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sucksatusernames

best way to increase admission chances? (3.45, 3.55 + MA)

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hi all! 

note: please forgive me if something like this has been posted before, if yes please send me the link and I will delete this to reduce clutter.

i made the decision part way through august that once my MA is finished i want to take a leave of absence from my current job to go to law school.  Only thing is, I wasn't an exceptional student in my undergrad, most grades were in the range of B-A but it works out to a CGPA of 3.45 and an L2 of 3.55 so i'm wondering what else i could do beyond prep like crazy for the lsat. i feel like putting all my hopes on a test result would just make me choke on test day so I'm wondering if anyone here knows of other things i can do? any particular schools i should consider? 

i am currently taking one online undergrad class per semester alongside my MA courses to give my CGPA a little boost and push some bad grades out of my L2 . 

My softs are pretty great ngl (worked in a field related to my studies all throughout undergrad at 20hrs week + full time during summers and still managed to fit in clubs and sports) but is there anything else i'm missing? 

thanks and sorry for the long post, open to any and all thought/comments/suggestions!

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27 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

Instead of taking additional courses, you should prepare for LSAT.

thanks! i appreciate it and am thinking the same thing i'm taking two undergrad classes and one literally requires 20 minutes of my time/week but the other has managed to be more demanding than my masters degree courses LOL so i would happily drop it like it's hot in favour of more lsat prep 

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Unfortunately there's no way around LSAT prep! I was freaked out about taking it for the same reason as you (there's a lot of weight put on one test), but remember that you can always retake it - it's not like you are only able to write it once. 

Also, take advantage of those awesome softs and write a knock-your-socks-off personal statement. It's hard to say how much it will impact your chances, depending on the school, but it'll help.

As for which schools to apply to, focus on the curriculum the school offers (any specializations or courses or clinics appeal to you?) and think about where you'd like to live/practice. 

Edited by Firecracker
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43 minutes ago, Firecracker said:

Unfortunately there's no way around LSAT prep! I was freaked out about taking it for the same reason as you (there's a lot of weight put on one test), but remember that you can always retake it - it's not like you are only able to write it once. 

Also, take advantage of those awesome softs and write a knock-your-socks-off personal statement. It's hard to say how much it will impact your chances, depending on the school, but it'll help.

As for which schools to apply to, focus on the curriculum the school offers (any specializations or courses or clinics appeal to you?) and think about where you'd like to live/practice. 

@Firecracker Thank you! 

Glad to know there's others that also feel the same way about the LSAT haha.

Definitely going to be getting all I can out of my softs, which leads into your third point about specializations & clinics. I'm currently researching schools for their social justice/human rights/international human rights course offerings since those areas of law form part of my motives for applying to law school and link back to my softs.  From what I've gathered figured Dal, Windsor, Ottawa, Calgary, would be realistic options that tick these boxes and then there's U of T or McGill which would be fabulous places to go but gotta manage my expectations here :P

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4 hours ago, sucksatusernames said:

taking one online undergrad class per semester alongside my MA courses to give my CGPA a little boost and push some bad grades out of my L2

While you should certainly double-check with each school in which you have an interest, I'm afraid that strategy won't work in most cases. I believe all the L2/B2 schools will only make their GPA calculation based on full undergraduate years at a full courseload. So taking a few UG courses sprinkled in with your grad courses will not affect your L2 or your B2. It may affect your cumulative GPA for schools that primarily use that metric instead, but I'm not sure about that (again, definitely worth double-checking).

If you had a graded first-year in your master's (or better yet, two years), you should consider the few schools who include graduate marks in their calculations, as well. In the event that your GPA was dragged down by a few really tough courses, you may also want to re-calculate your GPA for the schools that drop some of your credits. 

I won't add anything about how to leverage your softs, since that's an extremely inexact science and I don't have any particular insights. ;)

-GM

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1 minute ago, GrumpyMountie said:

If you had a graded first-year in your master's (or better yet, two years), you should consider the few schools who include graduate marks in their calculations, as well. In the event that your GPA was dragged down by a few really tough courses, you may also want to re-calculate your GPA for the schools that drop some of your credits. 

