Ep. 116: Don’t pay to apply, either

The guys are back from their Thanksgiving breaks from reality. Ben splashed around the Atlantic while Nathan couched it in Tahoe smashing bags of haribo bears. And from their respective coasts, they both played some serious Nintendo (although Ben less enthusiastically so). Welcome to December, dear listeners. Let’s dive into a bevy of listener mail.

5:21 — Email 1—The impact is real, people. If you ever wonder whether the guys are shedding pearls or turds of wisdom, just get in line for these “holy shit” anecdotes from Katie. After finding the podcast 6 months ago, Katie flipped the switch on her approach to the LSAT. She worked with Ben to study. Then she gave the test her goddamn best and improved her score by 5 points. “Fiiiveee poinnntsss,” you whine? That moved Katie from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile at her dream school. Did you just hear the scholarship engine start? Because I did. But the party doesn’t stop there. She also reached out to each of the schools she applied to asking for app fee waivers. And guess what. She saved over $500. That’s some serious change. Congrats on the improvement, Katie! And thanks for the gracious $10 tip—a whopping 488% increase over the last tip we received.

10:46 — Email 2—Speaking of fee waivers, anonymous wants to know if they should ask for app fee waivers even if they’re in the 25th percentile for a given school. Well, Anon, if the above story doesn’t answer the question for you, we don’t know what will. Yes. It never hurts to make the ask. And guess what. They don’t know you’re in their 25th percentile, so go for it! Anon also has questions about whether they should write an addendum to explain a few bad grades, should they consider the “optional” essays to be not-so-optional, and should they wait for the next cycle to apply. The guys opine. Thanks, Anon, for the $26 tip! A 26-point improvement is no joke, and we’re really glad the podcast helped.

25:25 — Email 3—Wicked, a listener who the guys have been guiding through the law-school application process, writes in with an update—and a pretty exciting update to boot! Her 3.8 GPA and 179 LSAT score have helped Wicked land spots at a bunch of top-dog schools, including an interview with her dream school, HRVRD. Congrats, Wicked! She also reveals that her nom-de-plume is all too apropos—she’s recently been hired by Kaplan.

33:24 — Email 4—In a pretty awesome email, Jeremy bats 1000 when it comes to slightly off questions. Queries like: is it good advice to write with such poor handwriting on the writing-sample portion of the LSAT that no one can read it? Does LSAC, or do law schools, secretly do handwriting analysis in order to judge your character? The guys hilariously discuss. Plus, find out what would shake Nathan from his firm position as an atheist.

50:52 — Email 5—Nathan and Ben go deep on how withdrawing and no-showing affect your LSAC record thanks to a question from Stephanie. She’s heard that cancelling registration will reflect poorly on her. The guys set the record straight. Stephanie also expresses concern about taking the February LSAT if she opts out of taking the December test. Is it spooky, dark, and scary? Is it odd industrial noises coming from behind closed doors? No, silly listeners. It’s just the February LSAT. And Stephanie wants to know if she should take it despite hearing some troubling things about the mysterious February test. It is “undisclosed” after all. The guys decisively weigh in: just take it. Ben and Nathan talk about the finer points of the least-taken LSAT of the year.

1:02:07 — Email 6—Anonymous writes in with thoughts on accommodated testing, which sparks new conversation on this oft-debated topic.

1:19:39 — Email 7—In Laurie’s late 20s, she scored a 148 on the LSAT. And with her 2.4 GPA, she wasn’t an ideal applicant for law school. Now in her 40’s, she’s once again aspiring to go to law school so she can make a positive impact on the world through meaningful legislation. Nathan and Ben jump into a sobering discussion about the likelihood of impacting public policy as a lawyer, and discuss other ways you can have a positive impact in your community.

6 Comments


  1. Hi Ben and Nathan,
    I graduated with a 3.68 GPA in Arts Administration from a liberal arts college. I took the Sept LSAT and scored a 152 after poor review. I’ve spent the past couple of months studying timed exams, reviewing my mistakes, and listening to your podcast, along with another podcast that breaks down a few questions from the logical reasoning section and discusses why each answer is right or wrong and how to predict the answer, etc.

    I’ve gotten my practice score up to 160. I just took the December LSAT, but I’m determined to keep getting better at taking this test. I genuinely find it fun and challenging and stimulating. Plus, the more I study, the better I score so I know I’m at least doing something right. I know you guys don’t recommend taking the February LSAT for the same years enrollement. However, I’m so eager to start law school and don’t want to wait another year.

    I graduated undergrad in 2017 and have been working full time as a document control analyst at a medical manufacturing company while living at home. I’ve also been applying for legal assistant and entry level paralegal jobs. My plan was to only take a year to save up some dough and conquer the LSAT.

    Here are my questions:
    -Do you recommend I take the February LSAT and apply in Fall 2018?
    -Would it be too late to apply post Feb-LSAT and receive decent scholarships? (Added context below)*

    Any help is greatly appreciated. I love the podcast and it’s been very helpful.
    Thank you,
    Sarah

    *This may or may not be relevant, but a friend of mine scored a 152 on the June LSAT and received at least half scholarships from all of the 2nd and 3rd tier schools that she applied to. She said it was a quick process and heard back regarding her application within a week from every single school with acceptances and scholarship. This seems risky to me because it’s so last minute and there’s no guarantee that they will still have spots and scholarships open.

    Reply

    1. We’ll talk about this more on the show, but I unreservedly say NO, do not take the February LSAT and for the same year’s admission. Instead, take the February LSAT and apply at the very beginning of the next application cycle.

      The fact that your friend was able to get half scholarships from tier 2/tier 3 schools with a late app means that she might have gotten full scholarships from those same schools if she had applied earlier. Or gotten into better schools. And certainly, she would have had more time to negotiate.

      If a school charges $55,000 per year for admission, and wants to give you a 50% scholarship, that means you’re still paying them an outrageous $27,500 per year to attend. This is not a good deal.

      Reply

    2. No one ever regrets waiting, especially when they get into better schools with better scholarships.

      Besides, one more year will give you a chance to work in a law firm and better understand what you’re getting into.

      Good luck, Ben

      Reply

  2. What’s up fellas? So I’ve taken six more practice tests since my last check in and the average of them is 146 – with little to no review whatsoever! This means that I’m learning something at least right? I think if I start reviewing I will probably be making 150’s or 160’s or something like that, no doubt. But I don’t have too much time because I need to make those duckets to make rent.

    Anyways, I think I attribute my success so far to this podcast because you guys talk a lot about LSAT tactics but I did have a question about questions that cloudy my mind when I read them. Like, I read them several times and for some reason I can’t wrap my head around the arguments. I think it just might be the time aspect that gets me all worked up.

    My goal is now getting into the 150’s now and since you guys said Barry ain’t that nice, I think I’m going to try to go to Stetson Law School in the Tampa area. That school seems more prestegeous and employment rates in that school seem like the kind that will be better to get me a job once I graduate. I think I will also try for Barry and Cooley, even though those schools are lower end of the spectrum compared to Stetson. My reach school is University of Florida or Florida State – but they got high GPA qualities. I was also thinking Florida A&M to.

    Anyways, y’all are dope. I still haven;t donated if you didn’t notice but when i take the actual test I plan to donate two dollars for every point I get above 150 – this gives me some motivation to crush the lsat and get at least a middle score in the 150 area. Stay blessed!

    Reply

    1. Glad you’re making progress, Dion. If you don’t break 155, think twice before going to law school, unless you have a concrete plan for how to make money once you graduate. Just sayin’

      Reply

    2. Also, why no review?! It’d be better to do three tests with review than six without.

      Reply

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