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Reapplying: What to do to boost my chances....

LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
edited April 2018 in Law School Admissions 13286 karma

So as this admissions cycle winds down, it is becoming pretty clear that I need to seriously consider re-applying next cycle. With 7 wait-lists, and no acceptances, it is just the reality of the situation I am in.

That being said, I know it's not all bad. It gives me another year to build my resume, and to save money, as I will likely be losing a year of funding for law school since I didn't go this year.

Right now I have a pretty solid resume in my opinion:

  • Marine Corps
  • Federal appellate court
  • State Court
  • Law firm

and a few more years of work experience to add to this list

My stats are not going to move;
+ cGPA: 2.8
+ Degree GPA: 4.0
+ LSAT: 171

So, other than re-taking which I might consider, but am not really leaning toward, what can I do to boost my chances at acceptance.

I plan on having my applications ready to submit to schools the day they open, so I'll apply MUCH earlier in the cycle than I did this time around. Is there anything else I can really do to boost chances at these schools?

Comments

  • Chika.onyejiukwaChika.onyejiukwa Legacy Member
    35 karma

    Hi! Question: When in the cycle did you apply?

  • Tom_TangoTom_Tango Alum Member
    902 karma

    I know your grades won't move but have you thought about retaking the LSAT?

  • LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
    13286 karma

    @"Chika.onyejiukwa" said:
    Hi! Question: When in the cycle did you apply?

    Early/Mid January - Didn't have my LSAT score until late December

  • LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
    13286 karma

    @Tom_Tango said:
    I know your grades won't move but have you thought about retaking the LSAT?

    Yeah - I'm just not sure. At a 171 I don't want to risk doing WORSE on a subsequent attempt. Score's feel so volatile and based on "luck of the draw" when you get up to those numbers that I'm just not sure if I'd see improvement, and I don't want to have to explain a decrease.

  • LCMama2017LCMama2017 Alum Member
    2134 karma

    I personally wouldn't retake - I'd be pretty stoked with a 171 but that all depends on how much more you want to study and risk a lower score.

    If it was me (and it probably will be) I would probably do the following:

    Write articles on LinkedIn or other publishing sites. Make sure the writing is good and perhaps you can show this as something new when you reapply.

    Start a side business - is there anything you've been wanting to do? Some sort of hobby? Something that you can start quickly, be successful to show that you are entrepeneurial.

    Volunteer someplace that interests you - maybe a place that has the type of law you want to practice. I think this would show your commitment to your area of law . Or maybe volunteer someplace completely different - hospital, shelter, ems, etc, etc. This would show your diversity.

  • LastLSATLastLSAT Alum Member
    1028 karma

    I think the earlier application date and maybe some reworked essays will work out in your favor. You've got awesome softs! I'm sorry to hear that this cycle didn't work out for you. Have you thought about Northwestern or WUSTL Early Decision next cycle? NU is a guaranteed $150k scholarship and WUSTL is a full-ride. It might bump your chances up too, just out of demonstrated interest.

    If you think you could benefit from some help on your essays, maybe consider an admissions consultant to help you spin your application in a way that AdComs will better appreciate. I think you've got a lot going for you and just need to find the way to communicate it in a way that the schools will be more receptive to. Although, again, timing was probably key in the outcomes this cycle.

  • LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
    13286 karma

    @LCMama2017 said:
    I personally wouldn't retake - I'd be pretty stoked with a 171 but that all depends on how much more you want to study and risk a lower score.

    If it was me (and it probably will be) I would probably do the following:

    Write articles on LinkedIn or other publishing sites. Make sure the writing is good and perhaps you can show this as something new when you reapply.

    Start a side business - is there anything you've been wanting to do? Some sort of hobby? Something that you can start quickly, be successful to show that you are entrepeneurial.

    Volunteer someplace that interests you - maybe a place that has the type of law you want to practice. I think this would show your commitment to your area of law . Or maybe volunteer someplace completely different - hospital, shelter, ems, etc, etc. This would show your diversity.

    DUDE! You rock! These are great ideas...I've always, always, always been into writing. I've just never put time aside for it. I've always been too focused on achieving my next goal, or job. Maybe I could spend this year actually focused on writing substantial things! It's a 2 for 1 idea. I get to spend time exploring something I love, AND can even possibly boost my resume with it!

  • Tom_TangoTom_Tango Alum Member
    902 karma

    @LSATcantwin said:

    @Tom_Tango said:
    I know your grades won't move but have you thought about retaking the LSAT?

