AllysonM wrote:Thank you....both for the answer and not calling me stupid because I'm just getting starting on this whole law school thing. LOL I went back to school at age 37... graduating with BA in May finally.. and think I could really excel at law school.
One more question: my gpa over past 3 years is 3.87. BUT overall UGPA is 3.45 (might be 3.5 at graduation (May) because of my horrible college grades 20 years ago (imported a 2.15 from 1990). Which do law schools look at more? Also if I'm looking at a T14 school, do you suggest I put it off a few months and retake in June if score isn't...... (fill in number here). Thanks again for your help. I didn't know this was all so complicated (and competitive). I feel like I'm going from being top dog in my class to just a number -- it's kind of disheartening to say the least!!
(ETA: this is def tl;dr for anyone who isn't the user I'm quoting...)
Hey Allyson, welcome to TLS! I can't stress enough that you should really go to some of the other boards on here to ask for advice - everyone in this thread is a 0L (hasn't started law school yet - of course) and as such the advice we can give is limited. That said, while obviously your current, high GPA is far more indicative of your abilities than a GPA from two decades ago, the main issue here is that schools HAVE to report the cumulative GPA, that GPA is what affects their medians, and their medians in turn affect their USNWR ranking. And admissions committees really, really care about the rankings.
There are, of course, mitigating circumstances for GPAs. For instance, maybe one 3.5 was a neuroscience/physics double major and another was a basket-weaving major. Maybe one 3.5 went to a school notorious for grade deflation. Maybe another got the bad parts of her GPA 20 years ago. From the anecdotes we have, it does seem that schools take these things into account, some more than others, but the facts are that we are not adcomms and we can't know for sure. Law school admissions, in general, are VERY predictable. There are websites (mylsn.info) where you can plug in your cumulative GPA and your LSAT score and get pretty good estimations of where you'll get in and where you won't. I'm guessing your cycle won't be so predictable. I certainly wouldn't plug in 3.85 and expect those results, but I also wouldn't plug in 3.5 and expect those results. Depending on your LSAT score, you should apply to a wide range of schools and see what happens.
In terms of retaking, TLS is very pro-retake in most cases simply because of the sheer cost of law school. If you plan to take out the full cost of tuition plus cost of living in loans, you can easy end up with $250K, $300K in debt. That can be an incredibly scary prospect if your school is only getting, say, 50% of its students legal jobs (check out lawschooltransparency.com for the best detailed info about job prospects that we have) and 3% in biglaw (the only real way to pay off that magnitude of debt as a lawyer right out of law school). It is for these reasons that, in general, TLS doesn't recommend going to the vast majority of law schools for sticker price. People here tend to recommend T14s or solid regionals with big scholarships (like state flagships in a market without better law schools). And you need a certain type of LSAT score to get any of these options (at least a median LSAT for T14s and a 75% for the regionals with scholarship - that is an oversimplification though of course).
Sorry to be so long-winded; I'm mostly just trying to give you an idea of where people will be coming from when you ask for advice. But again, I really urge you to make a post elsewhere so that more experienced users (law students, law graduates and even some adcomms) can weigh in. Of course, feel free to hang out with us for general waiting-griping and score release day-predicting! Good luck!