HLS only, GRE only (4.0, 338)

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grehopeful

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HLS only, GRE only (4.0, 338)

Post by grehopeful » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:00 pm

Hey folks of TLS,

JD/PhD hopeful here (PhD in Stats/CS) and recently stumbled on this forum. Here's my background (won't get into too many specifics as my background is unique enough that I'm easy to identify):

UGrad and M.S. GPA: both 4.0 (HYPSM) in applied math / stats
GRE: 338 (170V, 168Q)
LORs: assume these will be really solid, from people I've done 1-2 years of research with & won awards under
Work experience: very much geared towards my PhD research areas

I'm more committed to the PhD at the end of the day, but feel that the legal perspective would broaden / add substantially to my research (e.g. machine learning for policy, design and regulation of algorithms, etc.), with the goal being to pursue research / academia after the joint degree, and potentially at law schools.

So the questions I have are:
1. If we assume my chances at the PhD counterpart of the joint degree are solid, how do my chances for HLS look with only a GRE score? I'm hoping I fall into the bucket of non-traditional applicants that HLS is looking for by accepting the GRE, but I don't want to delude myself if not.

2. Should I apply simultaneously to the JD and PhD programs in the same cycle, or apply to the PhD program first, and then try for the JD? In other words, would my chances improve if I'm an "inside applicant," assuming success with the PhD application?

3. Are there any other strong joint degree programs I should be considering? I've already ruled out applying to Columbia and Yale as they do not have a corresponding PhD program that is a good research fit (e.g. Columbia restricts JD/PhDs to Econ + some humanities as the PhD field); Stanford doesn't take the GRE. Also on my radar is the potential to do a self-coordinated degree between MIT PhD / HLS, so my questions re GRE being sufficient for HLS also apply to that consideration.

I also want to say that I understand that the data are sparse w.r.t. the success of GRE-only applicants at HLS, and that if I were super serious about the JD, I should probably just study for & take the LSAT. I'd still appreciate thoughts on my chances in light of that.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and criticisms!

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: HLS only, GRE only (4.0, 338)

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:39 pm

grehopeful wrote:So the questions I have are:
1. If we assume my chances at the PhD counterpart of the joint degree are solid, how do my chances for HLS look with only a GRE score? I'm hoping I fall into the bucket of non-traditional applicants that HLS is looking for by accepting the GRE, but I don't want to delude myself if not.
I agree with your assessment that you're in a target demo for GRE admissions. Your chances should be decent at worst with those numbers.
2. Should I apply simultaneously to the JD and PhD programs in the same cycle, or apply to the PhD program first, and then try for the JD? In other words, would my chances improve if I'm an "inside applicant," assuming success with the PhD application?
I don't think having a PhD offer in-hand is going to help, especially from a field like CS that doesn't have obvious skill overlap with law.
3. Are there any other strong joint degree programs I should be considering? I've already ruled out applying to Columbia and Yale as they do not have a corresponding PhD program that is a good research fit (e.g. Columbia restricts JD/PhDs to Econ + some humanities as the PhD field); Stanford doesn't take the GRE. Also on my radar is the potential to do a self-coordinated degree between MIT PhD / HLS, so my questions re GRE being sufficient for HLS also apply to that consideration.
UChicago seems like a no-brainer.

I'm not sure anyone else has all three of 1) strong law/CS/stats programs 2) good support for dual degrees 3) takes the GRE. (Penn, UVA and Northwestern are great for criteria #2 and #3 but idk about their CS/stats firepower compared to the other places you're considering; you'd know better than I. Berkeley has #1 and #3 but not #2.)
I also want to say that I understand that the data are sparse w.r.t. the success of GRE-only applicants at HLS, and that if I were super serious about the JD, I should probably just study for & take the LSAT. I'd still appreciate thoughts on my chances in light of that.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and criticisms!
I think you're actually in a rare situation where the LSAT wouldn't be a great idea; your GPA/GRE are already in the gold-standard range and getting a 168 or something on the LSAT would be a big problem for the schools you're interested in.

grehopeful

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Re: HLS only, GRE only (4.0, 338)

Post by grehopeful » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:21 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
3. Are there any other strong joint degree programs I should be considering? I've already ruled out applying to Columbia and Yale as they do not have a corresponding PhD program that is a good research fit (e.g. Columbia restricts JD/PhDs to Econ + some humanities as the PhD field); Stanford doesn't take the GRE. Also on my radar is the potential to do a self-coordinated degree between MIT PhD / HLS, so my questions re GRE being sufficient for HLS also apply to that consideration.
UChicago seems like a no-brainer.

I'm not sure anyone else has all three of 1) strong law/CS/stats programs 2) good support for dual degrees 3) takes the GRE. (Penn, UVA and Northwestern are great for criteria #2 and #3 but idk about their CS/stats firepower compared to the other places you're considering; you'd know better than I. Berkeley has #1 and #3 but not #2.)
I wasn't able to find a research niche in Penn Stats among their faculty, and it seems their JD/PhD is geared towards humanities disciplines (at least there isn't an established program for non-humanities PhDs..). Northwestern's JD/PhD set-up looks awesome (fully funded wow!)—will look into it and UChicago. Thanks!
The Lsat Airbender wrote:
I also want to say that I understand that the data are sparse w.r.t. the success of GRE-only applicants at HLS, and that if I were super serious about the JD, I should probably just study for & take the LSAT. I'd still appreciate thoughts on my chances in light of that.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and criticisms!
I think you're actually in a rare situation where the LSAT wouldn't be a great idea; your GPA/GRE are already in the gold-standard range and getting a 168 or something on the LSAT would be a big problem for the schools you're interested in.
Thanks for the feedback, all very helpful and reassuring to hear.

AJordan

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Re: HLS only, GRE only (4.0, 338)

Post by AJordan » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:18 pm

You probably already considered this, but it is likely a good idea to ask your recommenders if they know any folks at HLS connected to their areas of research or, alternatively, anybody in the PhD pipeline who could refer you. There may be some sort of legal superstar at one of the other ~T10 schools who could give you better/more honest information than just your standard admissions rep.

Having said that, it's not an awful idea to send an email to admissions at these schools and just ask them to connect you with a faculty member who has the experience you're looking to get. If they can't connect you with someone, well...

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