Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

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LTBU
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Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby LTBU » Wed May 20, 2015 1:12 am

Hey TLS,

As the title states, I'm contemplating taking a year off. Would really appreciate any advice here.

I'm about to begin my 4th and final year as an undergrad at a middle-ranked t14 school. If I were interested in also attending one of the t14s for law, I would definitely take a year off to thoroughly prep for the LSAT and put together a solid application. However, the law school I'm primarily interested in attending sits a few spots out of the t14, and due to this, makes me think that maybe the year off isn't worth it, as my school of choice isn't as selective as say a Yale or a Stanford, and the extra time prepping for the LSAT might not be needed.

If i decide NOT to take a year off, I'd have around two months to study for the October LSAT, which I am fairly familiar with. I'd be aiming for a 167+, which, when paired with my expected lsac gpa of a mid-to-high 3.7x, should suffice for admission.

If i DO decide to take a year off, I'd obviously have a lot longer to prep for the LSAT, and a low-mid 170s score would definitely be in the picture.

This is where my questions come into play. Would an LSAT of 174 vs 168 make a noticeable difference in offered $$$? (Considering the fact that the median LSAT at my school of choice is around 167.) Fwiw, I come from a lower middle-class family; household income isn't high at all.

Additionally, If i were to take the gap year, I'd head to my local junior college and take a few easy courses to stay in the zone (so to speak) and boost my overall gpa a little, probably reaching the 3.8 mark.

I'm very much against gap years because a year you take off is a year less of income, but taking it a bit easy for a while would be relieving, and the thought of a higher LSAT score and GPA is also very appealing.

Thanks for reading this far. What say you?

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sesto elemento
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby sesto elemento » Wed May 20, 2015 1:30 am

I have yet to meet someone who regrets taking a year off. Take a year off, take two years off. Take however much time you want. And yes those two scores will make a difference in terms of $$$ you can get.

Nomo
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby Nomo » Wed May 20, 2015 1:41 am

Agree. I have never heard of someone who regretted taking time off. Everyone should work for at least a year (probably 3 or 4 years) before going to law school.

But you really shouldn't even think of it as time off. Its time to (a) study harder and get a better LSAT score; (b) grow up and live on money you've actually made; (c) find out more about what you want out of life and what you want out of your workplace.

Bruingrad2014
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby Bruingrad2014 » Wed May 20, 2015 1:44 am

I'm pretty sure grades after your receive your bachelors degree wont count towards your lsac gpa, so taking classes at a community college would have no benefit

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby ManoftheHour » Wed May 20, 2015 2:05 am

If you have to think about it, take the year off. I took three years off and don't regret it for one second. Getting the best score you possibly can is priority #1.

UpandDown97
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby UpandDown97 » Wed May 20, 2015 2:43 am

1 year off is pretty good, and can lead to better outcomes. I've also met people who are glad they didn't take time off since law is what they knew they wanted to do and they got it done while still young.

I see it as a question of opportunity cost. If you graduate at 25, is that worth 50k in a diffence between what your debt will be versus what it could have been? Will you make good use of your time? Are you okay with making 0 dollars for a year? What about a lesser wage than you would have at X age because you took off?

Ultimately, this is personal and TLS probably can't help.
Last edited by UpandDown97 on Wed May 20, 2015 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Wed May 20, 2015 3:23 am

T14 is an undergrand ranking too now?

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OhBoyOhBortles
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby OhBoyOhBortles » Wed May 20, 2015 3:53 am

sesto elemento wrote:I have yet to meet someone who regrets taking a year off. Take a year off, take two years off. Take however much time you want. And yes those two scores will make a difference in terms of $$$ you can get.

LTBU
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby LTBU » Wed May 20, 2015 5:31 am

UpandDown97 wrote:If you graduate at 25, is that worth 50k in a diffence between what your debt will be versus what it could have been? See below

Will you make good use of your time? Yes. At the very least, take a break from the academic vigor of schooling and take my time with LSAT prep. Relax a bit, etc.

Are you okay with making 0 dollars for a year? Yep.


