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Sio

Will I ever go to law school ? (2.12)

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Hi everyone, I have a bit of a situation and I’m hoping you guys can help me out. I apologize in advance for the long story!

I applied to law school for September admissions and so far have been rejected from everywhere except Ottawa but I’m not holding my breath at all for that. I want to apply for the next cycle but I want to do that with confidence.

Due to medical reasons the first two years of my undergrad were real crappy and my overall GPA is extremely low 2.12. I know. It’s awful. I got an LSAT of 152 but am planning to rewrite in September and I want to shoot for the 170s to sort of compensate for my shitty GPA. I was practice testing in the 160s when I was studying and test day was just a bunch of nerves and I ended up with 152 but anyways I know I can achieve a way higher LSAT if I put a lot of work and effort in. 

 

Even if I manage to achieve a high LSAT score my GPA is way too low and my question is, what can I do to raise my GPA? I’ve looked into pursuing a masters but of course don’t meet the admission requirements. I also looked into going back to university to complete an extra year but all the deadlines have long passed and I would have to apply in 2019 and that will push my law school applications for entry in 2020. 

I would really like to spend this year doing things to improve my application and increase my competitiveness. I’ve asked some of the law school admissions on what I can do to improve my app and they said I had great volunteering/LORs and PS but the stats don’t prove my ability to handle law school. So they said if I could take some extra courses and raise my GPA I could have a shot for next year. 

So, do you guys have any advice for me? Is there anything I can do degree-wise that would raise my GPA or overall just improve my application? Or do you think that I can’t overcome my GPA and I should just consider another path all together? 

Any help you guys can provide would be much appreciated! Thank you! 

and please, no negative comments! 

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11 minutes ago, Sio said:

Even if I manage to achieve a high LSAT score my GPA is way too low and my question is, what can I do to raise my GPA? I’ve looked into pursuing a masters but of course don’t meet the admission requirements. I also looked into going back to university to complete an extra year but all the deadlines have long passed and I would have to apply in 2019 and that will push my law school applications for entry in 2020. 

I would really like to spend this year doing things to improve my application and increase my competitiveness. I’ve asked some of the law school admissions on what I can do to improve my app and they said I had great volunteering/LORs and PS but the stats don’t prove my ability to handle law school. So they said if I could take some extra courses and raise my GPA I could have a shot for next year. 

So, do you guys have any advice for me? Is there anything I can do degree-wise that would raise my GPA or overall just improve my application? Or do you think that I can’t overcome my GPA and I should just consider another path all together?

Hey there, based on what you wrote here, it appears you already received the answer from schools you contacted: take some extra courses to raise your GPA and apply again next year. Ultimately, however, it is up to you. Do you really want to go to law school? It appears that you do because you say you want to spend the year doing things to improve your application and increase your competitiveness. 

I remember a few weeks ago someone asked a similar question and the general advice seemed to be: 

1) Try your best on the LSAT 

2) Convey your circumstances as best and as honestly as you can in your personal statement 

3) Return to school to try and improve your GPA* 

*Remember, your GPA may not increase a lot even if you get straight As. You could calculate what your new cGPA would be if you got straight As and see if it would be a meaningful enough of a difference for you. Also, what if you don't end up doing as well as you anticipated? What if your GPA decreases? Do you mind paying another year of tuition? I think you would have to take many things into consideration if you chose to return to school.

Throughout undergrad, I was always told that law school will always be here. You can apply next year or the year after, it won't go anywhere. I would weigh the pros and cons of returning to school before going back. Otherwise, try your best on the LSAT, that can make a difference if you end up doing very well. 

 

18 minutes ago, Sio said:

I’ve looked into pursuing a masters but of course don’t meet the admission requirements.

From what I know, some schools may not count your grades from your Masters program towards your GPA. I think it would be best to ask the specific schools you are interested in.  And if you aren't meeting the requirements for pursuing a Masters, then I think returning to school may be your only bet if you want to improve your GPA? 

