Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

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undecided_voter

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Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

Postby undecided_voter » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:50 am

Hi all,


I applied early decision, and was accepted, to a T10 law school in the fall of 2015 (Class of 2019). I (obviously) got no merit aid. At the time that I made this decision, it made great sense to me. I had a 3.88 GPA, a 166 LSAT, and a frankly mediocre, perhaps 60th percentile resume. I am a URM, but not an AA. The school to which I was accepted is notoriously "splitter-friendly." I would be happy at this school. Debt is not an issue.

I inquired with my accepting school's admissions officer about potentially retaking the LSAT in a bid to increase my chances for merit aid. He told me flatly that the 166 LSAT was not really the issue, but rather, that my mediocre resume had precluded chances at merit aid. As I thought about it, it seems like the resume point would be a convenient excuse for the adcom. While the real issue is that I applied ED, thus removing my leverage as a consumer, pointing to the resume issue (which I was then powerless to change), deflected the merit request.

Fast forward to now — my resume has improved dramatically since I applied to law school back in the fall of 2015. In March of 2016, I got a total surprise acceptance into Oxford/Cambridge to do a one year masters degree. I ended up signing a one-year deferral agreement with the law school which, frankly, is vague. It simply asks that I pay the deposit and send a message in February promising that I will attend. It says nothing about not applying to other law schools.

Fast forward again, and at the end of my senior year of college, I ended up winning two prestigious academic awards through my university.

Fast forward again to a few days ago, and I learned that an academic publishing house from a major university is going to put me under contract to revise my manuscript, which I will then turn into my first book. (As I understand it, this is quite rare for someone my age.)

My question is — it seems that I am a radically distinct candidate now (August of 2016) than I was when I applied back in October of 2015: Oxbridge, academic awards, book deal.

Should I withdraw from my deferral agreement and apply to better law schools this cycle? Is this allowed? Moreover, is it reasonable? A number of my mentors have been very vocal that I should have left it all on the table, not gone ED, and tried for HYS. When I had a mediocre resume and a 3.88/166, instead, I made the numbers calculus and went with the safe play that would land me in a T10.

With my boosted resume, should I now be angling the school for a withdrawal from the Class of 2020 deferral, thus releasing me to swing for the fences (HYS), or should I simply be content with my T10 and not potentially rock the boat with my current school?

Thanks all. I appreciate the feedback very much.

EDIT: Let me make it clear that I realize applying for other schools while the deferral agreement is still in effect is highly unethical. I am talking about simply withdrawing and severing all ties from the school, and then only applying to other schools after I am sure the agreement is no longer in force.

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USayinBoalt

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Re: Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

Postby USayinBoalt » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:07 am

I mean as long as you can sever ties with the current school then yeah apply elsewhere if that's what you want to do. Honestly, you should just retake to have a better shot at some of the higher ranked schools. All the new resume stuff is great but with a 166 it's not really gonna knock the socks off of adcoms at HYS. Just my 2 cents

undecided_voter

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Re: Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

Postby undecided_voter » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:18 am

I know that "re-take" is the standard advice, but, I see some complicating factors in my case.

1. I am way past the late registration date for the September LSAT. This means I would have to take the December LSAT. In England. So potentially, I could get the same score as before, but then have flushed four months down the toilet when I could have applied much earlier in the cycle, potentially getting an early application boost. I intuitively think this boost is stronger than the boost I would get for +2 points on the LSAT. (Feel free to disabuse me of this though.)

2. Let's say I get the same score as before—166 (definitely possible, as I haven't been studying for the LSAT up to now). If I get the same LSAT score as before, and the reality is like the adcom told me—that I got into the school mostly because of ED as I was a supposed bubble candidate—then not going ED means I will probably get accepted into a lower ranked school. Albeit perhaps with less debt, but I'm not debt sensitive and just want to get into the best school possible.

Again, I appreciate your all's insights.

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rpupkin

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Re: Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

Postby rpupkin » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:26 am

undecided_voter wrote:I inquired with my accepting school's admissions officer about potentially retaking the LSAT in a bid to increase my chances for merit aid. He told me flatly that the 166 LSAT was not really the issue, but rather, that my mediocre resume had precluded chances at merit aid.

If the world depicted by the adcomm were real, then all of your recent accomplishments would dramatically increase your chances for merit aid. But, as you sensed, the adcomm was full of it. Although your improved soft factors are nice, they pale in comparison to a mere three-point increase in one's LSAT score. If you're willing to breach your agreement with your current school, you would be foolish not to follow up and retake the LSAT. The reasons you gave for not retaking are weak.

undecided_voter

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Re: Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

Postby undecided_voter » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:29 am

To follow up, I think what I am saying is that if your philosophy of law school admissions is NUMBERS NUMBERS NUMBERS, then severing the relationship I have with my current school is somewhat pointless. Getting a 173+ on the LSAT, I believe, is not feasible for me under the constraints I've mentioned.

But if it would matter that I have this top-level resume, that I am a URM, and that I would be applying very early in the cycle, with passable numbers for the T-6 schools, then it would make sense for me to sever the relationship and throw my name back into the pot.

At least, that's the calculus as I see it.

EDIT: Thanks for the reply, rpupkin. My issue, I think, is that severing the relationship and then retaking the LSAT would be a huge gamble, IMO, if softs really are so irrelevant. Even if got a 169 LSAT as you suggest, that would just put me back in the medians for my current school. Under the softs are irrelevant theory, I think I would have to expect an unrealistic LSAT performance to advance past my current T-10.

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rpupkin

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Re: Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

Postby rpupkin » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:37 am

undecided_voter wrote:EDIT: Thanks for the reply, rpupkin. My issue, I think, is that severing the relationship and then retaking the LSAT would be a huge gamble, IMO, if softs really are so irrelevant. Even if got a 169 LSAT as you suggest, that would just put me back in the medians for my current school. Under the softs are irrelevant theory, I think I would have to expect an unrealistic LSAT performance to advance past my current T-10.

To be clear, I didn't say that softs are irrelevant. They're just significantly less relevant than LSAT score. Your improved softs could certainly help a bit at the margins. In my view, the truly "huge gamble" here is relying on your softs without retaking the LSAT. Retaking the LSAT is the conservative course of action here.

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zhenders

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Re: Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

Postby zhenders » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:40 am

Honestly undecided, I think the standard advice of retake (and wait if necessary) is absolutely, positively the right advice in your case. Especially considering these recent accolades, your chances of good scholarship money elsewhere are high. If you hit a 166, you can hit higher (especially if that was your first take). In my mind, with a 3.88, you're just not being sensible if you don't at least make an attempt at a 170+. a 3.88 and even a 169 could mean a full scholarship at NU/Cornell, partial scholarships elsewhere, and a 171+ could mean halfs or fulls. From a financial point of view it's the right decision.

Not to mention, you have a manuscript to be polishing. Don't go to law school yet. LS will still be there for you. Live this bit of life first, then go to LS with $$$.

cavalier1138

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Re: Advice on Potential Withdrawal—Unique Situation

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:45 am

Just wanted to jump on the "retake" train, because it's a fun train to be on.

Seriously, that's what you need to do. The only word of warning I'd provide is that you are likely going to be crossing this T14 school off your future application list. It sounds like you're fine with that, so go retake the LSAT and get merit aid somewhere you actually want to go.



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