2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

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2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby dabbadon8 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:28 pm

I thought it would be useful and interesting for people to post some reflections from their application cycle now that most people are done. What were your expectations going in? How did things turned out? How did you make your decision? What did you feel you did right? What would you do differently? General tips from your experience?

I will start:
Before I prepared for the LSAT I was hoping to go to UNC. I wasn't sure how well I would do. After doing well, I shifted my sights to Duke and UVA. I knew my relatively low gpa would hurt my cycle. I spent a very long time deciding whether or not to do ED to UVA. I almost pulled the trigger but didn't because I saw on LSN almost everyone with my numbers got a good chunk of $ at Michigan. I figured the 54k I thought I would get would be too much to pass up for a peer school. I rolled the dice and applied to 16 schools. I ultimately was set to enroll at umich w/54k (like I anticipated) until a week ago when I got in at duke off the WL. They offered me 60k and after a lot of consideration, I decided to go there because of the the weather, smaller class size, and focus on the south east.

I feel I did most things right. I applied the first day for all applications. Did why? essays for all my top choices.
I should not of let my grades slip fall semester. I got a grade request from NYU. (I did manage to get straight A's in spring and graduate cum laude which I think helped with duke)
I should of written two of penn's optional essays instead of just one.
I should of waited for more fee waivers. I was eager to send everything out the first day, but I could have saved a bunch of money by waiting for fee waivers. (I did email schools to solicit them)

Ultimately I am thrilled with the results of my cycle. I am going to a school that was tied for my #1 choice going in, with a decent scholarship as well.

Some tips: Carefully consider whether or not you want to use ED somewhere.
Don't let yourself get caught up in the rankings. Consider all the factors and remember this is 3 years in the prime of your life.
Last edited by dabbadon8 on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby JamMasterJ » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:34 pm

I got into several safeties and OSU as well as getting Notre Dame off of the waitlist.
I submitted all of my apps at the beginning of February which was my first mistake.
The other thing was that I studied for about a month for the LSAT in October and Feb. I found TLS forums about a week before the February test and realized that I could do much better. So now, I'm retaking - my re-diagnostic PT was a 172, and submitting apps the day that the October scores are released. Hoping for UMich, NU, or (fingers crossed) UChi

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby splitmuch » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:44 pm

3.1 178

I decided to pursue law school a few weeks before the Oct LSAT, signed up on the deadline, took the test, and a couple weeks later got my scores back. One of my biggest problems was getting recs because I decided so late. It would be a few months before I felt confident enough to get one from my employer and my academic rec took a while as well. Consequently I applied very late, prett much at the deadline for every school. I found LSP and was pretty optimistic about my chances because it doesn't seem to take into account grade floors. Then I stumbled to TLS and my chance me thread set me straight. Getting WL by ND and GW made me think I was for sure going to get locked out of the T14. I almost made a last minute switch of my UVA app to ED, but didn't want to commit to living in Charlottesville without ever visiting. Eventually though, I got into NU off hold and Cornell off reserve, and from the emails I received think I probably would have gotten into GULC off the WL if I had told them I would come.

Overall, I'm thrilled getting NU (though not thrilled with the debt).

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby Robespierre » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:57 pm

This thread is a big help to those of us gearing up for the 2011-12 cycle. Please keep it coming.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby glitter178 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:01 pm

I homed in on schools in the region where i wanted to live/ work. Moved to LA from the midwest before my LSAT score came back. I applied to Loyola, UCLA, USC. My cycle went EXACTLY as I predicted from the research I did on LSN and TLS.
With a 3.87 and a 168, i got:
Loyola - 87K
UCLA- need based grant, no scholarship
USC- 75K, no stip, + law preview scholarship - Attending

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby rli66 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:06 pm


Applied kind of late but got into several T-14s with half scholarships. Decided on UAlabama because of the full ride and proximity to my home. I am embarrassed to admit it and I hope it doesn't come back to bite me in the asshole.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby NYC Law » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:09 pm

My cycle went pretty well.

3.5x/167 and I'll be attending Fordham on a $22.5k scholarship.

Got $30k from BU
$60k from Minnesota
$30k from William & Mary

Still sitting on reserve at Cornell.

Overall I'm happy with the way things went, not bad for my numbers.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby FantasticMrFox » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:11 pm

this thread looks promising

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby WSJ_Law » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:12 pm

I would have not taken the December LSAT. I would have prepped harder and been ready for the October LSAT to submit apps in October and let them become complete when my scores came in through LSAC. This also pre-empted me from many fee waivers.

I would have requested LORs as early as a year before as some recommenders seemed to take that long! It's also uncomfortable to ask someone (who is ostensibly doing you a favor) to hurry the hell up.

I would have not wasted time and money and applying to "safety schools" like South Carolina/Ole Miss/etc. with my numbers. Like a poster from a previous thread said, you can fairly easily predict your cycle judging by medians. Apply to reaches if you have good softs because you never know, but don't apply to places where you don't want to attend and are above both medians by wide margins.

