I am taking the LSAT this weekend. This is a test for which I have been preparing for the past five months and until recently, it has absolutely overwhelmed my thoughts and conversations. That is, until a few days ago, when I finally took some very necessary advice from my mother.
I reminded myself that the test does not really matter that much. How is this possible? I want to go to law school, and statistically speaking, law schools value LSAT scores slightly over GPA and significantly more than any extracurricular activities. A stellar score could be a ticket to one of the vaunted “Top 14 Schools” (these 14 schools have, relatively arbitrarily, shifted spots but never left the top 14 since US News and World Report began ranking law schools in 1989), and a poor score means I could end up at a second-tier regional school in an undesirable location, and subsequently be saddled for years with debt and an underwhelming salary. At least this is what online forums would have me believe.
Fortunately, my mom is smarter and nicer than the angry posters on “www.top-law-schools.com,” “www.lawschool.life” and the like, and she’s right when she tells me to relax because I’ve studied hard and at this point the situation is out of my control. Surely, if I score poorly I will all but certainly not be admitted to a “Top 14” law school, and perhaps even one outside of the top 30! But I’ve been studying since late March! If I don’t achieve a score satisfactory for one of these gilded institutions, I likely should not be attending them. And that’s okay.
Law school rankings, similar to undergraduate university rankings, power rankings in sports or any other ranking that does not define an outcome should be taken with a massive grain of salt because they are fundamentally misleading. If you were to read one of the “what are my chances” posts on “www.top-law-schools.com” that asks about the Wake Forest School of Law, ranked 32nd on the US News and World Report, you’ll immediately see 10 condescending responses saying “retake LSAT and go for T14,” “why would you want to go there?” or “Don’t waste your time or money there.” These are outrageous responses. Wake Forest School of Law grads include successful politicians, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and everything in between. The same can be said for most any law school, or any undergraduate institution. This leads me to my grander point: more important than where we are is how we act once we arrive. This point is not just true about law school but about anything.
I want to go to the best law school I can get into, and wherever that may be, once I arrive I will like it and be happy with my decision to attend because I will devote myself to my work. Thus, while I have worked hard studying for the LSAT, and I will try everything to get the best score I can, at the end of the day, the test doesn’t really matter.