Getting Into Law school With A Low GPA

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chatI wish someone would tell students when they first get to college how important it is to get a a good GPA if they are considering law school as a future option. Alas, they do not. So how important is GPA? Very. GPA taken alone probably accounts for about a third of whether you get into a specific school. However, for any number of reasons– laziness, difficulty of the program, illness, and so on– many people graduate with a low GPA. This post is for the people with lower GPAs who are determined to get into a good law school.

The Law School Admissions GameThe Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert has more great tips on getting into law school! Check out our interview with author Ann Levine, and CLICK HERE to pick up a copy of her best-selling book.

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What Is Considered A Low GPA?

This depends on where you are applying to school. If you are seeking admission to a T14 school (the fourteen schools that have historically placed in the top fourteen in the influential USNWR rankings) anything below a 3.5 is generally going to place you below the 25th percentile for that school, meaning that about 75% percent of the students attending that school will have a better GPA than you. Generally, your GPA is considered low for a specific school if you are below the 25th percentile GPA of students entering that school.

The Importance Of Crushing The LSAT For Low GPAers – Making Yourself A Wildcard

Except for the very top schools, mainly just Yale and Stanford, the general rule of law school admissions is that you can predict where you will get in with a high degree of accuracy just by looking at two numbers: your GPA and your LSAT. For most schools, your chances of admission are close to 90% if you are over the median numbers for both LSAT and GPA. Check out the student profile page for schools you are interested in to see what median, 25th, and 75th percentile numbers incoming students have at a school.

What if you have a lower GPA you may be below the 25th percentile numbers at the schools you wish to get into. What’s to be done? Here is the rule-of-thumb: if you are below the 25th percentile GPA at a school, you want to have an LSAT at or above the 75th percentile to have a strong chance of admission. Having this combination makes you what’s called in law school admissions a splitter. It’s not the worst place to be: schools want students who boost their numbers or at least help keep them where they are. If you can’t provide in one area (GPA), at least help out in the other (LSAT). For a longer discussion of this, including an explanation on why law schools care so much about numbers, check out these posts:

How Important Is the LSAT?

What Is A Good LSAT For The Top Law Schools?

What Is A Good LSAT Score?

Returning to the subject at hand, the point is that with that high LSAT you all of a sudden become someone that the school might need to admit to get the student profile they desire. Your chances of admission are perhaps not as great as someone whose numbers are both above the medians, but they are nonetheless fairly high. From looking at self-reported data of law schools students applying with a GPA below the 25th but an LSAT above the 75th, it appears that your chances of success run pretty close to 75% or better. Again, the exception is the very top schools such as Yale and Stanford, where any given applicants chances of success are not very high because competition is so strong. Look at the What Is A Good LSAT For The Top Law Schools? post for more details on this.

Because a school would obviously prefer to get someone with a high GPA as well, you are a bit of a wildcard, but that’s fine! It’s good to be a wild-card. If they do decide they need you, you are actually in a pretty good position to draw scholarship money. Depending on the school’s needs, you may be better off than someone who is simply hovering right around the median numbers. This is because the school is going to have a lot of applicants to choose from who have about median numbers, however, they have trouble attracting students with higher LSATs, who often go to better ranked schools if they have a high GPA as well.

If you have a low GPA, you really need to put your absolute all in to the LSAT. Devote 3 months to studying intensely for it. If you can’t do that one thing, then I promise you that you are better off doing something else besides law school. Follow this LSAT prep schedule. Prep with the best LSAT books.

Now that you know a bit about how to study for the LSAT, it’s time to learn the other rule of being a good wildcard: low GPA/high LSAT splitters need to apply to a wider number of schools to have success.

The Importance Of Playing The Odds- Apply To A lot of Schools

Any fisherman or pick-up artist knows that you have to make a lot of casts before you get a bite. The same thing goes for applying to law schools with a low GPA. Whether you are a splitter or whether you are just throwing out Hail Marys to schools where you don’t have very competitive numbers, you will always benefit from casting the widest possible net with your law school search. It’s just good common sense.

Consider applying to 25 or even 30 or more schools and you might get a nice surprise. Schools do not auto-reject students just because they don’t have the best numbers. If they really like you, you may get in despite being below the normal range for the school, which brings us to our next point…

The Importance Of Being Perfect- Making Your Application Air Tight

Though it’s not recommended, students with great numbers can often get away with being lazy on their applications. This is never true when you have a GPA below the range of your target school. As a low GPAer you should make sure that your resume is flawless and that your personal statement glows with subtle perfection. The best way to do this is to ensure you get advice from the best sources. The following books are generally regarded as the two best resources out there to help with your law school application:

The Law School Admissions Game – By Ann Levine

The Ivey Guide To Law School Admissions – By Anna Ivey

These two books are required reading for anyone applying to law school, but I particularly recommend The Law School Admissions Game, as Ann Levine recently published a second edition of the book. The additional info takes account of recent trends in law school admission that might affect your strategy. We had the good fortune to interview Ann about her book recently so check that out too.

Putting a lot of effort into an application will help you shine by comparison with stronger applicants who might be lazy on their applications. Particularly focus on coming across as likable in your personal statement and you will boost your chances of getting into reach schools.

Need advice on your specific situation? Tell us your GPA and where you want to go and we are happy to assess your chances for you. Don’t worry, comments are completely anonymous. Feel free to use an assumed name! Best of luck and stay in touch.

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318 Comments

  1. -3.0 non-LSAC GPA. Might be lower. Junior going in to Senior year. Applying this Fall 2013 cycle. Non- URM.
    (Took some pre-med courses freshman/soph. year) (Upward grade trend, but, not drastic. Not writing an addendum on low grades since my PS subtly covers a diff. reason for my low grades)
    -No real-world work experience.
    -Personal statement is solid. Started it early. Had multitude of individuals review it + provide feedback on it.
    -Letters of Rec finalized.
    -Currently working on diversity statement.
    -Currently studying for October LSAT. Aiming to pull a 170+.
    -Took June LSAT, received a score far below the median for my target schools. (10 points below).
    - Wish I could go to a T14 school. (GPA seems just too low though)

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      @anonymous,

      It looks like you’ve done a great job getting your application air-tight, which is great. However, as you know, that GPA is going to be a major, major handicap. That GPA puts you below the 25th for every top 100 law school except U of SF.

      Obviously, you simply need a great LSAT to get in in to a tier 1 (Top 50) law. Check the post we recently published, “5 harsh truths that will make you better at the LSAT” http://lawschooli.com/harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-at-the-lsat/ and look at the comment reply to Amy. That is a brief outline of the circumstances where we feel going to law school is currently justified. To hit those outcomes, you really do probably need an LSAT close to or in the 170′s.

      It is worth the shot to see if you can make it. However, this is advice that I give to everyone: Do not get too stuck on the idea that you have to go to law school. If you don’t get the numbers to go to a school you really want to go to, don’t later settle for something that you initially considered unacceptable. In the current economy, it’s a recipe for disaster.

      • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

        also @anonymous,

        If you do manage a 170+ Northwestern is known to be very splitter friendly, even to those with your GPA. However, you might have to work a few years and be able to show meaningful real-world experience, as they have a known heavy slant towards students who have done so.

        • 2.8 lsac gpa with a 162. took the test twice. I thought a 162 would be good enough for T20 but now I’m having second thoughts. I haven’t studied in over 9 months, so I don’t think I should take it again. I have an upward grade trend except I got 2 Cs this semester in non-major class so I’m worried if that tarnishes my upward trend, even though my semester gpa is still higher than my cumulative . This is currently my last semester, I was considering going back to school for 1-2 years to take finance related classes to raise my GPA (regret having a humanities major). Or my other option is to to continue to look for a job to get real world experience to counter my low gpa . I want to go to the best law school possible , any insight would be extremely helpful.

  2. Hi Josh,

    I have a GPA of 3.7 and LSAT of 162. My top two choices are UCLA & USC but I know I’m on the borderline for it. With my GPA as is or higher (after the coming semester), approximately what LSAT score do you think I’d need in order to be competitive?

    • Joshua Craven on

      Hi Hopeful,

      Yes, with that GPA you are hovering near on the boundary line for UCLA and USC, right where a line that could be drawn on a graph it where it switches from more often rejected to more often accepted. But unfortunately you appear to be a smidge on the wrong side of it. With a 162, it appears that having a 3.8 is the magic number to see seeing high chances of success.

      While you have a definite shot even if just your GPA improves, getting a 165 or a 166 improves your chances greatly at USC. If you got a 167 with your GPA, you chances of success are very,very high, close to certain.

      UCLA looks to be a little bit tougher. 168 seems to be the magic number where students with 3.7 GPAs start getting in almost all the time. A 167 and below seems to land most people with a ~3.7 GPA on the waitlist.

  3. Hi Josh,

    I will graduate this December with a 3.64 LSAC GPA. I have held a full time job as an aide to a state representative throughout my time in school. I score a 160 on the June LSAT and am taking it again in October. I am aiming for a T14. What is my magic number? If not a T14, what range is realistic for me? Does having full time, relevant job help my situation?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Any 170 plus score is going to give you a good shot at several t14s. It’s a little hard to predict admissions results right now because things are in flux. However, it is clearly a good time to get admitted to schools that might have been a reach beforehand. Get a 172 and I’d say you are in at the majority of T14 schools. 173 and you might hit a T6. 168 or 169 might allow you to squeak into some t14, but your odds get way better if you do 170 or better.

      Good soft factors like that are always relevant, but remember that LSAT/GPA alone is going to determine outcomes 90% of the time. Prep hard and get a 170+, and those good soft will come in to play, giving you excellent chances at admission to a t14 with scholarship money.

  4. 3.47 GPA and a 162 on the June LSAT which was alittle below what I had been scoring in practice. I was sick on test day and turns out I need surgery so I’m going to go for the 167-170 range on the October test. Not much real world experience but I have worked as a runner at a big law firm for about a year now. Grades do have an upward trend. My top choice would be Tulane as it is in-state but I would have to get some significant scholarship. What do you guys think about admission? And any info on how merit scholarships work or what kind of funds I could get with those numbers?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      @Tim,

      Boost that LSAT and you’ve got good chances of being in a Tulane with big money (even with your numbers as they are I think you’ve got a good shot at a scholarship). Improve that score, then write an addendum to explain your lower LSAT score and I am sure they will disregard it entirely given the circumstances you are describing.

  5. I have a 2.41 GPA, I know it sucks, but I came in PreMed, battled depression and borderline passed every course I took that year (09-10). After that I brought up my grades and have mostly A’s, B’s and C’s. I took a few practice LSATs and got a 165, 167 and a 170 with the three I took so I volley in the same range as far as that goes. I want to go to the University of Pittsburgh and after talking with the Director of Admissions, she said to take the LSAT soon and apply for Fall. She said their decision making is based on five equal parts, the resume, the GPA, the LSAT, the recommendation letters, and the personal statement so I’m not a lost cause and can still get in. Any advice?

    • Joshua Craven on

      That is indeed a low GPA but don’t beat yourself up about it.

      First off I would advise against listening to any Admissions Dean about anything ever without heavily questioning it. I guarantee U Pitt makes their decisions like everyone else, with a heavy emphasis on the numbers. Of course, don’t bother calling her out on it, it won’t ingratiate you. Just always do your own research. She seems to be implying that you that you have uniquely good chances at U Pitt. That’s simply not true.

      U Pitt is likely struggling to fill their class like every other school at the moment. If you get a 170+ you, not them, are in the driver seat. With that score you should be able to get accepted to schools ranked similarly to U Pitt with a big scholarship. Don’t just apply to U Pitt even if you fully intend to go there no matter what. Apply to plenty of schools so that you have other offers to leverage for a bigger scholarship at U Pitt.

      Keep prepping hard for the LSAT. If you can get those scores now you have a solid chance to be well into the 170+ range come the actual test.

  6. So I am going to be a senior physics major next year at a school with a very renowned physics program and right now my GPA is a 3.2. But there was one semester that really dragged my GPA down because my dad had cancer and I was battling depression. If not for that semester my GPA would be a 3.5. The semester immediately following that one I got a 3.8. So ideally after another semester or two my GPA should be >3.4. I have not taken the LSAT yet but my goal is ideally a 170. Also, for the past 3 summers I have had internships at several various research and over the school year I will be working with a very respected history professor. Do you have any idea what type of schools I should focus on? I saw that GW has a great IP law program and is a very good law school.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Yes, definitely do everything in your power to get that GPA up. GW is obviously a good school. If you can get a great score on the LSAT no school would be fully out of reach with a 3.4 physics GPA. Do your best!

  7. Hey guys,

    i have a 2.8 science GPA with a lot of research experience in undergrad. I’ve been working full time in a top law firm for about a year now. I’m hoping to apply this upcoming cycle after I take the lsat. I’m PTing in the upper 170s and taking the LSAT in October. Do you think Northwestern would be a realistic shot with ED? I’m keen on staying in Chicago.

    Thanks!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Yes Natalie, if you hit that score on your LSAT Northwestern is definitely within reach given that you have some good work experience.

      I wouldn’t even necessarily recommend ED unless you are sure you can handle full tuition cost. That’s a tough call that’s gonna depend on your individual circumstances.

  8. Hi Josh and Evan,

    First of all thanks a lot for the blog, it’s very helpful!

    I’m a rising junior with a 3.30 GPA from UChicago doing Economics. I have had investment banking internships in big banks but the work wasn’t particularly fulfilling and now I decided to go back to thinking about studying law which has always been a dream for me before even coming to the US. It is somewhat radical for me because I am an international student and according to my research with top international law firms, there are VERY FEW people from my country who did JDs in the US. I know that with hard work and endurance, I will get into some law school but the problem is, given my situation, I feel like I would only consider committing to law school if I got into the top 5.

    Its is, eventually, a personal decision but I still believe that given your experience, you might be able to provide me with some advice. Even though I still have a full year to raise my GPA, I don’t think its realistic to assume that it’ll be higher that 3.4-3.5. Do you think I would have a chance at those schools if I get stellar scores at the LSAT and play the wild card a little by being international? Or since I strictly want to go to those schools- the risk of not getting in is not worth the effort?

    • Joshua Craven on

      Anoni,

      I absolutely think that it is worth a shot. I think you are taking a very pragmatic approach to law school admissions by setting your sights on the top law schools and being willing to cut your losses if you are unable to get into a school that meets your standards.

      Since you are an economics major, I’d recommend doing a cost/benefit analysis in order to help you make a decision about whether to apply to law school. Here are some points to consider:

      Costs: LSAT prep books, LSAT course fees, time spent studying for the LSAT, time spent studying to improve your GPA during your 4th year, time spent preparing and submitting law school applications, law school application fees, etc. In addition, consider the opportunity cost of 3 years in law school.

