This blog is inspired through me reminiscing how I ended up in South Carolina studying law. There were many times that I thought law school would not be possible. I still believe that I should have not been accepted into law school, but my school took a chance on me. I was described as the “at-risk applicant”. I see myself as the candidate that no one wanted. I applied to 10 schools. I got rejected from 8 law schools, wait-listed into 1 law school and conditionally accepted in one law school that later turned into a full acceptance and landed me here in South Carolina.
I wish I could say that I was that top performing student with all A’s and a few B’s that graduated at the top of their class from undergrad. I am not that person. I wish I could say that I did well on the LSAT and that every law school wanted me because of it. I cannot say that either. I was a below average candidate that was fighting for a chance to live her life-long dream of becoming an attorney.
I will disclose my numbers, although I know my numbers were TERRIBLE for a candidate and I really don’t know how someone said yes to me. As an applicant, I had a 2.86 GPA with a 139 LSAT.
I didn’t have less than a 3.0 because I was uneducated. My freshman year, second semester, I decided to take on 19 credits (10 credits which were Spanish and French), with a job, an internship and other extracurricular activities. I went from a 2.75 to a 2.1 in one semester and within a little over a year I was able to raise my GPA to a 2.86. Being from a low income family, I didn’t have the proper resources to buy a tutor or to register for classes that cost thousands of dollars for the LSAT prep. I was stuck with buying the few LSAT prep books I could afford, going to free workshops around campus, and checking out books from the library. I didn’t completely understand how to tackle the LSAT until the week before the LSAT which was too late.
Due to lack of financial resources, I couldn’t retake the LSAT immediately, so I decided to apply with what I had because of how close I was to a 140 score. I did change a good amount of my schools from the list I had originally. I inserted my LSAT score and my GPA into a calculator and applied to any school that I had AT LEAST a 50% chance or higher of getting into and where I could ideally see myself living. My current school allowed me to be conditionally admitted with the condition that I had two weeks to be in two actual law classes and to take the finals. If I obtained a 2.5 GPA or higher, then I would be fully accepted. Thankfully, I was fully admitted because I fulfilled the condition I needed.
I went from being the candidate that no one wanted, to the student who is currently in the top 30% of my class. My law school took a chance on me and said yes, when the other law schools said no. I also received a $12,000 scholarship for my first-year. Although this was a school that I chose because I had at least a 50% chance or higher to be admitted, I love my law school and everything it stands for. My school is not a T1/T2 school, but the quality of my education is amazing.
There is a lot I could have done to improve my chances of being an ideal candidate, but I took a shot with what I had and it ended up being the best decision for me. Do the very best you can to enhance your likelihood of acceptance. I am not implying that you should chance getting into law school with low numbers, but to not feel bad if you feel as if you are not the “ideal candidate” based on numbers that do not determine how hard you will work in law school. There may be a law school for you, or you can always retake the LSAT. Everyone’s goal is different, but do not forget the end goal.
The end goal for me was and still is to be a criminal defense attorney. Going to a T1 or T2 school would be amazing, but it was not a make or break factor for me. As long as the school teaches me what is required to take a bar exam to become an attorney, I would be grateful to attend the law school.