I think Kaplan has a really good program. I can't compare it to any other program since I just enrolled in Kaplan's, but I was happy with the breadth and depth of the services. My score from my diagnostic (first test) to my final test was a 10 point difference (153 to 163 jump). For the schools you're targeting, you'll need to be solidly in the 160's, even as a URM and non-traditional background.
The thing that Kaplan can offer that private tutoring can't is the amount of practice materials. They have every test ever given as an LSAT and tons of other practice questions.
One caveat - If you want to jump 20 points, you'll need to work your ass off during the test prep. Treat it like a part-time job - put in 15 - 20 hours a week and it'll pay dividends.
Good luck with the test if you take it in October.
That is certainly the most important part - taking the practice tests. Since you're not enrolling in a course, make sure you're simulating test day as much as possible. Buy a buzzer that will give you a five minute warning and then beep when it's over. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Remember - taking a practice test isn't nearly as important as reviewing the practice test. Review EVERY question, even those you got right. Just because you bubbled in the right answer doesn't mean you found the answer the best way. By evaluating them all, you can figure out ways to shave seconds off that will allow you to dedicate more time to questions later in the section.
I am 28 as well, so I had the maturity going for me that I didn't have right out of UG or grad school. It helped me to have a rhythm. I would work from 8am - 5pm, come home, cook dinner and be at my coffee shop by 7pm and study until 9pm. I did that 4 days a week and tried to do a practice test every other weekend.
I also told all my friends and family about my goal so they would ask me how I was doing on it and the peer pressure would keep me focused.
Eh, but what do I know? I missed my goal score by 6 points. No worries though, we'll nail it in October. Good luck!
Thanks for the comment man! I'm thinking your private tutors are gonna pay off. Hell, if you get in the upper 150's (and apply early) your cycle will be better than mine! Good luck - and feel free to hit me up if you have any questions, etc.
I see we're applying to a whole bunch of the same school. Have you visited any of the NY area schools? Looks like we're both dreading October 9th. Good luck!!
Happy birthday! Drink one for me....
Thank you for the well-wishes - I just noticed your comment today! I did get waitlisted at UMKC, which was a nice surprise. Good luck to you when you join the cycle!!
All your stuff is gone? You still planning on applying or what?
Thanks. I hope we both get into the schools we want to attend.