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CAUTION: This may sound like a rant by the time you are done reading. And you are probably right, but I feel like I need to let it all out so I can move forward and on with my life.
I'm 22 years old. I'm humble, but loud and funny in social situations and a bit erratic at times. I am the oldest of 3 children in my family, my parents are immigrants and are self-employed. I'm a minority, and the first person in my family to attend college in America. I have always been interested in law, since I was in middle school. I was deeply interested with middle eastern politics and originally wanted to go into international law when I got to college. I graduated from a university in Washington state with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. My cumulative GPA was a 2.65, and my GPA in psychology courses was somewhere around a 2.8 or 2.9. My second year in school was my problem year. I battled pretty bad anxiety that would occur out of nowhere almost every day, which prevented me from going to class and surprisingly led me to be a psychology major. But I also, admittedly, partied too hard being that it was my first year out of the dorms and lived on a street with all my friends, cared more about girls, friends, and throwing parties than I did about picking a major or attending class. The mix of both of these things ruined that second year, with withdrawal marks, 1.0 GPAs for one or two quarters and as well as one or two F's written all over my transcript like graffiti.
I had realized how bad I had done that year, but I still did not excel past a 2.5-3.0 for the rest of my college career (except for the last two quarters, keep reading). Not because I couldn't do the work, but I just simply did not try as hard as I could have, I was not a proactive thinker nor did I consider the future. Another thing that hurts me is that I did not do a single extracurricular or school related activity; no internships, I didn't join a club, I attended none of the events on campus. I rarely used any sort of academic advising tool, and I might have visited the career center twice in 4.5 years. I know this certainly doesn't help when you are majoring in a field like psychology and have any desire to do anything with your future, but especially when you aren't the most academically inclined student. I was irresponsible, unmotivated and a damn-near lost cause! Not to mention, I was one signature away from dropping out of school. Twice.
However, during my last two-three quarters of school I started doing much better and I even built a relationship with two of my professors. I would attend their office hours for questions, suggestions, and even just to chat and see how things were going, which the sophomore me would have never done. What I believed had happened was, considering this started when I began taking research methods classes in psychology and getting a little deeper in the field, I developed a deeper passion for the way people think and behave. However, my grades did not get noticeably better until my last two quarters, which were Summer 2013 and Fall 2013. I ended up achieving a 3.8 in both quarters. Yes, I know that this is probably a joke considering it was only a part time course load (2 classes, only one being a psychology class), and that I was about the graduate in one more quarter. The last fall quarter I graduated in, I got an A and an A- in the two senior psychology seminars I was taking (a seminar in Neuropsychology and a seminar in Social Psychology).
That's it for the transcript stuff.
And that was the end of my undergraduate career. 4.5 years and I got out with an ugly GPA, a bachelor's degree in psychology which is essentially useless and a swift kick out of the door with a blindfold. As far as positions available for recent grads that would prepping me for law school, it's pretty difficult, or at least I don't know where to begin (I'll literally work for no money). Especially since I have no formal experience whatsoever, it's even harder to find a firm, courthouse or lawyer that would consider inviting me for an interview let alone a handshake. All that you can find around here with my qualifications is entry level sales or marketing jobs which are nothing more than laughable and will hire anyone (cold-calling and commission based pay or a long time sitting at 28k a year). I actually worked for Enterprise Rent-a-Car for two months after graduation to try the whole sales thing out and, not so surprisingly, it was not for me whatsoever.
Here's the thing: Although I don't give myself enough credit and am hard on myself (as I should be when thinking about my situation and continuing my education), I truly am a bright student when I try, which I have most certainly devoted my entire being to this new academic "me" (and not to toot my own horn, but I do think I'm a good writer thanks to my psych degree). I'm not that partying kid who doesn't go to class, but my transcript might understandably make it hard for a group of admissions counselors to see that. Now of course the issue is #1 conveying this to a reputable law school (hell, any half decent law school would work at this point). And I am impartial and actually more than willing to go back to school and take classes to boost my GPA as well as volunteer, work or help out at any place affiliated with so that a law school would at least look at my application for more than a minute.
I have thought about applying for a paralegal certificate program here in Washington and getting some experience that way, then maybe later going to law school. I'm curious about your thoughts on that as well. I do know that it would be expensive, but not to sound like a snob, at this point money or tuition costs are not an issue as far as school goes. I've also thought about doing CASAS, the program where you represent children in court, as an option of getting experience with the court system.