      Benefits: extra motivation to increase your GPA (never a bad thing), a chance at earning admissions to a top law school, etc.

      Remember that law schools not only see your GPA, they also see your %ile rank within your class. Not all 3.5 GPAs are equal, and you will most certainly get some points for picking one of the most difficult majors at one of the best universities in the world. (Of course, I’m biased toward UChicago. Nevertheless I doubt many people would dispute that assertion.)

      I suspect that if you study particularly hard for the LSAT, you will be able to earn a very high score. If you are able to get a 175+ on the LSAT, then I’m very confident that you will earn a spot at a couple of top law schools. If you are serious about moving forward, I’d highly recommend walking across the midway to the UChicago law school and meeting with Dean Perry sometime. She is very helpful, and I’m sure she’d be more than happy to give you some guidance. (Plus, it never hurts to develop a good rapport with law school admissions deans prior to applying.)

      Best of luck! Please keep us updated on your decision & progress!

  9. hi,
    I am an upcoming sophomore in undergrad. I decided to lose focus and attempt pre med studies my freshman year. The result was a 3.4 GPA. I am really worried about how this will accept my ability to get into law school. Is it still possible to get an acceptable GPA by the time I start to apply to law school? I am a political science and public policy and ethics double major. I am interning for a law firm and am still doing research from my pre-med idea. Any advice to strengthen my profile for law school?
    Thanks !

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      You have plenty of time to rectify that GPA. You could theoretically get a 3.85 if you keep straight A’s (or better if your school has “A+” grades). While you should certainly try your hardest to get perfect grades, a 3.7 or better is still a great GPA even for the top schools.

      A word on soft-factors: don’t do so much extra stuff that it hurts your GPA. Doing well in school should always be your main focus if you plan on intending law school. For extracurriculars, do one thing passionately rather than a lot of things halfheartedly.

  10. 2.02 cumulative/3.00 major gpa. I was a science major for 4 yrs and all my classes were at the graduate level since my school is in the top ten for the majority of their science majors. Senior year I changed majors to a social science that was my minor. Lsat practice ive gotten 170+. My former science professor/advisor agreed to be my letter of rec whenever I applied.

    Im applying to schools where average lsat is 150 & gpa 3.0.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Well, I think you should reconsider just applying to schools in that range: If you do get a 170 or better, apply to a lot of the top 100. You will likely get bites at some places you didn’t expect, maybe even a T50 school, maybe even with some money. They will basically be writing off your GPA as a loss, but one GPA below their 25th percentile is much the same as another to them. The schools you appear to be contemplating now are probably out of the T100. I would still apply to a lot of those as safety schools. For most people, I’d say going to one of these schools with a big, big scholarship (close to full tuition) is probably preferable to a T100 or T50 with no money (though that depends on your personal circumstances).

  11. Hi Josh,
    my GPA is a 3.0, which I know makes my chances look quite bleak. I am aiming for a 170+ on the LSAT. If I wanted to get into Georgetown Law or Berkeley, do you think I should gain some work experience first? I would like to focus on international law; therefore I’m not quite sure what work experience would be best.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Hi Katherine,

      Berkeley is certainly a tall order because they are known for placing a lot of emphasis on GPA. Get a 170+ and work for a while and you do have an outside shot, as well as a very good chance of getting into some other t14s. Don’t worry whether any specific work experience is good for some specific area of law, rather just do your best at whatever it is you are doing. I do suggest taking a legal job to see if you in fact do like legal work. There are a million options out there. I advise everyone not to get too stuck on the idea of law.

  12. Hi Josh,
    My GPA is 3.41 not great as I messed up my GPA in my 1st 3 terms of university where I obtained an 1.9 . I got in an awful relationship and hit depreciation when she left me. I dropped a lot of courses and was in real mess ,I saw a psychologist who helped me deal with the depression, I then got myself together and during my last 5 terms maintained 4.33 GPA never getting below an a+ in any course. I have been studying for the LSATs for 4 weeks on a recent practice test I scored a 166, I plan to put in another 4 months of studying (longer if needed)and take them next year. I just wanted to know given your expertise what are my chances to get a Top 5 school with my the rapid turn around in the last two and half years of school, my 3.41 GPA , should I get a score of around 173-175 in my LSATs.

  13. Hello, my school does not convert to gpa. so would my mark be different according to whatever school i apply to ?
    thank you

  14. Hi,
    I unfortunately have a very low 2.9 total GPA from undergrad. I’ve started taking practice tests for the December LSAT and am hitting low to mid 170′s. In undergrad I took 3 years off of school and worked as a special education teacher assistant, then went back and made a 3.9 my senior year while taking 20 hours per semester. I also have made A’s in every post-grad class I have had to take to maintain my teaching license (6 classes). Post graduation I have worked for 5 years as a teacher. What kind of advice do you have for someone in my position in terms of where to apply?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Well if they are going to overlook anyone’s low GPA, it will be yours. You’ve got a great upward trend from that senior (that something important I forgot to write about in this post. I’ll edit it to add that an upward trend can help a little). Think of the post-grad work as a good soft factor. Unfortunately they don’t put much stock in grad GPA because so many grad programs have inflated grades.

      There is no question that the 2.9 gives you a huge handicap, but if you get that great 170+ LSAT score you’ll have done everything possible to overcome it. I would blanket everyone of the top 30 schools and see where you get in. My guess is with a 170+ you’ll hit a couple t14s. Northwestern might be particularly likely given that they like older students who have succeeded in a real-world job.

  15. Thanks so much for the input! Two things I forgot to add are:
    1 – My undergrad was a top 30 school and
    2 – I am certain I will have excellent rec letters (including the former dean of my undergrad – who helped me throughout the transition in time off from school and appealing to take over the allowed hours my senior year). How will these factors come into play? Are they helpful at all or negligible?

    Finally, I have heard from talking to some friends who are in law school now, that there is probably no point in applying to T6 schools with that GPA. Thoughts?

    • Sorry – That was an addition to the above comment. Hit reply from my email and didn’t realize it wouldn’t reply directly to your comment. Derp.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      That’s all to the good no doubt, but remember numbers are king in the law school. LORs in particular aren’t given a lot of weight these days. Coming from a good undergrad certainly does give them one more reason to forget about your GPA, which is good.

      I don’t fully agree with your friends, but without a high 170s score (176+) it’s very likely that the T6 is out of the question. Even with it it’ll be a craps shoot, but still worth applying.

      Here my advice: try your best but don’t get too hung up on going to law school. You seem to want to go to a top ranked school, which is fully legitimate. If that’s true, don’t go some place that you won’t be happy, even if that means not going to law school.

      Best of luck and let us know how it turns out!

  16. Hi Josh,

    I am now exactly 2 months away from the October LSAT. I am averaging 165+ (minor problems on time) with a 3.5 LSAC gpa–would you be able to provide a strict, close-to-guaranteed schedule to score a 170+ on test day? Thank you very much!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Kimberly, have you seen our prep schedule? http://lawschooli.com/lsat-study-schedule/

      I don’t know what you’ve done up until now. If the above schedule doesn’t help, give me an idea what you’ve done and I’ll tell you what I think you should do. If you’ve already read some good prep books, most of your study from here on out is going to be doing full timed sections and full preptests along with reviewing your wrongs answers and trying to identify weaknesses.

      • Josh and Evan,

        I have sufficiently perused your website and seen the schedule, thank you. However, I have covered the basics and am now trying to hone my skills and rectify my weaknesses.

        I am particularly gravitating towards this little statement here from Josh’s “How I Got a 177″: “Once I was consistently scoring in the 165+ range, it took me a solid 4 weeks of 40-hour-per-week LSAT prep to increase my LSAT score into the 175+ range.” I am consistently scoring 165+, and am willing to do anything to ensure a 170 on test day (my goal is UCLA, and beyond).

        My weaknesses are primarily RC, which can range from under time with 4-6 wrong, to over time by as much as 15 minutes depending on the complexity of the passage. LG is my strong point, 0-1 wrong. LR is less of a struggle, although I still get 4-6 wrong because of stamina issues.

        I recently put myself through RC bootcamp of nothing but RC passages for 4-8 hours for the past couple of days. Again, my performance varies with complexity. Subject-matter is never really an issue.

        I’d love to know get a look into Josh’s day-by-day in his 4 week journey to improving from 165 to 177, or anything else you think will help me out. Thank you again.

  17. CuriousGeorge on

    Hey Josh and Evan,

    I’m interested in your opinion of what schools I should be applying to and realistically expect to get into. I got a 171 on the lsat, worked my senior year as an lsat tutor, and currently taking a year off to teach the lsat in a classroom setting. My gpa is a 3.58 but is upward sloping. For medical reasons, my gpa was low my first 3 semesters, 3.33 cum with a major gpa of 3.44. My last 5 semesters I managed a 3.71 cum gpa with a 3.96 major gpa. I plan on writing an addendum to explain my initially low grades. I have decent softs. What do you think of my odds at the top schools?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      @CGeorge. NYU represents your best shot of getting into a T6. My guess is you are a likely admit there. Apply to UChicago and Columbia as well. If you don’t get into any of these three and really want, you can always retake the LSAT that February after you are waitlisted and try to improve your score (my guess if you’ll be an LSAT master by then).

      Definitely write that addendum. You are almost certainly in at a bunch of other T14s (I’d be shocked if you don’t get in to most of: Penn, Virginia, Michigan, Duke, Cornell).

      Good work.

      • CuriousGeorge on

        Thanks for the info! If I can get a 178 or so on the October exam, what do you think my chances will be at HYS and CCN?

  18. Hi Josh and Evan,
    I got a double major in Finance and Economics with a 3.0 GPA. By next fall I’ll have 3.5 years of experience in construction and as a public adjuster (which I’ve dealt a great deal with lawyers in my field). My first choice is UT Austin. What do you think I should aim for? Also, what other schools do you recommend where I could possibly get a scholarship? I am planning on taking the LSAT in December. I appreciate your website very much, thank you in advance for your advice.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Hi Martha!

      Sorry I almost missed your comment. I really like that you have contact with lawyers and a field that you would probably be interested in if you go to law school.

      Overcoming a 3.0 to go to a school like UT-Austin is certainly a feat. Unfortunately there tends to be a limited amount of data on the results of low GPA high LSAT scorers because they are comparatively rare. However, it looks like a couple people got in last year with a GPA that low or lower, one with a 173 and the other with a 177.

      Though it’s hard to predict your results, really strive for that 172 or so + score and you could even sneak into a couple T14s.

      The scholarship question is tougher to answer (again because there are so few splitters and their application cycles are so unpredictable). The general rule is that any time you are above a school’s 75th percentile in either LSAT or GPA, your chances of getting a scholarship there go way up. For you, you’ll have to get your LSAT up there.

      Best of luck and keep us updated as you study for the LSAT. Finance and Econ majors tend to do well so I have high hopes.

  19. 3.31 LSAC GPA, 172 LSAT (June 2013).

    3 years of work experience.

    3 LOR’s (1) Professor (2) State Senator (3) Former TA who’s a Foreign Services Offer now

    Do I have a fighting chance for HLS? My top 5 choices are Harvard, Chicago, Penn, Michigan and Cornell.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      VK,

      I think Harvard is definitely out, though perhaps worth a try. Long shots do come in. My guess is you are in at Cornell. Chicago is another not likely. Michigan and Penn are kind of a coin flip.

      Was a 172 low or about your practice average. You might consider a retake.

      Don’t count on too much help from the LOR’s. In fact, unless the Senator knows you really well from a working relationship, I wouldn’t even use that letter.

      What’s your work experience in? Have you considered Northwestern?

  20. Hi Josh and Evan,

    I was wondering if you guys could do a post about asking for letters of rec and the impact of getting a letter from a professor vs a GSI/TA

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Sure Nadine. I’m seeing a lot of confusion on letters of rec. People still think it’s great to have them from some important person they barely no. This isn’t the case. General rule is that it’s best to have someone who really knows you and will sing your praises. You should try for at least one prof., but a TA is fine too if you think they are gonna make you look great (try to pick a good writer if you can).

      I’ll do this post soon.

  21. Hi Josh and Evan,

    I have an LSAT score of 171, however my GPA is pretty awful at 2.71. I had a sick parent throughout undergrad which made things difficult during that time though (a lot of travel and missed classes). I am a URM with 8 years work experience as well.

    I’m assuming my shot at a T14 is extremely remote with that GPA, but with applications down it can’t hurt to apply. I’m trying to find answers on which T20 schools are willing to overlook a poor GPA and might give additional consideration to URM’s.

    My dream schools are Berkeley, Duke and Northwestern, do I even have a shot? If not, what about one tier lower like a USC or UCLA? Thanks!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      As a URM you are in a pretty good shape with those numbers, though URM cycles are always a little hard to predict. I say you apply and if you don’t like the results reapply next year. I’d think some T14 will bite eventually. Northwestern represents your best shot, esp. with all your work experience. Berkeley is gonna be tough. They are known to favor students with a good GPA.

      GL and congrats on the great LSAT score. You definitely have done what you can to get into a great law school with a low GPA. Make sure your application is rock solid and certainly write a good addendum to explain why your GPA doesn’t represent your potential.

  22. Hey Josh and Evan. I have a 3.73 cum from an online university (American Military University), does this hurt me or has the stigma associated with online schools dicipated? I have been serving in the Air Force for the last 10 years since I graduated high school, maybe this helps alleviate the online degree a bit? I will be taking the LSAT in October and am shooting for a 165, what do you think the minimum score I need for Georgetown, GW, or George Mason is?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      From what I’ve heard, having an online degree might still hurt you at the very top programs, but I would think that it’s only a significant factor at the top 10 or so schools. Schools further down really can’t afford to be choosy with so many fewer applications coming in.

      The question law schools will ask is: did his degree prepare him for the rigors of law school? I think in your individual circumstances they are likely to think that yes, it did, since you kept a good GPA while serving.

      I think get a 170 or better and you have a good chance at GULC (Georgetown). You might even sneak in with a 168 or 169.

      164-165 or better likely gets you into GW though I’d really push for that 165 or better to be on the safe side.

      163 or better likely get’s you into GM.

      Good luck with the LSAT.

  23. Hey!
    Great Advice!!

    Ok so I graduated UCLA with a not so great GPA, 2.95. Unfortunately I struggled my last year and a half because my parents were going through a financial crisis and I had to work full time to pay for rent, books, permits, and necessities (LA is not cheap!!). With that said I graduated with an unfortunate GPA. I’ve been taking diagnostics and have been scoring from 155-161. I am in the middle of prepping so this can possibly increase beyond 161.

