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For those with T6 aspirations, is it 175+ or bust now?

Return On InferenceReturn On Inference Alum Member
edited April 2018 in General 497 karma

This is something I've been thinking about recently. Has the 'meta' changed for those who hope to go to a T6 law school?

This past cycle, we've seen a huge increase in the number of 175+ scoring applicants. I believe in past years there were only approximately ~400 175+ scoring applicants. This past cycle, there were almost 700 according to Spivey's 2017-2018 cycle data. (http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/new-2017-2018-cycle-data-as-of-3-27-18/)

And, just anecdotally, I've seen a lot of discussion on various forums from scorers in the 170-174 range who are planning on retaking just to break through the 175 barrier. And it makes a lot of sense -- I think if I had a 174 I would think about retaking as well. Getting past 175 will put you in the 75th percentile for all of the T6, and that's life changing.

Furthermore, I think almost anyone scoring in the 170-174 range is capable of scoring a 175+. At that point, taking the exam is more like rolling the dice to see whether or not the examination plays to or against your strengths. For example, if you're weak at RC, you can just sit for exams until you run into an exam with a particularly easy RC section. Now that there's unlimited retakes, there's no downside to doing this. The only limiting factors are time and money (which for a college entrance exam, really shouldn't be limiting factors imo).

Considering the huge benefits that a score increase from say a 172 to a 177 provide, is it not a no-brainer to take this approach to the exam? A Ruby at Chicago or an admittance to Yale are really life changing events, and they're both significantly more likely to happen if you're boasting a 175+ score.

Just to clarify, I'm not advocating this type of approach. To me, this just seems to be the obvious consequence of the new rules surrounding unlimited retakes and all of the new testing administrations. It does seem to give a distinct advantage to those individuals who can afford to delay a couple cycles, and keep sitting for the exam until it eventually plays to their strengths.

Is this the new 'meta' for T6? What do ya'll think, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Comments

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    edited April 2018 3788 karma

    Sounds about right. But remember that with the cycles becoming more competitive, numbers alone may not be enough for T6. Plenty of people with high numbers underperformed for those schools, while those with lower numbers got accepted. Softs, interviewing skills and especially your PS with a well defined why law component seems to be gaining more importance than past cycles

  • LastLSATLastLSAT Alum Member
    edited October 2018 1028 karma

    .

  • Return On InferenceReturn On Inference Alum Member
    497 karma

    @LastLSAT

    I guess the point I'm trying to make isn't that a 175+ is required for admission to the T6 (this is obviously untrue).

    The point I'm trying to make is more that: Why should an otherwise competitive T6 applicant apply with a 172 and NOT retake for a 175+? Their 172 implies they're capable of 175+ (unless the 172 was a lot higher than their PT average, I suppose). And a 175+ is huge in in regards to their admissions success.

  • tylerdschreur10tylerdschreur10 Alum Member
    1465 karma

    I side with @westcoastbestcoast I have a 176 and have been outright rejected by HYS in the past 2 weeks. While my 3.56 gpa is probably a factor, my minimal WE and comparably unimpressive extracurricular activities are definitely hurting me. Make a serious effort to pad your resume with experience, activities that might stand out, and write the hell out of the PS.

    I feel like numbers are now necessary but not sufficient. I've been waitlisted at some lower t14 schools, so don't count on the LSAT to carry you by itself, no matter how well you do.

  • Paul CaintPaul Caint Alum Member
    edited June 2018 3521 karma

    It definitely isn't.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    I wonder if in the future, with schools accepting the GRE and with the ABA eliminating the LSAT or any test requirement that the law school admissions will become more holistic

  • Paul CaintPaul Caint Alum Member
    3521 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast Honestly this cycle feels a lot more holistic. I know a lot of people with far better numbers than me getting denied left and right. I kinda have imposter syndrome right now based on where I've gotten in compared to them. I really think my softs gained me admission - numbers were just a gatekeeping factor (necessary but not sufficient).

  • Return On InferenceReturn On Inference Alum Member
    497 karma

    Two followup questions for ya'll.

    1. If I amended my title to read: "For those with T3 aspirations, is it 175+ or bust now?", would your answers change in any way?

    2. What if I amended the title to read: "For those with T6 aspirations and weak softs, is it 175+ or bust now?"

  • LastLSATLastLSAT Alum Member
    edited October 2018 1028 karma

    .

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @"Return On Inference" said:
    Two followup questions for ya'll.

    1. If I amended my title to read: "For those with T3 aspirations, is it 175+ or bust now?", would your answers change in any way?

    2. What if I amended the title to read: "For those with T6 aspirations and weak softs, is it 175+ or bust now?"

    I would say even T3 is a wild card in terms of numbers. People with lower numbers on this forum as well as on reddit gained acceptance to stanford and yale. It seems for harvard that they are less lenient on sub 170s scores.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    The best rule of thumb is to not live by hard and fast rules about what numbers you need. Do your best to maximize your lsat score, build up your softs and compose a strong application. Apply broadly. Dont limit yourself to just T3 or T13.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @"Return On Inference" said:
    Two followup questions for ya'll.

    1. If I amended my title to read: "For those with T3 aspirations, is it 175+ or bust now?", would your answers change in any way?

    2. What if I amended the title to read: "For those with T6 aspirations and weak softs, is it 175+ or bust now?"

    I'm not sure. I retook a 172 for a 180 and am a KJD with pretty weak softs and about a 3.8. So far in the Top 6 I am in at Columbia, waitlisted at Chicago and Harvard, rejected at Stanford, and have not heard back from Yale or NYU.

    I don't think the higher score really helped as far as gaining admission to the Top 6. I think below the Top 6 it has resulted in waitlists due to yield protection that I wouldn't have faced with a 172.

    However, where I think it has helped is scholarships in the lower Top 14. I don't think I would have got the $150,000 Dean's scholarship that I recieved at Michigan with a 172 and my GPA and softs in this cycle. If I had had a better GPA or stronger softs I might have had a shot at similar scholarships in the Top 6.

