Should You Wait A Year & Reapply to Law School Next Admissions Cycle?

It’s law school application season and you might have your law school applications already completed and out the door. You may have gotten responses and could be feeling anything from elation to despair. Should you take one of the offers, or hold off?

Also, those of you who haven’t yet applied might be wondering whether to apply this cycle or wait and try to improve their application.  Maybe your LSAT isn’t as good as you hoped going into the process and you are contemplating a retake.

While there are a ton of reasons why it might be a good idea to wait a year and apply next cycle, it’s a hard decision to make. We wanted to address some of the common concerns people have in this situation and give some advice to help with the decision. 

Will Reapplying To Law School Hurt My Chances?

A lot people worry that reapplying will “look weird” or otherwise hurt their chances. I’m here to completely blow this myth out of the water. Every admissions dean I’ve ever heard talk about it has confirmed that reapplying in no way disadvantages you. It simply doesn’t make any sense for them to prejudice a candidate just because they applied before. Their aim is to accept any qualified candidate who might attend, so that’s what they do.  This holds true whether you were rejected or accepted the first time you applied.

Law schools know that you are a real, live person who has a million things going on, and a million possible reasons why you might need to delay going to law school. You won’t even need to explain it, just make sure your applications are completely updated next year to reflect what you’ve done during the year off.

Should I Wait To Apply Next Year?

Even though you now know it’s not going to hurt you, actually making the decision is still very hard. What I always say is that you shouldn’t downgrade your preferences about where to attend and at what cost, at least not until you are sure you’ve done the best you can do. Did you start this whole process saying that it was t14 or bust, and that you wouldn’t go to a lower ranked school? If that goal still looks even reasonably attainable, I encourage you to stick with it, even if it means waiting and applying next year.

Here is what I saw in my time teaching the LSAT: way, WAY too many people going to law school when they should instead hold off, and far too few waiting a year to strengthen their applications, improve on their LSAT, and apply earlier (all things that boost your chances of a good result). Without really knowing you personally, I can say this: if you are even debating whether to wait and apply next year, you probably should wait.

Everyone seems like they are in a massive hurry to get to law school. This attitude, however, often hurts future law students. Generally, you should only go to law school when you are sure you’ve put yourself in the best position possible.

RELATED: 5 Harsh Truths About Law School Admissions

Think about it hard — are you really okay with the options you’ve got this year? Especially if you applied late (or have yet to apply), consider the possibility that things might go better for you if you apply early next cycle. We discuss this more in our post on applying with a February LSAT score.

Will Law School Be Harder To Get Into Next Year?

No. People will still be applying to law school in historically low numbers for at least the next couple cycles (I’m writing this as of early 2014). I actually think next cycle, not this one, will end up being the cycle most friendly to applicants, as the number of people taking the LSAT is still projected to go down. Fewer LSAT takers means fewer applicants, which makes for a very applicant friendly cycle.

I’m Worried About What I’ll Do With The Year Off

I think a lot of people worry that they won’t be able to do much with the year off, so let’s talk about that. You might have put a lot of stuff on hold to take the LSAT and apply to law school, and now you think it will be tough if you press the pause button and wait to apply next cycle. I understand, but let me try to put your concerns at rest.

If you are reading this you are likely in your young 20’s. It’s normal to not have much going on. It’s okay if you are not on a Fulbright scholarship. Almost every other law school applicant is likewise not on a Fulbright. Law schools aren’t going to care a ton if you aren’t totally dominating the world in this next year. The economy is still a bit tough, so making fast starts out of undergrad isn’t always possible anyways.

It’s also a good time for a reminder that law school admissions is mostly a numbers game. That’s never been more true than right now. The biggest reasons to wait a year are that you may be able to improve your LSAT or, if you are still in undergrad, boost your GPA. We talk in depth about the decision to retake the LSAT here: Should I Retake The LSAT? Any significant improvement you make to your numbers is going to overshadow other considerations.

That said, you should try to use the extra time to improve yourself as a candidate in other ways. The bar is low, but you should be busy. Working as a bartender is fine, for example. If you are lucky enough to have the means, traveling is fine too. If you can’t do anything else or find a job, at least do volunteer work somewhere. I shouldn’t say “at least” —  volunteering will look really good on your resume and should be personally rewarding as well.

In general, if you are having trouble thinking about what to do with a year off, then I’m worried for you on another level. Law schools, especially the best schools, want interesting people. Interesting people shouldn’t have much trouble coming up with something to do with a year off, no matter your situation. For more guidance, we talk about what to do with a year off here.

