What’s in a GPA?

That which we learn in class

By any other feedback would be as stressful


With law school applications coming in across the country (insert declining national applicant pool joke, here), I thought it would be nice to provide a little insight into what admissions offices see when it comes to G.rade P.oint A.verages (aka GPAs).

When I am reviewing an applicant’s GPA, I endeavor to avoid all thought of the final numbers LSAC has provided for us in your CAS (Credential Assembly Service) report, until I’ve gained context. That being said, it’s important to note that LSAC, through proprietary methods, will standardize and provide a calculation of your GPA which may in fact be different from what you see on your transcript. This calculation includes all course work attempted except for courses from which you properly withdrew at all institutions that provided course credit toward your Bachelor’s degree. Eventually, I will review the final calculated Undergraduate “Cumulative GPA” (which includes grades from all attended programs) and the “Degree (Summary) GPA” which only includes grades from the program you’ve graduated from. Before that, I like to look at a number of different factors to provide the abovementioned context for what you GPA means to me and to the University of Houston Law Center.

Factors taken into consideration (in regard to your GPA):

  • What does your GPA look like from a year to year basis?
  • How many hours did you take and what GPA did that yield?
  • In looking at your transcripts, what classes did you take?
  • Does your resume indicate you were working while obtaining your bachelor’s/post-secondary degree?
  • What was your major?
  • What is your GPA in relation to other students from your degree granting program (i.e.; is it in the 50th percentile, the 99th percentile, the 1st percentile)?

As you can see, your Cumulative GPA provides our Office of Admission with a significant amount of information beyond just the numbers. Keep in mind that you are not a number, you are, potentially, a great addition to the Cougar Community and we want your APPPLICATION (in its entirety) to show that!

Whether you had the best GPA in the world or you were the certified “last in your class,” (don’t worry, that’s not really a thing) it would behoove each of you to understand that in your first semester you are not only ranked number one in your law center entering class, but you are also ranked number last in your law center entering class. Every law student, despite his or her academic beginnings in his or her undergraduate (or graduate, or doctorate) program, has a 0.00. Take advantage of your fresh slate and in all instances, exceed your expectations. After all, you can only go up from a 0.00!

Upperclass Mentor Program

On September 29, 2014 the Career Development Office (CDO) held it’s annual Upper Class Student Mentoring reception to launch that program for the academic year. The initiative, which is a joint effort between the CDO, the associate dean’s office, and the alumni relations staff, pairs upper-division students with practicing attorneys based on the student’s preferred area of interest. The alumni participation level has been strong, and this year ALL 3L and 4L students who requested a mentor have been matched.
Mentors are a valuable resource to UHLC students, providing advice and insight to assist law students in making the transition from law school to practice, and these relationships help students to expand their professional networks. For law students, this is likely the first professional mentoring relationship they have had so to help facilitate those relationships, the CDO provides suggestions to the mentor pairs for how to work together effectively. Mentors offer advice on courses, conduct mock interviews, introduce mentees to colleagues in the field, and allow students to accompany them to court. The CDO also sends participants a list of networking and professional events such as bar association meetings, happy hours, and volunteer events that mentors can attend with their mentees.
The upper class mentorship program is in it’s second year and compliments our 1L mentorship program, which pairs first-year students with upper-class students and faculty. Working in tandem, these programs support students as they navigate law school and begin their careers, helping to ensure their success.
To learn more about the Law Center’s Career Development programs, please visit law.uh.edu/career/students.asp.

It’s application season!

Ah, the smell of frequently asked questions is in the air.  Between the opening of our application on October 1st for the 2015-2016 school year (that seems so far away, doesn’t it?) and the recent advent of travel season for those of us on the Admissions staff, the fall means a lot of questions about our law school, its programs, and our application process. To help answer these burning questions, below is a truncated version of our FAQs that we get most often around this time of the year.  This is by no means an exhaustive list!

If you have specific questions, please feel free to drop by our office, reach out by phone (713.743.2280), consult our website (http://law.uh.edu/admissions) or email us at lawadmissions@uh.edu.  If you’re not local (or even if you are), please check out our upcoming recruitment events and see if we will be visiting your area (http://law.uh.edu/admissions/visiting-uhlc-calendar.asp).  These events are a great opportunity to see us!

 Q: What is your median LSAT/GPA?