    So I would say that anyone who received a score in the low 170's, but feels they could score higher probably should retake for the increased chance at scholarships. But I don't think it's needed or all that helpful to getting in to most schools to have a 175+ vs a low 170s score. If the median is a 173, you need to have at least a 173 to maximize your chance though.

    I agree with the general sentiment above that the Top 14 seem to be using the increase in high scorers to be more holistic in their admissions so far rather than increasing their LSAT medians.

    On the one hand that seems inevitable and good to me. The LSAT is a learnable test. They were only going to let it determine nearly everything for so long. Additionally, I am less qualified than someone with 3-5 years of actual work experience despite being able to do marginally better on one 3 hour test. But on the other hand, I'm not sure we want law to become more like business school where you already have to have a successful career to enter. It seems to me that in the long run this will help those with connections who can easilly get good looking work experience out of undergrad and will therefore reduce the openness of the legal profession.

    Whether the shift is good or bad, as a weak softed, medium GPAd KJD from a state school and the middle class who happens to have a particularly good LSAT score, I think I have snuck in just in the nick of time. In a couple years, a wholistic process might have made admissions much more difficult for me even if the flood of high scoring applicants abates.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @"Return On Inference" said:
    Two followup questions for ya'll.

    1. If I amended my title to read: "For those with T3 aspirations, is it 175+ or bust now?", would your answers change in any way?

    2. What if I amended the title to read: "For those with T6 aspirations and weak softs, is it 175+ or bust now?"

    I'm not sure. I retook a 172 for a 180 and am a KJD with pretty weak softs and about a 3.8. So far in the Top 6 I am in at Columbia, waitlisted at Chicago and Harvard, rejected at Stanford, and have not heard back from Yale or NYU.

    I don't think the higher score really helped as far as gaining admission to the Top 6. I think below the Top 6 it has resulted in waitlists due to yield protection that I wouldn't have faced with a 172.

    However, where I think it has helped is scholarships in the lower Top 14. I don't think I would have got the $150,000 Dean's scholarship that I recieved at Michigan with a 172 and my GPA and softs in this cycle. If I had had a better GPA or stronger softs I might have had a shot at similar scholarships in the Top 6.

    So I would say that anyone who received a score in the low 170's, but feels they could score higher probably should retake for the increased chance at scholarships. But I don't think it's needed or all that helpful to getting in to most schools to have a 175+ vs a low 170s score. If the median is a 173, you need to have at least a 173 to maximize your chance though.

    I agree with the general sentiment above that the Top 14 seem to be using the increase in high scorers to be more holistic in their admissions so far rather than increasing their LSAT medians.

    On the one hand that seems inevitable and good to me. The LSAT is a learnable test. They were only going to let it determine nearly everything for so long. Additionally, I am less qualified than someone with 3-5 years of actual work experience despite being able to do marginally better on one 3 hour test. But on the other hand, I'm not sure we want law to become more like business school where you already have to have a successful career to enter. It seems to me that in the long run this will help those with connections who can easilly get good looking work experience out of undergrad and will therefore reduce the openness of the legal profession.

    Whether the shift is good or bad, as a weak softed, medium GPAd KJD from a state school and the middle class who happens to have a particularly good LSAT score, I think I have snuck in just in the nick of time. In a couple years, a wholistic process might have made admissions much more difficult for me even if the flood of high scoring applicants abates.

    Definitely agree with this sentiment. In the past, the retake advice definitely made more sense since a higher score would lead to a better outcome. This definitely holds for the most part now but retaking for a couple more points may not lead to necessarily better outcomes in the highest levels due to YP. This is a bit of sad irony. The unlimited retake policy, along with other factors, have driven up competition and in some sense made law school less accessible, especially for those who cant afford to keep purchasing lsat material and study for an extended period of time. I just hope that a recession isnt nigh because in the past recession, even many T14 graduates failed to secure jobs at that time.

  • Paul CaintPaul Caint Alum Member
    3521 karma

    @"Return On Inference" said:
    Two followup questions for ya'll.

    1. If I amended my title to read: "For those with T3 aspirations, is it 175+ or bust now?", would your answers change in any way?

    2. What if I amended the title to read: "For those with T6 aspirations and weak softs, is it 175+ or bust now?"

    Idk still. Depends on your GPA and softs I guess.

    Recall that Stanford's 25th percentile LSAT is still 168 though, so there are a considerable amount of people that are getting into a T2 school with significantly LESS than a 175.

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    3072 karma

    The golden age of the LSAT is coming to a close. I think this is a good thing for the profession.

    Of course, this isn't to say that the LSAT won't still be the most important factor driving law school admissions. It will be.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @"Return On Inference" said:
    Two followup questions for ya'll.

    1. If I amended my title to read: "For those with T3 aspirations, is it 175+ or bust now?", would your answers change in any way?

    2. What if I amended the title to read: "For those with T6 aspirations and weak softs, is it 175+ or bust now?"

    I'm not sure. I retook a 172 for a 180 and am a KJD with pretty weak softs and about a 3.8. So far in the Top 6 I am in at Columbia, waitlisted at Chicago and Harvard, rejected at Stanford, and have not heard back from Yale or NYU.

    I don't think the higher score really helped as far as gaining admission to the Top 6. I think below the Top 6 it has resulted in waitlists due to yield protection that I wouldn't have faced with a 172.

    However, where I think it has helped is scholarships in the lower Top 14. I don't think I would have got the $150,000 Dean's scholarship that I recieved at Michigan with a 172 and my GPA and softs in this cycle. If I had had a better GPA or stronger softs I might have had a shot at similar scholarships in the Top 6.

    So I would say that anyone who received a score in the low 170's, but feels they could score higher probably should retake for the increased chance at scholarships. But I don't think it's needed or all that helpful to getting in to most schools to have a 175+ vs a low 170s score. If the median is a 173, you need to have at least a 173 to maximize your chance though.

    I agree with the general sentiment above that the Top 14 seem to be using the increase in high scorers to be more holistic in their admissions so far rather than increasing their LSAT medians.

