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URM (Black Male) Realistic Chances on Improving Scores and Admission

JayMulahJayMulah Core Member
in General 51 karma

I currently go to UC San Diego and took 20 units this past quarter while studying for the LSAT for about 2months(ish) and scored a 143 with little to no sleep before the night of the exam (insomnia) I took around.. 1-2 practice exams with no Blind Review at all, kind of just went in and hoped for the best (I know I’m stupid; However I did Volunteer work for a US House Member and worked full time). This time around I’ll be studying for a month with 7sage as well as an in-class prep course offered by my University.

I’ve read online that the average score for URM (Black Males) at T-14 schools is a 159

My stats:
I'm a first-generation Black Male
Born in Brooklyn, New York raised in the SF Bay Area (Grew Up in Rough neighborhoods, Gangs, Drugs, Violence)
I speak French (Parents are Political Refugees from the Ivory Coast; Left during the War)
Father has wrote books; has a Doctorate Degree from a Univeristy in Milan, Italy
Father left mother in Middle School; (Single Mother)
Interships one in Sacramento and one canvasing for Congressman Mike Levin

With roughly 5 weeks before my exam do any of you believe that I can score a 157 if I take this seriously.

I’ve heard of people going to 140 to 160’s but with the time constraint I’m affected by as well as the impact of soft factors on my application and the presitge of my current University I believe that a 157 could help me. Do any of you believe that high 150’s is a realistic goal?

– Thanks!

Comments

  • OvercomerOvercomer Free Trial Member
    96 karma

    I have no sight on whether or not you can raise you score in that short time period. But I know taking more practice tests is very important, so you have the right idea. But if you get your scores up, with your urm status and unique background you can definitely get into some decent schools with scholarships. I've seen minorities on LSN score in the mid 150's, ED and get into the T-14. Also if you're score doesn't reach your goal, you can always apply to some tier 2 schools and get some significant scholarships. Just focus on raising that score

  • eRetakereRetaker Free Trial Member
    2038 karma

    @jkpokou said:
    I currently go to UC San Diego and took 20 units this past quarter while studying for the LSAT for about 2months(ish) and scored a 143 with little to no sleep before the night of the exam (insomnia) I took around.. 1-2 practice exams with no Blind Review at all, kind of just went in and hoped for the best (I know I’m stupid; However I did Volunteer work for a US House Member and worked full time). This time around I’ll be studying for a month with 7sage as well as an in-class prep course offered by my University.

    I’ve read online that the average score for URM (Black Males) at T-14 schools is a 159

    My stats:
    I'm a first-generation Black Male
    Born in Brooklyn, New York raised in the SF Bay Area (Grew Up in Rough neighborhoods, Gangs, Drugs, Violence)
    I speak French (Parents are Political Refugees from the Ivory Coast; Left during the War)
    Father has wrote books; has a Doctorate Degree from a Univeristy in Milan, Italy
    Father left mother in Middle School; (Single Mother)
    Interships one in Sacramento and one canvasing for Congressman Mike Levin

    With roughly 5 weeks before my exam do any of you believe that I can score a 157 if I take this seriously.

    I’ve heard of people going to 140 to 160’s but with the time constraint I’m affected by as well as the impact of soft factors on my application and the presitge of my current University I believe that a 157 could help me. Do any of you believe that high 150’s is a realistic goal?

    – Thanks!

    Whether or not u can get to high 150s in the next few weeks, it depends. If you can put in 25-30 hrs a week then of course I think it's possible. However, I would suggest you work as hard as possible in maintaining a high GPA since it's set once you graduate. The LSAT is not going anywhere and you can just retake until you're satisfied. Furthermore if u find time later to churn out 3-5 months, you may be able to push yourself to the high 160s or 170s and lock in a spot at the t14 with money.

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    edited December 2018 3112 karma

    Depending on your GPA, the sky is the limit. 5 weeks is a very short period of time. Take your time and shoot for 160+

  • Harvey_lHarvey_l Alum Member
    edited December 2018 268 karma

    Hi there! To answer your interest in achieving that specific LSAT score directly, I went through the CC. Then I began PTing at 150, after only two tests my score stabilized to 158 and 157; therefore, I believe if you took this seriously with enough effort placed into PTs, I believe you can achieve a high the high 150's! Definitely doable in 5 weeks as long as you get used to the pacing and learn to translate lawgic, and practice LGs!

