How bad does a misdemeanor look?

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thedude6512
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:32 pm

How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby thedude6512 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:56 pm

I got a public intoxication during my senior year of college, and I'm wondering if that will be a red flag for admissions committees. The disposition was a fine, and it's been paid. I don't even know if it shows up if my record is pulled, so do I even need to divulge the arrest? It was a stupid mistake, and though it was really pretty trivial, I hate to think about how badly it can hurt my chances.

I was also wondering if I'm reaching a little too far with my applications. I have already checked the admissions calculators, but I want some brutal criticism here. I have a 2.86 GPA(grades dropped significantly during junior and senior years due mostly to full time work) from Emory with a chemistry degree and 168 LSAT. This is the second year I've been out of school, and I've been working as a tutor this past year at a local high school and have spent a lot of time volunteering. Since last December, I've volunteered over 100 hours at the local food bank and have recently been helping teach English as a second language to Hispanic immigrants at an area community center. I also did a significant amount of volunteer work my first two years of college. My PS is about my interest in public interest law. So, here's my list(hopefully it's realistic):

Reach
Emory
WUSTL
Alabama
William and Mary
Cornell(waste of money?)

Target
Tennessee
Pittsburgh
Northeastern

Safety
Memphis
Georgia State
Nova

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JuryDueT1000
Posts: 109
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:01 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby JuryDueT1000 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:59 pm

thedude6512 wrote:I got a public intoxication during my senior year of college, and I'm wondering if that will be a red flag for admissions committees. The disposition was a fine, and it's been paid. I don't even know if it shows up if my record is pulled, so do I even need to divulge the arrest? It was a stupid mistake, and though it was really pretty trivial, I hate to think about how badly it can hurt my chances.

I was also wondering if I'm reaching a little too far with my applications. I have already checked the admissions calculators, but I want some brutal criticism here. I have a 2.86 GPA(grades dropped significantly during junior and senior years due mostly to full time work) from Emory with a chemistry degree and 168 LSAT. This is the second year I've been out of school, and I've been working as a tutor this past year at a local high school and have spent a lot of time volunteering. Since last December, I've volunteered over 100 hours at the local food bank and have recently been helping teach English as a second language to Hispanic immigrants at an area community center. I also did a significant amount of volunteer work my first two years of college. My PS is about my interest in public interest law. So, here's my list(hopefully it's realistic):

Reach
Emory
WUSTL
Alabama
William and Mary
Cornell(waste of money?)

Target
Tennessee
Pittsburgh
Northeastern

Safety
Memphis
Georgia State
Nova


Is that Nova as in Villanova? Or Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale? I hope the former...

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waker57
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:18 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby waker57 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:00 pm

thedude6512 wrote:I got a public intoxication during my senior year of college, and I'm wondering if that will be a red flag for admissions committees. The disposition was a fine, and it's been paid. I don't even know if it shows up if my record is pulled, so do I even need to divulge the arrest? It was a stupid mistake, and though it was really pretty trivial, I hate to think about how badly it can hurt my chances.

I was also wondering if I'm reaching a little too far with my applications. I have already checked the admissions calculators, but I want some brutal criticism here. I have a 2.86 GPA(grades dropped significantly during junior and senior years due mostly to full time work) from Emory with a chemistry degree and 168 LSAT. This is the second year I've been out of school, and I've been working as a tutor this past year at a local high school and have spent a lot of time volunteering. Since last December, I've volunteered over 100 hours at the local food bank and have recently been helping teach English as a second language to Hispanic immigrants at an area community center. I also did a significant amount of volunteer work my first two years of college. My PS is about my interest in public interest law. So, here's my list(hopefully it's realistic):

Reach
Emory
WUSTL
Alabama
William and Mary
Cornell(waste of money?)

Target
Tennessee
Pittsburgh
Northeastern

Safety
Memphis
Georgia State
Nova


I think your targets could be a little higher than those, and the Pitt and Northeastern you might even be able to look at as safety.

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20160810
Posts: 19648
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby 20160810 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:01 pm

If I were reading your application, I'd combine the low GPA, high LSAT, and drinking charge and see a smart kid who pissed away 4 years in college getting loaded, which really doesn't paint the best picture. It's not that the crime you were convicted of was particularly heinous or even serious at all, but I don't think it paints a great picture. Make sure you explain it well and show remorse in an addendum.

easternusc
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:05 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby easternusc » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:24 pm

Topic is relevant to my interests as well. I got 2 underage drinking tickets my soph year...in my state we have something called Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) that basically allows you to do community service and attend some AA classes and the tickets never go on your record. As far as I know they can't be pulled anywhere--do I need to reveal them?

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JuryDueT1000
Posts: 109
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:01 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby JuryDueT1000 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:27 pm

easternusc wrote:Topic is relevant to my interests as well. I got 2 underage drinking tickets my soph year...in my state we have something called Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) that basically allows you to do community service and attend some AA classes and the tickets never go on your record. As far as I know they can't be pulled anywhere--do I need to reveal them?


Were you arrested for them? If so, yes.

thedude6512
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:32 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby thedude6512 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:57 pm

SoftBoiledLife wrote:If I were reading your application, I'd combine the low GPA, high LSAT, and drinking charge and see a smart kid who pissed away 4 years in college getting loaded, which really doesn't paint the best picture. It's not that the crime you were convicted of was particularly heinous or even serious at all, but I don't think it paints a great picture. Make sure you explain it well and show remorse in an addendum.


That's the image I was worried about. I had a 3.5 after my sophomore year, then it all went downhill. My parents started going through a divorce at the time, and I really wanted to distance myself from them as much as possible. To me, the most obvious way to accomplish this was to distance myself from them financially. So I started serving 30-35 hours a week(the work sucked, but it payed well enough) and working odd jobs such as tutoring and babysitting. As a result, my grades plummeted. I ended up failing two classes during the second semester of my junior year, and though I did a little better senior year(I didn't fail anything), I never really pulled myself out of the academic hole. In my addendum, I was going to try and put as much between myself and those two years as possible by stressing how much I studied for the LSAT, the fact that I've matured in the two years since then, and the work I've been doing in the meantime.

By itself, the public intox is pretty innocuous. When coupled with the bad grades, however, it does make me look like some sort of a party boy, a freewheeling man about town, an indolent rapscallion who can't wait to get his hands on another bottle of booze. You get the picture. The fact of the matter, though, is that it was an isolated incident that occurred after I had already graduated. I was on the phone and passed out in the parking deck of my friend's apartment. Unfortunately, I was awakened not by the delicious smell of Folgers coffee, but by a large black man with handcuffs. But I ramble. My point is that alcohol wasn't why my grades were low. I feel really bad about the whole thing, but what would be the best way to mention that in the addendum? Should I just give a brief explanation and then move on? Or should I go into some detail about the whole thing? I'm afraid if I do talk about the incident more than is necessary, it will only draw more attention to the matter.

thedude6512
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:32 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby thedude6512 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:01 pm

Also, I was planning on applying to Nova Southeastern, not Villanova. I wanted to have at least two where I was sure I would get accepted. Considering my grade trend, are my reaches really within reach for me, or should I go ahead and cross any of them off?

kritiosboy
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:32 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby kritiosboy » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:04 pm

SoftBoiledLife wrote:If I were reading your application, I'd combine the low GPA, high LSAT, and drinking charge and see a smart kid who pissed away 4 years in college getting loaded, which really doesn't paint the best picture. It's not that the crime you were convicted of was particularly heinous or even serious at all, but I don't think it paints a great picture. Make sure you explain it well and show remorse in an addendum.


