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With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "job'

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:27 pm
by lawschoolmonkey
Hey all,

So I'm a HYPSM (Harvard,Yale,Princeton,Stanford,MIT) recent college graduate, and I originally planned on spending a few months after college graduation to study full-time for the LSAT before I would join the Peace Corps or some kind of intensive full-time program.

Problem is, the LSAT did not come easy for me, and I ended up spending longer studying for it than I expected. I've taken it 4 times over the course of 2 years, and have finally hit around my goal score.

During those 2 years of studying for the LSAT, however, I did not have a "full-time" professional job-- like someone working full time as a Business Analyst at McKinsey (like many of my peers) or as a paralegal at a BigLaw firm.

The reason I did not choose to do such a "full time" professional job is because they are very demanding, often requiring 70+ hours a week. I was really struggling with my LSAT, and I could not see myself balancing a full-time demanding job with the rigors of LSAT studying (I know many do this, but given how bad I was at the LSAT and how slow a learner I was, I thought this would be REALLY hard, and would impede on my LSAT prep).

As a result, during these 2 years, I was self-employed and worked as a private admissions consultant for high school students - both in my area and through referrals, around the world. The money was good and far better than any retail job. I charged $75/hour for my clients and helped everything from writing their personal statements to crafting their resumes. The hours were flexible, the money was good, and the work was fun and interesting.

I was able to do this because I am a HYPSM college graduate, so I could sell myself on the "How to get into an Ivy League" story.

This has been my main source of income and my main "job" for the past 2 years. How would this "job" look like on my resume for law school admissions? Would law schools look down on this because it's not as "cool" or "traditional" as a full time paralegal job, or a job working as a consultant at McKinsey? Would it be a considered negative? Or just no effect?

My main interests and motivations in law are in environmental law and regulation, so what I did as private college admissions consultant was NOT related in any way to my story of "why law school?" so I don't see it related in any way when I write my personal statement on my passion in environmental law. It was just a way to make money and survive. Would that be seen as a negative?

My STORY (and what I hope to write my personal statement on) of how I got into environmental law are mostly based in my college internships/coursework (from a few years back), and not my work as a college admissions consultant.

Would that be ok?

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. Thanks. Please do not quote.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:31 pm
by beep
Conventional wisdom is that what you do between college and law school doesn't really matter. I'm not sure that's completely true -- my experience doing firm recruiting was that firms sometimes do care a little bit if you had a "white collar" pre-law-school job, like consulting, ibanking, paralegal at a big firm or expert service, etc., grades and school being otherwise comparable -- but it does seem to basically match reality for law school admissions. Numbers will remain a primary driver as long as USNWR ranks schools based on them and as long as students keep caring what USNWR thinks. But it's been a number of years since I went through admissions, so some stuff might have changed, especially with schools taking the GRE now. FWIW, my pre-law-school job was also not traditionally "white collar" and I never got the sense that that affected my cycle.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:42 pm
by lawschoolmonkey
thanks for following up @beep!

FYI - I did have "white collar" internship college experience.

Because I went to HYPSM, I was a feeder school for Wall Street/management consulting.

Thus, during my junior summer, I did a "summer analyst" internship at one of the Bulge Bracket Investment Banks/McKinsey/Bain/BCG.

I ultimately decided to not return full time because I wanted to go to law school and do something else - Peace Corps, TFA, etc. Except just LSAT prep got in the way of me diving into doing either.

Would doing a summer internship at a very prestigious investment banking/consulting firm (think of Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, Bridgewater Investments, Boston Consulting Group) help make up for what firms look for in some "white collar" experience?

During my summer internship, I also had the opportunity to interact with their MBA's summer associates (mostly from Harvard and Wharton) as well as some BigLaw firm lawyers that did work for that company. So I got lots of "white collar" experience from that internship.