    On the one hand that seems inevitable and good to me. The LSAT is a learnable test. They were only going to let it determine nearly everything for so long. Additionally, I am less qualified than someone with 3-5 years of actual work experience despite being able to do marginally better on one 3 hour test. But on the other hand, I'm not sure we want law to become more like business school where you already have to have a successful career to enter. It seems to me that in the long run this will help those with connections who can easilly get good looking work experience out of undergrad and will therefore reduce the openness of the legal profession.

    Whether the shift is good or bad, as a weak softed, medium GPAd KJD from a state school and the middle class who happens to have a particularly good LSAT score, I think I have snuck in just in the nick of time. In a couple years, a wholistic process might have made admissions much more difficult for me even if the flood of high scoring applicants abates.

    Definitely agree with this sentiment. In the past, the retake advice definitely made more sense since a higher score would lead to a better outcome. This definitely holds for the most part now but retaking for a couple more points may not lead to necessarily better outcomes in the highest levels due to YP. This is a bit of sad irony. The unlimited retake policy, along with other factors, have driven up competition and in some sense made law school less accessible, especially for those who cant afford to keep purchasing lsat material and study for an extended period of time. I just hope that a recession isnt nigh because in the past recession, even many T14 graduates failed to secure jobs at that time.

    We can hope that or hope that it is short enough that it is over while we are still in law school or limited enough not to hurt Big Law hiring. Not all recessions are as bad as the last one, but this expansion is starting to get abnormally long. And it was certainly better for those in the Top 14 than those out of the Top 14 last recession.

    At least inside the Top 14 there was a shot at Big Law which didn't totally stop hiring unlike s lot of smaller firms.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @"Return On Inference" said:
    Two followup questions for ya'll.

    1. If I amended my title to read: "For those with T3 aspirations, is it 175+ or bust now?", would your answers change in any way?

    2. What if I amended the title to read: "For those with T6 aspirations and weak softs, is it 175+ or bust now?"

    I'm not sure. I retook a 172 for a 180 and am a KJD with pretty weak softs and about a 3.8. So far in the Top 6 I am in at Columbia, waitlisted at Chicago and Harvard, rejected at Stanford, and have not heard back from Yale or NYU.

    I don't think the higher score really helped as far as gaining admission to the Top 6. I think below the Top 6 it has resulted in waitlists due to yield protection that I wouldn't have faced with a 172.

    However, where I think it has helped is scholarships in the lower Top 14. I don't think I would have got the $150,000 Dean's scholarship that I recieved at Michigan with a 172 and my GPA and softs in this cycle. If I had had a better GPA or stronger softs I might have had a shot at similar scholarships in the Top 6.

    So I would say that anyone who received a score in the low 170's, but feels they could score higher probably should retake for the increased chance at scholarships. But I don't think it's needed or all that helpful to getting in to most schools to have a 175+ vs a low 170s score. If the median is a 173, you need to have at least a 173 to maximize your chance though.

    I agree with the general sentiment above that the Top 14 seem to be using the increase in high scorers to be more holistic in their admissions so far rather than increasing their LSAT medians.

    On the one hand that seems inevitable and good to me. The LSAT is a learnable test. They were only going to let it determine nearly everything for so long. Additionally, I am less qualified than someone with 3-5 years of actual work experience despite being able to do marginally better on one 3 hour test. But on the other hand, I'm not sure we want law to become more like business school where you already have to have a successful career to enter. It seems to me that in the long run this will help those with connections who can easilly get good looking work experience out of undergrad and will therefore reduce the openness of the legal profession.

    Whether the shift is good or bad, as a weak softed, medium GPAd KJD from a state school and the middle class who happens to have a particularly good LSAT score, I think I have snuck in just in the nick of time. In a couple years, a wholistic process might have made admissions much more difficult for me even if the flood of high scoring applicants abates.

    Definitely agree with this sentiment. In the past, the retake advice definitely made more sense since a higher score would lead to a better outcome. This definitely holds for the most part now but retaking for a couple more points may not lead to necessarily better outcomes in the highest levels due to YP. This is a bit of sad irony. The unlimited retake policy, along with other factors, have driven up competition and in some sense made law school less accessible, especially for those who cant afford to keep purchasing lsat material and study for an extended period of time. I just hope that a recession isnt nigh because in the past recession, even many T14 graduates failed to secure jobs at that time.

    We can hope that or hope that it is short enough that it is over while we are still in law school or limited enough not to hurt Big Law hiring. Not all recessions are as bad as the last one, but this expansion is starting to get abnormally long. And it was certainly better for those in the Top 14 than those out of the Top 14 last recession.

    At least inside the Top 14 there was a shot at Big Law which didn't totally stop hiring unlike s lot of smaller firms.

    I did read online that alot of law firms have restructured in anticipation for recessions. This may be promising. In reddit law school admissions, a poster showed how UVA got hit hard during the recession and alot of the jobs were school funded. Columbia remained strong on other hand

  • hawaiihihawaiihi Member
    973 karma

    Would you all say there's a big difference in admissions chances -- disregarding softs -- between those applying in the 175-180 range? What I'm saying is, in that range, does a point or two make a difference...a 175/176/177, for example, or a 177/178/179?

  • FixedDiceFixedDice Legacy Member
    1804 karma

    @hawaiihi said:
    Would you all say there's a big difference in admissions chances -- disregarding softs -- between those applying in the 175-180 range? What I'm saying is, in that range, does a point or two make a difference...a 175/176/177, for example, or a 177/178/179?

    I don't think a point or two would make much difference in that range (unless it's Yale). But I think having a 180 would make a difference because... well, it's 180. It's round. It looks good. It makes admission personnel happy.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @FixedDice said:

    @hawaiihi said:
    Would you all say there's a big difference in admissions chances -- disregarding softs -- between those applying in the 175-180 range? What I'm saying is, in that range, does a point or two make a difference...a 175/176/177, for example, or a 177/178/179?

    I don't think a point or two would make much difference in that range (unless it's Yale). But I think having a 180 would make a difference because... well, it's 180. It's round. It looks good. It makes admission personnel happy.

    Sometimes being too perfect may run the risk of you being YPed

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @FixedDice said:

    @hawaiihi said:
    Would you all say there's a big difference in admissions chances -- disregarding softs -- between those applying in the 175-180 range? What I'm saying is, in that range, does a point or two make a difference...a 175/176/177, for example, or a 177/178/179?

    I don't think a point or two would make much difference in that range (unless it's Yale). But I think having a 180 would make a difference because... well, it's 180. It's round. It looks good. It makes admission personnel happy.

    As far as I can tell there hasn't been. My shiny 180 has got me about what it should have or maybe a little less given my softs and GPA of about a 3.8. I got big scholarships where I got in at the lower Top 14, a Top 6 acceptance, and a waitlist at Harvard.

    I'm still waiting on Yale. Maybe they are torn between the knowledge that I'm not quite good enough of an applicant and admiration for the 180.

  • FixedDiceFixedDice Legacy Member
    1804 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    As far as I can tell there hasn't been. My shiny 180 has got me about what it should have or maybe a little less given my softs and GPA of about a 3.8. I got big scholarships where I got in at the lower Top 14, a Top 6 acceptance, and a waitlist at Harvard.

    Stop scaring me!

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @FixedDice said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    As far as I can tell there hasn't been. My shiny 180 has got me about what it should have or maybe a little less given my softs and GPA of about a 3.8. I got big scholarships where I got in at the lower Top 14, a Top 6 acceptance, and a waitlist at Harvard.

    Stop scaring me!

    I'm just saying that while the 180 is very nice I think that 175+ scores largely confer the same advantage in admissions especially if your GPA isn't perfect.

    I'm pretty happy with money in the Top 14. I don't think it is a scary outcome.

  • stormstorm Legacy Member
    edited April 2018 261 karma

    I had a bit of fun:

    If you look at the Spivey post and add up the total number of applicants who scored between a 168 and 180 this year, you get 4,568. The number of those who scored between 175 and 180? 751.

    If you sum the # of applicants admitted at the T6 law schools you get roughly 4,800.

    What do we learn from this?

    Even if every single 168-180 scorer were accepted to one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 232 spots remaining.

    Even if every single 175-180 scorer were accepted to only one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 4,000 spots remaining.

    Obviously, the number of schools an applicant gets into at the 175-180 range within the T6 is probably going to be decently high. Regardless, my main point is that there are a lot of admissions offers that go out to folks from the T6, let alone the T14. To me, this demonstrates that what we call softs are not actually softs; they matter. As mainly folks have stressed, the holistic view of your application is important.

    It seems like a lot of splitters are very heavily focused on getting that GPA/LSAT discrepancy resolved, but less focused on "what kind of experience should I be gaining to bolster my softs?" I feel like broadening these conversations to be mindful of the importance of experience would be worthwhile. In the end, yes, it might take you 9 months to score a 170+, but it likely takes the same amount of time, if not longer, to gain relevant and meaningful experience for your application. This seems to get lost in the conversation. I say this all with a shrug, because there are so many threads here that it seems impossible to keep up with how many people push this type of view. I also recognize this is an LSAT discussion board for the most part, so we are all coming from it with the numbers perspective.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @storm said:
    I had a bit of fun:

    If you look at the Spivey post and add up the total number of applicants who scored between a 168 and 180 this year, you get 4,568. The number of those who scored between 175 and 180? 751.

    If you sum the # of applicants admitted at the T6 law schools you get roughly 4,800.

    What do we learn from this?

    Even if every single 168-180 scorer were accepted to one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 232 spots remaining.

    Even if every single 175-180 scorer were accepted to only one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 4,000 spots remaining.

    Obviously, the number of schools an applicant gets into at the 175-180 range within the T6 is probably going to be decently high. Regardless, my main point is that there are a lot of admissions offers that go out to folks from the T6, let alone the T14. To me, this demonstrates that what we call softs are not actually softs; they matter. As mainly folks have stressed, the holistic view of your application is important.

    It seems like a lot of splitters are very heavily focused on getting that GPA/LSAT discrepancy resolved, but less focused on "what kind of experience should I be gaining to bolster my softs?" I feel like broadening these conversations to be mindful of the importance of experience would be worthwhile. In the end, yes, it might take you 9 months to score a 170+, but it likely takes the same amount of time, if not longer, to gain relevant and meaningful experience for your application. This seems to get lost in the conversation. I say this all with a shrug, because there are so many threads here that it seems impossible to keep up with how many people push this type of view. I also recognize this is an LSAT discussion board for the most part, so we are all coming from it with the numbers perspective.

    Great analysis! This only confirms what we learned based on this results.

  • stormstorm Legacy Member
    261 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    @storm said:
    I had a bit of fun:

    If you look at the Spivey post and add up the total number of applicants who scored between a 168 and 180 this year, you get 4,568. The number of those who scored between 175 and 180? 751.

    If you sum the # of applicants admitted at the T6 law schools you get roughly 4,800.

    What do we learn from this?

    Even if every single 168-180 scorer were accepted to one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 232 spots remaining.

    Even if every single 175-180 scorer were accepted to only one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 4,000 spots remaining.

    Obviously, the number of schools an applicant gets into at the 175-180 range within the T6 is probably going to be decently high. Regardless, my main point is that there are a lot of admissions offers that go out to folks from the T6, let alone the T14. To me, this demonstrates that what we call softs are not actually softs; they matter. As mainly folks have stressed, the holistic view of your application is important.

    It seems like a lot of splitters are very heavily focused on getting that GPA/LSAT discrepancy resolved, but less focused on "what kind of experience should I be gaining to bolster my softs?" I feel like broadening these conversations to be mindful of the importance of experience would be worthwhile. In the end, yes, it might take you 9 months to score a 170+, but it likely takes the same amount of time, if not longer, to gain relevant and meaningful experience for your application. This seems to get lost in the conversation. I say this all with a shrug, because there are so many threads here that it seems impossible to keep up with how many people push this type of view. I also recognize this is an LSAT discussion board for the most part, so we are all coming from it with the numbers perspective.