    I graduated a year ago and since the beginning of senior year of college I’ve been a manager at a well known company. So I have work experience. I am currently a substitute teacher. I have also volunteered at many different places including our public library, local hospital, handicap home, settlement house, etc. I’m not sure if any of this will give me a boost but I’m really hoping so.

    Now I know I will not make it into ANY of the top schools. But I was wondering if there is still a shot for any California schools such as UC Hastings, UC Davis, Pepperdine, and LMU. I would like to transfer to my alma matter after my first year in law school, but we’ll see what will happen. What do you think my chances are of getting into any of those schools. Is there anything I can do to increase my chances besides boost my LSAT score?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Hi R,

      Get that LSAT way up over those school’s median and you for sure have a shot at those schools. It looks like a 165 would put you in good shape for all of them, possibly even for a scholarship. Prep hard, follow our prep advice and don’t settle for less.

      As far as other stuff besides the LSAT, just keep doing what you are doing. My one advice is instead of spreading out your volunteer work so much, find something you are really passionate about and stand out in your efforts there. Take a leadership role if you can.

      Best of luck and stay in touch.

  24. I was wondering if I have a chance of getting into one of the top 10 law schools with a GPA of 3.50 in Chemistry (major private university) and 168 LSAT score. Thank you.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      You’ve definitely got a shot at Cornell. Apply and if you don’t hit it try again next year with a higher LSAT score if possible.

  25. Hello,
    I found your articles just a few days ago and have been reading many posts by you ever since. I just graduated with with a 3.496 (in pol sci) from undergrad and have started my Dec LSAT prep. I have a great upward gpa sem-sem trend and have even been on dean’s list for 2-3 semesters. I know that I’m shy of .004 from making the cum laude honors graduation with a (3.5). Although I already walked graduation, there is a way that I can still go back to school this fall semester to boost my gpa by taking 1 more course if I choose to. Yet I have been contemplating the thought of doing so because I’m unsure of how that would look on my record. Hoping that the next few months of studying the LSAT go well, I would like to have a shot at some of the T14 schools, especially Cornell and Georgetown. At the end of the day however, I’m starting to feel that maybe I should just move on from the idea of boosting my gpa by .004 and focusing more heavily on the LSAT. Because realistically working to get a few extra points on the LSAT might matter more than moving my gpa up by.004 just for the sake of having that number “5″ appear than a “4″. I have pretty much made the decision of not going back to take that 1 extra course, but would still like a 2nd opinion on what you think I should be doing at this point. Do you think that gaining the .004 and making my gpa a 3.5 will position me into a completely different selection criteria for some of the good tier 1 schools? Thanks in advance.
    I am interested in the following schools; (decreasing in ranking)
    -Cornell
    -Georgetown
    -UCLA
    -Fordham
    -Cardozo
    -Brooklyn

    *I list cornell and Gtown only because I have seen the their 25%gpa numbers and although I’m slipping off their charts, I’m hoping that I may still have a shot if I’m to get a good LSAT score (taking that I have the next 3 months of solid studying and I can also go from 150s on PTs into the 165+/170 range like the person from the “how i scored a 177″ post)
    Thanks in advance- I apologize in advance for any typos since I wrote this on the go.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Imran,

      Expunge the idea of going back to fix your GPA from your mind. LSAC’s policy is to only count the credits from before you receive your degree towards your GPA, so it wouldn’t work anyways. (Read their full policy here: http://www.lsac.org/aboutlsac/policies/transcript-summarization)

      Luckily for you:

      1. LSAT counts more than GPA.
      2. Your GPA isn’t terribly low to begin with.

      Nor would point .004 make a big from an admissions officer’s perspective. Because your GPA is on the low end for a lot of these schools, just do every possible to hit the 75th or at least above median for these schools on your LSAT. A 170 will do it for all of these schools. A 165 or so should suffice for Cardozo and Brooklyn.

      Do your best and let me know how prep is going. Make sure you avoid burnout from over studying, but prep hard and stay focused.

  26. Hi Joshua and Evan,

    - I have a 3.59 LSDAS GPA from a top public university (dual undergrad degree in finance + accounting).
    - A years experience at a multinational public accounting firm in NYC. Held a part time IT job for two years in college as well.
    - Solid extracurriculars in college including leadership positions in several organizations
    - Personal statement should be strong as I plan to spend several weeks on it and get it thoroughly reviewed. I’m going to focus on my experience as an adult immigrant from India and my transition into American society + unique perspective.
    - LSAT is in the works. I scored a 151-152 on a cold diagnostic, and hoping to eventually score 170+.
    - I’m planning to take LSAT in December (giving me 3+ months to study) while working on applications simultaneously.

    I’m targeting lower t14 schools. Do you think I’d have a realistic shot assuming I score AT LEAST a 168 on LSAT? Also, would getting in my application by late December hurt my chances a lot?

    Thanks

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Yes, you have a perfectly realistic shot with a 168 or better and no, in the current cycle applying in December shouldn’t hurt you at all. There are so many fewer applicants to law school now that there are plenty of spaces left in December, even at T14s.

      Don’t worry about that diagnostic score. Diagnostics really mean nothing, they are just a yardstick.

  27. Hi,
    I currently have a 3.437 Gpa and am studying for the October Lsat. I’ve been scoring around 165′s on my practice Lsats and wanted to know my chances of getting into the T14 range. Two schools that I am striving for are UT and Colombia as my reach. What do you think my prospects look like, and would you recommend me taking the December test if I can push myself over 170 by then?

    Thanks, and we all appreciate the service you guys are providing.
    Keep it up!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Thanks a lot! We will keep at it!

      With a full month plus until the October LSAT you have plenty of time to get that score up, even to above a 170. Keep prepping and don’t even consider putting it off unless you are still not hitting your target come very late September.

      If you do find you are still shy of your target come late Sept, you have some choices. You might consider delaying til December provided you are confident there is more you can do to up your score. Option 2 is you can take in Oct and apply with whatever score you get. You can still retake in December and try to improve.

      It’s always a judgment call. I say you don’t worry about it much now and focus on your prep. Let us know your situation in late September.

      GL

  28. I am a rising junior with a GPA of 3.2.
    I am working to improve that.
    I will be preparing intently to take the October 2014 LSAT:
    using the schedule and the prep materials that you suggest.
    The goal is to score >= 170 on the test.

    Besides these, I attend a public university in NY,
    mostly on scholarship money.
    I should be graduating with no undergraduate student debt.
    I am concerned about the debt to incur for law school.
    If I attend a public law school in NYC, ranked at #132,
    costing about $15,000 per year, the school is affordable and the debt manageable.

    What are some of the compelling reasons for me to go
    elsewhere and incur close to $1/4million in debt to do so?
    Please advise.

    I appreciate the website and I look forward to reading your response.

    Thank you.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      NA

      You currently have a low GPA which could make getting into law school a lot harder than it needs to be if your grades stay around the 3.2 mark. You could theoretically get that GPA up over 3.5 with your remaining time. If you want to go to law school, you should make every effort to do so.

      There are very few compelling reasons to go to a law school at full price right now unless its a T6 school. See our post http://lawschooli.com/why-do-you-want-to-be-a-lawyer/ for more discussion of this. Given the choice between any non-T14 school at full price and a cheap option like the one you’ve pointed out, I think you take the cheap option (is that CUNY?)

        • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

          No problem. Yeah I think CUNY is really the model of the future. I’m a big big fan of what they do. NYLS on the other hand is a perfect model of the kind of school that should go extinct.

          • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

            Well, it’s sometimes impossible to say the truth without sounding a little harsh, but here it is: plain and simple, NYLS offers a horrible value proposition (it’s a bad bet for your money). It’s one of the more expensive schools out there, it’s located in one of the most expensive places to live, and it has horrible job placement. Well under half it’s students were able to secure a job that required a J.D. nine months after graduation, and some of these were in school funded positions. I’m not an expert on why NYLS is bad, but plenty of people are if you want to do your research– after Cooley, it’s probably the most criticized school out there.

            CUNY on the other hand is a model for what low-ranking law schools should be doing, which is giving you a solid legal education at a reasonable price. I am assuming you are in-state, in which case CUNY costs a fraction of what NYLS does.

  29. Attend University of Washington
    Senior in Foster Business School
    GPA: 3.27
    URM: Yes
    Extra Curriculors:
    -Former VP of Fraternity
    -Former Exec Member NABA (National Association of Black Accountants)
    -Volunteer at Boys and Girls Club of America since 2004
    Potential Recommendations:
    -MGMT Professor (Has Law Degree)
    -OPMGMT Professor (Son is in the same fraternity as me)
    Potential Law Experience:
    -Attempting to find an unpaid internship at a Seattle based Law Firm
    -Attempting to receive recommendation from them as well

    Currently in an LSAT prep course and scheduled to take LSAT October 5th, 2013.

    What LSAT score do you think I need to get and what other things do I need to do for my best chances at a T14 law school, or even a T6 school if possible?

  30. Hi guys, thanks so much for all the great articles!
    I am an international student and I have a GPA of 3.37 from a private college in MN. I’m planning to take the LSAT in Dec and right now i’m working with international students and have previous experience with NGO’s in DC, Mozambique, Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as China. I really really want to go to Northwestern for their International and Human rights law and was wondering if i get 170+ on the LSAT if i can make it there?
    ALSO how many schools should i be applying to? I know the more the better but whats the limit? And does my experience count for much during the application process?

    Thanks again!!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Anastacia,

      Yes, that uniques experience will give you a bit of a boost. Never expect fireworks though. Law school admissions is still by and large a numbers game.

      I would think you have a pretty good shot at Northwestern with a 169 or better.

      If you can’t get Northwestern or some school just below it in the rankings, I would usually advise someone who is on a good career path to stick with it. Often people think being a lawyer will really give them a leg up helping people through non-profit work. However, I worked in the non-profit sector and I really think that you can do just as much good without the law degree (and be better off without the debt hanging over you).

      • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

        Also, sorry for the slow response. It’s been a busy few weeks for Josh and I. He got married and now he’s on his honeymoon. I was moving to Texas and now I’m in China for vacation.

  31. Hi Josh,
    I am in my senior year and I’ll probably end with a 2.9 liberal arts major(URM-female) I was orginally a science based major and that impacted my GPA. I took a completely cold LSAT online with Kaplan and got a 151. I’m taking the Dec. LSAT and my first choice is UIUC followed by Chicago Kent. I am from the midwest and I’d like to practice in my home state(Illinois). What are my odds? Thanks in advance!

  32. Hi josh, I just decided I want to go to nsshville school of law and am super excited, but i am worried about my gpa. I have a 2.7 but was a chemistry major. I had two babies in undergrad but am aiming for a perfect score on the lsat in december. Do you think its possible to get in with my gpa? Thanks for your time in advance!!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Lawmom,

      It’s certainly possible. At schools around that rank, a good LSAT score can overcome anything. Nashville is unranked so it’s tough for me to find data on it, but try for at least a 160 and you will have good chances.

      • Thank you so much for replying. I’m aiming for 165+ but I was hoping for some reassurance to keep up my motivation. I read your list of recommended books and plan on purchasing atleast half of them. I’m almost done with my first book, so I’m confident I’ll get through the rest in time. It’s awesome that you guys do this site and take the time to try to help people. Kudos to you both. Congrats on the marriage Josh. China sounds pretty cool too Evan.

  33. I went to one semester at a university with straight F’s from doing nothing, took two years to serve an LDS mission, then began at a new school. The GPA for the second school is a 3.5 with a 3.86 last semester, but my LSAC GPA for both schools is 3.1. I am currently teaching high school chemistry (despite a dual major in political science and history) in a low income school and plan to do that for at least a couple years before applying to a joint JD/MBA program. I plan to score ~175 on the LSAT.

    The schools I am strongly interested in are:
    Columbia
    U Penn
    Michigan
    Duke
    Northwestern
    Cornell
    UCLA
    USC
    Notre Dame
    Indiana
    U of Washington
    BYU

  34. Take the leap? on

    I’m so glad I stumbled across this site! I’ve been contemplating taking the leap and applying for law school, but I was so discouraged by my low gpa that I’ve been wondering how worth it it is.

    I graduated from USC with a 2.4 and am a URM, with 1 year post-college work experience and a multitude of volunteer work. I’ve always been excellent at testing (got a 1990 on SAT with no studying) but honestly am prone to laziness & distraction, hence my bad gpa. Other factors affected it too (i.e., heavy work schedule to make up for lack of financial aid, prolonged illness) but being honest none of it is serious enough to explain away my grades. However, I’ve taken an LSAT practice test and received a 155 without any previous exposure to the exam, so I’m hoping that with heavy studying I can get up to at least a 170.

    I’m looking at DePaul, Rutgers in Newark, U. Illinois, & Northeastern as target schools. I’m not looking at any T14 schools since it”s pretty clear I wouldn’t qualify, but do you have any suggestions as to other good schools I should consider? I’d like to go somewhere with a name that is at least recognizable, and am looking mainly only at other metropolitan areas.

    Thanks!

      • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

        Hi,

        I’m not finding your original post. My apologies, but I’m stuck with bad internet and a tiny screen for the next few day. Do you mind reposting your query?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Hi Take The Leap,

      As you may know, we don’t currently recommend going to a law school outside the t14 unless you are receiving significant financial aid, usually half tuition or better depending on your circumstances.

      If you can get good money, the UC schools (UCLA, Hastings, Davis, Irvine) are all fairly good. I don’t know how you feel about Texas, but University of Houston has surprisingly good employment stats for it’s rank.

  35. Hi,

    So here are my credentials:

    Major: B.S in Electrical Engineering
    Overall GPA: 3.36
    Major GPA: 3.60
    Dean’s List last 3 semesters (Got all A’s last 3 semesters while taking 6-7 classes a semester; also the hardest classes in my major and some from mechanical engineering)

    Work experience:
    2 internships at the same company
    Currently working full time as a Research & Development Engineer

    Extras:
    Volleyball Club Team
    Swing Dance Club
    Fluent in French

    I was lazy my first few years and my GPA was around a 2.8 before I started caring. Once I got my internship was around when I started my engineering courses and I started dominating. Definitely kicking myself for it now (just because I could have crushed those classes as they were easy compared to my last 2 years). Not just because I am considering law school, but for the self satisfaction factor, lol. Since my engineering GPA is high (for engineering) I had no difficulties getting job interviews/offers, so it hasn’t hindered me for my goals yet.

    I definitely think this is the thing that will hold me back for a good law school as otherwise I am very well rounded (both academically and as a person. I graduated with 187 credits because I took so many classes outside of my major).