    Yeah - I'm just not sure. At a 171 I don't want to risk doing WORSE on a subsequent attempt. Score's feel so volatile and based on "luck of the draw" when you get up to those numbers that I'm just not sure if I'd see improvement, and I don't want to have to explain a decrease.

    Definitely understand your concern but isn't highest score all that matters? If you're applying to those really top competitive schools the difference between 171 and 172/3 is the difference between the median and 75percentile. I understand the risk but if you have gotten scores above 171 a retake seems worth it.

  • LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
    13286 karma

    @Tom_Tango said:

    @LSATcantwin said:

    @Tom_Tango said:
    I know your grades won't move but have you thought about retaking the LSAT?

    Yeah - I'm just not sure. At a 171 I don't want to risk doing WORSE on a subsequent attempt. Score's feel so volatile and based on "luck of the draw" when you get up to those numbers that I'm just not sure if I'd see improvement, and I don't want to have to explain a decrease.

    Definitely understand your concern but isn't highest score all that matters? If you're applying to those really top competitive schools the difference between 171 and 172/3 is the difference between the median and 75percentile. I understand the risk but if you have gotten scores above 171 a retake seems worth it.

    Mmmm, until you score a 167 and your 171 looks like a fluke. I think a lot of people over estimate the importance of the LSAT and the "highest score matters" mentality. Admissions committees see all attempted scores, and while they only have to report the highest score, I find it hard to believe a red flag wouldn't be raised for someone who has taken the LSAT 6 times and had scores bounce around. Then you're just lucking your way into the score. At that point the LSAT no longer becomes an indicator for how well one does in law school, and just becomes a number you eventually lucked into.

    I understand what you're saying. I've heard it 1,000 times. It worries me though because it seems more like something everyone reads and regurgitates rather than proof based advice.

    It's pretty hard to consider a retake when I have a score in the 98th percentile. As non-fact based as this seems, I'm almost convinced an earlier application would do as much good, if not more, for me getting admitted to schools than an improved score by 1/2 points.

  • KEverett93KEverett93 Member
    53 karma

    Start a blog! It doesn't have to be about law and Facebook has a pretty good platform for blogging that you can then connect to your LinkedIn account. I tried using LinkedIn for blogging but thought it was a little disorganized. In any case, once you get some followers, likes, and shares you can put it on your resume. I work in pharmacy so I started a pharmacy community blog to establish a place where pharmacists and techs can share their experiences and interact with one another.

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    edited April 2018 3072 karma

    I would not retake. To me that would signal a lack of confidence at this point. Your 171 is going to get you in somewhere, you just need to apply earlier in the cycle. I honestly think that will be enough to do it, considering schools will know that you've already applied once before.

    My advice would be to polish up those essays and keep working hard. Even if admissions officers say that it doesn't matter when you apply, like in the case of YLS, it so, so, so definitely does. To claim otherwise is to ignore hard evidence and the concept of probability.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @LSATcantwin said:

    @Tom_Tango said:

    @LSATcantwin said:

    @Tom_Tango said:
    I know your grades won't move but have you thought about retaking the LSAT?

    Yeah - I'm just not sure. At a 171 I don't want to risk doing WORSE on a subsequent attempt. Score's feel so volatile and based on "luck of the draw" when you get up to those numbers that I'm just not sure if I'd see improvement, and I don't want to have to explain a decrease.

    Definitely understand your concern but isn't highest score all that matters? If you're applying to those really top competitive schools the difference between 171 and 172/3 is the difference between the median and 75percentile. I understand the risk but if you have gotten scores above 171 a retake seems worth it.

    Mmmm, until you score a 167 and your 171 looks like a fluke. I think a lot of people over estimate the importance of the LSAT and the "highest score matters" mentality. Admissions committees see all attempted scores, and while they only have to report the highest score, I find it hard to believe a red flag wouldn't be raised for someone who has taken the LSAT 6 times and had scores bounce around. Then you're just lucking your way into the score. At that point the LSAT no longer becomes an indicator for how well one does in law school, and just becomes a number you eventually lucked into.

    I understand what you're saying. I've heard it 1,000 times. It worries me though because it seems more like something everyone reads and regurgitates rather than proof based advice.

    It's pretty hard to consider a retake when I have a score in the 98th percentile. As non-fact based as this seems, I'm almost convinced an earlier application would do as much good, if not more, for me getting admitted to schools than an improved score by 1/2 points.

    I don't think there is really a trade-off for you between applying early and retaking.

    You should do both. There is plenty of space above a 171 and if you can get your average to about a 174 I think the risk of getting a meaningfully lower score than a 171 would be really low. Additionally, you can (I think I read about someone who did a while ago) run regressions to see if retakes matter using LSNs (not totally reliable but not biased on this subject) data and show that schools don't care to any significant degree about a lower score. I'm sure you are right that a lower score makes it look like it might be random chance that got you the 171, but the highest score is what coumts for the US News median and 75th. So the highest score is what is important.

    Timimg of apps has not historically seemed to matter much, but I too felt like they might have this cycle. I think it might be that an early app was at an advantage this year because schools admitted some people before seeing just how strong the cycle was going to be. Later applicants wouldn't have that chance.

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    I really think just early apps will make a huge difference. I'd also consider applying ED somewhere that has a full tuition or other generous scholarship. Northwestern and WUSTL ED are both solid options. UCLA has these 2 scholarships (Distinguished Scholars is binding, Achievement Fellowship is not): https://law.ucla.edu/admissions/full-tuition-scholarship-programs/

    You have really great softs so I wouldn't worry about that as much. I'd say just focus on your essays and get them in early. I think you'll have more luck this time!

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    So here's some initial thoughts. First, sorry that you're going through this stressful experience. However, another year to prepare has some advantages. Don't give up hope on the waits; there's still possibilities out there even though it's taking a ton of time. I'd maybe see if the LORs can be updated with your new experiences and maybe some new anecdotes to help the AdComs get to know you. Maybe increase the number of schools you apply to. Maybe consider a volunteer opportunity. And maybe also LSAT tutoring. :)

  • chicarysschicaryss Alum Member
    143 karma

    Are you willing to consider Canadian schools?

    Your stats will guarantee you a spot at a Canadian school that places emphasis on your most recent 2 years (aka recent 60 credits) provided that they transfer properly. You may also be a strong candidate under holistic evaluation at pretty much all the schools. Applying is pretty straightforward and simple - the most time you need to invest in is probably a 500-word personal statement. Most schools don't care about extracurriculars if you already have strong numbers (which you do).

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    Also, you'll probably want to revise your essays. And plan to apply earlier. I'd also consider asking some of the AdComs for feedback on the apps and say you're thinking about reapplying and would be grateful for any input they may have when they're available.

  • Accounts PlayableAccounts Playable Alum Sage
    3107 karma

    "Volunteer someplace that interests you - maybe a place that has the type of law you want to practice. I think this would show your commitment to your area of law . Or maybe volunteer someplace completely different - hospital, shelter, ems, etc, etc. This would show your diversity."

    Piggybacking on this idea...ask around if there are any 501(c)(3) boards of directors you can join. I'm on the board of one and we constantly are looking for people to serve.

    With regards to a retake, retaking won't hurt you (even if you perform worse than the 171). You have nothing to lose and plenty of time between now and the June/Sep LSAT; if you take September, be sure to submit your applications as soon as you get your score back.

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    edited April 2018 2531 karma

    Aside from the T5, your 171 is above the 75th percentile for every school. I seriously doubt that a 2/3 point increase in this category would have a significant impact on admissions. It may increase scholarship offers, but admissions is probably going to care more about softs as long as you're boosting their 75th.

    I get the sense that due to an increase in high LSAT scores in the 170's for this cycle, the importance placed on GPA may have been increased. We can probably be correct in assuming that this coming cycle will be closer to the mean than was the previous cycle.

    The LSAT is just a test. You killed the test bro. I think that after all of this time that you have dedicated to the LSAT that it's time to move on to more important things. Now is the time for you to do something that is meaningful. Finding something that loks good on a resume is great for short periods of time, but we're talking about a year and a half of your life. This is a precious chunk of time that you shouldn't waste. I'd recommend spending every moment that you can on deciding what you need to do to wake up in the morning and be assured that your day will be filled with meaningful and important work.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @Ohnoeshalpme said:
    Aside from the T5, your 171 is above the 75th percentile for every school. I seriously doubt that a 2/3 point increase in this category would have a significant impact on admissions. It may increase scholarship offers, but admissions is probably going to care more about softs as long as you're boosting their 75th.

    You are assuming those 75ths won't go up. I think they almost certainly will.