  • acsimonacsimon Alum Member
    edited December 2018 1269 karma

    This is doable, as ppl said, because of the scoring band in which you fall right now. However, five weeks of study means five weeks of study. Plan on really packing it in, especially since you’ll want enough spacing between practice tests. In general, I would urge against such a short study schedule: there’s just too much chance that one will ultimately end up half-assing study, and end up with a half-ass score. I’d also say that just because somethings doable, don’t invest too much in the expectations; that’s because, it would really suck if you didn’t hit the score you wanted but read more into that than you should. Temper expectations, and work hard!

    P.S. Curious as to how you’re first -gen but your dad has a doctorate.

    P.P.S. I am a bit sceptical about the 159 average cited (for AA males). I know someone with a 161 who got into Yale, but by all accounts that was an unusual case—not the rule for AAs. Are you getting that from reddit, LSL, LSN, or somewhere else?

  • Nabintou-1Nabintou-1 Alum Member
    410 karma

    Découragement n'est pas Ivoirien. :)

    You can absolutely go from 143 to 157+. Like others have already recommended, I’d start by planning to tackle a rigorous study schedule and go from there (I.e., the one here on 7sage). As far as when to take the exam, I think it truly depends on how prepared you feel ~a week out. Don’t be afraid to change your test date if you believe that pushing it back will increase the chances of hitting your goal score.

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    Why the rush? Is there something preventing you from a more reasonable and methodical approach to taking this test preparation seriously and giving it the time a serious life goal deserves? While a lot is possible in five weeks, why not give yourself five months (or a year) and commit to achieving your highest potential?

  • JayMulahJayMulah Core Member
    51 karma

    @acsimon said:
    This is doable, as ppl said, because of the scoring band in which you fall right now. However, five weeks of study means five weeks of study. Plan on really packing it in, especially since you’ll want enough spacing between practice tests. In general, I would urge against such a short study schedule: there’s just too much chance that one will ultimately end up half-assing study, and end up with a half-ass score. I’d also say that just because somethings doable, don’t invest too much in the expectations; that’s because, it would really suck if you didn’t hit the score you wanted but read more into that than you should. Temper expectations, and work hard!

    P.S. Curious as to how you’re first -gen but your dad has a doctorate.

    P.P.S. I am a bit sceptical about the 159 average cited (for AA males). I know someone with a 161 who got into Yale, but by all accounts that was an unusual case—not the rule for AAs. Are you getting that from reddit, LSL, LSN, or somewhere else?

    Thank you so much for the encouraging words; I'll try my best and hope that my scores reflect the effort I'll be putting in these next few weeks

    My Father went to Universidad Catolica de Milan in Italy and received his PhD in Economics before moving to New York with my Mother in 1993. For one reason or another many of his credentials did not transfer over to the U.S., so he ended up going to New York City College where he obtained a Masters in Economics.

    I've gotten this information from Law Schools forums located here:
    http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=195443

  • JayMulahJayMulah Core Member
    51 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    Why the rush? Is there something preventing you from a more reasonable and methodical approach to taking this test preparation seriously and giving it the time a serious life goal deserves? While a lot is possible in five weeks, why not give yourself five months (or a year) and commit to achieving your highest potential?

    I'm very much opposed to taking a year off and believe that my transition from UCSD to Law School will be smoother if I choose to continue my education. I'm graduting a quarter early (March) to work for a small niche law office in Santa Barbara and feel as if I work and become more and more comfortable with my earnings I'll put off Law School all together.

  • JayMulahJayMulah Core Member
    51 karma

    @Nabintou said:
    Découragement n'est pas Ivoirien. :)

    You can absolutely go from 143 to 157+. Like others have already recommended, I’d start by planning to tackle a rigorous study schedule and go from there (I.e., the one here on 7sage). As far as when to take the exam, I think it truly depends on how prepared you feel ~a week out. Don’t be afraid to change your test date if you believe that pushing it back will increase the chances of hitting your goal score.

    Merci beaucoup ma soeur!

    Thanks for the encouraging words! I'll do my best

  • JayMulahJayMulah Core Member
    51 karma

    @Overcomer said:
    I have no sight on whether or not you can raise you score in that short time period. But I know taking more practice tests is very important, so you have the right idea. But if you get your scores up, with your urm status and unique background you can definitely get into some decent schools with scholarships. I've seen minorities on LSN score in the mid 150's, ED and get into the T-14. Also if you're score doesn't reach your goal, you can always apply to some tier 2 schools and get some significant scholarships. Just focus on raising that score

    Thank you ! It's crunch time !

