jdsoc28 Posted January 5, 2014 Share Posted January 5, 2014 (edited) I realize that this is a bit early and there are people waiting on admissions decisions (and good luck to those who are), but I'm in the midst of preparing to apply in the next cycle and I wanted to get some advice early on. I've lurked quite a bit, but have yet to post. Here's the deal: Like many applicants, I did not major in sociology. In fact my major was Political Theory and my related area (equivalent to a minor) was economics. Still, I took a number of courses that were cross-listed with sociology and/or social policy, including my senior seminar, and I'm familiar with the field. The bad news: undergraduate cumulative GPA is not good, a 3.37. The last two years is 3.4, major and minor combined is 3.7. This includes an Econ GPA of 3.58 and a Public Affairs/Policy/Political Theory GPA of something a little higher, 3.7-3.8. I also took a statistics course designed for social and biological science majors and did OK. And I have an intermediate reading level in a scholarly modern language. So there's that. That said, I am not really counting much on the undergrad GPA, because a) I'll have been out of undergrad for about a decade by the time I start any program and I went to Tier II law school and did much better (the GPA is low by non-law standards but my class rank is top 15%), I served as a research assistant for a relatively high profile professor, I was on a competitive law journal and completed a "publishable quality" article, and I've been a practicing attorney for a number of years. And it just so happens that what I want to study and research dovetails nicely with my practice and my past academic experience in the social sciences. In this area I have considerable experience and can point to fairly high profile impact litigation experience (i.e., social justice oriented). I also am pretty involved with social justice organizations and sit on two nonprofit boards, one of which is dedicated to providing legal services to the poor and is heavily engaged in social welfare policy reform. I have not taken the GRE but I will be taking it in May (already scheduled), and I did purchase an online preparation course. I did OK on the LSAT, scoring in the low 80 percentile range. I have researched programs and the ideal setting would be urban and/or have plenty of economic sociologists and urbanists, particularly people with interest and training in political economy and/or law. My partner would prefer that I not drag him to the ends of the earth so I'm probably going to need to rule out some locations (i.e., the South and probably the Southwest). I am more concerned about fit than anything else, although I also want to study at a department that has a good chance at placement. I am not as concerned about academic placement versus research or applied, particularly since I would like to use my law degree and license in the future. The "praxis" option is one of the reasons that I find sociology so appealing. For reasons personal and professional (namely, the urban financial crisis), Michigan is the ideal location so my top choice is University of Michigan, which I know will be next to impossible. That being said, there is a faculty member there I am reading right now and I think that we would be a good fit. I also considering Michigan State University as a safety in-state choice because they have a number of urban studies resources, although I am concerned about their ability to provide funding and their placement rate. Beyond that, I am looking at (in no particular order) Temple University (urban specialization is a major consideration here but similar concerns to MSU and they have no placement data), University of Pennsylvania (same plus faculty interests), UC-Irvine (law), UC-Davis (law particularly Fred Block), U-Wisc (law and economic sociology), Northwestern (law and economic sociology), Columbia, NYU and UChicago (primarily for urban settings and crossover with law on all three of those), Yale, Brown and Cornell. The latter three all have individuals and research centers that I think would fit well. Am I out of my mind and need to scale back? Any advice on what I should do to improve my chances? Advice on who to reach out to, when and how to reach out to them? All advice appreciated. Thanks! Edited January 5, 2014 by jdsoc28 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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