I recognize that you might have fewer options when you have to provide for yourself, but law schools will understand that. Trust me, I was about as bohemian as they come before law school, and that didn’t prevent me from getting into a great school. Subsistence living is okay.

Seek Advice

We recognize that this is hard decision. The main point of this post, in the end, is that you shouldn’t feel bad about delaying this process. When it’s even a question, delaying is more often the smart decision.

If you want some coaching with your situation, let us know what you are thinking in the comments (it can be anonymous) and we’ll tell you what we think. You don’t have to listen to the advice, but it may help give you a little clarity.

About Author

University of Chicago, J.D., 2012 Ready to Kickstart your LSAT Prep? Join the LSAT Mastermind Study Group


  1. I know this is a couple years late but this article applies to me. I took the LSAT twice total (once in September 2017, once again in February 2018 scoring 8 points higher than my first LSAT). I know that I can improve my LSAT score again if I put my mind to it and am not super happy with my options for law schools. I was really involved at my university and working during my studying days and just graduated last weekend so I won’t have as many distractions as I did when I studied last time.

    I’m concerned for a couple reasons:
    1) will retaking for the 2nd time (3 LSATS total) look bad?
    2) I’ve already been accepted to a few law schools and would want to reapply to about 3 of them next admissions cycle and I know you stated that law school admissions offices don’t care but it’s still a concern of mine.
    3) I did really bad in one class my last semester at my university which will decrease my cumulative GPA by .04 and am concerned that will affect my chances if I reapply.

    I really appreciate any advice you have to give me! Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi Evan and Josh,

    This post is several years old at this point, but I’m looking for some guidance so I figured I would give it a shot. I applied later in the cycle (mid-January), and am pretty much Mr. Waitlist: Chicago, Penn, UVA, Michigan, Duke, and Northwestern all put me on theirs. I’m still waiting on Columbia and NYU, but given the trend I’m not overly confident. My top LSAT is 173, though I scored 168 and 166 before that, and my GPA is 3.46 as an engineering major.

    In what now seems like a foolish move, I planned a few months of travel/volunteer work and put in notice at my cushy engineering job. Assuming I don’t make it off a waitlist, I’m trying to plan out what to do with the rest of the year and whether I should retake the LSAT. Do you think I need to go get another 170+ to prove that it is more representative than the other two?

    Say I do get off a waitlist at one of the lower ranked schools (e.g. Northwestern or Duke). Do you think a applying earlier in the cycle or maybe an ED to a select school would give me a good chance at cracking T10?



  3. Hi Evan and Josh,

    Thanks so much for the advice in this post. I’d appreciate any feedback you might have regarding my situation. I’ve now taken the LSAT twice, the first time in June 2017 and the second in September 2017. The first time, I scored a 158, which considering I only spent about two months studying (and not very thoroughly at that), I was ok with the score. I vastly underestimated the test. I then began putting in at least 3-4 hours of self-study a day for the next three months immediately following that exam, hitting PT averages in the mid-160s. Two weeks before the test, however, my sister was in the intensive care unit for a week, and then I got pneumonia a few days before the test. Honestly, I knew I was testing under less than ideal circumstances, but was confident my score would at least improve a few points. As it turned out, it went down by a point (157). Statistically, I know this difference is meaningless from the earlier 158, but I know it’s still not enough to get me into top schools.

    I was planning on potentially applying early decision to Northwestern because it comes with the promise of a substantial scholarship. My undergraduate GPA is 3.97 (LSAC GPA is actually higher at 4.01), I have strong recommendations because I went to a small liberal arts college, and I’ve worked at the same company for over four years (all throughout college and they kept me on after graduation), plus several internships on my resume, so I think I have a solid application otherwise. My question to you is whether you think I should wait and take the LSAT again? I know I can do better . . . the only caveat is that testing a third time may delay my application to next year. I think I’m ok with that, because I simply don’t think I can cram for the December test. In fact, the prospect of spending another several months studying for the LSAT again does seem rather daunting. Thus, a break may do me well, but I also don’t want to forget everything I’ve learned so far either. If I did wait to apply—and I do think it would both increase my chances of admission and potential scholarships—when do you think would be a good time to take the test?

    Another possibility I’ve been thinking about is transferring. I think I have the numbers to get into a Top 30 school like OSU (which, because I’m from Ohio, would make financial sense, too). I could then potentially transfer. I think this option has more downsides than the former, but I would still like to hear your thoughts.