    Great analysis! This only confirms what we learned based on this results.

    Thanks! I do work in analytics, afterall ;) Glad it can pay off in some way. Haha

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @storm said:

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    @storm said:
    I had a bit of fun:

    If you look at the Spivey post and add up the total number of applicants who scored between a 168 and 180 this year, you get 4,568. The number of those who scored between 175 and 180? 751.

    If you sum the # of applicants admitted at the T6 law schools you get roughly 4,800.

    What do we learn from this?

    Even if every single 168-180 scorer were accepted to one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 232 spots remaining.

    Even if every single 175-180 scorer were accepted to only one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 4,000 spots remaining.

    Obviously, the number of schools an applicant gets into at the 175-180 range within the T6 is probably going to be decently high. Regardless, my main point is that there are a lot of admissions offers that go out to folks from the T6, let alone the T14. To me, this demonstrates that what we call softs are not actually softs; they matter. As mainly folks have stressed, the holistic view of your application is important.

    It seems like a lot of splitters are very heavily focused on getting that GPA/LSAT discrepancy resolved, but less focused on "what kind of experience should I be gaining to bolster my softs?" I feel like broadening these conversations to be mindful of the importance of experience would be worthwhile. In the end, yes, it might take you 9 months to score a 170+, but it likely takes the same amount of time, if not longer, to gain relevant and meaningful experience for your application. This seems to get lost in the conversation. I say this all with a shrug, because there are so many threads here that it seems impossible to keep up with how many people push this type of view. I also recognize this is an LSAT discussion board for the most part, so we are all coming from it with the numbers perspective.

    Great analysis! This only confirms what we learned based on this results.

    Thanks! I do work in analytics, afterall ;) Glad it can pay off in some way. Haha

    I guess the new mantra should be retake and build up your resume

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Legacy Member
    1723 karma

    This is kind of a sidebar but related question in my eyes.

    At what level in the T-14 do softs start playing a larger factor, especially professional work experience? I graduated in Dec 2016 and had intentions of taking the LSAT in 2017 but due to family circumstances had to push it off. I didn't end up getting a professional job because I didn't anticipate life throwing a curve-ball mid-way through the year haha.

    I currently work as a server while I work on my LSAT studies. I think my LSAC GPA will be in the 3.5-3.6 range. I'm a bit afraid of my lack of softs besides my recommendation letters. I've worked since I was 16 and through UG; even have management experience. But I lack professional work experience and reading this makes me a bit nervous.

    I'm looking at Texas (yes, I know its 15th now but its close enough) and a little bit at UVA/Duke but I'm not sure how much I'll get dinged.

  • olepuebloolepueblo Alum Member
    235 karma

    I think the sentiment echoed throughout this discussion is probably right. Law school admissions officers know they're admitting more than a number. So, once you meet the numbers cutoff, you have to be liked. So, while you could get a numbers boost, nothing is going to make up for a lack of likability.

  • stormstorm Legacy Member
    261 karma

    @swamlepow said:
    I think the sentiment echoed throughout this discussion is probably right. Law school admissions officers know they're admitting more than a number. So, once you meet the numbers cutoff, you have to be liked. So, while you could get a numbers boost, nothing is going to make up for a lack of likability.

    Agreed! And, remember, building up those things that make you liked take as much (if not more) time than getting the LSAT score of your dreams.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @storm said:
    I had a bit of fun:

    If you look at the Spivey post and add up the total number of applicants who scored between a 168 and 180 this year, you get 4,568. The number of those who scored between 175 and 180? 751.

    If you sum the # of applicants admitted at the T6 law schools you get roughly 4,800.

    What do we learn from this?

    Even if every single 168-180 scorer were accepted to one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 232 spots remaining.

    Even if every single 175-180 scorer were accepted to only one of the T6 law schools, there would still be 4,000 spots remaining.

    Obviously, the number of schools an applicant gets into at the 175-180 range within the T6 is probably going to be decently high. Regardless, my main point is that there are a lot of admissions offers that go out to folks from the T6, let alone the T14. To me, this demonstrates that what we call softs are not actually softs; they matter. As mainly folks have stressed, the holistic view of your application is important.

    It seems like a lot of splitters are very heavily focused on getting that GPA/LSAT discrepancy resolved, but less focused on "what kind of experience should I be gaining to bolster my softs?" I feel like broadening these conversations to be mindful of the importance of experience would be worthwhile. In the end, yes, it might take you 9 months to score a 170+, but it likely takes the same amount of time, if not longer, to gain relevant and meaningful experience for your application. This seems to get lost in the conversation. I say this all with a shrug, because there are so many threads here that it seems impossible to keep up with how many people push this type of view. I also recognize this is an LSAT discussion board for the most part, so we are all coming from it with the numbers perspective.

    How did you get these numbers? It seems to me that we would have to know how many people were cross admitted at multiple Top 6 schools to know the total number of applicants who were admitted at Top 6 schools. That information probably exists somewhere, but the calculation will be harder than just summing the number of students admitted at Top 6 schools.

    Additionally, the 25th percentiles and medians give us a fairly good look at what LSAT score and GPA will help you vs hurt you at each school.

    Yale's 25th is 171 so not that many people are getting into Yale below a 168. NYU and Chicago have 25ths at 166 and NYU is a pretty big school so quite a few under 168 LSAT scores are getting in. Of course many of these people will be URM's, legacies, or have experience more impressive than any we can just go aquire, but there are still spots.

    Obviously softs are important for schools to assemble good groups of students. But, fundamentally LSAT and GPA wind up being more important for admissions because they are easilly quantifiable and can affect US News rank directly. That is why other factors are called soft.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @akeegs92 said:
    This is kind of a sidebar but related question in my eyes.

