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throwawayila

Is it recoverable

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I ended up going into a degree (engineering) that everyone around me told me I would do well in and I've hated it, largely due to my own laziness as highschool required no studying or effort therefore I had no study skills or habits. I ended up failing my first year, and re completed the year hoping that once in a specialization I'd enjoy it more, an half way into my third year which is the first year in a specialization I've decided it's not what I want to professionally practice. Though at this point, I feel dropping my current program would not leave me in a good position should other avenues not work out. I have never worried about my grades, as many people around me had the mantra of grades not mattering in a technical field. I've been researching other options I may be interested in and a legal career is near the top of the list. My current average is sitting around 60%. Am I screwed? Even if I was to stay and finish my remaining two and a half years, if I could maintain an average of 90% it would bump my cGPA to an ~84. I feel like I would want to study either at UBC, UofA, or UofC. Would adding courses throughout my summer, or taking an extra year to try and drag my GPA up be worth considering? I'm currently joining my campus' model united nations and if I decide to pursue this likely the prelaw society. I've looked at admissions numbers from a few schools and it has made me feel like there is hope, but I'm worried I'm seeing things through rose colored glasses and would appreciate the opinions of others.

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If you can turn a 60% average to a 90% average in engineering program,  then I don't see why you should witch to Law.

 

 

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Some law schools accept your best two years or only the last three years, etc.

I'd suggest you looking at the admissions criteria for the schools you are interested in attending, and figuring out how they will calculate GPA. If all the schools you want to attend only look at cGPA, then you have an uphill battle. If they accept L2/B2, could you finish UG strong, and still have a shot.

In any case, the best thing you can do now is finish UG with the highest grades possible. If GPA is looking good for your school of choice, then you should start practicing for the LSAT and figuring out if you can get a competitive score.

Edited by conge
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I would agree that if you somehow transform yourself into an entirely different student, your present situation is not beyond recovery. But I would really add three major cautions:

1. Grades matter in every field, if for no other reason than because knowledge and competency matters in every field. Whoever you are listening to that's promising otherwise is a fool. Do you really think anyone wants an incompetent engineer building their bridge? You are telling yourself it doesn't matter in the real world. Well, how well did that work between high school and university? If it was so easy do learn what you need and do what you need when it really matters, you'd be doing it already. 

2. No debating club, model UN, or pre-law society is going to make up for weak grades and LSAT. You'll find many students involved with these activities who somehow think that becoming President of the model UN will get them into law school. You won't find any students in law school for whom that actually worked out. 

3. As an extension of the above - start working hard, now, not based on any guarantee but because you bloody well should. The idea that being lazy and not achieving much is your default, until and unless someone promises you that X amount of hard work will get you Y (and then only doing X and no more) ... that's not a formula for success in life. There are no guarantees, but there are also no shortcuts. Just do what you have to do. Get the grades, get the LSAT, and come back and ask where you stand then. 

Good luck. 

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3 hours ago, throwawayila said:

I ended up going into a degree (engineering) that everyone around me told me I would do well in and I've hated it, largely due to my own laziness as highschool required no studying or effort therefore I had no study skills or habits. 

I had a similar undergraduate experience, I failed two classes in first year and had to repeat them in second year. 

I can tell you from experience that you actually do have study skills or habits. If you are like me, your habits are: not studying, not going to class, probably leaving assignments late and missing deadlines, cramming for every exam. They're not good habits, but they are habits; and they are very hard to break. Every spring I told myself "this year will be different," and every spring I fell back into my old habits. I got a little better (cGPA 2.54 / L2 3.3), but nothing changed over night. You will have to work very hard at this.

I am in law school now and have done much better academically. This is because my undergrad was ten years ago and I have grown up considerably in that time. My old habits linger a bit, but on the whole I have the maturity to, you know, do what I'm supposed to be doing (most of the time). 

I wish you well, but you need to recognize that this won't change over night. You need to start doing the opposite of everything you've done so far, every day, breaking your old habits and building new ones. Good luck.  