I would recommend studying for the LSAT as much as possible. 1 additional question right + late applications quite possibly caused me to miss some serious money at schools I got into, and some acceptances where I was WL/Reject. Best wishes to 2012 cycle participants!

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby splitmuch » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:27 pm

rli66 wrote:3.6/170

Applied kind of late but got into several T-14s with half scholarships. Decided on UAlabama because of the full ride and proximity to my home. I am embarrassed to admit it and I hope it doesn't come back to bite me in the asshole.

If you are sure you want to practice there this makes sense. If not, man, thats an extremely risk averse move.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby Dany » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:32 pm


173/3.8 - I had what I think were very solid softs/PS/LORs, but nothing incredibly unique or spectacular.

What were your expectations going in?
I decided I wanted to go to an great law school after going to a big state school for UG and being disappointed with that experience. From day one, I was dead set on UChicago. I knew I wanted to be in a large city, not in the south, and not out west/in Cali. Chicago is my favorite city and I loved what I had heard about the school. Pretty much everything I did during my cycle was geared toward getting into UChi (and I was hoping for money there as well.)

How did things turned out?
I could not have asked for a more perfect cycle (for me personally). I'll be attending Chicago in the fall with a great scholarship, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

How did you make your decision?
It was a no-brainer. My number one choice was also my best scholarship offer, so it just worked out financially and perfectly with my preferences.

What did you feel you did right?
I tailored all my personal statements, spent a lot of time perfecting my resume, and really thought about what I wanted to "sell" myself as, in order to present a coherent application that made me memorable.

What would you do differently?
I would have applied to more schools. I may have left money on the table by not applying to Michigan, Penn, etc. and not filling out scholarship stuff for schools like Duke, Cornell, Vandy, etc. which may have been useful for leverage. I was basically too lazy to write the extra essays. I would also not send my UChicago PS to Duke. Oops. And finally, I should have tried to bump my GPA up during fall semester. It would have been nice to be able to send in a grade update.

General tips from your experience?
1. Send in applications early, but remember that "early" = before Thanksgiving. It's not necessary to apply Sept. 1 (except in rare cases) so don't freak out if you're submitting in October. TLS will make you feel like you're screwed, and that's just not the case. I sent out all my applications from roughly October 31-November 5.

2. GET TLS HELP ON YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT. The advice I received was invaluable, and people here turned my pretty terrible draft into a solid essay.

3. Don't be lazy and skip schools that have extra essay requirements.

4. USE LSN. It was such a huge help to me this cycle, for chances, scholarship, and timeline info. Keeping an updated profile is helpful to you to keep track of everything and to future applicants.

That's all for now. I'm happy to answer any questions, but my cycle was a little different than most applicants' because my decision wasn't difficult at all, so it might not be "typical."

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby enron123 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:13 pm

What were your expectations going in?
As a splitter with a GPA below all medians, who is hispanic and solid softs I had wildly divergent expectations. Essentially I just wanted to get into a T1 some days and others was convinced someone at UMich would love my app.

How did things turned out?
They turned out how they do for all splitters, I will be attending a midwestern school in the 20's with a large scholarship.

How did you make your decision?
Lowest total COA played the largest role in my decision both in where I was attending and not to pursue WL's and holds at other schools. I also really enjoyed my experience at the ASD particularly in comparison to other's I attended.

What did you feel you did right?
My personal statement, I think it was coherent and did a good job of contextualizing my application.

What would you do differently?
Discover TLS my freshman year so I did a little bit of work to keep my grades up. Retake the LSAT. Do all optional essays. Get my apps in earlier.

General tips from your experience?
1. Predict your cycle with LSN if you dont like your chances retake or reevaluate.
2. Get your apps in by November
3. Be like fonzy

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby sarahlawg » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:32 pm

Thanks Dany for the helpful formatting :)

What were your expectations going in?
With my original score, I set a goal for BU/BC with the idea that I'd retake in Oct (at the intense urging of everyone I know). When I got my Oct score, I set my sights higher by looking at LSN. I figured I'd get at least one of CCN with my numbers and had a good shot at the schools on down. I applied only up to CCN in late November and then threw a hail mary app to Harvard, again at the urging of those around me. I didn't apply to YS.

How did things turned out?
I did just how I thought I would, except I also got into H off the WL. So I would say it turned out well. I got a lot of money from schools, though, which I did not expect at all.

How did you make your decision?
Before I got into H I was trying to decide between a full ride at NU and a more than half scholly at UChi...I ultimately deposited at Chi because I really liked it (and the people!) when I visited and I thought the money was pretty good as full COA was 10k less per year than NU. When I got into H, they gave me more money than Chi, which was mostly just icing on the cake. Boston has always been the city I've wanted to be in, among other reasons to pick H.

