Splitter with decent softs 3.45/172

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DarthBaderGinsburg
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Splitter with decent softs 3.45/172

Post by DarthBaderGinsburg » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:09 pm

Hey so I'm 1 year out of undergrad at UChicago. Graduated with an Anthropology degree and was intending to go into photojournalism. I worked on a documentary in the south side of chicago with an excellent photojournalist last year, but had a bit of a crisis of conscience during my MFA application and decided I needed to be working in advocacy. Moved back home, studied my ass off for the LSAT and here I am! I'm looking to go to Berkeley/NYU/H (maybe?).

Is it possible to shoot for those schools given the unconventional background? In my application, will I be able to include my photo/video work such as a PDF of a photo book I made?

Currently I'm working at the SSA recording disabilities hearings, and helping renovate my parent's new home. Previously I interned at CNN, which was just a wild experience. I know this is scant information, but I appreciate any thoughts you folks may have.



Thanks for the help!
Last edited by DarthBaderGinsburg on Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hey_Everybody
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Re: Splitter with unique softs (I think!) 3.45/172

Post by Hey_Everybody » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:27 pm

Frankly those softs don't sound that unique. Lots of people at top schools have done crazy impressive stuff before law school. Go ahead and apply wherever you'd be interested in going, but don't expect to outperform your numbers too much.

DarthBaderGinsburg
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Re: Splitter with unique softs (I think!) 3.45/172

Post by DarthBaderGinsburg » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:31 pm

Okay, thanks. I appreciate the honesty. I was told that the switch from art/media to law was not common by my law advisor, and that it would help me punch a little higher. You don't agree?

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Hey_Everybody
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Re: Splitter with unique softs (I think!) 3.45/172

Post by Hey_Everybody » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:38 pm

No, not really. Lots of people go to law school with all sorts of different backgrounds. Art/media is not that uncommon, and probably won't really help you punch above your weight.

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pneumonia
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Re: Splitter with unique softs (I think!) 3.45/172

Post by pneumonia » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:50 pm

Congrats on the great LSAT score. You'll have some great options.

As for your story, some of it could make a compelling personal statement, but you're substantially overestimating the role that it will play in your applications. You haven't described an unconventional background. In fact quite the opposite. You graduated with a liberal arts degree from a great school, spent a year doing something interesting, and now want to go to law school. "It took me a year to realize I don't want to be an artist" isn't a unique position to be in. Clearly the choice to go to law school was a paradigm shift for you, but schools won't care. It would be different if you were successful in your field and were looking to make a change. But as it stands your background won't move the needle in either direction at a T14 school.

Of the three schools you mentioned, you can probably count on getting admitted at NYU. Berkeley is tough to gauge. They're traditionally unkind to splitters, but on the other hand they'll like your story. Unfortunately I don't think you have much of a shot at Harvard.

You should also forget about including your photo work with your application. I think you could technically find a way to upload it to LSAC as a PDF, but that would be a mistake. I understand wanting to showcase your work (especially if you spent time creating it as part of an MFA application), but creative portfolios just aren't at all a part of law school. I don't see anything wrong with building a bare-bones website and making it easy for an admissions committee to find via Google, but it shouldn't be part of your formal application.

Finally, assuming you mean an undergraduate law advisor, these people give advice that is useless at best. At worst they are actively harmful. Yours seems to have just been wrong. Lots of people get anthropology degrees. Very few of them become anthropologists (or artists). Of those that don't, a lot go to law school. Your background will not help you punch any higher than your numbers.

The good news is that your numbers will get you into most of the nation's top law schools. So congrats again on your score.

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Jack_Kelly
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Re: Splitter with unique softs (I think!) 3.45/172

Post by Jack_Kelly » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:58 pm

I had very close to exactly those stats last cycle. I got one lower T14 at sticker. This cycle might be a bit easier, but I wouldn't expect THAT different results than I had.

DarthBaderGinsburg
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Re: Splitter with unique softs (I think!) 3.45/172

Post by DarthBaderGinsburg » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:03 pm

Thanks Pneumonia. I'm grateful for your take, it provides a lot of clarity. I would say I was decently successful, to the extent that I've been interviewed a few times in writing and in a video profile about 'untraditional' students at top schools. I can try to jam that in the application to up the "personality" factor. But you're right, it's not entirely relevant, and it probably doesn't help too much. The photo work was motivated by a desire to explore social/cultural issues, which is relevant to my wanting to go into public interest law, if that counts for anything.

