expat17 wrote:I'm sorry, but I have to absolutely disagree. Unless you're after HYS (which from your post, it looks like you're not) then there is no reason for you to retake. No matter what TLS-ers tell you, 169 is a good LSAT score, and perfectly suited to apply to the schools that you're interested in. I have roughly the same stats and was admitted to UCLA/USC/Boalt in CA, and other low t14s and T20s with significant $$. Although, as a caveat, I am out of school a few years and have spent some time building up an interesting resume and background.
You're wrong and I'll tell you why. First let me address your "but I got in with blahblahblah." First it is disingenuous to bring up Boalt because you got in off the waitlist in June so you could have easily never gotten in (also I would bet your resume helped you at Boalt as well). Secondly, you have a 3.6 which is actually a huge deal because you are almost 0.2 higher than the OP. That may not matter at a lot of schools but that does matter to UCLA/USC/Boalt. Look at USC's LSN graph and it is pretty obvious that above median LSAT scores with sub3.5 GPAs tend to get waitlisted and above3.5 GPAs tend to get accepted.
expat17 wrote:I appreciate that the re-take advice is often warranted, but personally in OP's situation (for OP's target schools, market, etc) I would not recommend it. What people proclaiming "retake!" often ignore, is that it is not guaranteed that OP's score will go up. This is a huge presumption. It could go down. For the range of target schools OP is after, 169 really should do the trick. If OP was only denied UCLA/USC and these were their top picks, I might agree with the retake. BUT, because OP was waitlisted at Loyola as well, (to me) it sounds like there was something off about the overall application package, and not just a numbers problem. I think there is much greater weight on applying early than people on TLS often give credit for. As someone with worth stats lower than OP (LSAT and GPA) who was accepted to all the target schools and beyond, I would suggest simply a re-apply. I know exceptions to the rule can't be the rule, but OP's stats on roughly on target - if not a USC admit, then I think the OP will have very good chances at UCI/Hastings and Loy/Pep/USD with money ... which seems to be the goal. The Loyola WL (to me) indicates that there may be some more overall issues with the application, rather than just numbers.
No it is not guaranteed that OP's score will go up, but it is stupid to not try. LSAC data shows that the average retaker goes up 2 points (closer to 1 point for people with higher scores) so it's not like the odds are against him. The reason that it is worth it is because with a 170 (and this is looking at LSN data) OP has a much higher shot at USC/UCLA as well as other lower T14's (MVPG). With a 169, OP is out at MVPG/USC/UCLA and has his best shots only at UMich/Cornell. Even if OP gets a worse LSAT, he won't be in any worse shape than he is in now because these schools really only look at the highest score so he really has nothing to lose. You keep saying "roughly" and ignore that 1-2 LSAT points and .1-.2 differences in GPA while "rough" do make a huge difference in certain cases.
Yes applying early is beneficial, but the difference between applying September 1 (the day many apps open) and applying November 1 (when October scores get released) is marginal. The difference between applying with a 169 and a 170 is not marginal. As for OP needing to target lower schools for money, going to L/P/USD would be foolish because they have stringent GPA stipulations on their schollies (top 1/3) and while he should get money from UCD/UCH/UCI it isn't something to bank on and I see no reason why OP should not at least try for a retake when he has a lot to gain and nothing to lose.
I do agree with you that there is probably something else wrong with OP's application but that doesn't mean he shouldn't also retake the LSAT.