QContinuum wrote:OP- Thanks for the update, and for seriously considering our advice. I echo cav's kudos re: your decision.
I also echo cav in saying that your case is one of the rare situations where there really isn't much of a point in retaking the LSAT. You aren't going to get in to Y/S/H/Chicago (or Cornell, which is idiosyncratically picky re: GPA) even if you were to bump your LSAT up to 180. Also due to your GPA, you aren't going to get any significant merit aid at Columbia/NYU even if you were to bump your LSAT up to 180. At the same time, your 174 is already plenty high enough to get you lots of $$$ at the "lower" T13/T20; it's already above their LSAT 75%, so they won't really give you more money for bumping the 174 to 180.
So the key here next cycle is to blanket the T13 from Columbia on down (probably excluding Cornell which is not splitter-friendly, and possibly excluding Berkeley which is notably stingy on merit aid). If cost is a major concern you can/should also pick a few T20s to apply to. If you're generally interested in practicing in NYC/DC, probably Georgetown, Vandy and WUSTL would be the T20s to apply to. It looks like you'd likely get a full ride at WUSTL, which you could then consider along with your most generous T13 offer (which is likely to come from Michigan).
Again, though, the best - objective - choice is almost certainly going to be a "lower" T13/T20 with lots of $$$. If you remain unwilling to attend school outside CT/NYC, then you might as well matriculate now to Columbia, because you aren't really going to get a better offer from them next cycle regardless of how high you crank up your LSAT.cavalier1138 wrote:It's so rare to see a 0L make the right choice on this, so kudos to you.
With your GPA, even if you were able to bump your score up a point or two (or five), it wouldn't matter.
I'm hoping to save up some money by working full-time while living with my parents (that may sound a bit lame, but whatever). I will definitely apply more broadly next time, and will also check out some other schools/cities when I get a chance. Thanks for your advice!