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Upgrading GPA as a Mature Student

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Hey all,

This is a "hoping for the best, planning for the worst" sort of post. 

For background I'm a 0L applying this cycle as a mature student. I finished my undergrad 15+ years ago now with an oh so wonderful GPA of 2.3. A B20 calculation pushes that up to 3.3ish, but my L20 is fucked since I buggered off in my last couple of semesters to go make art without withdrawing from a bunch of courses (yeah... I was a stupid 20 year old). 

I'm hoping that a decent LSAT score (163), plus my years of unique work experience (professional screenwriter on Emmy nominated TV shows, talent agent representing Oscar nominated talent) will be enough to gain acceptance this cycle, but I understand that my GPA is a massive weak spot that significantly hurts my chances. 

Which brings me to my central question, namely how to go about upgrading my GPA without losing / impacting my mature student status. 

1) Can anyone speak to going through a similar GPA upgrading process as a mature student? Did you register for classes via something like open / non-degree studies? Or continue with a second undergrad degree? 

2) Any pitfalls to be aware of? I've read that some schools will no longer consider you a mature student once you've registered for "X" number of credits. I will, of course, be confirming all of this with the individual admission offices, but trying to get a general sense of what I'm looking at here, particularly since the application deadline for UBC's Spring semester of non-degree studies is in early 2021. 

Any other advice on the best way to strengthen my application for the following cycle in the event I don't receive an acceptance this time around?

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Unfortunately you can’t really upgrade your GPA by retaking courses after you graduate. I did a second undergrad because my first one was bad. It took me 3 years because I did an honours degree but you could get a second degree in less than 2. I would suggest looking at all the schools that are L2 or B2 schools are then confirm with them whether they would even take open studies courses, and I'm not sure how much you could increase your GPA with only a couple semesters worth of A grades, in my experience all the schools differ wildly in how they process your grades.  I can’t remember which one but one of the schools told me they don’t even care about my second degree grades they’ll only look at my first. Your next best bet is to try to get a really high LSAT to offset it.

Edited by legallybrunette3
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1 hour ago, legallybrunette3 said:

Unfortunately you can’t really upgrade your GPA by retaking courses after you graduate. I did a second undergrad because my first one was bad. It took me 3 years because I did an honours degree but you could get a second degree in less than 2. I would suggest looking at all the schools that are L2 or B2 schools are then confirm with them whether they would even take open studies courses, and I'm not sure how much you could increase your GPA with only a couple semesters worth of A grades, in my experience all the schools differ wildly in how they process your grades.  I can’t remember which one but one of the schools told me they don’t even care about my second degree grades they’ll only look at my first. Your next best bet is to try to get a really high LSAT to offset it.

I agree with this. The amount of investment you'd need to put in to raise that 2.3 into something usable would take a crazy amount of work and effort (and there'd be all those potential complications you mentioned). Meanwhile, if you grind the **** out of your LSAT and get a 170+ coupled with a mature/access consideration I'm sure you could get in somewhere. I started off not being able to finish LG and my best PT by the end of 4-5 months of dedicated studying was 176 (there were some issues with my FLEX that were beyond my control... construction noises at the worst possible time but I still scored fairly well). I'm not incredibly bright, I just found a method that worked for me and many others and grinded consistently and found a good study buddy (she ended up with a 175). 

I think we also have to keep in mind your workable years. If you take another 3 years to get your degree, and you need 3 years to get through law school, that's 6 extra years before you're even a lawyer. You're already 15+ years out of school. Would an investment of $100k be worth the time you would have left as a lawyer (I'm speaking only practically. I don't know your reasons. I know it's not all about the money, but I do think it's an important consideration). 

Edited by goodisgood
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Thanks for the responses guys. Frustrating to think that I'd almost be better off without a degree at all than with the shitty GPA 20 year old me hamstrung myself with. There's a lesson in there

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8 minutes ago, PlayALawyerOnTV said:

Thanks for the responses guys. Frustrating to think that I'd almost be better off without a degree at all than with the shitty GPA 20 year old me hamstrung myself with. There's a lesson in there

going to uni straight out of high school when I absolutely wasn't ready because that's just "what you do" is my biggest regret in life so far. It definitely makes things a lot more challenging, but not impossible! 

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1 hour ago, PlayALawyerOnTV said:

Thanks for the responses guys. Frustrating to think that I'd almost be better off without a degree at all than with the shitty GPA 20 year old me hamstrung myself with. There's a lesson in there

Not sure what schools you're looking at (I thought most Ontario schools are cGPA?), but UofC and UofA will take open studies / "out of degree" as long as you're registered full time.

UofA FAQ

Quote
  • Courses must be considered transferable to the University of Alberta in order to be used in the GPA calculation.

  • Courses that are transferable to the U of A, completed as a "special student" or "unclassified student", will be used in the admission GPA, so long as they are not introductory level courses (1XX level, or transferable to the University of Alberta as 1XX level)

UofC FAQ (PDF)

Quote

What if I returned to school for another bachelor’s degree, or took more undergraduate courses after I graduated?

We use your last 20 undergraduate half courses in your GPA, even if you took them in open studies after graduating, or went back for another bachelor’s degree. In fact, this is exactly what we recommend doing if you want to raise your GPA.

 

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Also Dal might be a possibility:

 

Quote

 

We do take a holistic approach when calculating scores.

We will consider all courses that were taken for university credit, regardless of their being taken at the undergraduate or graduate level or within or outside of a degree. When we calculate GPA we would look at your cGPA or the last 10 credits and take whichever average is higher. 

The only exception to this is repeat courses. In those instances, we will only ever consider the original mark.

The average LSAT of those who have been accepted over the last few years has been 161-164.

 

 

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Thanks all!

I applied very broadly this cycle (everywhere except Lakehead, U of T and McGill), so hoping that at least one admissions committee will be able to look past the cGPA and admit me based on the other strengths in my application. 

Still, in the event that that doesn't come to pass, I''m planning on touching base with all the schools to clarify my options and lay the groundwork in the event that I do decide to try to raise my GPA some. Taking another swing at the LSAT next year is also an option, though I am really starting to loathe that stupid test.

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