A GPA Conundrum: what tier to apply to (USA)


Bur Haan
I aspire to an eventual career in legal academia and seek to bolster my profile through a US LLM. Unfortunately, I am severely constrained by a low gpa (LLB -3.4: previous LLM 3.0 - both from top law schools in my country - South Africa).
In mild mitigation of the above, I should have, at the time of application, three full length peer reviewed publications in decent journals (around 10 000 words each) and a couple of short articles in the professional attorney's journal of my country (I am around 25 years old at present, for reference).
As a guideline, what sort/tier of unis should I be applying to (Georgetown would be my firat bet but I'm not sure as to whether I'd be eligible)?
I aspire to an eventual career in legal academia and seek to bolster my profile through a US LLM. Unfortunately, I am severely constrained by a low gpa (LLB -3.4: previous LLM 3.0 - both from top law schools in my country - South Africa).
In mild mitigation of the above, I should have, at the time of application, three full length peer reviewed publications in decent journals (around 10 000 words each) and a couple of short articles in the professional attorney's journal of my country (I am around 25 years old at present, for reference).
As a guideline, what sort/tier of unis should I be applying to (Georgetown would be my firat bet but I'm not sure as to whether I'd be eligible)?
quote
I aspire to an eventual career in legal academia and seek to bolster my profile through a US LLM. Unfortunately, I am severely constrained by a low gpa (LLB -3.4: previous LLM 3.0 - both from top law schools in my country - South Africa).
In mild mitigation of the above, I should have, at the time of application, three full length peer reviewed publications in decent journals (around 10 000 words each) and a couple of short articles in the professional attorney's journal of my country (I am around 25 years old at present, for reference).
As a guideline, what sort/tier of unis should I be applying to (Georgetown would be my firat bet but I'm not sure as to whether I'd be eligible)?



Hi! So in this cycle of my LLM applications I applied to 6 schools and paid the app fee for only one ie Berkeley. They automatically waived off my fee for the other schools. Keeping that in mind apply for all your top 20 schools. Your profile has the disadvantage that you already are an LLM so they might give preference to first timers even if their profile is weaker than yours. Mine is definitely weaker than you (but I have 6 years PQE) and I got in USC with scholarship and Berkeley! Got waitlisted at northwestern (I applied in Feb I really believe I was too late) I got rejected from UCLA. Now UCLA is #16 and Berkeley is #9 and NW is #11. O got into three other lower tiered schools with little scholarship for each school!

Basically what I’m trying to say is that it’s kinda hard for these hard stated numbers to figure out acceptance friendly schools especially for an LLM! So here’s the factors you need to consider in my opinion:

Firstly look for schools that cater to your professional needs. You need legal academia so shortlist the schools which are the best for that! Have you checked university of Chicago’s J.S.D. program? Don’t entirely fixated on the schools ranking.. look for your programs ranking! I was looking for a school which was gonna help me with my CA bar exam prep! So even though I was waitlisted at NW.. i was still preferring USC #19 over NW!

And then the most important would be financial aid. How scholarship friendly are your shortlisted schools. If you’re aiming for anything in top 20 it is nothing under $60,000 just tuition. Living cost is another hurdle!

Your profile and publications sound excellent. Believe in yourself and just apply! I got into my lower ranked schools first and then got rejected by UCLA (which could have a million factors behind it) I was very upset with myself and then came USC AND NORTHWESTERN AND BERKELEY! you got this! Good luck!
[quote]I aspire to an eventual career in legal academia and seek to bolster my profile through a US LLM. Unfortunately, I am severely constrained by a low gpa (LLB -3.4: previous LLM 3.0 - both from top law schools in my country - South Africa).
In mild mitigation of the above, I should have, at the time of application, three full length peer reviewed publications in decent journals (around 10 000 words each) and a couple of short articles in the professional attorney's journal of my country (I am around 25 years old at present, for reference).
As a guideline, what sort/tier of unis should I be applying to (Georgetown would be my firat bet but I'm not sure as to whether I'd be eligible)?[/quote]


Hi! So in this cycle of my LLM applications I applied to 6 schools and paid the app fee for only one ie Berkeley. They automatically waived off my fee for the other schools. Keeping that in mind apply for all your top 20 schools. Your profile has the disadvantage that you already are an LLM so they might give preference to first timers even if their profile is weaker than yours. Mine is definitely weaker than you (but I have 6 years PQE) and I got in USC with scholarship and Berkeley! Got waitlisted at northwestern (I applied in Feb I really believe I was too late) I got rejected from UCLA. Now UCLA is #16 and Berkeley is #9 and NW is #11. O got into three other lower tiered schools with little scholarship for each school!

Basically what I’m trying to say is that it’s kinda hard for these hard stated numbers to figure out acceptance friendly schools especially for an LLM! So here’s the factors you need to consider in my opinion:

Firstly look for schools that cater to your professional needs. You need legal academia so shortlist the schools which are the best for that! Have you checked university of Chicago’s J.S.D. program? Don’t entirely fixated on the schools ranking.. look for your programs ranking! I was looking for a school which was gonna help me with my CA bar exam prep! So even though I was waitlisted at NW.. i was still preferring USC #19 over NW!

And then the most important would be financial aid. How scholarship friendly are your shortlisted schools. If you’re aiming for anything in top 20 it is nothing under $60,000 just tuition. Living cost is another hurdle!

Your profile and publications sound excellent. Believe in yourself and just apply! I got into my lower ranked schools first and then got rejected by UCLA (which could have a million factors behind it) I was very upset with myself and then came USC AND NORTHWESTERN AND BERKELEY! you got this! Good luck!
quote
charlielim
I aspire to an eventual career in legal academia and seek to bolster my profile through a US LLM. Unfortunately, I am severely constrained by a low gpa (LLB -3.4: previous LLM 3.0 - both from top law schools in my country - South Africa).
In mild mitigation of the above, I should have, at the time of application, three full length peer reviewed publications in decent journals (around 10 000 words each) and a couple of short articles in the professional attorney's journal of my country (I am around 25 years old at present, for reference).
As a guideline, what sort/tier of unis should I be applying to (Georgetown would be my firat bet but I'm not sure as to whether I'd be eligible)?


Just apply to as many schools as you possibly can. You'll never know unless you try.

I know graduates from my own law school who thought they were shoo-in at top law schools only to be rejected.

By contrast, I also know a few who were not top students but were able to get admitted to graduate law programs at Yale, Oxford, and Harvard.
[quote]I aspire to an eventual career in legal academia and seek to bolster my profile through a US LLM. Unfortunately, I am severely constrained by a low gpa (LLB -3.4: previous LLM 3.0 - both from top law schools in my country - South Africa).
In mild mitigation of the above, I should have, at the time of application, three full length peer reviewed publications in decent journals (around 10 000 words each) and a couple of short articles in the professional attorney's journal of my country (I am around 25 years old at present, for reference).
As a guideline, what sort/tier of unis should I be applying to (Georgetown would be my firat bet but I'm not sure as to whether I'd be eligible)?[/quote]

Just apply to as many schools as you possibly can. You'll never know unless you try.

I know graduates from my own law school who thought they were shoo-in at top law schools only to be rejected.

By contrast, I also know a few who were not top students but were able to get admitted to graduate law programs at Yale, Oxford, and Harvard.
quote

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