164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

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Aggiegrad2011
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164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:04 pm

Hey everyone.

I'm new to posting here, but not green to the ways of TLS. I've been reading the rants and raves here for a very long time, and now that my LSAT is approaching (in 2 days), I'm wondering what I should do.

Since I signed up for the June LSAT a few months ago, I've been diligent about studying for the LSAT. At least every day, I would do one or two LG, and some RC. I have completed every practice test in the "10 Actual, Official LSAT" test prep book and have scored 162-165 solidly, with an average of 164. I don't think I'll improve much from there with any more time.

I have numerous softs, as I mentioned. I'm a 25 year-old non-traditional, with 5 years of military experience (2 1/2 years combat OIF/OEF), first generation student (No one in my family has been past HS), an A.B. in English with double minor History/Philosophy from UC Davis next June. If my GPA holds steady, which it has now for 4 quarters, (All A's, a few A-'s), and I complete my Honors thesis (definitely will do), I will graduate with highest honors. I'm a recipient of the prestigious UC Regents Scholarship, and because I had financial need, it was essentially a full ride. Additionally, I received the California Aggie Alumni Assoc. Blue and Gold scholarship.

I am concerned that, while my academic pedigree is sterling, with many A+'s, and glowing LoRs from top published professors (Matthew Stratton and Richard Levin are two that lead their field in their respective English research areas), my "low" LSAT will be the end of me. For whatever reason, and I have tried the Logic Games Bible, and all the "help guides" on TLS, I just simple cannot achieve greater than I have been on the LG.

My list is as such, in no particular order:

Columbia
Cornell
NYU
Boston College
Boston University
Cal (Boalt)
Stanford
USC
UCLA
UC Davis (great reputation in Northern California, and I'd like to practice here in CA)

I have written a SoP that leaps off the page, and focuses on my leadership skills gained while in combat in the Army as an intel. sergeant, and how I have come to choose law as my post-military career, and what I want to do with it. Nothing screams "put together hastily" about my application, and I have ensured, again, that my recommendation letters are specific and are from professors with whom I have worked closely on my Honors project and in the classes with. I have made sure to take difficult, upper division coursework and I even have 3 graduate-level seminar courses under my belt.

At the outset, many of my contemporaries have called my academic record and extra-curriculars "superman-esque", and "bullet proof"... but is the mid-160s LSAT my kryptonite?

I am very concerned. I will be eternally grateful for any help you seasoned folks can offer.

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merichard87
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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby merichard87 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:14 pm

I would put a small amount of money on Boalt taking you. At the very minimum waitlisting you.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:21 pm

merichard87 wrote:I would put a small amount of money on Boalt taking you. At the very minimum waitlisting you.


Thank you for the quick reply. Boalt is my dream school... if they accepted me, I would take it in a heartbeat over all the other schools, for sure.

I should note that I am not entirely concerned about the "money" aspect of the schools. I was prudent, and saved quite a lot of my deployment funds and thus have a nice liquid account to draw on to offset the cost of education, so I don't go deep in the red. My utmost concern is going to the best institution that my pitiful LSAT can muster.

An additional query: One of my professors suggested I take the LSAT on Monday, and cancel the score, to get a 'feel' for the real exam, then re-taking the LSAT in October. Part of the reason is that on the quarter system, we're taking final exams, and she feels as though I would be able to prepare even better for it were I to have more time directly prior to the "real deal."

Does anyone know how my choice schools, especially Boalt and Stanford, look upon canceled scores?

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby merichard87 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:25 pm

Lol your LSAT is hardly pitiful. Just not necesarily a lock for T14. Would you consider retaking if you truly want to be T14 bound?

Edit (didn't finish reading the whole post): If you are consistently scoring in the 160s I don't think you need to necessarily cancel but I do think a re-take is in your future. Boalt puts more weight on GPA than LSAT so I doubt the retake would be a problem for them. Not informed enough about Stanford to speculate on them though.
Last edited by merichard87 on Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby on_ne_sait_jamais » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:27 pm

Realistically, i put it at 60% chance of getting into a T-14 if you blanket them... (your avg ug will hurt your chances at Boalt... just being honest), but 25% of people at all T-14 schools have lsat's in your range... and I'm sorry to all of you affirmative action haters, mexicans and blacks just don't make up 25% of any class at any top law school.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby UCLAtransfer » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:29 pm

I always hate it when people post on a thread like this and just say "retake" when the OP clearly says that they don't want to.