    At what level in the T-14 do softs start playing a larger factor, especially professional work experience? I graduated in Dec 2016 and had intentions of taking the LSAT in 2017 but due to family circumstances had to push it off. I didn't end up getting a professional job because I didn't anticipate life throwing a curve-ball mid-way through the year haha.

    I currently work as a server while I work on my LSAT studies. I think my LSAC GPA will be in the 3.5-3.6 range. I'm a bit afraid of my lack of softs besides my recommendation letters. I've worked since I was 16 and through UG; even have management experience. But I lack professional work experience and reading this makes me a bit nervous.

    I'm looking at Texas (yes, I know its 15th now but its close enough) and a little bit at UVA/Duke but I'm not sure how much I'll get dinged.

    Don't be nervous. Time off as a server is better for admissions than not having taken time off and yet people go straight through every year.

    Schools that tend to care more than average about softs and work experience include Yale, Stanford, and Northwestern.

    Just focus on the LSAT. Your cycle will probably go about how the below predicts depending on your LSAT score and exactly what your LSAC GPA is. For motivation, try plugging in different LSAT scores.
    http://mylsn.info/03rvsl/

  • AllezAllez21AllezAllez21 Legacy Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    1917 karma

    @storm 's analysis: it' on the right track but using admissions offers is a bit off because one applicant can be admitted to all top 14 schools.

    It's probably better to use the more conservative number of students who actually enroll at the schools. And even using this number, there are nearly 1,000 seats at HYS and still significantly fewer 175-180 scorers than that.

    So, bluntly, 175+ is not a requirement for the T6. It's still too rare a score.

    I think also that the LSAT arms race only goes so far. First, the amount of money the lower T14 can throw at these applicants means that some significant number of 175+ scorers won't even go to the T6. Second, the schools ultimately want an interesting and balanced class. Once you score in the 170s, you're probably going to do great at law school.

  • g00g00shg00g00sh Alum Member
    119 karma

    @LastLSAT said:
    I completely agree with what @westcoastbestcoast says about taking the rest of your app seriously!

    But 175+ or bust just for T6 admission? Come on... I doubt we'll see a median score increase of over 1 point anywhere. Even pre-recession when law school competition was at its peak, the median LSAT was still like 174 for HY, 172 for CS, and 171 for CN.

    Sure, 75ths might have been at 175ish, but even then, 75% of matriculating students at T6 schools had sub-175 scores.

    But if you're HYS/Ruby/Hamilton/Vanderbilt/RTK or bust, then yeah, I guess 175 would be the golden mark.

    It's a tradeoff though, since 175+ could get you YPed at lower T14s.

    I don't think things will go back to the same level though, because LSAC has removed the number of max attempts. There is a new impetus to just keep retaking till you get the best score.

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Legacy Member
    1723 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" thank you! I feel better about that now. It's tough seeing so many people have really good WE and I'm over here with not much to speak of.

    That website is great too! Slightly addicting haha

  • stormstorm Legacy Member
    261 karma

    Lol - I should've known doing this that there would be an onslought of questioning my method, which I tired to note upfront was laden with assumptions and a bit faulty. The general conclusion was to say that more matters than numbers, not to say that numbers don't matter. The numbers are easy to find - you just look at each of the law school's admissions statistics on their webpages. They report the number of people offered admission versus enrolled. Definitely would be a better view to look at this from an actual class size level, but TBH I was doing this for a directional idea.

    I get the idea of why you say things are called "soft" because they don't affect rank. But, still, I stand by my argument. I still think that, given none of us actually work on an adcoms committee, we should take a bit more of an open mind when we make claims about the weight of softs versus lsat/gpa. Obvi lsat/gpa are great and super important. Still, it doesn't make sense to me as a law school applicant and future lawyer to reduce the importance of softs (arbitrarily, since we don't actually know what level of importance they play) in the admissions/career path decision. Again, softs take as long or longer to develop than most people's goal LSAT score.

    That's all I got, I'm not really looking to start a fire here, hahah. I think we are all aligned in the end on what our overall beliefs are when it comes to this discussion.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @akeegs92 said:
    @"Seeking Perfection" thank you! I feel better about that now. It's tough seeing so many people have really good WE and I'm over here with not much to speak of.

    That website is great too! Slightly addicting haha

    I have even less work experience. I have none other than a caf job and a tutoring job during college and I'm doing just fine. So I feel you.

    Schools probably should care more about work experience than they do, but the emphasis on the GPA and LSAT is nice in a way. An arms race to get the best work experience will usually be won by either the old, the connected, or rich applicants. To have an open legal system, it's nice for young applicants from state schools to be able to get in by out studying everyone else on a test. Obviously, that's not always how it works out, but it can go that way and wouldn't in an admissions process governed by work experience.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @storm said:
    Lol - I should've known doing this that there would be an onslought of questioning my method, which I tired to note upfront was laden with assumptions and a bit faulty. The general conclusion was to say that more matters than numbers, not to say that numbers don't matter. The numbers are easy to find - you just look at each of the law school's admissions statistics on their webpages. They report the number of people offered admission versus enrolled. Definitely would be a better view to look at this from an actual class size level, but TBH I was doing this for a directional idea.

    I get the idea of why you say things are called "soft" because they don't affect rank. But, still, I stand by my argument. I still think that, given none of us actually work on an adcoms committee, we should take a bit more of an open mind when we make claims about the weight of softs versus lsat/gpa. Obvi lsat/gpa are great and super important. Still, it doesn't make sense to me as a law school applicant and future lawyer to reduce the importance of softs (arbitrarily, since we don't actually know what level of importance they play) in the admissions/career path decision. Again, softs take as long or longer to develop than most people's goal LSAT score.

    That's all I got, I'm not really looking to start a fire here, hahah. I think we are all aligned in the end on what our overall beliefs are when it comes to this discussion.

