Can a student with average grades get into an LLM program?


Cannon
I am graduating from Loyola New Orleans - College of Law (Tier 3) this May with a GPA of apx. 2.8. Our school uses a "C - curve" and I am slightly below the 50 percentile. I focused on all the International law classes available at Loyola and studied abroad one summer at the University of Vienna.

I am applying to International law LLM programs in DC at GWU, Catholic, American and UMD (Baltimore), and Leiden (Netherlands) but I am getting nervous about the fact that my JD grades are not stellar. Does anyone know my chances of being accepted to any of these schools or should I prepare for heartbreak?

Thanks in advance for your responses. Please be kind ;)
I am graduating from Loyola New Orleans - College of Law (Tier 3) this May with a GPA of apx. 2.8. Our school uses a "C - curve" and I am slightly below the 50 percentile. I focused on all the International law classes available at Loyola and studied abroad one summer at the University of Vienna.

I am applying to International law LLM programs in DC at GWU, Catholic, American and UMD (Baltimore), and Leiden (Netherlands) but I am getting nervous about the fact that my JD grades are not stellar. Does anyone know my chances of being accepted to any of these schools or should I prepare for heartbreak?

Thanks in advance for your responses. Please be kind ;)
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mav09
I am graduating from Loyola New Orleans - College of Law (Tier 3) this May with a GPA of apx. 2.8. Our school uses a "C - curve" and I am slightly below the 50 percentile. I focused on all the International law classes available at Loyola and studied abroad one summer at the University of Vienna.

I am applying to International law LLM programs in DC at GWU, Catholic, American and UMD (Baltimore), and Leiden (Netherlands) but I am getting nervous about the fact that my JD grades are not stellar. Does anyone know my chances of being accepted to any of these schools or should I prepare for heartbreak?

Thanks in advance for your responses. Please be kind ;)


My dear friend,
Grades are not everything as far as the American System is concerned, I am a living proof of the same. One of my friends got through to a top ranked program despite having poorer grades than I have.
However, apart from poor grades, both of us have stellar work-ex of almost 4 years and that was one factor which held us together and got us admission to some fine schools.
However, you do need to distinguish yourself and catch the admission committee's attention.
Give it a shot and apply everywhere you wish to go. I applied to three schools and to my surprise got favorable response from all. I did make a mistake that I did not apply to HLS, CLS, SLS, NYU, CHicago, NW etc. amongst others thinking that I did not meet the criterion of stellar grades and it would be a waste but my friend only applied to the top 5 despite having poor grades.
It's your confidence and belief that gets you in and people like me who are less confident of their strengths draw negative assumptions and miss out on the possibilities left unexplored.
If your heart is strong, you are only going to break walls that restrain your potential.
Grades do not define who you are and what you are capable of, poor grades don't mean that you are doomed and your career has finished even before starting. It does cause a disadvantage and will require you to face more challenges and will make the struggle harder than others who have better grades.
Personally, I have been there, when I graduated, my grades hampered my career prospects severely, it took some time even to find a job, that too a less paying one. I worked really hard to reach where I stand today and gained a lot of knowledge and practical on the job training. I worked with the best in the industry, handled some very huge transactions, have my name in some landmark decisions by the Highest court of my country.
Eventually, I caught up with my high-roller classmates, working with top firms.
Don't stop dreaming and dreaming big as that's the only way to go and have faith in yourself so that people around you gain confidence in your determination.
<blockquote>I am graduating from Loyola New Orleans - College of Law (Tier 3) this May with a GPA of apx. 2.8. Our school uses a "C - curve" and I am slightly below the 50 percentile. I focused on all the International law classes available at Loyola and studied abroad one summer at the University of Vienna.

I am applying to International law LLM programs in DC at GWU, Catholic, American and UMD (Baltimore), and Leiden (Netherlands) but I am getting nervous about the fact that my JD grades are not stellar. Does anyone know my chances of being accepted to any of these schools or should I prepare for heartbreak?