What did you feel you did right?
I got my applications in at a good time, actually studied for the LSAT with the retake (found TLS), actually applied to H even though it was a big reach, had TFA on my resume, very much enjoyed my experience and had a good rec out of it, had great relationships with professors at my UG and got 2 very solid recs from them...

What would you do differently?
I prob would have filled out optional essays - didn't get into Duke PT maybe because I had no Why Duke, didn't get into Mich maybe because I had no why Mich, would have done the essays for NYU, though they WL maybe because of my retake. I would have studied for the LSAT the first time around... I mean, I got into the schools I wanted to get into, but my PS was risky, so maybe I would have made that a little less so and maybe I would have gotten Col/Berk. Applied to YS. Who knows.

General tips from your experience?
1. STUDY FOR THE LSAT. lol such obvious advice now.
2. Use LSN/TLS for realistic options.
3. Write essays to get more money. On that note, negotiate. I negotiated successfully with Chicago. More money is always a good thing. But be tactful. Don't be that weirdo at ASW that says to the financial aid director "I want to talk to you about more money. I mean, x school [10 spots lower than this one] JUST emailed me about more money" in front of 30 other prospectives.
4. Relax. I swear at every turn I thought I was going to fail, but it all worked out in the end. And don't be ashamed of WLs :)

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby lakerfanimal » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:37 pm

Yeah, thanks Dany!!


3.77 and 172 (166 first take), average softs (i didn't just sit around but i didn't end world hunger), no addendum anywhere

What were your expectations going in?
I thought I'd have a shot at Berkeley and this started out as my first top choice, but kind of waned during the cycle because of some personal stuff and realizing that Berkeley may not have been the best match for me. I thought I'd end up at NYU probably based on LSN and everyone telling me I'd get in there on a chances thread.

How did things turned out?
Literally as well as they could have. I didn't think I would get into Columbia but got in there and ended up taking it at sticker over Duke with a decent amount of money (not entirely rational but I didn't like North Carolina). I got wait-listed at a lot of places though so maybe the lack of addendum could have hurt?

How did you make your decision?
I looked at where I was most likely to get a job, where the best LRAP was, and where I felt I would have a support system if I ever needed it. Columbia and NYC filled all of these criteria so it was an easy decision. I must admit though that part of the decision was the fact that I'd never in a million years think I would be someone who could get admitted into such a great school, and stars in my eyes did help make my decision haha.

What did you feel you did right?
Spent a lot of time on my personal statements and also my diversity statement, and got lots of advice on them. Sent my apps out early (all of them were out by mid October).

What would you do differently? Gotten a better gpa in undergrad haha. My numbers are in that area where a higher LSAT would not have gotten me into a top 3 school because my gpa is just below what you need for the top 3.

General tips from your experience?
1. Be patient and don't get too high or low. I thought I was under-performing during my cycle because of all the wait-lists until I got into Columbia closer to the end of the cycle.
2. Get your stuff out as early as you can, but make sure you spend a lot of time on your application materials.
3. Have fun with it and revel in all the cool stuff the schools send you to try to convince you to go.
4. Visit any schools you think you'll go to. I don't think there's as big a spectrum of vibes at different schools that this site might make you think, but at the same time, there are some differences. Even bigger for me though were just the geographic areas of the different schools; if you have never been there, go visit!

Good luck to the future applicants reading this, and let me know if you have any questions.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby Pricer » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:54 pm

169 / 3.69

Applied to:

UGA, USC, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Texas, Cornell, Virginia, Michigan

What were your expectations going in?
I thought possible full tuition at UGA. I expected admit to USC, UCLA, Texas, and Cornell. I expected WL --> admit at Vanderbilt. I expected WL --> reject from UVA and Michigan, but I had fee waivers. The only schools I paid the app fees for were Texas and Cornell.

How did things turned out?
I got $10k a year to UGA (in-state resident). I got WLed at every other school. After several chats and emails with Dean Ingram at Texas, I was admitted in mid-March (a month before they formally begin pulling from the waitlist) with a $76k scholarship over 3 years. Cornell lost part of my application, and they failed to notify me until the day the seat deposit was due. I told them to screw off and called them thieves for taking my application fee money and screwing me over. I was eventually rejected from Virginia and Michigan, and I withdrew from UCLA, Vandy, and USC.

How did you make your decision?
Before I received my decisions, it came down to UGA, Vandy, Texas, and UVA. Because I was not admitted to UVA or Vandy, Texas offered me a great scholarship, and UGA refused to budge on their offer, my decision was quite easy.

What did you feel you did right?
I immediately contacted Dean Ingram and hustled my way into Texas in a somewhat respectable way. I am quite proud of myself for this, especially seeing how my other options turned out.

What would you do differently?
I should have taken the October test instead of December. My applications got in too late for optimal results. I also would have written more Why X essays.

General tips from your experience?
1. Apply early.
2. LSP is outdated. LSN is more reliable, but even it can be completely wrong.
3. URMs will get preference over you. Accept it. You can't change it.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby iamnooneelse » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:06 pm

LSAT: ~164 / LSAC GPA: 3.95-4.00 / URM / Strong softs, LORs, etc.
Took October test, applied mostly in early-mid November.

Applied to:
A few mid Tier 1s, a few regional T30s, and most of the T6 (CCN and HLS)

To make a long story short, I had an excellent application package lined up for most of the schools I applied to, but I muffed the LSAT. I severely underperformed my practice test scores. I did not take the test again out of anxiety over getting my apps in early, frustration with the process, and concern about my ability to adequately prepare for the December LSAT on top of my classes (see "what would you do differently").

What were your expectations going in?
I had no idea what to think. I felt relief every time I got into one of the lower ranked schools, felt a little hopeless when it came to the T14 schools. I was a little bit angry and constantly felt like I was wasting my hard work and undergraduate GPA, but at that point there was nothing I could do about it.

How did things turn out? AND How did you make your decision?
Emotional rollercoaster. In at all the lower ranked schools, WL at CCN and HLS--> dinged at NYU --> In off the WL at UChi

I got into the mid Tier 1s and T30s with no problem, but not with too much scholarship money. Eliminated most of these schools on a cost-benefit basis. I ultimately settled on a solid regional school w/ $$$, but after I got comfortable with my decision, I got in at UChicago off the wait list. I was ecstatic and immediately knew that I had to go. I felt that my hard work had paid off and that the weight of "settling" after initially underperforming my potential was lifted. It was a relatively easy cost-benefit decision given the uncertainty of the legal market. You don't turn down UChicago in my boat.

What did you feel you did right?
I messed a big factor up (LSAT), but I did nearly everything else right. I think I gave admissions every reason to overlook the weak part of my application. I spent time on my personal statement, picked something I was really passionate about, chose my recommenders carefully after laying the groundwork and building relationships years in advance. But most importantly, after being wait listed I didn't quit. I poured on the heartfelt LOCIs, kept updating the schools with developments, really let them know that I not only wanted in, but that I would definitely come if accepted. I was persistent. I understand the URM boost was a major factor, but I may have been dinged if I didn't keep trying.

What would you do differently?
I studied plenty for the LSAT, but I would have ramped the intensity up earlier than I did. And when I underperformed my potential, I would have taken it again. I don't care if it meant being in the library MORE than a 1L during my senior year of college, I probably should have taken the Dec. LSAT, matched my practice scores, and gotten great scholarships in the T6. I also wish I found TLS much earlier.

General tips from your experience?
1a) Persistence. Nothing is ever set in stone, especially not in law school admissions. Make them know how bad you want it and they just might listen.

1b) On the same subject, APPLY TO YOUR REACH SCHOOLS. It might be a long shot, but it's worth sinking a couple bucks on the application, because something about you might catch their eyes. It's not all about the cold hard numbers as much as people want you to think it is. Most of it is, but not all. And if you can give them compelling reasons to take a serious look at you, you might get results. Nearly none of the predictors, third party advice, or admissions data predicted my cycle accurately. In fact, all they did for me was put a shadow on my outlook by telling me I was destined to fail.

2) Find out about TLS early, and start reading. I found out about it late and got overwhelmed by the amount of good advice I had been missing out on. But if you're reading this, you're either on top of things or reading this regretfully, so I guess this tip is pointless.

3) Apply early.

4) Chill out. Yes, the process produces anxiety, but too much of it clouds your ability to actively do something about the source of your anxiety.

5) On the other hand of 4), realize how important this decision is, and put in the time accordingly. If you put together a wonderful application, get in early without wait lists, and go to the best school possible, then your time is well spent. If you don't spend as much time on the front end, you'll spend a lot more time in limbo awaiting your results and potentially regretting them.
Last edited by iamnooneelse on Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:35 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby WhatSarahSaid » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:10 pm

LSAT: 173, 174
GPA: 3.80-3.84

Applied to:
The entire T14 and my state school.

If I could do it again, I probably wouldn't have bothered with Yale or Stanford, given that my softs are lackluster. Then again, had I done that, I might be writing that I wish I had taken that shot in the dark. If you do apply to either of them, make sure you have a stellar 250/try very hard to get Stanford-targeted letters. If you're in a position where you have some time before you're applying and you're in school, do some creeping on your school's faculty pages and try to find a professor who went to Stanford. Chances are, he or she will be more than willing to help you with a targeted LoR.

What were your expectations going in?

I figured I'd get one or two of CCN and have to pay either sticker or close to it. I also figured I'd get very generous offers from the remainder of the T14, with a full ride from my state school as my safety. I imagined that I'd be able to do plenty of scholarship negotiation.

I figured I had about a 10% chance at Harvard and a snowball's chance in hell at Yale/Stanford.

How did things turn out?