    I think we actually could probably figure it out. I thought you might have, but just not explained it. It would just be a lot of work and I'm just too lazy. For example if you could find cross admit percentages which I know exist between the top schools you could subtract out the number of people admitted to both. Where I think it would get tricky is with people admitted to more than two of the top 6. I'm not sure if there are stats on that. LSAC should be able to give us them if we were persistent enough though. You'd get one of those probability Venn Diagram things with the overlapping regions. You would take the sum you took, subtract the double overlapping regions, add back in the triple overlapping regions and so on.

    Enrolled would be too few and admitted to many. We want to know how many people had a shot to accept at a Top 6 school or maybe a Top 14 school.

    Yep, I'm not denying the importance of softs. I'm saying LSAT is most important followed by GPA followed by softs. Enough of the first two will get you in and maybe even scholarships with virtually none of the later two. But softs definitely do matter at the margins. I'm not sure how much and because they are soft(in the sense that they are less quantifiable) we will probably never know exactly how big the effect of softs is.

  • tylerdschreur10tylerdschreur10 Alum Member
    1465 karma

    @hawaiihi said:
    Would you all say there's a big difference in admissions chances -- disregarding softs -- between those applying in the 175-180 range? What I'm saying is, in that range, does a point or two make a difference...a 175/176/177, for example, or a 177/178/179?

    I really don't think so. Obviously all things being equal a 177 beats a 175, but for EVERY school a 175 is 75th percentile, so your effect on their stats and therefore rankings is identical, which is meaningful. Also, like others have said, if you're in the high 170s you're very bright, you're probably going to do well in school, and law schools know that. That's why Yale waitlists and rejects 180s in favor of 169s with great work experience, a rhodes scholar, or other great "softs" (fully agree @storm we need to come up with an updated, more accurate moniker, they matter now).

  • LastLSATLastLSAT Alum Member
    edited October 2018 1028 karma

    .

  • Return On InferenceReturn On Inference Alum Member
    497 karma

    @LastLSAT

    Yeah, of course there are plenty of seats available for those who score less than 175. I regret my clickbait title now, as many people seem to have misunderstood the purpose of my post.

    The point I'm more trying to make concerns how the unlimited testing policy affects those students scoring in the 170-174 range.

    As @"Seeking Perfection" demonstrates, going from 171-174 to 175+ can confer huge benefits. If Seeking goes with UMichigan, he will have a $150,000 scholarship that he might not have got otherwise.

    This fact, in conjunction with the idea that those who are able to score 171-174 are mostly capable of scoring 175+ if they take an exam that caters to their strengths, and you get the conclusion (IMO) that there's not a good reason not to retake for 175+.

    Just to illustrate, my current PT avg for the 5 most recent PTs is 173, and my weakest section by far is logic games. When a PT plays against my strengths (I.e., has a tough game section) I'll score low 170s, sometimes even in the 160s. When a PT has relatively easy games (PT43/45 for example) I'll score 175+.

    I know many students are like me, except maybe their weakest section is RC or LR. The concept is still the game. even a few lucky guesses can push you from a low 170s to 175+.

    So, given the immense incentives of a 175+, it makes sense more sense (IMO) for these kinds of students to just retake over and over until 175+. Yeah, it's not necessary for admissions but your cycle is going to go a lot better with a 177 compared to a 171. And now with all the new test dates and unlimited retakes, the only cost is your time and a little money. Thus the "175+ or bust" meta.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @"Return On Inference" said:
    @LastLSAT

    Yeah, of course there are plenty of seats available for those who score less than 175. I regret my clickbait title now, as many people seem to have misunderstood the purpose of my post.

    The point I'm more trying to make concerns how the unlimited testing policy affects those students scoring in the 170-174 range.

    As @"Seeking Perfection" demonstrates, going from 171-174 to 175+ can confer huge benefits. If Seeking goes with UMichigan, he will have a $150,000 scholarship that he might not have got otherwise.

    This fact, in conjunction with the idea that those who are able to score 171-174 are mostly capable of scoring 175+ if they take an exam that caters to their strengths, and you get the conclusion (IMO) that there's not a good reason not to retake for 175+.

    Just to illustrate, my current PT avg for the 5 most recent PTs is 173, and my weakest section by far is logic games. When a PT plays against my strengths (I.e., has a tough game section) I'll score low 170s, sometimes even in the 160s. When a PT has relatively easy games (PT43/45 for example) I'll score 175+.

    I know many students are like me, except maybe their weakest section is RC or LR. The concept is still the game. even a few lucky guesses can push you from a low 170s to 175+.

    So, given the immense incentives of a 175+, it makes sense more sense (IMO) for these kinds of students to just retake over and over until 175+. Yeah, it's not necessary for admissions but your cycle is going to go a lot better with a 177 compared to a 171. And now with all the new test dates and unlimited retakes, the only cost is your time and a little money. Thus the "175+ or bust" meta.

    I do agree that if you averaging in the low 170s on PTs, you should bring it up so that you can get a 175 plus on the exam. At least based on LSN, everyone who got a hamilton or near full tuition had 176 plus. 175 recieced aid from columbia but not as much as the 176 plus crowd.

  • Brian_LSATBrian_LSAT Yearly Member
    232 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    I do agree that if you averaging in the low 170s on PTs, you should bring it up so that you can get a 175 plus on the exam. At least based on LSN, everyone who got a hamilton or near full tuition had 176 plus. 175 recieced aid from columbia but not as much as the 176 plus crowd.

    This is one of the main reasons I'm retaking a 175. The potential boost in scholarship from hitting 176+ is enough to keep me grinding it out for another 2 months.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @Brian_LSAT said:

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    I do agree that if you averaging in the low 170s on PTs, you should bring it up so that you can get a 175 plus on the exam. At least based on LSN, everyone who got a hamilton or near full tuition had 176 plus. 175 recieced aid from columbia but not as much as the 176 plus crowd.

    This is one of the main reasons I'm retaking a 175. The potential boost in scholarship from hitting 176+ is enough to keep me grinding it out for another 2 months.

    Yeah. Going to columbia with minimal loans means that you can actually save money from the time you work at biglaw instead of working enough to just pay off loans and break even. Most people last biglaw for only a couple yeara and biglaw will probably be the only time that you would be making that much money

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    3652 karma

    @akeegs92 said:
    This is kind of a sidebar but related question in my eyes.