Thanks in advance for your responses. Please be kind ;)</blockquote>

My dear friend,
Grades are not everything as far as the American System is concerned, I am a living proof of the same. One of my friends got through to a top ranked program despite having poorer grades than I have.
However, apart from poor grades, both of us have stellar work-ex of almost 4 years and that was one factor which held us together and got us admission to some fine schools.
However, you do need to distinguish yourself and catch the admission committee's attention.
Give it a shot and apply everywhere you wish to go. I applied to three schools and to my surprise got favorable response from all. I did make a mistake that I did not apply to HLS, CLS, SLS, NYU, CHicago, NW etc. amongst others thinking that I did not meet the criterion of stellar grades and it would be a waste but my friend only applied to the top 5 despite having poor grades.
It's your confidence and belief that gets you in and people like me who are less confident of their strengths draw negative assumptions and miss out on the possibilities left unexplored.
If your heart is strong, you are only going to break walls that restrain your potential.
Grades do not define who you are and what you are capable of, poor grades don't mean that you are doomed and your career has finished even before starting. It does cause a disadvantage and will require you to face more challenges and will make the struggle harder than others who have better grades.
Personally, I have been there, when I graduated, my grades hampered my career prospects severely, it took some time even to find a job, that too a less paying one. I worked really hard to reach where I stand today and gained a lot of knowledge and practical on the job training. I worked with the best in the industry, handled some very huge transactions, have my name in some landmark decisions by the Highest court of my country.
Eventually, I caught up with my high-roller classmates, working with top firms.
Don't stop dreaming and dreaming big as that's the only way to go and have faith in yourself so that people around you gain confidence in your determination.




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Cannon
Wow, besides being a poignant and informative response it was also extremely thoughtful and motivational. Above and beyond the call of duty comrade. Thanks so much for your response. I doubt it will be the last time I read it.
Wow, besides being a poignant and informative response it was also extremely thoughtful and motivational. Above and beyond the call of duty comrade. Thanks so much for your response. I doubt it will be the last time I read it.
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marthona
Mav09, you have also inspired me, a lot, I must say. I am a 2L, don't have stellar grades, but have worked as a Paralegal for the last 20 years. I will definitely apply to an LL.M. program as soon as I pass the bar. Best wishes to you and keep the good work up.
Mav09, you have also inspired me, a lot, I must say. I am a 2L, don't have stellar grades, but have worked as a Paralegal for the last 20 years. I will definitely apply to an LL.M. program as soon as I pass the bar. Best wishes to you and keep the good work up.
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mav09
I am glad I could inspire some of my brothers out there, however, confidence comes from within and from one's beliefs. Keep up with positive energy and you will certainly see things changing around you.
Best of luck in your future endeavors.
I am glad I could inspire some of my brothers out there, however, confidence comes from within and from one's beliefs. Keep up with positive energy and you will certainly see things changing around you.
Best of luck in your future endeavors.

quote
I am in a similar boat Cannon. My grades were good in years 2 and 3, but mediocre (at best) in year 1. I went to a similar school to you. I wanted to, and still desire to, pursue an LLM. But I decided to work a bit to make sure I wanted to spend more money in one particular area of law and also gain some practical knowledge that might assist in LLM study. I am in my 4th year out of law school and am beginning to investigate the situation.

What I have read about LLM admissions is this: LLM applicants and students are not factored into the Law School rankings. Therefore, schools are more lenient on admitting students into LLM programs than they are into JD programs. Many admission requirements simply want to make sure you will complete the degree, not necessarily graduate summa cum laude. And why wouldn't they want LLM students? The average cost is ~$40k for a two semester program!!

I hope this helps.
I am in a similar boat Cannon. My grades were good in years 2 and 3, but mediocre (at best) in year 1. I went to a similar school to you. I wanted to, and still desire to, pursue an LLM. But I decided to work a bit to make sure I wanted to spend more money in one particular area of law and also gain some practical knowledge that might assist in LLM study. I am in my 4th year out of law school and am beginning to investigate the situation.

What I have read about LLM admissions is this: LLM applicants and students are not factored into the Law School rankings. Therefore, schools are more lenient on admitting students into LLM programs than they are into JD programs. Many admission requirements simply want to make sure you will complete the degree, not necessarily graduate summa cum laude. And why wouldn't they want LLM students? The average cost is ~$40k for a two semester program!!

I hope this helps.
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bdc
Yes you can. And a good one at that. You need to take many classes in the subject and have some decent work experience and you will be fine.
Yes you can. And a good one at that. You need to take many classes in the subject and have some decent work experience and you will be fine.
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yasminm
What I have read about LLM admissions is this: LLM applicants and students are not factored into the Law School rankings. Therefore, schools are more lenient on admitting students into LLM programs than they are into JD programs. Many admission requirements simply want to make sure you will complete the degree, not necessarily graduate summa cum laude. And why wouldn't they want LLM students? The average cost is ~$40k for a two semester program!!


