3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

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rheannabanana
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3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby rheannabanana » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:51 am

Once I discovered that applying to law schools minus one transcript (due to financial hold) was a bad idea, my GPA dropped from a respectable 3.75 to a mediocre 3.52. I could live with this except that I pretty much blew my LSAT thanks to all the crap going on in my life. I barely cracked open a study book at all but gave it a shot anyway and ended up getting a 158.

My dreams of a T14 were abandoned and I almost gave up on going to law school but I ultimately decided I am going to bite the bullet and go for it, debt be damned. (Please spare me the lectures on the economy/oversaturation of the market/evils of lower tier schools because I am a grown adult and have weighed my options thoroughly.)

I am looking at some of these schools:
Loyola (Los Angeles)
Chapman
San Diego
Southwestern
Thomas Jefferson
Pepperdine
Lewis & Clark
Willamette

My question is -- would studying and retaking the LSAT in February likely help me or hurt me for these schools? I am not even sure how to go about doing this, some schools warn admissions are highly competitive at that time, and I fear I will be too late entirely for others. The logic games were my worst section though, so I am confident I could improve my score significantly if I studied and tried again.

Postponing until next cycle is not an option for me. I have already postponed for two years and it would be impossible to wait any longer--for financial, relationship and practicality reasons. For one thing, my boyfriend is looking to start school himself this fall and he can't until we know where we'll be situated. Job prospects are slim to none for us right now (minimum wage or nothing), so we really need to get the ball rolling on something. If I came out of a mediocre law school and was able to secure a job that paid $60,000/yr that would be three times as much as the two of us are currently making *combined.* So, I will take it.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:02 am

rheannabanana wrote:If I came out of a mediocre law school and was able to secure a job that paid $60,000/yr that would be three times as much as the two of us are currently making *combined.* So, I will take it.


What if you graduated from law school with $150,000 to $200,000 in debt with no legal job and the same job prospects that you currently have right now (minimum wage stuff)? That sounds terrifying right? Well it's also a very real possibility based on the job prospects of some of the schools you listed. People on TLS aren't telling people to retake constantly because it can be the difference between a job that pays 160K and 60K. People on TLS tell people to retake (or sometimes just don't go to law school) because a lot of law schools simply struggle to place their grads into ANY legal jobs. (And if you're not getting a legal job from a law school, you're most likely boned. Law school will not open up all these non-legal opportunities that you didn't have before law school.)

You can retake in February, but that is really way too late in the cycle. (But maybe the lack applications this year changes things up some?) It's not impossible to wait another year. If it is, my advice is to not go to law school. You're better off taking a minimum wage job and not taking on huge amounts of debt that may haunt you for the next 10 to 20 years.

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togepi
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby togepi » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:06 am

Late admissions won't be as big of a deal as it has in the past with the decline in admission. Your situation sucks, but it could be much worse. I'd say retake then come back. If you scored a 158 without much studying, then that isn't too bad. With proper preparation you can break the t-14

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rheannabanana
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby rheannabanana » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:22 am

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:What if you graduated from law school with $150,000 to $200,000 in debt with no legal job and the same job prospects that you currently have right now (minimum wage stuff)?

Richie-- Thanks, I am sure you mean well, but I have been fighting my way towards law school for a few years now and I need to take the opportunity while I can. I understand I'll have debt, but if even 50% (low exaggeration to make a point) of graduates of a specific law school are able to secure law jobs, thats a 50/50 chance and I am willing to take it compared to the big fat zero percent chance I have now. My experiences with law and legal professionals have largely been responsible most of the good things that have happened to me in my adult life and I want to be able to do that for other people in some way or another, even if I don't get rich. I know I'll be paying on my government loans for a loooong time and I'm okay with that. As I said before, waiting another year would quite possibly mean I don't go at all, which you may think is a good idea, but I'm hoping I can avoid that. Rather than go back to minimum wage job hopping (which seriously strains my patience and sanity) until I establish myself in a particular area, I would end up in grad school taking out loans anyway only to work at a job I won't even enjoy.


Richie Tenenbaum wrote:You can retake in February, but that is really way too late in the cycle. (But maybe the lack applications this year changes things up some?)

