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 HotTubber
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#86377
I'm essentially deciding between attending NYU this year, or waiting and reapplying next year with hopes of attending Yale or Harvard, and would appreciate any advice I can get.

Some background:
  • I first applied in 2019. I applied at the beginning of the cycle with a 172 and a 3.95. I was admitted to Columbia, Chicago, NYU, and Berkeley, but rejected from the T3. I decided to complete an MA from NYU instead.
  • I applied to the T3 in 2020. I applied in December, and while I now had an MA (with a 3.95gpa) and 2 letters of Rec from my MA, my numbers and essays were all largely the same. I was waitlisted at Yale, and denied at Harvard and Stanford.
  • I applied to the T6 this cycle. I applied in December/early Jan, this time with a 174, with a published journal article and a book chapter on the way, with an RA job at Harvard Law, and with overhauled essays. I was denied at the T3, waitlisted at Chicago, put on Reserve at Columbia, and admitted to NYU.
Given that all my stats have increased in (what i view as) notable ways since my first set of applications, I was disappointed for my results to come back worse than ever before... I've assumed the reasons for this include:
1. a much more competitive cycle
2. me having said no to Chicago and Columbia in the past, and them being annoyed by that?
3. me applying later in the cycle (late December compared to September).
4. my sharing a bit more of my "radical" side in my application this cycle. I.e., in my personal statement I wrote about my multiple activism-related arrests (all nonviolent acts of civil disobedience).

I'm ultimately most interested in an academic career, and my analysis essentially boils down to if:
a) my opportunities for an academic career would be markedly better going to a T3 rather than NYU?
b) my results would be any different if I waited and reapplied next year?

A BIG thanks in advance to anyone who has insights.
And Dave, if you end up reading this, thanks for all your work in this space. I've listened to every one of your podcast episodes (not sure if i'm proud or embarrassed by that...), and am SO DAMN GRATEFUL for how much you give to this community. πŸ™ πŸ™Œ
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 Dave Killoran
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#86416
Hi HotTubber!

Thanks very much for the message, and the incredibly kind words at the end of your messageβ€”I really appreciate them!

Let's try to address various parts of what you said, and I'll give you my honest, unfiltered opinion on each:

HotTubber wrote: ↑Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:32 pmGiven that all my stats have increased in (what i view as) notable ways since my first set of applications, I was disappointed for my results to come back worse than ever before... I've assumed the reasons for this include:
1. a much more competitive cycle
2. me having said no to Chicago and Columbia in the past, and them being annoyed by that?
3. me applying later in the cycle (late December compared to September).
4. my sharing a bit more of my "radical" side in my application this cycle. I.e., in my personal statement I wrote about my multiple activism-related arrests (all nonviolent acts of civil disobedience).
I think your first 3 items are spot-on; I don't think your 4th played a negative role. Of the first three, the impact was likely 1+2 having the greatest effect, 3 a lesser effect. With the 2nd, yes, many schools take a "once bitten, twice shy" approach. You turned down Chicago and Columbia once when it was less competitive, if I was in those admissions offices I'd feel that since you didn't like us then, why would you like us now any better? A lot of schools have strong institutional memory, and people being people they remember past slights.



HotTubber wrote: ↑Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:32 pm I'm essentially deciding between attending NYU this year, or waiting and reapplying next year with hopes of attending Yale or Harvard, and would appreciate any advice I can get.
Just a general comment about the T3, one that applies to you and everyone: there are never any guarantees at these schools. It's just a crapshoot up there, and I see them reject many, many great applicants every year. Reapplying even with a less competitive cycle is no guarantee at all next year. And, what I'm seeing right now is a ton of people opting out of this cycle into next year's cycle, which means every day it's getting more competitive. I don't think it will be quite as bad as this year, but it's still going to more competitive than last year by quite a bit from the looks of it.



HotTubber wrote: ↑Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:32 pm Some background:
  • I first applied in 2019. I applied at the beginning of the cycle with a 172 and a 3.95. I was admitted to Columbia, Chicago, NYU, and Berkeley, but rejected from the T3. I decided to complete an MA from NYU instead.
  • I applied to the T3 in 2020. I applied in December, and while I now had an MA (with a 3.95gpa) and 2 letters of Rec from my MA, my numbers and essays were all largely the same. I was waitlisted at Yale, and denied at Harvard and Stanford.
  • I applied to the T6 this cycle. I applied in December/early Jan, this time with a 174, with a published journal article and a book chapter on the way, with an RA job at Harvard Law, and with overhauled essays. I was denied at the T3, waitlisted at Chicago, put on Reserve at Columbia, and admitted to NYU.
Given that all my stats have increased in (what i view as) notable ways since my first set of applications, I was disappointed for my results to come back worse than ever before
First, congrats on your general results over the yearsβ€”you achieved some great results and should be commended for that! Second, let's look at what changed here over time:

  • GPA: 3.95 uGPA :arrow: stayed the same
    LSAT: 172 :arrow: 174
    Grad degree :arrow: added MA, 3.95
    Softs :arrow: published article, RA job, new recs from MA

With your LSAT, that's a solid jump, which regrettably was offset by the LSAT scoring bubble we just experienced. Thus, you are likely below Harvard's median this year (previously 173, and I'm expecting it to be 175 this year; Yale probably equal or higher by 1).

For the grad degree, as I've mentioned many times on our blog and in our podcast, grad degrees are discounted in this process since not everyone has one and the GPAs are widely believed to be inflated. I'm also not sure how you worked your MA into law school, but if it wasn't handled adroitly, it could have raised questions.

For the softs, I don't see those moving the needle significantly. The new recs should have helped, but again, it's hard to know for sure without seeing them.