First question is vital here. If the difference is drastic (Full tuition vs free ride, for example), then the decision is an easy one. But, if I improve my score and knock something like 50k off of my tuition, is that worth the year of lost time and salary? I don't know.

There's also obviously no guarantee of admission. So by taking the year off, I'm also likely increasing the chances of admission in the first place.

LTBU
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby LTBU » Wed May 20, 2015 5:31 am

Bruingrad2014 wrote:I'm pretty sure grades after your receive your bachelors degree wont count towards your lsac gpa, so taking classes at a community college would have no benefit


Interesting. Can anyone confirm?

LTBU
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby LTBU » Wed May 20, 2015 5:32 am

Mack.Hambleton wrote:T14 is an undergrand ranking too now?


Negative. Just stating that I am an undergrad student at a school whose law ranking is in the t14.

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pancakes3
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby pancakes3 » Wed May 20, 2015 5:41 am

LTBU wrote:
Bruingrad2014 wrote:I'm pretty sure grades after your receive your bachelors degree wont count towards your lsac gpa, so taking classes at a community college would have no benefit


Interesting. Can anyone confirm?


Credited as a bad idea from a GPA perspective, from a "keeping sharp" perspective, and a "make money" perspective. Also a 174 vs a 168 is the difference between a full ride T14 offers and a pittance at whatever T20 you're mistakenly aiming for.

LTBU
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby LTBU » Wed May 20, 2015 5:49 am

pancakes3 wrote:
LTBU wrote:
Bruingrad2014 wrote:I'm pretty sure grades after your receive your bachelors degree wont count towards your lsac gpa, so taking classes at a community college would have no benefit


Interesting. Can anyone confirm?


Credited as a bad idea from a GPA perspective, from a "keeping sharp" perspective, and a "make money" perspective. Also a 174 vs a 168 is the difference between a full ride T14 offers and a pittance at whatever T20 you're mistakenly aiming for.


Boalt vs UCLA vs Gould. Its been beaten to death.

Given, for example, full price at Boalt vs full ride at Gould, i'd lean towards the latter.

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haus
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby haus » Wed May 20, 2015 7:26 am

I am a big fan of taking time before law school, but if it is a path that you choose, I recommend trying to do something with your time in addition to just trying to improve your LSAT.

This could be work, travel, hobby... Just do not make it a full year dedicated to filling out a scantron form.

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Wed May 20, 2015 7:49 am

ManoftheHour wrote:If you have to think about it, take the year off. I took three years off and don't regret it for one second. Getting the best score you possibly can is priority #1.


I took six years off and I don't regret it for a second. I worked, lived around the world, traveled just basically enjoyed my younger 20s. I knew once I became a lawyer I'd be working much more and it'd be much more difficult to take a lot of time off. I'm not saying you should take as much time off as I did but most people I met didn't regret taking time off.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed May 20, 2015 8:04 am

LTBU wrote:
Bruingrad2014 wrote:I'm pretty sure grades after your receive your bachelors degree wont count towards your lsac gpa, so taking classes at a community college would have no benefit


Interesting. Can anyone confirm?

Just to be clear, yes, this is correct.

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TasmanianToucan
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby TasmanianToucan » Wed May 20, 2015 9:04 am

Take a year (at least) off, but don't waste it with some junior college nonsense.

Get a job. Working for a living will change your perspective on life, I promise.

Assuming you're like most potential KJDs, with the possible exception of internships and summer jobs you've never been anything but a full time student. Give something else a try.

Winter is Coming
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Re: Help me decide whether or not I should take a gap year.

Postby Winter is Coming » Wed May 20, 2015 9:21 am

Taking two years off and retaking the LSAT was the best (academic) decision I've ever made. It'll make admissions so much easier and better.

But really, the best part for me was that I found a job that made me realize I actually wanted to be a lawyer. I worked 55 hour weeks (which was a good way to transition from my joke life style in undergrad to more of a real life work schedule.) I didn't make that much money, but the past two years were basically like an extended version of undergrad social life, but all my friends have a bit more money to do things.

Law will always be there.




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