With that being said, I would really consider it based on your circumstances. If your LSAT doesn't turn out at the upper end of where you are practicing, or you don't get any bites on your apps this time around, I would seriously consider reapplying after taking a LSAT prep course.

The LSAT truly is a learnable test, and for you to even get a 5pt increase would be HUGE. I really think that taking a test would get you into the +5pt territory. I know its a tough thing to think about when you are on the cusp of going to law school, but to spend $1000 on an LSAT course could mean the difference between going to Davis and going to Berkeley. (Not knocking Davis by any means, but in career prospects its a huge distinction.)

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:36 pm

As a fellow Aggie I would like to say congratulations on your GPA and sincerely hope you end up at Berkeley.

That being said, since it is your dream school, is it possible to find another way to study for the LSAT that could increase your score? If you're scoring 160+ I think it is possible for you to get in the high 160's which would significantly help you as UCLAtransfer noted. The October test would give you time to possibly try a tutor or a class to get the score to help you for a T14.

There's nothing wrong with being satisfied with a 164, but I think you should see if there is a way you can try different study methods for the October test to get into your dream school or a T14. If another study method doesn't help, well at least you gave it a shot.

Good luck with your apps!

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:37 pm

on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:mexicans and blacks just don't make up 25% of any class at any top law school.


Isn't pretty much every law school class 20-25% persons of color?

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:43 pm

merichard87 wrote:Lol your LSAT is hardly pitiful. Just not necesarily a lock for T14. Would you consider retaking if you truly want to be T14 bound?

Edit (didn't finish reading the whole post): If you are consistently scoring in the 160s I don't think you need to necessarily cancel but I do think a re-take is in your future. Boalt puts more weight on GPA than LSAT so I doubt the retake would be a problem for them. Not informed enough about Stanford to speculate on them though.



Thank you.

I am not necessarily against a re-take... but I have to wonder, would it truly be worth not just canceling the score? Boalt, for instance, averages the two scores together (or three, or what have you). While they may only report the top score to the ABA/LSAC or to whomever it may concern, for admissions purposes it's pretty clear they average them. That'd mean that the difference would need to be pretty substantial in order to make it worth it. Therefore, I saw it as a possibility to take the LSAT, but cancel the score after it, and plan to take it in October, were I to do that.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby on_ne_sait_jamais » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:44 pm

bk1 wrote:
on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:mexicans and blacks just don't make up 25% of any class at any top law school.


Isn't pretty much every law school class 20-25% persons of color?


Do you go to a T-14? b/c if you did, you would know that persons of color include asians; you would also then know how many asians attend T-14's... TITCR

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:44 pm

on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:Realistically, i put it at 60% chance of getting into a T-14 if you blanket them... (your avg ug will hurt your chances at Boalt... just being honest), but 25% of people at all T-14 schools have lsat's in your range... and I'm sorry to all of you affirmative action haters, mexicans and blacks just don't make up 25% of any class at any top law school.


Is UC Davis really considered "average"? That surprises me, particularly the English Department, but it's no Ivy, I guess that's true.

So, I take it that you're on the side of "take the LSAT on Monday and don't worry about re-taking it side" as opposed to the "plan to re-take it" side? And certainly not on the "take it, but cancel it" side.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:46 pm

UCLAtransfer wrote:I always hate it when people post on a thread like this and just say "retake" when the OP clearly says that they don't want to.

With that being said, I would really consider it based on your circumstances. If your LSAT doesn't turn out at the upper end of where you are practicing, or you don't get any bites on your apps this time around, I would seriously consider reapplying after taking a LSAT prep course.

The LSAT truly is a learnable test, and for you to even get a 5pt increase would be HUGE. I really think that taking a test would get you into the +5pt territory. I know its a tough thing to think about when you are on the cusp of going to law school, but to spend $1000 on an LSAT course could mean the difference between going to Davis and going to Berkeley. (Not knocking Davis by any means, but in career prospects its a huge distinction.)


I considered the prep courses, but was dissuaded from taking one because I was told that all they amounted to was someone going over what was already in the book that I bought, and I'm a self-starting, ambitious person who doesn't need any hand-holding whatsoever.

Is that really not the case?