While this is a reasonable conclusion, I disagree. I would look at your info and see a bright guy who slacked off with a major that actually punishes slacking off (chem). I'd see a single criminal act as an aberration on an otherwise spotless record. Also, I've never seen any evidence of things like a single drunk in public ticket/arrest fucking up someone's cycle.

I think you're probably best off addressing the issue in one of those monotone addendums: "I was charged with X on xx/xx/xx. I pled guilty and paid $xxx on xx/xx/xx. I have never had any other criminal charges."

Any addenda explaining issues relating to other stuff: low gpa or whatever should be kept seperate. IMO, I think its best to not really worry about.

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JuryDueT1000
Posts: 109
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Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby JuryDueT1000 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:05 pm

thedude6512 wrote:Also, I was planning on applying to Nova Southeastern, not Villanova. I wanted to have at least two where I was sure I would get accepted. Considering my grade trend, are my reaches really within reach for me, or should I go ahead and cross any of them off?


With a 168 LSAT you would have to be out of your mind to go to Nova... Even with a 2.8... For real, there are plenty of great schools that will overlook your GPA with that LSAT score.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:11 pm

thedude6512 wrote:
SoftBoiledLife wrote:If I were reading your application, I'd combine the low GPA, high LSAT, and drinking charge and see a smart kid who pissed away 4 years in college getting loaded, which really doesn't paint the best picture. It's not that the crime you were convicted of was particularly heinous or even serious at all, but I don't think it paints a great picture. Make sure you explain it well and show remorse in an addendum.


That's the image I was worried about. I had a 3.5 after my sophomore year, then it all went downhill. My parents started going through a divorce at the time, and I really wanted to distance myself from them as much as possible. To me, the most obvious way to accomplish this was to distance myself from them financially. So I started serving 30-35 hours a week(the work sucked, but it payed well enough) and working odd jobs such as tutoring and babysitting. As a result, my grades plummeted. I ended up failing two classes during the second semester of my junior year, and though I did a little better senior year(I didn't fail anything), I never really pulled myself out of the academic hole. In my addendum, I was going to try and put as much between myself and those two years as possible by stressing how much I studied for the LSAT, the fact that I've matured in the two years since then, and the work I've been doing in the meantime.

By itself, the public intox is pretty innocuous. When coupled with the bad grades, however, it does make me look like some sort of a party boy, a freewheeling man about town, an indolent rapscallion who can't wait to get his hands on another bottle of booze. You get the picture. The fact of the matter, though, is that it was an isolated incident that occurred after I had already graduated. I was on the phone and passed out in the parking deck of my friend's apartment. Unfortunately, I was awakened not by the delicious smell of Folgers coffee, but by a large black man with handcuffs. But I ramble. My point is that alcohol wasn't why my grades were low. I feel really bad about the whole thing, but what would be the best way to mention that in the addendum? Should I just give a brief explanation and then move on? Or should I go into some detail about the whole thing? I'm afraid if I do talk about the incident more than is necessary, it will only draw more attention to the matter.


Hehe. Rapscallion.

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20160810
Posts: 19648
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby 20160810 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:11 pm

thedude6512 wrote:
SoftBoiledLife wrote:If I were reading your application, I'd combine the low GPA, high LSAT, and drinking charge and see a smart kid who pissed away 4 years in college getting loaded, which really doesn't paint the best picture. It's not that the crime you were convicted of was particularly heinous or even serious at all, but I don't think it paints a great picture. Make sure you explain it well and show remorse in an addendum.


That's the image I was worried about. I had a 3.5 after my sophomore year, then it all went downhill. My parents started going through a divorce at the time, and I really wanted to distance myself from them as much as possible. To me, the most obvious way to accomplish this was to distance myself from them financially. So I started serving 30-35 hours a week(the work sucked, but it payed well enough) and working odd jobs such as tutoring and babysitting. As a result, my grades plummeted. I ended up failing two classes during the second semester of my junior year, and though I did a little better senior year(I didn't fail anything), I never really pulled myself out of the academic hole. In my addendum, I was going to try and put as much between myself and those two years as possible by stressing how much I studied for the LSAT, the fact that I've matured in the two years since then, and the work I've been doing in the meantime.