But it's been a few years since my junior college internship.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:42 pm
by lawschoolmonkey
beep wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:31 pm
Conventional wisdom is that what you do between college and law school doesn't really matter. I'm not sure that's completely true -- my experience doing firm recruiting was that firms sometimes do care a little bit if you had a "white collar" pre-law-school job, like consulting, ibanking, paralegal at a big firm or expert service, etc., grades and school being otherwise comparable -- but it does seem to basically match reality for law school admissions. Numbers will remain a primary driver as long as USNWR ranks schools based on them and as long as students keep caring what USNWR thinks. But it's been a number of years since I went through admissions, so some stuff might have changed, especially with schools taking the GRE now. FWIW, my pre-law-school job was also not traditionally "white collar" and I never got the sense that that affected my cycle.
appreciate the follow up and feedback

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:48 pm
by beep
lawschoolmonkey wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:42 pm
Would doing a summer internship at a very prestigious investment banking/consulting firm (think of Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, Bridgewater Investments, Boston Consulting Group) help make up for what firms look for in some "white collar" experience?
Probably not. I mean, certainly it doesn't hurt, but there's a difference between being a summer intern and doing something as your full-time gig, and that difference is sort of the point of preferring white collar experience -- like, this wasn't something I personally valued a ton evaluating candidates, but to the extent I understood why some of my colleagues did, it was about developing a level of professionalism and understanding the type of quality work expected at those places, and to some extent client interaction. You might get some of that as an intern, but it's different from doing it as your real job for the medium- or long term. You also might not eve be listing a junior-year summer internship on your resume by the time you'd go through OCI -- I kept my one main pre-LS job and a volunteer experience and that was it.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:48 pm
by lawschoolmonkey
beep wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:48 pm

Probably not. I mean, certainly it doesn't hurt, but there's a difference between being a summer intern and doing something as your full-time gig, and that difference is sort of the point of preferring white collar experience -- like, this wasn't something I personally valued a ton evaluating candidates, but to the extent I understood why some of my colleagues did, it was about developing a level of professionalism and understanding the type of quality work expected at those places, and to some extent client interaction. You might get some of that as an intern, but it's different from doing it as your real job for the medium- or long term. You also might not eve be listing a junior-year summer internship on your resume by the time you'd go through OCI -- I kept my one main pre-LS job and a volunteer experience and that was it.
Thanks for the follow up!

I know about 20% of HLS and YLS are KJD. So in those cases, where the most work experience they have is summer internships in college, do things work out for them at OCI? How are those candidate evaluated?

With those without the traditional "white collar experience," how much would their professional experience in their 1l internship (say interning at USAO SDNY) make up for that? Are those without significant "white collar experience" at a much greater disadvantage, or is it just a small factor?

If you were to put a percentage on it, would it be like 50% which school you went to, 30% your 1L grades, and 20% your work experience (any prestigious i-banking or MBB consulting stuff)?

Thank you!

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:59 pm
by beep
lawschoolmonkey wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:48 pm
beep wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:48 pm

Probably not. I mean, certainly it doesn't hurt, but there's a difference between being a summer intern and doing something as your full-time gig, and that difference is sort of the point of preferring white collar experience -- like, this wasn't something I personally valued a ton evaluating candidates, but to the extent I understood why some of my colleagues did, it was about developing a level of professionalism and understanding the type of quality work expected at those places, and to some extent client interaction. You might get some of that as an intern, but it's different from doing it as your real job for the medium- or long term. You also might not eve be listing a junior-year summer internship on your resume by the time you'd go through OCI -- I kept my one main pre-LS job and a volunteer experience and that was it.
Thanks for the follow up!

I know about 20% of HLS and YLS are KJD. So in those cases, where the most work experience they have is summer internships in college, do things work out for them at OCI? How are those candidate evaluated?

With those without the traditional "white collar experience," how much would their professional experience in their 1l internship (say interning at USAO SDNY) make up for that? Are those without significant "white collar experience" at a much greater disadvantage, or is it just a small factor?

If you were to put a percentage on it, would it be like 50% which school you went to, 30% your 1L grades, and 20% your work experience (any prestigious i-banking or MBB consulting stuff)?

Thank you!
It's less about percentages and more about stages of evaluation -- school and grades are still the primary drivers and get you the interview/callback. After you're there, it gets fuzzier and depends a lot on the individual lawyers evaluating you. Some will care a lot about how you came off in interviews. Others will discount that and rely on other stuff, like the quality of your work experience, your writing sample, etc. It's all a bit idiosyncratic so not easily reducible to X% Y% Z%. And I am sure others here who've had hiring experience may have totally different views on this stuff.

Anyway, this is all years off for you and not really something you can affect now -- I wouldn't worry about it at this stage at all.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:14 pm
by Nony
I don't think you remotely need any kind of white collar job to get admitted to law school. College admissions consultant is fine, especially since you can honestly talk about the positives (fun/interesting, good money, flexible). I also don't think it will hurt you in recruiting; I think having had one of the traditionally prestigious white-collar gigs can help you with some employers, but I don't think not having one hurts, if that makes any sense. It can be proxy for professionalism/quality of work, but you can demonstrate those things in other ways, too. I think especially since you're interested in environmental law/regulation rather than the fields like finance/M&A that more traditionally value consulting/banking etc. experience, it's not going to be a particularly significant factor. There are tons of people who go into law school and succeed without that background.