In the case of career prospects, looking through the top S.F. law firms, it looks like the split between Hastings and Davis are hedged with Boalt out ahead, indeed... but there seems to be no dearth of opportunities for UCD Law grads. Interesting perspective, though, and thank you. [edited]

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby on_ne_sait_jamais » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:50 pm

Aggiegrad2011 wrote:
on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:Realistically, i put it at 60% chance of getting into a T-14 if you blanket them... (your avg ug will hurt your chances at Boalt... just being honest), but 25% of people at all T-14 schools have lsat's in your range... and I'm sorry to all of you affirmative action haters, mexicans and blacks just don't make up 25% of any class at any top law school.


Is UC Davis really considered "average"? That surprises me, particularly the English Department, but it's no Ivy, I guess that's true.

So, I take it that you're on the side of "take the LSAT on Monday and don't worry about re-taking it side" as opposed to the "plan to re-take it" side? And certainly not on the "take it, but cancel it" side.


ummm yea, UC Davis is considered average... But you seem smart so you already knew this so stop lying to yourself. And English dept really?? come on man. Majoring in English solely was your first mistake, should have added business or marketing, econ/finance or something to fall back on just in case a top law school wasn't within reach... To reiterate I think that with your GPA, UG, and a 164+ you have a good (60%) shot at getting into a T-14. Especially Cornell or Gtown

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:54 pm

ummm yea, UC Davis is considered average... But you seem smart so you already knew this so stop lying to yourself. And English dept really?? come on man. Majoring in English solely was your first mistake, should have added business or marketing, econ/finance or something to fall back on just in case a top law school wasn't within reach... To reiterate I think that with your GPA, UG, and a 164+ you have a good (60%) shot at getting into a T-14. Especially Cornell or Gtown


I appreciate your perspective, thanks!

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:03 pm

Not sure if it got "lost in the sauce" in the flurry of replies, so I'll re-post it without any quotes:

How much more detrimental would it be to my chances at the T14, particularly Boalt and Stanford, if I got a lower score (=<162) on the LSAT and then re-took it in October, vs. taking it on Monday and then canceling the score for the familiarity?

The bare bones of the question seems to be whether a school would rather see a 162 LSAT with a subsequent 168 LSAT (assuming that much jump is possible with a Test Masters or Kaplan course) or a canceled score and the subsequent 168 LSAT?

At Boalt, the scores will average 162+168 / 2 = 165. Other schools will take the higher (with addendum of explanation, naturally).

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:07 pm

Aggiegrad2011 wrote:Not sure if it got "lost in the sauce" in the flurry of replies, so I'll re-post it without any quotes:

How much more detrimental would it be to my chances at the T14, particularly Boalt and Stanford, if I got a lower score (=<162) on the LSAT and then re-took it in October, vs. taking it on Monday and then canceling the score for the familiarity?

The bare bones of the question seems to be whether a school would rather see a 162 LSAT with a subsequent 168 LSAT (assuming that much jump is possible with a Test Masters or Kaplan course) or a canceled score and the subsequent 168 LSAT?

At Boalt, the scores will average 162+168 / 2 = 165. Other schools will take the higher (with addendum of explanation, naturally).


It was my impression that if you got higher you don't write an addendum unless there were extenuating circumstances that caused one of the scores to be lower (injury, death in the family, etc)? Saying that "I was busy" or "I hadn't studied as much then" weren't really LSAT addendum worthy.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:08 pm

on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:Do you go to a T-14? b/c if you did, you would know that persons of color include asians; you would also then know how many asians attend T-14's... TITCR


Obviously I am a 0L, but I forgot that Asians would be included in POC. That makes for a lot of white people.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:12 pm

bk1 wrote:
Aggiegrad2011 wrote:Not sure if it got "lost in the sauce" in the flurry of replies, so I'll re-post it without any quotes:

How much more detrimental would it be to my chances at the T14, particularly Boalt and Stanford, if I got a lower score (=<162) on the LSAT and then re-took it in October, vs. taking it on Monday and then canceling the score for the familiarity?

The bare bones of the question seems to be whether a school would rather see a 162 LSAT with a subsequent 168 LSAT (assuming that much jump is possible with a Test Masters or Kaplan course) or a canceled score and the subsequent 168 LSAT?

At Boalt, the scores will average 162+168 / 2 = 165. Other schools will take the higher (with addendum of explanation, naturally).


It was my impression that if you got higher you don't write an addendum unless there were extenuating circumstances that caused one of the scores to be lower (injury, death in the family, etc)? Saying that "I was busy" or "I hadn't studied as much then" weren't really LSAT addendum worthy.


