Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: duo bot please on October 22, 2015, 07:54:00 PM

Title: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: duo bot please on October 22, 2015, 07:54:00 PM
After getting back my unofficial LSAT score today I'm extremely disappointed to see I got a 153. After 4 months of prep I was testing in the high 150s and low 160s, but I had no idea how to do one of the logic games and that threw me off for half of the section following. That said, what do I do now? Should I retake and get closer to the 160 mark that I was bouncing around for months on end? Or do I just say screw it and apply? Where should I be looking? Obviously T30 are out of the question, but I was originally hoping to practice one day back in my home state of Colorado (Univ of Colorado or Univ of Denver for school). I have a 3.7 cumulative GPA and a 3.83 from my degree granting institution, and based off those numbers, I don't think I'll have a particularly tough time getting into DU, but it's a coin-toss to get into CU. I want to one day practice either criminal law or constitutional law. In my undergraduate studies, I have focused on classes about civil liberties and philosophy of law, so I believe I can write a solid personal statement about my passion for the topic, but I'm not sure what exactly the next step is.

Should I retake with a little over 6 weeks to prep? Or should I just apply and let the chips fall where they may? If I do apply now, other than CU and DU, where should I be looking to submit an application? I suppose I should also note that I do not have URM status. Thanks in advanced for the help
Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: loki13 on October 23, 2015, 06:59:55 AM
After getting back my unofficial LSAT score today I'm extremely disappointed to see I got a 153. After 4 months of prep I was testing in the high 150s and low 160s, but I had no idea how to do one of the logic games and that threw me off for half of the section following. That said, what do I do now? Should I retake and get closer to the 160 mark that I was bouncing around for months on end? Or do I just say screw it and apply? Where should I be looking? Obviously T30 are out of the question, but I was originally hoping to practice one day back in my home state of Colorado (Univ of Colorado or Univ of Denver for school). I have a 3.7 cumulative GPA and a 3.83 from my degree granting institution, and based off those numbers, I don't think I'll have a particularly tough time getting into DU, but it's a coin-toss to get into CU. I want to one day practice either criminal law or constitutional law. In my undergraduate studies, I have focused on classes about civil liberties and philosophy of law, so I believe I can write a solid personal statement about my passion for the topic, but I'm not sure what exactly the next step is.

Should I retake with a little over 6 weeks to prep? Or should I just apply and let the chips fall where they may? If I do apply now, other than CU and DU, where should I be looking to submit an application? I suppose I should also note that I do not have URM status. Thanks in advanced for the help

Briefly-

My usual advice is to not re-test on the LSAT, absent unusual circumstances. Here, however, you seem to have them. The difference between a 153 and a 161 is extreme when it comes admissions and financial aid. If you have consistently been scoring higher in practice exams, I would recommend re-taking it. Your options will be greater, and, more importantly, you may be able to get a much better scholarship at you local schools.
Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: Miami88 on October 23, 2015, 08:23:12 AM
I agree. If you were within 3-5 points of your average, it is unlikely worth it to retake. But being 7 points away from your average is statistically severe. I would figure out what went wrong and hit the books.

This is even more so the case given that you have a 3.7.
Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: Citylaw on October 23, 2015, 10:13:52 AM
First off congrats on taking the LSAT. I don't know how many people talk about it, but never actually take it.

Now that you have numbers what you do is apply to law school.  Furthermore, 153 is not a terrible score, but certainly not great either.  However, you can get into about 100 ABA schools with your numbers. https://officialguide.lsac.org/Release/UGPALSAT/UGPALSAT.aspx

Your numbers give you a strong shot at Denver College of Law as-is. (see the official guide)

I hate to break it to you, but odds are you will not get a 160+ on the LSAT. This is nothing against you, but that is the 80th percentile of college graduates that are smart and hard-working enough to even take the LSAT.  153 puts you in the top 40%, which is still pretty good.

I scored lower than a 160 on the LSAT, but graduated from law school, passed the bar, got a job etc. 

I think your experiencing is the reality check most OL's go through. With a 3.7 GPA it seems like you were a great student the star of the class, but in law school everyone was the star of the class in undergrad and law school is a different level.

153 is not great, not bad it is fine. When you enroll in law school everyone will think the LSAT was a fluke, but they will surely be in the top 10% of the class, but obviously 90% of them cannot be.

Next Steps:
Apply to law school with your current numbers and re-take the LSAT if you want. You have nothing to lose, but 153 will get you into law school and if you get a 160 on your retake then revaluate your applications, but odds are you will get around a 153 again.

