Crazy to retake a 173?

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vitusiak
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Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby vitusiak » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:03 pm

Apologies for yet another retake thread; but it's hard to get sober advice IRL. I feel like I can talk most people I know into agreeing with whatever my gut feels at that moment because they're not too up-to-date on law school admissions.

My stats (and I really am grateful for these!): 3.8x/173; non-URM; mediocre softs; assume slightly above avg recs (both academic and say great things about me/my work to my face, so I'm fairly confident...?); definitely waiting until the 2018-2019 cycle b/c of work/life situation. Ever so slightly urgent though because my 7sage subscription is due to expire next week.

For the LSAT: 173 was my goal score at the very beginning of (self-)studying (diagnostic was low 160s) but I reached it about a month out and was hitting 176, etc. in the week before the exam. So I went in to the exam feeling good and confident and felt like, because I knocked LG out of the park, I might have achieved one of those upper scores and was ultimately a bit let down by the 173 (I know that sounds kind of douchey). Turns out I flipped my normal section breakdown; in PTs I was losing most points to LG and routinely getting -0 in LR. On the Sept. test I went -0 LG but -2 and -4 LR. Needless to say, I feel like I left those points on the table. But I'm also worried that whatever test I retake (Feb 2018 is most likely) could have a killer LG and I'd just end up worse.

Other analysis: According to LSAC data 173 is precisely the inflection point where retakers are just as likely to do better as they are to do worse; I have a fair hope that I'd be in the improved camp given the section breakdown, but obviously no guarantee. I'm also frustrated that it seems like 173 is a bit of a no-man's land score when paired with my GPA on LSN. It looks like overkill for just acceptance with no money to my target schools (UVa & Columbia in particular) but not good enough for my reaches (Yale chances seem to be 0-4%) or super significant scholarship (like the Rubenstein or Hamilton, which I've read kick in at 174/175; Dillard seems harder to predict?). Care about money insofar as I'd like to maximize opportunity as defined and limited by both career mobility and (lack of) financial freedom.

My goals: Interested in health law; current dream position would be hospital in-house counsel. Fairly unicorn-y, hence the interest in Yale and focus on the higher ranked schools. I'm not Yale or bust, but it feels so almost within reach.

-----

TL;DR: 173 is, I should say, an objectively good score that I wish I were hyper thrilled about. Falls ever so slightly short (yet so far) of my best case scenario. Should I retake or just count my blessings, see where this score will get me and not risk weakening my application? Am I neurotic for even dwelling on this?

cavalier1138
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:12 pm

It's a bit crazy, even if you're gunning for Yale. At this point, your score could fluctuate up or down 2 points based on luck of the draw, and Yale is the only school that might actually consider all your LSAT scores, not just your high point.

Also, is hospital in-house counsel that much of a unicorn? I would think anyone with a solid health law background (which you can get at a number of big firms) would be competitive for it.

vitusiak
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby vitusiak » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:26 pm

Interesting - I was expecting the opposite reaction. Won't complain about not studying. So you'd suggest more or less moving on from Yale?

And it's not the most rare of jobs but my ideal position has a few more parameters than just any hospital, in an ideal world (as I'd design it now) I'd transition to academia or get to sit on the ethics board but I'm not sure I'm 100% committed to those ideas, so I didn't include it initially.

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UVA2B
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby UVA2B » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:39 pm

vitusiak wrote:Interesting - I was expecting the opposite reaction. Won't complain about not studying. So you'd suggest more or less moving on from Yale?

And it's not the most rare of jobs but my ideal position has a few more parameters than just any hospital, in an ideal world (as I'd design it now) I'd transition to academia or get to sit on the ethics board but I'm not sure I'm 100% committed to those ideas, so I didn't include it initially.


It's only unicorn-like at all because there are limited GC (and their underlings) of hospitals, but you should remember that any of these jobs will likely come out of a law firm where you practice in health law, which isn't all that unique to specific firms. And even when you add those other professional qualifiers, those are just additional responsibilities that will be entirely based on your post-law school experience and reputation, not the law school you attended. The academia thing is all well and good, but you should probably be 100% committed to that if it's something you want, because it takes a ton of work in getting published and producing literature that gets cited, which will be entirely in addition to the work you'd be doing at your law firm striving to eventually transition into in-house jobs at a hospital (also relevant is that a not insignificant portion of in-house positions at hospitals will have a corporate background that never really practiced health law, but that point is getting a bit far afield of what you're concerned about).