In which case, you'd suggest for Monday, that I take the LSAT, but cancel the score?

The more I look at the Test Masters program, the more it seems to be a good idea. The price is a good investment, and there is a program this summer on the UCD campus, which is of course within biking distance.

I am assuming the Test Masters course is >> any other course, due to their requirement that their instructors all place at or above the 98th percentile?

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:24 pm

Aggiegrad2011 wrote:In which case, you'd suggest for Monday, that I take the LSAT, but cancel the score?

The more I look at the Test Masters program, the more it seems to be a good idea. The price is a good investment, and there is a program this summer on the UCD campus, which is of course within biking distance.

I am assuming the Test Masters course is >> any other course, due to their requirement that their instructors all place at or above the 98th percentile?


This is my personal opinion and others may vary, but I think you should take the score and then cancel if you feel that it didn't go well.

The question is, hypothetically, how different do adcomms look at someone with a 164/169 versus someone with just a 169? I think it is clear (all other things being equal) that they would prefer the latter, but I am not sure by how much. Conversely, if you did not cancel you would have one score under your belt. Maybe having that score would take pressure off you in October and help you score better (i.e. if you cancel your June score, then your "only" shot at an LSAT score for early apps will be October and the pressure from that might hurt your score, whereas if you don't cancel you can always fall back on the knowledge that you have your June score no matter how October goes). I am not saying that it will or it won't help/hurt you in October, but to look at it from your perspective and decide if you would want a score under your belt when you retake, and if so is it worth the possibility of being a 164/169 versus being a sole 169.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:27 pm

An interesting way of looking at it, thank you.

I suppose, like anyone, I am feeling pre-exam jitters. I don't normally feel this way, especially with tests, but this one is unique, so I suppose that's normal. The rub seems to be... if I take it, and complete it (I did not have time barrier issues on any practice exams), but do poorly (~155-160?) and DON'T cancel, then even if I do TestMasters over the summer, my application will be highly prejudiced for October, no matter how well I do.

Tough calls... cruel calculus that is this process!

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby UCLAtransfer » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:43 pm

I think one of the benefits to taking a class is being able to break down your performance and isolate exactly what specific types of questions you need to concentrate on, and to have someone (the instructor) to be able to discuss this with and gain insights from.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Aggiegrad2011 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:46 am

UCLAtransfer wrote:I think one of the benefits to taking a class is being able to break down your performance and isolate exactly what specific types of questions you need to concentrate on, and to have someone (the instructor) to be able to discuss this with and gain insights from.


That is very true!

I have a problem with the TestMasters class this summer, though, so I'd be forced to take the 2 day (weekend) 9 hours each day live course. It purports to go through the same useful approaches as the full length course, but with only 16 hrs. of live interaction as opposed to the 40+ the full length offers.

Do you think that'd be worth the time at all? It's so close to the Oct LSAT (First weekend in Sep).

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Kretzy » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:04 am

A 164/3.89 wounded combat vet (with an extraordinary story, mind you) got into both Boalt and SLS this year. It's not by any means out of the question, though it's far from a guarantee.

Best of luck. That's an impressive GPA (no matter the UG). If you really want to guarantee a T10, I'd ED to UVA. If you take your chances, I think a few schools above might bite, particularly due to your combat experience.

As a military kid (Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs, CO), I wish you the best!

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby doublefocus4 » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:03 am

My advice to you is to be better safe than sorry. If you plan on taking the testmasters course with the expectation of improving your score, I don't see why you would risk keeping a less admirable score on your record. You already don't seem like you are in the right mindset to perform optimally on Monday. If you think about it logically, three months of further study can ONLY increase your chances of doing better, even if it's just a 2 or 3 pt increase. With your softs, a 167 will make Berkeley much more of a possibility that it is now.

You could sit for exam familiarity, but I suggest you CANCEL. Just my $0.02.

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Re: 164 / 3.98 (numerous softs) - chances for T30?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:54 am

My Bets
Columbia: Waitlist
Cornell: Accept
NYU: Waitlist
Boston College: In
Boston University: In
Cal (Boalt): Waitlist
Stanford: Waitlist
USC: Accept
UCLA: Accept
UC Davis (great reputation in Northern California, and I'd like to practice here in CA): Accept

I think the 3.98 would earn you a spot on the Columbia/NYU WL.




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