Need Advice/Encouragment

nikki0717nikki0717 Core Member
edited June 2022 in General 57 karma

Hi everyone,
So I have a dilemma -- I graduated with my bachelor in July 2021. I am a non-traditional student (Finance major, started freshman year of college in 2011 and was on and off in school for about decade).

I recently decided I want to apply to law school (something I have been considering for a year or two now). Problem is, I have a low uGPA (according to LSAC). They recalculated my GPA to 2.79 (ouch). It is not what I graduated with, but due to some irresponsible early years in college, the grades screwed me. This was when I decided I wanted to be a mathematical sciences major at one point in 2012-2014, the classes did not go well.

I have NOT taken the LSAT yet, and I am scheduled for the June 2022 test.

I have always been a good standardized test taker (SAT: 1860/2400 at the time, ACT: 25 (ish), ASVAB: 97 -- (Note: did not go to military but took the test because I wanted to go at one point). I do realize, however, that the LSAT is a different beast. Not sure how I am going to do, since I opted NOT to take a diagnostic, I do not see the point personally other than potentially stressing myself out.

My target school is Florida International University (T100 school). It is somewhat local for me and they are one of the only law schools in the area with a part time program other than Nova Southeastern University (which is ranked considerably lower). I am trying to go for their part time program. I am a mom (had my son in February 2020) and it just works better for me and my life.

Any advice? I am so nervous. What type of score do you think I would need to be considered competitive?

ANY words of encouragement are greatly appreciated. This whole thing is causing me anxiety lol.



  • georgianablythe16georgianablythe16 Alum Member
    edited June 2022 142 karma

    Hi there! I have not applied to law school's yet or taken an official LSAT so take what I say with a grain of salt, but here's what I would look at/do in your situation.

    • Taking a diagnostic is incredibly beneficial to your LSAT prep as it let's you know what areas of the test you are weakest in. It also helps as you study and take PT's to see how you're improving relative to your diagnostic.

    • Looking up FIU (I typicaly use it looks like you're below they're 25% GPA which means ideally you should aim to get an LSAT score above they're 75% range. You can find that information here:

    • Getting above their 75% would be in the low 160's. You would know if this goal is easily or relatively attainable with a diagnostic score, which would also help you know how long you might need to study.

    • Without knowing a diagnostic I can't say much about how much you should study/what you should focus on. If you're set on taking the June test you can use that as your diagnostic I suppose but it's certainly an expensive diagnostic!

    • My layman's advice is to get a diagnostic, and then set a study plan that works for you. As much as it can really suck to delay applications until you get the right score, it's almost always better to wait, study, and apply with the best LSAT score possible, especially if you're a splitter.

    I hope that was somewhat helpful! I think you can absolutely get into your target school with time and dedication. Best of luck to you!

  • nikki0717nikki0717 Core Member
    57 karma

    Hi @georgianablythe16 -- I appreciate your response SO much! I know that it is not popular opinion to not take a diagnostic and just go for the first LSAT but I got approved for LSAT waivers, so I think that was a big part in me not overthinking it and just going for it.

    I think I am just putting confidence in my own abilities to do well since I do well in a test setting. The 160+ range was what I was aiming for so it is nice to know I am on the right track as far as what score I think I need.

    I appreciate all your input! Thank you!

  • sethlee_sethlee_ Member
    6 karma

    My advice would be to take a timed, real-world diagnostic. I have a feeling that your experience taking the diagnostic will be a wakeup call that the LSAT is not something you roll out of bed one morning and decide to take. Frankly, with a 2.79 GPA, you will need an LSAT score above the median - as another commenter pointed out. I know in your other reply you mentioned the waivers essentially rushing you to take the test; if anything, the waivers afford you the flexibility to wait.

    Rushing to take the LSAT in June, before you're ready or even know your diagnostic score, will actively harm your application. Law schools say that they only look at the top score you submit, but they see all of them. If there are only a handful of seats left, and it's between you and an individual who took the LSAT once and received the same score as you... you better hope your other application materials are strong.