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4 hours ago, throwawayila said:

I feel like I would want to study either at UBC, UofA, or UofC. Would adding courses throughout my summer, or taking an extra year to try and drag my GPA up be worth considering? I'm currently joining my campus' model united nations and if I decide to pursue this likely the prelaw society.

UBC drops your four worst courses, but is otherwise a cGPA-focused school. If you have a 60% average halfway through third year, UBC is likely out of reach for you. 

Don't bother with the pre-law society or Model UN; they won't help you get into law school. Get stellar grades the rest of the way, ace the LSAT, and apply to L2/B2 schools. 

Edited by Tagger

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4 hours ago, throwawayila said:

I ended up going into a degree (engineering) that everyone around me told me I would do well in and I've hated it, largely due to my own laziness as highschool required no studying or effort therefore I had no study skills or habits. I ended up failing my first year, and re completed the year hoping that once in a specialization I'd enjoy it more, an half way into my third year which is the first year in a specialization I've decided it's not what I want to professionally practice. Though at this point, I feel dropping my current program would not leave me in a good position should other avenues not work out. I have never worried about my grades, as many people around me had the mantra of grades not mattering in a technical field. I've been researching other options I may be interested in and a legal career is near the top of the list. My current average is sitting around 60%. Am I screwed? Even if I was to stay and finish my remaining two and a half years, if I could maintain an average of 90% it would bump my cGPA to an ~84. I feel like I would want to study either at UBC, UofA, or UofC. Would adding courses throughout my summer, or taking an extra year to try and drag my GPA up be worth considering? I'm currently joining my campus' model united nations and if I decide to pursue this likely the prelaw society. I've looked at admissions numbers from a few schools and it has made me feel like there is hope, but I'm worried I'm seeing things through rose colored glasses and would appreciate the opinions of others.

Why would grades not matter in a technical field? They matter in every field. If they truly didn't matter in a technical field, they would not give you grades. You're getting grades because they have some value somewhere. 

I think the first question is, how are you going to transform a 60% average to a 90% average? How realistic is that, especially if you lack study skills and don't enjoy the program you're in? Of course, if you can actually do that, you would be in the running for law schools that drop your worst grades. It will depend on the school. I think some law schools consider summer courses, some don't, so you need to look at the requirements for each school you want to attend. And of course it will depend if you can do well on the LSAT.

Model UN and pre-law society stuff aren't of much help in getting into law school (and most "pre-law" students don't end up getting into law and therefore are not really "pre-law".) Do them if you want because you will enjoy them, but don't do them because you think they'll give you a leg up in getting into law school.

Edited by providence

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Thank you all for your thoughts. Also for those asking how I can go from 60 -> 90 it's literally just start studying. I know people who spent more time studying for a course in a given week then I did for marginal grade differences. As to why in a technical field I didnt care about my grades was I understand the concepts and in any really world scenario you'd have access to notes and other resources needed for a more detailed analysis. But that's my thoughts an opinion. Thank you all for your feedback again!

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4 minutes ago, throwawayila said:

Thank you all for your thoughts. Also for those asking how I can go from 60 -> 90 it's literally just start studying. I know people who spent more time studying for a course in a given week then I did for marginal grade differences. As to why in a technical field I didnt care about my grades was I understand the concepts and in any really world scenario you'd have access to notes and other resources needed for a more detailed analysis. But that's my thoughts an opinion. Thank you all for your feedback again!

Not to say you’re not naturally gifted and that it’s not possible. I don’t know you, you’re school, or program... I would just like to point out that I don’t think that it’s uncommon for undergrad programs. It can speak to how hard it can be to get high marks rather than the other way around that people are working hard and makimg marginal differences... many people in my program could get 60/70s with little effort but 80s/90s were very difficult. Just saying. Do your best, Im sure if you work hard it will pay off :) try to get some experience or talk to a lawyer about their work so that if you do end up going to law school the same situation doesn’t happen again. There is lots of job opportunities out there, and I hope you don’t take this as negative and doubtful but try to explore different options as best you can rather than simply going for “prestigious professions” (just incase that is what the jump from eng to law relates to) I hope you find what you enjoy doing! 

