UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

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PunkedbyReality
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UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:28 am

I plan to attend UT Law in the fall of 2013. My total COA less scholarships and grants will be $117,000 (I received a 15k per year, in-state tuition, and 3k in grants); I would pay for all 117K with loans. Or I can take a year off and reapply.

My information:
GPA - 3.71
LSAT scores - 165, 169, 168
Not URM
First-generation (if this matters at all)

If I were to take a year off, I would spend the year in Austin (where I'm from), engaging as much as possible with the education policy community, attempting to make enough money to chip away at some of the law school debt, and possibly taking the LSAT again. Through this political exposure I hope to crystallize my post-law-school goals and give myself more direction in law school so I don't just end up in corporate paying off the debt (might shoot for public interest type scholarships after a demonstrated commitment to education). For making cash, I may be able to make 10-30k through work with a friend's company and importing goods (spent time and have connections with the manufacturing industry in China). And I was scoring in the mid 170s on LSAT practice tests before getting a 168/9 and it still hurts; I'm just not sure that taking it a fourth time would negate any would-be gains on my score for top-6 schools.

From my 0L perspective this is a complex dilemma, so any guidance from wiser current law school students would be greatly appreciated. Would it hurt me at all to be re-applying to Michigan after being accepted or to Texas after enrolling and sending an LOI? Would a year of involvement with education policy constitute the kind of demonstrated commitment to a specific cause that law schools value? Would taking the LSAT a fourth time and scoring higher be worth it? Would you take a year off and re-apply (acc: Michigan, Texas; wait-listed Duke, NYU) given this situation?

Thanks for any feedback in advance; it's really appreciated.

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cahwc12
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby cahwc12 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:37 am

When is the soonest you could retake? October? What were the dates you took the three LSATs? Also, what were you scoring prior to the previous two LSATs?

If you think you can/will score better, I think it's worth waiting a year because you could get more in merit aid discount than you could make in a year (and you'd have the year's work salary/experience as well). If you're just hoping to petition for a third retake, then I would accept that deal and attend if you're certain you're going to law school. If you're uncertain, I think you should wait a year regardless. Law school will always be there, but many of your other options once you start law school won't.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:15 am

Ideally, you'd get some money at Michigan, but if that didn't happen this cycle, it's not likely to again unless you retake and score higher (I don't really know how schools judge students who took the LSAT four times).

Did you apply to Cornell? They might give you some money. I wouldn't recommend giving up a resident scholarship at UT unless you get a significant scholarship from Cornell, but it might be worth a shot. I think it's really up to you, because you have better options but because you've really already tried them, the likelihood of getting them next cycle isn't great. I would say pick whatever you want, there's not really a wrong answer here.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:20 am

As a general rule I always support taking more time off before law school. But don't expect it to change the way schools view you as a candidate. Sadly it really does come down to LSAT and GPA. If your main goal is just to get into a better school, then I'd go now because UT sounds like a pretty good situation for you. If it's mainly to get a clearer sense for yourself of why you're going to law school in the first place then take the year.

bruin91
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby bruin91 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:34 am

TLS, correct me if I'm wrong but a 3.7 169 should yield more than just 45k of total merit aid from UT, no?

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StylinNProfilin
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby StylinNProfilin » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:49 am

bruin91 wrote:TLS, correct me if I'm wrong but a 3.7 169 should yield more than just 45k of total merit aid from UT, no?


No that's pretty typical. I'm a 3.6/168 and got 36k. But that's in addition to the 45k discount for in-state tuition.

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:25 pm

Thanks for all the feedback so far.

Yeah I did get 67k from Michigan, but I'm from Austin and chose UT for a few other reasons too.