    Thank you!

  4. Hi!

    If were to apply next cycle again, would I have to get another letter if rec from my professors or would the ones already on file be good enough?

  5. repplayingcandidate on

    Hi Evan,

    Here’s my current situation.

    I have a good LSAC GPA: 3.80
    Terrible LSAT score by that measure: 159

    I was waitlisted at Georgetown Michigan and UCLA.

    And accepted at Emory and USC

    Given that I am thinking in terms of only t-14 was my decision to wait a good decision. I am thinking about scoring somewhere near the 163-65 range on the next LSAT try.

    In addition, I had significant work experience (5 or so internships, research assistanships, senior thesis, lots of ugrad scholarships).

    Thanks for the help

  6. Good afternoon Evan,

    I just stumbled across this blog – wish I would have saw it sooner! I am currently trying to go the Law School this fall and have been accepted to University of the Pacific McGeorge and Waitlisted at Santa Clara and USF. I’ve lived in SF for 6 years and have been working as a paralegal for 5, they now call me a “senior” paralegal! haha. Anyway it has been a few years since undergrad (graduated in ’09 from UW-Lacrosse, so not a bay area or CA school) and I’m now at the point in my career that I am and have been doing more than Paralegal “work” and its time to get the degree! I’ve dreamt of going to law school these last 5 years but my main concern is the economy/job prospects… I billed 2500 hours last year, and have been billing around 2k since I’ve been working in firms, so studying for the LSAT was slim. I tried to cram studying for the LSAT in only 3 weeks and I know I did not score at all to where I am capable. Let alone this is a completely different test than anything I have taken in my life! My undergrad GPA is a 3.0 – BS in Finance, minor in Econ, and an extensive Science background (originally Pre-Med) so all tough classes… I also transferred midway through my undergrad career to a better school so had to repeat some courses as the credits did not transfer and I worked full time. Long story short – I’ve learned my lesson and will not be working in law school!

    Anyway, I scored in the low 150’s on the LSAT and am wondering if I should wait, retake and reapply next year. I was scoring high 150’s before the actual test day and I did increase my score by 10 points by the time I took the LSAT so I believe there might be room to improve even more if I buckle down and study 3 months as you suggest. My only issue is really waiting another year…I’ll be going in at 30 years old and I feel like I’m going to be the oldest in the class and worry that somehow might affect job placements? It might be entirely vain and I am a type A personality so I’m a planner! My biggest fear is to get out of school with $200k in debt and essentially land a job making what I make now, or even less as there would be no overtime. My heart is set on Berkeley but I think its a long shot. I’ve also contemplated transferring to Berkeley if my grades are really good my first year? Any thoughts/suggestions would be MUCH appreciated!! Also, if I do end up waiting, any ideas/suggestions to make my current job worth its while to wait another year?

  7. Hello! I’m considering reapplying to schools. URM (Mexican) 3.5 gpa 168 LSAT. I am from California and really want to stay there. I am wait listed at UCLA and USC and Stanford and accepted at Berkeley with no money. I received a very good scholarship from UT Austin. I just don’t know how that translates to working back in California. I applied late in the cycle. Should I reapply? And if so, retake the LSAT? I was PTing at 162/3 and made 168 the day of the test. Thank you!

  8. John Mager on

    I took Feb LSAT…scored a 170. GPA is 3.8. Got some solid scholarship money for tier 1 schools and currently waitlisted at a few T14 schools. I’m currently trying to decide whether to wait till next year so I can apply early in the cycle, and apply to some T6 schools where I missed this cycle’s deadline. Thoughts? I figure I’ll even improve my scholly outlook for Tier 1 and have a shot at some T14, T6 schools that were out of the question this time around. I don’t wanna look back in ten years and question “what if….”…any advice is helpful.



  9. I studied for four months for the LSAT based on your study schedule. I continuously scored 168-171 on my practice tests. On the day of the test I had to go to the bathroom terribly during my first three sections, I also had the horrible two reading section test with the scored section being the last. I ended up scoring a 159 and am devastated.

    I spoke to my friend who is graduating from Georgetown this summer, and he recommended me going where I can/ want to, and performing well (top 10%) where I attend and try for a transfer. I am well aware that transferring is by no means a guarantee and not to bank on it/ I will not get a scholarship.

    I’ve also been freaking myself out lately reading law school scam articles and blogs.