    I have a great job (money is good, position is exactly what I wanted, company has great benefits), so I’m not one of those who is putting all their eggs in this basket by any means. But if I am going to make the leap at law school, it is going to be for one of the big dogs (T14). So I am wondering what you think of my potential for those and what you think I need to aim for on the LSAT?

    I have done some practice stuff and I am doing very well on the logic games (80% of the time I am getting 100% in about 5 minutes). However, I didn’t do much of the other types because I then got swamped with school/job interviews/starting my new job. I read your article on prepping for the LSAT, so I am going to do that before I choose to take the test.

    Also, do they look at my transcript? Because would the fact that I took more classes, harder classes, and got straight A’s in the last few semesters of my degree look favorable in showing my changing as a student/person?

    I know I can get some good letters of recommendation (from both professors and bosses) as I have been offered them without saying anything.

    I have to give a cold-test a try before I start my prep to see where I am at, but I love tests, really don’t get stressed, and actually my test performance is historically the best when I have a lot riding on it, so I feel very confident that I can do well on the LSAT, particularly if I do the 3-months of prep (or extended for me since I work full time and work comes first).

    Do you think my shot at a T6 is completely out of reach? What about T14 overall?

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Hi Jonathon,

      Sorry for the slow response. Josh is on his honeymoon and I’m in China.

      My first advice is don’t leave a career you are happy with (or even one you are unhappy with that is making you bank) for the uncertainty of the legal profession. It’s looking less and less like things are going to recover from the recession dip. Probably we just have to accept that legal services will occupy a smaller percentage of the GDP from here on out. Business school might be a better option for someone with a good work history.

      That said, if you do aim for the t14, Northwestern is going to be the best shot you have. Your odds go up if you work at least a year before you apply.

      As to your GPA, it helps that you had an upward trend and that it was difficult course work and all, but at the end of the day they have to take the potential hit to their selectivity rankings that comes with that number. Expect to be viewed somewhat similarly to other students with that GPA (at best, you might have something like a .10 bump given to your app). As such, you really need to knock the LSAT out of the park to have a shot at the T6. A 176 or better might do it, but then again it might not.

      I say anything above a 170 puts you in pretty good shape for Northwestern provided you work for a while and excel in your job.

      Best of luck in whatever you choose!

      • Thanks for the response!

        I am definitely enjoying my job, I am happy, and I would not make an impulse decision of quitting for more school. However, I do plan on doing more schooling in the future at some point and law school is one of the avenues I am considering.

        I definitely think I can hit into the 170s. I wouldn’t take the LSAT unless I thought I was prepared for that kind of performance.

        What would your opinion be on completing a second degree while working (Such another BS in mechanical engineering or economics? Or doing my MS in electrical engineering)? Would that really impact my chances- help, hurt, or do nothing? I love engineering, so I definitely do want to do at least an MS EE. I’m just curious as to whether you think it would help or hurt my chances.

        Thanks!

        • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

          Any serious advanced degree that you get from a respected institution is only going to help (so long as it shows a definite trajectory. You don’t want to appear like a career student, but it sounds as though that isn’t a risk with you). However, don’t expect it to do much to erase a low GPA. It’s best thought of as a good soft factor.

  36. My UGPA is really embarrassing, around 3.1-3.2, my graduate GPA is around 3.8. I already took the LSAT: 174
    I had internship in the United Nations, volunteered in Nepal and Africa for half a year in total, I also worked for media for 1.5 years, my expectations would be Top14. UGPA is horrible.. I don’t know if there’s something more I can do to make the application go more smoothly.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Victor,

      Great job on the LSAT.

      Make sure you write one hell of a PS. I think you’ve done everything else you could to overcome that GPA. In your situation, I might consider hiring an admissions consultant such as Anne Levine to help you get the PS and your resume perfect. It’d be a shame to waste such good credentials and a high LSAT score.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Dear Anonymous,

      What is your LSAT score? Berkeley is always difficult to predict. With a 3.55 you probably need something like a 169+ to have a decent shot at admission.

      • Thanks for replying Josh,

        I haven’t taken the LSAT yet, I wanted to take it in October but as I have only recently started studying, I’m now leaning toward taking it in December so I have a better chance of getting a high score. However, I read that Berkeley starts accepting applications in late October, so I’m worried I’ll be at a disadvantage if I apply late in the game.

        • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

          You shouldn’t be at any disadvantage with things the way they are. Applications are WAY, WAY down right now. There will be plenty of spots waiting come December.

  37. I just wanted to get your insight on what you think my chances are of getting into a top 5 school….

    Undergraduate GPA from USC (biological Sciences major, business and accounting minor) 3.5
    Graduate School GPA from USC (Master of Accounting) 3.9
    LSAT 175

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Elliot, I’d say your chances are pretty damn good. There aren’t a whole lot of people getting 175s right now. Congrats on the great score. Also, that GPA isn’t all that low. Apply to all five and you will likely get a bite, possibly in at more than one. Good luck!

      Honestly, if you somehow strike out (unlikely) I would consider waiting a year and applying again. Don’t go anywhere lower without big money. You have the numbers to draw it.

  38. I graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Business Marketing and Business Management. My GPA is a 3.39. However, my last term of college brought my GPA down significantly because of the end of a 4 year relationship, a internship with a major corporation (very stressful) and my father was diagnosed with cancer. Before the last term my GPA was a 3.51.

    I received a 164 on my LSAT.

    I also was a Congress-Bundestag Scholar during 2009 and am applying to become a Fulbright Scholar. In addition I have a year of volunteer history with AmeriCorps.

    Do I have a shot at getting into University of Washington?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      I’d say yes, you have better than even chances at UW. An addendum to explain the GPA drop should help your case. Good luck!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Luckily for you, 167 is kind of the magic number where you start seeing a lot of acceptances at UT, even with GPAs in your range. It’s not a sure thing by any means, but put together a good app and you have a decent shot. Definitely write an addendum if any unusual circumstances help explain your lower GPA.

  39. Hi Josh,
    I have been out of school for 4 years and work full time as an elementary school teacher. My gpa is 3.46, and my LSAT is 173. What do you think my chances are at getting into any of the T14 schools?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      I’d say pretty good! That’s my score! (Evan here.) Congrats on nailing the LSAT. I’d say you will likely hit a few of the lower 14s and if you write a truly great PS you might have a chance of sneaking into a t6. I’d recommend you do everything possible to make your app shine. You don’t want that great LSAT score going to waste.

  40. Hello Josh & Evan:
    I completed my UGPA in International Business with 2.48 10 years ago. I went for graduate diploma in Project Management at McGill and scored 4.0 GPA then went to NYU for Paralegal Certificate and score 3.5. I worked 5 years in marketing and 2 years for nonprofit organizations. I want to go in 2015 to UCLA and plan to take LSAT course & study seriously to take test in February. Do you have any recommendations LSAT score to get admitted & scholarship? Thanks!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Well, as far as LSAT advice, we’ve got plenty of that. Look at all our other posts tagged “lsat”. The short answer on how to study: do every published lsat question and use a reputable prep company, whether you take a course or use prep books. Here’s the overview of what Josh did: http://lawschooli.com/lsat-prep-books-self-study/

      Unfortunately, that GPA is very low. You will need a stellar LSAT score to overcome that if you are set on UCLA. I think a 167 or better for a shot. Your softs seem very good. Get a really great LSAT score and I think you have a decent chance.

      • Thank you very much for the advice. In fact, I enrolled today for the extreme in-class LSAT prep course with Kaplan and will start in 3 weeks! Thanks again and I will keep you posted!

  41. The Big Three:
    -161 (June ’13), but now consistently high-160s and should hopefully break 170 in time for the October game day (all thanks to your blog’s guidance, seriously)
    -3.53, top-10 LAC known for grade deflation
    -Non-URM

    “Soft” factors:
    -Recs from academic advisors/profs who can speak very well to my achievements, character, and work ethic…I would be surprised if these aren’t very effective
    -Strong personal statement. I’m very happy with it and have gotten great feedback across the board.
    -Strong resume. WH intern, DoS intern twice, RA in college, six months on presidential election campaign staff.
    -No conduct red flags

    If I do manage to break 170, do you think I have a reasonable shot at the top 5? I’m nervous about GPA.

    Appreciate all of the advice, as always, and am grateful for any thoughts!

    Thank you!

    A.B.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      A.B. Your odds are certainly better now than ever. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get that 170+. Staying motivated without fretting too much takes a bit of zen. Keep yourself focused on being as good at the test as possible and the great score will come.

      I would suggest E.D. but it’s probably better to just polish your app as much as possible. You might even get some money if you hit a 170+. If money is not an issue definitely ED. Let us know how things go. We are wishing you the best!

      Also, thank you for the kind words! Glad to know we have been helpful.

      Evan

  42. MountainClimber on

    I went to one semester at a university with straight F’s from doing nothing, took two years to serve an LDS mission, then began at a new school. The GPA for the second school is a 3.5 with a 3.86 last semester, but my LSAC GPA for both schools is 3.1. I am currently teaching high school chemistry (despite a dual major in political science and history) in a low income school and plan to do that for at least a couple years before applying to a joint JD/MBA program. I plan to score ~175 on the LSAT.

    The schools I am strongly interested in are:
    Columbia
    U Penn
    Michigan
    Duke
    Northwestern
    Cornell
    UCLA
    USC
    Notre Dame
    Indiana
    U of Washington
    BYU

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Mountain Climber,

      Sorry it took me so long to notice that I hadn’t responded. You are certainly going to need that 175 to get the schools at the top of your list. The lowest 4 on your list will be doable with a high 160s LSAT, at least with things as they are now.

      Best of luck. Your record of public service should help mitigate that GPA somewhat. Make sure you stay active with whatever causes you support (focus on doing one or two things well, rather than being minimally active in a lot of different areas).

  43. First off, thank you very much for your input in helping a lot of students like myself feel more confident throughout the admission process.

    My GPA throughout my undergrad (I am a Canadian student) is about a 2.90. I am aiming to apply to the U of Miami with an 152 lsat score however, I am re-taking the test in October with practise scores being in the 162 range.

    I have a fairly strong resume and personal statement which mainly talks about my major upward curve (was a C student in freshman year)

    If you can give any advice that would be much appreciated. All the best!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Jason,

      I believe that LSAC does convert Canadian GPA’s straight up, meaning you will have a 2.90 GPA going in. Make sure you look up their policy. I would consider discussing that GPA in an addendum and save your personal statement for something that better helps them get to know you (unless that your poor performance freshman year is really connected with something important about you).

      Definitely work hard for that 162 or better as it will open A LOT more doors. Have you considered Canadian law schools? I’m not an expert but it’s been my impression that the legal hiring market is stronger in Canada, and you might want connections to a Canadian law school’s alumni network to take advantage of that.

  44. Hello,

    First off, thanks for this site–it’s really helpful! So, my cumulative GPA was a 3.4 and my major GPA (political science) was 3.7. My university has a T6 law school, and I worked as a research assistant for a professor there for three years. The professor also advised me on my senior thesis and recommended me for honors based on my work. I’m currently working as a business analyst and plan to be here for at least two years.

    Right now, I am trying to gauge my realistic odds of getting into a T14 law school so that I can decide whether to take the LSAT. If I am able to get a score in the mid-170s (which I know is a tall order), how do you think I may fare? I think I may have a shot at my alma mater’s law school, especially considering the recommendation I will get from the professor I worked for, but I wanted to get your input.

    Thanks!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Right now, a mid-170s score would likely get you into several T14 law schools including possibly a T6. Anything 169 or better gives you decent chances at the lower t14s. Those are good credentials. Get a great LSAT score so that they get put to use.

      However, I will give you the word of caution I give anyone who is already on the path to success in some other field. The law jobs market is tough right now, even for T-14ers. This is starting to look like a permanent situation. If you are enjoying your work I would stick with it. Josh and I have gone into business and are enjoying it more than the legal work we’ve done. You may be better off going to business school or straight into to an area of business you like.

  45. Josh and Evan,

    I’m about to graduate in Philosophy with a GPA of 3.26, after 5.5 years of undergrad. In my 3rd year, my wife and I unexpectedly had a daughter, which forced me to shift my focus back to work for a while, causing my GPA to dip considerably. Without those bumpy semesters, it would be closer to 3.7.

    My last prep LSAT score was 169. I’m really struggling with LG, and am going to be drilling those hard over the next few weeks (before the Oct exam). If I can just get them to a level consistent with my LR and RC scores, I’ll be sitting around 173. If I can push LR and RC up a bit, too, I could even exceed that.

    All that said, do you think a 3.26 GPA – even with a 173+ LSAT – puts T14 schools out of reach?

    If so, I could postpone graduation by a semester to retake some failed non-major courses. That would push my GPA up into the 3.6-3.7 range. It would also postpone law school by a year, but that seems a small price to pay if that would open up T14 or even T6 schools that wouldn’t otherwise accept me.

    Which course seems more sensible?

    Thanks for your help. This blog has been an awesome resource – keep up the great work!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Well first things first, be careful: LSAC will still count your lower grades in addition to the retake grade, so you have to factor that into any bump you get. Also, once you graduate that’s it, your GPA is set in stone, so don’t apply to graduate until you are sure which course you are going to take. I’d say that if doing that extra semester that would get you to a 3.5, it’s well worth it. A 3.5 or better with a high LSAT score is going to go way further than a 3.26.

      T14s aren’t fully out of reach with a 3.26 should you get a 173 but you are probably looking at NU, Georgetown, and Cornell if anything, and with not much scholarship money. I would take a hard look at whether you want to go to law school (everyone should do this). If you do still want to go, you should get that GPA up.

      Best of luck and please let us know how the LSAT goes.

      • Thanks for the quick reply. That’s very helpful information, and actually modifies my situation a good bit.

        Given the LSAC’s inclusion of failed courses, my semester-end GPA will now be 3.08, and I would only bump it to a 3.15 by retaking classes in Spring ’14.

        So, a few follow-up questions:

        1) With a 3.08 and a 173, would Cornell, Georgetown, and NU still be within reach?

        2) Let’s say I knocked it out of the park and scored 177+ (here’s hoping), would that open doors at any other T14 schools (or even T6 schools that might give such a wide split a second look)?

        3) Would retaking those classes and bumping to a 3.15 GPA open any doors which are already closed to a 3.08?

        Regarding looking hard at going to law school: if it’s financially feasible (given the economy, student loans, etc.), I think I would love it. You wrote that, ideally, an aspiring lawyer should be someone who “loves to read and loves to talk through the intricacies of an argument or position endlessly,” who is a “very, very self-motivated” and a “classic type A.” That’s me. I know the GPA would seem to say otherwise, but the reason my GPA took a dive during those semesters was that I was pouring my energy into my accounting business – which, now self-sustaining, no longer requires quite so much time and allows me to focus on school. (Since I really turned my attention back to academics last Fall, I’ve maintained a 3.63.)

