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February LSAT/Application

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jasonreese's picture
February LSAT/Application

Just curious if you have any insight into whether or not an applicant will get serious consideration for admittance to Law school if they wait till Feb. to take the LSAT, and barely beat the deadline for applying.  I have heard rumors that unless you have stellar credentials and would be a shoo-in for admittance regardless of the time of the admissions cycle in which you apply, that you don't stand a chance, if you wait until the last minute.   The argument goes, especially with schools that have "rolling admissions", most schools only have a few spots left by late Feb., and are only looking for top performers for those last spots.


Your take?

majorgeneraldave's picture

To say that "...unless you have stellar credentials and would be a shoo-in for admittance regardless of the time of the admissions cycle in which you apply, that you don't stand a chance, if you wait until the last minute..." is to wrongly overstate the issue:

Qualified candidates are as well-qualified in November as in February. They're just competing for fewer open spaces as the cycle wears on. But schools don't finalize their acceptance offers ahead of their deadlines. Thus, you'll properly picture the relationship of timeline to admissions chances by picturing a 5% drop in your chances by applying in February rather than in November.

Obviously, such a formulaic response oversimplifies the matter - law schools are actively engaged in seeking the best candidates for their schools, and offering acceptance letters to the most-qualified cadidates that they believe will accept their offer, so the whole relationship cannot be correctly boiled down to any mathematical formula. But this picture is much, much closer to the truth than to say applying later in the cycle removes your opportunity for admission.

wethepeoplefor's picture

I have another question about the Feb. LSAT.

I am taking the Dec. 3 LSAT in two days.  It will be the first time I have taken it.  I know the Dec. LSAT is already late to take.  When I get my score in three weeks, I plan on hitting the submit button on my applications (providing I do not get below mid-150's which I don't plan happening) so that I get my applications in in a somewhat reasonable timeframe.

I have been scoring in the mid 150's on timed practice tests.  I scored 158 on my last timed PT last weekend (which is the highest score I have gotten to date).  My initial goal was to get at least 160 to have any real hope of getting into one of the better southern CA law schools.

If I end up scoring in the mid 150's on the Dec. LSAT, I am thinking about re-taking it in Feb.  However, I am not sure of the timing of acceptance/rejections letters and I know a lot of variables go into the timing.  I am not sure if the odds are good that I could already be rejected by some better schools by the time the February scores come out.

I am wondering if it is worth re-taking the LSAT in Feb. if I get mid 150's on the Dec. test and I believe I can get 160 or better on the Feb. test.  Is it too late by late Feb. to increase my chances of still getting accepted into some of the tougher schools I applied to (applications sent in late Dec.) by submitting a higher Feb. LSAT score?

majorgeneraldave's picture

I definitely believe that if you you underscore your potential, you should take the test again, even in this case (in which you're likely to see the least gains from doing so).

There aren't any notable schools in Southern California that won't accept a February score for fall admissions, but for most of them, they discourage the practice in one way or another.

Here's a quick look at policies at some notable schools in the region.

I hope this helps you plan!

wethepeoplefor's picture

Good to know all the schools you listed take Feb. LSAT scores.  However, my main concern is that if I submit my applications in late Dec. as soon as I get my LSAT score & if the score is in the mid 150's, then I may have already received rejection letters from some of these schools before I get a chance to add my Feb. score to my application packet.

I think the references to Feb. score being way late that is noted next to some of these schools is a reference to submitting the actual applications at this time and/or first LSAT scores, which is a slightly different scenario.

I think it is probably good to go ahead and submit my apps. w/ a potential mid 150's Dec. score, so that the application processing and some of the review of the application can at least begin & then submit a potentially better Feb. score in late Feb..  Again, I just have a concern that I could be officially rejected at some of these schools based on the Dec. score before I get a chance to show them a higher Feb. score.  I am trying to figure out the odds of this happening.

Regardless, like you said, it is probably good to just take it again in case I still have the opportunity to improve my application packet w/ a better LSAT score for any schools that have not yet officially rejected me before then.

Though, I still hold out the hope that I can reach that 160 goal line or beyond this Sat.:)


majorgeneraldave's picture

There are a couple of possible responses from schools:

  • They may admit you regardless of your upcoming score.
  • They may wait to see whether an improved score makes you more attractive to them.
  • They may decide that an improved score will not improve your chances and deny you regardless of upcoming score.

What they do is out of your hands after tomorrow. What you do in the morning goes a long way toward determining your chances. Your fate is in your hands, and that's a good position to be in. You control what happens next.

So make it good!


wethepeoplefor's picture

Thanks again for the response.  Would I have to inform the schools if I am taking the LSAT again in Feb. so they know or do can they automatically tell from some indicator that may be attached to my LSAC record/application?

Also,I just noticed on the LSAC website that the score e-mail date is not until 1/6/12.  I thought it would be late Dec.  I guess because of the holidays, they are not e-mailing scores until 1/6.  I was hoping submit my completed apps. before the end of the year.  Ah well, I guess that is what I get for waiting until Dec. to take the LSAT.:)

majorgeneraldave's picture

Yep; I think you're right about the holidays being the reason for the later December reporting (but I don't have sufficient evidence to presume cause! Wakka-wakka. Ah, I slay me).

You will need to inform your schools that you plan to take the LSAT again. Some schools may allow you to do so by phone, but most will want a written confirmation if you're asking them to hold assessment until your next score.

Some schools don't do holds (but may be willing to reevaluate within the cycle when the new score is available. This is most likely if the school believes that the need for a higher LSAT score is the only thing between you and an acceptance letter).

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