Honestly, the first few months weren't promising. I applied in the second week of November, and by the time January ended, I had been accepted at Chicago, NYU, Duke, Georgetown, and my state school. These would prove to be my only acceptances; I was waitlisted at Harvard, Columbia, Michigan, Virginia, Penn, and Northwestern (some of those were "holds," which later turned into waitlists) and I was rejected fairly quickly from Stanford, Yale, and Berkeley (Cornell wanted me to come to Ithaca in March for an interview, which I didn't do).

I did send a LOCI to Harvard, but I neglected to send any other ones. I was fairly stunned that, out of MVPB, none had accepted me, as I was expecting money from them. I wrote a Why Michigan and Why Penn, and was actually really excited about Michigan. I would have been far more aggressive, but in February, Chicago offered me a great scholarship that effectively ended my cycle (or, at least, my active participation in it).

Duke, NYU, and Georgetown all eventually offered me varying scholarships, none of which swayed me from Chicago.

How did you make your decision?

I happen to live within ten miles of UChicago, so that had a pretty big impact. They gave me the best offer and were the highest-ranked school to accept me, so it was an easy choice.

What did you feel you did right?

I put up strong numbers through studying hard for the LSAT and doing the best I could at school. After my first year, my GPA was a 3.38, so it took a lot of work to drag it up to where it is now. Being able to send updated grades seemingly had no impact on my cycle (all of my acceptances were in before the transcript updated), but I think it's advisable to make sure your grades go up, if you're still in school.

I thought I made good choices in writing Why X statements and applying to a large number of schools for negotiation purposes, but this didn't pan out.

What would you do differently?

Sometimes I wonder if I would've benefited from applying on September 1st and not worrying about my retake.

Other than Chicago, I feel as though I underperformed during my cycle. I was hoping for a half-Darrow from Michigan and something close to a full ride from at least one of the T14 schools, which didn't happen. My PS was nothing to write home about, but I thought it was concise, well-written, and not detrimental. Perhaps there was something wrong with a LoR or something; it's hard to say.

I'm certainly not remorseful, as I'm going to a great school in a city I love.

General tips from your experience?

1) Repeating myself from the "How to get 160+ on the LSAT thread," but for the LSAT:

Do not go easy on yourself during prep. If you bubble in an answer different than the one you intended to bubble in, don't count your score as if you had bubbled it in correctly. Don't give yourself an extra thirty seconds because "it's just practice." Don't use a mechanical pencil (okay, I broke that one). Your performance on test day will reflect how you practiced.

Know that you have more control over the LSAT than any other part of your application. This is remarkably fortunate, given that the LSAT is the most important part of the application. Don't forget that, and exercise that control.

2) If you're someone who hasn't begun the application process yet, know that it is so easy to browse TLS, read advice, and think "oh, yeah, I'll definitely write all of the extra essays and do everything right!" You have to actually commit to it, though. It's so easy to get absolutely sick of the process after revising your PS for the eighth time and just want to get the entire thing over with. It's very easy to cut corners, but you're making a huge investment and you have to give yourself the best chance possible. Set goals for yourself; give yourself deadlines for each part of each application. Use something like Google Calendar if it helps -- just set aside a couple weeks for essays/statements, and make sure they're all stellar.

3) Be ready for the lull. There will be a point when you aren't hearing anything from schools, but you're reading about other people's acceptances on TLS. You may have family members and friends who ask you if you've heard anything, and you may feel annoyed when you have to say "no, nothing yet" once again. This will be irritating, but all you can do is give yourself the best chance possible by working hard on your numbers and your essays. If TLS is stressing you out, stop visiting it for a while. Go throw a Frisbee or eat a cheeseburger or something. It's a long cycle.

4) Print out your applications and materials before you submit them. Read them critically, not only for proofreading purposes. Try to empathize with the position of an admissions counselor by imagining that you're someone who picked your app out of a pile of thousands. Why should this person admit you? What do you bring to the table? You might be a wonderful and awesome person, but if your app doesn't indicate that, how would they figure that out? Sell yourself.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby cucullu » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:30 pm

LSAT: 173 / LSAC GPA: 3.83-3.86 / Strong softs, LORs, etc.
Took October test, applied between early January and early February. :shock: (Yes, why?)

Applied to:
HYS CCN MBP Cornell Vandy

What were your expectations going in?
From my PTs, I expected to do better on the LSAT that I did (I know, neurotic), and so I let myself get rattled by my score. As a result, I dragged out the rest of the process way longer than I should have. I underestimated my app and didn't realize that I would have been a contender for way more money had I applied sooner. Once I realized this, of course it was too late, but I was definitely kicking myself.

How did things turn out? AND How did you make your decision?

Lots of money from Vandy. No word from Cornell (they're insanely slow, and I applied late.)
Decent money from M.
Accepted but no money from BP, CLS or NYU.
WL at Chicago (the surprise burn of the cycle).
One WL, one rejection, and one acceptance at HYS. Attending where I was accepted.

I got into my favorite of HYS, so my decision was pretty easy in the end. Up until that point, I was deciding between CLS, NYU, and M, and was leaning M for the money.

