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Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:53 am
by rcm2140
I'm a top Ivy engineer so unfortunately my GPA is lower than my liberal arts peers - a huge disadvantage in the law school admissions game. I'm interested in environmental law (probably govt or public interest work) in LA, though I would also consider working in Chicago, DC, or Philly. I'm currently based in NYC but I definitely would like to get out soon. I'm torn between ED at NU and USC, given the scholarships associated with an ED acceptance at both schools.

I took the LSAT once and scored a 167. UGrad GPA is 3.4-3.5 range. I have four years of experience working in civil engineering and urban planning, focused on climate resiliency at two major city transportation agencies. Work experience, in spite of my ~median-ish LSATs might make me a viable candidate at NU? Or should I stick to USC ED as my LSATs fall above the 75th percentile?

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:14 am
by cavalier1138
You're not a viable candidate for Northwestern at all, let alone ED. USC might be in the cards, but a higher LSAT will get you much better than a 50% scholarship there, as well as open up UCLA as an option.

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:32 am
by Shema
Aside from LSAT and GPA there are other factors specific to SC and the CA market that you should consider based on your experience and interest. As you know CA is environmentally friendly and in its majority cities urban planning and the policies surrounding it are fertile ground for career opportunities. Your background as an engineer and armed with a JD would make you all the more valuable/marketable. USC could be a game changer in this market and open doors because of the Trojan network and its alumni base. USC takes its network very seriously and the alumni professionals have a high regard for SC grads. You would be able to tap into their engineering, public policy and law school alumni base for great career opportunities. In LA so many employers that would be decision makers in the gov and public sector are likely to be SC grads. Plus many of the major cities are big on public private partnerships which would open you up to private sector opportunities as well.

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:50 am
by rcm2140
I think my gut feeling is that USC is an extremely solid option, given my career goals and desire to work in Southern California. The Trojan network is, from my research, superior for a career in LA.

Another factor is that my partner is from LA and her parents have an enormous house in Echo Park that is being re-converted into a duplex so we could potentially live there for cheap.

But I guess the real question becomes to ED or not. The scholarship is tempting and I worry about my engineering GPA, though my 167 LSAT is above the 75th percentile (166 for the current entering class).

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:38 pm
by onlyhere4fun
rcm2140 wrote:I think my gut feeling is that USC is an extremely solid option, given my career goals and desire to work in Southern California. The Trojan network is, from my research, superior for a career in LA.

Another factor is that my partner is from LA and her parents have an enormous house in Echo Park that is being re-converted into a duplex so we could potentially live there for cheap.

But I guess the real question becomes to ED or not. The scholarship is tempting and I worry about my engineering GPA, though my 167 LSAT is above the 75th percentile (166 for the current entering class).


I think some of the more pertinent questions to ask are:

1. Why are you honing in on USC and NU ED specifically? NU ED gives a substantial scholarship if accepted through ED but you’d need a higher lsat (175+ish range) to be competitive for it. I’m not sure if USC gives any scholarship for ED’ing. If they don’t, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to ED there.

2. Are you open to taking the LSAT again? You took the lsat once and got a pretty strong score. If you got a 170+ then I imagine the mid to lower T-13 will become viable options. You’re likely a contender at the T-6 if you get 175+. Your gpa isn’t so bad to preclude you from these schools, given that your LSAT is high enough to make up for it. HYS and U of C, and maybe Berkley are the only ones I would say are worth ignoring even if you killed the LSAT on a retake. And even then I hesitate to say that you would definitely be precluded from any of these schools if you had a 175+ score. You could definitely crack LA from other schools in the T-13 btw, especially since you seem to have ties to California.

And like Cav said UCLA would probably be more of an option with a higher LSAT score. UCLA seems to make more sense than USC if you’re targeting LA in particular. But your openness to geographic placement gives me the impression that much of the T-13 would be useful to have as options and that you should make an effort to get into as many as you can. (Especially since the enviro Law that I hear about tends to be prestige oriented. It may be a different enviro Law than what you have in mind though)

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:51 pm
by rcm2140
USC ED now comes with a minimum ~90-100K scholarship with no restrictions. I assume with my current numbers and background I'm already a serious contender there. I would imagine $$$ would be tough to come by for a T14 even with an LSAT retake.

But still...

It's true that I prepped at 170+, so maybe a December retake is in order. Though I doubt I could pull a 175+. 170 or a little higher is certainly a possibility though. That said, I'm not necessarily looking for the ultra competitive environment of HYS or Chicago. Other T14 or UCLA might be a fit though. Granted, it still comes down to money.

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:33 pm
by rcm2140
One other thing...

Even if I do not retake, UT Austin and Vanderbilt seem like really good bets for me based on recent stats from Law School Numbers.

Do you think that either of these (by which I really mean UT) would be better than USC for enviro while keeping decent chances for placement in LA firms or government? Or is USC still my best bet for LA? Would UT place better for federal gov't?