I'm a bit uncertain about why I'm going to law school, so this is the main reason for considering the year off. I think I have the skill-set to be a good lawyer, but I'm not sure about which law I want to practice, or even what I would like a JD to lead me to in the long term. I also know that without purpose, it's hard to be as motivated; so I know that if I understand more clearly why law school aligns with my goals, I'll be more motivated and will do better in school. It seems risky to put over 100k on the line without even knowing exactly what I want to use this education for; but so many people do it it almost seems normal.

The hope is to see if policy change and solving social problems is compelling enough for me to shoot for a DC school or a school that places really well in DC, with a better idea of why I'm going there specifically and maybe a better LSAT. Any insight on what kind of experience is best to look for in terms of the policy world during a year off?

Thanks again for the responses.

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:40 pm

cahwc12 wrote:When is the soonest you could retake? October? What were the dates you took the three LSATs? Also, what were you scoring prior to the previous two LSATs?

If you think you can/will score better, I think it's worth waiting a year because you could get more in merit aid discount than you could make in a year (and you'd have the year's work salary/experience as well). If you're just hoping to petition for a third retake, then I would accept that deal and attend if you're certain you're going to law school. If you're uncertain, I think you should wait a year regardless. Law school will always be there, but many of your other options once you start law school won't.


The soonest would be October, and then I'd hope to get apps out in November before Thanksgiving as opposed to Dec/Jan last cycle.

I was scoring avg. 168/169 before the first, and avg. 170 before the second, and 173-177 before the third. But I've still probably only taken about 15 total practice tests. And I'm considering teaching an LSAT prep course to really master it.

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sublime
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby sublime » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:55 pm

..

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:07 pm

PunkedbyReality wrote:Thanks for all the feedback so far. Yeah I did get 67k from Michigan, but I'm from Austin and chose UT for a few other reasons too.


$67k from Michigan is pretty much a dream scenario for someone with your numbers. I would strongly advise you to reconsider such an offer next cycle. The difference in placement between Michigan and Texas is not gigantic, but it is real and tangible, and it sounds like total COA at Michigan wouldn't be too much more than at UT.

Important question here: Do you intend on practicing in Texas? If you are not absolutely, positively, 100% committed to doing so, I think Michigan presents the better offer (if you can get something similar next cycle).

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sinfiery
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby sinfiery » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:25 pm

If you prefer UT to UMich with 67k, the only reason you should wait is to gain experience/cash/know you want to be a lawyer. That is more than reason enough. Take the year off.


If you retake and break 172, CCN come into play. Would you take CCN @ 230k over UT?

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:45 pm

sinfiery wrote:If you prefer UT to UMich with 67k, the only reason you should wait is to gain experience/cash/know you want to be a lawyer. That is more than reason enough. Take the year off.


If you retake and break 172, CCN come into play. Would you take CCN @ 230k over UT?


I would consider CCN but I would hope to get some money and score a little higher; it would depend on what kind of legal interests come out of the year off. If I were really interested in some non-corporate route like public interest law or the policy arena, I might look at schools that specialize in this (NYU) or place well in DC. If I decide I really do want to shoot for this kind of law-school route too, I'd be hoping to minimize my debt as much as possible through scholarships or cash saved. Any thoughts on how to really go into the policy/public interest world with a JD and make law school cheap enough to do so?

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sublime
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby sublime » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:48 pm

..

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sinfiery
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby sinfiery » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:53 pm

230k COA is with like a 45k scholly. You could get more with a 173/ strong softs tho.

Your savings should help too in mitigating the cost. If you go to UT, none of those things should be something you want to do, btw. So definitely retake/figure out what you want in this year off.

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:09 pm

sinfiery wrote:230k COA is with like a 45k scholly. You could get more with a 173/ strong softs tho.

Your savings should help too in mitigating the cost. If you go to UT, none of those things should be something you want to do, btw. So definitely retake/figure out what you want in this year off.


