Dropping Out and Reapplying

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WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:28 pm

Class of 2021 person here. I was admitted to H and a CCN. For idiosyncratic and psychologically twisted personal reasons, I chose the CCN. I first came to regret this decision in January or February of this year, and it has caused huge emotional and psychological problems for me ever since. I got median grades my 1L year, and have ended up with no offers after OCI. I am now considering a gap year--or dropping out entirely to reapply and hopefully go to H as I should have in the first place.

A gap year would give me another shot at OCI. I am not sure what went wrong during OCI. I believe it was a combination of small things; I was way less nervous than my classmates and I am naturally not very stiff and formal, and so I think I came across as not taking the interviews seriously or something. I also may have rambled too much at times. There were a couple questions to which I could have had better answers. I also had a previous career, albeit brief, and I think some firms may have had some doubts as to whether I was committed to law.

Should I take a gap year, I think the best job for me to do would be paralegal. It would show a commitment to wanting to be a lawyer and also to trying to fix whatever defeated me at OCI. That being said, if I managed to get a job in my previous career field, I would probably be able to make more money and I would be able to get my finances in better order before continuing law school.

Of course, before I get to the drop-out option, which I expect everyone will call me an idiot for considering, I have to address another option and ask a question about it. I could just take a job at a small or midsize firm or at a PI org/government, and then do OCI again as a 3L. My instinct is that working at a PI org is better. I think it’s a better narrative to say “I wanted to try PI, but decided to pursue big law now to help support my family and because of xyz reason about the PI work” than to basically admit I failed OCI the first time around and took a shitty job and now have to come back and try again. Am I right to think that? Has anyone succeeded doing either?

As I said, I don’t expect anything but warnings I am an idiot and other tough/mean straight-talk for thinking of dropping out and reapplying. After all, I would have like $100k in extra debt from this failed year and there is no guarantee H would admit me a second time around. Not to mention I heard I would have to be dissociated from my current school for at least a year prior to reapplying--if I can’t just drop out and reapply this cycle, I don’t think it’s a viable option. I’m getting old, I can’t wait that long, and am not sure what I would do with my self/life for that long. But I really hate the school I currently attend--passionately. I despise it. I like law school, and I want to be a lawyer, I just hate my school and feel like I'm in prison there. I don't want to go back, but I will if I have to.
Last edited by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 on Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nony
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by Nony » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:43 pm

Why did you come to regret going to the CCN?

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icechicken
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by icechicken » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:20 pm

Nony wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:43 pm
Why did you come to regret going to the CCN?
WEED_QUESTIONER_420 wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:28 pm
I first came to regret this decision in January or February of this year,

Chicago polar vortex?

WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:25 pm

It's kind of difficult to fully flesh-out without giving too many life details and getting personal, but I will try to be succinct and mention reasons I think everyone can understand.

In part it's because I realized what I sacrificed in terms of my broader career goals and options. I have goals beyond big law, and I need to clerk. With my grades, I am precluded from achieving a clerkship and the other goals I had coming in to law school. In part, it's because I hate hate hate the school I currently attend. It is awful. And of course, now I have even more reason to regret my choice, given that I failed to get a job from a CCN, which is a fate that befalls only total morons (but I guess that's my fault, not the school's).

I would say that had I gotten better grades, I probably wouldn't regret the choice so much. Like I would still be consistently disappointed in my school, but it probably wouldn't matter as much. My options would still be good coming out of there and I would probably have gotten a job (one would hope).

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Nony
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by Nony » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:00 pm

I mean this respectfully, but median grades at CCN shouldn’t be a death sentence for your goals. It’s mid-August; you may not have got anything through OCI, but my understanding is that it’s still possible to get a biglaw job before next summer. Or abandon biglaw and pursue a government or other PI path. You can improve your grades and still get a clerkship, especially if you’re willing to clerk after a year or two of working.

I realize this doesn’t address hating your school, but I don’t think reapplying this cycle works very well with a year of grades already. You’ve missed the opportunity to transfer, but you could take a year off and try to transfer (likely not Harvard, but potentially a T14 that’s more congenial). You could also consider being a visiting student elsewhere, at least for 3L year.

I don’t know your specific goals, but I would caution against putting too much weight on the idea that you can only achieve your goals by going to H. There are lots of paths to lots of goals, and you haven’t failed at anything by the end of your 1L year.

WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:33 pm

I mean this respectfully, but median grades at CCN shouldn’t be a death sentence for your goals.
Getting a federal clerkship with median grades? I am quite skeptical. But that is also far from my concerns at the moment.

It's extremely unlikely to get a big law job now. Especially since, because of OCI, most big law firms have already rejected me.

