3.8. G.P.A. and 138 on the LSAT can I get into law school?

Victor
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3.8. G.P.A. and 138 on the LSAT can I get into law school?

Postby Victor » Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:21 am

Hi everyone,

I’m completely lost as far as what I should about law school. I prepared for the LSAT for about three weeks and then finally decided to take the official exam. Unfortunately, I got a very bad score. I scored 138. I fully get the picture about my score and my percentile. I understand that law schools rely heavily on LSAT scores. But I never really had any inhibitions about getting into an Ivy-league school and I have other factors that favor me in the admissions process. I’m a sociology major and I’m slated to graduate with at least a 3.8 from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. I know I’m going to a state school and that my major is not the most impressive major to get into law school, but nonetheless I’m slated to graduate with a 3.8. G.P.A. I’m also Latino and I was actually born in Brazil. I’m 22 now and I came to this country when I was 11 years old. I'm also a member of several honor societies and I've received many honorary scholarships.

I don’t have the time to study for the LSAT’s and improve my score in time for fall 2008 admissions. I’m still in school and I’m plenty occupied. Is it possible with a 3.8 G.P.A., 138 on the LSAT and the fact that I’m Latino, to get accepted to an A.B.A. accredited law school? I am confident that I do not lack the intellect or study skills for law school. My score on the LSAT is just a matter of time-constraints and not being able to adequately study for the test. Also, I don’t want to take a year off school to study for the LSAT. If for some reason I have problems getting into an ABA accredited law school, I would consider going to business school and getting my M.B.A. at my current university and then apply to law school once I graduate from business school. However, my passion is law and I DEFINITELY want to got to law school. What I want to know is whether or not I can get into an ABA accredited law school, given the circumstances, with an 138 score on the LSAT. Please help!

One of the local ABA accredited law school near me is Roger Williams University School of Law. Roger Williams is a third tier law school. I would like for someone who understands about the topic, to go on the Roger Williams School of Law website and tell me whether or not, given the circumstances, I can get into the school. Thanks!
Last edited by Victor on Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:02 am, edited 12 times in total.

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dudnaito
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Postby dudnaito » Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:26 am

Honestly, a 138's pretty brutal, and your English seems more than proficient. You honestly don't have any excuses. You still have time to study, so buy some books and get cracking. I'm sure that even a 160 is within your reach, once you get the material down.

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iammyid
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Postby iammyid » Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:15 am

Straight from the horse's mouth. Um, I mean website.
Roger Williams University School of Law:
Percentile LSAT GPA
75th Percentile 156 3.5
Median 152 3.2
25th Percentile 151 3.0

I don't think a 3.8 will make up for the 138. But who knows, right?

My advice: study for the LSAT and retake. If you raise your score 10 measly points to a 148, you're golden.

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bumblebeechewna
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Postby bumblebeechewna » Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:04 am

you should refuse to "take what you can get" if you know that you can accomplish so much more :wink:

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Denny Crane
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Postby Denny Crane » Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:19 am

...
Last edited by Denny Crane on Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gokings814
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Postby gokings814 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:17 am

What did you do to prepare for the LSAT the first time?

If you just took the the test with minimum prep, I would HIGHLY advise that you delay your applications and try to take the LSAT again but this time with substantial prep....and I mean putting several months of effort either with private tutors or a class.

If you already did everything you could to prep the first time and feel that taking the LSAT again is fruitless, then you should focus on your soft factors and emphasize the GPA on getting into the best 3rd or 4th tier school possible.

It's your future. You make the choice. If you pull a 150 or better, your options will expand dramatically.

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lawduck
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Postby lawduck » Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:52 am

This is a tad harsh, but please don't be offended. I just strongly disagree with your stated reasons for keeping your 138.

Also, I don’t want to take a year off school to study for the LSAT.


In my opinion, a test as important as the LSAT deserves to be taken more seriously than this. I could understand applying with a 155 or so and citing unwillingness to take time off as reason not to retake. But a 138, let's face it, is pretty abysmal. I am confidant that you (and almost anyone else for that matter; 138 is the 10th percentile) can improve this score. I believe that there is no reason to settle for anything below 150 if there is even the slightest chance you can do better. If you retake and do the same or worse (which is pretty difficult to do) you're probably not going to be rejected anywhere that you wouldn't have been before. 138 is basically bottom of the barrel as it is.

I don’t have the time to study for the LSAT’s and improve my score in time for fall 2008 admissions.


