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Guidance Needed please 162 LSAT 2.58 GPA

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Greetings everyone, this is my first post but I have read many posts on here. As the title says, I received a 162 on the October 2012 LSAT and a low 2.58 GPA from a regional university. I am wondering if it is worth retaking the LSAT when my average PT was a 168. My objective originally was to attend U. of Minnesota if I had a 168-170, but due to this score my reach school is U. of Illinois. I have several target and safety schools: U. of Houston, Chicago-Kent IIT, U. of San Diego, Case Western Reserve, Loyola Chicago, U. of Tenn., LSU, Michigan State, and Seattle University. If you have any suggestions about these schools or others that I should apply to please let me know.  I believe I can get into some of these schools, but unsure of scholarship money, hence why I would retest. However, I am not a traditional law applicant.

I have a M.B.A. in International Business (3.3 GPA) from a regional school, first person in family to graduate with B.S. and Masters, prior Air Force National Guardsman for 6 years (which I was a meteorologist), worked 3 years in financial sector with progressive promotions and management experience, worked during all my schooling, married with no kids, and other family difficulties in which I would indicate in my personal statement.

I wonder if those soft factors would greatly assist me in being accepted and obtaining a higher scholarship. I worry if I wait to retest and score around the same or lower then I would be applying at end of December to January compared to me apply in November.

If you have any advice or guidance please let me know.

Thank you

Honestly if you think you can do higher, I'd say retake it.  Your GPA is really low for lawschoos so a high LSAT is needed to boost your numbers.  So if you think you could even get it up to a 165 I think it would probably be worth it. For instance I'm an undergrade at UT Knoxville and I have their law school stats in front of me and honestly I don't think you can consider it a safety.  The median LSAT is 160 so you are 2 points above that, but the median GPA is  3.60 so over an entire point higher than yours.  The lowest GPA they list is 3.30 which is the bottom 25 percentile I think.  So you could get in there, but I highly doubt it would be with a scholarship and I doubt it's even a sure thing.

Maintain FL 350:

--- Quote from: Jmc1707 on November 01, 2012, 10:00:28 PM ---I am wondering if it is worth retaking the LSAT when my average PT was a 168.

--- End quote ---

It's important to understand that practice tests simulate, but do not replicate, actual LSAT testing conditions. Practice tests cannot account for your mental state on test day, personal life circumstances, or even the scoring matrix which will be used to determine your percentile rank. For one administration of the exam a score of 160 might be the 80th percentile, and for another it might be the 85th percentile.

Retaking the LSAT is a calculated risk. Unless you have some very specific, identifiable reason which leads you to believe that you'll perform better the second time around, I'd be careful. There is a big difference between a 162 and a 168, and you could easily go a down a few points, too.

Honestly, I think the LSAT is a reality check for a lot of people. We all like to think that we're smarter than a standardized test would indicate. When we get a disappointing LSAT score we think "Oh, that's wrong. I must have had a bad day. I can do better." Maybe, maybe not. The fact is, your LSAT score doesn't just represent your individual aptitude. It measures your aptitude against thousands of other takers, and there are lots of very smart people in the world.

My view is that absent some catastrophic event on test day, the LSAT is fairly accurate at defining the outer parameters of the taker's abilities. I don't mean that to sound critical towards you personally, it's just my opinion. Try to critically, objectively evaluate your performance, and separate your hopes from your abilities. That will help you assess the overall probability of acheiving a higher score.

--- Quote from: Jmc1707 on November 01, 2012, 10:00:28 PM ---My objective originally was to attend U. of Minnesota if I had a 168-170, but due to this score my reach school is U. of Illinois. I have several target and safety schools: U. of Houston, Chicago-Kent IIT, U. of San Diego, Case Western Reserve, Loyola Chicago, U. of Tenn., LSU, Michigan State, and Seattle University.

--- End quote ---

All of those schools are in very different regions, and your opportunities at graduation will also vary accordingly. Generally speaking, I think it's a good idea to go to law school in the region in which you want to live. All of the schools you mentioned are good schools with good local/regional reputations, but none are so prestigious that you'll be able to land a job anywhere in the country based on pedigree alone. Your opportunities for internships/clerkships/summer associate positions etc. are primarily going to be within each school's immediate area. Unless you attend an elite school with a national reputation (Harvard, etc) most law schools are local institutions.

It's actually not very easy to go to law school in say, California, then show up in Minnesota after graduation and effectively compete for jobs with local students who have had three or four years to build up connections and experience. Also, you'll be better prepared to take the bar exam in the state in which you plan to live if you also go to law school in that state. For example, I went to law school in CA and had to learn the community property system, California evidence, California professional responsibility, and California civil procedure. Someone who goes to law school in Michigan and learns Michigan's property system and other rules is therefore going to be at a disadvantage taking the CA bar. Something to consider.

As Roald suggests your kind of all over the map on the schools. The reality is law school teaches you the same thing no matter where you go and there really isn't such a thing as a "better school" or anything like that. There are a few top schools which might open some doors i.e. Harvard, Yale, or something like that. However, none of the schools you listed are at that level.