Law would be a dream come true. Now go easy on me (lol). I have come to terms with, understand and accept the fact that I have absolutely no one to blame but myself for what went on during the course of my undergraduate studies and quite honestly, I am extremely embarrassed by my situation. All my friends are business majors or going into graduate school right now. But now I'm 7 months post-graduation and I'm doing nothing. Even if I were to pick something, I wouldn't know where to start which is why I come to the internet. Being the oldest in a family that is not from this country, I don't have as much knowledgable support from my parents (God bless them, they paid for my schooling in full). But as it usually happens with situations such as this one, I want it more than ever and I would. Every one I've talked to either says "So what are you doing now?" or "Don't worry, you'll figure it out". What is "it" as it applies to me? To get another chance at building my career hopefully by attending a law school and building on my passion. Because the good Lord knows I want it now more than ever.
Suggestions on what I can do? Is this even an option? Am I honestly better off considering something else? What steps do I have to take? And please be specific as possible with regard to classes I have to take or anything like that. It may seem like hand holding which I know can be pathetic but the only reason I ask for that is because I have no where else to go. Trust me, a prideful person like me does NOT like to ask for help but I'm literally desperate.
I appreciate your time.
*UPDATE* I have received a job offer as a behavior technician working with children with behavioral problems as well as children with mental diseases here in Washington. While the pay is not ideal, it's a job I can use with my major and build references and experience. I don't know if this matters with regard to law, but I'm just letting it out.
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It sounds like you didn't not fully exert yourself during college, so if you really want to give this law school gig a shot, prep hard for the LSAT and see if you can get a 172+. Good luck.
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Work experience never hurts, and this work sounds more interesting than retail, etc. While not necessarily a game-changer, work experience can help at the margins for someone whose undergraduate record is a negative. It also doesn't matter for admissions purposes whether your work is related to law, though going the paralegal route could better help you see whether law is for you.meezus wrote: *UPDATE* I have received a job offer as a behavior technician working with children with behavioral problems as well as children with mental diseases here in Washington. While the pay is not ideal, it's a job I can use with my major and build references and experience. I don't know if this matters with regard to law, but I'm just letting it out.
You will still need a strong LSAT score for law school to be a sensible option. You're not completely out of the running for a T14 (top 14 schools, if you're not familiar with the lingo -- the 14 schools generally regarded as "national" schools, at least relative to all the rest), but you will need a stellar LSAT (172+). You're probably limited to Northwestern by your GPA, and they strongly value work experience. You'll still be looking at sticker price, though, which means you'll have close to $300K of high-interest, non-dischargeable debt once repayment starts. A lot of people find that level of debt unjustifiable even for some of the T14. Depending on how things vary from cycle to cycle, you might actually be able to land full scholarships to a few decent regional schools (WUSTL and Minnesota, for example) with a strong LSAT score. If you're willing to accept the limitations that come with a degree from one of these schools, going with a regional tuition-free might be the smartest move.
It would be helpful to know where you live (is that WA state or DC?) and where you have ties. And also whether or not you're URM.
You should also make sure you get a better idea of what being a lawyer means for most people before you jump headlong into something you might hate. You said you were interested in international law, but international law is not really a thing. The kind of jobs vaguely resembling what people fantasize about when they think of "international law" are almost nonexistent, and what few positions do exist are generally restricted to people with a degree from an elite law school and with deep prior connections and loads of relevant experience.
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2) You mention that you're a minority, which will certainly affect your options, but it really matters WHICH KIND of minority you are. If you're Hispanic, that's good; if you're black, that's better; if you're Asian, that's bad.
3) Ti Malice has written some words of wisdom, so I'll simply quote them here:
For the record, my UGPA was actually worse than yours and I had no work experience, but I still managed to get a strong scholarship to a T20 by getting a high LSAT score. So the simplest answer to your question as posed in the subject line is "yes." If your parents are willing to pay sticker, you can probably even crack the T14. But that's completely contingent on your LSAT being above the 75th percentile for the school you want to attend.Ti Malice wrote:You should also make sure you get a better idea of what being a lawyer means for most people before you jump headlong into something you might hate. You said you were interested in international law, but international law is not really a thing. The kind of jobs vaguely resembling what people fantasize about when they think of "international law" are almost nonexistent, and what few positions do exist are generally restricted to people with a degree from an elite law school and with deep prior connections and loads of relevant experience.
Cliff Notes: Take the LSAT. Prep first! Ask around other parts of TLS for advice on the best way(s) to do so. The LSAT is NOT an IQ test (though having a high IQ obviously helps); you can study for it and learn to do quite a bit better with practice. Then come back here, report your score, and ask again. Might even be worthwhile to do so after having taken a practice test, just to give everyone an idea of where you're starting from.
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