Yeah, I really think it may be worth it in the long term to have some real direction when entering. Thanks for the feedback.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:32 pm

You sound like an ideal candidate to take some more time off before law school. You're not sure exactly what you want to do with a law degree and you're open to sitting this year out. (That's not a slight or an insult at all; in fact you seem to have a mature perspective.) Trust me, once you get to school you will not have as much time to figure out your career interests as you might think. Your first year you'll take almost entirely required classes and then before your second year you'll be forced to make a decision about whether you want to opt into or out of the big firms. I would strongly advise you to think about your goals and reapply.

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cahwc12
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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby cahwc12 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:43 pm

PunkedbyReality wrote:
cahwc12 wrote:When is the soonest you could retake? October? What were the dates you took the three LSATs? Also, what were you scoring prior to the previous two LSATs?

If you think you can/will score better, I think it's worth waiting a year because you could get more in merit aid discount than you could make in a year (and you'd have the year's work salary/experience as well). If you're just hoping to petition for a third retake, then I would accept that deal and attend if you're certain you're going to law school. If you're uncertain, I think you should wait a year regardless. Law school will always be there, but many of your other options once you start law school won't.


The soonest would be October, and then I'd hope to get apps out in November before Thanksgiving as opposed to Dec/Jan last cycle.

I was scoring avg. 168/169 before the first, and avg. 170 before the second, and 173-177 before the third. But I've still probably only taken about 15 total practice tests. And I'm considering teaching an LSAT prep course to really master it.


The only company that is going to hire you with a 169 is Kaplan, and you won't learn anything useful by teaching for them unless you blatantly lie in the training sessions. Kaplan wants you to push their methods like some wonder-drug, and most of them as you are probably aware are awful. You could just lie and teach them the way you think is best, but then you're still only making like $15/hr for ~6hours per week if you're lucky.

Private tutoring, on the other hand, could be a great investment in your off-time. You can charge something reasonable for your area (I have a similar score and charge $50/hr), and you only need one client per LSAT administration to be making well more than you would as a kaplan instructor at base pay.


Given what you've posted thus far, I think it's a superb idea to wait at least a year. Law school isn't going anywhere, and you seem like a smart guy. Don't consign yourself to $100k or more of debt if you don't know whether or not you'll even like it. There are many jobs for admirable for-the-good-guy people out there, and a non-HYS (and to lesser degree CCN) JD isn't really one of them.

I also think you should read Don't Go to Law School (Unless) by Paul Campos. It's only $5.00, and you can probably read it in an afternoon. It contains a wealth of great information on helping make the best decision about going to law school (not different from the wealth of advice on TLS, but consolidated in an easily-digestible book).

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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby BigZuck » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:10 am

Definitely agree that taking a year off is a good call if you aren't sure that you want to be a lawyer. If its just that you're not exactly sure what kind of lawyer you would like to be I'm not sure that taking a year off would neccessarily crystallize that. Plus, I've heard from many people that your interests might change once you get there anyways. I could be wrong about all that though.

I would also think about how much a retake will help you. YS are most likely out due to gpa alone. I know people say schools don't care how many times you retake but it seems like the more you do the more some schools might hold it against you and 4 times is a lot. For that reason Harvard might be out unless you really knock it out of the park (like 177+). It might have some effect on the lower T14 as well. And then you have weight going to a school like NYU or Columbia on a small scholarship versus going to UT. Might not be worth it if you want to work in Texas but might be worth it if you want any other market. I am certainly not saying don't retake, I definitely would if you decide to take the year off, I just don't know if it will make a huge difference unless its a solid jump.

If you want to work as a lawyer in Texas I think what you have right now at UT is more than acceptable.

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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:41 pm

BigZuck wrote:I would also think about how much a retake will help you. YS are most likely out due to gpa alone. I know people say schools don't care how many times you retake but it seems like the more you do the more some schools might hold it against you and 4 times is a lot.


They do care when its 4 or more times. You would have to take probably 2+ years to distance yourself from the previous 3 scores. Moreover, your scores are all clustered in the same range, so they are very indicative of your potential to the schools.

