So, you got back your score from the February LSAT, and you didn’t tell any of your friends because there just isn’t any emoji that can properly convey the wounded surprise and bitter anguish you feel. Is it time to just pack in the whole law school thing and teach tap dance to orphans in Bangladesh? Should you check yourself into a nursing home 60 years early? Is life as we know it over?
NO! Listen up, Soldier! You get yourself right up off the floor, wipe the three day old ice-cream-mixed-with-tears residue off your face, and resolve to start fresh!
Before we get into the steps you have to take, let’s be clear about where we are. February exam takers are an odd bunch. (Calm down, that’s not an insult. Your mom would say you’re “unique.”) You’re either waaaaay early for matriculation into law school in 2017, or, more pressingly, you’re trying to make it through the rapidly closing admissions window for matriculation in 2016. If you’re in the former category (2017-ers), then just take a deep breath. You have plenty of time to rectify that score. This post, while useful for that group as well, is aimed primarily at the 2016 aspirants.
Here’s what you need to do.
1. DON’T PANIC
In all walks of life, this is always strong advice, but we here at Blueprint have found that this bit of life best practices often gets kicked to the wayside when students study for the LSAT. The law school admissions landscape has changed over the years — mostly as a result of declining numbers of applicants — and a disqualifying score five years ago might not be a disqualifying score now.
The upshot is that you shouldn’t do anything rash. If you have applications in, let them run their course. The worst that could happen is that you get rejected, which, as dad always told you, will be good for your character in the long run. If you reapply next year, a rejection this year doesn’t change the calculus. (I should know, I was rejected from UCLA Law before reapplying with a better score and being admitted.
If you hadn’t completed your applications by now, then you weren’t going to get in anyway. Slacker.
One last thing before moving on: More and more schools focus only on your highest score, whereas they used to average scores. Contact the schools you’re interested in and see how they look at multiple LSAT scores. This might just be a very stressful Mulligan.
2. ASSESS YOUR CURRENT STANDING
What schools did you apply to? Is your score likely to get you into a safety school? Are you okay with that school?
Shameless plug alert: If you’re a Blueprint student or have a free MyBlueprint account, you can use our proprietary Law School Compass to see your odds given your LSAT/GPA combo at any ABA accredited school in the nation.
Students often set a particular score goal for themselves because it sounds great, but it might be more than they need.
If you’re not really okay with matriculating into a safety school, are you okay with waiting another year to go to law school?
Unless you’re in your eighties or beyond, the answer to that last question really ought to be yes. You’ll have a whole career as a lawyer; one year is just a trip around the sun.
3. CREATE A WRITTEN PLAN OF ACTION
Please don’t ignore the written part of this step, although it can be on your computer, tablet, phone, i.e. it doesn’t have to be handwritten.
You should plan out the way that you’re going to address this result. I don’t know what your plan ought to be, and it depends heavily upon whether you plan to retake the LSAT.
If your plan is indeed to retake the LSAT, here are a few things to keep in mind. If at all possible, you ought to take the June exam. Stretching out your studies beyond that is fine, but just know that, if you take more than a few weeks off from studying, you’ll be starting mostly from scratch.
Another thing you ought to do is assess what went wrong in your studies so far and directly address that in your plan. Did you not devote enough time? Did you self study when that kind of thing doesn’t fit your personal learning needs? Could you have rearranged your schedule in a manner that made studying more effective?
All these things need to be addressed.
Anyway, hope that helps. Just keep a stiff upper lip, pip pip cheerio, and all that nonsense.