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Gap Year Decisions

PandaRamenPandaRamen Alum Member
edited April 2018 in Law School Admissions 162 karma

Hi Guys, I need your help and perspectives with my gap year activities and will it affect my school application for 2018-2019

I graduated Chemical Engineering with a lot of projects and grants for research under my belt. I was also in the top 10% of my graduating year. I took the LSAT last December and got a very dissappointing score, partly because I was burnt out by the time I graduated, so I took a long overdue vacation and studying for the LSAT took a back seat. Next thing I knew, I have 2 months to prep for the December test. (This is entirely my fault)... I am prepping for the June but could be adjusted to July or September (I just checked the LSAC website and they will be offering it on these months). I am feeling okay with my PT, Ive only taken 4 after going over the CC. But what I am worried about the lack of progress on my resume...

On top of the statement above, I havent worked after graduating due to several ( I guess, common) issues. We had to move after my December LSAT and I am applying to law firms even as an IP assistant, but it seems like my degree is close to worthless in law firms. Also, I have been trying to juggle studying for the LSAT 6+ hrs per day, taking care of our son, and looking for a house (currently renting right now). Although, I am in the process of volunteering for Women Shelter I am just worried that admission will see a flaw, even with a decent LSAT and GPA but long gap... Any ideas on how this will be perceived by admission? and what to do about it?

I will be looking for a full time job either in Law, Science, or be a full time volunteer at the shelters AFTER the LSAT

Comments

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    2531 karma

    Gaps aren't good, but they're not going to make or break you either. I recommend that you fill your resume with something, anything. I spoke with the admissions reps from a few T14 schools and they all said the same thing - "we don't care what you do, just do something"

    Try to fill your time with something that is meaningful to you and looks good on a resume. This can be volunteering for like 10-20 hours a week or working a part time job.

  • youbbyunyoubbyun Alum Member
    edited April 2018 1755 karma

    @Ohnoeshalpme said:
    Gaps aren't good, but they're not going to make or break you either. I recommend that you fill your resume with something, anything. I spoke with the admissions reps from a few T14 schools and they all said the same thing - "we don't care what you do, just do something"

    Try to fill your time with something that is meaningful to you and looks good on a resume. This can be volunteering for like 10-20 hours a week or working a part time job.

    wait is this true? i'm under the impression that law schools don't care THAT much about gaps ... especially for newly grads... instead they care about your LSAT and GPA.

    For example, if someone takes a year off to study full time on the LSAT and ends up getting a 180, yea there will be a gap of 1 year but i would assume most law schools know the LSAT is hard and that some people even spend some amount of time to study for it full time.

    In addition, studying full time for a year and getting a 180 is WAY better in my opinion than perhaps finding a 9-5 job as a paralegal for one year and studying part-time -- only to score like a 165 bc your job was too demanding and took away time from LSAT prep.

    thoughts?

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @simplereally said:

    @Ohnoeshalpme said:
    Gaps aren't good, but they're not going to make or break you either. I recommend that you fill your resume with something, anything. I spoke with the admissions reps from a few T14 schools and they all said the same thing - "we don't care what you do, just do something"

    Try to fill your time with something that is meaningful to you and looks good on a resume. This can be volunteering for like 10-20 hours a week or working a part time job.

    wait is this true? i'm under the impression that law schools don't care THAT much about gaps ... especially for newly grads... instead they care about your LSAT and GPA.

    For example, if someone takes a year off to study full time on the LSAT and ends up getting a 180, yea there will be a gap of 1 year but i would assume most law schools know the LSAT is hard and that some people even spend some amount of time to study for it full time.

    In addition, studying full time for a year and getting a 180 is WAY better in my opinion than perhaps finding a 9-5 job as a paralegal for one year and studying part-time -- only to score like a 165 bc your job was too demanding and took away time from LSAT prep.

    thoughts?

    I had over a year gap but it didnt seem to effect my cycle. That being said, i didnt really apply to t14 schools besides a couple, and they were a long shot already based on my numbers

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @simplereally said:

    @Ohnoeshalpme said:
    Gaps aren't good, but they're not going to make or break you either. I recommend that you fill your resume with something, anything. I spoke with the admissions reps from a few T14 schools and they all said the same thing - "we don't care what you do, just do something"

    Try to fill your time with something that is meaningful to you and looks good on a resume. This can be volunteering for like 10-20 hours a week or working a part time job.

    wait is this true? i'm under the impression that law schools don't care THAT much about gaps ... especially for newly grads... instead they care about your LSAT and GPA.

    For example, if someone takes a year off to study full time on the LSAT and ends up getting a 180, yea there will be a gap of 1 year but i would assume most law schools know the LSAT is hard and that some people even spend some amount of time to study for it full time.

    In addition, studying full time for a year and getting a 180 is WAY better in my opinion than perhaps finding a 9-5 job as a paralegal for one year and studying part-time -- only to score like a 165 bc your job was too demanding and took away time from LSAT prep.

    thoughts?

    You don't have to get a 9-5. But at a certain point you can't study for the LSAT more without risking burnout. I averaged about 6 hrs a day last summer and backed off a little at the end because it felt like I was close to burning out and because I got sick.

    6 hours a day is a lot of time to spend on the LSAT, but it still leaves plenty of time to do some volunteering a couple days a week or work part time. I tutored economics part time.

    So you get your max score, break up the LSAT monotony, and have something you can put on your resume to fill the gap.

    That said if I had a 9-5 job as a paralegal, I would probably have just studied as much as I could and if it stretched out my studying another year so be it. I certainly wouldn't have settled for a score 15 points lower than what I ended up with.

  • FixedDiceFixedDice Legacy Member
    edited April 2018 1804 karma

    @simplereally said:
    wait is this true? i'm under the impression that law schools don't care THAT much about gaps ... especially for newly grads... instead they care about your LSAT and GPA.

    Depends, really, like so many things related to the LSAT and law school admissions. Taking a year off to study for the LSAT may be understandable. Bad economy? Perfectly acceptable (per a T13 admissions dean during the Great Recession). Traveling? Why not? Playing video games while indulging yourself in Doritos and Mountain Dew... not so much (unless you happen to be a game developer, a professional gamer, etc). Duration may be another factor.

    But having no gap may be preferable to having one (or more). I say this because at least one T13 contacted me to inquire about an apparent gap in my resume before reaching its decision.

  • PandaRamenPandaRamen Alum Member
    162 karma

    Very insightful replies! Thank you for all that input you guys!

    I guess putting things in perspective. I wont be applying to any T14 schools since I will be based in SoCal for the foreseeable future. Having a family, my husband getting his “dream” job would cement me here for a while. So school options are USC, UCLA or LLS.

  • PearsonSpecterLittUpPearsonSpecterLittUp Alum Member
    588 karma

    Also, I don't think you have to apply for jobs at a law firm, which may ease your frustration. Like mentioned above, almost anything will be okay. Considering the fact that you studied engineering, if you get a job that has some relation to that, you can use that for your personal statement, and schools that have good IP law will be really into it I think :) Hope this helps!

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    Yes general logic seems to be that law schools want to see you doing something with your time, and LSAT studying is ok but preferred to have some sort of part time at least work or volunteering. Doesn't have to be related to law at all. It probably also helps that you have a family so can also say you were providing care for your son.

    I don't think it will be a problem, but schools may ask so you should have a response ready. And even part time volunteering would be good to have something to add to the resume.

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