RETAKE THE LSAT
You can't afford NOT to retake it- even with the year off. Talk with your lenders, something should beable to be worked out.
The only schools that will enable you to reasonably pay off that kind of debt are the kind that require a 160+ LSAT. You are only digging your hole much deeper by attending third tier law school. You would graduate with 200k+ debt and little more earning potential than with just the undergrad degree. Thaats getting to the point of might as well flee the country.
As to the difficulty of getting into schools, check out www.lawschoolnumbers.com
Also, a good personal statement about your background would go a long way towards making up the UG GPA.
I haven't found www.lawschoolnumbers.com to be very helpful. For most schools the average GPA/LSAT for "accepted" applications seems a good bit higher than what their medians actually are. Further, it doesn't really tell you *why* people were accepted or rejected. Taking Drexel for example, you see people with 158 LSATs, and 3.6 GPAs rejected, and people with 152s and 3.5 GPAs accepted. That's not informative to me. I've also heard enough about taking time off. I'm not going to work for $30,000 a year or have to bust my ass working overtime just to pay off my loans so I can better study for the next LSAT. There's no guarantee I will score higher, and if I have to work that much just to stay above the poverty line, I'll probably be too bummed out and unmotivated to even bother studying. I'll take my chances at a crappy school and see what I can do to transfer somewhere that might more reliably provide me with a good income at graduation. I don't think it's too unreasonable to think I might be able to transfer into a school like Temple if I did well enough.
Plus, the question of whether or not Drexel would accept someone like me hasn't been addressed. Like I said, the info on lawschoolnumbers is kinda misleading.
Okay... yeah, if you're convinced you want to go now and you're happy with Drexel here's what I have to say:
Is it hard to get into? Eh, it's all relative, but I'm going to say no, not really.
Will it be hard for you? Somewhat. You have some things against you: an unimpressive LSAT score/GPA, and you're applying late.
BUT... you're a good writer (that's evident from your posts). You're smart and determined. Why not visit Drexel and talk with someone on the admissions committee? Take a tour there. Apply ASAP and draft something really well written explaining to them that despite your low numbers, you really can and would do well in law school, and further, that you are really eager to attend Drexel in particular. Law schools, like their applicants, like to feel wanted. Give them some love, and you have a reasonable shot at receiving it.
Good luck, friend!
Would I include such an addendum with my personal statement? I planned on discussing my personal upbringing in the statement, since I think that's my best chance for admission. If I can illustrate that I represent a minority group (albeit just a socioeconomic one) and that I have, time and time again, beat the odds to succeed, there's a strong chance I'll suceed in law school despite a poor LSAT score and UGPA.
EDIT - Reason for my inquiry, I know that Dickinson requires both a general personal statement and then a specific "Why Penn State Dickinson?" letter. I also plan on applying to Dickinson, though it is my absolute last choice after spending the last five years here in State College. Penn State is the reason I have the crippling financial burdens I do. Being the MOST expensive state school in the U.S and A. as it is...