        Again, thanks for all the help. Like I said, your advice has been enormously valuable to me throughout this whole process.

        • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

          T6′s get really tough to get into once you dip below 3.5 even. Even with a 177 you are a long way from a sure bet. Your chances at the lower schools are pretty good with anything above a 173, but it’s still going to be a dice roll. My advice is that if you really want this, focus on getting the great LSAT score then consider engaging an admissions consultant such as Anne Levine to make sure your app is perfect.

          I don’t think the bump to 3.15 is worth the extra effort. Once you are below the 25th percentile for a school it doesn’t matter too much how far below you are (being above a 3.0 is kind of important, but you’ve got that).

          It’s really unfortunate in many ways that numbers do play such a huge roll in law school admissions but law school’s have limited info to go on, so it’s some what understandable. Getting that great LSAT score is the best way now to prove that your GPA alone really doesn’t indicate your potential as a law student.

          • All very good to know. I agree about the importance of numbers – but I also agree that it seems to make sense from their perspective.

            Now all I need to do is get that mid-170s score next Saturday. Here goes nothing!

            Thanks again for all the advice.

  46. Hi,

    I am currently a senior environmental science major and political science minor at a large Midwest university. I have a 3.2 GPA with strong leadership positions held within my college. I took the June LSAT after taking a 4 month Kaplan prep class and received a 145, 7 points bellow my practice scores. I have strong internship experience with my county forest preserve and a very focus driven environmental law personal statement and resume. I am taking the October LSAT with the hopes of getting a 150+. Standardized tests have always given me trouble. I was wondering if I am being realistic when looking at environmental law programs such as Vermont law school and Loyola University New Orleans.

    Thank you

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Well, first thing first, if you are going to try getting a decent score, lose kaplan. They are not a great prep company. Read this: http://lawschooli.com/harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-at-the-lsat/ for our recommendations.

      I would try to get that score up to at least your practice average before you consider applying to law school. Your chances don’t look great at VLS or Loyola. Other factors are not going to overcome a GPA and LSAT well below the 25th percentile at most schools.

  47. Hello Joshua & Evan:

    I’m so thankful for your website and I will start to study for the February 2014 test next week by myself and will take the Powerscore prep-course starting 10/26.

    A friend gave me the preptest from 7-57 with their respective explanations. Do you think I can start to study with those preptest and by after the list you suggested OR studying only with those preptests will be enough?

    Thank you for all your help!

    JL

  48. Hi Josh and Evan,

    First of all, just found your articles and they’ve been extremely helpful! Thank you so much.

    I just graduated in May with a 2.98 from UPenn. Unfortunately it’s so low because I struggled a lot in my freshman year and had difficultly picking it back up. My final semesters had a mostly upward trend.

    I’ve been trying to decide about law school for a while but I think now I’d really like to at least apply. I was hoping to take the December LSAT. I know that’s not a lot of time to prepare but I have a LOT of free time on my hands to study hard.

    Is it crazy to apply to a top 100 school if I can pull off a high LSAT? Also, I’m not sure if law schools consider legacies but my mom did go to St. John’s (NY)

    Again, thank you so much!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Kay,

      It’s not crazy at all, you just need an LSAT that is high for the target school. Here’s my advice though: your 2.98 is obviously a major obstacle in the law school game. You’ve just graduated from an elite school. I think odds are you have some opportunities elsewhere that don’t require you to take on debt just to enter a very competitive field. Make sure you consider very hard whether you want to go to law school at all.

      Take St. Johns for example. My Step-Grandfather went there and made a ton of money throughout his 70 year law career. I’m betting your Mom did well for herself too. Skip forward to today: my friend just graduated from there and had a really really hard time finding a job. A huge proportion of her classmates are still looking. We obviously aren’t anti-law school here at lawschooli.com, but we do think that it should be weighed out fully against other options given that the legal market had taken a large, possibly permanent downturn and legal education hasn’t fixed it’s cost issues yet.

      Evan

  49. Hi guys:

    A friend gave me the preptest from 7-57 with their respective explanations. Do you think I can start to study with those preptest and buy after the list you suggested OR studying only with those preptests will be enough?

    Thank you for all your help!

  50. Hi Guys,

    I graduated from a state school in CA with a GPA of 2.98 in 2009. My low GPA was due to a lot of different factors. I have been unsure of what I really wanted to do, so I have been working as a property manager to pay bills, ect. I recently realized that I would like to go back to school and get a law degree. I am wondering what would be the best course of action for someone who has been out of school for a while with a low GPA.

    Thank you for your help.

  51. I graduated last year with an undergrad GPA of 3.17, although I imagine that my degree GPA is considerably higher. I hovered around a 4.0 through my last two years of school but did not take school seriously before I realized that I wanted to be an attorney.

    I am taking the LSAT in December and am practice testing around 163 right now, although I am still in the early stages of LSAT preparation and am determined to reach at least a 165 on test day. I live in Southern California and would like to stay local. Do you have any advice? The low GPA component of my application has been worrying me a lot.

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Well, how much higher is considerably? If you are up over 3.3 you’ll be in pretty good shape for Pepperdine if you hit close to a 165.

      • I just did a little Google research and think that I may have misunderstood some of the comments I have seen floating around. I thought ‘degree GPA’ referred to just the units one has taken towards their college major, but now I understand that it refers to the cumulative GPA that their degree granting institution retains on file.

        Having said that, both GPAs will be in about the 3.17 range, and I am fairly confident in a 165 LSAT. I have no illusions that I am going to a top tier school, but I am hoping to be able to get in somewhere. Do you think that any school might take the huge discrepancy in my transcript into account (very low grades in the beginning vs. straight A’s at the end) if I make reference to it in my admissions essay? I would just like to know that someone in the know believes I have a shot! :)

  52. Hey guys,

    First off I’d like to thank you for writing this blog it has been very helpful to me. However, I’d like to get some feedback.

    I’m very hopeful at times that I will get into college however here is my personal situation.

    I graduated John Jay College (CUNY) with an unfortunate UGPA of 2.78. I also regrettably took the LSAT twice, officially, swearing I could wing it. I got a 135 and 142 respectively.

    After the two official exams, I’ve taken private tutoring and a prep course and was able to raise my LSAT score to a 147. I plan on taking the December 2013 exam but I don’t see myself scoring above a 150 despite how much practicing I have been doing in the past few months.

    Additionally, I have three recommendation letters two from professors and one from an employer as well as four years of legal work experience.

    Do you guys think I have a chance of getting to any of the following schools?

    Brooklyn
    NYLS
    CUNY
    Rutgers
    Seton Hall

    I’ve search the statistics on all of these school’s website and I am very close to the 25% percentile but I’m off by a few point in the LSAT minimum and off by a bit in the GPA minimum.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      Katharine

      Well, the problem is that you are pairing a low GPA with a low LSAT score. Your chances at Seton Hall, Brooklyn, and Rutgers are frankly not good. In your other comment I gave my thoughts on NYLS. I would advise anyone against going there. CUNY is your best shot if you are determined to be a lawyer. Make sure you really work hard until December and try to break 150!

      • Joshua thank you so much for getting back to me so soon. I have tried speaking to so many other people and they take eras to reply! However, I do have a few more questions for you.

        I forgot to mention that I’m considering going to school part time since I work a full time job. I’ve noticed on the school’s websites that the GPA and LSAT requirements aren’t the same and in fact a tad bit lower. Do you think I would still have a shot at Seton Hall, Brooklyn or Rutgers?

        With regards to NYLS, I know its quite expensive and the rates of getting a job out of law school are low if graduating from there but I personally don’t intend on working at a large corporate firm, instead I plan to open up my own firm in that area since I currently work in downtown NY at a law firm. Do you think I should still bother? If so, perhaps transferring out after a year?

        My last question, is taking the February 2014 exam too late in your opinion, based on my GPA?

        Thanks again! (:

  53. Hey guys,

    Appreciate all of the feedback. I will graduate in December and have two questions. My UGPA will end up being around a 3.49 after this semester, do you think it would be better to hold off on sending applications for 2014 until right after the semester is over so that these grades are taken into account? Also, i took the June LSAT and got a 163 but I messed up one section so I decided to retake last weekend. Feeling pretty confident that I hit my PT range of 167-170. So my second question is do you think I have any shot at a T14 school with a 3.49 and perhaps a 170 (assuming I didn’t choke last Saturday.)?

    Thanks,
    Tim

  54. Joshua thank you so much for getting back to me so soon. I have tried speaking to so many other people and they take eras to reply! However, I do have a few more questions for you.

    I forgot to mention that I’m considering going to school part time since I work a full time job. I’ve noticed on the school’s websites that the GPA and LSAT requirements aren’t the same and in fact a tad bit lower. Do you think I would still have a shot at Seton Hall, Brooklyn or Rutgers?

    With regards to NYLS, I know its quite expensive and the rates of getting a job out of law school are low if graduating from there but I personally don’t intend on working at a large corporate firm, instead I plan to open up my own firm in that area since I currently work in downtown NY at a law firm. Do you think I should still bother? If so, perhaps transferring out after a year?

    My last question, is taking the February 2014 exam too late in your opinion, based on my GPA?

    Thanks again! (:

  55. Hi guys,

    My GPA is considerably lower than most others in the comments. Overall, I have a 2.82, but with a 3.2 in the final two years. I’m taking the LSAT in the spring so I don’t have an official score, but in practice I have been scoring 150-155 pretty consistently.

    I would really like to attend the University of Florida. I know it is kind of a long shot with my GPA, but is it if I have an exceptional LSAT score? Which schools in Florida are obtainable based on my numbers?

    Thanks

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      I don’t want to sound harsh, but you need to get that LSAT up. Thankfully you have time and it should be possible. If you got a 155, we wouldn’t recommend going to law school with those numbers. You will end up in an expensive dog eat dog program where most of the graduates aren’t getting jobs.

      Florida Coastal for example would be a terrible idea. Read this: http://www.fedsocblog.com/blog/private_equity_groups_for_profit_law_school_plan_draws_critics/

      If you are determined, I would really set your sights on getting an LSAT that could give you better options. For University Florida, you’d likely need over a 160. That score might also get you scholarships at less prestigious program that *could* make law school a better option.

  56. Hi guys!

    3.43 GPA, double major in biology and chemistry. 176 LSAT. Are the very top schools (Yale, HLS, Stanford, Columbia) out of my reach given my GPA? Do schools give consideration to the difficulty of the major? (most of my transcript is upper level biology, chemistry, biochem, and physics classes)

    Not a URM, but female and a non-traditional student (married with three children). I also have significant experience running my own business while in school.

    Also, is there any benefit to retaking the LSAT and attempting to bump it by a point or two? My practice test average was between 177 and 178, so I actually scored a little lower than I might be capable of…just wasn’t sure if in that range it’s really worth retaking, or if it could even hurt me at some schools.

    • Hi Sadie,

      No they are not out of reach at all. You are just the sort of applicant where they tend to disregard a slightly lower GPA. Your odds are likely best at Columbia, but certainly apply to all of them.

      Retaking is a really tough decision there. A 2 point drop from your practice average is about normal, and it can be difficult to eliminate. Test day is always nerve-wracking after all. I had a similar situation and ultimately chose not to retake. If I were you, I’d put in your applications ASAP and retake in February if you haven’t gotten the results you want yet. That way you don’t risk a lower score that could hurt your first shot at Harvard (they still average, or claim to). Definitely seek other advice as well, but that’s my input.

      Keep in touch. I’d really like to know how it goes. We are rooting for you.

  57. Hello my goal is to attend either Florida State’s law school or Florida ‘s law school. UF’s law school especially since my girlfriend of two years lives in Gainesville. I have a 3.37 GPA and I completed my bachelors degree in 3 years so my course load was pretty heavy. Also my GPA has a significant upward trend and I’m taking the LSAT in December hoping to get a 160. Also I am an African American and I heard that as well can increase my chances of getting into law school. My letters of recommendation letters are pretty solid, I have 2 from accomplished professors and 1 from a partner at a law firm that I interned for. How do my chances looks? What would help improve my chances?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      I’d say your chances are very good. Get a 160 LSAT and UF would be as close as one can ever get to a sure thing. That GPA isn’t too low and the upward trend will help. Really, it seems like all you have left to do is focus on the LSAT. I am assuming you have started prepping already. Give me some more details about your strategy so far and where you are at and we will be happy to give you some tips.

      Honestly, if you best a 160 or better, you should also apply to schools ranked higher than UF. If you can, use any scholarship offers other schools give you and parlay that into a big offer from U of F. Yes you know that U of F is your first choice, but they don’t know that :) read this http://lawschooli.com/law-school-scholarships-2013-update/

  58. I have an LSAC GPA of 2.87 and a degree GPA of 3.42. There’s a strong upward trend, and it’s so low due a couple of issues. I was stationed in Germany when I started my freshman year. During my first college semester I gave birth to my daughter, had to go back to work, and my husband deployed to Afghanistan. Honestly I forgot about the courses I was enrolled in and got two ‘F’ grades. Later, I deployed to Iraq during a subsequent semester. Given two weeks to pack up my life, I again forgot to drop (I am attempting to fix this with the school). Excuses right?! Anyway, I just took my first ‘cold’ PT and got a 159. Assuming I can get it to 165 or so, what are my chances at Georgetown or GW? Also, I’m a URM and of course military. Thanks!

    • That’s a low GPA but yes, some good excuses:) Still, I think Georgetown is going to be tough without a high 160s-low 170s lsat. If you got a 159 cold, I really think odds are better than not that you can get it up there.

      Did you already submit transcripts to LSAC? It might be a little harder to fix things then. Try anything you can to get those withdrawals fully erased as far as your undergrad is concerned. That might make is so LSAC doesn’t count them.

  59. I have a 2.8 gpa, and would like to go to Notre Dame (first choice), GW, Washington and Lee, or Washington St. Louis. My LSAT score hasn’t come back yet, but on practice exams I was consistently in the 165-172 range. I have a good resume with lots of volunteer work and internships, but no legal experience. Thoughts on my chances?

    • Joshua Craven and Evan Jones on

      That GPA is indeed low but those schools are probably doable if you hit the upper end of that range. Quite a few admits have managed to pull it off. Do make sure your application is really, really solid. Great PS, beautiful looking resume, etc.

      Don’t worry at all about the lack of legal experience. It’s not a concern.