I guess I will have to hope that the lack of applications does change things up this year and/or that I might luck out at one of my target schools with my current numbers.


togepi wrote:Late admissions won't be as big of a deal as it has in the past with the decline in admission. Your situation sucks, but it could be much worse. I'd say retake then come back. If you scored a 158 without much studying, then that isn't too bad. With proper preparation you can break the t-14

I am leaning towards trying in February and hoping that lower numbers of applicants will be my saving grace. I literally only made it through some reading on "what to expect on the LSAT" and a handful of practice logic games, but no training, classes, or practice tests, so I think I *should* improve! To make things worse, I had been up half the night going through a breakup the night before my LSAT and then had to get up at the crack of dawn to drive an hour to my test location. I wasn't happy with my score, but made the mistake of letting family and friends tell me "75th percentile isn't bad" instead of subjecting myself to the harsh relaties of TLS (thanks guys) or else I would have retaken this month and been in a better position.

Hindsight is 20/20 I guess...

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togepi
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby togepi » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:44 am

Many people on here recommend Manhattan. Personally, after self studying I went from 150 diagnostic to about a 155. Then after taking Velocity, bumped up to PT'ing in the low-mid 160s. Made a 161 in October and retook in December. I messed up on the LG in October and feel better about December's test.

But even though February is late, it's not an absolute death sentence. Plenty of people last cycle applied late and got some decent money from T1 schools. If you can improve you're in a much better situation than you are in now.

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francesfarmer
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:02 am

50% is not an underexaggeration of the legal placement at a lot of the schools you listed. Honestly, I think you would be better off taking out less money to go to grad school in another field, if you absolutely have to go next year. Again, there is no reason why you have to go next year. You are not married to your boyfriend but you will be married to $200,000 in debt.

BigZuck
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:30 am

I'm trying to envision a scenario where a person would absolutely have to attend law school by a certain date and I can't come up with anything. Maybe something mandated by an employer but that is not the case here. OP can you help me wrap my mind around this concept?

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francesfarmer
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:49 am

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:What if you graduated from law school with $150,000 to $200,000 in debt with no legal job and the same job prospects that you currently have right now (minimum wage stuff)? That sounds terrifying right? Well it's also a very real possibility based on the job prospects of some of the schools you listed.
You can retake in February, but that is really way too late in the cycle. (But maybe the lack applications this year changes things up some?) It's not impossible to wait another year. If it is, my advice is to not go to law school. You're better off taking a minimum wage job and not taking on huge amounts of debt that may haunt you for the next 10 to 20 years.

10 to 20 years is an understatement. This debt would haunt you 25 years if you were forced to go on IBR. And graduating with a JD will make it impossible for you to get a minimum wage job, unless you just lie about not having one--but then you have a myserious three year gap in your resume.

Please, please retake. Your GPA is fine and you are obviously capable of doing much better on the LSAT. If you raise your score 10 points, you will be applying to a host of better schools and you will be able to get full rides at the schools you already listed. If you raise it 15+ points, the sky's the limit. Your new LSAT score will translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Please, please retake.

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02889
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby 02889 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:28 pm

I strongly agree with everyone urging a retake. What you essentially did is take a diagnostic test to see what your baseline is. Many, many people initially score something in the high 150s/low 160s and then, after serious preparation, go on to score in the high 160s or low 170s. It's very, very normal to make that kind of a score leap. I did it myself.

Please don't sell yourself short!

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TripTrip
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby TripTrip » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:59 pm

rheannabanana wrote:I understand I'll have debt, but if even 50% (low exaggeration to make a point) of graduates of a specific law school are able to secure law jobs, thats a 50/50 chance and I am willing to take it compared to the big fat zero percent chance I have now.

francesfarmer wrote:50% is not an underexaggeration of the legal placement at a lot of the schools you listed.

This 100 times.

Here, I even did the research for you. Here is the likelihood that you would be gainfully employed after attending any of the schools you listed:

Loyola (Los Angeles) - 42%
Chapman - 38%
San Diego - 45%
Southwestern - 31%
Thomas Jefferson - 24%
Pepperdine - 41%
Lewis & Clark - 43%
Willamette - 36%

Now let's boil down one school, "to make a point." Say you went to San Diego, which has the highest chance (45%) of all those of you actually being employed afterwards. Would you like to know how many students reported having a full-time salary? 37.7%. Fully two thirds of the graduating classes don't have a full-time salary.

With that said, San Diego is a reach school for you. You are at or below the medians. That's the best you could hope to do, and you wouldn't get a scholarship. Scholarships at that school probably go to people with 163s on the LSAT.