  • PearsonSpecterLittUpPearsonSpecterLittUp Alum Member
    588 karma

    Only one person above mentioned this, but I honestly think that with your softs and LSAT score, you may want to consider revising some of your letters of recommendations! I read on the Yale admission blog about the weight that LORs can have, and they give examples of what they expect!
    Perhaps you should consider going back to whoever wrote your LORs and ask to have it even more personalized, dramatic, etc.

    And obviously, as you know, applying early and everything else that is said above should definitely help :)

  • LCMama2017LCMama2017 Alum Member
    2134 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @Ohnoeshalpme said:
    Aside from the T5, your 171 is above the 75th percentile for every school. I seriously doubt that a 2/3 point increase in this category would have a significant impact on admissions. It may increase scholarship offers, but admissions is probably going to care more about softs as long as you're boosting their 75th.

    You are assuming those 75ths won't go up. I think they almost certainly will.

    What! Noooooo.... whyyyyy....

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    edited May 2018 4423 karma

    @LCMama2017 said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @Ohnoeshalpme said:
    Aside from the T5, your 171 is above the 75th percentile for every school. I seriously doubt that a 2/3 point increase in this category would have a significant impact on admissions. It may increase scholarship offers, but admissions is probably going to care more about softs as long as you're boosting their 75th.

    You are assuming those 75ths won't go up. I think they almost certainly will.

    What! Noooooo.... whyyyyy....

    It's nothing new, but with that big of an increase in 170+ and 175+ scores the 75ths which move easier and maybe even some of the medians will tick up.

    https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/new-2017-2018-cycle-data-as-of-3-27-18/

  • lcf02139lcf02139 Alum Member
    edited May 2018 18 karma

    Congratulations on your LSAT score of 171! Along with your resume, you seem to have a strong application. However, your cumulative GPA is what is reported to US News, not your 4.0. I too have a low (3.2) cumulative GPA but even thought I have a 3.98 and graduated summa cum laude, the cumulative is taken into account. (The low GPA from 20 years ago which brought my current GPA down.)

    That said, it appears that your high LSAT is sufficient to be accepted at many law schools but not the very top ones. So, it would be very interesting to know what schools have not accepted such an otherwise stellar application.

    A few points higher may not make a difference with the low GPA? Not sure, but something you may wish to pose to the application office of your school of choice. I find they can be very helpful is providing general questions of these types.

  • NerdSquad11NerdSquad11 Alum Member
    30 karma

    Rewriting is a waste of time. That cGPA is what is killing you.

  • LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
    13286 karma

    @NerdSquad11 said:
    Rewriting is a waste of time. That cGPA is what is killing you.

    I don’t have it in me to retake anyway lol.

    There’s nothing I can do about the cGPA either. It’s over 10 years old lol law school Admissions is dumb.

  • keets993keets993 Alum Member 🍌
    6045 karma

    @LSATcantwin did you read the newest post by David about admissions and timing? I actually don't think I'd advocate for writing LSAT again, it's a lot emotionally and physically. Especially since you're not sure if it would beneficial. There's people here with super high scores that also didn't get into the top school of choice so that also speaks volumes about the competitiveness of the cycle and I think it's only going to get worse. I would suggest just working with some admissions people to make your essays as stellar as possible and submit them as early as possible. Your story screams perserverence and dedication - things you'll need for success in law school and life itself, I think you just need help with crafting an amazing story. You can also take this extra year to do things you've been neglecting, like someone else said maybe write some stuff, pick up a hobby you've always been into like painting, read some things that you wished you had the time to.

  • NerdSquad11NerdSquad11 Alum Member
    30 karma

    Try not to get discouraged. I have a lot of respect for people like you. You made some pretty serious sacrifices for others in your life. Stay positive and write a killer diversity statement and hope for the best. You need to have an amazing character to serve in the marine corps. I have no doubt somewhere down the line in your career there will be people who will give you the opportunities you deserve. Thank you for your service.

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    3072 karma

    You will do better next cycle, I'm sure of it.

  • teamteamvicsterteamteamvicster Alum Member
    edited May 2018 774 karma

    I can’t wait to hear your success story after applying earlier this upcoming cycle. I would also recommend adding some work experience and volunteer. CASA, abroad experience, getting published? How was your personal statement? I wouldn’t retake but would focus time on boosting your softs to outweigh your GPA and apply early

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    I'm still hoping this cycle has some good surprises in store for you. Reapplying next cycle is also a good idea but this one's not over until it's over.

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