To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

kclifton
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To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby kclifton » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:48 pm

Well, like a few others, I've been anonymously reading and benefiting from this forum leading up to the June '10 test. First, thanks to those of you who post so much great information here! It's nice to know we're not alone. Also, if you haven't, read that book Outliers. The author talks about a guy with a crazy high IQ who has been pretty unsuccessful because of lacking social skills. He also talks about students with lower scores admitted to good schools who went on to be wildly successful. He says you only have to be smart ENOUGH, and how much smarter you after that threshold doesn't count for much. (In other words, maybe that 180 won't actually determine the future...)

If I might, I'm looking for a second (or third or fourth) opinion on my options. Basically, I'm hoping for a shot at a T5.

My LSDAS is 3.92
My June '10 LSAT score was 171.

I think my undergrad softs are fairly good. I've got 2 years work experience for a law-related nonprofit. I should have a stellar rec from my boss (Yale Law grad and someone well respected and well connected in human rights law), although I can probably only swing one academic rec after 4-5 years out of school. I'm leaving this summer to join the Peace Corps, so I'm looking to apply for 2012 or 2013.

I did only self-prep and scored a 179, two 178s, two 177s, and a 175 on timed recent PTs. I stopped doing as much prep because my goal was always a 175, and I was extremely pleased with my PT scores. On test day, I was stressed, but nothing major went wrong. The proctor called 5 minutes on the games section when we had 10 minutes left and there was some distraction, but I'm guessing any future administration I would take would have similar or worse conditions. My score was mainly a result of missing way more on LR than in the past.

So, if I decide to retake and manage to get a 175, will that change the types of schools I could get into?
If so, when should I plan to retake? Again, I won't be applying until 2012.

Thanks!

Thanks for any thoughts!

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:46 pm

Your GPA and softs will help you, and a 171 is nothing to be disappointed in. In responding to your post I'm going to assume you're a non-URM.

I think with your numbers you have a great shot at Boalt on down, and a small chance at CCN. Probably no chance at HYS. If you could get your score up to a 175, you would have a chance everywhere.

When you were PTing were you doing a 5 section test, or just doing the 4 without an experimental? Believe it or not, doing that extra fifth experimental section does make a difference in your stamina etc.

Hey-O
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby Hey-O » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:00 pm

JWicker10 wrote:Your GPA and softs will help you, and a 171 is nothing to be disappointed in. In responding to your post I'm going to assume you're a non-URM.

I think with your numbers you have a great shot at Boalt on down, and a small chance at CCN. Probably no chance at HYS. If you could get your score up to a 175, you would have a chance everywhere.

When you were PTing were you doing a 5 section test, or just doing the 4 without an experimental? Believe it or not, doing that extra fifth experimental section does make a difference in your stamina etc.


Why no chance at HYS? I get no H, but he has a fighting chance at Y and S. LSP gives him Strong Consider at S.

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:09 pm

Ya, I guess he has a small chance at S, but not HY in my opinion. Definitely apply to all three though OP, regardless of whether or not you retake.

A 171 is a little low for S, but they are also very heavy on GPA relative to most other T14 shcools, so I guess there is a small chance there. Your chances are also better at all schools if you apply early OP. It does make a difference.

kclifton
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby kclifton » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:18 pm

JWicker, yes, I was doing only 4-section practice tests, and I only took those 6. Definitely got over confident. And you're correct, I'm not a URM, other than being a girl.

Luckily, due to my job, I have a pretty strong personal connection at Boalt (one of their big name profs who is very involved with my organization) and connections at Stanford, Columbia, NYU, etc. Are those things I should try to play up in an application? And OMG, there were a couple times that like I showed Justice Ginsburg the bathroom and helped get her car, so I'm pretty sure I get like an extra 10,000 points for that....Want to avoid name-dropping in and of itself, but a couple profs could legitimately put in a good word for my work.

Also, is 175 a score I should be shooting for? Should I aim higher? Would a 171->173 be worth it? Any thoughts on when to retake?

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nillumin
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby nillumin » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:27 pm

where does one get 5 section practice tests?

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LSAT Blog
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby LSAT Blog » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:30 pm

nillumin wrote:where does one get 5 section practice tests?


LSAC only publishes the 4 scored sections of any released exam, but you can insert one section from another exam to serve as the 5th section.

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:12 pm

LSAT Blog wrote:
nillumin wrote:where does one get 5 section practice tests?


LSAC only publishes the 4 scored sections of any released exam, but you can insert one section from another exam to serve as the 5th section.


Ya same, that's exactly what I did.

At first I was only doing 4 sections, and once I added the fifth I noticed that my scores dropped quite a bit (this was early on in studying for me however). It may have been that I just wasn't as consistent at that point, but really I do think that taking the fifth section in your PT does make a difference.

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:17 pm

kclifton wrote:JWicker, yes, I was doing only 4-section practice tests, and I only took those 6. Definitely got over confident. And you're correct, I'm not a URM, other than being a girl.

