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Feeling defeated

Meg_5280Meg_5280 Core Member

I got a 149 and I’m so sad. Any advice? I am retaking the exam in January. Is there hope for someone like me with a killer GPA and a teaching background to go to a place like Harvard?


  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    8308 karma

    @MEGANWELCH97 said:
    Is there hope for someone like me with a killer GPA and a teaching background to go to a place like Harvard?


    A tight GPA is already a huge part of the solution in the bank. I don't know what your prep history is but the test is definitely learnable. What are you PT'ing at?

  • tanvir.dhami9tanvir.dhami9 Core Member
    24 karma

    I don't know a great deal about admissions and Harvard, and I'm sorry you feel so dejected, but don't lose hope. Harvard is an extremely tough school to get into (and a really great school), but its not the only option out there. There are plenty of good law schools, and plenty that I'm sure you'll have a really amazing experience at! I know it's not much, but I really hope that you are able to feel better and motivated in time for the Jan exam (I'm taking it too). Best of luck to you, and stay confident in yourself!

  • Meg_5280Meg_5280 Core Member
    49 karma

    @canihazJD I averaged my PTs and got 156. I couldn’t believe I scored almost 10 points below where I was PT’ing. I used the LSAT Trainer and the 10 Actuals. I literally could not have prepped my body, mind and soul more for this test. My goal is to go to Harvard and dive into their child advocacy/education clinic. I’m worried about my timeline if I retake in January but I’m more worried about applying with a 149 and getting rejected.

  • Meg_5280Meg_5280 Core Member
    49 karma

    @"tanvir.dhami9" Thank you so much! I know it’s a lot to reach for, but I have faith in myself. I just need to get back on the study train! Haha

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    8308 karma

    @MEGANWELCH97 first please don't take this the wrong way. Don't apply with a 149. Just straight up don't do it.

    You have excellent and admirable goals but I think you need to take a more pragmatic approach. You could have a 4.33 GPA and even a 156 would still almost certainly be a presumptive denial. In my opinion the best approach is to let your scoring dictate your timeline. Maybe you have to wait until next cycle... wouldn't that be worth it? I was actually in a similar position last cycle and decided to apply... I got some great acceptances, but not what I had envisioned. So, here I am retaking and reapplying.

    The core curriculum here is among if not the best study resource available. I would recommend focusing on building solid foundational knowledge and drilling games.

  • Meg_5280Meg_5280 Core Member
    49 karma

    @canihazJD No worries! I am in need of raw advice. I know the best thing to do is to retake the exam and refine my foundational skills. I also know that I needed more time to practice, so taking the time between now and January will be really beneficial. Thank you so much for offering your guidance and support. For someone who is new to this community, what are your recommendations for using these study materials?

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    8308 karma

    @MEGANWELCH97 definitely the core curriculum here. Invest in it, don't rush through. After drills, watch the explanations and read other's comments. That will give you a solid foundation to build on, then your PT's will be able to guide you to areas requiring more refinement.

    My opinion would be to start drilling games as soon as you finish the games curriculum, while making your way through the RC section.

    edited October 2020 76 karma

    Megan, it's really a crapshoot for everybody with these very competitive schools. But I think 149 is low, and maybe people do get into HLS with that score, but I think it would be a mistake to think of yourself as the exception and not the rule.

    I have an almost perfect GPA and was PT'ing in the 150s range and highest was 160. I was adamant that I would apply to law school this cycle but decided that, like most people, 3.5 months with the LSAT Trainer only was not enough for me. It took me a couple of weeks to fully digest this decision. But once I actually did, I was happy that I allowed myself more time and set myself up as best as I could as an applicant.

    I'm not undermining the importance of the LSAT Trainer because it did help me to go from 140-something (diagnostic) to 150s-160 in 3.5 months. But I now know that the LSAT Trainer wasn't enough for me personally. My partner did not take a diagnostic but studied for the LSAT in about 2.5 months with the Kaplan book (a resented book by many) and got 174. My supervisor took a diagnostic test and got 168 or 169, studied for half a month, took the real test, and got a 172. I made a fool of myself thinking that I was like these people, and boy did I make a mistake. Most people aren't like this, and many on here took months and years to study to get to the 170s range.

    If you are trying for any of these competitive T-14 schools, take your time with the test but be consistent with your study schedule. Don't sign up for the test unless you're ready (PT-ing in the range you're happy with). It took me a bit to make peace with this decision and figure out some logistics in terms of work and other things. I hope you'll be kind to yourself and make a sound decision!

  • cjb297cjb297 Member
    43 karma

    I do not think you should spend the money applying to any t14 school unless you're at least scoring in the mid 160s, especially not Harvard. You have to be realistic. I am not saying this to discourage you. You DO NOT need to go to Harvard to do what you want. The vast majority of lawyers have not gone to a school like Harvard. However, if you are dead set on achieving this goal, then you certainly need to apply at a different time. To increase by 20 points in a few months is not impossible but it IS pretty unlikely. My bottom line is that you should wait until January, look at applying to some more middle-of-the-pack schools, and then go from there. Realistically, if you are only willing to go to Harvard then you will probably have to wait until next year to apply; and study a whole lot more.

  • Logical_PandaLogical_Panda Core Member
    114 karma

    You. Keep. Going.

  • VerdantZephyrVerdantZephyr Member
    2054 karma

    @MEGANWELCH97 First Megan, because I do not want to beat around the bush. You are not going to get into Harvard with that 149. There is almost no chance of that happening. However, the good news is that the LSAT is learnable. I do not know how firm your timeline is, but if you are dead set on Harvard Law you are best off accepting that it is probably not happening this cycle. That does not mean that it is impossible, but it just is unlikely to be accomplishable this year, which is a particularly competitive year.

    I also want to say that Harvard is not the only school with a child advocacy/education clinic. If what you are really looking for is opportunities to engage with education or child advocacy law many law school have those programs. Some of them you would be a strong candidate today for scholarship support at. I am on the stereotypical International Human Rights track, so have not been looking, but I have seen a lot of schools with educational law and child advocacy clinics and even centers. There are schools out there not named Harvard that have chosen those things as the specialty at their school. If you really want to apply this cycle, look for programs with centers and clinics for educational law or child advocacy. At the end of the day, you just need to decide what is important to you, the specific Harvard program, the Harvard brand, or getting a really great background in and launching point into doing child advocacy work? No judgement, we all make our own goals and decisions, but we should all follow the path that reaches the specific goal that we have rather than the one that looks most attractive at the outset. For some that path and destination are both Harvard, but for others it might not even be a top 30 school.

    Lastly, there are a lot of people on these message boards that are very invested in helping others improve and get better. There is lots of advice and help available and lots of people looking for study buddies or doing application exchanges. I will be glad to give you more advice at a later time if you shoot me a PM, and there are others who have experience navigating exactly the situation you are in and are happy to give their stories or advice.

  • nate12111111nate12111111 Alum Member
    41 karma

    Not with a 149 I'm afraid. Good news is you have the much more important part done already, a good GPA. Increasing your LSAT score is a lot easier than trying to raise your GPA.

    Unless you have phenomenal softs (I'm talking like wounded in battle, Rhodes Scholar, or decades of existing work experience in a prestigious field), you will need at least a high 160s, even if you are URM.

    That seems like a big jump, but I believe you can do it! The LSAT does become easier overtime like with all tests. Retake in January then see. If its not what you wanted and you still want to go to harvard, it might be better to wait until next cycle.

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