I can't abandon big law. I have undergrad loans that wouldn't be serviced by my school's loan repayment.

There is no doubt that H is not the only way to achieve my goals. That's what allowed me to naively fumble into my law school choice last year. But I am seeing now that my goals require that if I am not HYS, to be at the top of my class to achieve. And it's too late for that now.

In any event, if I could secure a big law job, I'd be fine, and wouldn't think of dropping out. I'd just do my best with what I have.

I appreciate the replies.

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pancakes3
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by pancakes3 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:08 pm

1) it's unlikely you'll be able to drop out and get into H having completed your first year of law school already
2) you can still massmail
3) it's misplaced blame to blame your school for your current situation

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UVA2B
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by UVA2B » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:38 pm

Important question before I say anything else: when you say you need biglaw for your goals and undergrad debt, does that mean you need basically any market-paying gig in the area of law that interests you, or are you defining biglaw more specifically, like needing V## or above, chambers band 1 in geographic area or practice area, or some other metric beyond generic biglaw, which I would define using LST large firm metric, or 101+ attorneys?

If you struck out because you targeted exclusively prestigious biglaw where CCN median isn’t guaranteed, and didn’t use any bids on firms that would be excited about CCN median (lower V## in major markets and big firms in other markets you have connections), then you really need to broaden for your mass mailing.

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Nony
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by Nony » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:22 pm

WEED_QUESTIONER_420 wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:33 pm
I mean this respectfully, but median grades at CCN shouldn’t be a death sentence for your goals.
Getting a federal clerkship with median grades? I am quite skeptical. But that is also far from my concerns at the moment.
This overlooks what I said about improving your grades in 2 & 3L and clerking with experience.
It's extremely unlikely to get a big law job now. Especially since, because of OCI, most big law firms have already rejected me.

In any event, if I could secure a big law job, I'd be fine, and wouldn't think of dropping out. I'd just do my best with what I have.
Yes, it’s harder to get biglaw now, but people can get it outside of OCI. You probably need to figure out what went wrong with your interviews but it’s not all over yet.

WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:28 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:08 pm
1) it's unlikely you'll be able to drop out and get into H having completed your first year of law school already
2) you can still massmail
3) it's misplaced blame to blame your school for your current situation
Who said I blame my school? I believe I would have gotten a better outcome from H for a couple reasons, but I do not blame my failure at OCI on my school. I should still have been able to get a job with median grades from here.

Could you elaborate on 1? What makes you say that?
If you struck out because you targeted exclusively prestigious biglaw where CCN median isn’t guaranteed,
The opposite. There were only 3 or 4 reaches/prestige places I interviewed with. Everyone else was reasonable.

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heythatslife
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by heythatslife » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:38 pm

First, you should reach out to HLS and ask if they will even let you re-apply as a 1L. The response you get may be that they require you to apply as a transfer, since you already completed a year of law school.

Second, if you struck out with median grades from CCN, I doubt it's your grades or the school that's holding you back. I know a couple of people at H who came very close to striking out at EIP with above-median grades (or struck out with slightly below-median) so it's not like being at HLS is a failsafe insurance either if you're a bad interviewer. In fact, you may have a significantly harder time when you have to explain why you quit in the first place and restarted.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:30 pm

I suspect the problem isn't your school or your grades, but without knowing more, I can't speculate on solutions. You should try to talk to some folks in your life who can give you an honest take on what's going wrong.

WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:11 am

HelloYesThisIsDog wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:30 pm
I suspect the problem isn't your school or your grades, but without knowing more, I can't speculate on solutions. You should try to talk to some folks in your life who can give you an honest take on what's going wrong.
Thanks. I will definitely be reaching out to people I know. I'd like to clarify: I don't think the problem is my school. My hatred for my school is kind of distinct, and I also find our office of career services to be one of the only decent parts of the school. The "opportunity" to drop out and reapply just occurred to me a few days ago while I was thinking about taking a gap year, so that's why I am raising it now. Honestly, had I thought of it back in Jan/Feb, I might have already pulled the trigger on it.
First, you should reach out to HLS and ask if they will even let you re-apply as a 1L. The response you get may be that they require you to apply as a transfer, since you already completed a year of law school.
Yes, you are right, and it would be probably good if they said they wouldn't consider me (or would only consider me if I submit my mediocre 1L grades), since it's a crazy plan and it would be good if someone killed it for me.