  • JayMulahJayMulah Core Member
    51 karma

    @Harvey_l said:
    Hi there! To answer your interest in achieving that specific LSAT score directly, I went through the CC. Then I began PTing at 150, after only two tests my score stabilized to 158 and 157; therefore, I believe if you took this seriously with enough effort placed into PTs, I believe you can achieve a high the high 150's! Definitely doable in 5 weeks as long as you get used to the pacing and learn to translate lawgic, and practice LGs!

    Thank you for the insight Harvey! I hope I'll find as much success as you did with 7sage!

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    @jkpokou said:

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    Why the rush? Is there something preventing you from a more reasonable and methodical approach to taking this test preparation seriously and giving it the time a serious life goal deserves? While a lot is possible in five weeks, why not give yourself five months (or a year) and commit to achieving your highest potential?

    I'm very much opposed to taking a year off and believe that my transition from UCSD to Law School will be smoother if I choose to continue my education. I'm graduting a quarter early (March) to work for a small niche law office in Santa Barbara and feel as if I work and become more and more comfortable with my earnings I'll put off Law School all together.

    One dude's opinion, take it for what its worth: If my math is right, you are willing to base your choices / options of law school on 3 months of half-a$$ LSAT study (based on the timeline and effort you yourself laid out in the original post). The range of potential outcomes for a person scoring in the high 150's and another scoring the high 160's are astronomically different. Just look at 7Sage's consolidated list of 2018 LSAT medians for all schools. Scoring higher gets you entirely different range of schools and better scholarship opportunities. Better scholarships mean you graduate with the freedom to do what you want to, not what you have to do in order to service debt. Its absolutely amazing to me the sheer number of people that are willing to needlessly rush LSAT preparation because they are unwilling to give themselves an opportunity to properly prepare and reach their true potential. Additionally, if you are worried that working at another job will be more rewarding / satisfying than a career in law, then don't go to law school.

    Again, this is just my (an anonymous internet stranger's) opinion. You do you. But, speaking as someone who delayed a cycle because I was ill-prepared for the LSAT the first time I started studying (in my late 40's), I know that somehow, the LSAT and law schools were still here a year later after I hit what I considered a good score and now I have much better options (including scholarships) because I was willing to give serious preparation to a serious task.

    Either way, I wish you the best of luck.

  • JayMulahJayMulah Core Member
    51 karma

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:

    @jkpokou said:

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    Why the rush? Is there something preventing you from a more reasonable and methodical approach to taking this test preparation seriously and giving it the time a serious life goal deserves? While a lot is possible in five weeks, why not give yourself five months (or a year) and commit to achieving your highest potential?

    I'm very much opposed to taking a year off and believe that my transition from UCSD to Law School will be smoother if I choose to continue my education. I'm graduting a quarter early (March) to work for a small niche law office in Santa Barbara and feel as if I work and become more and more comfortable with my earnings I'll put off Law School all together.

    One dude's opinion, take it for what its worth: If my math is right, you are willing to base your choices / options of law school on 3 months of half-a$$ LSAT study (based on the timeline and effort you yourself laid out in the original post). The range of potential outcomes for a person scoring in the high 150's and another scoring the high 160's are astronomically different. Just look at 7Sage's consolidated list of 2018 LSAT medians for all schools. Scoring higher gets you entirely different range of schools and better scholarship opportunities. Better scholarships mean you graduate with the freedom to do what you want to, not what you have to do in order to service debt. Its absolutely amazing to me the sheer number of people that are willing to needlessly rush LSAT preparation because they are unwilling to give themselves an opportunity to properly prepare and reach their true potential. Additionally, if you are worried that working at another job will be more rewarding / satisfying than a career in law, then don't go to law school.

    Again, this is just my (an anonymous internet stranger's) opinion. You do you. But, speaking as someone who delayed a cycle because I was ill-prepared for the LSAT the first time I started studying (in my late 40's), I know that somehow, the LSAT and law schools were still here a year later after I hit what I considered a good score and now I have much better options (including scholarships) because I was willing to give serious preparation to a serious task.

    Either way, I wish you the best of luck.

    Thanks again for your opinion; My decision to go to law school during this cycle will be tremendously based on what instiution chooses to accept me.

    (T-14,T-20,T2 In California)

    I'm only applying to schools in California so UCB and Stanford are the only T14 schools that are available in my region and of these schools I'll only be applying to Berkeley (because of my background), with that being said I've met numerous amounts of people throughout my experiences in Internships and Seminars that have went to T2 schools and still have done well for themselves.

    Everyones situation is different, although T14- T20 schools do have low unemployment rates, not all of these individuals who graduate from these schools end up making 6 figures right off the bat; Networking can play a huge factor in ones legal career

    My life as it is, is tremendously different from the average Law School applicant. Statistically speaking me graduating from UCSD is a lottery win; compared to many of my peers who I've grown up with. Numbers are a good way to have an idea of where you are but I do not agree that they should be the concrete determining factor of where you'll end up.