  • nikki0717nikki0717 Core Member
    edited June 2022 57 karma

    Hi @sethlee_ -- I wanted to take it this year to see if I could somehow avoid waiting until Fall 2023, given that everything goes well. Since it's my first time taking the test, I do have the option to cancel the score if it ends up being something I don't want (Thanks to score preview).

    I appreciate the insight though, and thank you for commenting!

  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    edited June 2022 6866 karma

    As a new parent myself, I sympathize and empathize with your situation. It seems like you've already made up your mind, so I wish you the best of luck in your chosen path. But as an LSAT tutor and law school admissions consultant of over a decade, I simply cannot agree with your decision.

    For the peanut gallery, I will offer a few additional points of consideration for anyone else in a similar situation -

    • Either you're already good at the LSAT or you're not. If you are, then you have nothing to worry about as far as taking a diagnostic. And if you're not, you should know that before you throw away time, money, and one of your three takes within the calendar year finding that out. You're not 'avoiding' the diagnostic in any real sense, you're just using the real test as your diagnostic and praying it goes well - which, you can just take a diagnostic and pray it goes well, too. The only thing avoiding a diagnostic does is avoid the anxiety that comes with doing poorly on something you thought you'd do well on - which, in that case, wouldn't you want to know that ahead of time so you could plan around it? I can understand not taking a cold diagnostic if you're trying to set up for 6 or 8 months of study and would rather not know just how deficient you really are before getting started, but not if you're just going to go take the actual test cold immediately afterward. Doing anything of consequence with no preparation is pretty much always a bad idea, and the LSAT as as consequential as it gets for your application.

    • Score preview is a one-time thing that is tremendously advantageous. You can use score preview to get essentially two cracks at your top score. I can't tell you the number of people I've worked with who, before score preview existed, studied for months and sometimes years only to underperform their test score on test day and be devastated as a result. Score preview allows you to avoid that and have a clean slate, twice! Rarely do we get such clean second chances at anything in life this consequential, for any amount of money. Don't throw it away 'just to see'. You can take a diagnostic test for that.

    • "Doing well in test settings" previously means very little, because those tests didn't test what the LSAT tests. I can point you to over ten years' worth of students who have come to me with excellent previous standardized test scores - many of whom got into Ivys and other top tier colleges on the backs of them - and bad LSAT scores. While it's obviously helpful that you are comfortable taking tests, it's not remotely close to enough to cover up for any skills gap that may exist (and the punishing difficulty and tight time constraint of the LSAT specifically introduces many additional stressors that simply do not exist in other standardized tests). I wouldn't think that I could automatically go take the MCAT or the bar exam or something like that just because it's standardized and I'd done well on the SAT, and this is the same energy. And if you fancy yourself an exception to that rule, then the way to find out for sure guessed it, a diagnostic.

    • 160 is an 80th percentile score, give or take a couple of percentiles on the new scale. It is not an easy score to attain. It's not equivalent to getting a B in a class. Getting a 160 means you are scoring better than 80% of test takers worldwide would score. Do not underestimate the difficulty of acquiring a 160 simply because it is 20 points under the maximum - it's hard to be top 20% in the world in anything.

  • nikki0717nikki0717 Core Member
    edited June 2022 57 karma

    Hi @"Jonathan Wang" -- I appreciate your insight.

    Firstly, this post was not meant to act as a platform for everyone to tell me what a "horrible" idea it was to sign up for the June LSAT (even though I already did it and I am not withdrawing). If you don't agree with it, that is fine.

    Secondly, I would NEVER assume I could just walk in cold and take a MCAT or Bar Exam, because that all requires previous knowledge I don't have -- (Years of Biology/Chemistry/Anatomy classes / law classes?) That is just asinine. I am not entirely sure I would compare years of Doctorate-level classes to the advanced logic & reasoning that it takes to complete the LSAT. You can train your brain to learn the LSAT. You can't train your brain to all of a sudden know human anatomy and law theory.

    This post was hoping for some words of encouragement. If you don't have any, that is a-okay with me! I will live on.

    I respect your opinion, though. Thanks for commenting!

    PS for anyone else reading -- Score Preview is only available for first-time test takers.

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