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advice: apply in a new cycle or not?

yuzhou_guoyuzhou_guo Monthly Member

Hi Everybody,

I am about to finish my undergrad in June, but I have a dilemma in figuring out what to do right now. Originally, I was thinking about taking January Lsat and apply with a higher score. However, I learned the news of my father passed away over the break, which made me unable to prepare for the test and I had to withdraw. My currents stats are (GPA: 3.95 LSAT: 163). I only applied to my safety schools (UC Hastings and university of San Diego) last year. Hastings admitted me and gave me 60,000$. I am reluctant to go to Hastings, because I was pretty much set on going to a T14 school. I also overheard some bad news about Hastings that big law firms do not recruit that many students from there. My mother and my advisor at my undergrad all told me to go to Hastings and apply to more schools at the end of this cycle. They say that which schools you go to do not really matter for your future employment if you can be on top of the class, but I do not know if that is the case for law schools.
I was wondering whether I should apply to more schools at the very end of this cycle or wait for the next one when I can get better lsat score? Should I just go to Hastings or not? How difficult is it to transfer out of Hastings?

Thank you!

  1. Should I go to Hastings?38 votes
    1. Yes
    2. No.
  2. Should I apply to more schools this cycle38 votes
    1. Yes.
    2. No.
  3. Should I apply in the next cycle38 votes
    1. Yes
    2. No


  • TomHagenTomHagen Alum Member
    edited February 9 76 karma

    Hi Yuzhou, I’ll try to let the poll mostly speak for itself but I wanted to add that many people may underestimate how hard it can actually be to stay at the very top of your law school class. In curved courses professors only have so many A-grades to give, and you may very well end up being just below the cutoff even if your work is still of excellent quality overall. It is true that being at the top of your class at Hastings will likely help with landing a job in biglaw (if that is your goal), but my .02 is that the additional stress of retaking and reapplying now to get into a school which has better big law placement and more flexibility in terms of acceptable class rank, is considerably smaller than the stress you will face if you attend a school that requires you to remain at the top of your class if you want to work at a biglaw firm.

  • AlexgLSATAlexgLSAT Monthly Member
    87 karma

    First and foremost, I want to say sorry for your loss. I understand how hard this must be and what you're going through right now. To answer your question, I think you should wait a year. The school you go to absolutely matters for your future employment, especially if you want to go BigLaw. It might be still possible if you went to Hastings, but it would be much harder than if you were to get in to a T14. You have the GPA to be competitive at every school, taking a few months to continue studying for the LSAT could be super beneficial for you. At the bare minimum, a few points more would most likely get you a full ride to Hastings should you decide you want to end up going there.

  • canihazJDcanihazJD Alum Member Sage
    edited February 12 8139 karma

    Law school grades are wildly unpredictable. Don't count on being at the top of your class, and even if you achieve it, don't overestimate its value. In many ways a median or even sub-median t14 grad will retain a huge advantage over the #1 at someplace like Hastings. Thats not to say that if you got top grades, you wouldn't land a BL spot... but thats a huge "if." For similar reasons don't bank on transferring... never attend a school you wouldn't be happy graduating from.

    For BL, I'd just set my sights on reapplying. For better or worse, the school name carries significant weight. At my T14 anyone who wants BL gets it. I'm just a slightly over median slacker and when I declined a V10 offer they asked me if I would reconsider if they gave me more time to decide. I'd advise you let your progress and scoring call your timeline. Especially if you want a t14 and think you'd regret going elsewhere. I think your dreams are worth an extra year.

    That said, you have a killer GPA and there's no harm in some hail mary apps to schools you'd like to attend. Splitter results can be surprising.

    Edit: also worth noting that Hastings gives conditional scholarships and cuts about 15% of awardees. Not the most predatory but still fuck conditional scholarships.

    I'd also like the 5 people so far voting for this person with t14/BL aspirations to attend Hastings to come on and explain themselves.

  • RavinderRavinder Alum Member
    830 karma

    I agree with all three of the comments above in recommending waiting another cycle and retaking the lsat. I was in the same boat several years ago with a good gpa but lsat stuck at 162 after several attempts. I could have applied and gotten into some ok schools but my tutor recommended waiting a cycle and retaking the lsat one last time. I listened to that advice and got a 177 after four more months of intense study and got into Columbia and NYU. I am now a 3L at NYU and looking back, I am so glad I listened that that advice. Investing the effort and time to improve your application can have huge results in your future legal career. The job opportunities from T14 or higher are simply going to be much better. Given your gpa of 3.95, I would also suggest raising your goals from T14 to aiming for Harvard, Stanford, or Yale. Aim high. You can do it. I mentored a student who was in a similar situation to you two years ago. He had gotten into Cornell with a $110K scholarship but I advised him to turn it down and retake the lsat (he was stuck at 165). He listened and got a 175 next attempt and got into Yale the following cycle. He is a 1L at Yale now. Don’t settle

  • yuzhou_guoyuzhou_guo Monthly Member
    40 karma


    Thank you everybody for your comments. I was about to listen to my mom who tells me to lower my ambition and live a simple easy life. I am more confident now about what I need to do after hearing everybody. Right now the most important thing is to get myself back together from this episode. I have to keep up my GPA (it slipped 0.01 last year. It is 3.94 now) and get back to my LSAT study again!

  • AlexgLSATAlexgLSAT Monthly Member
    87 karma

    You got this! We are all rooting for you.

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