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Thank you! An it's not for financial or prestige, I just think a law degree would be extremely interesting, especially in a financial sector. 

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3 minutes ago, throwawayila said:

Thank you! An it's not for financial or prestige, I just think a law degree would be extremely interesting, especially in a financial sector. 

How so?

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You know, this isn't meant as a poke at this particular poster. But it occurs to me, one of the central problems associated with these "I just thought about law school" posts is this. So many students seem to think that law school is something you consider when you are failing at your current academic path. In fact, law school is something you consider when you're succeeding, and want to take it in a new direction.

@OP - Even if you choose to believe you can easiy \et grades in the 80-90% range just by applying more than minimal effort, your major problem is that you don't like what you're learning. It takes extraordinary focus (on a level I don't have myself, btw) to intensely focus on something you don't even like for years, just to achieve some goal that come at the end of it. Please, consider pursuing something you like. Whether or not law school comes after, it's by far the better option. 

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45 minutes ago, throwawayila said:

Thank you! An it's not for financial or prestige, I just think a law degree would be extremely interesting, especially in a financial sector. 

Why wouldn't you pursue an MBA and/or CFA designation? Might get you farther than a JD in the financial sector.

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3 hours ago, easttowest said:

I am in law school now and have done much better academically. This is because my undergrad was ten years ago and I have grown up considerably in that time. My old habits linger a bit, but on the whole I have the maturity to, you know, do what I'm supposed to be doing (most of the time). 

I have a similar story - I went into my undergrad almost eleven years ago and my grades were abysmal; I wasn't interested in the material, I hardly studied, crammed for every exam, dropped courses I wasn't doing well in and was barely a part-time student by the time I dropped out entirely (for unrelated reasons). My GPA was somewhere around a 2.4.

Four years later, I had also grown up considerably and went back to get my undergrad, this time in a totally different major that I was really passionate about and I maintained a 3.5 average until my last year when I achieved a 3.8. I did manage to change my habits, but it took four years away from school to figure myself out, as well as a major that I love.

I'll echo what others have said in this thread and ask that you consider changing majors, OP - there's no shame in doing so. A lot of people I know ended up changing majors partway through their degrees. The prevailing advice I see on this forum is to not treat your undergrad as a means to get into law school, but as a means to get a career if law school doesn't work out. What happens if you can't get into law school, despite your best efforts? Will you be happy with what you've accomplished at the undergrad level?

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That's kinda the main rational I've gone into engineering, as I feel most other fields are not as financially safe. It's a good fall back no matter what I end up doing should I graduate. I enjoy hands on projects related to engineering but any teams I've applied for have rejected me an none of them provided me with a solid reason, though I get spots are really limited. I guess it's a combination of dismoitvated and a lack of interest at this point, though I can have a discussion regarding the material to lengths.

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It is something I have considered but law has always had the largest appeal to me. I never actually looked into it seriously however until this past term when I realized that engineering is not something I'd be willing to spend the rest of my working life in. For now I think I'm going to buckle down and try to drag my cGPA up and see what I can do for this term before solidifying any large choices. An sorry to everyone if it sounds ignorant or stupid that I believe I can achieve these things with effort, but I have a very strong sense of determination when there is potentially something I actually want at the end.

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15 minutes ago, throwawayila said:

That's kinda the main rational I've gone into engineering, as I feel most other fields are not as financially safe. It's a good fall back no matter what I end up doing should I graduate. I enjoy hands on projects related to engineering but any teams I've applied for have rejected me an none of them provided me with a solid reason, though I get spots are really limited. I guess it's a combination of dismoitvated and a lack of interest at this point, though I can have a discussion regarding the material to lengths.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding like an asshole so sorry in advance.... but have you taken any courses where writing is the primary method of evaluation? I understand that no one puts effort into communicating on a forum but your writing doesn’t strike me as particularly strong and written communication is critical for law. Just something to think about 

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