Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
lawlessly

New
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:55 pm

Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby lawlessly » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:03 pm

I'm applying to the J.D. program at Francis King Carey School of Law, where my GPA is above that of the average applicant (3.8/4.0), but my LSAT score is significantly lower (147). I am planning to re-take the LSAT in February, and I'm wondering whether it would be more advantageous to submit my application near the final deadline after having time to improve my score, or to apply through the binding quick decision program. I have a lot of professional experience relative to the average college senior, 3 strong recommendations, and well-written essays. I'm also a first generation college student, queer, and someone who grew up in a single-parent family that struggled with poverty and substance abuse. I know that my academic performance, recommendations, and personal background will all be considered in my application, but I'm not sure if they are sufficient to compensate for my low LSAT score. I would appreciate any advice regarding when I should plan to submit my application. Thanks!
Last edited by lawlessly on Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
theconsigliere

Bronze
Posts: 364
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:06 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby theconsigliere » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:10 pm

lawlessly wrote:I'm he applying to the J.D. program at Francis King Carey School of Law, where my GPA is above that of the average applicant (3.8/4.0), but my LSAT score is significantly lower (147). I am planning to re-take the LSAT in February, and I'm wondering whether it would be more advantageous to submit my application near the final deadline after having time to improve my score, or to apply through the binding quick decision program. I have a lot of professional experience relative to the average college senior, 3 strong recommendations, and well-written essays. I'm also a first generation college student, queer, and someone who grew up in a single-parent family that struggled with poverty and substance abuse. I know that my academic performance, recommendations, and personal background will all be considered in my application, but I'm not sure if they are sufficient to compensate for my low LSAT score. I would appreciate any advice regarding when I should plan to submit my application. Thanks!


Don't apply with that score

User avatar
USayinBoalt

Gold
Posts: 1614
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:40 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby USayinBoalt » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:13 pm

You have a great gpa, get that LSAT up

User avatar
bmathers

Silver
Posts: 889
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:27 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby bmathers » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:42 pm

Certainly retake. I very highly doubt you'd be accepted with that LSAT (check out lawschoolnumbers.com) - and if you did, it would be at sticker. Your GPA is too good to have accompanied by a 147. Prep for Feb and bring that LSAT up.

Off-hand, are you opposed to waiting a cycle to apply early with a better LSAT? Francis is UMD's law, correct? If so, you could still get in there with a Feb LSAT in the mid-upper 150s and your great GPA.

User avatar
Barack O'Drama

Gold
Posts: 3268
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:21 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:47 pm

As everyone has noted, you have a great GPA. Do not apply with a 147, that is just ... it makes me sad, lol.

Don't just sign up and take the test in December, February, June, etc. Take the test when you are ready and scoring at your potential; do your best!

If you have a near 4.0, with a 160s score you can enter the T14. With a 170s, HYS are on the table. Now perhaps you aren't interested in going to a top school, and I can understand that. However, that said you should still prep hard and do your best in order to get a good scholarship to a good school.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
floatie

Silver
Posts: 583
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby floatie » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:58 pm

As everyone said, do not apply to Carey (or anywhere, really) with a 147.

When you got a 147, did you prepare for it as best as you can? It's hard for me to imagine that someone, after a significant amount of preparation, would still score that low. Whenever you take it again, make sure you've really and truly prepared for it, whether it be through a prep course, going through the PowerScore bibles cover-to-cover, tutoring, or whatever, and doing a lot of practice tests (preferably the recent ones, as those are a little harder than the ones from the 90s/early 2000s). And make sure you are honest with yourself about how and why you're struggling. Are you running out of time? Are you struggling with a particular section? Are you struggling with particular question types? If so, be ready to face that and work to improve yourself in those areas.

Now, a 170 isn't a realistic score for everyone and it might not be for you, but do you think you could hit at least a 160? That 13-point difference will mean the world for you, given your strong GPA. If you're really set on taking the LSAT in February, make sure you have enough time set aside to properly study for it. A lot of people suggest 3 months, but if you're working full time or have other responsibilities, you might need more time than that and you might not have enough time between now and February to prepare to the level that you need.

lawlessly

New
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:55 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby lawlessly » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:31 am

bmathers wrote:Off-hand, are you opposed to waiting a cycle to apply early with a better LSAT? Francis is UMD's law, correct? If so, you could still get in there with a Feb LSAT in the mid-upper 150s and your great GPA.


The issue is that I'm also applying to MSW programs currently, and was hoping to get accepted to both programs at Maryland and do dual enrollment. I don't think that would be possible if I wait until the next cycle. Alternatively, I could plan on pursuing a J.D. after earning and MSW, but that would result in a massive amount of debt, as well as a longer time commitment, that I'm not sure I could justify. I think I will try to improve by February and take my chances with submitting the application later. Unless there would still be a very low chance of getting accepted even if I improve to a score above 150?

Any advice on improving the score would also be appreciated. Covering the cost of a course would be very difficult for me at this time, but I've heard of folks who have been successful with just prep books/videos/other media and lots of practice. My method of preparation (which, admittedly, hasn't been nearly as extensive as it should be) has mostly involved taking prep tests, reviewing the incorrect answers, and doing focused practice on the areas that need the most improvement. If there are some more specific, effective prep strategies I could be implementing, I'd love to hear about 'em.

lawlessly

New
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:55 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby lawlessly » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:42 am

floatie wrote:As everyone said, do not apply to Carey (or anywhere, really) with a 147.

When you got a 147, did you prepare for it as best as you can? It's hard for me to imagine that someone, after a significant amount of preparation, would still score that low. Whenever you take it again, make sure you've really and truly prepared for it, whether it be through a prep course, going through the PowerScore bibles cover-to-cover, tutoring, or whatever, and doing a lot of practice tests (preferably the recent ones, as those are a little harder than the ones from the 90s/early 2000s). And make sure you are honest with yourself about how and why you're struggling. Are you running out of time? Are you struggling with a particular section? Are you struggling with particular question types? If so, be ready to face that and work to improve yourself in those areas.

Now, a 170 isn't a realistic score for everyone and it might not be for you, but do you think you could hit at least a 160? That 13-point difference will mean the world for you, given your strong GPA. If you're really set on taking the LSAT in February, make sure you have enough time set aside to properly study for it. A lot of people suggest 3 months, but if you're working full time or have other responsibilities, you might need more time than that and you might not have enough time between now and February to prepare to the level that you need.


I definitely did not spend enough time prepping. And right now, I'm juggling 3 courses, writing my senior thesis, a part-time internship, some weekly shifts as a writing tutor, and MSW apps. I'm really starting to wonder if I should just hold off on grad school/law school altogether for now so that I can focus on other priorities and also have more time for test prep. But I've already secured my recommendations and started the apps, and some of them are due in less than 2 months. I'm nervous about just saying "never mind" since I've already partly committed, y'know? The whole situation is very stressful and confusing for me.

User avatar
floatie

Silver
Posts: 583
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby floatie » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:54 am

lawlessly wrote:I definitely did not spend enough time prepping. And right now, I'm juggling 3 courses, writing my senior thesis, a part-time internship, some weekly shifts as a writing tutor, and MSW apps. I'm really starting to wonder if I should just hold off on grad school/law school altogether for now so that I can focus on other priorities and also have more time for test prep. But I've already secured my recommendations and started the apps, and some of them are due in less than 2 months. I'm nervous about just saying "never mind" since I've already partly committed, y'know? The whole situation is very stressful and confusing for me.


Wait, you're applying to MSW and JD programs simultaneously? I'm going to assume you have a reason for doing this...so:

1. The recommendations you can work around. Just email or talk to your letter-writers, and ask if they can (1) save your letters for when you apply again next cycle (if that's what you're going to have to do) or (2) get an Interfolio account and have them send letters there. You can store stuff in interfolio for up to 5 years, and you can send to LSAC from Interfolio. Personally I think (2) is a better option, although it's not free.

2. It doesn't sound like you have a lot of time to study for the LSAT right now, unless you think you can get at least 10-15 hours a week without sacrificing any of the other things you're doing. You might be better off waiting a cycle, and applying next year. I don't know your schedule at all, but do you think you can get 5 hours a week between now and June, or can you sign up for a prep course next semester? You could aim for the June 2017 LSAT, and then you'd be ready to apply at the very beginning of next cycle, which will give you an advantage.

User avatar
bmathers

Silver
Posts: 889
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:27 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby bmathers » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:52 am

Look into 7Sage.com. it is an inexpensive, online prep course.

