Lots of questions, first time poster

Not sure where your numbers will get you? Dying to know where you stand? Come have your palms read by your fellow posters!
DWinter18
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:40 pm

Lots of questions, first time poster

Postby DWinter18 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:56 pm

Hey everyone,

First time poster. This site has already been extremely useful to me, and I hope it will serve me even more. I graduated from Vanderbilt with a 3.39 GPA in December of 2009. I stayed one extra semester in order to finish off both my majors (History & French). The reason I had to stay one extra semester was because I opted to study abroad in France for all of my senior year. For my history major, there was a capstone course I could only take my senior year, thus I had to come back to school and take it in the fall before I could graduate.

I also took the LSAT that semester. Unfortunately, I did not take a prep course and simply studied on my own. To make a long story short, I did not study that much. I took around 4-5 tests on my own after going over some strategies in "The Official LSAT SuperPrep." I felt fairly confident going into the test, shooting for a 170. I was getting around 168-170 on the last few practice tests I did. In the end, however, I ended up with a 162.

The schools I was looking at were in the top 14 and I knew that my combo of GPA/LSAT were not going to cut it, and I did not even apply that cycle. I have been working and living at home ever since, and my parents are pushing me to take the test again. I agree with them, and I feel that if I actually devote myself to studying and take a prep course, I can easily achieve the score that I want (considering I got a 162 with essentially the bare minimum of studying).

I might also add that I am Hispanic, and I have read that offers a boost somewhat. However, I am not at all relying on that.

My plan, starting now, is to give 110% devotion to studying. I feel if I take a practice test every day, or every other day, and utilize the strategies and tips on this site, I can boost my score by 10 points at least. In addition, I plan on taking a prep course, though I'm not sure which one yet.

Thus, my questions are as follows:

1. What are my chances of getting into a top 14 school with my current GPA (3.39) and desired LSAT score (170+)? I wouldn't mind going back to Vanderbilt but ideally I would like to be in another city for my graduate studies.

2. When should I take the LSAT? I was thinking October gives me ample time to study and take a course, but would June be better? If so, I really need to start hunkering down and studying as soon as possible.

3. What is the best prep course for someone desiring an excellent score? I read a bit that some prep courses are geared toward students simply trying to get the score I already got. I want to boost my score by at least 10 points, and get 170+. Which course is the most demanding that will help me achieve that goal?

4. When is the best time to apply? The earlier the better I'm sure, but I guess this also ties into question 2.

Thank you in advance for any help. I really want to get a timetable set for this year and begin planning my strategy.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Lots of questions, first time poster

Postby bk1 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:17 pm

1. 170+ will snag you some lower T14's.

2. June would be better than October, but if you really need the extra time to study, don't hesitate to choose October instead. The main reason June is better (other than the slightly earlier apps) is that if you don't do well in June you can do your 3rd take in October. But don't rush June if it isn't reasonable for your timeframe.

3. Prep courses depend on which works best with you. Personally I don't find prep courses that well and I did really well with self study (the Powerscore Bibles and taking almost every PT). Find what works for you.

4. Yes earlier is better, but anything pre Thanksgiving is basically early enough.

DWinter18
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Lots of questions, first time poster

Postby DWinter18 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:39 pm

Thank you for the swift response. I would be happy to get into any of the T14, so I am relieved to hear that I am not counted out yet. As for taking the test a 3rd time, is that even viable? Do most schools average all your LSAT scores or simply take the best one? More importantly, what do the T14 do, average or take the best one?

The only reason I mention a prep course is just as a safety measure, so to speak. There are just a few question types I have trouble with, and I feel if I study tons, going over those types frequently, while also taking a course, all bases are covered. I want to get as high a score as possible since my GPA is not that great.

I also had one other question: a friend of mine told me that law schools like students who don't immediately come from undergrad into law school, but who instead take a year off to work or do something else, as it shows that they really thought about their decision to go to law school and did not simply go through the motions and apply right from undergrad. Is there any truth to that? I'll have essentially taken 2 years off by the time I apply, and during that time I have been working a job full time. Does that help me in any way?

Thanks again for the helpful response!

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Lots of questions, first time poster

Postby bk1 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:44 pm

Most schools do not average LSATs. The only ones that may or may not do this are the T6, the lower T14 basically do not care.

If it's specific questions then I definitely don't think a prep course is for you. Prep courses go for the broad approach and this isn't really helpful. If you're already PT'ing at 168-170, I really don't think a prep course is that beneficial. If you want the peace of mind and have the time for it, I say sure, but I really think your study time is probably best served by doing the Powerscore Bibles (or other self-study plans here on TLS), taking a bunch of PT's, and drilling the specific areas you have problems with.

Work experience is always nice to help distance yourself from a lower GPA, but generally it doesn't make a difference. However, in some cases it does. At NU, there is practically a requirement that applicants have at least 1 year of full time postgrad work experience (over 90% of the class has it and the ones who don't have really good numbers). Also Harvard has been inching towards valuing work experience as well. The rest will like it a bit but probably not care too much, at least not enough to justify taking a year off unless you have a reason to for yourself (because you value the experience, to allow more LSAT study time, etc).




Return to “What are my chances?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest