When to take the LSAT?

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Bobson
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When to take the LSAT?

Postby Bobson » Mon May 27, 2013 2:40 am

Early this year, I decided to go to law school. I finished my associate degree this past semester, and have mapped out and begun enrolling in a courseload that will allow me to complete my undergrad work in mid-2014. The thing is, whether or not I'm able to graduate over the Summer of 2014 is essentially going to be a matter of luck. Northern Arizona University, where I'm completing my BS, requires a specific course to be taken in the final semester; and the best my advisor can do is tell me that specific course is "sometimes" offered over the Summer semester. Long story short, I have no guarantee of whether I'll graduate in Summer '14, or Fall '14.

Ideally, I would like to complete my BS in Summer '14 and begin law school immediately in the Fall, so I've registered for the LSAT next month, and have planned on applying to schools early this Fall. Now I'm wondering if this really is the best plan. The reason I'm rushing to finish undergrad and begin law school is because I'm a 28 year old husband and father, and I've been working full-time (in law enforcement) throughout my undergrad studies so far. My wife doesn't have a career that allows her to support the family well, so its a family sacrifice for me to even consider law school at this point.

What I'm wondering is, should I take the LSAT in June, apply to schools this Fall, and hope for the graduation in Summer next year? If I do this and get accepted, and end up not being able to graduate until the completion of Fall '14, will my acceptance at a school roll over to the following year? Or should I postpone my LSAT until next June, take it then, and plan to begin law school for certain in 2015?

Thanks. My apologies for the lengthy post.

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RhymesLikeDimes
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Re: When to take the LSAT?

Postby RhymesLikeDimes » Mon May 27, 2013 8:23 am

First thing, you want to make sure you don't take the LSAT until you're confident you can nail it. Five points on the LSAT can be the difference between a life of s***-law and your dream job. But if that is not an issue, then I would say that you should apply this Fall, and if things don't work out with graduating in the Summer, you can simply defer admission to the following year.

I don't know when NAU posts its Summer schedule, but I would imagine it's in the early Spring, before deposits are due. This also gives you the option of re-taking and/or re-applying the following year if your cycle doesn't go the way you want it to. Another semester or two of a 4.0 GPA could be a big boost to your app.

Don't get hung up on the age thing. The difference between graduating at 31 vs. 32 is non-existent in terms of job prospects, even if it seems like an eternity for you personally.

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Ixiion
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Re: When to take the LSAT?

Postby Ixiion » Mon May 27, 2013 8:57 am

+1 to everything Rhymes said.

Firstly, as he mentioned, you can usually defer an acceptance. Although, I would be diligent and look at defer deadlines for your target schools - some schools have their deadline by the deposit deadline, which may be too late for you depending on when your school releases the Summer schedule. (Though this is doubtful, but just check anyway.)

One question for you -- I was in a similar situation, so I worked with my professors and was able to take that class, which wasn't being offered that sem, as an Independent Study so that I could graduate on time without taking an extra semester for one course. Is that an option for you? Have you thought of it? If not, try to look into that. But go make nice with your Dean, explain your situation, and see what the Dean says *before* you talk to the Chair of that Dep't or the teacher for that course. If the Dean's on your side (who has the final say in all ISes), you have a better shot of making this happen.

However, the most important thing here, like Rhymes said, is the LSAT. Do not take it until you've had ample time to study for it and to become confident. It sort of seems like your decision was hastily made or rushed --- not in any way am I saying that you didn't think about it --- but it seems like if that is true, you may not have given yourself enough time to study. Don't forget, you can always take the October test and still apply this cycle!

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Bobson
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Re: When to take the LSAT?

Postby Bobson » Tue May 28, 2013 12:18 am

Ixiion wrote:One question for you -- I was in a similar situation, so I worked with my professors and was able to take that class, which wasn't being offered that sem, as an Independent Study so that I could graduate on time without taking an extra semester for one course. Is that an option for you? Have you thought of it?

That really hadn't occurred to me as an option, and I appreciate you sharing your experience. I'll definitely look into it.