What did you feel you did right?
On the applications that I worked hard to tailor, I really kicked some butt. I rewrote my essays a million times.

What would you do differently?
1. Applied earlier.
Applying late meant:
-Missing the biggest round of admits for HLS (mid-December. I hadn't even applied by then.)
-Missing the admit period for Chicago altogether (no one who applied after December was straight admitted this year, included Hamilton & Darrow recipients, HYS admits, etc. Although someone correct me if I'm wrong about this.)
-Missing the period of consideration for named scholarships at most of the top 14

Get your recs sorted over the summer, polish your essays, and have it all in by early/mid-November.

2. Applied to peer schools of the schools I actually wanted to go to for scholarship negotiation purposes
You want to feel like you have some leverage. I wished I'd applied to UVA, etc. even though I didn't want to go there.

3. Applied for named scholarships that require a special app, especially the RTK at NYU.
I wish I hadn't sold myself short. I wondered "what if" the whole time, and realized it would have been better to try my best to get everything, instead of counting myself out of the competition before it even got started.

4. Given schools more instead of less.
Where I was successful was where I provided a bit extra (an extra essay, etc.) that shared more of my experiences and perspective and strengths with the committee. If you feel like part of your awesome self isn't coming across in your app, find a way to get it in there.

General tips from your experience?
See above. 8)

Good luck 2012 applicants, and of course, feel free to PM for more detailed info re: any of the above.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby fogcue2 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:59 pm

LSAT: 167 / LSAC GPA: 3.4 / 4 years of consulting and finance work
Took October test, applied mostly in early-mid November.

Applied to:
Georgetown, UCLA, USC, GW, ND, BU, BC, Emory, IU-B, Fordham, a few more T-30's and a few lower T1's (thank you fee waivers)

I only paid for 5 applications, I think I ended up with about 17 apps in all. I put together why essays for my top few schools but shot out the rest more of a generaic package.

What were your expectations going in?
Figured I would get in somewhere in the T-30 with a few reaches (UCLA and GT) thrown in just in case.

How did things turn out? AND How did you make your decision?
Heard back from a saftety within a week and then silence until the end of December. In December: WL at Fordham, reject at BC, WL at GW, reject UCLA. I got a little scared sent out a few more apps where I had fee waivers including IU-B. January was a little better: WL at Georgetown (plesant suprise), In at IU-B with $$$$. February: IN at ND with $ and Emory with $$ and a few other T-30 and T1's with $ or nothing).

At this point, I found TLS just in time to learn how to negotiate and almost doubled the scholly offer from ND using IU-B and Emory as leverage. This made my decision a little bit easier with ND and Emory offering about half an IU-B offering almost full. I ruled out the other schools due to stips, or higher costs. Between ND and Emory, I prefer the mid-west and west to the south which made that decsion easy. Despite the money I ruled out IU-B due to what I felt like was lower biglaw or clerkship opportunity. On top of that I really liked the ND network which does seem to take care of there own.

I got WL at USC, GW, and BU late in the cycle. I decided that none were worth riding all summer, forfiting my deposit for, or delaying my moving plans to end up paying sticker (the likely outcome off the WL) over my scholly at ND. I did ride the GT WL and sent LOCI's, called admissions, etc. but yeterday I was sent my rejection as I had expected initially, officially ending my cycle.

What would you do differently?
I would have taken the June LSAT so that October would have been my 2nd try (my score was on the low end of my range but the lowest score that I felt ok with moving forward with). Looking back I could have and probably should have retaken the LSAT in December. It took me a little while to come around to the new way the LSAT is viewed. When I first took it and applied to schools 5 years ago as a college senior, it was a one time shot and retaking was not the option it is today. It took me awhile to really believe that schools wouldn't care about the lower score. I also wish I found TLS much earlier.

General tips from your experience?
1.) Work first. I am so glad that I worked after college instead of accepting the result of my first cycle. I would have attended ASU at sticker. While not the worst option, I'm personally much happier with my $$ at ND. I also would not have taken law school seriously. I would have gone in treating it just like undergrad. While I know that none of us can really predict that we will do well in law school. I can say with some certainty that I would have not done well had I gone to ASU at that time. Now going in, I feel like I at least have a shot to do well and I like my chances over students who have never worked 50-60 hour weeks and still think of class as that thing between beer bongs.

2) Negotiate. Early and often. I got lucky that I shot-gunned applications out. If I had been more targeted, I would not have applied to IU-B or Emory and would have had no leverage for ND. Apply to any school that is known for giving scholarships (IU-B, Emory, WUSTL, etc.) and any peers for schools that you want to attend. I probably should have applied to WUSTL as it may have given me even more leverage with ND. Target your negotians to what is important to the school. Really answer the "Why do you want to come here insead of school X that gave you X money?)