$244,149 will be the total estimated cost of attending San Diego for three years. Unless you actually have $244,149 that you want to spend because you want those letters after your name so much, you may want to reevaluate your decision. Even of those who are reporting a full-time salary at San Diego, the 37.7%, most are making $30,000-$40,000. Could you pay off a $250k debt with that salary?

I'm sorry for the rant, but I don't see any good outcomes for you here, even if absolutely everything were to go your way. Retake or don't apply.

Edit: I mathed the total cost wrong.
Last edited by TripTrip on Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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hume85
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby hume85 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:01 pm

TripTrip wrote:
rheannabanana wrote:I understand I'll have debt, but if even 50% (low exaggeration to make a point) of graduates of a specific law school are able to secure law jobs, thats a 50/50 chance and I am willing to take it compared to the big fat zero percent chance I have now.

francesfarmer wrote:50% is not an underexaggeration of the legal placement at a lot of the schools you listed.

This 100 times.

Here, I even did the research for you. Here is the likelihood that you would be gainfully employed after attending any of the schools you listed:

Loyola (Los Angeles) - 42%
Chapman - 38%
San Diego - 45%
Southwestern - 31%
Thomas Jefferson - 24%
Pepperdine - 41%
Lewis & Clark - 43%
Willamette - 36%

Now let's boil down one school, "to make a point." Say you went to San Diego, which has the highest chance (45%) of all those of you actually being employed afterwards. Would you like to know how many students reported having a full-time salary? 37.7%. Fully two thirds of the graduating classes don't have a full-time salary.

With that said, San Diego is a reach school for you. You are at or below the medians. That's the best you could hope to do, and you wouldn't get a scholarship. Scholarships at that school probably go to people with 163s on the LSAT.

$195,615 will be the total estimated cost of attending San Diego for three years. Unless you actually have $195,615 that you want to spend because you want those letters after your name so much, you may want to reevaluate your decision. Even those who are reporting a full-time salary at San Diego, the 37.7%, most are making $30,000-$40,000. Could you pay off a $200k debt with that salary?

I'm sorry for the rant, but I don't see any good outcomes for you here, even if absolutely everything were to go your way. Retake or don't apply.


+1

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francesfarmer
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:08 pm

I hope you're still reading this and you don't feel attacked. Your current plan will more likely than not produce a horrible outcome and we are trying to save you from being unemployed and $200k in debt when you are obviously capable of performing really well on the LSAT and going to a great school with much better job prospects than what you're looking at now.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby somewhatwayward » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:11 pm

rheannabanana wrote:I am leaning towards trying in February and hoping that lower numbers of applicants will be my saving grace. I literally only made it through some reading on "what to expect on the LSAT" and a handful of practice logic games, but no training, classes, or practice tests, so I think I *should* improve! To make things worse, I had been up half the night going through a breakup the night before my LSAT and then had to get up at the crack of dawn to drive an hour to my test location. I wasn't happy with my score, but made the mistake of letting family and friends tell me "75th percentile isn't bad" instead of subjecting myself to the harsh relaties of TLS (thanks guys) or else I would have retaken this month and been in a better position.

Hindsight is 20/20 I guess...


Wait, when did you take the LSAT? I was thinking October, which make me go :shock: at the bolded sentence in conjunction with your statement that you need to take your boyfriend into account when deciding where to go to school. If you did take in October, are you telling us that you need to work around someone who tried to breakup with you the night before the LSAT or someone who you started dating after you took the October LSAT? Neither sound like very good ideas.

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francesfarmer
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:17 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:
rheannabanana wrote:I am leaning towards trying in February and hoping that lower numbers of applicants will be my saving grace. I literally only made it through some reading on "what to expect on the LSAT" and a handful of practice logic games, but no training, classes, or practice tests, so I think I *should* improve! To make things worse, I had been up half the night going through a breakup the night before my LSAT and then had to get up at the crack of dawn to drive an hour to my test location. I wasn't happy with my score, but made the mistake of letting family and friends tell me "75th percentile isn't bad" instead of subjecting myself to the harsh relaties of TLS (thanks guys) or else I would have retaken this month and been in a better position.

Hindsight is 20/20 I guess...


