Monday, February 12, 2007
Student’s LSAT score ranked in 99th percentile
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
Growing up, Peter Halabu’s parents would often collect mementos of his achievements. From report cards to awards, Halabu has a collection of items that provide a snapshot of his life. Now, he has a few new ones that are certainly something he’ll look back on. With an LSAT score of 177, Halabu ranked in the 99th percentile of test-takers. Since then, he has received a number of letters from law schools like The College of William and Mary and Harvard asking him to apply — letters he’ll be sure to save.
As a student at Notre Dame Prep in Pontiac, Halabu was interested in debate and by the time he got to Oakland, he knew he wanted to go to law school.
“My dad is a lawyer. He wanted all of us kids to go to law school. When I was younger I wanted to be a paleontologist, but my dad said no,” Halabu said, who will graduate at the end of the winter 2007 semester. “I started out taking classes in chemical engineering when I came here, even though I knew I’d go to law school. I switched to English because I enjoyed it in high school and I knew it would give me a good foundation. Oakland has prepared me for law school as well as any other school I could have attended.”
Oakland was a clear choice for Halabu. It was close to home, allowed him to live on campus and get involved, the low tuition costs allowed him to save money for law school — and his parents met here while playing pool in the game room.
For law school, Halabu hoped to do well enough on the LSATs to attend the University of Michigan, a prestigious law school that allowed him to stay close to home. So he enrolled in the Kaplan six-week prep class before taking the test.
He took diagnostic tests at the beginning and three practice tests throughout the course.
“I did well on the diagnostic and was doing well on the practice tests — until the last one. I got my lowest score on the last practice test. I got a little nervous and started cramming right before the exam,” Halabu said. “I went into the test feeling there wasn’t much more I could do.”
Halabu took the four-hour test in December.
“I felt like I hadn’t encountered anything that stumped me. My general impression was that it was fairly easy as far as tests go,” Halabu said.
But he didn’t expect the score he got.
After staying out late on Dec. 26, Halabu’s parents weren’t too happy with him. But at 9 a.m. that morning he received the test scores via e-mail and his parents forgot about his late night.
“I had hoped I had done as well as I did. I was hoping for 170s. I scored a 177, which was five questions incorrect on a 100-question test. That put me in the 99.8 percentile,” Halabu said. “I thought the scores were high enough to get some scholarships to schools in the area.”
However, a few days passed and Halabu began to realize that the score had opened many more doors for him. The College of William and Mary e-mailed and asked him to apply. Then more requests came from Harvard, Yale, Duke and the University of Virginia.
“I applied to Harvard for my undergraduate degree. I got a letter back from them; it just wasn’t an acceptance letter. Now I have this letter asking me to apply to law school. That’s something I’ll keep,” Halabu said.
Currently, Halabu is still holding out for U-M, his top choice. He’d like to stay in the state. Going to Michigan will allow him to live at his family’s cottage in Brighton and commute.
“I’ll make a decision once I can look at any scholarship packages,” Halabu said.
Halabu had been considering pursuing real estate law, but he’s now leaning toward business or constitutional law because those are his original reasons for being interested in law.
“Once I’ve finished law school, I’d really like to do something in Michigan. I’d certainly think long and hard about doing something out of the state. I really want to support Michigan,” Halabu said. “And I want nothing more than to live near my family.”