    At what level in the T-14 do softs start playing a larger factor, especially professional work experience? I graduated in Dec 2016 and had intentions of taking the LSAT in 2017 but due to family circumstances had to push it off. I didn't end up getting a professional job because I didn't anticipate life throwing a curve-ball mid-way through the year haha.

    I currently work as a server while I work on my LSAT studies. I think my LSAC GPA will be in the 3.5-3.6 range. I'm a bit afraid of my lack of softs besides my recommendation letters. I've worked since I was 16 and through UG; even have management experience. But I lack professional work experience and reading this makes me a bit nervous.

    I'm looking at Texas (yes, I know its 15th now but its close enough) and a little bit at UVA/Duke but I'm not sure how much I'll get dinged.

    I'm just lurking over here and I wanna add that you actually have good softs. Work experience is work experience regardless of whether it is "professional" or not. Your job has given you something that a lot of applicants might actually lack due to their law-school tunnel vision -- people skills. You have to be personable to work as a server, you dont necessarily have to be that personable to work at a law firm/office job. You might be viewed as a more well rounded/diverse/unique applicant than someone whose only worked office jobs. The fact that you've been working (regardless of the job) since you're 16 and through undergrad will look really good on your app. I obviously dont know the details of your family circumstances and that life curve-ball, but you could probably write a diversity statement about that.

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Legacy Member
    1723 karma

    @"surfy surf" said:

    I'm just lurking over here and I wanna add that you actually have good softs. Work experience is work experience regardless of whether it is "professional" or not. Your job has given you something that a lot of applicants might actually lack due to their law-school tunnel vision -- people skills. You have to be personable to work as a server, you dont necessarily have to be that personable to work at a law firm/office job. You might be viewed as a more well rounded/diverse/unique applicant than someone whose only worked office jobs. The fact that you've been working (regardless of the job) since you're 16 and through undergrad will look really good on your app. I obviously dont know the details of your family circumstances and that life curve-ball, but you could probably write a diversity statement about that.

    Really? I guess just seeing so many students at top schools (or even many in the T-50) come in with experience from professional jobs that mine wouldn't be looked at as highly. The "Oh he has his bachelor's but he is working as a server. What's going on here?" kind of thoughts.

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    edited April 2018 3072 karma

    @akeegs92 said:

    @"surfy surf" said:

    I'm just lurking over here and I wanna add that you actually have good softs. Work experience is work experience regardless of whether it is "professional" or not. Your job has given you something that a lot of applicants might actually lack due to their law-school tunnel vision -- people skills. You have to be personable to work as a server, you dont necessarily have to be that personable to work at a law firm/office job. You might be viewed as a more well rounded/diverse/unique applicant than someone whose only worked office jobs. The fact that you've been working (regardless of the job) since you're 16 and through undergrad will look really good on your app. I obviously dont know the details of your family circumstances and that life curve-ball, but you could probably write a diversity statement about that.

    Really? I guess just seeing so many students at top schools (or even many in the T-50) come in with experience from professional jobs that mine wouldn't be looked at as highly. The "Oh he has his bachelor's but he is working as a server. What's going on here?" kind of thoughts.

    I have worked as a blue collar laborer my entire working life. Schools value diversity.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @akeegs92 said:

    @"surfy surf" said:

    I'm just lurking over here and I wanna add that you actually have good softs. Work experience is work experience regardless of whether it is "professional" or not. Your job has given you something that a lot of applicants might actually lack due to their law-school tunnel vision -- people skills. You have to be personable to work as a server, you dont necessarily have to be that personable to work at a law firm/office job. You might be viewed as a more well rounded/diverse/unique applicant than someone whose only worked office jobs. The fact that you've been working (regardless of the job) since you're 16 and through undergrad will look really good on your app. I obviously dont know the details of your family circumstances and that life curve-ball, but you could probably write a diversity statement about that.

    Really? I guess just seeing so many students at top schools (or even many in the T-50) come in with experience from professional jobs that mine wouldn't be looked at as highly. The "Oh he has his bachelor's but he is working as a server. What's going on here?" kind of thoughts.

    You may be right, but they will still like your experience better than none. And a substantial number of applicants including me still have none. So you will be on the positive side of work experience overall. I wouldn't expect it to be any great boost, but you shouldn't worryabout it being a reason to underperform your numbers either.

  • TexAgAaronTexAgAaron Legacy Member
    1723 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" @goingfor99th Thank you for the responses! I really feel encouraged now about my work experience. While I never expected a boost or anything, under performing was a concern especially at some schools I may reach for.

  • _oshun1__oshun1_ Alum Member
    edited April 2018 3652 karma

    @akeegs92 said:

    @"surfy surf" said:

    I'm just lurking over here and I wanna add that you actually have good softs. Work experience is work experience regardless of whether it is "professional" or not. Your job has given you something that a lot of applicants might actually lack due to their law-school tunnel vision -- people skills. You have to be personable to work as a server, you dont necessarily have to be that personable to work at a law firm/office job. You might be viewed as a more well rounded/diverse/unique applicant than someone whose only worked office jobs. The fact that you've been working (regardless of the job) since you're 16 and through undergrad will look really good on your app. I obviously dont know the details of your family circumstances and that life curve-ball, but you could probably write a diversity statement about that.

    Really? I guess just seeing so many students at top schools (or even many in the T-50) come in with experience from professional jobs that mine wouldn't be looked at as highly. The "Oh he has his bachelor's but he is working as a server. What's going on here?" kind of thoughts.

    Nah, law schools aren’t gonna have a classist POV looking at your app. Some people have to work for a living and can’t do a 9-5 office job bc they have to take care of their kids/family/go to school, some people can’t afford to work for free and intern with a politician or whatever. Otherwise, only rich kids would be able to go to law school. I don’t think it will be a hindrance to your app at all. Just make sure the rest of your app and your LSAT is good.

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