Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Hands
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Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby Hands » Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:53 pm

I hate to clog the forum with sad sap stories, but I was hoping to get some advice from students already in the field, with perhaps better perspective on my situation.

Despite having never shown any difficulties in test taking in my academic career, I've had woeful difficulties managing LSAT anxiety. After taking a cold LSAT after my undergraduate to gauge my abilities, I scored a 163 in December 2013--- because of the fact that i knew this was a throw-away score, I performed at my highest level in regard to my abilities at that time. However, I obviously wanted to score higher. In prepping for a "real" go at the test this past September, I was testing between 167 and 171. On test day, I had some anxiety difficulties and ended up canceling my score (a decisions which was rash, considering I later projected my score to have still been 165-166).

But, resetting myself, I prepared again for the December test date. Once again, all my practice tests (timed, in near-exact test conditions) were between 167 and 170. On test day, I could feel my anxiety creeping, so I popped a pill to subdue my nerves. This ended up being incredibly detrimental to my performance, as my focus was clouded, pace was slowed, and I ran out of time on all my sections: something I've never done in my practice.

Considering all the phone-in answers from running slow, I know that I didn't meet my target of 170 or even my testing floor of 167. It's 50/50 as far as I'm concerned whether I even scored up to my cold score of 163 from a year ago. So, considering the near-impossibility of getting into my target school of Washington University (whose median score is projected at 166), would I be best suited attending a lower-tier school (St. Louis University is ranked in the 90's) or switching my career ambitions? As I am 24 and now have 3 official enrollments on my record, if I were to try to actually test up to my abilities and get a real shot at a good school, I wouldn't be able to attend until I'm 27. And who knows if I wouldn't just choke on test day again.

I<3ScholarlySweets!
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby I<3ScholarlySweets! » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:03 pm

What is your ugPA? U might have a shot at wustl with a high enough ugpa

Hands
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby Hands » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:09 pm

I<3ScholarlySweets! wrote:What is your ugPA? U might have a shot at wustl with a high enough ugpa


Not good enough. 3.37.

I knew from the get-go that I would have to score consistent with their median score to have a shot. I figured once my testing floor was 167, I could give myself the benefit of the doubt.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby I<3ScholarlySweets! » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:13 pm

Can u describe how you prepared for the September and December lsat? How long? How many hours? Which prep materials? Did you review every preptest ? Did u drill questions that gave u difficulty?

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Kratos
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby Kratos » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:14 pm

Honestly, if you have really bad test anxiety that probably is not gonna go away when you take a law school exam. most likely you're gonna be looking at schools where you need to be tippy top to get a good job. In your shoes, I would wait it out, retake when I can again, and work in the meantime. 27 isn't old anyway, and who knows, maybe you'll find a career that you really like.

Do you have a full time job now?

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby BigZuck » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:16 pm

Not sure I understand what this means:

"I am 24 and now have 3 official enrollments on my record, if I were to try to actually test up to my abilities and get a real shot at a good school, I wouldn't be able to attend until I'm 27."

Can't you take it again in December of 2015 or February of 2016?

SLU isn't a very good school, I wouldn't go if that was your only option unless it was free and you have a guaranteed job (like working at the family firm) or someone was covering living expenses and you wanted to try and get a job at a small firm/local government position

Eta: also, I was older than 27 when I started law school, it wasn't a big deal.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby I<3ScholarlySweets! » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:20 pm

Bigzuck - was it a big deal during interviews (for landing a job)?

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby BigZuck » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:26 pm

I<3ScholarlySweets! wrote:Bigzuck - was it a big deal during interviews (for landing a job)?


Hard to say, I'm leaning toward no? I didn't have very good work experience and my ties to the area were perceived as tenuous I think. Both of those were probably bigger issues during OCI than my age.

If you go to law school as a 27+ year old you might feel kind of socially distant from a lot of your classmates in a "I'm just too old for this crap" kind of way. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing but YMMV.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby Hands » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:28 pm

Kratos wrote:Honestly, if you have really bad test anxiety that probably is not gonna go away when you take a law school exam. most likely you're gonna be looking at schools where you need to be tippy top to get a good job. In your shoes, I would wait it out, retake when I can again, and work in the meantime. 27 isn't old anyway, and who knows, maybe you'll find a career that you really like.

Do you have a full time job now?