Hope that helps! :) 

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Yeah, I doubt you can get accepted to a Masters with a 2.12 GPA and most if not all law schools don't count Masters grades - they have to be undergraduate grades. 

Less than 3% of people who take the LSAT in the world get 170 or higher. Almost half the people who take it get 152 or higher. You would have to jump from basically an average score to one of the very top scores. Not impossible, but very difficult. I'm not sure what "practice testing in the 160s" means. 160, or 168-169? Was this a practice test written in the same amount of time as the LSAT, straight through, no cheating, no being tempted to check an answer, no giving yourself the benefit of the doubt when scoring, including an extra "experimental" section? A lot of people do better in practice tests even without that due to nerves, the comfort of writing at home, writing at a time when they function best, etc. 

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Ok, your first two years were crappy due to medical issues, what are your grades like in 3rd year, 4th year?

At this point, there’s nothing that suggests you’d be a credible candidate for law school, but if you’re latter year grades show a sharp upward trend, that might be something.  At the very least that might give you hope that an extra year would be beneficial.  

As for the LSAT, if you’re setting arbitrary goals to aim for, why not a 180 instead of a 170?  

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1 hour ago, LivePumpkin said:

Hey there, based on what you wrote here, it appears you already received the answer from schools you contacted: take some extra courses to raise your GPA and apply again next year. Ultimately, however, it is up to you. Do you really want to go to law school? It appears that you do because you say you want to spend the year doing things to improve your application and increase your competitiveness. 

I remember a few weeks ago someone asked a similar question and the general advice seemed to be: 

1) Try your best on the LSAT 

2) Convey your circumstances as best and as honestly as you can in your personal statement 

3) Return to school to try and improve your GPA* 

*Remember, your GPA may not increase a lot even if you get straight As. You could calculate what your new cGPA would be if you got straight As and see if it would be a meaningful enough of a difference for you. Also, what if you don't end up doing as well as you anticipated? What if your GPA decreases? Do you mind paying another year of tuition? I think you would have to take many things into consideration if you chose to return to school.

Throughout undergrad, I was always told that law school will always be here. You can apply next year or the year after, it won't go anywhere. I would weigh the pros and cons of returning to school before going back. Otherwise, try your best on the LSAT, that can make a difference if you end up doing very well. 

 

From what I know, some schools may not count your grades from your Masters program towards your GPA. I think it would be best to ask the specific schools you are interested in.  And if you aren't meeting the requirements for pursuing a Masters, then I think returning to school may be your only bet if you want to improve your GPA? 

Hope that helps! :) 

Thank you, that was helpful. I didn’t consider the fact that my gpa may not even increase that much to be that great so I definitely have to weigh the pros and cons. Thanks again :)

 

45 minutes ago, providence said:

Yeah, I doubt you can get accepted to a Masters with a 2.12 GPA and most if not all law schools don't count Masters grades - they have to be undergraduate grades. 

Less than 3% of people who take the LSAT in the world get 170 or higher. Almost half the people who take it get 152 or higher. You would have to jump from basically an average score to one of the very top scores. Not impossible, but very difficult. I'm not sure what "practice testing in the 160s" means. 160, or 168-169? Was this a practice test written in the same amount of time as the LSAT, straight through, no cheating, no being tempted to check an answer, no giving yourself the benefit of the doubt when scoring, including an extra "experimental" section? A lot of people do better in practice tests even without that due to nerves, the comfort of writing at home, writing at a time when they function best, etc. 

Good to know most schools don’t consider masters, thanks for that. To clarify, I was PTing in the mid 160s the highest I got was 167 and that was under test conditions, the only condition I didn’t do was practice the test at 830 in the morning so I will have to try doing that this time around to make sure I’m completely comfortable. Thanks :)

 

38 minutes ago, maximumbob said:

Ok, your first two years were crappy due to medical issues, what are your grades like in 3rd year, 4th year?

At this point, there’s nothing that suggests you’d be a credible candidate for law school, but if you’re latter year grades show a sharp upward trend, that might be something.  At the very least that might give you hope that an extra year would be beneficial.  