3) Read TLS early. While it has the potential to deflate you a bit ("retake...reapply") is almost the standard response if you don't have a 4.0 - 180 and are going to HYS (though even H has been criticized on here). It does really make you consider if taking out a ton of debt is worth it and it makes you justify your decision to yourself. While ND may attract some "retake...reapply" responses here, it forced me to do the extra research to understand what I was getting into and to have a realistic idea of the emplyment outcomes currently. There is also a ton of information that can be helpful for negotiating (how to do it, which schools are more likely to negotiate, which schools are giving out money, etc.). It can also be helpful when you are just waiting to here.

4) Apply early.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby Skyhook » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:27 pm

3x LSAT - highest was 167 / NO GPA (foreign educated - LSAT called it "Above Average")
Older, various work experience, immigrant.

Applied to:
15 schools ranging from UF (my local school) all the way up to Harvard. (Yale was snowball in Hell's chance!)
This got expensive as I didn't have fee waivers for all but 2.

What were your expectations going in?
No idea!
Had to blanket a load of schools and see what stuck because of that GPA.

How did things turned out?
Not wonderful. In all honesty I expected more admits in general (diversity for one thing, PhD Organic Chemist for another).
I got into Cornell and happy to attend.
Waitlisted at a couple of T14's (eventual reject) and also eyebrow-raisingly at some T20's where I was 75% LSAT.
UF was a safety admit and offered me some $$, but no other school did, not for want of trying.

How did you make your decision?
Cornell came at the point where I had decided on UF vs the other acceptances that were higher up in rankings, but also more expensive.
I took a close look at employment prospects, and discussed the medium term goals with my SO.
Cheap UF didn't sway me anymore as I wanted to get the best start to my new career.
Cornell, although somewhat out of the way, was the best option on the table for career prospects.

What did you feel you did right?
I think I applied early enough, the last 3 apps were in the first week of December.
I tailored my PS to each school. It went through months of transformation and review.

What would you do differently?
3 times on the LSAT was just bad on my part.
I first took it before I discovered TLS and was clearly not as well prepared as I should have been.
I had some bad luck with the run up to all 3 attempts, especially the last one getting a virus the week before.
(PT's consistently in the 170's)
I opted to go ahead with the 3rd test in October still feeling rough, but thinking applying as early as possible was the better move.
I'm not so sure - I couldn't focus that well. 170+ would have made the difference.
I think I would switch to the December test if I had to do it again.

General tips from your experience?
Find TLS - so far so good!

If you are an unusual candidate, expect the unexpected.

Really drill the LSAT hard before you take the real test.
You want to know you've truly got it in the bag and nail it first time.
Get through the Bibles, force yourself to examine your mistakes so you know genuinely why the answer is correct.
Move on the other resources - Atlas I think it was.
PT using 6 part tests to build stamina.
Don't be afraid to retake if you fuck it up, but then nail it the second time!

Write your PS early, get someone to look at it.
It should really sell you and you might need time to really polish it.
Obviously good recommendations matter.
Stay on top of all the paperwork so you can apply as early as possible.

Apply to schools even if you don't think you'd go - a few hundred bucks is worth it if you get scholarship leverage.
I should have been more careful with this, even though I spent a shit load as it was.
Apply to Cornell the first day you can!

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby crumpetsandtea » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:35 pm

Robespierre wrote:This thread is a big help to those of us gearing up for the 2011-12 cycle. Please keep it coming.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby sanetruth » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:00 pm

We need [I would like to see] more splitters ITT

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby Flips88 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:33 pm

I think this is a great idea and hope that my experience helps any future semi-reverse splitters.

LSAT: 164, 165
GPA: 4.0

Applied to:
16 schools (American, GW, Wisconsin, WUSTL, Vandy, bottom half of the T-14 minus Cornell, plus NYU)

What were your expectations going in?
Not exactly sure. I was expecting lots of wait lists at T-14s due to my sub-median LSAT, but I expected to get into at least one of them with some work. I certainly didn't anticipate that up until the final moment, my decision was down to Vanderbilt and Wisconsin, two schools I never thought I would be choosing between.

How did things turned out?
I liked the way my cycle turned out personally, though the sticker price is a lot obviously. I'm very happy to be moving to a city I love to attend a great school.

How did you make your decision?
As May 1st was approaching, I had narrowed my options down to two final schools: Vandy with $ and Wisconsin with $$. Vandy offered me the better career opportunities and prestige, but suffered in quality of life (for me personally). Wisconsin, though a smarter financial decision, didn't offer me strong career opportunities and I was unsure about tying myself to that general region. I am intending on doing public interest law and neither school had a stellar LRAP, though Vandy with it's hefty price tag and a rather awful LRAP would have been a hard pill to swallow. So I was stuck, not knowing what to do while the deadline approached. Then, 4 days before I had to make my decision, I was accepted after being held at Northwestern.