    I found out today that I was WAITLISTED at Emory. Obviously, if I had scored how I attended to, it would not be my first choice, but at this juncture it is. I have received 50% scholarships to all the schools that I’ve heard from (Loyola Chicago, UM, American University, Santa Clara because I read they get paid well) I applied to 24 schools because I was scared, and spent $1000 on apps. I feel silly now because I’m considering waiting a year, again. It was always a consideration but now I really think it’s the right thing to do. I just don’t want to be a bartender for another year, and spend another 4 months studying, $200 on the test, and a couple hundred on apps.

    What do you think?

    Gpa is 3.5 from UF (2012).

  10. I’m currently in my third year of University and have GPA of 3.7. I haven’t studied for or written the LSAT yet, but I plan on doing that soon. I don’t have too many third or fourth year courses under my belt. Based on that, should I apply before I’m finished my undergrad?

    Also, I worked for an extremely controversial pro-life organization last summer and likely will again this summer. Will that hurt my application if I put it on there? Would it make me more competitive to work for a law firm that specializes in not-for-profit legal advice instead?


  11. I found out last week that I am on the waitlist at UT Law. I anticipated this happening because I only scored a 163 on the LSAT, after averaging around 168-169 for several weeks of practice. My job as a teacher was really stressful the last 1.5 months before the test, so I know the quality of my preparation seriously dropped off. I almost didn’t go and take the LSAT because I knew I was underprepared, but I went anyway and came out with a mediocre score. My GPA is a 3.99 but my LSAT was under the 25th percentile for UT, so I knew the waitlist was a real possibility. I am a TFA alum and continued teaching for three years beyond TFA for a total of 5 years work experience. I also have a Master’s degree and strong letters of recommendation, although I know these don’t matter too much. I know my LSAT is what kept me from being accepted, so I would like your advice. I am planning on retaking the LSAT in June; in fact, I bought your 14-week study plan to restart preparation next week. I know I can do better than a 163. I have already put off attending law school for 3 years post-TFA. Would you advise me to retake the LSAT in June and try to get in off the waitlist and go next fall, if accepted, or is the smartest thing to retake the LSAT in June and then try again early next cycle? Thank you for your advice. I have referred to your blog a lot during my application process.

  12. I graduated last May and wanted to take some time off istead of going straight to law school. I was having second thoughts at the time. I took the lsat twice but both times I did not do as well as I was hoping. I am stuck now deciding if I should try applying to law school for this upcoming September with a pretty high GPA but not high LSAT or if I should study and retake the LSAT in June which means I will not be going to law school until the following September. Should I try applying to one law school with my current GPA and LSAT score and see what happens or would that be a waste?

  13. I think I already know the answers to most of my questions but I’m interested in what you have to say. This is my situation:

    I graduated in 2011 from UT (Texas) with a 3.75. After LSAC calculates my cumulative GPA, I think it jumps to approximately 3.77. My practice LSAT scores were typically in the 165-168 range, with an occasional 170. An important part of my strategy going in to the test was that I typically ace the logic games. However, I took the December 2015 LSAT and got entirely stumped by logic game #3, which resulted in uneducated guessing on more than 5 questions. I also made a rookie mistake and didn’t have the last 4 questions of my RC section bubbled in when the proctor called time. I was fairly certain my score would be well below my expectations, and I cancelled my score.

    So here I am. My applications are all 90% complete, save my personal statement and LSAT score (these are both very important, I know). My personal statement is quite unique. I don’t wanna sound like a braggadocios douche so I won’t go in to details, but it’s good stuff. I’m highly confident that my personal statement and rec letters will set me apart from most other applicants. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say I score around my average on the February 2016 test and get a 166.

    Recap: 3.77 GPA/166 LSAT/unique personal statement + rec letters.

    My question is: do you think it would be a bad idea to submit last-minute applications with a back-up plan of reapplying for next year? I am applying to 10 of the top 15 schools along with a safety school, and I’ve obviously put myself in a situation that seems to be an uphill battle. All signs point to having more advantages if I simply wait to apply. But do you think it would be a bad idea to give it a shot regardless? My reasoning is that in a best case scenario I will get accepted to a school of my liking, and in a worst case scenario I’ll have to wait to apply next year anyways. Am I wrong for thinking that? Will these schools hold it against me for applying in consecutive years with essentially the same profile?

    Sorry for the mini essay. Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Hi Williams – I’m basically in this exact position right now. I haven’t actually taken December LSAT, which is in 3 days, but my average PT scores suddenly fell and I’m feeling really burned out. I’m trying to decide whether to take the test in December so I can still submit my applications this cycle, or hold off until the February LSAT and wait a year to apply. I’m finding it really hard to decide what to do. What decision did you make in the end? Any advice would be life saving.