And to address your LSAT conundrum directly, you're likely missing on where this data is/is not helpful. It's more a weather gauge than an accurate predictor of what given numbers mean. It's all self-reported data, so it's prone to error and misrepresentation of reality. 173/3.8x is a really strong profile, and if you want your best shot at Yale, you have to personally decide how confident you are in scoring higher. If you think you can do it (like 176+ confident), then go for it because Yale will likely look brightly on that. But as it is, you will likely have some strong options if you put together a coherent application that makes admissions think highly of you as an applicant beyond the numbers. When you're talking named scholarships within the T13, it's somewhat number-crunching, but those scholarships are also more holistic and concerned with yield because they only have a certain number to give.

iwoeps
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby iwoeps » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:45 pm

UVA2B wrote:And to address your LSAT conundrum directly, you're likely missing on where this data is/is not helpful. It's more a weather gauge than an accurate predictor of what given numbers mean. It's all self-reported data, so it's prone to error and misrepresentation of reality.


Pretty sure it isn't self-reported.

https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/repeating-the-lsat

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UVA2B
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby UVA2B » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:46 pm

iwoeps wrote:
UVA2B wrote:And to address your LSAT conundrum directly, you're likely missing on where this data is/is not helpful. It's more a weather gauge than an accurate predictor of what given numbers mean. It's all self-reported data, so it's prone to error and misrepresentation of reality.


Pretty sure it isn't self-reported.

https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/repeating-the-lsat


I'm talking about LSN/myLSN, friend.

iwoeps
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby iwoeps » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:48 pm

UVA2B wrote:
iwoeps wrote:
UVA2B wrote:And to address your LSAT conundrum directly, you're likely missing on where this data is/is not helpful. It's more a weather gauge than an accurate predictor of what given numbers mean. It's all self-reported data, so it's prone to error and misrepresentation of reality.


Pretty sure it isn't self-reported.

https://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/repeating-the-lsat


I'm talking about LSN/myLSN, friend.


That is useful clarification.

vitusiak
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby vitusiak » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:24 pm

UVA2B wrote:And to address your LSAT conundrum directly, you're likely missing on where this data is/is not helpful. It's more a weather gauge than an accurate predictor of what given numbers mean. It's all self-reported data, so it's prone to error and misrepresentation of reality. 173/3.8x is a really strong profile, and if you want your best shot at Yale, you have to personally decide how confident you are in scoring higher. If you think you can do it (like 176+ confident), then go for it because Yale will likely look brightly on that. But as it is, you will likely have some strong options if you put together a coherent application that makes admissions think highly of you as an applicant beyond the numbers. When you're talking named scholarships within the T13, it's somewhat number-crunching, but those scholarships are also more holistic and concerned with yield because they only have a certain number to give.


I think that's probably a fair criticism of my thinking; I'll have to mull on it with that in mind. I guess I'm hesitant to rely less on the only hard, albeit prone to misrepresentation, measure of predictability in the process.

UVA2B wrote:The academia thing is all well and good, but you should probably be 100% committed to that if it's something you want, because it takes a ton of work in getting published and producing literature that gets cited, which will be entirely in addition to the work you'd be doing at your law firm striving to eventually transition into in-house jobs at a hospital


Also valid, and part of the reason I'm not in a rush to apply this cycle. I'm working at in a pleasant but demanding firm and using my spare time/money to decompress from undergrad, establish a routine, and assess what/why/how I want. And then the next step is to articulate the answer, obviously. In a way, the personal statement is a really fun exercise. In the end, though, I don't think my answer to that question is going to materially change where I should hope to get in or my ultimate chances of achieving whatever from that school (and I think that's what you're trying to say too)

ExpectLess
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby ExpectLess » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:24 pm

Haven't lurked around here for years, but figured I'd throw in some perspective. I was a 4.0 and low 170s, which was my median practice score at the time. I initially did not consider retaking because I had studied a decent amount and was not making significant progress in practice tests beyond the low 170s. For reasons, I wanted to take an extra year to apply, so I started teaching LSAT prep classes full time. About half way through the year I had been waitlisted at HYS and accepted everywhere else in T14 with decent $. However, I wondered what my practice scores would look like having taught for six months, so I started taking new tests and was consistently reaching the high 170s. I decided to retake, hit high 170s, and subsequently got HY/Ruby. Needless to say, retaking my low 170s was among the best decisions I've made.

