LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

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sjp08
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LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby sjp08 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:38 am

I posted this in the What are my chances? thread, but I think it may be more appropriate here...

I'm a little bit confused by all of the pessimism on this board. I understand that an acceptance is unlikely for someone below the middle 50% LSAT score range for a particular school. However, if the 25%-75% is something like 167-171 (I just made that up), that means that 25% of the incoming class has BELOW a 167. Granted, some of those will be URM. Even so, that is still a chance that someone in the 164-166 range will get in. I understand that it will be difficult and that chances are slim.... but somebody has to fill that bottom 25%.

If I'm wrong with this reasoning, please tell me.... but I really just don't get why someone would be discouraged from applying to a T14 or even T20 with an LSAT below the 25th percentile (as long as other factors are strong).

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doctorgonzo
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby doctorgonzo » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:45 am

Those people below the 25% percentile are: 1) Splitters (very high GPAs), 2) URM, 3) Fantastic softs like curing cancer.

In your example, if somebody has a 164/4.0, then they might get in. However, if you are below the medians for LSAT and GPA, you are going to have a rough go.

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SteelersandGators
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby SteelersandGators » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:48 am

Just to clarify for you, if the 25%-75% is 167-171, then that means 25% of the class has LSATs of 167 or less. It doesn't mean 25% are below 167.

If you have an LSAT below the 25%, a GPA above the 75% is the most likely way an "average" candidate would get admitted. Most of the spots below the 25% are reserved for URM admits, people with great softs, in-state residents, etc. Also, remember you are competing with applicants from your respective cycle, not with last year's cycle. Most schools are constantly trying to build a better numerical class, which means trying to improve on the previous year's 25%-75% profile.

sjp08
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby sjp08 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:55 am

Ok, thanks for the clarification on the exact meaning of percentiles. So if you have a point below the 25th percentile, but are at the 75th for GPA.... there is a shot. And depending on your PS, LORs, etc... that could be a decent shot.

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M53201
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby M53201 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:57 am

depends on the school but the general answer is, you have a shot. There's a chance you'll get in, but there's also a chance you'll be rejected. You'll just have to put as much work as you can into PS and LOR and cross your fingers.

sjp08
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby sjp08 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:00 am

Thank you for the responses. I'm hesitant to put up exact numbers because it seems like the first response from anyone on here is "RETAKE! That's an awful score and you won't get in and you're throwing your life away." I've seen so many responses along those lines to people with an LSAT in the 90th percentile or above! To me, that seems insane. Someone with a score like that (as long as it's accompanied by other strong factors) will get in to a top school (maybe not T6 or T14... but still a great school) without putting themselves through the ulcer-causing ordeal of a retake.

Anyway, thanks!

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MissVirginia
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby MissVirginia » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:13 am

While URM students clearly are represented below the 25th %ile, their presence both in the bottom of their entering class and their representation in the class period, are often vastly exaggerated.

For example, at Virginia in the Class of 2010 of 360 students, there are <30 African-American/ Hispanic/ Native American students. 1/4 of 360 = 90 students, but less than 1/3 of that number are URM. Granted there is the in-state contingency, but even if all ~30 URMs were in the bottom 25% (they aren't, but just for sake of argument)- that still leaves 60 less-than-25th %ile spots for non-URMs.

Virginia is just one example, but at many of the top schools there are few enough URM students that they are not the group making up ever more than ~33% or so of the bottom 25%.

Said all that to say, yes OP, often folks are way too pessimistic about their chances when they have strong borderline numbers.

YoungFogey
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby YoungFogey » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:19 am

sjp08 wrote:Thank you for the responses. I'm hesitant to put up exact numbers because it seems like the first response from anyone on here is "RETAKE! That's an awful score and you won't get in and you're throwing your life away." I've seen so many responses along those lines to people with an LSAT in the 90th percentile or above! To me, that seems insane. Someone with a score like that (as long as it's accompanied by other strong factors) will get in to a top school (maybe not T6 or T14... but still a great school) without putting themselves through the ulcer-causing ordeal of a retake.

Anyway, thanks!



Don't know what your scores are, but it sounds like you may need to do more research. Most law schools are not worth sticker price. If you LSAT isn't towards the top of their range, scholarship money may not be forthcoming. In which case the stress of a retake will be nothing compared with the stress of OCI.

