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View Full Version : Just got my LSAT scores back, need some law school advice =(


wowoah
Jul 2, 2004, 07:16 PM
This is probably one of the most inappropriate places to ask for law school admissions advice, but seeing I go to an already underfunded public university and my wonderful "Governator" has decided to axe money going to our student counseling services, I don't really have many other places to turn. I'm hoping maybe there's a law student or recent law school grad (or maybe even an admissions officer =D) who can offer a kid some much-needed advice.

I just got my LSAT scores and, although they weren't bad, they were a bit disappointing. My 163 pretty much knocks my dream schools of Columbia and NYU out of the picture, and puts me on really unsteady ground for UCLA and USC, which had been my target schools. I had scored around 170 on all my diags, so I don't know what happened on the actual test. Probably had a massive brain-fart or something.

I really just have two major questions:
1. Should I retake my LSAT?
2. Does a guy with a 163 LSAT and ~3.6 GPA have any chance of getting into UCLA law?

Needless to say, I'm a bit depressed, and a little bit of hope (or reality) would help me out a lot.

Pity, of course, is always appreciated.

Thanks!

Neserk
Jul 2, 2004, 07:22 PM
Take it again. I've met a few people who have and improved their scores enough to get into a different tier of law schools!

reaper
Jul 2, 2004, 07:24 PM
First off, I am going to be a law student this fall and just got over applying this past fall, so just wanted to chime in with my advice and observations based on what you said.

A 163 will still get you in plenty of places, but you're going to have to work harder now. If you graduated from a good undergrad (well known to the law school you are applying to is all that matters) and you write outstanding essays, you stand a pretty good chance of getting into a top 25 school.

That being said, admissions officers are always looking for something and you may just fit the bill for a top 10 or even top 5 school. Unless you are really strapped for cash, apply to all the schools you were thinking of and give it a go. If you don't, you'll regret it for the rest of your life thinking "what if?"

I would say apply everywhere you want and just give it your all. With your score you'll get into a good school no matter what (maybe not your #1, but a good school nonetheless)! Just make the best of what you are given and you'll excel! :)

- reaper

PS Oh yeah, BTW I would strongly advise against taking it again, unless you think you can improve your score significantly. Law schools average the two scores anyway, and almost always look down upon multiple scores unless the difference is substantial and can be explained away.

jsw
Jul 2, 2004, 07:31 PM
Don't take it again.Your score is fine....

And, as far as pity is concerned, it's taken me this long to reply because I've been sitting here, sobbing, crying my eyes out, worried about your future, and hoping you'll be OK. Feel better? ;)

wowoah
Jul 2, 2004, 07:38 PM
Reaper, thanks for the advice. Question: when did you submit your application? I know that apps are rolling, so I don't know when I should submit mine. On one hand, I know submitting it ASAP increases your chances of getting in. On the other hand, I'm thinking my fall semester grades (assuming I do very well) might give me a nice boost before I send in my apps. Would you recommend I send it in ASAP or wait til January?

Thanks!

reaper
Jul 2, 2004, 07:46 PM
Reaper, thanks for the advice. Question: when did you submit your application? I know that apps are rolling, so I don't know when I should submit mine. On one hand, I know submitting it ASAP increases your chances of getting in. On the other hand, I'm thinking my fall semester grades (assuming I do very well) might give me a nice boost before I send in my apps. Would you recommend I send it in ASAP or wait til January?

Thanks!

How likely do you think it is that your grades will increase your GPA significantly? If you already have a 3.6, even if you get a 4.0, I don't think you'd see much difference.

I would say pick one of your top schools and some of your middle of the road schools and send them in early. That way, you will give yourself a shot at some and can hold back on others (some of your top choices and safety schools) until you see how you do in the fall.

That way you give yourself a good chance at all aspects of the admissions process, and your apps will be reviewed at different times of the process when admission's officers are looking for different things (so hopefully you'll get one "fit" that works). Remember, you have to have your LSAC report complete prior to anyone reading your apps, so take that into account too.

If you have any other questions, PM me.

- reaper

madoka
Jul 3, 2004, 12:45 AM
I really just have two major questions:
1. Should I retake my LSAT?
2. Does a guy with a 163 LSAT and ~3.6 GPA have any chance of getting into UCLA law?

Thanks!

Man, consider this your lucky day. I've been doing law school admissions counseling for the past few years. I graduated from Boalt where I also served on the admissions council so I know all their dirty little secrets. :D

1. This is kind of difficult to answer. The June LSAT had the hardest reading comp section in the past ten years, but it also had the easiest games section. Depends on how you did on each section, how you studied for it, what your strengths are, goals, etc. In other words there is no simple answer. It would take me some time to discuss all your options. The students I taught for the June LSAT averaged double digit point increases and three of them got into the 170s. So I was somewhat happy with their performances, though there was one guy who only went up 10 points when I really felt he should have done over 20.

2. Unless you are native american, yes you have pretty much no shot at UCLA. But I counsel all my students NOT to go to UCLA if USC is a viable alternative. There are a bunch of reasons why and when I explain them, everybody ends up agreeing that USC is a better place in the long run. This past year I helped a student with a 3.6 GPA go from 150 on her LSAT to 167 and she is going to USC. She was rejected from UCLA, but did get into Hastings, UC Davis, and a full scholarship to Loyola.

Email if you have any other questions.

madoka
Jul 3, 2004, 12:54 AM
I would say pick one of your top schools and some of your middle of the road schools and send them in early. That way, you will give yourself a shot at some and can hold back on others (some of your top choices and safety schools) until you see how you do in the fall.