The 3.45 hurts quite a bit, but during my senior and junior years I lost close friends to suicide which didn't exactly help. Hopefully I can stand on the strength of the LSAT score.

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pneumonia
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Re: Splitter with unique softs (I think!) 3.45/172

Post by pneumonia » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:20 pm

DarthBaderGinsburg wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:03 pm
Thanks Pneumonia. I'm grateful for your take, it provides a lot of clarity. I would say I was decently successful, to the extent that I've been interviewed a few times in writing and in a video profile about 'untraditional' students at top schools. I can try to jam that in the application to up the "personality" factor. But you're right, it's not entirely relevant, and it probably doesn't help too much. The photo work was motivated by a desire to explore social/cultural issues, which is relevant to my wanting to go into public interest law, if that counts for anything.

The 3.45 hurts quite a bit, but during my senior and junior years I lost close friends to suicide which didn't exactly help. Hopefully I can stand on the strength of the LSAT score.
Sure thing. I think you can work your story into a solid, cohesive narrative. It's been five years since I was in your shoes, so Jack Kelly may have a better grasp on current admissions trends. It's true that admissions have gotten tougher in the past several years. Even so, I'd be surprised if you didn't get multiple T14 acceptances. And I still think you'll be in at NYU.

DarthBaderGinsburg
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Re: Splitter with decent softs 3.45/172

Post by DarthBaderGinsburg » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:39 pm

Where did you go? For PI I've seen that NYU, Berkeley, and Georgetown are the top contenders. Do you think it would be a good bet to apply to those three, choosing one for ED?

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icechicken
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Re: Splitter with decent softs 3.45/172

Post by icechicken » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:17 pm

ED would be a big mistake, except maybe Chicago for the guaranteed merit aid. If I were you I’d apply to the entire T14.

tacosaremylife
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Re: Splitter with decent softs 3.45/172

Post by tacosaremylife » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:57 pm

I would definitely apply broadly. Go ahead and apply to the top law schools but also consider some safety schools as well. Have you considered UT Austin? It’s a great law school plus it’s in the best city in Texas. I’m not sure about this but you might want to think about writing an addendum if you were doing great with your gpa but it took a nose dive in your junior/senior year due to grief issues. Maybe others may want to comment on this. I wouldn’t go into a long explanation or details but pointing out your gpa before this and after this might give them some context. Good luck with your applications.

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tinycatfriend
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Re: Splitter with decent softs 3.45/172

Post by tinycatfriend » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:43 pm

PM me - I think with the UChi brand name it's fairly doable if you get the right people writing your letters of rec. My GPA was fairly low and I ended up okay

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paperchaser
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Re: Splitter with decent softs 3.45/172

Post by paperchaser » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:17 pm

Yeah I would still apply broadly but def not expect H (don't know that much about CCN but would also expect that to be a reach). You have a good resume but so does pretty much everyone at HLS, along the numbers. The type of softs that move the needle here are having a PhD in EE from MIT, or an MD or being a member of the Princeton society of fellows. Still definitely worth the shot IMO if application fees aren't a big financial burden. Plus, if you can get past the hurdle of getting a JS1 everything changes.

vikingrunner
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Re: Splitter with unique softs (I think!) 3.45/172

Post by vikingrunner » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:22 pm

DarthBaderGinsburg wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:03 pm
The 3.45 hurts quite a bit, but during my senior and junior years I lost close friends to suicide which didn't exactly help. Hopefully I can stand on the strength of the LSAT score.
First off, sorry for this...sounds like an especially traumatic experience to go through.

But if you feel like GPA could be an issue far as law school admissions goes you might want to mention it (to whatever extent you feel is necessary to get the point of across, obviously it would be painful to revisit) wherever the application might have a spot for explaining low-ish GPAs. Schools will definitely understand and take it into account.

I didn't apply to any t6's (or Berkeley), but I had a sub-170 LSAT with worse softs and the same GPA (from a far less prestigious institution) and had a few offers in the lower half of the t14 last year.

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