Wait, when did you take the LSAT? I was thinking October, which make me go :shock: at the bolded sentence in conjunction with your statement that you need to take your boyfriend into account when deciding where to go to school. If you did take in October, are you telling us that you need to work around someone who tried to breakup with you the night before the LSAT or someone who you started dating after you took the October LSAT? Neither sound like very good ideas.


This is a good point but if we start judging this girl's relationship she is extra never going to listen to our excellent advice.

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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:18 pm

OP- you need to seriously wait a year. Just because you can't find a decent job now is no excuse to get yourself even deeper in debt ESPECIALLY when you are capable of a mid-to-high 160s. You seem to be looking at moving to California which gives you a host of schools to apply anywhere you settle, and a lot of places to get substantial money at (which is the only situation where it makes sense to attend the schools on your list). If your boyfriend is starting grad school he can qualify for financial aid to pay living expenses. You need to calm down and think objectively about this like it was any other investment.

Think of it this way- somebody may pay you high-five to mid-six figures to wait one year, work a min wage job, and study for a test. Does that sound like a good deal?

You do not have to go to law school. Ever. Getting into law school is not a big deal- getting a real lawyer job with little debt is. There is no "opportunity" here, only debt and potentially unemployment and back to minimum wage job hopping.

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gaud
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby gaud » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:19 pm

tl;dr

Retake bro. I had similar stats and retook (twice) and I can't tell you how happy I am about it. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me

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rheannabanana
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby rheannabanana » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:52 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:Wait, when did you take the LSAT? I was thinking October, which make me go :shock: at the bolded sentence in conjunction with your statement that you need to take your boyfriend into account when deciding where to go to school. If you did take in October, are you telling us that you need to work around someone who tried to breakup with you the night before the LSAT or someone who you started dating after you took the October LSAT? Neither sound like very good ideas.


I want to address this first before I get to addressing the other questions - I took the LSAT in Feb 2011 (yes, way back when. more on this later), and the night before I took it my then-relationship pretty much ended exactly because he was unable to comprehend that the LSAT was a big deal and was generally unsupportive of my plans for higher education.

I've been with my most recent boyfriend for a year and a half now and he is heads above all the rest as far as support goes.

Sorry that may have seemed confusing!

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rheannabanana
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby rheannabanana » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:19 pm

togepi wrote:Many people on here recommend Manhattan[...]But even though February is late, it's not an absolute death sentence.

Thank you for the suggestion and insights into your experience. This is the sort of information that really helps me. It seems the overwhelming response is to retake, but I didn't want to do that if it *was* going to be the worst of the worst.

francesfarmer wrote:You are not married to your boyfriend but you will be married to $200,000 in debt.
BigZuck wrote:I'm trying to envision a scenario where a person would absolutely have to attend law school by a certain date and I can't come up with anything. Maybe something mandated by an employer but that is not the case here. OP can you help me wrap my mind around this concept?

I know I'm not married to my boyfriend, and being in debt is nothing new to me. I went through a divorce that left me completely stranded and even though the debt was assigned to my ex in the divorce, he hasn't paid a dime of what he owes me or anyone else. I have been living off crumbs for years (a main reason why I postponed law school so long), and I am happy when I can just pay bills. I honestly don't care if 20% of my income goes to loans for the rest of my life. I look at it as kind of like taxes, except instead of paying for government, I am paying for the opportunity to do something I like doing, rather than doing seasonal grunt work that a monkey could do.

As for why I need to go now...no, its not employer mandated. I guess there is nothing that says I *have* to go now. The thing is, there is about a 95% chance that if I don't go in Fall 2013, I feel I will miss my chance. Most of my reasons are personal, but I will list some. Maybe they are only important to me/us, and you guys will still think "stupid idea," who knows...
- Our lease is up where we are living next fall. We could probably get out a couple months early and move with little enough incident but we hate where we are living and are not staying two more years. Moving to law school location = one move. Moving to another location and then to law school the year after = thousands more dollars in expenses.
- My boyfriend's own employment/education prospects. Formerly in project management/construction, he has been fighting the economy for the last few years and has FINALLY decided to make a career change. The thing is, he can't start this until we are somewhere we are going to stick around at least a few years, so he is stuck in temporary job drudgery until I start law school as well. Its not fair to him if I make him wait another year.
- Biological clocks and all that. I am over 30 but I refuse to go to law school with a newborn. Not until I know if my future job will or will not allow me time to have a child am I willing to get pregnant at all. So we have agreed to wait...if I start next fall.
- Finances. I have some money coming in and will have a vehicle I own free and clear as well as some money to help with expenses while I am in law school. I can set this aside for the next 6-9 months before school starts without too much concern that I will end up dipping into my fund. However, our current employment ends this spring and if we are unable to find work after that, my law school nest egg will be spent by the time 18-21 months go by. Sure, still for living expenses, but living expenses while I work at McDonalds or something, not while I pursue my dream.
- My sanity. This one may seem silly, but its true. A skilled professional working for people a decade younger that are incompetent to wipe their own ass and still not making enough to pay bills = major frustration. I know you will say it could happen after law school too, and it can. But I have some control over my destiny there. As in, if I do well in school and network and bust my butt, all is not lost. (Except maybe 20% of my paycheck, for eternity...lol)

