Does age play a factor?

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beepboop
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Does age play a factor?

Postby beepboop » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:09 pm

I am currently about to finish my 2nd year of undergrad, but I've saved up enough credits to graduate by Spring 2018.

Current Stats
  • Major: Electrical Engineering/Computer Science
  • GPA: 3.8 (the average GPA in my major is forcibly curved to a 2.7)
  • Letters of rec: mediocre, probably - I do well in my classes, but I'm no superstar, and my professors are mostly the busy, unconcerned type
  • Extracurriculars: Not that great; I'm not involved in much outside of honors societies, in which I have little leadership/participation
  • Work experience: Above average
    • 2 research internships
    • 1 industry internship
    • personal projects (probably less impressive to law schools than tech companies)
I heard that younger, less experienced applicants are grilled harder. In terms of T14 these stats seem pretty average, so I'm wondering if I have a reasonable chance if I apply in Fall 2017, given my age.
Another year will likely give me time to improve my extracurriculars/professor relations, but also lower my GPA. (Such is engineering life.)

Should I wait to apply? Or apply now, and if things don't work out, reapply later?
Last edited by beepboop on Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

grades??
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby grades?? » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:14 pm

Generally you should take some time off between undergrad and law school. It makes a real difference. Also, do you have an LSAT?

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UVA2B
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby UVA2B » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:05 pm

How would you not have strong recs from a few profs if you have a 3.8 in a program that curves to a 2.7? By definition I'd call that a rockstar.

Anyway, age won't play a factor, but you should absolutely go do something else for a couple years and figure out if law is absolutely the career for you. You already have a marketable degree (or at least will have one when you're done) to go do interesting things, earn a little money and valuable experience, and then can readdress law school. It's in every way a win-win.

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circle.the.wagons
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby circle.the.wagons » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:56 pm

If you want to do patent work, you should consider and advanced degree after UG. I think EE/CS IP is really hard to break into without an MS or PHD. That would solve your age issue lol. But anyway a 3.8 in engineering is killer so I doubt you'll have many issues if you can maintain that.

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zot1
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby zot1 » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:00 pm

You really don't need an addendum when your gpa is 3.8.

Plenty of people go straight through and do just fine. But taking time off to sort out if law is right for you is never a bad idea. I wouldn't stay in school though any longer than you need to though, specially if you risk gpa decline.

beepboop
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby beepboop » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:44 pm

UVA2B wrote:How would you not have strong recs from a few profs if you have a 3.8 in a program that curves to a 2.7?


The classes are very large. Usually the professors just lecture and the teaching/grading is left to TAs and GSIs. They'd be able to say "yeah, I have a really hard class and this kid got an A but other than that I don't know who she is". So it wouldn't hurt me, but it's unlikely to help me either, since many other good applicants also have As in hard classes.

It looks like most people think going to work for a few years is a good idea. That sounds reasonable, although one of my worries remains working up the motivation to return to school after going to work. The tech industry is very entangling. Any advice on keeping this goal in mind during day-to-day work?

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floatie
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby floatie » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:10 pm

beepboop wrote:
UVA2B wrote:How would you not have strong recs from a few profs if you have a 3.8 in a program that curves to a 2.7?


The classes are very large. Usually the professors just lecture and the teaching/grading is left to TAs and GSIs. They'd be able to say "yeah, I have a really hard class and this kid got an A but other than that I don't know who she is". So it wouldn't hurt me, but it's unlikely to help me either, since many other good applicants also have As in hard classes.

It looks like most people think going to work for a few years is a good idea. That sounds reasonable, although one of my worries remains working up the motivation to return to school after going to work. The tech industry is very entangling. Any advice on keeping this goal in mind during day-to-day work?


I would stay the full 4 years and try to forge meaningful connections with at least 2 of your professors. Alternatively, if you get your masters you'll fix the age issue and have even more people who can vouch for you.

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dasq5511
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby dasq5511 » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:43 pm

floatie wrote:
beepboop wrote:
UVA2B wrote:How would you not have strong recs from a few profs if you have a 3.8 in a program that curves to a 2.7?


The classes are very large. Usually the professors just lecture and the teaching/grading is left to TAs and GSIs. They'd be able to say "yeah, I have a really hard class and this kid got an A but other than that I don't know who she is". So it wouldn't hurt me, but it's unlikely to help me either, since many other good applicants also have As in hard classes.

It looks like most people think going to work for a few years is a good idea. That sounds reasonable, although one of my worries remains working up the motivation to return to school after going to work. The tech industry is very entangling. Any advice on keeping this goal in mind during day-to-day work?


I would stay the full 4 years and try to forge meaningful connections with at least 2 of your professors. Alternatively, if you get your masters you'll fix the age issue and have even more people who can vouch for you.



FWIW I think saying you should stay an extra year in undergrad just for better letters of rec is way overstating the worth of them. You can also always include one LOR from an employer and one from a prof. instead of both academic.

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Rigo
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby Rigo » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:19 pm

Go be an engineer or work in tech.

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amta
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby amta » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:07 pm

Rigo wrote:Go be an engineer or work in tech.


yeah. wtf is thread. also go work for like 5 years.

Scurvy Cur
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby Scurvy Cur » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:18 pm

As a currently employed engineer that's going to law school, definitely get a job in the field for a few years. I have only anecdotal evidence, but I strongly suspect that it helped strengthen my application immensely, and I expect it to help demonstrate that I can hold down a job, work hard, etc. when I look for the next job.

Additionally, co-workers are a great source of LoRs, unless you're a complete jerk to them during your time on the job. You'll share a lot of the same frustrations and successes with them, and you should have at least one or two people who will be willing to write something along the lines of "I've known OP for years, and she's an awesome person to have around when shit goes sideways". Working will also give you plenty of time to simultaneously burnish your resume and study for that killer LSAT score, which combined with your GPA and major field ought to make you an awesome applicant in a few years.

Finally, working for a few years will help you pay off any debt you have from undergrad, instead of simply deferring it for three more years (tl;dr here, deferring undergrad for 3 years instead of paying some of it down just lets interest stack up higher. No thanks), and possibly even save up a little money to live off of through law school. This is especially true if you get anything near market rate for a Bachelor's Degree in engineering.

Seriously, just go do that for a bit, you won't regret it.

beepboop
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby beepboop » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:30 pm

@Scurvy Cur

Thanks for the advice. Since you've had experience in this, how did you keep yourself motivated while you were working?

It's easy for me to establish this goal now, but I'm not so naive to think that things will be the same a few years down the road.

Scurvy Cur
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby Scurvy Cur » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:58 pm

beepboop wrote:@Scurvy Cur

Thanks for the advice. Since you've had experience in this, how did you keep yourself motivated while you were working?

It's easy for me to establish this goal now, but I'm not so naive to think that things will be the same a few years down the road.


Much of it was lucking into a job with a startup company that did R&D type things, and which let the fresh-from-undergrad engineers do a bunch of exciting things, which can be rare at larger, more risk-averse companies. That kept me interested in my work for a solid 5 years, until the R&D got phased out for more quality assurance type engineering (important, but also boring). I was also a Materials Science & Engineering major, which itself tends to gear more towards research positions, or failure analysis. I can't exactly suggest this as a plan with a straight face, because I was exceptionally lucky with my job, but my advice would be as follows for fellow engineers that have law school on the radar:

Pick your first job to maximize your chance to do engaging and interesting things. For some this can be a startup or smaller company, for others, it can be a prestigious, large company that works new engineers hard. Don't angle for job security. You're young, and if there's a time to really take a risk or two in order for the chance to do something really cool, it's right out of school when your other ties (kids, spouse, mortgage) are at their least stringent. View this as a time to cut your teeth on some real work, get a few great stories to tell, and do something exciting.

As far as the motivation to go to law school goes, just keep in mind that most engineers hit a glass ceiling of sorts. The starting pay in the field is pretty good, especially when compared to most bachelor's degrees. The first couple of years of working experience are generally rewarded with noticable pay bumps, and usually new duties (sometimes a promotion, though the research group I worked with was small enough that our hierarchy was particularly flat, so new duties just got added on ad hoc with no bump in title/rank). After that, though, you start to cap out on pay, unless you're with a company that can offer you serious advancement, or you dip out of the work to get a PhD or Master's. As a result, you should always be able to view your first job as a temporary thing, and an appropriate one to have a planned exit from. Just tuck that thought away in the back of your mind, and keep it there while you enjoy the experience.

Set some time (but not too much) aside to study the LSAT if you're still interested after 6 months of the new job, and slowly brush up on the exam. A few years in, you can look at doubling down on the LSAT study, take the test, and see if you get the scores you want. If you don't, take the time to study more and retake. Definitely aim for 175+, and don't settle for anything below a 170. Your GPA, major, and presumable work experience are way too good to cripple with a weaker LSAT. If you can keep your GPA up near where it's at now, get 2+ years of experience working, and get a good LSAT, you ought to be golden for law school, competitive everywhere, and eligible for generous scholarships. For reference, my UGPA was much lower, and I have still had a very respectable admissions cycle; I'd kill to have had your GPA numbers.

tl:dr, keep motivation up by staying passively on top of the law school project, but don't spend so much time on it that you burn out early and forget to enjoy the work you're doing now. Also, leave yourself open to falling in love with the work you're doing. If it happens, great, there's no need for law school. I loved my job for about 5 years, and don't regret having stayed.
Last edited by Scurvy Cur on Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Npret
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby Npret » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:01 pm

beepboop wrote:@Scurvy Cur

Thanks for the advice. Since you've had experience in this, how did you keep yourself motivated while you were working?

It's easy for me to establish this goal now, but I'm not so naive to think that things will be the same a few years down the road.

If you decide not to go to law school, that's ok too. I wouldn't give up a great job that I loved just because I used to want to go to law school.

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lawlzschool
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby lawlzschool » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:56 am

beepboop wrote:
UVA2B wrote:How would you not have strong recs from a few profs if you have a 3.8 in a program that curves to a 2.7?


The classes are very large. Usually the professors just lecture and the teaching/grading is left to TAs and GSIs. They'd be able to say "yeah, I have a really hard class and this kid got an A but other than that I don't know who she is". So it wouldn't hurt me, but it's unlikely to help me either, since many other good applicants also have As in hard classes.

It looks like most people think going to work for a few years is a good idea. That sounds reasonable, although one of my worries remains working up the motivation to return to school after going to work. The tech industry is very entangling. Any advice on keeping this goal in mind during day-to-day work?


yea im assuming you went to berkeley (no one else calls them gsi's fyi)--i did too, i had one gsi write a letter and one prof who was my thesis advisor, but who i never reeeeeeeally connected with. with a gpa like that in eecs you'll be absolutely fine. also it's a little hard to give you advice without an lsat score... if you kill the lsat you're really absolutely fine (fwiw i did not kill the lsat, did not have great LORs [same issue with huge school] and got into uchi, am on h's and nu's WL, but michigan and berk rejected me. didn't apply to most of the t14 though so cant speak to the rest of them). i don't think being a k-jd will necessarily hurt you either. i've met plenty at various asw's and many current students who went straight through. for the purposes of experience it is definitely better to work imo--i agree with other posters. i've been working for two years and have learned about as much in my job as i did in school about how the corporate world works and how to navigate that.

trooper10538
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Re: Does age play a factor?

Postby trooper10538 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:29 am

I just turned 50 and will be applying in the fall. Military veteran and close to 20 years as a state trooper. Severe back injury forced me in a new direction. Looking forward to the challenge. Goal is to be a AUSA at some point. Good luck!




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