Again, congrats on taking the LSAT and having the option to attend law school. Good luck in your legal career!
Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: loki13 on October 23, 2015, 10:21:17 AM
First off congrats on taking the LSAT. I don't know how many people talk about it, but never actually take it.

Now that you have numbers what you do is apply to law school.  Furthermore, 153 is not a terrible score, but certainly not great either.  However, you can get into about 100 ABA schools with your numbers. https://officialguide.lsac.org/Release/UGPALSAT/UGPALSAT.aspx

Your numbers give you a strong shot at Denver College of Law as-is. (see the official guide)

I hate to break it to you, but odds are you will not get a 160+ on the LSAT. This is nothing against you, but that is the 80th percentile of college graduates that are smart and hard-working enough to even take the LSAT.  153 puts you in the top 40%, which is still pretty good.

I scored lower than a 160 on the LSAT, but graduated from law school, passed the bar, got a job etc. 

I think your experiencing is the reality check most OL's go through. With a 3.7 GPA it seems like you were a great student the star of the class, but in law school everyone was the star of the class in undergrad and law school is a different level.

153 is not great, not bad it is fine. When you enroll in law school everyone will think the LSAT was a fluke, but they will surely be in the top 10% of the class, but obviously 90% of them cannot be.

Next Steps:
Apply to law school with your current numbers and re-take the LSAT if you want. You have nothing to lose, but 153 will get you into law school and if you get a 160 on your retake then revaluate your applications, but odds are you will get around a 153 again.

Again, congrats on taking the LSAT and having the option to attend law school. Good luck in your legal career!

I disagree very strongly with what was just posted. To reiterate, while I normally think retaking the LSAT doesn't help much, if you were consistently scoring higher on your practice exams by seven or more points, you should. This isn't about just getting into a school- this is about financial aid and scholarships.

A 153 won't get you the $ you would get. In addition to increasing your options (which you may, or may not, want), it will decrease your total cost of attendance. Now, this isn't a guarantee. It could just be that your practice exams were all wrong. But we are talking about a decision that could be worth six figures. That's worth the cost of the LSAT and the time.

Re-take.
Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: Citylaw on October 23, 2015, 11:54:18 AM
I agree the OP should retake, but no harm in applying and retaking.

If OP gets a 160 great, but practice is just that.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDBR2L5kzI

The real LSAT is different than practice. I scored high on quite a few "practice exams", but I gave myself a few extra minutes on the test, made a few quirks etc. Not to mention the real pressure of the exam v practice.

I hope OP gets a 180 on his LSAT and gets a full ride to Harvard, but odds are he/she will score around 150 and maybe get a 160.

Of course do the best you can on the LSAT, but at some point you accept your score.

OP can apply now and retake in December and even February and June before actually enrolling. If his/her scores remain around 150 then that is what it is. If he/she gets a 173 then reapply.

So just as you have little to lose by taking the LSAT you have little to lose by applying. Do both, because if you put off applications and continue getting 150's then you just put off a year of your life to be in the same spot your in now. If you get a 160-170 then the year off was worth it and you can not enroll and reapply.






Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: duo bot please on October 23, 2015, 12:04:56 PM
I appreciate the advice so far guys. Thank you so much.
I disagree very strongly with what was just posted. To reiterate, while I normally think retaking the LSAT doesn't help much, if you were consistently scoring higher on your practice exams by seven or more points, you should. This isn't about just getting into a school- this is about financial aid and scholarships.

A 153 won't get you the $ you would get. In addition to increasing your options (which you may, or may not, want), it will decrease your total cost of attendance. Now, this isn't a guarantee. It could just be that your practice exams were all wrong. But we are talking about a decision that could be worth six figures. That's worth the cost of the LSAT and the time.

Re-take.
If I am going to retake it... When should I be looking to do so? December is obviously the next test date but it would leave me with just over 6 weeks to prep. Taking it in February, on the other hand, means I have ample time to prep and ensure I am not thrown off again, but it also means I will be fighting for a smaller pool of spots and for little (if any) money. Which date makes the most sense? Is it possible to apply mid-November once I've finished up all the applications to get my decision in late December or early January, and then reapply with the second LSAT (if necessary) in March? Or is that not possible?

If, theoretically, I do get into DU, since it's outside of T1, is it even worth going? Or am I just digging myself into a hole I can't pay my way back out of? I suppose one more option is to take a gap year and retake the LSAT again next year with even more prep, but if that isn't necessary I'd rather avoid it. That said, if I really messed this up and I don't have time to fix it properly this admission cycle, I'm patient enough and have the resources to ensure I do this the right way. Still, I'm pretty scattered with the news and I really don't know what that "right way" is.