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rheannabanana
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby rheannabanana » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:26 pm

Okay, last response to the wave of negativity for now:

It seems the overwhelming consensus so far is to retake the LSAT. February is late but not as bad as making a go of it with my current scores.

If by some miracle I score a 174 on the LSAT, I may reconsider and see if there is any way I can wait a year so I can apply to some much better schools, but I don't expect I will be that lucky (smart?). If I score in the high 160s, maybe I can break into some better schools and/or get some good $$ from the schools listed.

I never expected this to be my plan so can anyone explain the protocol for late testing? I know some schools I can apply after February but others I can't... Do I send in applications now and add scores in February or will they have already decided by then based on my old scores? Can someone help me or possibly point me in the right direction? I could look at all schools individually (and will when I have time) but am hoping there is a general rule of thumb or a place of consolidated information that can give me a basic idea now.

In the meantime, I suppose I'll hop over to the LSAT forum and see what books I need to go bury myself in...

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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:35 pm

I don't think I have to get into all of the reasons that I think your plan is going to bring you straight into a financial disaster; the others have done that, so I won't pile on. However, this caught my eye:

rheannabanana wrote:- Biological clocks and all that. I am over 30 but I refuse to go to law school with a newborn. Not until I know if my future job will or will not allow me time to have a child am I willing to get pregnant at all. So we have agreed to wait...if I start next fall.


Law is not a family friendly career, as far as I can tell, and that debt will haunt you.

Be smart here kiddo.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby somewhatwayward » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:59 pm

rheannabanana wrote:
somewhatwayward wrote:Wait, when did you take the LSAT? I was thinking October, which make me go :shock: at the bolded sentence in conjunction with your statement that you need to take your boyfriend into account when deciding where to go to school. If you did take in October, are you telling us that you need to work around someone who tried to breakup with you the night before the LSAT or someone who you started dating after you took the October LSAT? Neither sound like very good ideas.


I want to address this first before I get to addressing the other questions - I took the LSAT in Feb 2011 (yes, way back when. more on this later), and the night before I took it my then-relationship pretty much ended exactly because he was unable to comprehend that the LSAT was a big deal and was generally unsupportive of my plans for higher education.

I've been with my most recent boyfriend for a year and a half now and he is heads above all the rest as far as support goes.

Sorry that may have seemed confusing!


Okay that makes sense. I figured it must've been a long time ago that you took the LSAT.

Definitely retake in February. You have a few months between now and then to hit the books hard, and, starting from a 158, you don't have that far to go to get a score that will at least make the schools you are considering now free or close to free. You really shouldn't go to those schools without basically a full tuition scholarship (nice icing on the cake that your bf could contribute to expenses so that hopefully you can get loans close to zero if you get a big scholarship). I would guess that for the schools on your list, a 166 (maybe lower?) or better would get you full tuition. Check lawschoolnumbers.com to see what you would need to get full tuition scholarships because that's what it takes to make these schools a reasonable choice (even then, though, you need to be prepared for the possibility of not getting a job, which may be higher than the 50% figure you referenced earlier).