I won't add anything about how to leverage your softs, since that's an extremely inexact science and I don't have any particular insights. ;)

-GM

Thanks! Actually, that was one of the reasons I was looking at Dal, since they'll count the last ten credits regardless of whether they grad or post grad or part time full time which would really let me shine.  Would you happen to know of any others? So far that was the only school that came up in my search but I could have overlooked a few schools :)

PS. not terribly picky about location but I'd prefer to stick with campuses in a relatively urban setting (think Edmonton or busier) since I grew up in the GTA and that's influenced my preferences 

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31 minutes ago, sucksatusernames said:

@Firecracker Thank you! 

Glad to know there's others that also feel the same way about the LSAT haha.

Definitely going to be getting all I can out of my softs, which leads into your third point about specializations & clinics. I'm currently researching schools for their social justice/human rights/international human rights course offerings since those areas of law form part of my motives for applying to law school and link back to my softs.  From what I've gathered figured Dal, Windsor, Ottawa, Calgary, would be realistic options that tick these boxes and then there's U of T or McGill which would be fabulous places to go but gotta manage my expectations here :P

Do you know your GPA in % form? I have very similar interests at the moment and UBC has a lot catered towards those areas 🙂 Just thought I'd drop some info in case you haven't looked into that school yet!

There is a specialization in Law and Social Justice https://allard.ubc.ca/programs/juris-doctor-jd-program/programs-and-courses/concentrations-specializations

an International Justice and Human Rights clinic https://allard.ubc.ca/community-clinics/international-justice-and-human-rights-clinic

the UBC Innocence Project https://allard.ubc.ca/community-clinics/ubc-innocence-project-allard-school-law

the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies https://allard.ubc.ca/research/research-centres-and-programs/centre-feminist-legal-studies

and the RISE Women's Legal Centre https://womenslegalcentre.ca

Edited by Firecracker
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@Firecracker Thank you for all the info it's so kind of you! 

I love that UBC has a Centre for Feminist Legal Studies and an international justice clinic! 

In regards to your question, my gpa in percentage converts to a 76%. I was thinking of UBC but I found the admissions predictor on their site which helped me gauge how competitive I would be which didn't go so well haha.  That said, considering the opportunities they offer their students, there's no doubt only best and brightest deserve them! 🙂

 

 

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1 hour ago, sucksatusernames said:

Would you happen to know of any others?

I assume you know that U of A does so, since you mentioned Edmonton. That policy is actually the only reason I didn't get into U of A - I'm the rare duck whose graduate marks pulled my GPA significantly in the wrong direction.

The other one I'm aware of is U of M. Manitoba both i)includes graduate coursework, and ii) drops your lowest marks, as per the following formula:

CREDIT HOURS COMPLETED - CREDIT HOURS DROPPED

                                90 to 101      -   18

                              102 to 113      -  24

                              114 or more   -  30

So you would benefit on both ends of their GPA calculation. As you probably know, Winnipeg is a little bit smaller and a little bit colder than Edmonton, but more than twice as big as Dalhousie. However, unlike Dal and semi-unlike U of A, U of M is quite far from downtown, which is probably what you actually meant by "urban setting".

-GM

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@GrumpyMountie Thank you! I actually didn't know U of A counted in post grad (Edmonton for me was just the first city I thought of as a city with a law school that could be a rough benchmark for measuring urban/rural) so now I've got two schools where I'd have better chances! It's really great to know my GPA is competitive somewhere since it's hard staying disciplined about studying for the LSAT knowing it might not even be enough to compensate for a poor GPA.  

And yeah, I think grad school grades are all relative to everyone's individual, and I heard that grading policies for grad schools vary significantly across the country.  

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11 hours ago, sucksatusernames said:

grad school grades are all relative to everyone's individual

...especially when that individual is sad about a girl and gets 5 F's before being kicked out of the program. ;)

So glad to be able to bring a couple schools to your attention! Edmonton was my first choice, and unfortunately the only school (out of 9) that rejected me. Manitoba dropped all my F's, and the first year of my master's was mostly A's, so to them I was a rock star!

The variance amongst the admissions policies around the contry can be dizzying, but what I came to appreciate was that the same variance provides niche opportunities in various locations for folks like us, whose records are a better fit for some sets of criteria than for others. So my calculated GPA for U of A was 2.97, for instance, while it was well above 4 at Manitoba and Victoria (where i ended up).

Best of luck in the journey,

-GM

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