E: Citylaw answered some of these questions in a post while I was tying my response. Many thanks my friend.
Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: loki13 on October 23, 2015, 12:14:15 PM
I appreciate the advice so far guys. Thank you so much.
I disagree very strongly with what was just posted. To reiterate, while I normally think retaking the LSAT doesn't help much, if you were consistently scoring higher on your practice exams by seven or more points, you should. This isn't about just getting into a school- this is about financial aid and scholarships.

A 153 won't get you the $ you would get. In addition to increasing your options (which you may, or may not, want), it will decrease your total cost of attendance. Now, this isn't a guarantee. It could just be that your practice exams were all wrong. But we are talking about a decision that could be worth six figures. That's worth the cost of the LSAT and the time.

Re-take.
If I am going to retake it... When should I be looking to do so? December is obviously the next test date but it would leave me with just over 6 weeks to prep. Taking it in February, on the other hand, means I have ample time to prep and ensure I am not thrown off again, but it also means I will be fighting for a smaller pool of spots and for little (if any) money. Which date makes the most sense? Is it possible to apply mid-November once I've finished up all the applications to get my decision in late December or early January, and then reapply with the second LSAT (if necessary) in March? Or is that not possible?

If, theoretically, I do get into DU, since it's outside of T1, is it even worth going? Or am I just digging myself into a hole I can't pay my way back out of? I suppose one more option is to take a gap year and retake the LSAT again next year with even more prep, but if that isn't necessary I'd rather avoid it. That said, if I really messed this up and I don't have time to fix it properly this admission cycle, I'm patient enough and have the resources to ensure I do this the right way. Still, I'm pretty scattered with the news and I really don't know what that "right way" is.

E: Citylaw answered some of these questions in a post while I was tying my response. Many thanks my friend.

There's a lot packed in there. If at all possible, I would re-take in December. Assuming everything you previously stated was correct, you don't need more time. You need to maximize a short amount of time. This isn't the Bar- it's the LSAT. Concentrate on logic games, don't stress. If you give yourself too much time (February), you won't use it efficiently. In addition, taking it in December would allow you to have a better idea of your scores (both immediately- how you felt after the exam, and the actual scores) when you apply. Definitely December.

I recommend against sending in one score if you are going to re-take the exam, and then sending in another number. This will help for admissions, but could hurt for scholarships. Again, this is assuming you are confident you will do the same, or better.

Outside of the T14, it doesn't really matter what the rankings are. DU is fine. Go to the school you get into that is where you want to practice, and offers the best financial package. Apply to a broad range of schools.
Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: Citylaw on October 23, 2015, 12:40:04 PM
Excellent response by Loki.

However, one thing to really understand for OP is DO NOT CARE about the rankings. Please read a seperate post I wrote here. http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/index.php?topic=4030122.msg5412731#msg5412731

Essentially, the rankings change drastically year by year minus the top schools. Harvard, Yale, Stanford are great schools I personally don't know if Boulder or Denver is "ranked" higher nor would anyone really care. Both are ABA schools that will provide a quality education.

For further insight read this article on how to choose a law school. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html

It sounds like you want to live in Colorado post-graduation. Therefore, go to Colorado or Denver.

You can take the December LSAT or February one. I personally would just apply to the schools you are interested in with your current score, but before applying contact the admissions office of the schools you are interested and ask what the school's policy on retaking is. Each school has a different process so ask them directly, although Loki and I can offer some general advice the University of Colorado Admissions Office will know a lot more about the University of Colorado Admissions policies than two random guys on the internet.

Title: Re: 153 LSAT 3.7 GPA - What do I do now?
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on October 26, 2015, 01:51:42 PM
Usually, I think re-taking is a waste of time because people are pinning their hopes of a higher score on nothing more than wishful thinking.

Your case may be different, however. If you were consistently scoring in the high 150s-low 160s, I would retake. As Citylaw said, it is very common to score lower on the actual LSAT than on the practice tests. However, if you can raise that score to even four or five points you're probably looking at much better scholarship options.

Is DU worth it?
That depends on what you want to do. For many jobs DU is just fine. These would include small to mid sized local firms, DA, public defender, etc. If you're gunning for big firms, federal jobs such as DOJ, or out of state employment, it may not be sufficient.

You mentioned something about wanting to practice criminal or Constitutional law. Depending on what precisely you mean by Constitutional law, it can be VERY competitive. You're talking about federal agencies, a few specialty firms in DC, and some fairly prestigious non-profits (think ACLU). Most of the lawyers working at these places are T14 grads, former judicial clerks, etc.

Criminal law in Denver is a different story, and I would think DU would be fine.