If you do score higher, you should also apply to other schools, too. Get fee waivers for all these apps. It sounds like you are looking in CA which is too bad because the entire West Coast seems to be GPA whores. Even though your GPA is low for CA, you should apply to UCLA and USC if you bring your last up into the mid to high 160s. Oh, and UCI seems to be an outlier in its lack of splitter hate, so if you hit mid-160s, apply there. If you get to 167, you might want to also apply to UMinn or GW to see if they will throw you any money for your LSAT (don't go for sticker, though!). Also, apply to Cornell because their median dropped to 167 this year. If you get 168, apply to WashU. They give big scholarships to 168s paired with decent GPAs. If you hit 169, you can try Mich, Penn, Duke, and Berkeley (although they are GPA whores as mentioned above - their LSAT median is actually only 167 or something so you could shoot them an app if you get a 167 if you want). 170 and you'll have a shot at GT, NW, and UVa. You'd need a 172 probably for NYU or Chi and at least a 173 for CLS. HYS are out with your GPA.

Think about that. All of those schools are possibilities for you with a higher LSAT. Many people here have started with scores much lower than yours and made it to the 170s. Plus, you struggled with logic games which is the easiest section to learn (don't neglect the other sections in your studying, though). Don't sell yourself short. I think there is no harm in applying now and seeing what happens, but you should still study like crazy for the February LSAT and have your eye on better schools or a full-tuition scholarship at the T2s on your list. You asked about applying when you are retaking - there is a box to check on most applications to indicate that you are retaking. I think it also usually asks whether the school should wait to evaluate your application until the score comes in. Good luck!

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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:10 pm

rheannabanana wrote:I look at it as kind of like taxes, except instead of paying for government, I am paying for the opportunity to do something I like doing, rather than doing seasonal grunt work that a monkey could do.


What exactly do you think that the practice of law entails?

The payment for something you like doing is called "bar fees." You don't have to take on enormous amount of student debt to become a lawyer.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:30 pm

rheannabanana wrote:Okay, last response to the wave of negativity for now:

It seems the overwhelming consensus so far is to retake the LSAT. February is late but not as bad as making a go of it with my current scores.

If by some miracle I score a 174 on the LSAT, I may reconsider and see if there is any way I can wait a year so I can apply to some much better schools, but I don't expect I will be that lucky (smart?). If I score in the high 160s, maybe I can break into some better schools and/or get some good $$ from the schools listed.

I never expected this to be my plan so can anyone explain the protocol for late testing? I know some schools I can apply after February but others I can't... Do I send in applications now and add scores in February or will they have already decided by then based on my old scores? Can someone help me or possibly point me in the right direction? I could look at all schools individually (and will when I have time) but am hoping there is a general rule of thumb or a place of consolidated information that can give me a basic idea now.

In the meantime, I suppose I'll hop over to the LSAT forum and see what books I need to go bury myself in...


Start studying ASAP. Use this site for guidance, it's got a lot of good info on it. And scoring in the 170s is doable. I went from a 155 diagnostic to a 174. There are a lot of similar stories on TLS, with some people making even bigger jumps.

My advice would be apply to schools like USC, USCLA, Davis, Hastings, and Irvine. (Berkeley if you want a hail mary.) Apply whenever you can (before their application deadline, which might be early Feburary) and then email admissions and ask that they hold your app until the results of the February are released. If you aren't limited to CA, apply to Cornell, Georgetown, UT, and Vanderbilt as well. (Also consider applying to schools in the 20s range, like WUSTL, GW, BU, BC, and ND.) Do the same thing for all these schools, apply and then ask them to hold your app until Feb. LSAT results.

I would spend a lot of time on lawschooltransparency.com to look at the schools you listed in the OP. Many of those schools have horrible employment prospects and would not be worth attending unless you were at a near to full scholarship. You might get money like that from these schools if you are able to improve your LSAT score, but if I was applying to these schools I would promise myself ahead of time to not to attend these schools if it would result in substantial debt. It's easy "to settle" if your LSAT score isn't as high as you wanted and the other options fall through, but in the end, even with the more detailed info you provided, it's still better to not attend than attend a school like Chapman at sticker.

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rheannabanana
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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby rheannabanana » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:37 am

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Start studying ASAP. Use this site for guidance, it's got a lot of good info on it. And scoring in the 170s is doable. I went from a 155 diagnostic to a 174. There are a lot of similar stories on TLS, with some people making even bigger jumps.

My advice would be apply to schools like USC, USCLA, Davis, Hastings, and Irvine. (Berkeley if you want a hail mary.) Apply whenever you can (before their application deadline, which might be early Feburary) and then email admissions and ask that they hold your app until the results of the February are released. If you aren't limited to CA, apply to Cornell, Georgetown, UT, and Vanderbilt as well. (Also consider applying to schools in the 20s range, like WUSTL, GW, BU, BC, and ND.) Do the same thing for all these schools, apply and then ask them to hold your app until Feb. LSAT results.

