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   Going into college next year...steer me
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   Author  Topic: Going into college next year...steer me  (Read 2502 times)
Needadvice
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Going into college next year...steer me
« on: Dec 9th, 2006, 8:46pm »
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Well first of all, I may be attending a small but prestigious liberal arts college Swarthmore to study Engineering. You graduate with a BS in general engineering with a concentration. Because it is a liberal arts college, I would most likely double major (any advice on what?) or take classes at UPenn to specialize a bit. After this, whats the best way to work towards a patent attorney. Ive read its very hard to get a job. Would it be best (because my undergrad wont be intensive engineering) to get a MS first or go to law school? and if im unable to get a job as a patent attorney after that (and passing the patent bar), are there any other options?
 
Also, do people enjoy what they do when theyre patent attorneys? What would it be like to work in a law firm vs being an inhouse counsel. Is there any way to get work within a specific field (military tech) or something similar?
 
sorry for all the questiosn im trying to learn the ways of the patent attorney before i begin the perilous road Smiley
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Wiscagent
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Re: Going into college next year...steer me
« Reply #1 on: Dec 9th, 2006, 9:41pm »
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Study what you enjoy, what you are good at and what you find interesting.  Throw in a few courses in areas that are unfamiliar, too.  You haven't started college yet.  Don't worry about getting into graduate or professional school right now.
 
Work hard, meet a variety of interesting people, travel, participate in sports or music or some other extra curriculars, get laid, don't catch any STDs or take debilitating drugs.
 
You asked for free advice ... you got what you paid for.
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Richard Tanzer
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Zinger
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Re: Going into college next year...steer me
« Reply #2 on: Dec 10th, 2006, 8:28am »
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Out of curiosity, why are you going to a small LAC to study engineering?
 
Second, if you really want to be a patent attorney, get an engineering degree (preferably EE or CompE) and a JD.  If your grades are excellent (contrary to what some may say on this board), you will not have any trouble finding a job.  It can be as simple as that.
 
Third, have fun.  Your UG years will (should) be some of the best years of your life.
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Needadvice
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Re: Going into college next year...steer me
« Reply #3 on: Dec 10th, 2006, 11:14am »
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i want to go to a small LAC because i think its a better work environment and since i dont actually want to be an engineer, I feel it would better prepare me for law since i can take different types of classes. I would get a BSE with a concentration in EE. Its a very well respected school and supposedly most over their engineering students go to grad school at places like MIT and berkeley for engineering so im sure they can get into good law schools as well. Do you think this si a really bad idea?
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Zinger
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Re: Going into college next year...steer me
« Reply #4 on: Dec 10th, 2006, 2:22pm »
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No, it is not a bad idea.  It would be preferable to earn a BSEE over a BSE with a concentration, but as long as your school has a good reputation where you ultimately want to work, it should not be a problem.  Out of curiosity, is the general engineering degree ABET accredited?
 
UG institution doesn't really play too much of a role in law school admissions outside of the very top law schools (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, Columbia, etc.).  And even then, strength of undergraduate institution is a very marginal characteristic in the eyes of admissions committees.  If you've got a 3.8+ from a state school and a very strong LSAT (170-172+), it won't matter if you attended a plain old state school for UG.  Similiarly, if you've got a 3.4 from Harvard and a decent LSAT (168ish), don't expect to get into a top law school.  I guess what I'm trying to say here is that getting into a top law school depends heavily on the individuals capabilities and not the undergraduate institution.  Law school admissions care primarily about two things (no matter what anyone else tells you): LSAT, GPA.  That is probably the most valuable information I can give a young person looking to go to a top law school.  LSAT.  GPA.
 
As a side note, I would highly recommend not going into debt for your UG education.  Swarthmore is a good school, but could you get a hefty scholarship at a school like Penn St?
 
Are you considering other schools?  If so, which?
 
As far as the double major.  I don't see the point.  It sounds impressive, especially when you are younger.  But a BS in engineering is sufficient for almost anything you want to do.  Focus on getting the best grades possible in one major.  In my opinion, double majoring in UG is probably one of the lowest returns-on-investment someone one can pursue.  Just focus on getting the best grades possible in whatever major you select.  If you want to take some extra writing courses, that could be helpful for lawschool.  However, a double major might be a little overboard.
 
Do you know a patent attorney?  Do you know what they do all day?  I only ask because patent law is a very narrow field in the big scheme of things.  I would hate to see you prepare for a career in patent law and not really like what you do.  I suggest getting in touch with a patent attorney or agent and seeing if they will give you some insight as to what they actually do all day.  All I'm saying is keep your eyes open and don't shut any doors along the way.  You sound like a smart young man or woman, but you don't have to decide today what you want to do for the rest of your life.  Shop around and try to find something you really love doing.  Its not easy.
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