This is ONLY true if you go to a school that treats you as a cash cow (and yes, I believe that there are some of those even amongst the purportedly higher-end law schools). For many of the top schools, and certainly for YLS, HLS and SLS, this is definitely not the case. You can check the stats up: for each of these schools, the probability of getting into the school are approximately the same, and in some instances even less, than the probability of getting an entry into the JD program with the starting point generally speaking for a person to be considered being a summa cum laude, or a First Class Honours, in Law, or their equivalent in the home jurisdiction (though from time to time they allow entry to exceptional applicants without these credentials, just as they would be flexible with requirements for entry into the JD program for truly exceptional undergraduates). To be fair though, since the application requirements for the LLM Program are rather distinct from the JD program, to compare the two point by point would be comparing apples and oranges. Neither is better than the other - the one you go for depends on your needs and what you plan to do with your life thereafter. The fact that tuition is expensive is a silly point to raise: tuition for JD students are equally prohibitive in many top law schools (so why don't just increase JD intake if the aim is to increase the university's coffers?), and the financial aid sieve ensures that all students have some reprieve if they cannot afford it (meaning if the schools provide for decent financial aid, and all of the three schools above do, then the argument immediately loses all efficacy).

The schools you want to avoid though are those that have really low barriers to entry, provide little quality control and for the most part, don't provide, or provide minimal, financial aid (this is a sure-fire sign) to LLM students, when contrasted with JD students.

Of course, the above ignores the special considerations that I'm sure have to be borne in mind when JD holders apply for LLMs, but since I've never been in that position, it is probably better for someone else to comment on that.
<blockquote> What I have read about LLM admissions is this: LLM applicants and students are not factored into the Law School rankings. Therefore, schools are more lenient on admitting students into LLM programs than they are into JD programs. Many admission requirements simply want to make sure you will complete the degree, not necessarily graduate summa cum laude. And why wouldn't they want LLM students? The average cost is ~$40k for a two semester program!! </blockquote>

This is ONLY true if you go to a school that treats you as a cash cow (and yes, I believe that there are some of those even amongst the purportedly higher-end law schools). For many of the top schools, and certainly for YLS, HLS and SLS, this is definitely not the case. You can check the stats up: for each of these schools, the probability of getting into the school are approximately the same, and in some instances even less, than the probability of getting an entry into the JD program with the starting point generally speaking for a person to be considered being a summa cum laude, or a First Class Honours, in Law, or their equivalent in the home jurisdiction (though from time to time they allow entry to exceptional applicants without these credentials, just as they would be flexible with requirements for entry into the JD program for truly exceptional undergraduates). To be fair though, since the application requirements for the LLM Program are rather distinct from the JD program, to compare the two point by point would be comparing apples and oranges. Neither is better than the other - the one you go for depends on your needs and what you plan to do with your life thereafter. The fact that tuition is expensive is a silly point to raise: tuition for JD students are equally prohibitive in many top law schools (so why don't just increase JD intake if the aim is to increase the university's coffers?), and the financial aid sieve ensures that all students have some reprieve if they cannot afford it (meaning if the schools provide for decent financial aid, and all of the three schools above do, then the argument immediately loses all efficacy).

The schools you want to avoid though are those that have really low barriers to entry, provide little quality control and for the most part, don't provide, or provide minimal, financial aid (this is a sure-fire sign) to LLM students, when contrasted with JD students.