  60. So here is my problem. I have a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a final GPA of 3.0. It’s not low from lack of trying, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder the summer before I started my senior year that accounted for me being a terrible test taker. My question is, should I write an addendum explaining that? I don’t really want to make excuses for myself but I don’t want admissions to see my GPA and not even look at my major because I think (no offense to anyone else) that if I was a creative writing major or something that didn’t require the courseload that I took with being pre-med in college, I would have a higher GPA. Do you think they would take that into account?

    • Jess,

      that’s a really tough call. I myself developed panic attacks starting in Senior year though I was able to *mostly* keep it from hurting my grades. I chose to keep it private. My thinking at the time was that schools are going to view it as a liability.

      The modern world just hasn’t really gotten around to the idea that anxiety sufferers might have to be treated differently for fairness’s sake. You’ll be subject to the same pressures as everyone else in law school (cold-calling, exams, job-interviews) and will be expected to handle them the same as everyone else.

      Though I personally think that’s unfair, it’s somewhat understandable. They want people who can succeed in a pressure cooker environment.

      It’s too tough a call for me say there is a ‘right answer’ here. I might try to talk to admissions officers anonymously or at schools your aren’t applying to and solicit their opinions. Generally you do want to explain a low GPA if you have legitimate excuses. See if they have come around to the idea that this is a legitimate excuse.

      If you do disclose, I would take pains to demonstrate that you have your anxiety under control now.

      Yes, difficultly of major will always be taken into account. If you went to a school that is known to be difficult that’s another little boost. That said, a 3.0 is a 3.0. Expect to have odds of admission similar to other applicants with low 3.0 scores. You’ll need a good LSAT to make up for it.

      The other thing you want to do is really consider if law is right for you. My experience has been that it’s a terrible field for someone who has issues with anxiety. While a ton of serious anxiety sufferers do manage to handle it (I knew at least 5 other panic attack sufferers at U Chicago), it’s not easy, and get’s harder once you get a legal job. Jobs were you can count on getting a good nights sleep every night are preferable if you ask me.

      Best,

      Evan

  61. Hey Guys,

    I just got the results back from my October LSATs and were hoping to get some advice on how to continue.

    My numbers are:
    3.59 GPA in Biomedical Engineering from Duke
    3.79 GPA in Bioengineering from Penn (Masters)
    168 LSAT

    I have been working at the patent office for the past 2 years and was hoping to attend a T14 school to study IP law. I know my UGPA is fairly low for the top schools and 168 isn’t amazing.

    Would you guys recommend that I just go forward with putting together the best application possible, or retake the LSAT in December?

    I have been averaging 174-178 on practice tests, and actually felt pretty good after taking the LSATS, so the 168 result was kind of surprising.

    Any insights on my current chances as well as thoughts how beneficial a retake would be would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, thank you for all the help you’ve been providing here for hopeful law school students!

    -David

    • See the advice from Ann Levine posted yesterday in re retaking. http://lawschooli.com/law-school-expert-gives-3-reasons-retake-lsat-december/ It’s general but it is clear on this point:

      You want to retake in that situation.

      Your current chances are good, but really, I wouldn’t even think about them. Get the score that you deserve by working on your confidence and going into the next test relaxed and ready. Getting something in that average range will put your in a whole different world scholarships wise. It’s worth trying for, plain and simple.

      In your situation I would not apply until I get my second score. Don’t worry too much that this will happen again. The test is designed so that you usually hit your average. Make sure you simulate conditions as closely as possible in the practice tests leading up to the exam.

  62. So here’s my dilemma

    I have 3.0 I’m in my senior for a BA in literature and cultures, from UC Merced

    And got a measly 143 on the October LSAT while previously testing in the 148-152 range.
    And have 2 summers of experience working in an immigration law office.

    My Dream school is UC Irvine.

    And I’m looking into ways to drastically change my study habits, after a summer of 2-3 hours a day, four days a week. Didn’t give me the results I want. Wondering how much my score would need to jump to make this possible?

    Considering retake in Feburary?

  63. There is very good info on this site, my wife who has been out of school for 8 years now raising our 3 kids have dreams of going to Law school. Her undergrad GPA is 2.85 and 3.5 for grad school. Just wanted some advice if she got a really good LAST score 170+ would she have any chance of getting accepted into a top school in the northeast.

    • That is, unfortunately, a very low GPA. The masters GPA won’t help matters much (unfortunately they discount Masters program GPA heavily because grade inflation is so rampant for graduate degrees). However, she does have a unique story. If she got a 170+ she would have a shot at some T14s. Cornell would be the best chance among the T14 in the Northeast. Be forewarned that with that GPA, nothing would be certain at the top schools.

  64. I have a 3.59 in Chemistry from a top-10 undergrad and a 174. What do you think my chances at UChicago are? I also have a year of work experience and a master’s degree in American studies.

    • Joe, your chances are very good. It’s close to certain you are in. Enjoy UChicago! I would still apply to every top-10 school and see where you get the best offers. Congrats on a great LSAT score.

  65. I also have a Chem degree from one of the top 5 schools with gpa of 3.65 and lsat of 172 Do I have a chance at a top law school, how do they feel about retaking lsat and do I need to?
    thanks

  66. Hello and thank you for this opportunity for me to voice my concerns,
    Major: Behavioral Science
    My Junior College transfer GPA: 3.12
    My University GPA: 3.68 so far(I’m a junior)

    I want to go to University of San Diego or Loyola. Since my junior college days, I’ve quit my retail job and started volunteer mediation work. It has freed my time for school work and subsequently better GPA in university.

    Although I have great connections and internships lined up, I’m pretty scared/discouraged to move forward with taking my LSAT and pursuing my dream of becoming an attorney because I feel like I’ve doomed myself with my Junior College GPA.

    What can I do to help myself out? Any advice/guidance would be appreciated.

    I genuinely thank you again,

    Matthew.

  67. I have a low GPA 2.6. I am an under represented minority (Native American) I applied for early admissions on the advise of the admissions representative at SMU. The two full tuition scholarships that I am eligible for require to be admitted early. What are my chances of me getting in and what LSAT score must I achieve?

  68. Josh & Evan,

    My facts:
    Double major in Economics and Finance (at a small private university)
    GPA: 3.0
    3 years working experience (2 with high volume litigation attorneys)
    URM (Mexican American)
    Many leadership activities and volunteer experience

    What LSAT score do I need to be accepted into:

    U of Virginia,
    Georgetown,
    George Washington,
    Boston U
    and Boston College?

    Thank you kindly!

    • Hi Martha

      UVA is going to be tough without something close to a 170. Anything better than that and I’d say you have good chances there.

      Georgetown you probably want a 167 or better to have good chances.

      Lower down, any LSAT within the schools 25th to 75th percentile ranges should give you a solid chance. As your LSAT get close to the 75th percentile, your chances will become very high. Those are good soft factors, so you can reasonably hope for an edge over URM’s with comparable numbers.

  69. Because of some medical issues while I was an undergraduate student, I ended with only about a 3.3 GPA. I am in a 5 year integrated Accounting masters program though, and was wondering how school would look at my two GPAs. For example, would they weigh one more heavily than the other? If my graduate GPA ends up being very high, how much will that help offset the effects of my low undergrad GPA? Thanks.

    • Please any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

      Hi, Joshua & Evan.

      I have never really commented on/asked a lot of questions on blog sites, but have found your articles and advice to be pretty interesting and helpful. With that said, here goes nothing:

      I graduated from Ohio State this past spring. My GPA was a 3.41 with a Political Science major. I am from the Los Angeles area originally and have no idea what region of the country I would like to practice law in, but I want to be a lawyer and have a deep passion for the law (just wish I wasn’t so fearful of law school in undergrad). i would have been a much more dedicated student if I was. I did a lot of extracurricular activities, including running a charity org that donated $35,000 to cancer prevention research.

      I took the LSAT prep course twice through Kaplan over the summer and in the fall and took the December LSAT (wasn’t ready for October). My first diagnostic test over the summer yielded a 142, by the end of first course I was getting anywhere from 154-158. From October to December, following the second course, I was able to achieve scores between 161-165.

      I left the test feeling very uneasy, similar to those 155 days than to the more recent 160s days. My goal is to go to law school next year and I am working on applications now and won’t get my LSAT score until beginning of January. I took the time to study my hardest, but know I am capable of so much more.

      Here are my questions:
      1) Should I retake the LSAT in February? and still try to go to law school next year on the outside shot that there are still openings? I am a big fan of momentum, but some of the material I have read suggest holding off until June because of the difficulty in raising my score so much in such a short period of time.
      1a) What kind of study schedule would you recommend for taking the test in February?

      2) If not in February, should I retake in June or October? and in doing so, I would delay law school another potential year, which is fine given my passion for being a lawyer.

      3) My first choices for law schools would obviously be somewhere inside the Top 20 with UCLA and USC as top choices given that I want to practice law in the world of entertainment (shocking I know). What can I do in the meantime with these schools to make myself a known quantity? Or any other schools for that matter?

      4) Do you unequivocally buy into the law school regional argument? If so, should I not waste my time worrying about applying to other top 40 law schools if I don’t plan on being there long term (I define long term has beyond 5 years after law school)?

      I appreciate your time and consideration in these questions, I am looking for guidance from people who have recently gone through this process. I have plenty of career guidance from my uncle/mentor/consigliere, but he is retired and isn’t in the “the game” anymore.

      Much appreciation,
      Josh

  70. I am an immigrant from Egypt and has a B.S in accounting from Alexandria university with a 3.25 GPA and i came here in 2010 and i passed the CPA exam and on my way to get licensed and getting experience beside my 3 years of experience and i am passionate about going to law school especially an Ivy league school, so i was thinking of getting the highest score possible in LSAT and getting a masters in English from a university in California-the state i am living in- to give the admission office an idea of my mastery to the English language which is the most important tool in the law school.

    so i would like to know the best advice given my situation and the best plan possible so i can get into one of the top law school?

    I am a permanent resident and on my way to become a citizen in 2015

    • Mahmoud,

      Provided you can do well on the LSAT, you are in a pretty good position. GPAs from foreign schools are not totaled into the median GPA for enrolling students at a school, so they have no incentive to reject you based on a low GPA. As such, you will be judged almost entirely on your LSAT.

      Really, getting a masters in English is not at all necessary and wouldn’t help you a whole lot (It would just be another decent soft factor. See our post on admissions soft factors: http://lawschooli.com/what-are-law-school-admissions-soft-factors/). You can sufficiently demonstrate your mastery of English through a good LSAT score. For every Ivy except Cornell, you would probably need an LSAT score in the 170+ range.

      Now, that’s a hard score to get. If you are not a native English speaker, prepare to put a lot of work into it. You have to overcome any language obstacles before you can reach your maximum ability. I’ve seen non-native speakers put up to three years into the process.

      • Joshua,

        Thank you so much for your help, i really appreciate it, i just have few follow up on this.

        Can you further explain your statement ” GPAs from foreign schools are not totaled into the median GPA for enrolling students at a school, so they have no incentive to reject you based on a low GPA ”

        Does this mean that i don’t have to worry about my low GPA if i want to get into one of the Ivy league law schools and put a massive effort on getting the highest LSAT score beside letters of recommendations and personal statement?

        If so, could you please give me an advice on how to best prepare my self for this and how can i put a comprehensive strategy and a plan of action in order to achieve this goal? i really want to go to HLS

        Keep in mind that my GPA has been evaluated by an accredited center And and not by the LSAC

        Thank you.

        • Basically, GPA is not going to be a big factor in their decision to admit you or not. That’s good for you, because if your 3.25 GPA was from an American school, it would be very difficult to get into the top schools.

          As far as a game plan for the LSAT, I don’t think you should even start LSAT-specific prep until you have really honed your English skills. Start by reading tons and tons of very dense material. The Economist and the Wall Street Journal might be good places to start. Once you feel you are reading English at close to the level you read your native language, then you are ready to start preparing for the LSAT.

          As to how long it will take, I have no way to put a time-frame on that. It’s going to depend a lot on your dedication and your current ability.

          Don’t neglect other areas of your life in order to focus solely on the LSAT. Top schools want well-rounded students who are successful in several areas of their life. If you’re working a job, make sure you do well and advance. Getting involved with charitable activities is often a good idea as well.

  71. Josh and Evan,
    The way things are shaping up it looks like I will graduate with a gpa between 3.2-3.3. I have not taken the lsat yet but have already started studying for the one in June. I am a Finance major, and am on a nationally competitive speech and debate team at Marshall University where I have had success in debate. By the time I graduate I will have worked at two, maybe three law firms. What kind of school can I expect to get into if I score a 165 or higher on the lsat?
    I want to practice in the state of Florida so I will likely be applying to UF, FSU, Miami, Stetson, UCF, and USF. I would prefer UF, what are my chances?

  72. Hi,

    You guys discussed upward grade trends. My GPA isnt terrible its around a 3.63 but the pat few semester I have had a significant upward trend (3.85, 3.8, 3,.9, and a 4.0 for the five winter and summer courses that i took over the past year). Is there any way for me to really highlight this on my application? Should I state it somewhere on my resume? I don’t think an addendum is necessary. I don’t really have a good excuse for my lower grades in the previous semesters except for roommate troubles and I was still adjusting to college. Should I be pointing out my upward trend or is it something they will hopefully just notice?

  73. Hello,
    I am in the very early stages of even looking into law school. My situation is a little different. I was thinking about Vermont Environmental Law Accelerated JD program. I just graduated with an Environmental Science degree with a Concentration in Climate. My GPA will be around 3.0-3.1 (I just took my last finals not sure of final GPA). I know there is a very high need for environmental lawyers.

    • Joe, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but there isn’t very high need for any kind of lawyer right now. Vermont law puts up fairly substandard employment figures. Only 43.7% had full time legal employment 9 months from graduation. I just want to caution you that in almost all circumstances you should only go if you incur very little debt.

  74. Josh and Evan,
    I want to first say that I am thankful for your website and valuable advice. I will graduate with a 3.25 and am taking the June LSAT where I will shoot for a score above 170 but who knows what I will get. I’m on the speech and debate team at my school, and my work experience includes two law firms. I would like to get accepted at any of these schools: Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Columbia, Florida, Florida State, Miami, and North Carolina. UF or FSU are my first preferences. What are my chances for admission to any of these schools?
    Thank you.

  75. Hi Josh and Evan,

    Thank you for your very helpful advice. I graduated from Uc berkeley with a 3.7 GPA (3.8 LSAC GPA)- I went through serious financial difficulties my first year, which led me to have not so good grades but after that year I pretty much got all As. I am also Latino, low income, first generation but with roots in Central America (I guess non urm). What kind of lsat score would I need to have a solid chance of getting into a top 14 and top 3 school?