As for the LSAT, if you’re setting arbitrary goals to aim for, why not a 180 instead of a 170?  

sorry but I’m not sure how to calculate my last two years, but it wasn’t a sharp upward trend per se I would say it was more gradual which probably doesn’t look that great to law schools lol. And I don’t think my goals are arbitrary, even if I don’t hit 170s next time around I won’t stop trying..just baby steps for now :)

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9 minutes ago, Sio said:

Thank you, that was helpful. I didn’t consider the fact that my gpa may not even increase that much to be that great so I definitely have to weigh the pros and cons. Thanks again :)

 

Good to know most schools don’t consider masters, thanks for that. To clarify, I was PTing in the mid 160s the highest I got was 167 and that was under test conditions, the only condition I didn’t do was practice the test at 830 in the morning so I will have to try doing that this time around to make sure I’m completely comfortable. Thanks :)

 

sorry but I’m not sure how to calculate my last two years, but it wasn’t a sharp upward trend per se I would say it was more gradual which probably doesn’t look that great to law schools lol. And I don’t think my goals are arbitrary, even if I don’t hit 170s next time around I won’t stop trying..just baby steps for now :)

1

to calculate your last two years, you take the sessional GPAs of both years and average it out

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4 minutes ago, Sio said:

sorry but I’m not sure how to calculate my last two years, but it wasn’t a sharp upward trend per se I would say it was more gradual which probably doesn’t look that great to law schools lol. And I don’t think my goals are arbitrary, even if I don’t hit 170s next time around I won’t stop trying..just baby steps for now :)

Some schools say they will just take your last two years. So the trend might not matter - just LSAT and L2 alone for certain schools.

But if you weren't doing that well in the last couple of years, then you might want to consider whether it's worthwhile to continue sinking time and money into  undergraduate courses. Have you been getting As (or at least mostly Bs)? If not, what's going to be different? Unless your circumstances, work ethic, study skills, or whatever has been holding you back has changed, the grades will probably stay roughly the same. Do as you like. But if I were you, then those are the questions I'd be asking myself right now. 

I know people who have completely turned around their academic performance. But there was usually a reason (e.g., medical issues were resolved, they hadn't been studying and then started studying much harder, or they took a long break from school to work and returned with a new attitude).

 

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19 minutes ago, Sio said:

sorry but I’m not sure how to calculate my last two years, but it wasn’t a sharp upward trend per se I would say it was more gradual which probably doesn’t look that great to law schools lol. And I don’t think my goals are arbitrary, even if I don’t hit 170s next time around I won’t stop trying..just baby steps for now :)

Do they not teach simple math in elementary school anymore?  I weep for the future.

Hmm.  Law schools are looking for tangible proof that you can consistently achieve at a high level.  Without a couple of years of grades at that level, you’re not a tempting prospect.  I’ve said this elsewhere, I have known people who have had terrible grades in their first couple of years of undergrad, got their shit together and ultimately got into law school.  But they did get their shit together in year 3 and 4, and demonstrated that they could achieve at a high level.  You need to be able to do that?  

And I share realpseudonym’s concern, if you haven’t been able to consistent demonstrate strong grades, there’s a real risk that taking an extra year won’t change anything.  Maybe that’s a risk you’re willing to bear, but it is a concern. 

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Thank you to all, that’s good to know. I wouldnt want to waste a year of uni and it doesn’t make a dent in my application (or enough of one to make me competitive) so that dose of reality is definitely helpful! 

 

Back to the drawing board..

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Sio, there's a tension between the title of this thread and your second paragraph. Will you ever go to law school? Perhaps! Is it going to happen within the next two years? Probably not.

I think you should consider aiming for law school as a goal for a future stage in your life. You could start your career without a law degree, pick up some valuable experience and demonstrate your aptitudes, and apply after some (5+) years at which point those things will provide a stronger counterweight to your GPA. Full-time work is much more relevant than volunteering, ECs, etc.