Of course, the above ignores the special considerations that I'm sure have to be borne in mind when JD holders apply for LLMs, but since I've never been in that position, it is probably better for someone else to comment on that.
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mav09
I completely agree with Yasminm. There is absolutely no merit when one says that LL.M. is nothing but a source of revenue for law schools and anyone would be welcome who has the cash to fill in their treasure chests. All top schools maintain a certain threshold and eligibility criteria and that is by no means less than a 1st class in your academics performance. What I meant in my earlier post was that academics is not the whole and sole criteria for selecting candidates for their program, your work-ex, publications etc. set you apart if you don't have the bare minimum academic requirement. If I meant that a friend of mine got through to a top 3 program, it does not mean that they discarded all his credentials and offered him admission just to fill in their seats, what I mean is that though his academic performance was average, he had a fantastic work-ex and publications to support his application which made him stand out amongst several highly qualified applicants with very strong credentials.
Please do not read the posts literally without application of mind. It takes a hell lot of things to put your gig together and to prove to the admission committee that you stand out amongst your peers and are someone suitable for their LL.M. program.
You can improve yourself and grow beyond your poor academic performance but the same requires a lot of hard work, if you are ready for a challenge and have the guts to outperform your competitors and prove yourself worthy.
I completely agree with Yasminm. There is absolutely no merit when one says that LL.M. is nothing but a source of revenue for law schools and anyone would be welcome who has the cash to fill in their treasure chests. All top schools maintain a certain threshold and eligibility criteria and that is by no means less than a 1st class in your academics performance. What I meant in my earlier post was that academics is not the whole and sole criteria for selecting candidates for their program, your work-ex, publications etc. set you apart if you don't have the bare minimum academic requirement. If I meant that a friend of mine got through to a top 3 program, it does not mean that they discarded all his credentials and offered him admission just to fill in their seats, what I mean is that though his academic performance was average, he had a fantastic work-ex and publications to support his application which made him stand out amongst several highly qualified applicants with very strong credentials.
Please do not read the posts literally without application of mind. It takes a hell lot of things to put your gig together and to prove to the admission committee that you stand out amongst your peers and are someone suitable for their LL.M. program.
You can improve yourself and grow beyond your poor academic performance but the same requires a lot of hard work, if you are ready for a challenge and have the guts to outperform your competitors and prove yourself worthy.
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lastlear
awesome mav, where you from pal and which school are you going?
awesome mav, where you from pal and which school are you going?
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mav09
Thanks for the compliment lastlear, however what I have achieved is not really 'awsome' in the true sense of the term.
I hail from India.
As far as the schools are concerned, have not decided so far, though got through UCLA, Georgetown and wait listed at UPenn and quite hopeful of walking of their wait list and into their program.( sorry, if I sound too optimistic, but would still like to believe in it)
These are the only schools, I had applied to, so have to figure out where I need to go, however UCLA is out, Georgetown is in for the time being and if things fall in place, the way I see them, would go to UPenn eventually, if admitted.
Although, I should not cry out loud about UPenn's wait list, as it may be far fetched, but hope endures.
What about you?
Where are you from and where are you going?
Thanks for the compliment lastlear, however what I have achieved is not really 'awsome' in the true sense of the term.
I hail from India.
As far as the schools are concerned, have not decided so far, though got through UCLA, Georgetown and wait listed at UPenn and quite hopeful of walking of their wait list and into their program.( sorry, if I sound too optimistic, but would still like to believe in it)
These are the only schools, I had applied to, so have to figure out where I need to go, however UCLA is out, Georgetown is in for the time being and if things fall in place, the way I see them, would go to UPenn eventually, if admitted.
Although, I should not cry out loud about UPenn's wait list, as it may be far fetched, but hope endures.
What about you?
Where are you from and where are you going?
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yasminm
That's exactly right mav09, and I definitely didn't intend to suggest that your initial post was, in any way, defective (if it was construed in that way, I apologize unreservedly) :) Your story, as recounted above, sounds like an amazing one and it is great that you shared it.
That's exactly right mav09, and I definitely didn't intend to suggest that your initial post was, in any way, defective (if it was construed in that way, I apologize unreservedly) :) Your story, as recounted above, sounds like an amazing one and it is great that you shared it.
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mav09
Not at all Yasminm, I really appreciate your words of wisdom and admire you. I don't think there is any confusion and please do not embarrass me by apologizing without a cause. You have been on this forum for quite some time and have helped a lot of fellow applicants.
We all hold you in high regard.
In fact I would like to apologize again for our initial conflict, which was totally unnecessary.
Not at all Yasminm, I really appreciate your words of wisdom and admire you. I don't think there is any confusion and please do not embarrass me by apologizing without a cause. You have been on this forum for quite some time and have helped a lot of fellow applicants.
We all hold you in high regard.
In fact I would like to apologize again for our initial conflict, which was totally unnecessary.
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yasminm
Not at all - it is already forgotten (I actually had to try and recall what you were referring to before it came back to me). I will cross my fingers and hope that you hear positively from UPenn soon!
Not at all - it is already forgotten (I actually had to try and recall what you were referring to before it came back to me). I will cross my fingers and hope that you hear positively from UPenn soon!
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lastlear
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abcd1234
Cannon...Did you get in anywhere?
Cannon...Did you get in anywhere?

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olivers
Now, all of them treat you like a cash cow, including the top three. Welcome to the new world were partners at vault 50 are in document review. Yep read up on the law school forums. It's a terrible terrible mess. LLM's get treated like crap from every school. JD's from SLS, HLS are sometimes in document review temp jobs. Some JD's have dropped out of the radar with no jobs. New reality post 2008.

Very scary markets right now.
Now, all of them treat you like a cash cow, including the top three. Welcome to the new world were partners at vault 50 are in document review. Yep read up on the law school forums. It's a terrible terrible mess. LLM's get treated like crap from every school. JD's from SLS, HLS are sometimes in document review temp jobs. Some JD's have dropped out of the radar with no jobs. New reality post 2008.

Very scary markets right now.
quote

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