That said, you should consider a few things: Your score may not benefit quite as much from high 170s given that your GPA is lower and your starting LSAT is a touch higher than mine was and already at median for HY. I would not have retaken in my shoes or in yours unless I was consistently hitting high 170s on every practice test, both because retaking (at least doing it right) is a big commitment of time and energy and could plausibly hurt you at Y if you scored lower (although I doubt a lower retake would hurt much if at all anywhere else). I also had the luxury of teaching LSAT prep classes as my job, so I was steeped in LSAT every day. Nevertheless, although no one should plan on getting Y, if you really want Y it is unlikely you'd get it with current stats/background, which may make a retake worth it. Even if you retake, get higher, and still don't get Y, you almost certainly would get full rides at T14 schools with 3.8x and high 170s.

If I had to guess, I'd say the modal outcome of a retake is that you get a similar score and nothing changes. So it really comes down to how much time and effort you can expend, how much you enjoy the process of studying and test taking, and if you can reach high 170s on every practice test. Depending on the answer to those, the benefits of retaking could outweigh the costs, as they did in my case.

pricon
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Re: Crazy to retake a 173?

Postby pricon » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:31 pm

vitusiak wrote:Apologies for yet another retake thread; but it's hard to get sober advice IRL. I feel like I can talk most people I know into agreeing with whatever my gut feels at that moment because they're not too up-to-date on law school admissions.

My stats (and I really am grateful for these!): 3.8x/173; non-URM; mediocre softs; assume slightly above avg recs (both academic and say great things about me/my work to my face, so I'm fairly confident...?); definitely waiting until the 2018-2019 cycle b/c of work/life situation. Ever so slightly urgent though because my 7sage subscription is due to expire next week.

For the LSAT: 173 was my goal score at the very beginning of (self-)studying (diagnostic was low 160s) but I reached it about a month out and was hitting 176, etc. in the week before the exam. So I went in to the exam feeling good and confident and felt like, because I knocked LG out of the park, I might have achieved one of those upper scores and was ultimately a bit let down by the 173 (I know that sounds kind of douchey). Turns out I flipped my normal section breakdown; in PTs I was losing most points to LG and routinely getting -0 in LR. On the Sept. test I went -0 LG but -2 and -4 LR. Needless to say, I feel like I left those points on the table. But I'm also worried that whatever test I retake (Feb 2018 is most likely) could have a killer LG and I'd just end up worse.

Other analysis: According to LSAC data 173 is precisely the inflection point where retakers are just as likely to do better as they are to do worse; I have a fair hope that I'd be in the improved camp given the section breakdown, but obviously no guarantee. I'm also frustrated that it seems like 173 is a bit of a no-man's land score when paired with my GPA on LSN. It looks like overkill for just acceptance with no money to my target schools (UVa & Columbia in particular) but not good enough for my reaches (Yale chances seem to be 0-4%) or super significant scholarship (like the Rubenstein or Hamilton, which I've read kick in at 174/175; Dillard seems harder to predict?). Care about money insofar as I'd like to maximize opportunity as defined and limited by both career mobility and (lack of) financial freedom.

My goals: Interested in health law; current dream position would be hospital in-house counsel. Fairly unicorn-y, hence the interest in Yale and focus on the higher ranked schools. I'm not Yale or bust, but it feels so almost within reach.

-----

TL;DR: 173 is, I should say, an objectively good score that I wish I were hyper thrilled about. Falls ever so slightly short (yet so far) of my best case scenario. Should I retake or just count my blessings, see where this score will get me and not risk weakening my application? Am I neurotic for even dwelling on this?


You shouldn't beat yourself up about being a douche just because your expectations of yourself were raised, no matter how high they were to begin with. Maybe you are a douche some other way? You remind me of myself, and I think you need to try at least one more time to give this test your all. I was happy with my score, and I would have felt mixed feelings about even one or two points less, which is where you are standing now. Remember that this test will change your life!




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