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:02 pm
by loslakers
rcm2140 wrote:I'm a top Ivy engineer so unfortunately my GPA is lower than my liberal arts peers - a huge disadvantage in the law school admissions game. I'm interested in environmental law (probably govt or public interest work) in LA, though I would also consider working in Chicago, DC, or Philly. I'm currently based in NYC but I definitely would like to get out soon. I'm torn between ED at NU and USC, given the scholarships associated with an ED acceptance at both schools.

I took the LSAT once and scored a 167. UGrad GPA is 3.4-3.5 range. I have four years of experience working in civil engineering and urban planning, focused on climate resiliency at two major city transportation agencies. Work experience, in spite of my ~median-ish LSATs might make me a viable candidate at NU? Or should I stick to USC ED as my LSATs fall above the 75th percentile?


no need to ED USC, your LSAT will get you in and they'll probably give you more money than 100k.

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:09 pm
by rcm2140
loslakers wrote:
rcm2140 wrote:I'm a top Ivy engineer so unfortunately my GPA is lower than my liberal arts peers - a huge disadvantage in the law school admissions game. I'm interested in environmental law (probably govt or public interest work) in LA, though I would also consider working in Chicago, DC, or Philly. I'm currently based in NYC but I definitely would like to get out soon. I'm torn between ED at NU and USC, given the scholarships associated with an ED acceptance at both schools.

I took the LSAT once and scored a 167. UGrad GPA is 3.4-3.5 range. I have four years of experience working in civil engineering and urban planning, focused on climate resiliency at two major city transportation agencies. Work experience, in spite of my ~median-ish LSATs might make me a viable candidate at NU? Or should I stick to USC ED as my LSATs fall above the 75th percentile?


no need to ED USC, your LSAT will get you in and they'll probably give you more money than 100k.


Interesting. My quick survey of LSN suggested that people with similar stats were getting more like $75k from USC. Though no one quite fit my profile (Ivy plus STEM).

Am I right in assuming without a retake I could potentially get GULC, UT, perhaps an outside shot at Cornell?

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:40 pm
by loslakers
rcm2140 wrote:
loslakers wrote:
rcm2140 wrote:I'm a top Ivy engineer so unfortunately my GPA is lower than my liberal arts peers - a huge disadvantage in the law school admissions game. I'm interested in environmental law (probably govt or public interest work) in LA, though I would also consider working in Chicago, DC, or Philly. I'm currently based in NYC but I definitely would like to get out soon. I'm torn between ED at NU and USC, given the scholarships associated with an ED acceptance at both schools.

I took the LSAT once and scored a 167. UGrad GPA is 3.4-3.5 range. I have four years of experience working in civil engineering and urban planning, focused on climate resiliency at two major city transportation agencies. Work experience, in spite of my ~median-ish LSATs might make me a viable candidate at NU? Or should I stick to USC ED as my LSATs fall above the 75th percentile?


no need to ED USC, your LSAT will get you in and they'll probably give you more money than 100k.


Interesting. My quick survey of LSN suggested that people with similar stats were getting more like $75k from USC. Though no one quite fit my profile (Ivy plus STEM).

Am I right in assuming without a retake I could potentially get GULC, UT, perhaps an outside shot at Cornell?


anecdotally i have several friends that got into GULC, UCLA, and UT with 167's and gpa's in your range. They however didnt get much money, so a retake would be really beneficial if you can push your LSAT to a 168 or 169.

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:53 pm
by rcm2140
loslakers wrote:
rcm2140 wrote:
loslakers wrote:
rcm2140 wrote:I'm a top Ivy engineer so unfortunately my GPA is lower than my liberal arts peers - a huge disadvantage in the law school admissions game. I'm interested in environmental law (probably govt or public interest work) in LA, though I would also consider working in Chicago, DC, or Philly. I'm currently based in NYC but I definitely would like to get out soon. I'm torn between ED at NU and USC, given the scholarships associated with an ED acceptance at both schools.

I took the LSAT once and scored a 167. UGrad GPA is 3.4-3.5 range. I have four years of experience working in civil engineering and urban planning, focused on climate resiliency at two major city transportation agencies. Work experience, in spite of my ~median-ish LSATs might make me a viable candidate at NU? Or should I stick to USC ED as my LSATs fall above the 75th percentile?


no need to ED USC, your LSAT will get you in and they'll probably give you more money than 100k.


Interesting. My quick survey of LSN suggested that people with similar stats were getting more like $75k from USC. Though no one quite fit my profile (Ivy plus STEM).

Am I right in assuming without a retake I could potentially get GULC, UT, perhaps an outside shot at Cornell?


anecdotally i have several friends that got into GULC, UCLA, and UT with 167's and gpa's in your range. They however didnt get much money, so a retake would be really beneficial if you can push your LSAT to a 168 or 169.


At this point, I think case is strong for a December retake - there doesn't really seem to be a downside. I always have the 167 to fall back on - especially considering that I prepped in the 170s.

Re: Northwestern or USC ED

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:10 pm
by Big Dog
if you were Ivy undergrad, you are a strong test-taker, and you should be able to clear 17x. Don't settle.