In essence, while you unquestionably spent the time improving yourself and incrementally improving your application, due to circumstances such as the scoring bubble, it's probably note quite the leap in the eyes of the law school that it is to you. That sounds harsh, and I'm sorryβ€”I don't mean it to be that way. I'm trying to give you a sense of how T3 adcomms would view these things, and the competition at the top is brutal and ruthless, and so are the evaluations they give.



HotTubber wrote: ↑Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:32 pmI'm ultimately most interested in an academic career, and my analysis essentially boils down to if:
a) my opportunities for an academic career would be markedly better going to a T3 rather than NYU?
b) my results would be any different if I waited and reapplied next year?
I'll address b) first: I don't believe they will be different next year. Anything is possible of course, but you've made repeated changes over three years and they still aren't biting. Next year will still be tough, and so I don't think you'll see a significantly different result overall.

With a), NYU is clearly a nationally respected program and showing up with them on your resume is going to be a plus. How that compares exactly to Harvard is harder for me to tell because I don't spend a lot of time looking at that particular outcome or comparison. Instead, I'd direct you to NYU's ACPβ€”they can address this question more directly and with more knowledge than I can!

I know the above is long and perhaps not what you wanted to hear at times, but I hope you find it helpful. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!
 HotTubber
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#86425
SO helpful! THANK YOU DAVE!!!!

I've spoken with law professors, lawyers, and law students about this, but no feedback has come close to being as helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to so thoroughly and thoughtfully respond. I can't overstate how useful it was. πŸ™

Two follow-up questions: Do you think
1. upping my LSAT score a few more points (i've consistency PTed in the upper 170s, but haven't been able to make that happen in an exam...) or,
2. getting a PhD abroad (there is a program at the University of Sydney i'm interested in)
would substantively change my results for the T3?
Or do you think that having already applied to these schools three times (and being told no three times), that the T3 ship has sailed for me?

PS: on a separate but related note, do you have a personal venmo/Paypal that you feel comfortable sharing? In the same way that i donate to media sources that I get my news from, i'd like to send you a little gift. I've benefited tremendously from your podcast and these forums for free, and it would be nice to return the favor (in some small way). πŸ’
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 Dave Killoran
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#86436
Great, I'm glad that helped! I'll try to keep it going with this response as well :)

HotTubber wrote: ↑Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:40 pmTwo follow-up questions: Do you think
1. upping my LSAT score a few more points (i've consistency PTed in the upper 170s, but haven't been able to make that happen in an exam...) or,
2. getting a PhD abroad (there is a program at the University of Sydney i'm interested in) would substantively change my results for the T3?
Or do you think that having already applied to these schools three times (and being told no three times), that the T3 ship has sailed for me?
Let's go in reverse here. I don't think #2 will move the needle. That's because your application history down the road would seem patchwork to meβ€”apply to law school, MA, apply to law school, apply to law school, PhD, apply to law school. See how that seems a bit unfocused? But, the caveat is that I can't see how the MA and PhD fit into a law degree. Maybe they fit together perfectly into a killer combination, and if so then it definitely could help. But if that PhD doesn't seem to clearly align with a stated legal goal, I see it as an issue.

With #1, the answer is probably that it would help. Let me explain why I think that. In the past, going above 174 would not likely have been necessary. You'd have been above the 50th percentile median at each T3 school, and at the 75th for Stanford. Once you reach or even get close to the 75th percentile LSAT median at a school, gains after that aren't hugely beneficial (which is why a 180 isn't world-breakingly better than 176, even though it looks so much larger). These are the medians at the T3 last year:

  • Yale: 50% = 173; 75% = 176

    Harvard: 50% = 173; 75% = 175

    Stanford: 50% = 171; 75% = 174

With this crazy cycle, those medians at each level are about to rise, quite likely by at least 2 points on the 50th percentile. This means that in this cycle, your LSAT score wasn't 50th percentile at Harvard and Yale. While next year should cool off slightly, it's still going to be elevated from the numbers below, and so adding several points to your LSAT score would probably move the needle more than anything else I can think of in your situation. Ultimately, if you can change the hard measurables here and continue to improve the softs, you aren't necessarily done yet.

As for Venmo, that is an incredibly generous and thoughtful offer, and I really appreciate it greatly. But I do this to help people, so what would really be most helpful is if you helped spread the word about PowerScore and let people know we care and will bend over backward to assist :-D That's worth far more than any gift to me!

Thanks again!
 HotTubber
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#86442
Again, very helpful Dave. Thank you! πŸ™

Yes, I will avidly point anyone who asks me about LSAT prep in PowerScore's direction! (But if i ever cross paths with you, drinks are on me.)


As a friendly suggestion, you could consider starting a Patreon (or something like that) for your podcast. I know I would donate to it, and expect many others might as well. Just 2Β’ for you to think on πŸ‘
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 Dave Killoran
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#86453
HotTubber wrote: ↑Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:51 pmYes, I will avidly point anyone who asks me about LSAT prep in PowerScore's direction! (But if i ever cross paths with you, drinks are on me.)
I accept this offer without reservation!!



HotTubber wrote: ↑Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:51 pmAs a friendly suggestion, you could consider starting a Patreon (or something like that) for your podcast. I know I would donate to it, and expect many others might as well. Just 2Β’ for you to think on πŸ‘
We've been hesitant to do this mainly because we've always felt it requires adding something extra for Patreon users and we haven't felt we had time to do that. If I'm wrong there, by all means let me know!

Thanks again!
 HotTubber
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#86515
I think you could add Patreon without needing to do anything extra! But just to have it as an option for those (like me) who want to contribute a lil something to your and Jon's labor of love.

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