That way you give yourself a good chance at all aspects of the admissions process, and your apps will be reviewed at different times of the process when admission's officers are looking for different things (so hopefully you'll get one "fit" that works). Remember, you have to have your LSAC report complete prior to anyone reading your apps, so take that into account too.

- reaper

Err, this strategy is a bit off. Generally speaking, there actually is a sweet spot for when to turn in your applications. I learned this by watching what happens to applications when they were turned in. There is no point in picking some top and middle choices and sending in early on those. I'm defining early as September or October. Often these applicants find that they sent in too early since there may be something else they would like to include on their accomplishments, or change on their personal statements.

alia
Jul 3, 2004, 08:51 AM
Wow, this is all useful for me, since I'm probably going to be applying to law school next year. My mom's a director at a student health service for a university, and she says that her students tell her that the best thing they've done to prepare for the LSAT is to take a course in formal logic. Can any of you folks in the know corroborate this info? Thanks!

Alia

jsw
Jul 3, 2004, 09:13 AM
Wow, this is all useful for me, since I'm probably going to be applying to law school next year. My mom's a director at a student health service for a university, and she says that her students tell her that the best thing they've done to prepare for the LSAT is to take a course in formal logic. Can any of you folks in the know corroborate this info? Thanks!

Alia

Not sure just how much it'd help you on the LSAT, depending on what you know now, but a course in formal logic is always a good thing, and will help with a number of the problem-solving sections of many of the standardized tests.

wowoah
Jul 3, 2004, 11:18 AM
Wow, this is all useful for me, since I'm probably going to be applying to law school next year. My mom's a director at a student health service for a university, and she says that her students tell her that the best thing they've done to prepare for the LSAT is to take a course in formal logic. Can any of you folks in the know corroborate this info? Thanks!

Alia

I actually don't think this is all that true. I'm a Comp Sci minor, so I took Discrete Math, which is essentially formal logic, and the logic that happens on the LSAT is really not all that complicated. Mostly if-then's, contrapositives, simple inferences, etc. If you want to know the absolute best, best, BEST thing you can do, I would say take a year off school after you graduate and find a simple job at a law office as a clerk or a legal assistant, sign yourself up for a LSAT class (TestMasters (http://www.testmasters180.com) is really good) and study like HELL.

But this is coming from a guy who just got a 163. I'm sure you have higher aspirations than that :-\

madoka
Jul 3, 2004, 12:06 PM
Wow, this is all useful for me, since I'm probably going to be applying to law school next year. My mom's a director at a student health service for a university, and she says that her students tell her that the best thing they've done to prepare for the LSAT is to take a course in formal logic. Can any of you folks in the know corroborate this info? Thanks!


No this would not help much at all. In fact, I once had a student who was a grad student in logic and he had a heck of a time trying to come to grips with the way the LSAT did things.

Best thing to do is sign up for a LSAT class. The quality of the class varies greatly depending on the instructor. However, avoid Kaplan, they are worthless.

alia
Jul 3, 2004, 06:30 PM
Believe me, I've taken enough time off already. I stopped school for four years to work as a web developer, so I don't have a lot of time to spend as a clerk. I haven't taken the LSAT yet, but I am an economics major, and my advisor says that economics is a sought after degree for law schools because of the analytical nature of economics. There's certainly a bit of that in my major as well as lots of statistics. Then again, I don't know how much my advisor really knows. The other thing that I was considering to help my chances was to get an accelerated master's in economics before applying.

I took time off because my GPA had dropped and I wasn't doing well in school. Since I've gone back, I've maintained a 4.0, and I should have a 3.2 by the time I graduate overall, and a 4.0 on the last 60 credits (for my BS). I figure having a master's would help my chances with a lower GPA (since I'll probably have 3.5 - 4.0 in my graduate studies), but the main school I'm interested in, which is UF, states that they look at the last 60 hours of work, so the master's may not figure that much. I'll have to call the school and ask their admissions people what they think.

As for an LSAT class, I don't know if I'll bother or not. I'll probably buy a book first and take some practice tests to see how I do. I did some of the example questions on the LSAT site and they didn't seem too bad. Just a matter of preparing yourself to be ready for the types of questions.

Anyway, thanks for the help. :) I don't really have any lawyer friends or family members to ask about these things. My whole family is doctors. :D I'm just glad I don't have to take the MCAT.

madoka
Jul 3, 2004, 09:04 PM
I haven't taken the LSAT yet, but I am an economics major, and my advisor says that economics is a sought after degree for law schools because of the analytical nature of economics. There's certainly a bit of that in my major as well as lots of statistics. Then again, I don't know how much my advisor really knows.


Hahaha! Once again my distrust of advisors is rewarded. This guy doesn't know much. If anything you'd want a hard science major so you can have the option of taking the patent bar.

alia
Jul 4, 2004, 02:56 AM
I have no intention of going into patent law, so that's okay. I was already an economics major, and I really enjoy econ. I want do a dual law/MBA degree with a focus in contracts and entrepreneurship so that I can use the degree to help people start businesses. I might even have gone for a PhD in economics if I could afford to go somewhere like University of Chicago to study, but I can't afford it. :)

madforrit
Jul 4, 2004, 03:01 AM
My girlfriend just finished her application cycle a few months ago, and we're both from the "underfunded" public university you're from, I think. Anyways, that's besides the point.

Law School Numbers (http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com)

If you don't already know about it, this site will likely drive you absolutely insane like it did to my gf, but it might help a bit too. Use with caution and knock yourself out.

Good luck - you'll be fine! :D