  14. Hello! I am currently debating whether I should take more time off before I apply to school, and I was wondering if you guys could offer me some advice!

    I finished undergrad at UCLA last June. My final GPA was 3.75 (Psych Major and Spanish Language Minor) and my LSAT is 171. I would love to end up at a t-14 school (I currently live in the Bay Area, and Cal is definitely my top choice!). I’m considering taking another year off before I apply because I feel that the soft parts of my application aren’t strong enough (especially for t-10 schools)…

    I was in a student-run dance company throughout college (with a leadership role), and I currently work as a paralegal in a large tech company’s law department. I am planning to volunteer this fall to teach a law class to at-risk youth. I have professional mentors who would be able to write strong letters of rec for me, but I worry that I won’t be able to obtain a solid academic rec (I was way too timid during undergrad and let the big school vibes keep me from forming strong relationships with my profs).

    I’m wondering if you think my numbers are strong enough to apply this next cycle (2015-2016) without the additional volunteer/possible travel experience I would be gaining if I took another year off? If I did apply in the 2015-2016 cycle, would it be advisable to apply as early as possible or to wait until December to be able to include my new volunteer experience in my applications?

    I want to put myself in the best position possible to attain my t-14/scholarship goals. I don’t mind waiting, but I would prefer to start school next year if I am able to get into my top choices.

    Thanks in advance!


  15. I have been accepted into a fellowship to India for ten months this next Fall. However, I am having a hard time determining my schedule for applying to law schools. I could take a fast track and utilize my time to retake the LSAT in India and apply for law schools with my free time. Or, I could wait another year. That would make my gap two years. I am only worried for two reasons: first, my undergraduate GPA is 3.98. I have heard that this aspect of the application is less valuable with more gap years. If my LSAT does not improve from 165, should I be worried that my GPA will be less of a boost after two years? (Like you said, it can definitely be a numbers game. :/ ) Second, I live in small town Midwest, so my opportunities outside of this fellowship are not as extraordinary. Should I worry about being a less impressive candidate if I hold off a year rather than apply with this fellowship just being done.

  16. I was accepted into a top 50 school with a half scholarship and in-state tuition. I also received offers from lower ranked schools with full scholarships. I was leaning towards to top 50 school, and I was certain that I would be going to law school in the fall. I’m from a small southern town, and I lived at home with my parents during my undergrad. I have been very anxious to leave and start my life in law school. Now I am wondering if I should take a year off and reapply after the October LSAT. I have the summer off, which could mean four months of intense LSAT prep. I took the LSAT twice already– the first time with no preparation and the second time with some preparation and a four point difference. I still never felt like I reached my potential, but at the time I accepted that score as my best.

    I also have a 4.0 GPA from a small liberal arts college.

    My biggest fear is that I will study intensively and not gain more than a 5 point difference.

    • Regina,

      This is a tough decision, and unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” answer to your question. But in general, I think that anyone who feels as though they didn’t properly prepare for the LSAT could benefit greatly by retaking.

      One of our LSAT Mastermind Group members took the September 2014 LSAT and scored a 160. He decided to study for a retake by using the lessons & resources available within the LSAT Mastermind Group, and in December 2014 he got a 170. Following our advice, he was able to earn a 10 point improvement within 2 months of prep.

      He recently accepted a $60,000+ scholarship offer at Northwestern Law (ranked #12 in the US). If he didn’t retake, he would’ve barely gotten into any school in the top 50 (he had a low GPA)… but now he’s made a seat deposit at one of the best law schools in the country… with a solid scholarship in tow.

      You’ve got a stellar GPA, so if you’re able to hit a 165+ on the LSAT, you’d be a strong candidate for a full ride at a top 25 law school. With a 168+, you’re probably looking at a full ride at a T14.

      Are you guaranteed to improve your score? Absolutely not. But you’ve worked so hard for all these years to earn that 4.0 GPA, so if you have reason to believe that you could do better on the LSAT then I think you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

      On the other hand, you also need to weigh the risks of such a decision… You say that your “biggest fear” is that you won’t gain more than 5 points. Why does that fear weigh so heavily on your mind? Why do you feel the rush to head to law school this fall? Why do you need a minimum 5 point difference to justify sitting out an application cycle when a smaller marginal improvement could significantly improve your fate? Do you have the time and energy to prepare properly for the LSAT this time around?