    Thank you so much!

    • Roy, you are in very good shape with that GPA so don’t worry about that down year. For Harvard, a 169 or better would give you something like a 90% chance. You have a shot with a lower LSAT– URM applicants with low 160s do get in pretty regularly — however, I would really shoot for high 160′s or better if you are aiming for top 3 schools. Now, nothing is ever guaranteed at Stanford or Yale, but still, those are the kind of numbers to aim for.

      Any LSAT in the mid 160s should make you a likely admit at most of the remaining T14s. Again, even with low 160s you would likely get in to several of them (I’m assuming that you have average soft factors).

      That said, always aim for the highest LSAT score you think you can get. With your GPA there is really no limit. With a great LSAT score, you could be looking at big scholarships at top schools.

  76. Josh and Evan,
    I want to first say that I am thankful for your website and valuable advice. I will graduate with a 3.25 in Finance and am taking the June LSAT where I will shoot for a score around 170. I’m on the speech and debate team at my school, and my work experience includes two law firms. I would like to get accepted at any of these schools: Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Columbia, Florida, Florida State, Miami, and North Carolina. UF or FSU are my first preferences. What are my chances for admission to any of these schools?
    Thank you!

    • Malcolm,

      First off, shoot for a 180. That way if you fall short and get a 170, it’s not that bad. That’s a broad range of schools. With your GPA, you’d need a 170 or better before the T14ers become a possibility. Columbia is likely out of reach without a 175 or better. For Virginia and also Texas, you might need a 170 or better. 172 or better to give you good chances.

      Luckily, your list gets much easier after that. Anything over a 160 should get you into Florida for example. That said, aim high. With schools outside the T14, most people right now are well-advised to go with a big scholarship or not go at all.

  77. Hi,

    I graduated from UC berkeley in three years but with a very low gpa. Since I graduated early, I have been working at a law firm for over a year now. I believe I have great letter of recs and personal statements. I also got fee waivers from U of Chicago and even a direct one from Emory Law and way more. Basically I wouldn’t have to pay for applications but I got my lsat score and is terrified :( Score of 147. Should I retake the test and apply in July 2014 or apply with this score this month and see where I get in?

  78. I’m really interested in UVA law and doing a joint JD degree and public policy. I graduated from UVA (undergrad) with a 2.9 in addition to having a Masters from Johns Hopkins with a 3.7 gpa. I am an URM and also did TFA. What LSAT score should I be aiming for? Can you recommend schools based off of this information?

  79. Hello,

    I graduated from the University of Colorado with international affairs 4 years ago and my LSAC GPA is 2.8. I have worked in international human rights and 3 various law firms since then all focused in civil rights and social justice. I also speak 2 other languages after studying and living internationally. I do have amazing recommendations already sent in from my professors, and do have a 3.4 GPA for my final 2 years at Boulder (first two were 2.5 or something very low) I averaged my LSAT practices at a 162 after 4 months of studying, however after taking the test in DEC I ended up with a 156 sadly. I know I am capable of better. I hope and plan to study international law. Do you have any recommendations of what my next steps should be this late in the game for the admissions cycle? Would you think it smart to wait another year to apply in September of next year and take June LSAT, or would you think it smart to take February LSAT and still apply this year? Or possibly, not take it again at all and try to apply places. Does my work experience, and obvious passion in law and international world add anything to my application with such low GPA and LSAT?

  80. Hi! Thank you so much for your willingness to help.
    -GPA: 3.38 (current senior at Columbia)
    -First generation, South Asian
    -Lots of internships and extracurriculars
    -Planning to work for a year in public service before applying to law school next year
    Aiming for 168+ on LSAT, which I have around 8 months to study for now.

    I would love to go to NYU/Cornell/Georgetown, but my GPA is probably not going to cut it. What are my chances of getting into any of the T14? Does a low undergrad GPA at an elite institution mean anything?

    Would appreciate any input!
    Thank you

    • That’s a great place to be. Students at exactly the median are going to get in the overwhelming majority of the time, especially right now with so few students applying. That said, Berkeley is always somewhat of a crapshoot because they get a lot of qualified applicants at the range of numbers they tend to accept (they place a slightly lower emphasis on LSAT than the other top schools, giving them a wider pool to choose from). You still have a WAY better than 50% percent chance, but you’ll want to tip the scales in your favor as much as possible with a solid application.

  81. Hey guys, first off thanks for such a great sight , its refreshing to see after going through all the TLS forums were people tend to be quite obnoxious. You guys are great in that you make the law school process much less intimidating for a lot of people. Anyway I was hoping for some advice because I dont know to many people that went to such highly ranked law schools. During my undergrad I was more interested in a lot of other things than classes so my uggpa is a 3.24. I know this is low especially for the schools i want to go to. My lsat diagnostic was a 164 after about a month of studying im scoring at 169-174 on my last five tests. I know on test day ill probably be very nervous and my score might suffer. My questions is are (1) How do you know when you have reached your ceiling is it possible if I keep studying that i could score above a 175 (2)would I be better off taking the lsat and retaking if I am not happy with my score or would it be better to have one high score. (3) U of Chicago is actually my dream school and because my gpa is so low what lsat would give me at least a chance to uofc or nyu? I know that was rather long sorry about that but Thanks in advance!!

  82. Hi! Thanks for all this, it’s all extremely helpful! My lsac GPA is drastically different from my undergraduate university GPA because I retook four classes over my four years and my school only counts the second grade for that, so my lsac GPA is a 3.14 and my university GPA is a 3.43. After this upcoming semester, my last semester, I am hoping to graduate with a 3.5 university gpa (magna cum laude at my school) and 3.25 lsac GPA. I am wondering if the significant discrepancy, in addition to the fact that I am a triple major in political science, philosophy, and communication, with an additional minor in legal studies, will be enough to get my top choice schools to overlook my lower GPA. I took the LSAT for the first time in June and got a 159, then retook last month and scored a 168. My LSAT is at or above the 75th percentile for most of the schools I’m applying to, except for my two big reaches: Georgetown and UCLA, but my gpa is also below the 25th for almost all of them too. I know I’m pretty much hopeless for those two but I was wondering if with my numbers I have any chance at schools like GWU, Alabama, Notre Dame, Fordham, BU, or BC. Or if I have the potential to get any scholarships from those schools or my safety’s of Pitt, George mason, Maryland or Rutgers (in state). I’m not sure if I might be aiming too high with my low GPA. Also, considering that I am expecting my GPA to increase slightly next semester would you recommend waiting until next cycle to apply, and potentially even taking the LSAT again? After I graduate in April I will also have better softs, including an additional recc letter from a professor I will be writing a thesis with this semester, a senior thesis published by my university, and some end-of-year awards I expect to qualify for. I’m just not sure if applying now or early on next cycle would be best. Thanks in advance for your help!

    • EE,

      Law schools will seldom completely overlook a lower GPA, but you have done exactly what you need to get in despite it, and that was getting a great LSAT score. Great boost on that retake. Do you mind terribly sharing what you did the second time around to improve? I’m trying to collect information on that for a post.

      I wouldn’t really say that you are hopeless at all for Georgetown or UCLA (UCLA has admitted people in that range so far this year). Neither is a lock, but you’ve still got decent chances. For the rest of your list, I would expect pretty good results.

      Here’s what I would do: if you have your apps pretty much ready to go, then I would consider applying now. However, you should mentally prepare yourself to wait and reapply next year if you don’t like the results you get in this cycle. Don’t worry, you won’t be prejudiced at all if you reapply.

      Those are, however, a lot of good reasons to wait, and I would say you will be a marginally better candidate after all that happens. It’s a tough call, and it’s one of those things where it’s just too personal a decision to give you a firm answer. If you have no compelling reasons to go right away, I would wait. A year off is great for a lot of reasons. All things being equal I always recommend that people take time off anyways.

      Don’t worry, everyone is predicting that the next cycle will be just as favorable to applicants as this one, as the number of applicants is still declining.

      Good luck and keep in touch.

      Evan

      • Thanks so much! And I don’t mind sharing how I prepped for my second LSAT at all! When I took a cold diagnostic last February I scored a 161 (although I’m still convinced that was largely a result of luck) so I luckily had a very good starting point, and was shocked when after months of studying my score actually went down two points. I didn’t take a class or anything so it was all entirely self-preparation using the LSAT Superprep and Prep Tests published by LSAC and McGraw Hill’s LSAT study book, as well as any prep materials I could find for free online. Every study tool I had found stressed the huge importance of taking timed, full-length tests, so I took dozens when prepping for June, sometimes doing even two full exams in one afternoon. I thought that if I could just get used to the test then I could do well. Obviously that did not work for me, and my practice tests were never once outside of the 159-164 range, then the actual test was on the lower end.

        I did not even decide to take the LSAT again until October, and realized that my error came in never reviewing the practice tests I took. I would usually briefly skim my incorrect answers and see what the correct one was, but sometimes I didn’t even do that and would just take two tests in a row without any review or specific skills training. The second time around I reviewed like crazy and took very few full practice tests. After I took one (full-length or individual section) I would mark the questions I got wrong, then go back and (untimed) do all of them again, trying to see where I went wrong, then would see if I got them all correct the second time around. If one was still incorrect I would study the question until I was positive why the correct answer was right, and how to get to that answer in the future. I also really focused on improving my testing strategy, and studying different question types, so, for example, when I got to logic games I knew that it was a good strategy for me to skim the passages and rank them in order of difficulty, because the one I got to last would have the most wrong for me either way, so I might as well get the easiest ones out of the way first. I already knew that I had the stamina for the test and that I was familiar with what it was like to take a full one, because I had done so many before, so I really focused on specifics for the December test.

        What probably helped me the most, though, was definitely a huge risk and I would not recommend it for most people, but I decided to take one last full length test the afternoon before the exam. My scores had still been going up so I thought that one more had the potential to really boost my confidence and help me get some last minute cramming in (I know they say you can’t cram for the LSAT but I truly believe that I actually did cram in December). I scored a 168 on that practice test, which was the highest score I had ever gotten, and then I got the same score on the real test the next day. After taking that practice test I reviewed my answers like always, went to bed and didn’t get any sleep at all, ate a huge healthy breakfast and went into the test with a lot of nerves but so much more confidence than I had in June. In both June and December my score was the exact same as my most recent practice test score, so for me the mantra that how you practice is how you’ll perform definitely rang true. My methods were pretty unconventional, I think, but I definitely found a way that worked for me.

        Thanks for your advice about my application! It’s great to know that it won’t hurt me if I reapply; that was what was preventing me most from applying now. I think I probably will send in at least some of my applications now, but definitely apply next cycle too if I don’t get any good offers.

        I honestly can’t thank you enough for how helpful this website is! It has been invaluable in my preparation for applying to law school. I apologize for how long this post is, but I wanted to give you as much info as possible about my LSAT prep to help you with your post. Please let me know if you have any other questions about it!

  83. Hello. I received my undergrad degree in 2003 in Business Management with a GPA around 3.5. In June 2013 I received my Master’s Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management with around a 3.75 GPA. Do law schools look solely at undergrad GPA’s or do they consider Master’s as well? I am just starting to plan to take the LSAT in late 2014 and need a plan of attack (especially because I have two small children). Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    • They don’t look at the Master’s degree GPA very much I’m afraid. The issue is that grade inflation is common practice for almost all Master’s program, so it doesn’t give a lot of value for comparing you with other candidates. However, the degree is an excellent soft factor and something that should help you present yourself as a well-rounded candidate.

      Don’t worry too much though. A 3.5 is competitive at pretty much every school outside the top 6 and even there, a truly stellar LSAT score can still get you in.

  84. Hello,

    I am currently a junior with a 3.71 undergraduate GPA in a large east coast state university, majoring in Economics and minoring in political science. Right now, I am reviewing for my LSAT and I am planning on taking it in October. I took my first practice test and I did a lot poorly than I expected, getting in the 130s without really any review at all. I am interested in intellectual property and healthcare law and I wish to attend UC Berkeley for law school. Without a doubt, I believe that my GPA will increase in the future as long as I continue to press on well with my studies but I am concerned about LSAT since I am not the best test taker although I believe I will improve come test time. I am not sure how much I can improve but I plan to study for the LSATs rigorously until I take them in October.

    Given that my GPA increases or worst case stays the same, what are my chances of getting into Berkeley if my LSAT scores were to increase up to somewhere between 155-160?

    On another note, would I gain an advantage in the application process if I were to take off from school for a year or two before applying to Berkeley or any other law school? What other law schools are worth considering given my circumstances?

    I apologize if I am asking a lot of questions but I am really concerned of my future prospects. Please respond as soon as possible and thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it!

  85. Hello and thank you for this opportunity for me to voice my concerns,
    Major: Behavioral Science
    My cumulative GPA: 3.24
    My University GPA: 3.85

    I want to go to University of San Diego Law, but my dream is USC or UChicago. Once I finish my undergrad, I should have a 3.4-3.5 overall.

    I’m pretty scared/discouraged to move forward with taking my LSAT and pursuing my dream of becoming an attorney because I feel like I’ve doomed myself with my Junior College GPA.

    What can I do to help myself out? Any advice/guidance would be appreciated.

    I genuinely thank you again,

    Matthew.

  86. Josh and Evan,
    IMPORTANT question:
    I am currently in my spring semester of junior year in undergrad. I will begin studying for the June 2014 LSAT this month.
    Regarding GPA, what years of undergrad are considered in the application process? Is it freshman-junior year only? If I apply last minute in January of my senior year, will my senior year fall semester classes factor into my GPA?
    Thank you. Looking forward to hearing your reply!

  87. Hi,

    GPA: 3.4
    Major: Chemical Engineering from UF
    LSAT: 170+
    Experience: 3 industry related internships. paid $50k to own schooling

    Do I have a chance getting into a top law school (T-14) studying patent law? My GPA is low, but do my other credentials give me a chance?

  88. So I had a really hard time in University. Dealing with a sick mother, many times having to miss class to help her. Thus passed many classes with a C. I ended up with a 2.7 I just graduated dec 2013 from Cal state Northridge with a degree in Business Law. My last tier classes weighed heavily on groups which lowered my grade a lot since they were assigned and lets just say my group werent interested in high grades but instead just passing. I plan on taking LSAT Prep course and do as much as i can to get a good score. If I was to get within a 160-175 would I have a chance at a top 50 school?

    • J,

      You certainly would have a chance with a 165-175 LSAT. That said, that is a very low GPA. Unless you get better than a 170, It’s likely to keep you out of the top-20 schools, even with a good explanation (In writing an addendum, I would only discuss the issues with your mother, not the group stuff).

