WokeUpInACar wrote:This is going to be one of the first times I've ever advised someone with a good GPA and a LSAT <170 NOT to retake. If you legitimately put in that much prep and never beat 172 on a PT, I don't know what more you could really do to improve the score. You'd probably have to break 172 to get into HYS anyway, and if you get that same aid at Berkeley every year, your debt load would be high, but not completely unmanageable for a school of that caliber. Be 100% certain you want to practice law first, but Berkeley at that price can be a decent decision IMO.
Quality-wise, I totally agree with WokeUpInACar. What saddens me ( I am a foreigner ) is that most of the prospective students in the USA are pushed to place money over personal choice due to insanely high tuition fees. In your case, you should be extremely happy to receive acceptance from one of the best law schools in the country with some money in the giftbag. Taking a holistic approach, it is not worth trying to get into e.g. Harvard when you've been accepted into Boalt - the only notable exception being the willingness to pursue academic career therein. Otherwise, the increase in chances of getting into TLS's favourite, "biglaw", afterwards, does not change so dramatically for anyone coming from top10-20 universities. That's the truth. Small increase in the chance is not worth all the hassle provided you're among the top of the class, at any top20 university.
I understand you completely, but having debt is almost within a definition of "law studies in the USA". Given the fact you're already on a "Boalt" with some money, I wouldn't hesitate if I were you.
As to other pieces of advice you've received from users, most of them provide you with some reasonable ideas. Choose the one that goes with your thinking. Remember, what matters the most is your well-being and personal preferences. I am not saying that "money doesn't matter", for that's not true - having a huge debt or having none - it's extremely important, but don't forget that it's all about you and how you're going to feel in a given place, at a given law school.