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September vs December LSAT/ Scholarship vs Rankings.

bonfigliojbonfiglioj Alum Member
edited August 2014 in General 15 karma
Hey, everyone,

I'm kind of at a crossroads with LSAT prep and potentially where I should go to law school. I'd love to know what you guys think!

First, my practice tests are going ok so far (mid-160's as of now) and I am currently signed up for the September LSAT. My goal is to get in the upper 160's on the real thing. I want to apply for law school starting next August/September as well. Should I try and switch my test date to the December LSAT to give myself more study time, or will that be too close to send applications?

Second, if I do well on the LSAT I'm a strong candidate to receive a full ride scholarship to a fourth-tier law school. Should I go where the money is, or is it worth taking on the debt and go for a higher ranked law school?

Thanks,
Nick

Comments

  • joegotbored-1joegotbored-1 Alum Member
    802 karma
    I think JY and Jon would say don't take the test until you're ready. If you're not ready for September, push your test date back. Plenty of schools (including the most selective) list the December LSAT as an acceptable date for their cycle. I think if you have already applied (essay, grades, LORs) and they're just waiting on your LSAT score... you could be file-complete within days of submitting your scores. Plenty of time to consider your application before deadlines or a filled class. I wouldn't worry too much about timing the admissions cycle, unless you're not putting your best foot forward.

    As for where to apply along the spectrum of selectivity, that seems more of a personal/professional decision. Since I'm a 0L, I'll pass the buck onto the 7Sage gods to share their experience.
  • CFC152436CFC152436 Alum Member
    edited August 2014 284 karma
    Take the test when you're ready, and no sooner. At the end the day if you think you had an off cycle because you applied in December, sit out a year and apply again in September. Law school isn't going anywhere, and it doesn't make any sense to rush into a commitment you don't (or shouldn't) want to make.

    As far as picking law schools, minimizing debt is an excellent idea. That said, there are certainly some schools that aren't worth going to even for free. Take a look at http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/ to find out the actual employment outcomes for your target schools. If you want to practice in the area and you can get a full ride, some of the smaller regional schools are definitely a better option than a lot of debt at a top-14. Just make sure they're sending more than 40% (made up this number, but you get my point) of the graduating class into full-time bar-passage-required jobs.
  • edited August 2014 310 karma
    [post removed by moderators]
  • joegotbored-1joegotbored-1 Alum Member
    802 karma
    @ttunden Nick asked for advice regarding where to go and when to take the test, not whether or not he should become a lawyer. Calling him old isn't relevant and it's rude which isn't in the spirit of 7Sage discussions. For shame.
  • Nilesh SNilesh S Alum Inactive ⭐
    3438 karma
    Hi Nick... I think the best thing to do would be to hold off until you can get your best score... take this from someone who is giving the test a second time round... prepping once thoroughly and giving the test is always a better idea than doing it again... otherwise you will put yourself thru the grief of prepping for this test again or will go to a lower ranked school than one which you are capable of attending... the LSAT is by FAR the biggest factor in deciding which law school you get into and a good score could mean big money at a great school. Law schools will always be here. If it is any reassurance, I got a 163 in the December administration of last year's LSAT and though I made it thru some moderately good schools in the top 25 - 35 with good money, I plan on taking the test again and going to the best school that I can go to as I know I can do better than a 163. I rushed and took the test without preparing for the games curriculum well and therefore am now putting myself through the grief of test prep again. Don't do this... its not worth it.
    As for your other question, a t-4 with minimal debt is indeed a good option if you want to start up a small private operation... however this choice will depend on what your goals are. if its big law or academia, then anything below a T14 + UTAustin and UCLA won't cut it (not for academia at least (maybe UCI but it is too early to make a call one that one - for biglaw there is hope but it goes down exponentially as the ranking of your school decreases). As CFC said... some regional schools are in certain cases better than a t 14... for example, if you want to work in NY, then a regional king like Fordham Law would be better than say a Georgetown. Hope this helps. And all the best.
  • danielznelsondanielznelson Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4181 karma
    Hi Nick,

    I hope I'm not too late to help with your first question, but I think I have some helpful insight into your second one - this only through attorneys I've spoken with.

    First of all, most seem to argue that the chance to increase your score by even just a few points is well worth the wait. It sounds like you and I are scoring in about the same range right now, and I decided just today to wait. I know that the two months of extra prep WILL bump up my score just enough (at the very least) to make the decision worth it.

    As to your second question, it depends on what your career aspirations are. If you want to become a professor at a respectable institution or work in a bigwig corporate law firm, a low tier law school is a bad idea. But performing in the top of your class at a "crappy" school is more important than going to a top ranked law school in and of itself.

    It basically comes down to your goals. If you want sky as the limit, a low ranked school will probably dig you deeper than you can manage. But if you're shooting for a career in a mid-sized market, the school itself is not nearly as important as making a name for yourself, establishing connections, and performing well in school. I once spoke with two attorneys - one from Valpo (a school with an average LSAT of 149) and the other from Notre Dame, graduating 13th in his class. Both ended up in the same firm doing the same type of work and earning roughly the same salary (the Valpo grad was just starting his law career). The Notre Dame grad noted that he probably would've gone elsewhere given the fact that he wanted a life outside his law career. "My son has football practice at 3:00, and I'm heading out early to be there for it," he told me. "No way would I have been able to do that if I went with a big name law firm."
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