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Apply early with lower score versus applying in January with (hopefully) higher score?

What are your thoughts on this? Do most of the applications getting accepted in the beginning or it does not matter?


  • Jonaki55-1Jonaki55-1 Alum Member
    20 karma

    I too have the very same question. I don't see myself prepared enough for the test before November - what is my best option then?

  • annisoogoodannisoogood Core Member
    20 karma

    I am in the same situation. From what I understand it is best to turn in your applications sooner rather than later, and the LSAC should release the updated scores to the schools. You could get a higher score and not get in bc of the rolling basis of applications.

  • JMPlaw19JMPlaw19 Member
    144 karma

    I would say only if you are sure you will get a higher score based on PT performance

  • 246 karma

    It is always better to apply with a higher score than to apply with a lower score. Law schools care primarily about your GPA and LSAT score. These are the two things that are reported to US News and represent their rankings. Unfortunately, it is a numbers game.

  • lizzogonzolizzogonzo Member
    edited August 2021 628 karma

    It's definitely not ideal to submit after Thanksgiving since apps run on a rolling basis. But a stronger/more competitive app submitted later will always be chosen over one that was submitted earlier and is weaker. This depends though- what is your GPA, what is your goal LSAT score you're hoping to hit, and what schools are you applying to? Also do you care about getting a good financial aid package? You should consider these factors as well.

    If you think you will submit a stronger application if you wait until January rather than stressing and rushing to submit earlier, then you should.

  • Thank you! @lizzogonzo, great advise! Thank you very much!

  • lizzogonzolizzogonzo Member
    628 karma

    You're welcome @Publiclydisplayedname-1 best of luck :)

  • crharvellcrharvell Member
    15 karma

    The consensus in previous years was almost always to submit later with a higher score. If you submit earlier (say in September or October) but have an November/January test score coming down the pipeline, a lot of schools will wait to review your application, so submitting earlier doesn't do much beyond alleviate your stress about physically submitting your apps
    I know this past cycle was a bit different, and this one is expected to be a bit different as well, but if you're confident you'll be raising your score by even a point or two, I think it's prudent to wait to submit until after you get your later score.
    You can submit early and request they review your application prior to score release if you're pretty sure you'll be accepted. From there, if you do raise your score, you can try to negotiate increased scholarships. Personally, unless you're hoping for a bunch of money from a t14, just wait to submit. Make your application the best it can be, and be confident about raising your score. Schools want the highest medians they can get--it doesn't matter much whether they admit someone in November or January. It might be a sin to mention it here, but PowerScore has answered this question a lot in their podcasts--listening to them talk about it helped me feel a lot better about submitting later.

    For what it's worth, I applied in late 2018/early 2019 (I think I submitted my last app the first week of January) and received great scholarships and acceptances from all schools (all T30-T50) that I applied to. I am reapplying this year (thought I could avoid covid if I postponed a year... now two... haha) and am planning to submit in early October, but that's really only because I don't have a reason to wait.

  • Harvey_SpecterHarvey_Specter Core Member
    15 karma

    I would advise contacting the law schools directly since they each have individual policies regarding applications with pending LSAT scores or applicants registered to take another exam. For example Yale wants you to apply only when you have all of your materials ready. Whereas UF Law will do an initial review of your application, if they are unable to admit you they will wait until the final LSAT score to make a decision. Other schools you may have to notify them to hold your application until after the final LSAT is received. I recommend creating a law school spread sheet with their admissions info (LSAT & GPA ranges and medians, application deadlines, tuition, and some note on whether to apply with or without final LSAT score), it will help you prioritize when to send your apps.

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