I'm almost done with my first quarter at UCLA as a political science major. I have a 4.0 GPA, and after this quarter, I think it might even be a 4.02-.05 (I might be getting a few A+s this quarter). I'm a junior transfer--I started at a community college and transferred here. I was wondering if law schools (specifically Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Stanford, etc.) would hold it against me?
I transferred to UCLA's Honors College in one year, and am graduating this year (Fall of 2017), putting me at a quarter over two years total time in undergrad (I was able to do this with a mixture of APs and overloading on units). My total quarter units when graduating (without APs) will be 166 (204 with), so realistically, it's not like APs would have conflated my standing too much (just 14 units to hit the 180 needed to graduate).
If I keep up the good grades (straight As/A+s), would I have a solid chance at any of the law schools I mentioned? How much would starting at CC, albeit just for one year, impact my application? They'd only see five quarters worth of UCLA courses on my transcript (but in actuality, 91.5 units, which includes 28 units study abroad).
Would my LSAT matter even more because of CC? Meaning, because they might think of my grades as a bit more "unreliable" of a measurement, would my LSAT score be a larger determinant? I've yet to really start studying for it, but I scored in the mid-160s on the one practice I took. Hopefully, I'll be able to raise it a few points by the time I apply.
Lastly, I could get away with only taking 75 units at UCLA and graduating. But if I do that, I won't graduate in the honors college, and I'll lose qualification for Latin Honors. How much would these two accolades matter? Or should I take as many units as I can at UCLA (more than 90) so that these law schools can better gauge my performance (less CC grades and AP units relatively), I'd qualify for latin honors, and I'd graduate in the honors college? For the most part, I'm comfortable with classes at UCLA...but I'm still a bit uneasy.
Besides my GPA, my resume is fairly strong. Last year I was on my colleges improv team and started the current events club, and this year I've been employed for a nonprofit; spent 50 hours canvassing for/organizing a local campaign; am in a fraternity; interned for John McCain for over a month (may or may not have quit, lol); worked at a summer camp; and made over a thousand dollars in an educational/tech start up.
Sorry for the spiel. Law school just drives up my anxiety levels. To sum up my questions:
1) Would have attending community college for one year (74.25 quarter units) negatively impact my application?
2) Will getting straight As/A+s at UCLA counter this negative effect?
3) Will my LSAT score matter even more?
4) Does latin honors and honors college standing really matter? Or is the same GPA without these accolades just as impressive? Would it be worth it to take over 90 units at UCLA to qualify for these (I'd still graduate Fall), or should I just take the 75 units and call it a day? If I take 75 units total, my summer will be free for internships (I applied to intern at the DOS abroad), which might be more valuable for my application than the same GPA but with the words "summa" or "magna" written on my diploma, with "Honors College" at the bottom.
Also, I have a fairly decent relationship with one of my UD poli sci professors. We email back and fourth, and in the most modest way possible, I found out that I got the highest grade on his midterm (120 people in the class). I plan on taking another one of his classes next quarter. I know two LOR are usually required for law schools. How/when should I approach him for a letter of rec?
If anyone could help me with just a few of these questions, I would be eternally grateful. Thank you so much in advance,