166, 3.8X: Should I Take a Year Off?

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BigBear

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166, 3.8X: Should I Take a Year Off?

Postby BigBear » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:15 pm

Hi All - Thanks in advance for any advice.

A little background on my situation: I'm a senior at a large public school set to graduate in May. I took the LSAT my junior year in June, tried self studying, and ended up with a 160. Took a powerscore class and while I was practice testing in the low 170s I ended up massively messing up the logic games section on the December 2016 LSAT and scored a 166. A december retake didn't really make sense for me with school and work obligations so I applied to the T20 schools that gave me fee waivers plus Columbia because why not. So far I've been accepted at Duke, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, and USC. I was wait listed at Columbia and still waiting to hear from Chicago, NYU, Berkeley, Penn, Michigan, UVA, Cornell, and WashU. I have a 3.83, I think it went down by .02 this semester and next semester it will probably go up to 3.84.

With my stats I don't see myself getting significant financial aid at Duke or Georgetown and every other school ranked higher than Duke is a reach for me and if I get in I doubt I'm going to get scholarships. I would be very happy going to Duke, UVA, or Penn but paying sticker at any of these schools seems like a terrible idea with economic uncertainty and for my future sanity. It's also always been a pipe dream of mine to attend Harvard Law which is also impacting my decision.

I have a family friend at a V20 firm which could at least get me in the door for a paralegal interview. I'm also currently working in a support position at a legally focussed government agency. My last option would be to apply to a variety of government affairs / federal consulting positions.

My main question is would it be wise to take a year off and retake the LSAT while working? My current position has a strict 40 hour work week which would give me plenty of time to study for a retake, but would being a paralegal at a big law firm strengthen my application or help for employment prospects more than my current position? Additionally, does anyone know the work expectations of a biglaw paralegal? Having enough time to study for my LSAT is my main concern.

Lastly, say I do score higher and reapply to these schools again after being accepted without money, will that hurt my admissions/scholarship chances at mid range t14s like Duke, UVA, and Penn?

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Specter1389

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Re: 166, 3.8X: Should I Take a Year Off?

Postby Specter1389 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:00 pm

I think taking a year off is the right move here. You have a great GPA and it would be a shame to waste it. You were practicing in the 170s and those 4 points could be a huge difference. With a 170, you're looking at a lot of money to the lower T-14 and an outside shot at Harvard. Also, I don't think turning schools down this year and reapplying with a better score next year will make them less likely to take you. If anything, they'll understand you didn't matriculate because of a lack of scholarship funds and that's why you retook and hopefully improved.

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Catsinthebag

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Re: 166, 3.8X: Should I Take a Year Off?

Postby Catsinthebag » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:06 pm

The year off does sound right but I would say that the job you get during that time is not going to matter. So if you're worried about working a lot of hours as a paralegal to the detriment of your study/practice time, avoid that altogether. The life experience of being out of K-undergrad can be a nice benefit to yourself, as well.

BigBear

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Re: 166, 3.8X: Should I Take a Year Off?

Postby BigBear » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:19 pm

Catsinthebag wrote:The year off does sound right but I would say that the job you get during that time is not going to matter. So if you're worried about working a lot of hours as a paralegal to the detriment of your study/practice time, avoid that altogether. The life experience of being out of K-undergrad can be a nice benefit to yourself, as well.


Yeah, the added benefit of being able to make money and live in a city with my friends post grad is definitely making me lean towards taking a year off.



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