Luckily, due to my job, I have a pretty strong personal connection at Boalt (one of their big name profs who is very involved with my organization) and connections at Stanford, Columbia, NYU, etc. Are those things I should try to play up in an application? And OMG, there were a couple times that like I showed Justice Ginsburg the bathroom and helped get her car, so I'm pretty sure I get like an extra 10,000 points for that....Want to avoid name-dropping in and of itself, but a couple profs could legitimately put in a good word for my work.

Also, is 175 a score I should be shooting for? Should I aim higher? Would a 171->173 be worth it? Any thoughts on when to retake?


It really just depends on what your goals are. Where do you want to end up/what are your top choices in terms of what schools you hope to get into? Also, what are your professional aspirations?

With your GPA, a 171 will already open up a lot of doors, so it really depends where you want to go and where you want to practice when you're deciding whether or not to retake.

I wouldn't play up my connections in my personal statement of anything if I were you. Your connect should be able to convey this to the reader/the reader should know who your connect is, if and when they write you a LOR. Also, they'll see your professional experiences on your resume. A lot of people do choose to write a PS about one of their professional experiences however, and if you do fall into that category I'm sure the adcomms will be familiar with your organization etc.

kclifton
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby kclifton » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:42 pm

JWicker10 wrote:
LSAT Blog wrote:
nillumin wrote:where does one get 5 section practice tests?


LSAC only publishes the 4 scored sections of any released exam, but you can insert one section from another exam to serve as the 5th section.


Ya same, that's exactly what I did.

At first I was only doing 4 sections, and once I added the fifth I noticed that my scores dropped quite a bit (this was early on in studying for me however). It may have been that I just wasn't as consistent at that point, but really I do think that taking the fifth section in your PT does make a difference.


Point taken. I definitely did find the LSAT to be more exhausting than other standardized tests. Did anyone else just feel sacrilege having a test administration in the middle of the afternoon?

JWicker10 wrote:
It really just depends on what your goals are. Where do you want to end up/what are your top choices in terms of what schools you hope to get into? Also, what are your professional aspirations?


My pipe dream is Yale, but I know that realistically, even for someone with perfect scores, that is a crapshoot. I would probably still apply with the score I got just on the off chance the chips fell my way. I'm more interested in the public sector or other 'alternative' career than BigLaw, though, so I would probably aim for Columbia/Boalt over Harvard.

Thanks for the advice!

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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby Hey-O » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:44 pm

JWicker10 wrote:
kclifton wrote:JWicker, yes, I was doing only 4-section practice tests, and I only took those 6. Definitely got over confident. And you're correct, I'm not a URM, other than being a girl.

Luckily, due to my job, I have a pretty strong personal connection at Boalt (one of their big name profs who is very involved with my organization) and connections at Stanford, Columbia, NYU, etc. Are those things I should try to play up in an application? And OMG, there were a couple times that like I showed Justice Ginsburg the bathroom and helped get her car, so I'm pretty sure I get like an extra 10,000 points for that....Want to avoid name-dropping in and of itself, but a couple profs could legitimately put in a good word for my work.

Also, is 175 a score I should be shooting for? Should I aim higher? Would a 171->173 be worth it? Any thoughts on when to retake?


It really just depends on what your goals are. Where do you want to end up/what are your top choices in terms of what schools you hope to get into? Also, what are your professional aspirations?

With your GPA, a 171 will already open up a lot of doors, so it really depends where you want to go and where you want to practice when you're deciding whether or not to retake.

I wouldn't play up my connections in my personal statement of anything if I were you. Your connect should be able to convey this to the reader/the reader should know who your connect is, if and when they write you a LOR. Also, they'll see your professional experiences on your resume. A lot of people do choose to write a PS about one of their professional experiences however, and if you do fall into that category I'm sure the adcomms will be familiar with your organization etc.


While I agree that I wouldn't drop names in PS or application, I've heard the Stanford puts a lot emphasis on LORs written by people with direct connection to Stanford.

kclifton
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby kclifton » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:53 pm

Hey-O wrote:
While I agree that I wouldn't drop names in PS or application, I've heard the Stanford puts a lot emphasis on LORs written by people with direct connection to Stanford.


Good to know. Any idea where to find out how other schools feel about those kinds of things? Or about freshly baked chocolate chip cookies?

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:00 pm

Hey-O wrote:
JWicker10 wrote:
kclifton wrote:JWicker, yes, I was doing only 4-section practice tests, and I only took those 6. Definitely got over confident. And you're correct, I'm not a URM, other than being a girl.

Luckily, due to my job, I have a pretty strong personal connection at Boalt (one of their big name profs who is very involved with my organization) and connections at Stanford, Columbia, NYU, etc. Are those things I should try to play up in an application? And OMG, there were a couple times that like I showed Justice Ginsburg the bathroom and helped get her car, so I'm pretty sure I get like an extra 10,000 points for that....Want to avoid name-dropping in and of itself, but a couple profs could legitimately put in a good word for my work.

