is overflowing with CBE schools that only require an AA with a 2.0 GPA and a 130 LSAT........(some are even self paced, self proctored through the postal mail!) :|



AND California School of Law will let me start now, take my classes online, and graduate in only two years! And they won't stop emailing me about it either.


Is that one of the Novus type ones that isn't even CBE approved? I know there are a few out there that say BS like "you can do the externship method instead with our degree" (as if you couldn't do it without the degree, and leave out HOW you would find someone to take you to do that)

Most of the legit ones are 4 years, I think it is a CBE requirement. Even ABA tends to frown on 2 year JD unless you go summers and promise not to work more than 15 hours a week.

whereskyle
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby whereskyle » Thu May 30, 2013 4:04 pm

sublime wrote:So for the best chance, you need to take the LSAT before October it sounds like?

Can anyone guess if some of the damage would be mitigated by applying first week of November, assuming the numbers are there (medianish)?



Applied the first week of november, felt that i was made for berkeley, rejected. Will apply day 1 this Fall cycle.

thelawdoctor
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby thelawdoctor » Thu May 30, 2013 4:11 pm

Just went to their site:
(looks like it meets CBE standards, although I didn't spot the 2year part)


http://californiaschooloflaw.com/index.php?page=faq-s-2
California School of Law is interested in students who want to become "successful lawyers" and are willing to "work hard" to achieve a Juris Doctorate degree. If you have a college degree or 60+ college units, you are eligible for admission.

Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.0.



No LSAT Required

:lol:

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sublime
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Re: Stuff Berkeley likes.

Postby sublime » Thu May 30, 2013 5:01 pm

..




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