Make the time, or take a year off. 138 is below the 25th percentile (actually fairly far below) for every single law school (including the fourth tier), so even with a 3.8 your chances are probably average at best. I don't necessarily think you'll be one of them thanks to your 3.8 (if you apply to many, many schools), but know that ~40% of all law school applicants don't get in anywhere (or so I've read). Many will also tell you the type of schools you'll get into with a score such as yours aren't worth attending (fourth tier). Though its unreasonable to expect (though such an achievement would not be impossible) a 160+, a 152-155 (a gain of 14-17, perfectly manageable with some good discipline) can squeeze you into some lower second tier schools I think.

You say you only put in 3 weeks; therefore, you almost assuredly did not reach your full LSAT potential. I would say that most people need approximately between 9 and 14 weeks to adequately prepare themselves for this test. Now obviously this isn't true for everybody, but it's likely true for you given that you ended up with a 138, a score that almost 90% of all test takers beat (many of whom did not study period). Your GPA, as well as your handling of the English language in this post (not a lot to work with, granted) do not scream "138 maximum" to me.

My advice: study and retake. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but trust me. If you really love law, and you can envision yourself pursuing it as a career, don't sell yourself short.

One of the local ABA accredited law school near me is Roger Williams University School of Law. Roger Williams is a third tier law school. I would like for someone who understands about the topic, to go on the Roger Williams School of Law website and tell me whether or not, given the circumstances, I can get into the school. Thanks!


According to the USNWR 2008 publication I have next to me, Roger Williams is fourth tier. Its LSAT 25th percentile is 151, which is pretty far above what you've got. Your GPA is high however, greatly exceeding their 75th percentile (3.46). That said, however, I still think your chances are probably fairly low given your LSAT. While LSN data is sparse, if I were to go solely with what's available there I'd say you're not getting in (take LSN with a grain of salt however).

Good luck.

firstguess
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Postby firstguess » Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:03 am

Your LSAT score of 138 is below Roger Williams's 25th percentile by about 2.5 interquartile spreads, indicating that it's a severe negative outlier (thank you, AP statistics). Your GPA, however, is only half an interquartile spread above the 75th percentile, indicating that it's not a positive outlier. This means that, assuming that GPA and LSAT are weighted equally, your good GPA can't make up for your very poor LSAT score. Of course, many if not most law schools weight LSAT more heavily, which only strengthens your need to study and retake.

firstguess
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Postby firstguess » Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:12 am

Though its unreasonable to expect (though such an achievement would not be impossible) a 160+, a 152-155 (a gain of 14-17, perfectly manageable with some good discipline) can squeeze you into some lower second tier schools I think.


lawduck, I could have sworn I saw this say "...a 151-153 (a gain of 13-15, perfectly manageable with some good discipline) can squeeze you into some lower second tier schools..."

It's pretty late, yes, but am I going crazy?

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lawduck
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Postby lawduck » Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:12 am

Very nice firstguess.

You wouldn't believe the drivel I'm being taught at the moment in my so-called stats class. Mean, median, mode? Way to spend an hour lecture on central tendency. it must be 1997 again because I'm apparently in 6th grade.

Edit: it's really late. I posted those initial numbers and then realized that I was probably being too lenient, so I revised my initial post. 153 is the 25th percentile at Mercer and Stetson, and 155 is the 25th at UofP, Univ. Louisville, Marqutte, and a few others. 156 and a 3.8 could feasibly get you SCU, which I know is a relatively strong regional school in Northern California.

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DAC
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Postby DAC » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:11 am

You and legaltouble should get along nicely.

FC15
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Postby FC15 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:16 am

Victor - while I'm not sure how the admissions process works at Roger Williams, for the most part it's a numbers game. Your GPA and LSAT scores are multiplied to give you an overall score, and only students within a certain score range will even have their applications considered. If you're serious about law school, you will have to put more time into studying. 3 weeks is not enough time for most people. If I were you I would start studying now and take the december exam. As long as you get your apps in by december you shouldn't have any problem.

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DelDad
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Postby DelDad » Sat Aug 11, 2007 9:00 am

You have a choice between putting in a few months of unpleasant time preparing for the LSAT or putting in one of the following:

a)three years at a lesser school than you are otherwise capable of getting into (as the above say, yo probably will not get into RW with the current score), while taking on $120k+ of debt for the privilege, and possibly having trouble finding a job in law afterwards that will let you pay back your loans

b)a lifetime of wondering what could have been if you don't get in any law school that is acceptable to you and therefore decide not to go.

