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PropJoe

Explaining a bad first year

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Basically what the title says. I am aiming for predominantly L2 schools, however I don't have any documentation or anything to explain my bad first year, because well, I just flat out didnt know how to study/succeed in university. 

 

I rebounded after 1st year and I think GPA wise I am fine. But when it comes to my PS would I be at a disadvantage if I don't have anything to explain a bad first year? Is honesty the best policy? As in should I just say (truthfully) that I was having difficulty adjusting to university and didnt like my program? (which I switched out of after first year)

 

GPA: Year 1= 2.15 (4 courses)

         Year 2= 3.77 (0.5 credits away from a full course load)

         Year 3= 3.84 (at a full course load) 

         Year 4= 3.90 (at a full course load)

 

CGPA=3.5

L2=3.87

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A bad first year is common. Don't sweat it. When I wrote my PS I made a quick comment about how I wasn't ready for first year, but after that I put my head down and worked my way out of it. You don't need an explainable reason past "first year kicked my butt, and then I figured it out."

 

Best of luck!

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Basically what the title says. I am aiming for predominantly L2 schools, however I don't have any documentation or anything to explain my bad first year, because well, I just flat out didnt know how to study/succeed in university. 

 

I rebounded after 1st year and I think GPA wise I am fine. But when it comes to my PS would I be at a disadvantage if I don't have anything to explain a bad first year? Is honesty the best policy? As in should I just say (truthfully) that I was having difficulty adjusting to university and didnt like my program? (which I switched out of after first year)

 

GPA: Year 1= 2.15 (4 courses)

         Year 2= 3.77 (0.5 credits away from a full course load)

         Year 3= 3.84 (at a full course load) 

         Year 4= 3.90 (at a full course load)

 

CGPA=3.5

L2=3.87

 

 

Refer to this: 

 

 

I) If there is an obvious and marked area of weakness in your application, e.g., an academic year where you did particularly badly, or a poor LSAT score, you should quickly address why that incident doesn't reflect your true potential and then move on. The committee will almost certainly notice a significant area of weakness and will wonder what caused you to falter. Don't make excuses, and don't take up your whole application explaining yourself. If there isn't good explanation, you'll just have to bite the bullet and focus on your strengths in the rest of the application. Keep in mind, though, that it's human nature for members of the committee to speculate to themselves about what caused your slip if you don't provide an explanation." 

 

Taken from: http://lawstudents.ca/forums/topic/44053-tips-for-prospective-law-students-from-a-former-admissions-committee-member/ 

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Basically what the title says. I am aiming for predominantly L2 schools, however I don't have any documentation or anything to explain my bad first year, because well, I just flat out didnt know how to study/succeed in university. 

 

I rebounded after 1st year and I think GPA wise I am fine. But when it comes to my PS would I be at a disadvantage if I don't have anything to explain a bad first year? Is honesty the best policy? As in should I just say (truthfully) that I was having difficulty adjusting to university and didnt like my program? (which I switched out of after first year)

 

 

 

That seems like a good enough reason to me, especially considering your great gpa after that. I mean to me it would look like you had a weakness, identified it, and then addressed it by making a change for the better. It's a good skill to have. Don't dwell on it, either in your applications or while you're waiting to hear back from schools. 

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Your overall stats are pretty similar to mine (cGPA, L2/B2) and I got in to four law schools. I didn't address my first year grades (however, it was a 3.1gpa) in my personal statement as I didn't feel a need to; I felt as though my last three years were representative of my potential, and I guess the AdComs did too.

 

If you personally feel like its something you need to address, then address it. As mentioned above, something simple like "first year kicked my butt, then I stopped sucking at university" would suffice!

 

Best of luck with your applications!

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As in should I just say (truthfully) that I was having difficulty adjusti

 

 

 

I rebounded after 1st year and I think GPA wise I am fine. But when it comes to my PS would I be at a disadvantage if I don't have anything to explain a bad first year? Is honesty the best policy? As in should I just say (truthfully) that I was having difficulty adjusting to university and didnt like my program? (which I switched out of after first year)

 

 

In your personal statement, I think you should mention that you were having trouble adjusting to university but went on to improve your study habits and your grades.

 

You could mention that your first year program wasn't a good match for you but I would stay away from just saying you "didn't like" it. I think that can come across as a bit whiny and doesn't emphasize your strengths. 

 

I think you will be fine though. Most schools recognize that people have bad first years and your stats are still pretty good. I had a CGPA of 3.58 and a L2 of 3.72 and got into UBC, Queen's and Dal.

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With a strong LSAT I think you will be fine and won't need more than to quickly address the changes you made that allowed you to succeed. I have essentially the same cGPA as you, with two poor years (first and second) and a 3.8 in my last 2 years. I got into most of the schools I applied to (Queen's, Ottawa and Western). Didn't get into U of T and didn't wait around to hear from Osgoode! Don't worry too much just focus on making everything else you can control in your app (LSAT and Personal statements) as strong as you can and you will have a great shot at a lot of excellent schools :) 

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I'm in a similar boat where I had a poor first year but rebounded strongly in my second and third years. The program that I originally entered into in my first year just wasn't something I was interested in and the result were poor grades. I switched into another program, enjoy it and the result were strong grades.

 

Point being, yeah it sucks having a round of crappy grades that sometimes bog you down, but you've proven you could/are successful in university and you gotta highlight (just like I will be doing) your strengths and try to somewhat play to your advantage how a few bad marks actually made you get your act together and break out of a funk. It was reassuring reading around on these forums that this situation is more common than some think and it won't rule you out of law schools. My plan is to briefly address that I recognize I did poorly for a brief period in university, however it doesn't reflect my abilities as a student and I learned from my early mistakes. 

 

Get a strong LSAT and you'll be fine. 

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Thank you all for your insightful responses. 

 

I am just going to highlight my strengths and discuss how I seriously applied myself to school after first year and study hard for the LSAT. 

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Thank you all for your insightful responses. 

 

I am just going to highlight my strengths and discuss how I seriously applied myself to school after first year and study hard for the LSAT. 

 

 

Just do this "highlight my strengths" and why you want to go to their school

Don't mention your first year and LSAT

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Just do this "highlight my strengths" and why you want to go to their school

Don't mention your first year and LSAT

 

 

I think the way I phrased that was wrong. What I mean is that I will highlight my strengths on my PS, and I'm also going to study hard for my LSAT in the meantime to make myself competitive. I am not going to discuss it on the PS. 

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I think the way I phrased that was wrong. What I mean is that I will highlight my strengths on my PS, and I'm also going to study hard for my LSAT in the meantime to make myself competitive. I am not going to discuss it on the PS. 

 

If you get 160+ you should get more than one offer

Edited by Luckycharm

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