That's the strange part: throughout my undergraduate, high school career, etc., I never experienced any such anxiety. I had always been a very efficient test-taker, which only makes my continued failure at dispelling my LSAT anxiety harder to swallow. Although, I can't place the blame solely on test anxiety this time, as it was the measures taken to prevent it that ended up doing me in.

I currently work full-time as a data analyst for a non-profit. It's unsatisfying hourly work with limited/nonexistent upward mobility.

BigZuck wrote:Not sure I understand what this means:

"I am 24 and now have 3 official enrollments on my record, if I were to try to actually test up to my abilities and get a real shot at a good school, I wouldn't be able to attend until I'm 27."

Can't you take it again in December of 2015 or February of 2016?

SLU isn't a very good school, I wouldn't go if that was your only option unless it was free and you have a guaranteed job (like working at the family firm) or someone was covering living expenses and you wanted to try and get a job at a small firm/local government position

Eta: also, I was older than 27 when I started law school, it wasn't a big deal.


Yes, I'm aware of SLU's status. Beyond being a middling school, it's also incredibly expensive for the quality of its degree.

To answer your question, my first test date was in December of 2013, so I believe I would not qualify for a 4th test until February 2016, which would render a score too late for the 2016 admissions year.

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Calbears123
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby Calbears123 » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:34 pm

Samething happen to me. 156 first time 163 second time (Testing 168 +) totally bombed the game section this morning and cancelled my score. What am I going to do? Well I've always wanted to be a lawyer and my 3.53 gpa can get me into a school like Notre Dame (Dream school is Berkeley or even USC UCLA but thats not going to happen). Both Berkeley and UCLA have big transfer classes. So I'm going to rock my first 2 semesters and see if I can transfer. If not I can live with going to Notre Dame, or a school like George Washington.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby BigZuck » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:37 pm

Calbears123 wrote:Samething happen to me. 156 first time 163 second time (Testing 168 +) totally bombed the game section this morning and cancelled my score. What am I going to do? Well I've always wanted to be a lawyer and my 3.53 gpa can get me into a school like Notre Dame (Dream school is Berkeley or even USC UCLA but thats not going to happen). Both Berkeley and UCLA have big transfer classes. So I'm going to rock my first 2 semesters and see if I can transfer. If not I can live with going to Notre Dame, or a school like George Washington.


Just don't go to law school, you don't want to be stuck with an expensive ND degree (which is almost certainly all that you'll end up with) if you're looking to get a job in CA.

Retake or don't go in this situation, IMO

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chuckbass
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby chuckbass » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:40 pm

WUSTL 1L here.

First, don't go to SLU.

Second, if you want WUSTL and can get a 167+ you'll get in and should be able to get pretty good money. While 27 would be older for law school, if you're social and want to enjoy the social scene of law school it won't be a detriment, at least not here.

Also I'd say if you want WUSTL because you want to get a job in STL, I'd tell you to move here and work while you're waiting to retake, because the STL market is crazy about ties.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:46 pm

BigZuck wrote:
I<3ScholarlySweets! wrote:Bigzuck - was it a big deal during interviews (for landing a job)?


Hard to say, I'm leaning toward no? I didn't have very good work experience and my ties to the area were perceived as tenuous I think. Both of those were probably bigger issues during OCI than my age.

If you go to law school as a 27+ year old you might feel kind of socially distant from a lot of your classmates in a "I'm just too old for this crap" kind of way. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing but YMMV.

Honestly, looks factor in here. If you look young then nobody might even notice. Job placement is as simple as school, rank, interview. Because of the age discrimination act you aren't even likely to put your college grad yr on the resume. People don't really care how old you are unless it's a huge, think 10 yr discrepancy.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby I<3ScholarlySweets! » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:49 pm

Bigzuck is right: Nortre dame degree won't get u far in California.

Also, many USc and UCLA grads are struggling cause California is a very competitive market and you basically need a degree from T14 to make it

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Calbears123
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby Calbears123 » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:57 pm

I<3ScholarlySweets! wrote:Bigzuck is right: Nortre dame degree won't get u far in California.

Also, many USc and UCLA grads are struggling cause California is a very competitive market and you basically need a degree from T14 to make it


The 4 ND grads I know all seem to be doing fine and are happy with their jobs in Nor Cal

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:00 pm

Hands wrote:I hate to clog the forum with sad sap stories, but I was hoping to get some advice from students already in the field, with perhaps better perspective on my situation.

