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December LSAT: Bite the Bullet, or Cancel Your Score?

So the December 2011 LSAT is now squarely behind us. Hopefully it went stupendously. Some of you may have been taking the test for the first time, while others may have been retaking after a lackluster October performance. Either way, if you’re applying this cycle, you’ll want to apply as soon as your score is back, so letters of recommendation and personal statements should be going in to LSAC now. That way you can apply right in the middle of the application river that’s flowing into law schools.

But what if the test didn’t go well? Do you cancel? Because tomorrow is the deadline to do so.

If you cancel, you’ll never know your score, but neither will law schools. One cancellation doesn’t really look that bad, but multiple cancellations can make you look sort of flakey in the eyes of some schools. Also, if you cancel, you’d have to retake in February or later. If you’re applying next cycle for admission in Fall 2013 or later, then there’s not much of a problem. But what if you were originally planning on applying this cycle? You have some options.

You could just bite the bullet and go with whatever score you got on Saturday. This isn’t generally the best option, but if you felt as prepared as possible, then it might be best to accept your score and say come what may. But in general this is to be avoided.

You could also cancel now and retake in February, while still applying this cycle. But you’ll be late. Not all law schools will accept applications that late, and those that do will often admit that it will hurt your chances both of admission and of getting financial aid. You should check in with the individual schools to which you’re applying to see how they handle February scores.

If it’s an option, though, your best bet would be to plan on applying next cycle. You’d have tons of time to study for February or June 2012, and you could apply extremely early. The downside (or upside?) is having to wait an extra year. So it’s a big decision, but it could be for the best.

There’s no easy answer, so weigh out all your options. But make your decision soon, because that cancellation clock is winding down…