Here is a list of things I think any potential 0L should consider before going to law school.

1) Location
In my opinion this is the most important factor when choosing a law school. If you want to live in San Francisco after graduation go to law school in San Francisco, if your from Idaho and want to be close to your family after graduation go to law school in Idaho. The vast majority of schools only have connections in their immediate area and on top of that you will get internships etc in the area your attending school. For example if your going to law school in L.A. you cannot do an internship in New York during the school year and since there are no shortage of law schools in New York or New Jersey there would be no reason to reach out to L.A.

Also law school doesn't exist in a vaccum and the day to day life will play a factor. For example if your ultra liberal, gay, etc going to law school in Arkansas is probably not going to go well and if your ultra conservative going to law school in San Francisco won't go well. If your a person that loves night life etc going to law school in East Lansing Michigan or Tulsa Oklahoma will be hard to handle. If your someone that likes a quiet atmosphere then don't attend New York Law School in the heart of New York's Financial District. These are all factors that are unique to each individual and really consider location.

2) Cost
Almost every law school except for a few schools that offer in-state tuition like Florida International, South Dakota, North Dakota, and few others tuition is going to run you approximtely 100k and if your in a location like N.Y. or San Francisco the living expenses for 3 years will probably add on another 50-100k. All of which is accruing interest often at 6 or 8%. This means you can have 8,000 or so in interest alone a year so it is important to really consider cost.

Many schools offer merit scholarships that should be considered even if other schools are "higher ranked" for example if you can get a full scholarship at Gonzaga University compared to paying full tuition at Seattle University then it might be wise to take it since I would imagine most people do not consider either much school must better than the other.

3) Reality of Legal Education
Each ABA law school quite literally teaches you the same thing your first year will be contracts, torts, civil procedure, legal writing, property, criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law or some slight variation, but all those courses will be taken. In Torts you will read the Palsgraff case, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale etc and all you do at any ABA school is read Supreme Court Decisions and the Supreme Court doesn't take time to write different opinions for different schools. Whether you read the Palsgraff case at Harvard or in West Virginia the firecrackers get dropped and proximate cause is established.

4) Personal Feeling about the School
I personally was accepted to several law schools and I visited a lot as well as participated in some mock trial competitions and I saw a lot of different law schools. There were some that I really liked and some that I really didn't like. My reasons were completely personal to me and what I liked you may have hated and vice versa. You can talk to professors, students, admins, etc and really see first hand what the school is like. I highly recommend doing that prior to making a 3 year 100,000+ commitment just make sure the school fits your personality.

5). Specialty Programs
This ties in more with location rather than the school, but you can still use it as a factor. For example if you really want to do entertainment law then you should go to law school in New York or L.A. that is where movies, t.v shows, etc are made. Therefore, schools in those locations will have a lot of alumni in the area, adjuncts that work in the field will teach in the school, you can get internships at those places during law school and so on. If you want to do entrainment law then going to Idaho law school will not be an ideal spot.

Then there are a few schools that do mock trial competitions which are good and you can kind of see how seriously a school takes that by how many teams they have and how well they do. For example South Texas law school is amazing at Trial Advocacy competitions I have seen there courtroom and they almost won every competition I was ever win they are just good at it. If there is some area of law you are interested in you can look at to what programs they offer.

However, if you are not particularly interested in any area of law don't consider it and don't worry about it. Plenty of law students and even lawyers don't really know what they want to do.

6) Rankings
This is a factor, but remember U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit magazine offering an opinion. They rank more than law schools and Albuquerque New Mexico is the best place to live now according to them and South & North Dakota will be the best places to live in 2032. One of the main factors for South Dakota being selected as a hot spot in 2032 is because they estimate dental visits will be easy to access. I am not making this up either straight from their website and

I highly doubt you are going to make life altering choice and move to Albuquerque because a magazine says you should or start saving to move to South Dakota in 2032. Use the same logic when choosing your law school don't let some magazine be your main guide. No harm in considering it, but don't make a life altering choice based on a magazine.

Those are just some factors to consider and hopefully some of that info is helpful. Also remember I am nothing more than an anonymous internet poster and you should get info directly from people you can interact with face to face to assess their credibility. Good luck .

Admissions Question
Those soft factors might help somewhat, but the reality is law school admission is based almost entirely on numbers. is a pretty good site to see where you have a chance and what scholarship opportunities might be available.

Thank you all for the posts so far and the advice. Most of the information brought up my wife and I had considered. For the most part, location is not an issue at all except we wish to stay away from the east coast. Other than that cost and scholarships are the most important factors for us. We will continue to evaluate the schools on law school numbers.

As for retaking the LSAT I am still not sure about. I was not that good at focusing with distractions (my proctors were whispering for the first 30 mins), but maybe if I practice with that I may be able to get in the mid-high 160s.

I really appreciate everyone's inputs and if you have any other recommendations please let me know.

Thank you again.


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