If you have a really strong GPA and a low LSAT, you are really doing yourself a disservice by not retaking. Law schools generally weigh the LSAT more heavily and it is much easier to spend 3 mos studying again for a shot at a higher score than it is to spend the next decade or so trying to recreate the opportunities that a higher ranked school or more scholarship money could have opened up to begin with.

sjp08
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby sjp08 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:27 am

YoungFogey wrote:
sjp08 wrote:Thank you for the responses. I'm hesitant to put up exact numbers because it seems like the first response from anyone on here is "RETAKE! That's an awful score and you won't get in and you're throwing your life away." I've seen so many responses along those lines to people with an LSAT in the 90th percentile or above! To me, that seems insane. Someone with a score like that (as long as it's accompanied by other strong factors) will get in to a top school (maybe not T6 or T14... but still a great school) without putting themselves through the ulcer-causing ordeal of a retake.

Anyway, thanks!



Don't know what your scores are, but it sounds like you may need to do more research. Most law schools are not worth sticker price. If you LSAT isn't towards the top of their range, scholarship money may not be forthcoming. In which case the stress of a retake will be nothing compared with the stress of OCI.

If you have a really strong GPA and a low LSAT, you are really doing yourself a disservice by not retaking. Law schools generally weigh the LSAT more heavily and it is much easier to spend 3 mos studying again for a shot at a higher score than it is to spend the next decade or so trying to recreate the opportunities that a higher ranked school or more scholarship money could have opened up to begin with.


Actually, I have done my research. For this conversation, take financing a legal education out of the equation. I know that while going to a school in the T14 will open up a ton of opportunities, going to a T20 or T30 will still allow you to be successful. I know lawyers who went to schools not anywhere NEAR even top 50 and have wildly successful careers. So, someone who falls right into the ranges of schools like Emory, BU, etc. has numbers that give them a shot at some even higher ranked schools. Without a retake, that still enables them to get into a top school and have successful careers. So, I understand what you are saying about a retake being worth it and creating more opportunities or what not, it just isn't always necessary. I've gone beyond my own situation now because it's just a little annoying that people can claim that only the T14 (or schools close to that) will give you opportunities...

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doctorgonzo
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby doctorgonzo » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:30 am

sjp08 wrote:I've gone beyond my own situation now because it's just a little annoying that people can claim that only the T14 (or schools close to that) will give you opportunities...


Yes, that's very true. This web forum is definitely full of overachievers, and it shows.

I probably now have the numbers to get into a T14 with my retake, but I'm not going to. I have no desire to teach, or to work in BigLaw, so T14 with its accompanying huge debt makes no sense for me. You have to make the right choice for you, and for a lot of people that means not doing T14.

YoungFogey
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby YoungFogey » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:37 am

You're reading a lot into my post. I didn't say anything about the T14. I also won't take financing the education out of the equation. The vast majority of people going to law school are going into debt to do so. Even those that aren't financing it must look at the opportunity cost of tuition. Looking at the financial impact of admissions decisions is a critical component. The reality is that higher LSAT scores open up more opportunities, both for ranking and scholarship. If one has the GPA for Columbia but the LSAT for Emory and gets into Emory, retaking the LSAT and scoring higher will make Emory cheaper and might open up Columbia.

No matter how you slice it, it will take you longer than 3 mos to recreate the opportunities that an increase in LSAT will provide.

The only reason I see not to take the LSAT is if you have truly studied effectively and believe your LSAT score is completely reflective of your ability, or if you have the scores required (eg above 75th percentile) to maximize the scholarship opportunities of the schools you want to attend.

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BradyToMoss
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby BradyToMoss » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:40 am

I think you're being a little stubborn. Unless Mommy and Daddy are paying your 200k to go to a mid-20s school then, as previously mentioned, the "ulcer-level" stress of retaking the LSAT really will be nothing compared to first year exams and OCI when you're fighting to be one of the few who get a job that can pay off 200k debt in a realistic time frame. And don't think schools outside the t14 aren't LSAT whores as well; they all are. Don't come asking for help with a closed mind when people offer you sound advice.

Nemorino
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby Nemorino » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:44 am

SenatorDoherty wrote:I think you're being a little stubborn. Unless Mommy and Daddy are paying your 200k to go to a mid-20s school then, as previously mentioned, the "ulcer-level" stress of retaking the LSAT really will be nothing compared to first year exams and OCI when you're fighting to be one of the few who get a job that can pay off 200k debt in a realistic time frame. And don't think schools outside the t14 aren't LSAT whores as well; they all are. Don't come asking for help with a closed mind when people offer you sound advice.


TITCR.

Edit: "I know a successful attorney who got mediocre grades at a mediocre law school" doesn't really fly. Seeing as how we are relying on anecdotes, my friends and I "supervise" 40+ attorneys (called "contract attorneys") who earn 25-35 dollars an hour with little benefits and no job security. How absurd is that! They are all admitted attorneys with 7 years of higher education, and yet they are "supervised" by snot-nosed, fresh-out-of-college paralegals who, counting all the benefits, make more money than them. Most of the attorneys had mediocre grades (and $100k-200k in student loans) from mediocre law schools, and they are incredibly unhappy about their situation. I don't know what your numbers are, but if you are considering any law school outside the T25, think twice before attending.
Last edited by Nemorino on Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

sjp08
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby sjp08 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:47 am

SenatorDoherty wrote:I think you're being a little stubborn. Unless Mommy and Daddy are paying your 200k to go to a mid-20s school then, as previously mentioned, the "ulcer-level" stress of retaking the LSAT really will be nothing compared to first year exams and OCI when you're fighting to be one of the few who get a job that can pay off 200k debt in a realistic time frame. And don't think schools outside the t14 aren't LSAT whores as well; they all are. Don't come asking for help with a closed mind when people offer you sound advice.


You make that sound as if it is HORRIBLE to go to a mid-20s school. Regardless of who is paying tuition-- a school in the mid 20s is not bad!

And you're right, my mind is pretty closed to retaking the LSAT, I was just looking for some more positive attitudes on this site because it is not impossible to get into a good school with a mid 160 and it is not going to ruin your career as a lawyer if you don't go to the absolute highest ranked school that you can get in to. And, for the record, the reason I've decided not to retake is because I worked very, very hard for 3 months and my score was just above my average and slightly below the last few tests I did. So I just don't think it's worth it when chances are good that I'll get into a good school anyway.

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doctorgonzo
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby doctorgonzo » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:50 am

It sounds like you do not have a reason to retake then. If you studied as hard as you could, and got a score at or about your average, then you're right, there is no point to retake. And a mid-20s schools is great. Good luck!

YoungFogey
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby YoungFogey » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:59 am

No one said that it's horrible to go to a 20s ranked school.

At some level all decisions about law school have to hinge on money. You need to match up the opportunities a school offers with its cost. The higher your LSAT score is, the easier it is to do that. You can't argue your way out of that reality in law school admissions. To casually say you aren't going to retake because of the "ulcer inducing stress" seemed to betray a lack of understanding about that principle.

Now you've added the information that you aren't retaking because you believe you've reached your potential on the exam. That is a different story.

As with all applicants, when you have your best possible score, you need to look at finding the right balance on the opportunity/cost curve of schools. Schools of all rankings offer great opportunities for students, so long as what you are paying is in line with what you are likely to be able to earn when you get out.

Best of luck with your cycle!

sjp08
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby sjp08 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:06 pm

I threw out the ulcer inducing stress line mostly because I think this test is evil and a retake for anyone can cause serious anxiety but also because that is part of my thought process when considering a retake. Mostly I just don't think I can go much higher considering my practice scores and average, but I think at least considering the stress/anxiety/risk of retaking is a good idea. I didn't mean to say that just because it's super stressful, you shouldn't do it. So, sorry about that. And thank you for the info and advice!

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USC2009
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby USC2009 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:10 pm

YoungFogey wrote:To casually say you aren't going to retake because of the "ulcer inducing stress" seemed to betray a lack of understanding about that principle.


I can't imagine law school as the right path for anyone under that kind of stress/pressure anyway.

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ari20dal7
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Re: LSAT question (at or below 25th percentile...)

Postby ari20dal7 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:31 pm

Yes, apply with an LSAT a bit below the 25th.

No, don't expect to get in.

That's the key thing: you just have to be realistic about your prospects at that school. Even a sky high GPA isn't going to make up for the LSAT in many cases. So just make sure you apply someplace you'd be happy to attend where you will be in good shape with your LSAT.




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