      Do some real introspection & weigh the situation as rationally as possible. Don’t let fear control your thought process during this exercise. Set your fears aside & really weigh the potential risk that your score might not improve (or might only improve modestly) vs. the potential benefit of getting into a much better law school (and/or getting additional scholarship $ at the ones you got into). What would this mean for you? Consider both the short term (1/3/5 year time frame) as well as the long term (10/20/30 year time frame).

      Consider your potential debt load as well as your earning potential under both scenarios. How much debt would you end up with if you accepted your current offer? What is the median starting salary at that school? Then consider what sort of offers you’d be reasonably likely to earn if you added a few points (or more) to your LSAT score.

      Take a cold, hard look at the numbers & you’ll have something concrete to base your decision on.

      Good Luck! Let me know how it goes!

  17. Wow, that’s amazing. I can’t even tell you the amount of stress you just lifted from my brain (type A planning personality at it’s worst!). Thanks again; you’re the best!


  18. Wow, thanks so much! I really appreciate it, especially with the stress this decision has put me through in the last few months. You rock!

    • No problem! Happy to help!

      To give you some perspective: I was helping one of our LSAT mastermind group members decide where to go to make a seat deposit… He applied in January with a 170 LSAT and GPA around 3.5 & got full ride scholarships at UCLA & UTAustin and around $50,000 scholarships at Michigan & Northwestern.

      Since you’ve got even stronger numbers, you’re likely to have even better offers if you get your apps in early next cycle.

      Good luck!


  19. Hi guys!

    Alrighty, I’m coming to the end of my senior year and *might* be losing my mind a little (a lot) about my decision-making process regarding law school next year. I have a 3.68 GPA (will be a 3.7 by graduation) and a 172 LSAT. Dual degrees in German and journalism, minor in theatre, internship experience with newspapers and near constant part-time work throughout school. Plus extracurriculars blah blah blah soft stuff.

    I applied late in the process with a February LSAT (boo me). I was denied by NYU, Virginia, and Yale (getting t-shirts made if any fellow Yale rejects are interested). Accepted by Case Western, Ohio State, and Texas. Waitlisted at Chicago, Columbia, and UCLA.

    I’m really hoping that Chicago or Columbia come through, and my first choice is Chicago. Thoughts on my chances if I reapply in the fall?


    • Kathleen,

      I honestly think that if you don’t get into Chicago or Columbia then you should STRONGLY consider sitting out until next cycle.

      With a 3.7 UGPA and a 172 LSAT, you can confidently pass on the Case Western and Ohio State offers.

      UTAustin is your best option at this point, but I think if you sit out a cycle and reapply as soon as the app process begins next year then you’re very likely to land a spot somewhere like Chicago/Columbia/NYU.

      At a minimum, you’d be likely to get some nice scholarship money from some T14 schools.

      It sounds like you only applied to NYU, UVA, Yale, Texas, Chicago, Columbia, Case & Ohio State. In addition to getting your apps out earlier next cycle, I’d also recommend sending them to all of the top 14. If you get apps in early you’ve got a shot at Berkeley, Harvard, Cornell, Georgetown, Michigan, Stanford, Penn, etc.

      If you get into Chicago or Columbia, go for it.

      If not, apply to all of the T14 schools early next cycle and you’re going to be in great shape.

  20. Josh, I’m relatively new to this site and have been so addicted to the articles posted–I spend hours just reading, so thank you (and Evan) for such a great resource.

    I am a Political Science major and am scheduled to graduate a year early in Spring 2016. I have a cumulative gpa of a 3.5 though my gpa for my major is higher. I have yet to take the lsat though am attempting to prepare for it. I guess my questions simply break down to this:

    Because I am graduating a year early, should I put off applying to law school to raise my GPA and start pursuing a grad degree or basically take my time with my undergrad, or should I go ahead and apply for law school with my GPA as is? Also do admission officers look at cumulative GPA or your major GPA? Or does that really even matter (major vs cum gpa)?

    Also, I see study plans for the lsat but am trying to decide when is the best time to “hard core” prepare for the test? I have read articles on various sites stating that preparing too early can be harmful but preparing too late is also harmful, and I’m just at a loss for when to start preparing. I am really wanting to join the mastermind group when i can figure out when to apply/when to start preparing for the test. In the meantime, I’m currently familiarizing myself with logic puzzles, lsat vocabulary, and other “more relaxed” preparations until I know when I should really apply for admissions and prepare myself. I know I am aiming for the best scores and the best school admissions (somewhere in the top 20 schools) otherwise I know it would not be financially smart for me to pursue law school.