Also, since both of you mentioned waiting on the LSAT until I feel confident, I have another question. As I mentioned in the OP, I'm already registered for the June LSAT, and ofc you know its too late to change my date or get a refund. The truth is I'm not where I want to be based on my PT scores. I've been scoring in the high 150s pretty consistently. I'll be sitting on a ~3.8 GPA after this Summer's courses, and I'd like an LSAT score in the high 160s (obviously the higher the better but I'm trying to be realistic given my PT scores).

The question is, do I take the LSAT anyway this June and get a better idea what to expect? Or do I simply withdraw my ticket and cut my losses on the reg fee, and get serious about testing in October? What's the best move here?

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SteelPenguin
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Re: When to take the LSAT?

Postby SteelPenguin » Tue May 28, 2013 12:40 am

Bobson wrote:
Ixiion wrote:One question for you -- I was in a similar situation, so I worked with my professors and was able to take that class, which wasn't being offered that sem, as an Independent Study so that I could graduate on time without taking an extra semester for one course. Is that an option for you? Have you thought of it?

That really hadn't occurred to me as an option, and I appreciate you sharing your experience. I'll definitely look into it.

Also, since both of you mentioned waiting on the LSAT until I feel confident, I have another question. As I mentioned in the OP, I'm already registered for the June LSAT, and ofc you know its too late to change my date or get a refund. The truth is I'm not where I want to be based on my PT scores. I've been scoring in the high 150s pretty consistently. I'll be sitting on a ~3.8 GPA after this Summer's courses, and I'd like an LSAT score in the high 160s (obviously the higher the better but I'm trying to be realistic given my PT scores).

The question is, do I take the LSAT anyway this June and get a better idea what to expect? Or do I simply withdraw my ticket and cut my losses on the reg fee, and get serious about testing in October? What's the best move here?


Don't take the test if you don't have a realistic chance of meeting your target score. A lower score may hurt you at HYS and even CCN. It's not worth wasting a test just for experience.

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Ixiion
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Re: When to take the LSAT?

Postby Ixiion » Tue May 28, 2013 8:12 am

Bobson wrote:
Ixiion wrote:One question for you -- I was in a similar situation, so I worked with my professors and was able to take that class, which wasn't being offered that sem, as an Independent Study so that I could graduate on time without taking an extra semester for one course. Is that an option for you? Have you thought of it?

That really hadn't occurred to me as an option, and I appreciate you sharing your experience. I'll definitely look into it.

Also, since both of you mentioned waiting on the LSAT until I feel confident, I have another question. As I mentioned in the OP, I'm already registered for the June LSAT, and ofc you know its too late to change my date or get a refund. The truth is I'm not where I want to be based on my PT scores. I've been scoring in the high 150s pretty consistently. I'll be sitting on a ~3.8 GPA after this Summer's courses, and I'd like an LSAT score in the high 160s (obviously the higher the better but I'm trying to be realistic given my PT scores).

The question is, do I take the LSAT anyway this June and get a better idea what to expect? Or do I simply withdraw my ticket and cut my losses on the reg fee, and get serious about testing in October? What's the best move here?


No problem! Glad I could help.

I'll echo SPenguin here and say absolutely don't take it. With that GPA, you shouldn't go anywhere but T14. If you havent yet, buy the Manhattan books (LR, RC, and LG) and the PowerScore LG Bible, and get to work for October! I know the reg fee is nothing to sneeze at but it'll be worth it in the end. You definitely shouldn't go anywhere under T10 with that GPA, let alone T14, and you'll need high 160s to 170s.

Exp might be nice, but if you get a score in the 150s, then retake and get say 170+, adcomms are going to want to know why & you'd have to write an addendum about it. And, frankly, "I didn't study enough the first time" doesn't sound like a compelling addendum!

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Bobson
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Re: When to take the LSAT?

Postby Bobson » Tue May 28, 2013 1:52 pm

Sounds good, thanks again for the advice. I'll pick up those books and start prepping seriously for October.




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