I chose Northwestern because:

a)it put me in one of my desired markets already. I wanted to end up in Chicago or DC eventually.
b)It offers me great career opportunities
c)it's LRAP made pursuing public interest law possible
d)I love Chicago and the quality of life it will offer me
e)I have friends in the region (Chicago, Madison, St. Paul) that will help make moving 800 miles away much easier

What did you feel you did right?
I think my applications were all pretty well done. I took the time to do supplemental essays for schools like Northwestern, Michigan, Penn, and Berkeley. If there is something additional you can write and what you say will be genuine and not contrived, then do it.

What would you do differently?
-I would probably have taken the LSAT while I was a Senior in undergrad. I took the October 2010 LSAT while working 40-45 hours a week at a law firm and it combined into a very stress filled situation. I would work 8:30-5:30 and then study from 5:30-7 and go home exhausted and stressed.

-I also probably would have dropped the money on a review course.

-In terms of schools, I probably wouldn't have applied to so many schools and stuck to ones I had a genuine interest in attending. Just because you get a fee waiver from a school doesn't mean you should apply. Some schools I got fee waivers from, I never really would've considered going, but $12 doesn't seem like much, but it's a waste of the schools time and well, you can end up admitted to a school and considering it when you really don't want to go there.

General tips from your experience?
  • Get your LORs early
  • Do whatever extra you can for a school (i.e. interview, supplemental essays, a Why X)
  • Put some quality time into your PS. Mine took 3 or 4 entirely different drafts to get to one I was satisfied with submitting.
  • Be genuine about your reasons for why you want to go to law school or why you want to go to a certain school. I think schools can tell the difference.
  • If you want a school, give it your all. For Northwestern, I wrote a Why X. After being held, I wrote two supplemental essays, one of which was quirky but entirely genuine. I also went to Chicago to interview on campus (I think this helped the most in helping get me in).

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby SG09 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:07 pm

Last edited by SG09 on Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2011 Reflect on your cycle thread

Postby Siamsa414 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:00 pm

Stats: 3.26/179

Applied: About half the T14, some T1 and a couple of T2 safeties

What were your expectations going in?
Before I found TLS and took the LSAT, I was hoping to get in at UC Davis. Given my GPA, I felt it was a major stretch but not impossible. After I took the LSAT and found TLS, I expected to get in at some lower T14 and maybe end up at a Midwest splitter school with some money.

How did things turn out?
The only T14 that straight-up accepted me were NU and GULC, I was rejected at H and S (as I knew I would be), and mostly got a ton of waitlists. No $$ anywhere. I had deposited at GULC, but to my extreme surprise and good fortune, I got in to NYU from the waitlist.

How did you make your decision?
When I was choosing between NU and GULC, I had a really hard time. I love DC but wasn't crazy about the school; vice versa for NU. I chose based on where I thought I'd be happier. When it came down to GULC vs. NYU, with no funding offered at GULC, my decision was very easy.

What do you feel you did right?
I studied well for the LSAT. I studied the PowerScore LG and LR bibles and did plenty of prep tests, but I didn't grind myself into exhaustion. In fact, when I saw my practice scores dropping the week before the test, I took that as a cue to ease off and give my brain a chance to recuperate. If I hadn't done this, I doubt I would be going to a T6 school.

What would you do differently?
I would have lined up my LORs much earlier. Because I was waiting for one flaky recommender, I didn't get my applications in until January. I suspect some of my WLs might have been acceptances if I'd applied in November. I also would have spent more time on each individual application, customizing my essays more for each school. By the time I was finalizing my apps, I just wanted to get it over with. I should have spent more time on them. I also might not have taken the LSAT three weeks before my wedding, so that I could use the time I waited for my score to prepare my apps instead of my seating charts etc.

General tips:
1. Give your brain a break for the few days before the LSAT. You're not going to see a double-digit score jump by cramming the last few days; you're better off working a section or two a night and letting yourself relax so you're fresh for the exam.

2. Make your prep tests as close to the real thing as you can. No snacks, strict timing, no breaks except the allowed one. I also used a LSAT proctor app that had a soundtrack of rustling papers, sneezing, and other test-like distractions.

3. Build your mental stamina by doing full-length prep tests as much as you can. Pull a random section from another test to serve as a fifth section; then do eeny-meeny-miney-mo afterwards to determine which section was "experimental." That way you won't slack off on the section you know won't count.

4. Prepare for the actual test day. Find your testing room the week before, learn the route and find parking in advance. Pack your plastic bag carefully and early. Sounds trivial, but it's absolutely worth it to be calm and in control on test day.

5. If you are a splitter, overcome your splitterishness and get your apps ready early. Know that your cycle is likely to be much more unpredictable than people with more consistent numbers. Accordingly, cast a wide net.

6. A fee waiver doesn't necessarily reflect your odds for admission. I got swamped with fee waivers after my score arrived and it inflated my expectations. Focus on your own list of schools regardless of fee waivers. (That said, I wouldn't have applied to NYU if they hadn't sent me a fee waiver. So maybe you should ignore this point.)

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