    I am hoping you can help give insight to my situation. Again, thank you for this post and I am excited to see the new things you and Evan continue to provide to readers!

  21. Hi, I was wondering if I should apply to Harvard Law School and with my average LSAT score I am not sure if I would get in. If I go ahead and apply to Harvard and do not get in, do you think it will at all hurt my chances when I reapply?

  22. What would you recommend with this profile:

    University of Pittsburgh: Economics, Political Science, and Philosophy triple-major
    GPA: 3.6
    LSAT: (September 2014) 162

    I feel like I could do better on a retake but I’m not sure if it’s worth the chance. My main choices of schools were Georgetown, George Washington, essentially the top 25 esque schools.

    I am not sure whether to retake in December, or apply and then possibly reapply if necessary in February with a hopefully higher LSAT score. Thoughts?

  23. Hello, I am currently in the weird status of being a Junior/Senior in the beginning of my 4th year of school (I will become a senior after the credits I earn this semester). I’m attending a research university as a Philosophy (Pre-Law concentration) major with a double minor in Political Science & Ethics. I am working on completing my Honors Thesis, and I’m taking 18 credits this Fall (5 Honors classes & thesis research credits) and 18 credits this Spring (5 honors classes and thesis writing credits hopefully). However, I would still be 9 credits away from graduation so I’d have to complete my degree by taking 3 classes during this upcoming summer (2015). I am debating when to take the LSAT, right now my advisor suggested taking it in December, in order to go straight into law school after I finish my undergrad courses this summer.

    I wonder if I should wait to take the LSAT over the summer of ’15 and apply next Fall in order to have a stronger application. At that time, I think my application would look better (with the majority of my grades reported and my Honors thesis completed and notated on my transcript). Right now my GPA is a 3.67, I am enrolled in the Honors College at my University, and I make the Dean’s List every semester. I’m hoping to push my GPA to a 3.75 with the remaining 45 credits I have left (Fall 14, Spring 15, and Summer 15′ semester grades). The main concern? I’m worried about that year of time off (using it wisely) and my undergrad loans becoming due as I wait to attend school in Fall of 16’….

    Is it better to wait until I’m done with ALL of my credits and push my GPA as high as it can possibly go, along with giving myself ample time to prepare for the LSAT and take the LSAT in June of 15′ or Sept/Oct 15′? Or should I go ahead and take the LSAT now (Dec 14′) and resign myself to submitting a transcript missing 27 credits and all of my distinctions (right now I’m set to graduate with a Honors, Advanced Honors & Research Honors along with distinction in my major). Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

  24. I graduated in December and am planning on taking the lsat this june and then teaching english in Spain until the following june. My original plan was to start my application process before I leave (I leave this October for Spain) and be hopefully admitted by the time I return to the states the following fall. Would you recommend waiting until I get back from Spain to start applying? Do many schools require in person interviews or would I be able to get out of that while abroad??

  25. I have a GPA of 3.0 with a LSAT of 155 and I am an Undocumented Immigrant. I studied for one year, my first lsat diagnostic was 139 and I went up to average 154. On the december 2013 LSAT I scored a 155. After studying for over a year, I feel tired. However, I am wondering wether retaking might be a good idea? I want to practice in Los Angeles and would be happy with attending Loyola. What do you reccomend. I am afraid of burning out. I work full-time now and it will be hard to study for the lsat….I could study and take in june….

    • Erick, I generally recommend that anyone scoring in the 150s retake at least once. Read our advice on why that is here:

      Studying while working full-time is fully doable. I managed to do it, but I was not working any overtime. If that’s not possible with your job, you’ll just have to schedule your study time wisely over a somewhat longer period, like 4 months. May I ask how you were studying over the course of a year? We generally don’t recommend doing that especially if you aren’t studying intensely. Studying an hour or so ~3 times a week has been really ineffective from what I’ve observed. It’s important to have longer study sessions and do them pretty frequently.

      I don’t know how your status will play in the admissions process. In view of the recent ruling in California that allows law licenses for undocumented workers, I would imagine schools should have no reason not to admit you.

    • Erick, if you are interested in living/practicing in California, you should also seriously consider one of the California-accredited law schools. They offer smaller classes for non-traditional students and those who would benefit from tutoring and academic support programs in law school. Your GPA/UGPA are in line with the medians for those schools.

  26. What are your thoughts on non-credit Post-Baccalaureate programs such as the one offered from Graham Business school at University of Chicago?
    Do you think they will strengthen undergraduate’s resume/application?

