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International Students - Latin America

juscubillosrojuscubillosro Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
Hi, I'm from Colombia, I've got a couple of questions/issues about law school admission process for int. students I'd like to talk about:

1. GPA
How do they evaluate my GPA? Is there some sort of "GPA Converter" that allows me to calculate my GPA in a 4.0 scale? Or is it a simple cross multiplication matter?
My "GPA" in my home university (which according to the latests rankings is in the top 14 in Latin America) is 4.2/5 (the average gpa here is about 3.8/5), I'll probably graduate #15-10 in a class size of about 70.
I came across an "international GPA calculator" (http://www.foreigncredits.com/Resources/GPA-Calculator/), don't think it is very useful but I thought it'd be worth the mentioning it.
I've also read about LSAC but haven't quite fully understood its mission, I know if I want to apply I have to send them over my transcriptions and they'll calculate my GPA and send it to the schools that require it. How exactly do they treat international grades?

2. Citizenship
I obviously don't have an american citizenship, is this a problem when applying for law school? Will it be a problem later when I eventually start working there?

3. Work experience
In Colombia you study law as a sort of major (undergrad. level). Unfortunately I graduated from high school way too young (16) and didn't have very clear what I wanted to do with my life, so I took the thing I liked the most at the time (Economics). All this to say that it's very unlikely for me to get a job in any law related area. Will that be a problem?
I'm planning on taking a long term volunteering (teaching and community work is what I'm aiming for), will this be of any help in improving my chances?

I've always tested well, but I've never taken a test of this sort. Which books do you recommend for training?. I really think I can get a 170+.

5. Law schools I should be aiming for.
Having explained my situation, which law schools do you think I should aim for?

Thanks for any piece of help or advice you can give me :)

Replies to: International Students - Latin America

  • HappyAlumnusHappyAlumnus Registered User Posts: 1,199 Senior Member
    For 2: there are plenty of foreign students in US law schools. It's a tough job market for lawyers, and it'd be even tougher for international students wanting to work in the US.

    For 3: any work experience should help your application. I don't know if volunteering would help as much as a paid, career-type job.

    For 4: I recommend taking a test-prep class. Kaplan is what I took, and it really helped. I don't think that books alone are as good, although the main thing that you should do, whether using books alone or a class plus books, is to study hard, for at least several months, for the LSAT. Why do you think that you can get a 170+?

    For 5: if you're 10-15 out of 70, that's not as good as you'd need to get into a top 10 school, regardless of how well you do on the LSAT, so I would recommend something in the top 25.
  • Demosthenes49Demosthenes49 Registered User Posts: 1,593 Senior Member

    1. The rules are here. I am not sure if US News takes foreign GPAs into account, however, and if not your admission may come down purely to LSAT.

    2. Law schools won't care about your citizenship. Law firms will because they have to sponsor you for a visa. That visa is pretty hard to get for lawyers because one of the components is whether there are US citizens available to do the work. The US massively overproduces lawyers, so it's tough to argue otherwise. I would recommend checking in with an immigration lawyer who can answer this more directly before you spend huge amounts at a US law school.

    3. No one in the US will care much. Some law firms may consider high-school age work experience a plus.

    4. Everyone says they'll get 170. Actually get it, and you should come back here to talk.
  • juscubillosrojuscubillosro Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    For 2 and 3 I'll take that into consideration.
    For 4, I may have jumped to conclussions based on a couple of exams I took from a LSAT book and the fact that I've always done well at that kind of exams (in my uni the admission process comes down to a single exam and it's pretty similar to this one) but you're right, the real thing must be different.
    Having heard from the work conditions, it makes me really doubtful about whether I sould give it a try at all. Even if I graduate and get back to Colombia to practice, the law school debt would just eat me up.
    I guess I'll give my current career a couple of years before taking any radical decisions.

    Anyways, thank you both for your help.
This discussion has been closed.