User avatar
bmathers

Silver
Posts: 889
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:27 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby bmathers » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:24 pm

I believe that their medians are around a 157/3.6ish. your GPA will help you, but I wouldn't want anything less than a 155 to stand a decent shot at acceptance, IMO. The higher you can get from there, the more $$ you are looking at getting in scholarships. Law School scholarships are unlike other grad schools -- they are PLENTIFUL anymore.

blueapple

Silver
Posts: 599
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:56 am

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby blueapple » Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:20 pm

Worth noting also that usually you can start law school and then apply for the MSW during your 1L year. You don't need to do both sets of applications simultaneously! I guess it's possible that Maryland is different, but just call the law school and ask about the process for getting a JD/MSW.
Last edited by blueapple on Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
LegallyBlackJD

Bronze
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:11 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby LegallyBlackJD » Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:19 pm

Take all of the time you need to study the LSAT and do not waste that awesome GPA. I took a few years off and completed a Master's program in the interim. There really is no rush, contrary to what people may say.

lawlessly

New
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:55 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby lawlessly » Mon Sep 12, 2016 1:19 pm

I received a suggestion to apply with binding quick decision, and if I get rejected, to appeal the decision based on my new February score. Do you all think that would be a good plan? Or is it very, very unlikely that I will even be considered for admission with 147? Don't worry about being harshly honest--I'd rather not waste my time applying this cycle if I don't stand a chance of being admitted.

User avatar
Specter1389

Bronze
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 3:07 pm

Re: Binding quick decision with extremely low lsat or regular submission with improved lsat?

Postby Specter1389 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:21 pm

lawlessly wrote:I received a suggestion to apply with binding quick decision, and if I get rejected, to appeal the decision based on my new February score. Do you all think that would be a good plan? Or is it very, very unlikely that I will even be considered for admission with 147? Don't worry about being harshly honest--I'd rather not waste my time applying this cycle if I don't stand a chance of being admitted.

I highly doubt you will get in with a 147. Even if you do, you would be forced to attend without a scholarship which is a terrible financial decision. Whoever is suggesting you apply early decision is giving you bad advice and they probably don't even realize it. With your GPA, it would be a complete waste to apply to any law school with a 147. In my opinion, if you know you want to go to law school, you should put off applying to MSW and JD programs. Take a gap year and get a job doing whatever you want while putting all your best effort into LSAT prep. Buy the Powerscore Logic Game and Logic Reasoning Bibles. Enroll in a good prep course (I recommend 7sage). And then only sign up for the LSAT when your practice tests are above a 160. If you are still improving after you hit 160, put off signing up until you are in the high 160s. At that point you will be looking at a full ride to Maryland and money at some of the T-14s.

As a personal example, I first started studying for the LSAT in late March of 2015 and signed up for the June test. I scored a low 150 on the preptest from LSAC's website. My second practice test I scored a 158. My third one I scored a 161. My goal was a 160 as I originally was targeting only schools in Florida so I thought I would be happy with those results. I went into the June LSAT and scored a 166 on the day of the test. Scoring this high made me realize there was still room for improvement and that I had a shot of getting into some of the lower T-14s if I could somehow get a 170+ so I signed up for the December 2015 LSAT and really focused on studying for another few months. At this time I was working 55 hours a week and taking 2 classes for my Masters so I understand being strapped for time. I began consistently scoring in the 170-173 range and when scores came out in January I got a 170. I was accepted to UVA and deferred my admission there. I thought about not deferring and retaking/reapplying in a few years but with my 3.0 GPA even with a 175+ I was unlikely to get any scholarship money. In most cases, even attending UVA without a scholarship would be a terrible financial decision but I will have 60% of the GI Bill which is basically a $130k scholarship so in my case the cost/benefit of another retake wasn't there given my splitter status. This was about the best outcome I could hope for. You could have MUCH better results than this if you are willing to wait and put in the work on the LSAT. Applying now would just be wasting your LSAT.

There are people out there with far better success stories than me who made the decision to wait it out. One poster with a similar GPA as you sat out for a cycle (maybe 2) focused on studying for the LSAT, scored in the 170s and is now going to Harvard. That poster was originally contemplating much lower ranked schools for sticker. Everyone on here is going to recommend retaking so please please head this advice and you will be glad you did when you're graduating from a top law school with minimal debt.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests