Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

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pjohnstron0626
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Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby pjohnstron0626 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:52 am

I posted this on another thread but did not get any feedback. Perhaps the learned people viewing "Law School FAQ" can help:

I've read the forum posts on taking the LSAT a third time, but I have already been accepted and signed a binding deferral form to a T14 school last year to enter in the fall of 2014. I am considering retaking the LSAT again for potentially qualifying for a merit scholarship to the school I will be attending.

Can anyone offer some insight into taking the LSAT for a third time while on a binding deferral?
Would a school be more likely to consider offering a scholarship with an improved LSAT score (albeit for a third time), and an addendum on how the applicant has grown since his/her initial acceptance?
Alternatively, is there anything to lose by taking them again?

On a personal note, since my deferral, I have earned a master's degree and started on a PhD (which I will complete before my 1L year) from a top five university in the world. I have also won three national research fellowships for my academic work and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at my undergraduate university. I realize these do little for my application, as LSAT and GPA seem to trump all other factors, but I thought I'd mention them nonetheless (especially as they have all been after my acceptance). Now, I wonder if I am any more likely to earn any merit funding for law school? Because I have been offered a job in an unrelated field, the prospect of borrowing 200,000 is getting harder to justify.

Any insight into retaking the LSAT while on a binding deferral would be great.

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twenty
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby twenty » Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:18 am

The biggest question is, how the EFFING EFF are you doing a PhD in three years?

pjohnstron0626
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby pjohnstron0626 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:26 am

I'm actually doing the PhD in two-years (and yes, this is VERY optimistic). UK PhD's are based purely on the completion of your thesis. Because my PhD thesis will be an extension of my Master's thesis, I have already satisfied a year of the residence. In addition, because I have no illusions of a career in academia, I have opted not to teach undergrad.'s or get lost in extraneous journal publications (this saves serious time). Also, much of what I work on is digitized (Watergate, Congress, 1970s politics, etc). Given this narrow chronological focus and the digital records of my topic, I do not require the standard 12-18 months of archival research trips. On a personal level, because I've been working and interested in my topic for several years, my knowledge of the secondary literature is strong to begin with (which takes most students a year anyway). Lastly, most students, at Oxford at least, finish humanities PhD's in three years (so two doesn't seem THAT much shorter ;)

More to the point, does retaking the LSATa third time matter while on a binding deferral if your motivation is purely reconsideration for merit $?

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twenty
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby twenty » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:18 am

pjohnstron0626 wrote:Any insight into retaking the LSAT while on a binding deferral would be great.


There is really never a downside to retaking the LSAT. If your score is significantly better, you can "threaten" to drop the deferral and just not go to law school that year. Probably won't get a ton of money out of that, but hey, certainly some.

Depending on your score/GPA, I'd consider dropping the deferral as it is. Unless you got into a school with a super low GPA (unlikely as that is, since Oxford has a cut-off of what, 3.8?), I think you might be best off retaking a third time and reapplying to the whole T14.

pjohnstron0626
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby pjohnstron0626 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:09 pm

I feel far too lucky to have gotten into this particular school (based on my 163 LSAT) to risk dropping the deferral. And to be completely honest, it's where I have always wanted to go. Additionally, the prospect of reapplying to law schools seems exceptionally grim. Do you recommend speaking to an admissions officer before retaking the LSAT, or reaching out to them after the fact (assuming I improve)?

And while I do take your point about reapplying with a new score (should it improve), I do not want to take another year and add to my already long road in higher education. Not to mention, I don't think a third score would charm the top 3 or 4 schools. Thoughts?

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twenty
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby twenty » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:01 pm

Fair enough; I don't think speaking with an admissions officer is going to help all that much. Assuming your undergrad GPA is 3.8+, you do stand a good chance of getting into a T6/Harvard/where you're already at with a lot of money/etc. if you retook the LSAT and did better. If nothing else, I think a solid retake would give you a much better negotiating spot with the school you're already at.

The LSAT is very learnable, as you've no doubt gathered from the forums here. I am certain a 173 would put you solidly into Harvard territory, even with three takes, but even a 169 would still do wonders to your cycle. I do fully understand disinterest in waiting out a full year, however.

How about this -- retake the LSAT a final time in October, trying for the best score you can get. If you do worse, you're out $100 from the test sitting, no harm done. If you do marginally better, you can try negotiating your current school for more money. If you do significantly better, drop the deferral and come back. With a 170~ and a 3.8+ GPA (especially with your background), a full-ride ED to NU is definitely in the cards. At that point, as painful as it is, sitting out a year and decreasing your law school costs by 200k+ is probably worth it.

Good luck. Thanks again for all your help over PM. :)

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guano
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby guano » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:18 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
pjohnstron0626 wrote:Any insight into retaking the LSAT while on a binding deferral would be great.


There is really never a downside to retaking the LSAT. If your score is significantly better, you can "threaten" to drop the deferral and just not go to law school that year. Probably won't get a ton of money out of that, but hey, certainly some.

Depending on your score/GPA, I'd consider dropping the deferral as it is. Unless you got into a school with a super low GPA (unlikely as that is, since Oxford has a cut-off of what, 3.8?), I think you might be best off retaking a third time and reapplying to the whole T14.

You can't drop a binding deferral and apply elsewhere that easily.

pjohnstron0626
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby pjohnstron0626 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:23 pm

To be clear, doesn't "dropping the binding deferral" preclude me from applying this year? If I retook the LSAT in October or December and improved, could I drop the deferral and reapply to other schools for the fall of 2014? Apart from seeming unethical, it seems contrary to the terms of the binding deferral agreement...

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twenty
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby twenty » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:39 pm

pjohnstron0626 wrote:To be clear, doesn't "dropping the binding deferral" preclude me from applying this year? If I retook the LSAT in October or December and improved, could I drop the deferral and reapply to other schools for the fall of 2014?


No, it would have to be fall of 2015 (assuming you're currently deferred to enter in fall of 2014).

You can't drop a binding deferral and apply elsewhere that easily.


Obviously you can't drop a binding deferral and apply the same year (typically), but clearly he could just not attend any law school in 2014 and reapply regularly for 2015 admission instead?



EDIT> 1k posts. Happy birthday, me.

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guano
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Re: Scholarships, Binding Deferrals, and retaking LSAT

Postby guano » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:55 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
pjohnstron0626 wrote:To be clear, doesn't "dropping the binding deferral" preclude me from applying this year? If I retook the LSAT in October or December and improved, could I drop the deferral and reapply to other schools for the fall of 2014?


No, it would have to be fall of 2015 (assuming you're currently deferred to enter in fall of 2014).

You can't drop a binding deferral and apply elsewhere that easily.


Obviously you can't drop a binding deferral and apply the same year (typically), but clearly he could just not attend any law school in 2014 and reapply regularly for 2015 admission instead?

EDIT> 1k posts. Happy birthday, me.

Usually they'll hold your deferral for a few years. There was a poster here a while back who tried, and they basically wrote him to let them know if/when he changes his mind




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