Despite having never shown any difficulties in test taking in my academic career, I've had woeful difficulties managing LSAT anxiety. After taking a cold LSAT after my undergraduate to gauge my abilities, I scored a 163 in December 2013--- because of the fact that i knew this was a throw-away score, I performed at my highest level in regard to my abilities at that time. However, I obviously wanted to score higher. In prepping for a "real" go at the test this past September, I was testing between 167 and 171. On test day, I had some anxiety difficulties and ended up canceling my score (a decisions which was rash, considering I later projected my score to have still been 165-166).

But, resetting myself, I prepared again for the December test date. Once again, all my practice tests (timed, in near-exact test conditions) were between 167 and 170. On test day, I could feel my anxiety creeping, so I popped a pill to subdue my nerves. This ended up being incredibly detrimental to my performance, as my focus was clouded, pace was slowed, and I ran out of time on all my sections: something I've never done in my practice.

Considering all the phone-in answers from running slow, I know that I didn't meet my target of 170 or even my testing floor of 167. It's 50/50 as far as I'm concerned whether I even scored up to my cold score of 163 from a year ago. So, considering the near-impossibility of getting into my target school of Washington University (whose median score is projected at 166), would I be best suited attending a lower-tier school (St. Louis University is ranked in the 90's) or switching my career ambitions? As I am 24 and now have 3 official enrollments on my record, if I were to try to actually test up to my abilities and get a real shot at a good school, I wouldn't be able to attend until I'm 27. And who knows if I wouldn't just choke on test day again.

How sure are you that you screwed up? Do you know you guessed on a bunch? If you're incredibly anxious you obviously have a predisposition to assume the worst. Just retake the test. The LSAT is relatively low risk in the sense that only your highest score matters. In this regard, it's the lowest stakes test outside of 3L or the MPRE you'll ever take.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby I<3ScholarlySweets! » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:04 pm

What year did ur friends from ND graduate? The California market gets more competitive every year. And with a uGpA lower than their median would probably disqualify him from substantial scholarships.

03152016
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby 03152016 » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:07 pm

op, i'd wait until you get your score back before making any decisions
all the time i'd have students tell me they got crushed, only to find out they outperformed even their PTs

@calbears
hope you have rich folks
you will not get enough money out of notre dame to make it remotely defensible to debt-finance
also, you will not "rock your first 2 semesters" and you will not be able to transfer out

Jchance
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby Jchance » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:07 pm

I agree, third option is the best option, sit out and retake until u get your score. 27 is not old for law school.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:10 pm

I<3ScholarlySweets! wrote:What year did ur friends from ND graduate? The California market gets more competitive every year. And with a uGpA lower than their median would probably disqualify him from substantial scholarships.

The honest truth is the #'s don't really matter.

More people from ND get CA jobs than people from other 20-30 schools, because more people from CA go to school at ND. If OP is dead set on LA then UCLA is always going to be the right choice unless they get HYS. Whatever #s would get them into CCN could get them a lot of $ to UCLA, and the odds of having the class rank that make a difference (being median instead of top quarter) are unlikely to be worth 100k. You can't look at it as USC is 18 and WUSTL is 18 so WUSTL is as good for CA.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby I<3ScholarlySweets! » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:11 pm

Brut is pure hyperbole when he or she says that calbears will NOT rock first2 semesters.

Calbears will PROBABLY not rock the first 2 semesters is more appropriate

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby Effingham » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:14 pm

.
Last edited by Effingham on Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby I<3ScholarlySweets! » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:15 pm

Saying that more ND grads get CA jobs than other 20 - 30 schools doesn't mean anything because the jobs worth getting are taken by T14 grads

03152016
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby 03152016 » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:17 pm

I<3ScholarlySweets! wrote:Brut is pure hyperbole when he or she says that calbears will NOT rock first2 semesters.

Calbears will PROBABLY not rock the first 2 semesters is more appropriate

you sure showed me

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chuckbass
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Re: Settling for an insufficient score or changing career paths

Postby chuckbass » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:20 pm

Effingham wrote:I do want to jump in and take this chance to say that ND has abandoned their usual 50% of tuition max standard for scholarships (somewhat officially) and has begun fighting more for LSAT scores (particularly with WUSTL)

Even if they are giving more money, the poster that this is relevant to probably wouldn't be getting enough for it to make sense to attend.

Also lol at bolded, considering they'd need a big jump to be competing with WUSTL for LSAT scores.




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