The primary measure at OCI will be school and grades (what school you go to tends to determine what grades you need to be competitive, or if you're competitive at all). To the extent you can get a good reference out of 1L summer, that's great too. It's not really going to "make up" for any perceived lack in experience, mostly b/c virtually everyone get some kind of professional experience their 1L summer, but you're going to be fine. Again, lots of people succeed in law school without any kind of prestigious background at all. You at least have the HYPSM background, which some employers find appealing in itself.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:35 pm
by app
lawschoolmonkey wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:27 pm
Hey all,

So I'm a HYPSM (Harvard,Yale,Princeton,Stanford,MIT) recent college graduate, and I originally planned on spending a few months after college graduation to study full-time for the LSAT before I would join the Peace Corps or some kind of intensive full-time program.

Problem is, the LSAT did not come easy for me, and I ended up spending longer studying for it than I expected. I've taken it 4 times over the course of 2 years, and have finally hit around my goal score.

During those 2 years of studying for the LSAT, however, I did not have a "full-time" professional job-- like someone working full time as a Business Analyst at McKinsey (like many of my peers) or as a paralegal at a BigLaw firm.

The reason I did not choose to do such a "full time" professional job is because they are very demanding, often requiring 70+ hours a week. I was really struggling with my LSAT, and I could not see myself balancing a full-time demanding job with the rigors of LSAT studying (I know many do this, but given how bad I was at the LSAT and how slow a learner I was, I thought this would be REALLY hard, and would impede on my LSAT prep).

As a result, during these 2 years, I was self-employed and worked as a private admissions consultant for high school students - both in my area and through referrals, around the world. The money was good and far better than any retail job. I charged $75/hour for my clients and helped everything from writing their personal statements to crafting their resumes. The hours were flexible, the money was good, and the work was fun and interesting.

I was able to do this because I am a HYPSM college graduate, so I could sell myself on the "How to get into an Ivy League" story.

This has been my main source of income and my main "job" for the past 2 years. How would this "job" look like on my resume for law school admissions? Would law schools look down on this because it's not as "cool" or "traditional" as a full time paralegal job, or a job working as a consultant at McKinsey? Would it be a considered negative? Or just no effect?

My main interests and motivations in law are in environmental law and regulation, so what I did as private college admissions consultant was NOT related in any way to my story of "why law school?" so I don't see it related in any way when I write my personal statement on my passion in environmental law. It was just a way to make money and survive. Would that be seen as a negative?

My STORY (and what I hope to write my personal statement on) of how I got into environmental law are mostly based in my college internships/coursework (from a few years back), and not my work as a college admissions consultant.

Would that be ok?

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. Thanks. Please do not quote.
can you say what your gpa, final lsat are? what was your major?

those are the main driving factors for admissions. imo your HYPSM is definitely going to help you. e.g if you were at mit in an engineering field it may slightly compensate for lower gpa even.

when you say 'private admissions consultant', do you mean with a admissions consulting company or your own? i assume you by yourself. i don't know if your admissions consulting experience is going to be helpful though as much. but as a net it shouldn't hurt you. there are plenty of students getting into H every year without _any_ work-ex so why should it yours hurt if not help?

it's interesting though that you decided to do admissions consulting after a stint of internship at a BB/consulting. i have almost never seen anyone do that coming from BB/consulting world, as apparently those are competitive enough for one to get something more traditionally prestigious once they graduate. if it was something like Mck, that can definitely help.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:55 pm
by lawschoolmonkey
@app

My GPA is 3.79, LSAT 178 (though multiple takes), and major english.

Basically, it was on my own consulting. The money is better, and there's no middle man taking a cut.

Yea I originally wanted to do an intensive full time fellowship after graduation (think Peace Corps in Ghana), but after I took my first LSAT (which I did horrible in), I realized I needed more time for LSAT and to take care of LSAT business first.

So I prioritized LSAT over prestigious work experience, because I knew I needed more time. And just the way I learn - I couldn't imagine myself juggling 70 hour weeks doing consulting with intensive LSAT prep. And i ended up taking the LSAT quite a few times lol.