A: Median LSAT: 159 (full-time).  Median GPA: 3.47 (full-time).

Q: What is the minimum LSAT/GPA you will accept?

A: There is no set minimum.  We look at all facets of a prospective student’s application, including but not limited to LSAT and GPA.

Q: Do you offer application fee waivers?

A: Yes.  In order to apply for one, please go here: http://law.uh.edu/admissions/fee-waivers.asp.

Q: What type of undergraduate degree is best suited for law school?

A: There is no one type of undergraduate degree that we favor over another.  We consider any degree from an accredited university.

Q: What is the benefit of applying for early decision as opposed to regular decision?

A: Applying for early decision means that we will make a decision on your application sooner than if you apply for regular decision (mid-February as opposed to mid-May).  It does not increase your chances of getting into our program.

Q: Are there scholarships available? 

A: Every admitted applicant will be considered for a Dean’s scholarship.  This merit-based scholarship does not require a separate application, and the awards vary.  It is unconditionally renewed each year.

Q: Can I schedule a tour/class visit/appointment with an admissions counselor?

A: Absolutely!  We would love to have you visit.  In order to schedule one or all of the above, please email lawadmissions@uh.edu to set up a mutually agreed upon time for class visits and appointments, as well as tours.  Tours are given on Mondays and Fridays at noon; however, if those times don’t suit your schedule, we will work with you to find a time to accommodate you.  More information about visiting the Law Center can be found at http://law.uh.edu/admissions/visiting-uhlc.asp.

Weather in the Bayou City

weather

Texas is synonymous with hot. But our relationship with the weather is best characterized as “it’s complicated.” Texas offers semi-arid plains and hill country, desert, and humid subtropical climate zones. Texas has seen 69 tropical or subtropical cyclones (aka Hurricanes) since 1980, but don’t worry, one will make landfall in Texas only three times in a four year period. The state of Texas even has an annual snowfall and sees the highest number of tornadoes (on average, 139) each year.

In Houston, we can’t deny that Houston knows how to bring the heat, but this heat is transmogrified into something even more wonderful known as humidity. This is due, in part, to the consistent rainfall that Houston sees year round. In addition to the rainfall, the humidity springs forth from the nicknamesake, Bayou City. A bayou, of course, is a marshy outlet of a lake or river of which Houston has several!

The subtropical climate of Houston benefits Houstonians by offering, virtually, year round outdoor activities including the use of 38,394 acres of luscious green City of Houston Parks. While certain activities might be better suited during the pre-sun rise portion of your schedule in the summer months, you more than benefit from all that Houston has to offer throughout the year. When was the last time you enjoyed a night kayaking foray in October or February (an option at Lake Houston). When was the last time you went for an outdoor run in December or January (an option at Memorial Park).

As you can see, not only is there a lot of recreational space in Houston, according to the official visitor site for Houston, “[o]f the nation’s 10 most populous cities, none had more total park space than Houston,” but a lot of time throughout the year to take advantage of it, thanks in part to the pleasant, albeit humid, climate the Bayou City offers.

If Houston is in your future, the Office of Admissions highly recommends you take advantage of the year round opportunities we offer to visit the campus to determine if Houston can mesh with you, in the climatological sense.

http://www.visithoustontexas.com/media/research/facts-and-figures/

Houston is #4 on Forbes’ 2014 List of America’s Coolest Cities

In August, Forbes published its 2014 List of America’s Coolest Cities.  Houston was ranked the #4 coolest city in which to live in America! You might think, well that’s great, but what does “cool” really mean?  Forbes defined “cool” by quantifying it in terms of cities. With the help of Sperline’s BestPlaces, Forbes ranked the 60 largest metropolitan statistical areas and metropolitan divisions based on six data points that were weighted equally.  The first on the list was entertainment and recreational amenities. Second was a “foodie” factor which included the number of restaurants, bars, farmers markets, and breweries per capita.  Third on the list was the city’s cultural make-up – how likely you are to meet someone of a different race or ethnicity.  Age was also a factor with a higher ranking for those cities with a large population of people aged 20-34.  The final consideration was given to population growth since 2000, since cities with greater increases of new people tend to be more desirable.  

This is a brief summary of Forbes’ ranking system, however it gives you a little more insight into the city of Houston and another reason to attend the University of Houston Law Center (as if you needed one)!