    On a side note; If I do well during my 1L i could always transfer or obtain scholarship money if I haven't done so already

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Member
    4850 karma

    Don't take anything in my last post to be a "you got to go this tier of school to be successful." I myself am seriously considering offers across the range of tiers based on multiple factors such as location, market(s) served, and scholarship offers (FWIW, California schools seem to be particularly stingy with $$$ this cycle). I just hate to see people rush into law school with a LSAT score that does not maximize their own potential and, as a result, have limited options / acceptances and amass a large amount of student debt. To me, it is much better to show patience and be in control of your cycle by taking rational steps to prepare and by getting a result that puts you in the driver's seat instead of using "hope" as a course of action and depending on the good graces of a benevolent admissions reader. I don't understand why there is such a sense of immediacy in many applicant's law school plans. Will the urgency to "go now" still seem like such a great idea 10, 20, 30 years from now? I know I made many "now" decisions in my undergraduate career in the early 1990's that I now sorely regret.

    Anywho, again, good luck! Hoping for a great outcome for you.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @jkpokou said:

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:

    @jkpokou said:

    @LSAT_Wrecker said:
    Why the rush? Is there something preventing you from a more reasonable and methodical approach to taking this test preparation seriously and giving it the time a serious life goal deserves? While a lot is possible in five weeks, why not give yourself five months (or a year) and commit to achieving your highest potential?

    I'm very much opposed to taking a year off and believe that my transition from UCSD to Law School will be smoother if I choose to continue my education. I'm graduting a quarter early (March) to work for a small niche law office in Santa Barbara and feel as if I work and become more and more comfortable with my earnings I'll put off Law School all together.

    One dude's opinion, take it for what its worth: If my math is right, you are willing to base your choices / options of law school on 3 months of half-a$$ LSAT study (based on the timeline and effort you yourself laid out in the original post). The range of potential outcomes for a person scoring in the high 150's and another scoring the high 160's are astronomically different. Just look at 7Sage's consolidated list of 2018 LSAT medians for all schools. Scoring higher gets you entirely different range of schools and better scholarship opportunities. Better scholarships mean you graduate with the freedom to do what you want to, not what you have to do in order to service debt. Its absolutely amazing to me the sheer number of people that are willing to needlessly rush LSAT preparation because they are unwilling to give themselves an opportunity to properly prepare and reach their true potential. Additionally, if you are worried that working at another job will be more rewarding / satisfying than a career in law, then don't go to law school.

    Again, this is just my (an anonymous internet stranger's) opinion. You do you. But, speaking as someone who delayed a cycle because I was ill-prepared for the LSAT the first time I started studying (in my late 40's), I know that somehow, the LSAT and law schools were still here a year later after I hit what I considered a good score and now I have much better options (including scholarships) because I was willing to give serious preparation to a serious task.

    Either way, I wish you the best of luck.

    Thanks again for your opinion; My decision to go to law school during this cycle will be tremendously based on what instiution chooses to accept me.

    (T-14,T-20,T2 In California)

    I'm only applying to schools in California so UCB and Stanford are the only T14 schools that are available in my region and of these schools I'll only be applying to Berkeley (because of my background), with that being said I've met numerous amounts of people throughout my experiences in Internships and Seminars that have went to T2 schools and still have done well for themselves.

    Everyones situation is different, although T14- T20 schools do have low unemployment rates, not all of these individuals who graduate from these schools end up making 6 figures right off the bat; Networking can play a huge factor in ones legal career

    My life as it is, is tremendously different from the average Law School applicant. Statistically speaking me graduating from UCSD is a lottery win; compared to many of my peers who I've grown up with. Numbers are a good way to have an idea of where you are but I do not agree that they should be the concrete determining factor of where you'll end up.

    On a side note; If I do well during my 1L i could always transfer or obtain scholarship money if I haven't done so already

    Could you get money or transfer after a successful 1L year? That is definitely possible at aome schools.

    Is it worth counting on? No. Everyone will basically be as smart and motivated as you especially if you don't make the Top 14 and everyone is counting on good grades to get a job.

    People do get in below medians all the time especially if they are URMs and/or have compelling stories. That isn't a good reason to deliberately apply with a lower score than you could get.

    If your story and background could get you in below the median, they may get you a scholarship above median. Scholarships are vital.

