Study and retake is the best advice here. From my experience the ones who get the 165's+ are made up of 90% people who studied their asses off, and only 10% actually have a natural talent for the LSAT. It's people like you and me who half ass the process and make up the lower echelons of the LSAT scores.
And in regards to your comment about academia, the reason people scoffed is that probably 85% of law professors at any law school (even tier 4's) went to a top 14 school (and about half went of those went top 6 school), and the other 15% went to a tier one school. Getting into legal academia is known as being much much more difficult than even getting a big firm job which pays 160K a year. Becoming a teacher at a community college in a non-law subject is certainly much easier (if that is your goal) but it immediately make anyone question even more whether law school is a good choice for you towards that goal. To be perfectly honest and not to be mean, going to a T4 and getting into academia is laffable.
You have to remember that law school is a professional school. This is even more true the lower in the law school ranks you go. In Harvard you learn a decent amount of esoteric theory (although hardly anyone actually ends up applying it), but at a t4/t3 you will be learning legal skills and not much else. This is because those law schools realize that one of the few selling points they have to employers is "those other law students may be great legal thinkers, but our students are the ones with the actual legal skills." If you go to a T4/T3 wanting to really get into legal theory, the experience will be that much worse for you.
If you want to become a lawyer, I'm sure law school might be the right path for you (but still certainly study and retake). If you want to get into academia, or you like theory, then perhaps the MA is a better idea. But as I said before, getting into academia in the history field out of a non-elite MA/PhD program is even more difficult than getting a good legal job out of a good law school. That being said MA programs are less expensive and usually are much better about giving financial aid than law schools are. However, I'm also at a loss as to what exactly one does with a history MA. I have a friend getting an MA in French Rennassaince history from UoP and I think she's insane lol.
What I would also reccomend is take the GRE cold, and see how you do. I know a person who got 80th percentile on the LSAT, went to law school, landed in the median of the class, and then took the GMAT without studying and scored a 98th percentile. (However, by that time their below average law school grades were on their permanent record and caused MBA programs to look down on them because of it). You might find you can score much higher than the 45th percentile (which is what a 149 on the LSAT is) on the GRE cold, making an MA an even more attractive option.
Also, if you are thinking of Willamette when you say T4 and you have the goal of practicing law in Oregon, that's not as bad of a goal as a T4 in a more saturated market, as the school is actually somewhat respected in the state of Oregon (although if you land in the bottom half of your class you will still be in huge trouble). However, the cold hard truth is that you won't get in with those numbers (25th percentile is a 154), so that should make your decision that much easier.
Not sure where your numbers will get you? Dying to know where you stand? Come have your palms read by your fellow posters!
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ewj wrote:Well considering I'm posting on a forum on the TOP-LAW-SCHOOLS.COM website, I think many of you are just a little biased... That's like saying that the only undergraduate institutions worth going to are the ivy leagues.
A law school admissions counselor gave me the impression that transferring after your first year of law school is not uncommon, and not that difficult, as long as performed well that year.
It would be great to get a 160+. If you haven't studied hard, then study hard. See what you would get. TLS is a little biased as most of them would tell you to avoid T2, T3, and T4 schools. However, it would be in your best interest to retake. I studied very hard, 4-5 hours 5-6 days a week for 3 months and only got a 154 when I was scoring in the mid 160s on PTs. So that's that. If you haven't studied that much, you should. You never know what you might be capable of until you try. Unfortunately my studying didn't pay off, but I know my score wasn't caused by lack of studying and I'm fine with that.