Also, is 175 a score I should be shooting for? Should I aim higher? Would a 171->173 be worth it? Any thoughts on when to retake?


It really just depends on what your goals are. Where do you want to end up/what are your top choices in terms of what schools you hope to get into? Also, what are your professional aspirations?

With your GPA, a 171 will already open up a lot of doors, so it really depends where you want to go and where you want to practice when you're deciding whether or not to retake.

I wouldn't play up my connections in my personal statement of anything if I were you. Your connect should be able to convey this to the reader/the reader should know who your connect is, if and when they write you a LOR. Also, they'll see your professional experiences on your resume. A lot of people do choose to write a PS about one of their professional experiences however, and if you do fall into that category I'm sure the adcomms will be familiar with your organization etc.


While I agree that I wouldn't drop names in PS or application, I've heard the Stanford puts a lot emphasis on LORs written by people with direct connection to Stanford.


Very true. I've heard this as well.

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:03 pm

Taking your goals into consideration, I'd recommend that you go to the best school you get into while also heavily weighing any significant scholarship offers you may receive. With your current numbers you are a very likely candidate at Boalt, and have an ok chance at Columbia/NYU. NYU is very well regarded for their public sector and public interest law, so you may want to consider there as well. However, to be a strong consider/auto admit at CCN an extra 2 to 3 points would go a long way.

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Veyron
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby Veyron » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:03 pm

Kid I knew admitted to H last year with similar #'s and crappy softs.

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:05 pm

Veyron wrote:Kid I knew admitted to H last year with similar #'s and crappy softs.


This is definitely the exception, not the rule. I knew 3 people who all had better numbers than you that were either dinged or WLed.

http://harvard.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats

That's not to say you have no chance, but you're definitely not an auto-admit there. Again, applying early in the cycle will better your chances.

kclifton
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby kclifton » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:09 pm

JWicker10 wrote:Taking your goals into consideration, I'd recommend that you go to the best school you get into while also heavily weighing any significant scholarship offers you may receive. With your current numbers you are a very likely candidate at Boalt, and have an ok chance at Columbia/NYU. NYU is very well regarded for their public sector and public interest law, so you may want to consider there as well. However, to be a strong consider/auto admit at CCN an extra 2 to 3 points would go a long way.


Thanks, yeah, NYU would be pretty awesome. Also, I feel like I should know this, but does the fact that I did undergrad at Columbia help or hurt my chances there? I feel like it might be frowned upon on the whole.

If I might, how much did your PT scores come back up once you started doing 5-section tests? I actually just looked back, and I missed 5 of my -10 on the first section of the test...maybe I need to work on nerves too!

kclifton
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby kclifton » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:10 pm

JWicker10 wrote:
Veyron wrote:Kid I knew admitted to H last year with similar #'s and crappy softs.


This is definitely the exception, not the rule. I knew 3 people who all had better numbers than you that were either dinged or WLed.

http://harvard.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats

That's not to say you have no chance, but you're definitely not an auto-admit there. Again, applying early in the cycle will better your chances.


This is true even at Harvard?

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:33 pm

kclifton wrote:
JWicker10 wrote:
Veyron wrote:Kid I knew admitted to H last year with similar #'s and crappy softs.


This is definitely the exception, not the rule. I knew 3 people who all had better numbers than you that were either dinged or WLed.

http://harvard.lawschoolnumbers.com/stats

That's not to say you have no chance, but you're definitely not an auto-admit there. Again, applying early in the cycle will better your chances.


This is true even at Harvard?


Ya.

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JWicker10
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Re: To retake and when? (Another request for advice)

Postby JWicker10 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:36 pm

kclifton wrote:
JWicker10 wrote:Taking your goals into consideration, I'd recommend that you go to the best school you get into while also heavily weighing any significant scholarship offers you may receive. With your current numbers you are a very likely candidate at Boalt, and have an ok chance at Columbia/NYU. NYU is very well regarded for their public sector and public interest law, so you may want to consider there as well. However, to be a strong consider/auto admit at CCN an extra 2 to 3 points would go a long way.


Thanks, yeah, NYU would be pretty awesome. Also, I feel like I should know this, but does the fact that I did undergrad at Columbia help or hurt my chances there? I feel like it might be frowned upon on the whole.

If I might, how much did your PT scores come back up once you started doing 5-section tests? I actually just looked back, and I missed 5 of my -10 on the first section of the test...maybe I need to work on nerves too!


Even though they're rivals, Columbia is a very respectable UG. I definitely do not think it will hurt your chances at NYU.

Well it was early on in my PTing, and when I did my first 4 section PT my score went up 8 points from the previous. When I switched back to 5 my score dropped 7 points initially I believe (not that this is any sort of accurate metric for your situation). I think part of the score variance was due to luck, and part because of the one less section.

However, I did take a class and they always harped on us to do the 5 section test in real time in terms of breaks etc. You might as well practice the same way you're going to end up testing to work out any and all kinks.




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