To Skip a Cycle, or Not?

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hoffman.688
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To Skip a Cycle, or Not?

Postby hoffman.688 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:37 am

LSAT: 154
GPA: 3.3
Undergrad: The Ohio State University

I took the June LSAT technically as a sophomore, though I'll be graduating Spring 2012 foregoing a fourth year to avoid the Ohio State switch from quarters to semesters. My grades were less than stellar my freshman year, but since I've set the definite goal of going to law school, my grades have improved dramatically, though my overall GPA may not show it. Since I'm trying to graduate a year early I have been taking the maximum amount of credit hours possible and plan to all the way to graduation. And, since I would like to go to law school straight out of undergrad, I tried to study for the LSAT from the end of winter quarter (early march) up until the June LSAT. I am quite disappointed with my LSAT results. I ended up being distracted by my course-load and my attempt to improve my GPA as much as possible. I really don't feel that my LSAT score is representative of my capability, and I know that I should probably retake it. I could probably get admitted to A law school, but most likely not one that I really want to go to. I would really like to go to a school around the same ranking as Ohio State's law school or higher. I really don't have many softs besides a couple of internships that I am planning to do this upcoming academic year, but I should not have a problem obtaining a couple of strong letters of recommendation.

My question is, would I be better off trying to study for the LSAT again and retake the LSAT in October, 2011, while taking a heavy course-load again, or skip a cycle and retake the LSAT next fall, October, 2012, having the entire summer and early fall after graduation. My GPA will probably be higher by the time I graduate also, as opposed to what it would be if I were to apply this fall/winter. As I mentioned before, I would really prefer to go to law school straight out of undergrad, but if I would clearly be better off skipping a cycle, then I will have to suck it up and do it. I'm just not sure if it would be worth putting off an entire year. And, what LSAT score should I aim for with a GPA between 3.3-3.5 to have a realistic chance of getting admitted to a top 40ish school?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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bk1
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Re: To Skip a Cycle, or Not?

Postby bk1 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:38 am

Whatever gives you the highest possible LSAT.

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: To Skip a Cycle, or Not?

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:54 am

hoffman.688 wrote:LSAT: 154
GPA: 3.3
Undergrad: The Ohio State University

I took the June LSAT technically as a sophomore, though I'll be graduating Spring 2012 foregoing a fourth year to avoid the Ohio State switch from quarters to semesters. My grades were less than stellar my freshman year, but since I've set the definite goal of going to law school, my grades have improved dramatically, though my overall GPA may not show it. Since I'm trying to graduate a year early I have been taking the maximum amount of credit hours possible and plan to all the way to graduation. And, since I would like to go to law school straight out of undergrad, I tried to study for the LSAT from the end of winter quarter (early march) up until the June LSAT. I am quite disappointed with my LSAT results. I ended up being distracted by my course-load and my attempt to improve my GPA as much as possible. I really don't feel that my LSAT score is representative of my capability, and I know that I should probably retake it. I could probably get admitted to A law school, but most likely not one that I really want to go to. I would really like to go to a school around the same ranking as Ohio State's law school or higher. I really don't have many softs besides a couple of internships that I am planning to do this upcoming academic year, but I should not have a problem obtaining a couple of strong letters of recommendation.

My question is, would I be better off trying to study for the LSAT again and retake the LSAT in October, 2011, while taking a heavy course-load again, or skip a cycle and retake the LSAT next fall, October, 2012, having the entire summer and early fall after graduation. My GPA will probably be higher by the time I graduate also, as opposed to what it would be if I were to apply this fall/winter. As I mentioned before, I would really prefer to go to law school straight out of undergrad, but if I would clearly be better off skipping a cycle, then I will have to suck it up and do it. I'm just not sure if it would be worth putting off an entire year. And, what LSAT score should I aim for with a GPA between 3.3-3.5 to have a realistic chance of getting admitted to a top 40ish school?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


OP - I feel for you and want to give you some advice. First off, focus on your GPA. Graduating in 3 years will be a soft at best, and definitely not worth losing GPA points. Since you've just technically finished your sophomore year, I HIGHLY suggest thinking about doing 2 more years if it means you can bone up your GPA. This is one thing you will not be able to change once you get your diploma, and it makes a huge difference in the law school lottery. You want to, at the very least, get it above a 3.4 because that is a very hard floor at most schools you'll want to go to. If you're adamant about only one more year and think you can bring your GPA up significantly even with the heavier course load, then, yes, take a year off. But the LSAT will always be there; if you screw up, you can always take it again and your earlier scores will not have significant weight. You can't take undergrad again.

As for OSU, I know an OSU alum with a significantly higher GPA than you and a 160 who got shut out, and this was about 5-6 years ago when the competition wasn't as hard as it is now. With a 3.4, you'll need at least a 165, shoot for a 168 for money. Play around on lsp to see.

Sucks that they're switching to semesters. NU and UChi won't want to hang out with them anymore.

hoffman.688
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:59 am

Re: To Skip a Cycle, or Not?

Postby hoffman.688 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:17 am

Thank you for the advice.

If it weren't for the semester switch I would probably not worry about graduating before the switch (which is happening summer quarter 2012). All of the academic advisors I've spoken with are telling people to avoid the switch like the plague. Apparently OSU is doing it in about as abrupt and school-altering way possible. And, since I've been taking the heavy course-load, my lowest quarter GPA has been a 3.7, which is a major improvement. I should definitely be able to get to the 3.4 since I'm still 80 credit hours out.

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: To Skip a Cycle, or Not?

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:27 am

hoffman.688 wrote:Thank you for the advice.

If it weren't for the semester switch I would probably not worry about graduating before the switch (which is happening summer quarter 2012). All of the academic advisors I've spoken with are telling people to avoid the switch like the plague. Apparently OSU is doing it in about as abrupt and school-altering way possible. And, since I've been taking the heavy course-load, my lowest quarter GPA has been a 3.7, which is a major improvement. I should definitely be able to get to the 3.4 since I'm still 80 credit hours out.


Just wondering, since I graduated from a quarter-system UG, why are they telling you to avoid it? Will the classes just not be prepared to maximize their content 5 weeks? Will students not be accustomed to that sort of extended topic-covering? Just curious.

I found that I usually did better when I was taking 4 classes as well as opposed to 3. I'd still usually lazy out and drop one though because I was working 20+ hours during the week but I legitimately think I'd have at least a 3.6 right now if I had more 4-class quarters.

hoffman.688
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:59 am

Re: To Skip a Cycle, or Not?

Postby hoffman.688 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:04 am

descartesb4thehorse wrote:
hoffman.688 wrote:Thank you for the advice.

If it weren't for the semester switch I would probably not worry about graduating before the switch (which is happening summer quarter 2012). All of the academic advisors I've spoken with are telling people to avoid the switch like the plague. Apparently OSU is doing it in about as abrupt and school-altering way possible. And, since I've been taking the heavy course-load, my lowest quarter GPA has been a 3.7, which is a major improvement. I should definitely be able to get to the 3.4 since I'm still 80 credit hours out.


Just wondering, since I graduated from a quarter-system UG, why are they telling you to avoid it? Will the classes just not be prepared to maximize their content 5 weeks? Will students not be accustomed to that sort of extended topic-covering? Just curious.

I found that I usually did better when I was taking 4 classes as well as opposed to 3. I'd still usually lazy out and drop one though because I was working 20+ hours during the week but I legitimately think I'd have at least a 3.6 right now if I had more 4-class quarters.


I think everyone is concerned about the change in course structure, and there is a fear that some instructors are going to mess it up. They are especially concerned about that first summer. The instructors have a hard enough time condensing material to fit a 9 week summer course, let alone a 7 week summer semester.

I'm with you on the performing better with four courses instead of three. I stay more focused and motivated that way I think. I don't think graduating early will hurt my GPA at all, unless I just stayed longer to take some easy A's. My GPA will be higher by next spring than it would this fall, though. And, it's also throwing more money at undergrad if I stay longer than I have to, which I'm not fortunate enough to have an endless supply of (Another reason it might not be a terrible idea to take that, what would be my fourth year of college, to get a job during my time off between college and law school?)

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: To Skip a Cycle, or Not?

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:37 am

Ah. I see. It sucks that they're switching. I think more schools should switch to quarters TBH not the other way around.

Yea, I always advocate for at least a year off. I'm taking 2 (it was unplanned, I applied last year, but did it late and sort of fell flat on my face with apps) and will only have ~$5-7k saved up, which isn't a lot, but in the interim, I'm paying off some UG student loans so those won't be piled on top of my LS loans, I'm getting to travel a lot, and I'm hopefully going to get into some schools that wouldn't have wanted me for K-JD. I think the most important thing though is that I'm getting to stare into the massive black hole that is the working world and really figure out what law is going to offer me. I can say that everyone outside of TLS (even my law school friends) told me this was a stupid idea when I got into a T-25 with ~half scholarship and a T-14 sticker last year. But I knew in my gut it wasn't the right time, and although I may be singing a different tune if those schools don't offer me the same deal as last year, for right now I don't regret it at all. I want to feel like I've had time to think about what to do, how to prep, etc. and at least have some cash on hand so I'm not relying solely on loans and my parents' handouts.

It really is a personal decision, but anything that gives you a leg up on the law school game is going to help you. For me, the leg up is not only admissions (getting a higher LSAT because I had 2 months with no job so I could focus on studying) but also once I get there, I'll feel more prepared for interviews, I'll have a polished resume (with an additional 16 months of work experience), and I'll hopefully have everything figured out with my personal life (which is a long story involving a non-American SO) so that I'll have minimal distractions while I study. None of this would have been as possible if I had rushed into my decision. Good luck, hth.




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