There are plenty of lawyers for whom law is a second (or third, or fourth) career stage and FWIW this is viewed as a respectable thing within the profession.

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20 minutes ago, whereverjustice said:

Sio, there's a tension between the title of this thread and your second paragraph. Will you ever go to law school? Perhaps! Is it going to happen within the next two years? Probably not.

I think you should consider aiming for law school as a goal for a future stage in your life. You could start your career without a law degree, pick up some valuable experience and demonstrate your aptitudes, and apply after some (5+) years at which point those things will provide a stronger counterweight to your GPA. Full-time work is much more relevant than volunteering, ECs, etc.

There are plenty of lawyers for whom law is a second (or third, or fourth) career stage and FWIW this is viewed as a respectable thing within the profession.

Thank you. I guess I’m just more anxious to start because I’m already 26. I have no problem doing what you mentioned but I just feel like an outsider getting a late start to my career. I know everyone moves at different paces but it’s just hard seeing everyone’s lives take off and I’m still trying to get my shit together ha

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Posted (edited)

Maybe look into schools that accept a second degree grades and exclude the first degree? Taking courses will have very little impact on your cgpa at this point, best you could hope for if you wish to add courses to the first degree is aiming for last 2 best 2 skools but that cgpa might still be an issue at schools like queen and western

If that' the cgpa and last 2 are similar yea to  get in you would need a minimum of around 170

I don't wish to be negative at All, but be careful of putting is much energy into getting that 170+, it's a high risk high reward situation. Ya if it works it' awesome, but it's a low probability scenario that will take time and money and mental resources , if it's worth it to you Defintley do it but just consider it carefully

There are many other great careers , trades that are in high demand, tons of other options that don't involve law school and tbh in some ways can be better perhaps, but if you really wish to be a lawyer for whatever reason deep down then I could see why you would want to pursue a second degree etc. To accomplish this 

I think.i should mention, I was averaging 168, hit over 170 many times, highest was 175 or 176 I think and this was  under timed strict conditions in differing environments, exact and non exact conditions as test day ( e.g.  , I esentially controlled for every variable possible as well as writing every lsat practice test that exists within very short time frames,  I was doing 3 prep tests a day during my max study time due to some time and situation constraints) and unfortunately ( still happy and thankful though) I ended up with a 160 and 162, I wanted a 170 or higher but 160/162 was at the low tail of my distribution of lsat scores ( meaning  i did score in the 160 range just not very often) and yet on test day both times it happens. So just keep that in mind when deciding about how much to give to this goal

Sometimes its better to let go of a goal than to keep giving to it and giving to it to the point where it is  no longer is worth it for us. But perhaps look into rewriting again a few times ( I do know of  people who jumped from 140s to 170s and mid  high 160s after taking a year to study etc), and see if any schools will take a second undergraduate degree grades over a first degree 

But this second degree thing is a serious investment and should only be done if you really love law or you have a deep desire to be a lawyer for whatever reason

 

Edited by Timmies123

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My impression based on the median LSAT scores for Canadian universities is that most schools don't care about LSAT once it's above a certain threshold, say 162 or so. No stellar LSAT score can redeem your GPA; "splitters" getting into law schools seems to be less of a phenomenon here than in the United States. I know people with 170+ and 3.3 GPAs who were turned down. I wouldn't put all of my eggs in that basket, personally.

 

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14 minutes ago, jan said:

My impression based on the median LSAT scores for Canadian universities is that most schools don't care about LSAT once it's above a certain threshold, say 162 or so. No stellar LSAT score can redeem your GPA; "splitters" getting into law schools seems to be less of a phenomenon here than in the United States. I know people with 170+ and 3.3 GPAs who were turned down. I wouldn't put all of my eggs in that basket, personally.

 

It depends on the school - a lot of them weigh GPA and LSAT equally or use index calculations, so I don't agree that schools don't care once the LSAT is above a certain threshold. A 162 wouldn't have gotten me into my school.