    • No post grad work is going to be a huge difference maker on law school applications, and that goes double for non-degree work. Yes, they’ll like to see that you have kept busy and like learning, but beyond that don’t expect any boost. If you take classes, don’t do it because it might help with law school, do it because you are interested in the stuff and plan to use it somehow.

  27. I am currently prepping for LSAT and working full time in a public interest law firm. I have a 3.0 average and will be taking my LSAT in June. Based on my credentials, I am unlikely to get into any of the top 20 law schools in the States. My plan is to get a master in international law from an European institution since I have a special interest in international law and want to live abroad. I figured that getting some abroad experience will enhance my application for a top school in the states. Do you think I am on the right track?? If yes, could you recommend any European graduate institution that offers an excellent IL master degree? Thanks!

    • Hi Angela,

      I really don’t know a lot about European LLMs. I will say that it’s not going to help you too too much when it comes to admission to a law school back here. Unfortunately, undergrad GPA and LSAT will still matter a lot more than any other factors.

      Before enrolling in a foreign program, I would be really diligent about researching the job opportunities that can lead to. I know foreign students are often disappointed with the prospects they get from doing an LLM over here. It may well cost more than it’s worth.

      Your best plan really if you want law school is to focus 100% on the LSAT. A 170+ opens a lot of doors right now, even with a 3.0. A top 20 school would not be out of reach at that point.

  28. Sorry clarification from my last post:
    I have an interesting situation. I took the lsat in December and only scored a 156. My practices were at a 162 average, I believe I could get them higher as well. The night before the lsat my best friend was killed in a car accident. I am talking, 11pm the night before the test. I took the test, with obvious emotional trauma. I did not have the heart to sign back up and take it in February. First of all, would you recommend me waiting to apply and take it in june. I am 28 now, unsure how much more time I want to take off. Or else going ahead trying now, but also write an addenda regarding the death. I heard addenda’s about lsat scores just look gpa is pretty low (2.9), but I have an awesome resume devoted to civil rights law since graduation 6 years ago. I don’t care abuot t14 (obviously) but I would like a top 60 if possible still. Does the low application turnout really mean anything. When you receive an application waiver, does that truly mean you stand a chance at admission?

    • I don’t what to say, that is just a terrible thing to happen Max.

      Yours is a very easy case for waiting a year and retaking. Anyone who does that much below their practice average should certainly retake, 100% of the time. Your current numbers frankly aren’t going to get you into very good schools. You should study for June or some later test and do your best to max out that score. Also read our post on getting into law school with a low GPA

      Don’t even think about the age thing. There are plenty of early 30 something in law school and they do just fine. You might get called an old man occasionally by your younger friends (that happened to me and I was 25 when I started) but that’s about it.

      Addendum don’t look bad if they are written for good reasons and you should definitely write one, but only after you’ve retaken. Otherwise schools will just be wondering why you haven’t retaken yet.

      The low application turnout definitely makes a huge difference, however, you do still need decent numbers to take advantage. Get that LSAT above 160 and you’ll have much better results.

      Waivers do not really mean you have a good chance. Schools give them out to boost the number of applicants, thereby increasing their selectively. The best way to figure out which schools you have a chance at is to look at the published LSAT GPA ranges for the most recent incoming class.

      Good luck and let us know if any issue come up while studying. We are here to provide advice.

      • kind of random but since when was 25 considered the age of an “old man”? Was there really a difference in maturity between a 22 year old and a 25 year in law school (at least where you went to law school)? Not that it should make a difference but I’m pretty sure you weren’t the oldest person on campus. Was josh one of the younger friends who called you an “old man”

        • Nah Josh is my age roughly (as were about a quarter of students). Any of these comments were purely in jest. I wouldn’t say that there is any maturity difference really. Rather, the students who were fresh out of undergrad were a lot less worldly.

          School is expanding, yes, but in some ways it’s very insulating, so I think time away from it helps round a person out. That’s one of the reasons I encourage a year off between UG and LS.

  29. What do you recommend to students planning to get married the summer after they graduate from undergrad?

    Do you think being married in law school is a bad idea?

    • No, it’s not a bad idea at all. I went to law school in the midwest, so students were pairing off and getting married like characters in a musical comedy. It’s no big deal.

      A ton of people will be married or in serious relationships in law school. Students are very friendly about including spouses in law school social life. Yeah you’ll miss out on the dating scene, but most would say that’s a good thing in law school.


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