Just a little more anecdotal information.
Chicano male, 2.7 GPA (multiple Fs, from HYP. no illness or family emergency, but compelling addendum), 170, 5 years strong work experience
I didn't discover TLS until after I had applied, so I think I did a couple things wrong (applied too late, didn't express school specific interest or complete any interviews). I think changing this would have led to most of my waitlists becoming acceptances, but without money, so I would have ended up at the same place.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - $126,000 - attending
University of Minnesota - $75,000
University of Maryland - scholarship finalist
UC Hastings - 0 aid
Columbia - reserved
Georgetown - Waitlisted
Northwestern - Held
UC Davis - waitlisted
USC - waitlisted
William and Mary - waitlisted
uc Berkeley - ding
UCLA - ding
Stanford - ding
university of Virginia - ding
university of Chicago - ding
I think my cycle is a great example that a lot of the truisms that people talk about on TLS actually have some basis.
- URM boost def exists, but it usually favors high gpa/low lsat splitters.
- traditional splitters have the most luck in the midwest, and URMs usually get offered large scholarships
- California schools really hate low GPAs.
Aside from that, I'll echo what others have said; focus on making every part of your application as strong as possible, and apply everywhere you could realistically see yourself going. Once you have graduated and taken your lsat, you can not control those things so focus on what you can control. There is no harm in casting a wide net and aiming high.