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No for Canadian schools there will be a big difference if one has a 172 or 162, the combination of gpa and lsat will make the difference, OP would be doomed with a 162 in canada everywhere I think, even with a 172 it is an uphill battle but something that is possible, 

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Thanks everyone. You’re right timmies123, it is a lot of effort on every level to work towards this, given my circumstances. But like you said, there’s other opportunities out there. I gotta do some thinkin and figure out if I want to head down this path for sure or take another route! Thanks again 

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9 hours ago, Sio said:

Thank you. I guess I’m just more anxious to start because I’m already 26. I have no problem doing what you mentioned but I just feel like an outsider getting a late start to my career. I know everyone moves at different paces but it’s just hard seeing everyone’s lives take off and I’m still trying to get my shit together ha

26 is not late, relatively speaking. The median age at U of C Law is 26.

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4 hours ago, Timmies123 said:

 

I think.i should mention, I was averaging 168, hit over 170 many times, highest was 175 or 176 I think and this was  under timed strict conditions in differing environments, exact and non exact conditions as test day ( e.g.  , I esentially controlled for every variable possible as well as writing every lsat practice test that exists within very short time frames,  I was doing 3 prep tests a day during my max study time due to some time and situation constraints) and unfortunately ( still happy and thankful though) I ended up with a 160 and 162, I wanted a 170 or higher but 160/162 was at the low tail of my distribution of lsat scores ( meaning  i did score in the 160 range just not very often) and yet on test day both times it happens. So just keep that in mind when deciding about how much to give to this goal

 

 

 

I wouldn’t recommend writing 3 PTs a day (or a week, even). Not only will it lead to burn-out, it will not give a student enough time to study their answers and understand their weaknesses. In the opinion of many high-scorers, it’s better to take fewer PTs and thoroughly review them than burn through a bunch of PTs really quickly.

I agree that it’s probably better to aim higher than your goal score when practicing.

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11 minutes ago, Psychometronic said:

26 is not late, relatively speaking. The median age at U of C Law is 26.

Yeah but what people are saying is they may not be in a position to apply until their early 30s, if they need to work and/or complete another degree first. 

Early 30s in law school is not a big deal - there were plenty of people that age in school with me. I don't get the rush or why people think you're a loser if you aren't in law school at 22.

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Posted (edited)

@Psychometronic

I agree with you it wasn' ideal, there are better ways to handle it, I would have personally loved 4 months and taken my time in a different manner but that's just me, in reality the situation unfolded differently 

My reason for mentioning that was more to illustrate to OP that although I averaged 168 over a large sample size( over 30 practice tests, albeit i showed high variance e.g. scoring 172 on a test and next day scoring a 160) and my max tail end of my lsat score distribution was in the high 170 range, my actual real day test scores ended up being all the way at the other end of the distribution tail end ( the 160 and 162 range, literally my lowest scores in my entire distribution), and this was not due to nerves I usually looked forward to the moment to be honest, there are reason I can speculate to why this happened but not relevant to my point for OP. Point was mostly that I know it sucks but sometimes our lsat scores in our practice tests can Defintley predict our possible range for test day, but to predict the exact score could be more difficult e.g. it could end up on the high end of your distribution or the low end, planning for the absolute high end is probably not a good idea in making life plans 

 

 

Age should not necessarily be a deterrent, I myself will be 28 when I enter law school this September , but for my situation it makes sense to me , for others it may not , we each must individually evaluate our own circumstances

I have known people to go to medical school in a md/PhD program finishing  at 40 and eventually  become faculty head in that md/PhD program  , I know multiple people who started their PhD at 26 ( PhD in biologal sciences can easily take 5 to 6 years sometimes depeding on school and field etc) so they finished mid 30s after postdocs etc and they ended up in tenure track professors jobs at very respected institutions, great life great salary they love their job etc etc etc 

Don' let age alone stop you, but look carefully at your situation and where you wanna be at a given age and how you want your circumstances to be ( some people might want to already be earning a living for their family at 31, not applying to law schools ), 

 

 

Edited by Timmies123
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