« on: August 02, 2008, 06:59:46 PM »
I normally don't chime in on these debates, but since I had nearly identical numbers last year when I was applying, I'll throw my two cents in.
- If you didn't take a testmasters course or something similar for your LSAT the first time around, you may want to consider doing that and re-taking. I did some independent studying for a couple months (while I was working full-time), and ended up with a 165. I was also scoring 170-175 on my practice tests right before the real thing. If I had been a little more flexible with my law school time table, I would probably have taken TestMasters and retaken the test. A T14 education certainly makes you more flexible and provides a good deal of security.
- That said, I ended up choosing between a bunch of schools ranked in the 30's with scholarships. I didn't apply to schools in the 15-30 range because of personal preferences, so I can't tell you what your chances there are. My current mid 30 school gave me a substantial scholarship. I ended up top 3-4% at my school, on LR, and am now getting interviews from Vault top 40 firms on both coasts. In short, I am able to do everything I personally would have wanted to do had I got into a T14, at a fraction of the price. (side note: a few people in my class that were similarly ranked ended up transferring to schools like Yale, Chicago, Georgetown, etc, so that option is there as well)
Of course, the downside of going to the mid 30's school is that had I struggled, I'd be in a very different employment situation, so there is/was increased pressure to do well. It pretty much comes down to your risk tolerance, and how much work and effort you expect to put in during 1L, and what your career goals are.