If you are dead set against a year off, you still have the capability to study for the December test and apply this year. Preparing to retake should be treated as one of your "classes" this semester. If you don't think you will have time to do it, take one fewer course in the fall to give yourself more time to study and take an extra one in the spring. (If that sounds too hard, you'll probably need some time off between undergrad and law school anyway, given the amount of work you are up for in 1L)

Even if doing 3-4 classes plus preparing for the test and filing applications causes your GPA to tick down a few hundredths, a 150/3.76 will get you in a lot more places than a 138/3.80.

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DAC
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Postby DAC » Sat Aug 11, 2007 9:07 am

^titcr

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dudnaito
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Postby dudnaito » Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:49 am

why are people constantly talking about a year. Let's face the facts, most of us have not taken a whole year off. A good portion of us may have quit our jobs for 2-3 months to study, but a WHOLE year? You're just lazy at that point.

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Justin71
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Postby Justin71 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:56 am

Well must of us don't get 138's either.

wesleybs
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Postby wesleybs » Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:59 am

If you feel you can't study during the school year. Then take a year off. Use the year to prepare for the LSAT and to enjoy not having the stresses of school for a year. Most law students do take a year off, and the ones that don't often wish they had. I'm very thankful that I don't have to go straight into law school now that I've finished my undergrad. I can spend the next several months relatively stress free and really contemplating which school is best for me.

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DelDad
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Postby DelDad » Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:09 pm

It's not that anyone is suggesting that a year is needed to study, dudnaito - or that by taking a year off we mean doing nothing besides LSAT for that time. Just that year because of the particular three months he does need to study, it may be that a year (working) between undergrad and law school may be helpful in his circumstances

He's still in school, and realistically needs to be looking at seriously studying for the Dec test, doing schoolwork, and getting all this applications in this semester if he wants to apply for fall 08.

Taking the year lets him finish school, study over the summer, take the September 08 test, and get his applications done in October-November 08. If we we having this conversation in March 07, rather than now, the suggestions would be different (I.e study during the summer, take Sept 07, apply in the fall, without a year in between)

If he doesn't want to wait a year to apply, I think my advice above - to take a more limited course load in the fall, study hard, and get applications in by early January, is the way to go.

Victor
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PLEASE READ

Postby Victor » Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:54 pm

Hi everyone,

I want to thank everyone for giving me your advice in this matter. I hear a lot that forth tier law schools are even not worth attending. I really don’t understand the concept behind it because I’m from the school of thought that if one really likes law he/she will make do with their degree from even if it’s from a forth tier school. Sure anyone would rather get their degree from a first tier school, but not everyone is able to. I personally know what I want to do with my degree and I’m not too concerned if I get it from a forth tie school like Roger Williams or any other school.

In order for me to make some serious improvements to my LSAT score, I would DEFINITELY have to take a year off. This fall and spring I will have to take five classes each semester in order to graduate spring 08. This leaves very little opportunity to seriously study for the LSAT. If I were to study now for the October 1st LSAT before school begins September 4th, I think I would be in the same place I was when I scored a 138. I don’t think from now until September 4th is adequate time to study in order fro me to raise my score.

I want you guys to please shed some light for me on all this talk about forth tier schools not being worth attending. I fully understand that someone that graduates from Harvard Law will land that six-figure job and pick up that clerkship. But I think that if one is clever, he/she will make do with a degree from just about any school. Also, I know I score a 138, and I hate to say but…couldn’t the race card work for me (Latino)? Picture this: a guy who came to this country at the age of 11, graduates from a local school with a 3.8 G.P.A., Latino and more so than that, I represent a strong local Latino community (Brazilians), good reference letters, couldn’t I get into Roger Williams then? Are my only options non-ABA accredited local schools?

Also, I don’t feel comfortable taking a year off even knowing that I would certainly raise my score. I would opt to go to business school first, get my M.B.A. then get a job part-time and study for a year intensively. Also, what’s all this that I hear that it’s not even worth it retesting because law school focus more on your first score? Can any of you shed some light on that for me? Thanks again for all your comments and please help! What do you think I should do?

I met a local lawyer that is VERY successful and he graduated from a local non-ABA accredited school. He didn’t come from a rich family and the only thing he has is the knowledge of how to best use his law degree. Where I want to get at is, I know what I want to do with my degree. The local non-ABA accredited school that I’m speaking of is Southern New England School of Law. I know that I can definitely get into the school, even with a 138, shouldn’t the school be adequate for me? I know that where you get your degree counts but…doesn’t legal cunning and intellect also count? Please help me, what should I do?

Victor
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Postby Victor » Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:12 pm

Knowing that school starts again on September 4th, and the next LSAT test date is October 1st. I could study from now until September 4th intensively and then when school starts I can still study for the LSAT but not as intensively. What do you guys think, given the circumstances, should I sign up for the October 1st LSAT?

EMarie
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Postby EMarie » Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:25 pm

Yes, you SHOULD sign up to take another LSAT, whether it be in September or December. You don't HAVE to take a year off, but you will probably have to raise your score by atleast 10 points, which isn't as difficult as it sounds.
If you're set on going to law school, then you should be willing to take atleast an hour out of each day to study for the test. Why risk the possibility of not getting in?

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DelDad
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Postby DelDad » Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:53 pm

A fourth tier school can still be very well regarded in the area immediately surrounding the school, yes. Widener, the Tier 4 school in my area, places well in Delaware, and send many of its grads to Philly. The caveat to that is that you have to do very well at a school like that to compete with grads from higher ranked schools , and the competition to be in the top % at a tier 4 school is considerably greater than at a Tier 1 or 2 school.

Not remotely saying it's impossible (as your acquaintance shows), but you need to go in with open eyes (realizing that your acquaintance's success is anecdotal, rather than necessarily representative, evidence).

I don't know whether being Latino is enough of a factor to get you into RWU with a 138 or not, but my instinct is that it would not. For all applicants' including all their URMs, RWU lists 145 as the lower cuttoff for "Possible" admission for applicants with greater than 3.75 GPAs. http://officialguide.lsac.org//SearchResults/SchoolPage_PDFs/LSAC_LawSchoolDescription/LSAC3081.pdf
It is possible, of course, that they would take you as is, but it would be hard to count on.

Legal cunning, intellect, and desire do count in your legal career, most definitely. However, it's hard to get that initial job (which is so important for training, building practical experience, etc), unless you have connections, if the employer you want to work for doesn't come to interview at your school. (take a look at employment rates for students 9 month after graduation at RWU for example -- about 69% for any type of job, jegal field or otherwise -- and compare them with similar stats for the schools you would be looking at with various levels of improvement in LSAT score. RWU's numbers aren't great -- look at Quinnipiac's, for an example of a nearby school with not-much-higher admission rec, but better employment, bar passage, and median salary -- but I guarantee you they aren't even that good at a non-accredited school.)

Don't go to a non-aba school if you have the capability of getting into an aba school, whatever the tier. That's probably the most categorical statement you'll see me make on these boards. Southern New England's bar passage rate is below 30%, and if you do well and hope to transfer to a better school later, ABA approved schools won't take the credits :( Finally, if you ever want to move outside of MA or CT, you wouldn't be able to sit for the bar exam in your new state of residence. If you have the capability to earn a 3.8, you have the capability of scoring higher on the LSAT (it is a learnable test), and therefore the ability to get into an ABA accredited school.

In my opinion, you would indeed better off going to B school first and taking your time about doing the the LSAT right than you would be going to a non accredited law school.

To your other questions -

A full year to study is probably overkill - you will run out of useful study material after a few months if you study hard, and if you stretch them out over a year, you will have trouble sustaining improvements. I think your plan of studying hard until September 1 and then studying a little over the next moth may yield some results, but studying hard until September 1, and studying a moderate amount until the December test would be smarter and more effective, in my opinion. YMMV.

Most ABA accredited schools now take the higher of multiple LSAT scores, rather than the average of them, as the case used to be. Retaking and scoring higher would, without doubt, help your application.

Just my $0.27
Last edited by DelDad on Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lphat
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Postby lphat » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:35 pm

What did you do to prep for the LSAT?

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kn6542
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Postby kn6542 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:39 pm

Yeah, did you take any prep tests? If so, were you scoring this way then?
Are you sure something didn't happen to this test to cause a lot of wrong answers, like f-ing up the bubble sheet?

Victor
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Postby Victor » Sat Aug 11, 2007 8:01 pm

First of all, I want to thank everyone once again (deldad) for your responses. I think what I’ll do is I’ll study as much as I can and I’ll take the December LSAT. If for some crazy reason I still get the same grade, then at least I tried. At which point also, I would be going to business school first and then get a part-time job and study for the LSAT a full year. I’ll try to use everything I have to get into an ABA accredited law school. If I can’t, I’ll just go to business school first.

I was preparing for the LSAT with a Kaplan CD ROM for about three weeks, 6 hours per week. This time around I ordered some books and a newer CD ROM. Can anybody give me some advice about how to really study for the LSAT in timer for December. Keep in mind that I’ll be in school fall 07 and taking on 15 credits. At some points during the semester I’m going to have to shelf studying for the LSAT for a while. Thanks for your comments guys.




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