Your second point is also good for be to bear in mind. And man it must suck to strike out of OCI from Harvard...that's the one thing probably worse than me lol

NYUBound
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by NYUBound » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:13 am

With regard to federal clerkships, you're definitely not out of the running with median grades if you're geographically flexible. Our clerkship office at NYU has very detailed statistics on this, and there are several district courts where the average GPA for clerks is at/below median.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:29 pm

Now I'm confused. You blamed your school, but now you don't blame your school? And looking back at this thread, you said it was important for you to have a clerkship but then said it was far from your concerns at the moment.

To be more direct on my earlier point, I suspect you are probably not good at interviewing. I think people are probably picking up on some of your personality traits that you don't want to be showing. I am picking up some of them just in this thread: catastrophic thinking, some elitism and pride, and a lot of contradictions in your statements and interests.

What I meant by my earlier advice was you should talk to people who will be brutally honest with you about your flaws and how those are coming out in law school and your job search.

WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:51 pm

I just reread my first post. I don't see where I blame my school. I specifically blame my interviewing. My hatred of my school and desire not to go here preceded my failure at OCI. This whole summer I expected to get a decent job and live with my choice of school (somehow).

Yes, I want to do a clerkship--but since I don't even have a job, of course it is far from my concerns at the moment.

While I have negative personality traits just like anybody else, my assessment is that the main issue with my interviews was that I often wasn't formal enough and I also rambled, which made me seem like an ineffective communicator. But it's really difficult to tell...especially since there were many screeners which seemed like they went well but ended in rejection or silence.
NYUBound wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:13 am
With regard to federal clerkships, you're definitely not out of the running with median grades if you're geographically flexible. Our clerkship office at NYU has very detailed statistics on this, and there are several district courts where the average GPA for clerks is at/below median.
Thanks, that's good to know.

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blueapple
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by blueapple » Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:56 pm

what makes you think you wouldn't hate H?

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Nony
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by Nony » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:46 am

WEED_QUESTIONER_420 wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:51 pm
While I have negative personality traits just like anybody else, my assessment is that the main issue with my interviews was that I often wasn't formal enough and I also rambled, which made me seem like an ineffective communicator. But it's really difficult to tell...especially since there were many screeners which seemed like they went well but ended in rejection or silence.
So is this purely self assessment? Have you done mock interviews and had anyone evaluate you? I know people who strike out often say they did mock interviews and got no critical feedback, but if you haven't done this, I agree that finding someone(s) to give you honest feedback is an important step. Unfortunately, mental state can show through a lot in interviews, and if you went through OCI loathing your school and believing that it can't give you the opportunities that H can - even before not getting anything at OCI - that may have come through in your performance without you even realizing (especially matters since you probably interview with a lot of alumni at OCI). Something else I wonder - did you get callbacks and not get offers or did you not convert screeners to callbacks? That would also probably give some indication of what's going on. Because whatever you do, you will need to get your interviewing up to speed if you want to continue on the biglaw path.

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pancakes3
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by pancakes3 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:15 pm

and massmail

WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:37 pm

what makes you think you wouldn't hate H?
I visited both schools for ASP/ASW (or w/e), so I have some basis for knowing I would like H more. I'd like the environment more than the school I am at, which I chose mostly for the city and justified with crappy reasons to support why any advantage of going to H would be negligible. H has way more stuff/activities relevant to my interests. Kind of a shitty answer, but it's hard to get into why I chose the way I did and why I hate my choice so much without divulging a lot of personal stuff.
So is this purely self assessment? Have you done mock interviews and had anyone evaluate you?
Yes, I did 2 mock interviews over the phone with career services. I was warned I might across as a bit informal, but overall got positive feedback.

I yielded only 3 CB. 1 one of them I did fine, but didn't get the job. Secondary market at an office that takes few summers. I thought I'd be a great fit for them...I don't know what I could have done better for that one. Second was in NY and I did poorly in my interview with the hiring partner. Part of it was maybe lapsing in formality a bit, but other than that I just wasn't on point/sharp enough. I could have prepared better too.

I tried to fix it for this 3rd CB, which I am still waiting on. It seemed to go fine, but who knows, and I totally lack confidence/optimism at this point.

As a side note, I think my choice of writing sample was also poor...
and massmail
I am, but it's sucky and pointless. The only bite I have gotten is from this boutique that only takes 1 or 2 summers per year. I think their only reason for interviewing me was to encourage me to apply as a lateral down the line, as that is how most people go to that firm.

edit though: by "massmail" do you mean specifically/literally emailing materials to recruiting contacts, or any sort of direct app, such as filling out an online application on a firm's website if that's what they say to do?

But anyways, assuming I take a gap year, I assume working as a paralegal or something might be the best thing to do to show a continued interest in law?

Thanks.

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pancakes3
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by pancakes3 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:48 pm

re: massmail - yes. and doing it literally to dozens of firms.

re: gap year - how would leaving the law show your continued interest in law?

WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:21 pm

Would you recommend massmailing even firms to whom I have already applied directly but gotten silence? What about firms with whom I screened at OCI but got nothing but silence?

Point taken re: gap year. But what I mean is more "how can I mitigate any perceived flakiness on my part w/r/t my interest in law?" Like, taking a gap year isn't going to look "good" no matter what I do (maybe if I worked on a political campaign or something that would be a plausibly decent reason), I know. But I figure if I do something legal it shows that whatever my reasons for doing so, it wasn't because I had any questions as to my interest in pursuing a legal career.

Thanks

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cavalier1138
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by cavalier1138 » Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:50 am

WEED_QUESTIONER_420 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:21 pm
Would you recommend massmailing even firms to whom I have already applied directly but gotten silence? What about firms with whom I screened at OCI but got nothing but silence?

Point taken re: gap year. But what I mean is more "how can I mitigate any perceived flakiness on my part w/r/t my interest in law?" Like, taking a gap year isn't going to look "good" no matter what I do (maybe if I worked on a political campaign or something that would be a plausibly decent reason), I know. But I figure if I do something legal it shows that whatever my reasons for doing so, it wasn't because I had any questions as to my interest in pursuing a legal career.

Thanks
I think you have more pressing issues than mitigating perceived flakiness. As people have already pointed out, your OCI outcomes are not normal for median students at CCN.

I'm not sure that taking a gap year is required, but you need to figure out what's actually stopping you from getting a job, rather than concocting elaborate plans to drop out, transfer, or otherwise get yourself back to Harvard, where you've convinced yourself that things would have been totally different. Not to put too fine a point on it, but your only two posts on this forum don't paint a rosy picture. Take the opportunity to fix things while you're still in school.

lolwat
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by lolwat » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:38 pm

I'm so confused here. Did you get bad grades because you hate the school, or do you hate the school because you got bad grades there and now you think you're screwed because you're just median at CCN versus whatever you might have been at HYS? Either way, it just seems really weird to me that somebody can have such an extreme loathing for their school that it's affecting them so badly emotionally and psychologically. I just literally can't think of anything that would be so absolutely horrible about a school that would lead to this.

Anyway, I know you're not going to get into personal details, but it's clear to me there's something going on, and my gut feeling is that this attitude is seeping through to interviews. Being a little informal and rambley isn't going to generally leave somebody at median at CCN with absolutely nothing.

As for massmailing, just keep doing it and use your judgment as to where you reapply to. I mean if you got radio silence for 2 weeks but haven't gotten rejecte, don't reapply yet. If you've been ghosted for 6 months, then yeah go ahead.

WEED_QUESTIONER_420
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Re: Dropping Out and Reapplying

Post by WEED_QUESTIONER_420 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:57 pm

lolwat wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:38 pm
I'm so confused here. Did you get bad grades because you hate the school, or do you hate the school because you got bad grades there and now you think you're screwed because you're just median at CCN versus whatever you might have been at HYS? Either way, it just seems really weird to me that somebody can have such an extreme loathing for their school that it's affecting them so badly emotionally and psychologically. I just literally can't think of anything that would be so absolutely horrible about a school that would lead to this.

Anyway, I know you're not going to get into personal details, but it's clear to me there's something going on, and my gut feeling is that this attitude is seeping through to interviews. Being a little informal and rambley isn't going to generally leave somebody at median at CCN with absolutely nothing.

As for massmailing, just keep doing it and use your judgment as to where you reapply to. I mean if you got radio silence for 2 weeks but haven't gotten rejecte, don't reapply yet. If you've been ghosted for 6 months, then yeah go ahead.
I hate the school because of reasons intrinsic to the school and because I could have gone to H instead. I don't blame the school for my grades or my OCI outcome.

If it seems weird to you, then I guess...you're lucky you didn't hate your school? Mine is fucking awful. It's a sham and a farce. I really am not looking forward to going back. I hate hate hate it and my hate for it is multiplied by the fact I stupidly and immorally chose it over H. I would advise anyone considering my school to not go there if they asked me in person. It is a school that absolutely does not give a shit about its students and does everything in the worst way possible. But anyways...

I am not sure whether anything weird seeped into the interviews. I think I was genuinely pretty friendly and upbeat. Nobody can tell I harbor that kind of hatred for my school and deep sorrow and anger over my law school decision if I don't tell them. If being a little informal and rambling should still have seen me get more callbacks, then I am quite worried because I am running out of ideas as to what could have gone wrong...

I did end up getting an offer. It's not a great firm, but it's big law, and I am grateful for it nonetheless.

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