By itself, the public intox is pretty innocuous. When coupled with the bad grades, however, it does make me look like some sort of a party boy, a freewheeling man about town, an indolent rapscallion who can't wait to get his hands on another bottle of booze. You get the picture. The fact of the matter, though, is that it was an isolated incident that occurred after I had already graduated. I was on the phone and passed out in the parking deck of my friend's apartment. Unfortunately, I was awakened not by the delicious smell of Folgers coffee, but by a large black man with handcuffs. But I ramble. My point is that alcohol wasn't why my grades were low. I feel really bad about the whole thing, but what would be the best way to mention that in the addendum? Should I just give a brief explanation and then move on? Or should I go into some detail about the whole thing? I'm afraid if I do talk about the incident more than is necessary, it will only draw more attention to the matter.


Seems like you're going to be fine if you explain it in the context of "bad grades because I had a hard major and worked all the time" and then the oh yeah, PI charge too. Really to make the two factors seem as separate as humanly possible is obviously your strategy, and it seems like a good one.

Also, I will give you 10 TLS Forums bonus points if you use the phrase "indolent rapscallion" in your actual addendum.

easternusc
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:05 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby easternusc » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:14 pm

ChrisMike624 wrote:
easternusc wrote:Topic is relevant to my interests as well. I got 2 underage drinking tickets my soph year...in my state we have something called Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) that basically allows you to do community service and attend some AA classes and the tickets never go on your record. As far as I know they can't be pulled anywhere--do I need to reveal them?


Were you arrested for them? If so, yes.


Wasn't arrested, they just wrote me a ticket and sent me on my way. Showed up at court and signed up for PTI. You know if that translates into me being in the clear?

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Boyk1182
Posts: 127
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Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby Boyk1182 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:16 pm

easternusc wrote:
ChrisMike624 wrote:
easternusc wrote:Topic is relevant to my interests as well. I got 2 underage drinking tickets my soph year...in my state we have something called Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) that basically allows you to do community service and attend some AA classes and the tickets never go on your record. As far as I know they can't be pulled anywhere--do I need to reveal them?


Were you arrested for them? If so, yes.


Wasn't arrested, they just wrote me a ticket and sent me on my way. Showed up at court and signed up for PTI. You know if that translates into me being in the clear?


You should disclose that.. the school won't discriminate based on this, it's more for the bar (they don't want people to spend 3 years in school to find out that you can't get on the bar), but it's nothing to worry about.. I have 5 incidents like yours.

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uvalaw4l
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Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby uvalaw4l » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:18 pm

ChrisMike624 wrote:
thedude6512 wrote:Also, I was planning on applying to Nova Southeastern, not Villanova. I wanted to have at least two where I was sure I would get accepted. Considering my grade trend, are my reaches really within reach for me, or should I go ahead and cross any of them off?


With a 168 LSAT you would have to be out of your mind to go to Nova... Even with a 2.8... For real, there are plenty of great schools that will overlook your GPA with that LSAT score.


That's my opinion too.

kritiosboy
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:32 pm

Re: How bad does a misdemeanor look?

Postby kritiosboy » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:22 pm

easternusc wrote:
ChrisMike624 wrote:
easternusc wrote:Topic is relevant to my interests as well. I got 2 underage drinking tickets my soph year...in my state we have something called Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) that basically allows you to do community service and attend some AA classes and the tickets never go on your record. As far as I know they can't be pulled anywhere--do I need to reveal them?


Were you arrested for them? If so, yes.


Wasn't arrested, they just wrote me a ticket and sent me on my way. Showed up at court and signed up for PTI. You know if that translates into me being in the clear?


You need to disclose it. You also should probably disclose anything else that is even close to what you are describing.




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