The cynic in me is starting to believe that if you have 1 score over a schools 75th (as Zuck said, 177+ then for HYSC), that will be all they look for to establish their median, while adcoms still claim to look at "all" your scores and dismiss after 3x, which I know is also BS. It probably falls somewhere in between for people like OP

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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:02 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
BigZuck wrote:I would also think about how much a retake will help you. YS are most likely out due to gpa alone. I know people say schools don't care how many times you retake but it seems like the more you do the more some schools might hold it against you and 4 times is a lot.


They do care when its 4 or more times. You would have to take probably 2+ years to distance yourself from the previous 3 scores. Moreover, your scores are all clustered in the same range, so they are very indicative of your potential to the schools.

The cynic in me is starting to believe that if you have 1 score over a schools 75th (as Zuck said, 177+ then for HYSC), that will be all they look for to establish their median, while adcoms still claim to look at "all" your scores and dismiss after 3x, which I know is also BS. It probably falls somewhere in between for people like OP


The truth always seems to lie about 85-90% of the way from what would be a sensible admissions policy to what would be the most cynical manipulation of numbers. So while a fourth test does look a little bit desperate and tells the adcomm you're probably, on average, not as capable as your highest score, at the end of the day you're a statistic that competes with a bunch of other statistics.

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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:12 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
BigZuck wrote:I would also think about how much a retake will help you. YS are most likely out due to gpa alone. I know people say schools don't care how many times you retake but it seems like the more you do the more some schools might hold it against you and 4 times is a lot.


They do care when its 4 or more times. You would have to take probably 2+ years to distance yourself from the previous 3 scores. Moreover, your scores are all clustered in the same range, so they are very indicative of your potential to the schools.

The cynic in me is starting to believe that if you have 1 score over a schools 75th (as Zuck said, 177+ then for HYSC), that will be all they look for to establish their median, while adcoms still claim to look at "all" your scores and dismiss after 3x, which I know is also BS. It probably falls somewhere in between for people like OP


This is what I was thinking. Four times or more and the schools which I'd love to consider me (HS) so I could really shoot for more public-minded work may pass over me for those students who cranked out 174+ on the first go. That being said, and given my sense of admissions these days, it may be hard to pass over a 178, but this isn't guaranteed either by any means.

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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:15 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
BigZuck wrote:I would also think about how much a retake will help you. YS are most likely out due to gpa alone. I know people say schools don't care how many times you retake but it seems like the more you do the more some schools might hold it against you and 4 times is a lot.


They do care when its 4 or more times. You would have to take probably 2+ years to distance yourself from the previous 3 scores. Moreover, your scores are all clustered in the same range, so they are very indicative of your potential to the schools.

The cynic in me is starting to believe that if you have 1 score over a schools 75th (as Zuck said, 177+ then for HYSC), that will be all they look for to establish their median, while adcoms still claim to look at "all" your scores and dismiss after 3x, which I know is also BS. It probably falls somewhere in between for people like OP


The truth always seems to lie about 85-90% of the way from what would be a sensible admissions policy to what would be the most cynical manipulation of numbers. So while a fourth test does look a little bit desperate and tells the adcomm you're probably, on average, not as capable as your highest score, at the end of the day you're a statistic that competes with a bunch of other statistics.


Right. In speaking with a representative from a school about having three scores, she stressed that the law school only had to report the highest score. This made me think that the way things are these days, one high score could carry an applicant a long ways. But it may be different for Harvard.

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Re: UT Law $$ or Re-apply 2014?

Postby sinfiery » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:57 pm

YS with your GPA are very unlikely even with a 178 first take. HLS is possible, and the retakes will hurt you, but it will be on the backs of extraordinary softs a 3.71/176+ gets in regardless.

CCN would be your focus. CC don't care but NYU seems to a bit, according to statistics. That being said, with the dearth of applicants, scoring a 172 gives.you a very good chance at that group.




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