    I'm not sure what your financial situation is so I'll tell you the standard I set for myself in deciding what would be worth going to law school. I either wanted in at a Top 14 or a full tuition scholarship at a school below it. This is because if you pay full price and don't get Big Law it will be extremely difficult to pay back.

    The legal market has salary ranges which are extremely bi-modal. Salaries for Big Law are $180,000 or $190,000 a year to start with bonuses in a major market and a hair less in smaller markets. Salaries for other jobs are usually more like $40,000 to $60,000. That is a decent living and nothing to scoff at, but it isn't a good salary when making payments on $300,000 of debt. If you expect that kind of job then you need to have a debt a lot nearer to $60,000 than $300,000. If not, you are counting on the PSLF which promises to forgive your loans after 10 years of payments and working at certain public interest jobs. The catch is less than 1in 100 people applying for forgiveness have got it so far. Additionally, the government can stop doing it at any time and whatever political power those using it have is all there is to stop them since there is no official contract where the government promises to forgive the debt. Further, most people trying to do this pay the minimum amount allowed based on their income on the debt which is often less than the interest. This means the debt grows instead of shrinking. So if the government doesn't forgive the debt there is quite a problem.

    If you are in the Top 14 where if the economy sort of holds you will probably have a reasonable shot at Big Law, it still makes good sense to get as big of a scholarship as you can. This will let you have more freedom to do something other than Big Law earlier in your career(lots of people quickly detest Big Law and lots of others are fired from Big Law relatively quickly) and leave you better off if you miss the Big Law ship.

    So if you have a 143 and you get up to a 157 in five weeks you should be thrilled. That would be quite an improvement and might be enough to get you an outcome you consider good. Then after celebrating a little, you should study more and retake it. You should do this until you are confident you can't get a significant increase in your score keeping in mind that eeveryone experiences plateaus where their score improvement flattens out for a while. Once you know you can't improve anymore whether that is after a few months or even a year or two, you should evaluate your options and make a decision based on whether law school would be a good financial decison for you and how much you want to be a lawyer. If you know for sure you want to be a lawyer, but don't care about making money in Big Law, then the best or best located school that seems to be able to get people jobs and will give you a close to full scholarship may be a good decision.

    If you are a little less certain like I was, you need a better option to justify it. For me that was a close to full scholarship at a school in the Top 14. I should be able to get a Big Law job, work at least a year or two(before they realize I am an imposter and fire me) or maybe 3-5 years before I am cripplingly bored and come out better than I started financially, with a JD, and the option to practice law. Since I don't know for sure that I want to practice law my whole life, I needed a better outcome to justify law school. I'm still a 1L, but so far the law is interesting to me so far which is good because I know a small number of people who hate it and are trying to figure out whether it is financially better for them to cut and run now with one semester of debt or sustain more and try to pay it off as fast as they can through Big Law(assuming they get a Big Law job) before starting over at something else in 5 or 6 years. Unless you have been a paralegal or something it is very hard to know what your level of interest in the law will be. This means that the shorter your time committment to get back in reasonable financial straights so you can try something else if you hate the law or hate the higher paying legal jobs, the better.

    I studied for months to retake an LSAT score that probably would have got me some fairly good options. I don't regret it and neither will you if you macimize your score.

  • edited January 2019 82 karma

    AA Male checking in. A lot of these people have covered it. My unsolicited opinion? You should dedicate more time to the test quite frankly. It'll serve you better, especially as an AA male (we're the rarest URM I believe, besides NA--someone correct me if I'm wrong).

    I'm an AA male born from Sudanese political asylees. I've got an eerily similar background to you. Raised mostly by my Mom. Cousin was killed by the regime because of his advocation for a democratic institution. I'm also first-gen. Speak fluent Arabic. Etc. Interesting work experience.

    I'm gonna be frank with you bud, these admissions officers will look at these factors in a positive light. However, speaking from my personal experience, I can say that they won't matter unless you've got the numbers to back it up. These are things that--I believe--will help them choose you over another application with similar numbers. But they won't be the deciding factor. In the end, numbers still matter. I applied for a scholarship from a prestigious pre-law program and they accepted me not that year, but the following, AFTER I had a poor grade that was weighing my GPA down retroactively withdrawn. This is a program whose name I can't mention, but let's just say they're affiliated with top schools.

    You sound like a really cool dude. Someone I'd wanna kick it with and learn more about. But that's not gonna be enough for them my man.

  • NeverStopNeverStop Alum Member
    96 karma

    I’ve read online that the average score for URM (Black Males) at T-14 schools is a 159

    Wow, that's nearly unbelievable! Where did you read this?

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