I also prioritized LSAT because my GPA is lowish (25th percentile or lower for HYS), so I knew I needed a 75th percentile LSAT score to have a shot at those schools.

But it paid off - I got a 178. But yea I don't have the most exciting work experience or softs lol.

Any feedback or suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Please don't quote too. Thanks.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:14 pm
by icechicken
It's not going to either hurt you or help you in a major way. Just put it on your résumé in the most favorable light you honestly can and move on.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:39 pm
by pancakes3
3.79 from HYPSM and you want to go to law school, why?

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:38 am
by lawschoolmonkey
pancakes3 wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:39 pm
3.79 from HYPSM and you want to go to law school, why?
great question.

a couple reasons.

A) at HYPMS undergrad, from what I view, recruiting there is essentially the same as top-tier business school recruiting at places like HBS, Wharton, GSB, etc.

All the same companies recruit. MBB, Goldman, Bridgewater Associates, middle market PE firms, mega fund PE firms like TPG and Apollo, etc. It may be even better as there are direct Private Equity 2 year analyst positions from both middle market and mege fund PE firms. Not sure if MBA recruiting has the same.

So I went through all that recruiting and landed a summer analyst position in finance.

I wasn't a huge fan of it. I didn't find it super intellectually stimulating grinding in excel/powerpoint all day, and didn't really feel there was that much real world impact in it. So I didn't want to pursue that in the future. I also have a sense of public service, and didn't feel many of my colleagues in finance had that vibe.

Many of my classmates went down this path.

B) so why law then? I think for several reasons.

1. More intellectually stimulating. For now, I'm thinking of being a litigator. I think I'd enjoy the research and writing of litigating more than the financial modeling and excel playing around in finance. Also, stuff like cross border investigations, anti corruption, fcpa, international trade and sanctions all sound super interesting to me. i'd also like to explore the relationship between public policy and the law. i know some law firms like Covington and Burling do that kind of work in DC. Looks cool.

2. public service/impact of aspect of law. this may sound idealistic, but i think law can have a direct impact on people (i know finance/consulting too, but i just feel law does it even more so). unicorn stuff like impact litigation, appellate/SCOTUS litigation, pro bono stuff all have real impact on people. i find that compelling. The pro bono at some big law firms really does seem to help ppl (scotus work, immigration/refugee work, etc) as they directly apply their legal background to advocate for ppl. The pro bono stuff at like a PE firm or a Bulge Bracket bank is .. like volunteering at a soup kitchen. Good work, but still, I feel lawyers can have bigger impact.

also, i like how interconnected the law is with government, especially career wise. there's a "DC revolving door" for lots of biglaw layers/federal prosectors to go into government and federal agencies (DOJ, State, Treasury, etc.). Think Bob Mueller, whose back at WilmerHale now. I think that's cool. A biglaw associate can work in the private sector, then become a federal prosecutor, and then jump into the Main Justice Department, and maybe end up at a stint at the White House. Then go back to their law firm at the transition of a new Administration.

I feel it's much more difficult to get into government/policy work with a business/private equity/finance background. Again, it's possible, but I feel what I wanna do, the revolving door of many federal prosecutors may be a better path for me.

I am also interested in going into politics or running for office. I see there are 2 paths. 1) the public service route, taken mainly by lawyers. Think like Josh Hawley. SCOTUS clerk, biglaw, state Attorney General, run for office. 2) the business route, think like Phil Murphy or Mitt Romney. They just make a crap ton of money in PE or finance and just use their connections to get involved politically.

I think path 1 for me would be more rewarding given its more tangible direct impact on ppl. As state Attorney General, your client is the people of your state, making sure they're not getting screwed over and have their rights protected. As a PE megafund managing director, your client(s) are your LPs and your investors, where you make sure their capital is well managed and making $$$ for them. That's important work, as often you're dealing with like teachers pensions, but I feel path 1 has a more meaningful impact on people.

Idk these are all just some random thoughts. I'm still a 0L. I do realize some are pretty unicorn goals, so I'd hope to attend the best law school I can to have a shot at achieving some goals.

Any feedback or advice welcomed. Thanks.

Please don't quote either.

Re: With no traditional "full time job", how would being a self-employed college admissions consultant look like as a "j

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:12 pm
by pancakes3
i suppose you know what you want, and are better informed than most 0L's heading into this decision.
i don't think your 2 year's worth "self-employment" will hurt you any, and you can spin it as your little foray into an entrepreneur's life, and the small business lessons you took away from it.

good luck, and stick around.