I would spend a lot of time on lawschooltransparency.com to look at the schools you listed in the OP. Many of those schools have horrible employment prospects and would not be worth attending unless you were at a near to full scholarship. You might get money like that from these schools if you are able to improve your LSAT score, but if I was applying to these schools I would promise myself ahead of time to not to attend these schools if it would result in substantial debt. It's easy "to settle" if your LSAT score isn't as high as you wanted and the other options fall through, but in the end, even with the more detailed info you provided, it's still better to not attend than attend a school like Chapman at sticker.


Major, albeit a bit belated, thanks for your advice. I have decided to retake the LSAT and will use the schools you and somewhatwayward listed as a starting point for some major research on where I should be applying and considering. I am not necessarily limited to CA, it would just make things a bit easier for me as I wouldn't have to pay for yet another move. That said, for the right school, I will. My original thought was if I'm going to resign myself to attending a sub-par school, why move halfway across the country to do it?

Also, I hadn't been to lawschooltransparency.com before now...thanks for that suggestion as well!


somewhatwayward wrote:Okay that makes sense. I figured it must've been a long time ago that you took the LSAT.

Definitely retake in February. You have a few months between now and then to hit the books hard, and, starting from a 158, you don't have that far to go to get a score that will at least make the schools you are considering now free or close to free. You really shouldn't go to those schools without basically a full tuition scholarship (nice icing on the cake that your bf could contribute to expenses so that hopefully you can get loans close to zero if you get a big scholarship). I would guess that for the schools on your list, a 166 (maybe lower?) or better would get you full tuition. Check lawschoolnumbers.com to see what you would need to get full tuition scholarships because that's what it takes to make these schools a reasonable choice (even then, though, you need to be prepared for the possibility of not getting a job, which may be higher than the 50% figure you referenced earlier).

If you do score higher, you should also apply to other schools, too. Get fee waivers for all these apps. It sounds like you are looking in CA which is too bad because the entire West Coast seems to be GPA whores. Even though your GPA is low for CA, you should apply to UCLA and USC if you bring your last up into the mid to high 160s. Oh, and UCI seems to be an outlier in its lack of splitter hate, so if you hit mid-160s, apply there. If you get to 167, you might want to also apply to UMinn or GW to see if they will throw you any money for your LSAT (don't go for sticker, though!). Also, apply to Cornell because their median dropped to 167 this year. If you get 168, apply to WashU. They give big scholarships to 168s paired with decent GPAs. If you hit 169, you can try Mich, Penn, Duke, and Berkeley (although they are GPA whores as mentioned above - their LSAT median is actually only 167 or something so you could shoot them an app if you get a 167 if you want). 170 and you'll have a shot at GT, NW, and UVa. You'd need a 172 probably for NYU or Chi and at least a 173 for CLS. HYS are out with your GPA.

Think about that. All of those schools are possibilities for you with a higher LSAT. Many people here have started with scores much lower than yours and made it to the 170s. Plus, you struggled with logic games which is the easiest section to learn (don't neglect the other sections in your studying, though). Don't sell yourself short. I think there is no harm in applying now and seeing what happens, but you should still study like crazy for the February LSAT and have your eye on better schools or a full-tuition scholarship at the T2s on your list. You asked about applying when you are retaking - there is a box to check on most applications to indicate that you are retaking. I think it also usually asks whether the school should wait to evaluate your application until the score comes in. Good luck!


Thank you for taking the time to legitimately respond to my post! I am going to retake, will be looking for that box to check, and as I said above, will expand my application pool outside of CA because that seems like it will really be in my best interest. I have an LSAC fee waiver pending and I have read from a lot of schools that they will waive your application fee automatically because of that, so that helps!

I have talked to my bf about the need for him to contribute more to our expenses if I start law school because the tuition is astronomical compared to my UG tuition. He is on board with that as much as possible, and I am trying to set things up so that I don't have a car payment throughout law school and I may even have a little savings set aside to help get me through. Hopefully I will substantially improve my LSAT score and can get some good scholarship money. Fingers crossed.

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Re: 3.52/158 and weighing options...hail mary? retake?

Postby Anonimo » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:51 am

Mission accomplished. Good job guys.

And good luck to OP.




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