mike140 wrote:I really cannot afford to take another year off. If I work for the next year then it would be meaningless and not contribute to my career at all. I'm more confident in my abilities to make the most of law school and hope for the best. Who knows - I may end up liking Syracuse, appreciating the prospects I have, and staying. I'm 26 and it's already scary enough thinking that I'll be 29 when I graduate. I truly look at going to law school now as the lesser of two evils. I studied my butt off for the LSAT and wasn't able to score much higher than mid-150s. If that means I'll have to do more to prove myself in law school then so be it.
I'm not trying to go against anything any of you have said. I'm so grateful for all of the good advice given. I'm simply trying to use this great information to my advantage and do what's best for me in both the short and long term.
At least one person with the clock even more against him is seriously considering waiting another year, doing better on the LSAT, and applying next cycle (read: the guy who wrote what you are reading). 26 was quite a while ago for me. I have a score significantly better (not bragging, just saying). I have dependents and really need to begin building my law career asap if this is what I'm going to do with my life. I'm into better schools. The stuff the people here are saying is very real. Do you want to be begging for your old job back with 6 figs in debt in the event that you are in the majority out of Syracuse graduate population and flat out fail to find legal work, let alone legal work that justifies three years in lost income and mid $100k's debt? It has taken me nearly all application cycle for this to sink in and I applied to most schools mid September. The situation out there is scary.
You might still wind up going this year, and I just might too. A mid 160s score could get you a decent scholarship at a much better school. I know you (and I) are eager to get going on this law school business asap. However, a solid improvement on a retake could mean a better school, big money in scholarship reducing your debt a ton, and hundreds of thousands in increased earnings over your career.
Imagine a payment of $1500-2000 a month, every month, for the next 10-20 years. Now imagine having that payment and no legal job, or one that pays miserably. Yes, there is IBR and PAYE. However, you will still have the debt and that will surely affect your additional borrowing (for homes, cars, etc). In the even the debt is eventually forgiven there will be tax implications.
I'm in the same boat my friend. Proceed with caution. $150-200k debt looks a lot more appealing when it is in the barely imaginable, seemingly non-existent future and the only thing between us and law school is a click on an electronic box agreeing to the loan. That money will have to be paid back, or at least dealt with through ongoing bureaucracy to arrange deferments or reduced payments and then the inevitable write-off and huge tax bill.
To be honest, I don't believe you've maxed out at 153. I can barely read and I broke 160 (I jest, but I do read slow). Take a course if you haven't. Work the Powerscore bibles. Even if you suck at reading and reasoning the logic games should be very learnable for almost anyone. The best LSAT advice I got was to not take it at least until you are scoring perfect on games. The average on the lsat is 152 simply because a good number of people go in completely unprepared and another good number are practically retarded (one woman at my testing filled out the wrong part of the form during the instructions period and tried to fill out the cancellation section not understanding she was cancelling her score in doing so). You don't strike me as either of these types, but perhaps you were under-prepared. How much did you bust ass to prepare?
Consider your decision carefully. If you wind up going this fall then I wish you the best of luck. Having said that, 26 is only 4 years older than you would be had you started UG at 18 and went straight to law school after graduation. This is not a good enough reason to dive headfirst into shallow water. I plan on working a long time and therefore consider I have 30-40 working years ahead of me (and like I said, I'm older). We can both afford to delay law school a year to secure a more favorable outcome in the long term.
Good luck with your decision.
Edit: I also know of several people that have taken Kaplan and seen only negligible increases. I took Blueprint. They are similar to Powerscore in structure (and also to Testmasters, I've been told), but they try to put a humorous spin on it. In all honesty, you could do more self study with a better system than Kaplan and see the same improvement. The structure helps, though.
Also, have you looked into the situation for public defender jobs? I know that in many locales the pay can be meager (like 40-50k) and some offices get 500-1000s of applications for a single spot. Only more food for thought.
Oh, and you got the polite crowd tonight. Things can be remarkably more hostile in such threads.
(Looks like I'm wordy tonight.)