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September 24, 2005

Request: Apply earlier, or apply w/higher GPA?

A reader writes in with the following dilemma about applying to law school:

I am applying to law school for entry into the fall 2006 class and was wondering if you have any advice concerning the classes I am taking at a community college for fun.

I took a calculus II class (let's not focus on why I view this as “fun”) this summer and received a D. Worried about how this grade would affect my undergraduate GPA (3.53 from the University of Pittsburgh), I am retaking the class for a better grade.

My question concerns strategy. Should I wait until I get a better grade this term before submitting my community college grades to LSAC? One negative to this approach is that I will not be able to finish my law school applications until all the data is in, which means early January.

A majority of the schoools I plan on applying to are center-of-mass on the US News top 100, but I would like to set my sights a wee bit higher. I'm concerned that waiting until January will be too late.

All thoughts you have would be appreciated.

In other words, will a low community college GPA hurt more than waiting until January to apply? I have no clue, myself, so if anyone else does, please share!

Posted by mowabb at September 24, 2005 08:39 AM

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Tracked on September 24, 2005 09:52 AM


Well, this one is easy... do the math! :)

Look at the average GPA for the schools you really want to attend. Is your GPA with the D good enough? If so, don't bother. If not, figure out what your GPA would be if you re-took it and got another D (a possibility), a C, a B, and an A. Are *those* GPAs good enough for the schools you want? As you get more credits, the effect of one 3 hour class is diluted, you know. So it might not be worth the effort for boosting your GPA slightly if that still keeps you out of the range for a school you want.

And be realistic about the grade you might get if you retake the course. Not to be harsh, but you got a D the first time around, are you *positive* you will do better? And will you do *significantly* better, enough to raise your GPA to the point it actually matters?

Posted by: Dave! at September 24, 2005 10:31 AM

Also remember that LSDAS, I believe, averages courses taken twice. So even if you blow Calc II away and get an A, you still only come out with a B, as far as LSDAS is concerned.

Posted by: kristine at September 24, 2005 06:03 PM