      • I was talking to a professor and she recommended that the 1 year gap between studying for LSAT and application period I get a full time job at a law firm, something entry or even internship, would you recommend this? Would it help my application if I did? Also, I have been looking for a job and it most of the times does not allow me to attend the Blueprint course nearest to me (and even less time to study). So I would have to do the online course. What would you recommend?

  89. I am writing this because I don’t see any experiences which are quite like mine. I graduated from USC with a 3.18 GPA and recently took the LSAT for the second time. I am hoping that the score falls within the 165 -172 range.

    It was hard for me as a freshman as I was the first in my family to attend college. I was able to pick up my GPA in sophomore and junior years getting 3.5-3.8 GPAs. My grandmother and grandfather who raised me passed away my second semester of Junior year and in senior year which certainly affected my performance as my GPA dropped. My mother was always incapacitated and I come from a low socioeconomic background. I wrote the essays for law school apps and explained the above noted including how my queer sexuality played into my college experience (personal statement, diversity statement, and socioeconomic addendum). I also explained my mother’s situation and how her drug abuse and the fact that she is currently homeless has always affected my performance to show that I have overcome extreme socioeconomic situations.

    I went to USC with a full ride due to scholarships for leadership and beating the odds as well as grants – the full ride speaks to my academic abilities. I have been working at one of U.S. News’ Law Firms of the Year for two years and decided to apply to law school. I also have great community service and volunteer experiences and have received awards for those experiences. There are only fifteen ‘University Professors,’ or top ranking professors at USC and I have a letter of recommendation from one of them as well as a professor and Partner at my firm, who additionally know me well.

    What would you say about my chances of getting into a good law school?

    Please advise. Thank you in advance for your response.

  90. Hi Guys,

    Thanks for all the input and advice. as for my marks, I have a GPA around 3.20 and an LSAT mark of 152 (I know, not the greatest). I am working full time so I do not know if I should quit my job and study the LSAT full-time and retake.

    I hope to go to Michigan State this year, but if I cannot get in, maybe I should retake the LSAT and strive for a 165+. Let me know what you think of my chances and if you have advice I`d love to hear it.

  91. Hey guys,

    I want to go to Harvard law. I am an african american male, but my gpa is only a 3.2 and it will be a 3.35 when i graduate. I finished my freshman year with a 1.24 so ive got a strong upward trend.

    Ive put in some pretty solid prep work for the lsat and i just took it last Saturday. There was a really weird game on that test, but i think i still had a fair shot of scoring 170>. Assuming i pull above 170, is the scarcity of blacks who score well on the lsat enough to put me over the top ?

    Ive also worked for a law firm while ive been in school, and sometimes a second job as a valet. My last two years ive made straight As. Give me some hope !

    Scott

    • Scott, get that 170 better and you’ve got a really, really good shot, especially with that upward grade trend. Even if Harvard doesn’t pan out, I would say Columbia, UChicago, and NYU would be a lock.

      I’m rooting for you. Let us know how it goes.

  92. Hi,

    I received my Honours Bachelor of Science with a GPA of 2.83 from a Canadian University. I am currently doing a Master Degree (in Neuroscience) and also volunteering and working part-time. I also have a lot of research experience. If I get a high LSAT score (what score would I actually need to be considered?), do I have a chance of getting into law school? Also, are international (or in my case, canadian students) accepted to law schools in the US?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    • Lili, you certainly have a chance of getting into some law school, but with a sub 3.0 GPA you need to do well on the LSAT for a chance at getting into the kind of schools I consider a good idea to attend. A 160 at least to be safe, but of course shoot as high as possible. I don’t know how law schools work in Canada, so I can’t help with too much advice their, but search my friend Graeme Blake on google. He is a Canadian LSAT tutor and he might be able to help you with more detailed advice.

  93. Hello guys,

    My GPA for my first two years of college was 3.1 but my last two years it was a 3.9 making my cumulative GPA a 3.5. Thankfully, there is an upward trend.

    I want to attend USC or U Chicago

    What LSAT score would I need for this to be possible?

    I genuinely thank you,

    Matt

    • Hi Matt,

      For UChicago I would think you’d need something close to a 174 to have a near-sure in, however, you’ll have good chances with anything 169 or better. USC is a much easier proposition. I’d say anything 166 or better should give you very strong chances.

  94. Hi guys,
    Great website, loving the information.

    I apologize if this is similar to questions you have already answered. 3.24 engineering GPA from Notre Dame. Have worked the past few years for a Gov. contractor as an engineer/analyst. Assuming an LSAT score in the 170s, do I have a realistic shot at a T14? What about getting some money?

    Also, I’ve heard the job market isnt near as bleak for patent attorneys. As this is my desired route, do you think it would be a little more reasonable to accept a slightly lower ranked school (and possibly get more financial assistance) than if I was looking at a more typical law program?

    Final question…is night school generally easier to get into, or are the standards about the same?

    Thank you very much!

    • Hi Jack, sorry for the slow response. You definitely have a shot if you get a 170 plus. I would think Northwestern would be particularly likely to bite given your good real world experience. With that GPA, substantial scholarships from t14s are not super likely unless you get in the the mid-high 170s.
      As to the lower ranked schools question, do a lot of research there, talking to actual alums if you can. I know my friends who went the patent route all had no trouble finding jobs, but I don’t know the situation at schools outside the t14. Anecdotally, a lot of them have been placed into the same firms as my friends, but I don’t know the rate of placement.
      Night school is generally easier, but you don’t want to even think about that. If you are going to do this, just focus on getting the LSAT worthy of an engineering major, which should be a good one. That said, definitely consider whether this is the route you want. I just moved to Houston Texas, and it seems like the engineers here are pretty happy sticking to engineering. Great pay and decent hours. By contrast, my big firm patent attorney friends are worked to the bone.

  95. - So my GPA is a 3.3 as of now.
    - I am a current Senior but I am in a 5 year program to obtain my Master’s in Business Administration.
    - I am aiming for an LSAT of 160
    - Applying Fall 2014 for Enrollment Fall 2015 when I graduate
    - Want to go to a Tier 2 school (Temple, Villanova, Etc.

    What do you think?

    • Why aim so low? With another year you can probably get that GPA to a 3.5, and you should be able to get into a higher ranked school or one of those you name with a big scholarship. Yeah being half realistic is okay, but everyone starting out should be aiming for a 170.

      You may or may not know that getting employed from schools like Temple is a tough prospect right now. If you go to a tier 2, it’s best to attend a public school on in-state tuition or go somewhere were you’ve gotten a very large scholarship.

  96. Hello, I am not the typical law school student. I have considered law school for a long time and whenever I brought it up, it was met with, you wouldn’t be happy, you won’t like that. I have a bachelor’s in food service administration and a master’s in hotel and restaurant management. It was while I was getting my master’s degree that I took a class on Legal Aspects in the Hospitality Industry. I really enjoyed that class and since then have been thinking about law school. Just recently, I decided I wanted to make the jump. I work full time and want to attend a university here in Michigan that offers part time night classes.
    My undergrad GPA is not the best. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, made bad decisions, etc. My graduate GPA is very good, a 3.56. I have been working full time in my field for 6 years post grad. My question is, will they consider me? I am already studying for the LSAT because I know I will have to get an amazing score. What else should I do for the admissions process? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Holly,

      Unfortunately your graduate GPA is not going to matter a lot. You are kind of stuck with the undergrad GPA, so in terms of ranking your chances, that’s what we’d look at. I don’t want to be discouraging, but your friends probably know you pretty well. Really take a hard look at what lawyers do and make sure this is something you are truly interested in.

      If you are considering attending a low-ranked program, try to intern with alum from that school and find out what they are doing/make connections now. It will be much better to discover that this isn’t for you now rather than when you are saddled with debt.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, those attending schools outside Tier 1 should minimize debt as much as possible.

  97. Hey guys,

    Absolutely love this site. Thanks so much for doing this.

    So I’ve been considering law schools since I left undergrad but got distracted for awhile and took some time to consider other options. But now I’m back and really feel like this is the right direction.

    My undergrad gpa is ~3.3 with a degree in english.
    I worked as a personal assistant and legal clerk at a law firm for a year. Then I got a masters degree in english education from columbia with a gpa of 3.96.
    And I have a years worth of teaching experience in secondary schools.

    I took the LSAT right out of undergrad and didn’t really put enough effort into studying. I got a 147 and I know I can do better. Taking it this June and aiming for 160+.

    I’m not expecting to get into a top 14 school, though if I surprise myself on the lsat I may consider applying to a few. More realistically looking at university of Washington, Hastings, u Colorado boulder, Lewis & Clark, or Pepperdine.

    How do graduate GPAs factor into the numbers game of admissions? Is it just fluff?
    Am I looking at a good range of schools as far as my current numbers stack up?
    And what should be a realistic minimal score on the lsat for the schools I’m looking at?

    Thank you guys again for doing this. Hopefully I hear back from you soon!

    • Hi Andrew, sorry for the slowish response. As you can see we get a lot of comments! Unfortunately, the word “fluff” pretty accurately describes graduate GPAs. Grade inflation is so rampant in grad programs that they more or less disregard your grad GPA.

      You are looking at a good range of schools for your GPA, however, make sure your LSAT lands on the high side for those schools so that you can draw big scholarships. I really couldn’t advise attending otherwise, as the job prospects a tier 2 schools are far from stellar right now. Pepperdine for example had less than half of it’s students employed into full-time legal employment 9 months following graduation.

      Your law firm experience is good, as it shows you know what you are getting into, but as one English major to another, definitely consider whether you wouldn’t be happier in another field. I for example really regret not teaching abroad, and now that I’ve got a lot of debt to service, I’m stuck doing stuff that makes more money.

  98. Hi!! Great read and super helpful and informative. My stats are as follows… I’m currently studying for the LSAT hoping to pull off a strong split since my GPA is low (at least 170):

    - URM, Female
    - Strong interest in Intellectual Property Law

    Post-Undergrad:
    - 3 years out of undergrad
    - Working full time as paralegal at law firm 3 years and part time in retail for 1 year while working full time
    - Started a small marketing company for visual branding needs
    - Created a legal blog
    - Active in volunteer and local community service

    Undergrad:
    - GPA: 2.56; Journalism major and Marketing minor; top 25 tier school
    - GPA took a hit during junior and senior year because of sick parent and travel back and forth
    - Worked part-time all throughout school
    - Member of 3 student organizations: legal, music and ethnic
    - Summer internships at media companies within their legal departments

    What would be my odds for UCLA, Loyola (Los Angeles), Temple, Drexel, Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn, and NYU???

    Thanks!

  99. Hi!! Great read and super helpful :) My stats are as follows:

    GPA: 3.10 In Hon. Political Science
    LSAT:152
    Awesome softs as I was placed Top 10 in an undergraduate Mooting Comp. and worked at a top law firm in Toronto, Canada.

    Looking to apply to Michigan State or U of Michigan

    Do you think I can get into Michigan State with my current stats or do I need around a 160+ for Michigan State? Also if I kill the LSAT is Michigan still a shot??

    Thanks :)

  100. graduated In Dec 2013 with a degree in business law and gpa of 2.7. I’m aiming for 165-170 lsat (as is most people). Meanwhile I’m looking for a job. Does it help my application were I work or what field of work I do ? I’m just really doing it to help pay my lsat prep course material and start paying loans off.

  101. Hello!
    I read this and all the comments so couldn’t help myself, I wanted to discusses my situation with someone else than school officials so here it goes….
    I stayed in new york institute of technology for two years where I had 3.5 GPA. I was in the semester presidential list for a year. Then I transferred to Fordham U now I’m a junior and after this term I’ll be a senior. Now I have a 3.0 GPA. I have been working as a legal assistant in a law firm for three years now. I will be taking the LSAT this september and I’m very worried because I really want to make it Georgetown or George Washington and American U is my back up.. Please advise where do you think I have a shot at getting in…if not these colleges……

    • Get a perfect GPA your senior year and you’ll have about a 3.5, which is a fine GPA. Take easier classes if you have to, it’s that important to get any points you can. Still, even with a 3.3 or so you would have decent chances at the better schools you mention with an upper 160s LSAT score. American basically has an open door policy right now, so you can get in there as long as you have a pulse. However, I really wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a huge scholarship. American is really on it’s way down as a law school.

  102. Hello Evan:

    First, thank you for answering and giving us all a great perspective on our odds.

    Let me give you some background information.

    First, I’m not a “traditional student”. I graduate from college a decade ago. However, I recently completed a master’s in public administration.

    Secondly, I have several years of work experience (8+ yrs) as a small claims/housing advisor for a legal aid agency. I work directly with clients and deal with so many issues ranging from unlawful detainers to claims of exemptions. I definitely want to go into public interest law.

    Third, I have a low undergraduate gpa. It’s 2.3. I had many problems when I was in college with transportation and with my several personal issues. However, I can’t overlook that g.p.a.

    Fourth, I got a 160 on the LSAT.

    I have a family I need to take care of and therefore can’t afford to quit my job. Thus, I’m looking at attending an evening law school program in Southern California. I have identified three schools that offer such a program: Loyola Marymount, Southwestern and Western State.
    What do you think my chances are? I’m thinking of re-taking the LSAT to boost my score. Would you recommend it? I can’t find much data on evening programs, so I’m just going base on the standard data I see for regular admission. Any input would help.

    Thanks!
    Joe

    • Hi Joe, night programs are typically slightly less selective, so you probably have okay chances even with your numbers as they are now. That GPA is a big obstacle to overcome however, so retaking is probably a good idea. I find that scorers in the low 160s have pretty good results when it comes to improving. Get that up to a 165 and I think you will be a lock for Loyola.

      One thing I will say is that you should keep costs as low as possible if you attending any of these programs, as you may have some trouble procuring employment right away. That to my mind makes retaking all the more important, as you boost your chances for scholarships.

  103. My undergraduate GPA was fairly poor, about 2.9. After college I comissioned in the Army as a Finance/ Logistics Officer. I did that for 3.5 years, with one of them being in Afghanistan. I’m currently working in the oil industry as a project manager, and I’ll be completing an MBA with a concentration inFinance in June 2015 with an anticipated GPA of >3.5. Basically I’m hoping that my military service and industry experience might redeem me slightly. Would a top tier law school be feasible assuming I crush the LSAT? If not, what are some schools that I could look at with 170+ and my background? Thanks.

    • I do think you have good chances if you get a 170+. Northwestern esp. might bite. However, I will say that your GPA gives you a big handicap, and you might be better off avoiding law school altogether. When I see someone who looks pretty successful already looking to pause their career and take on a ton of debt, I’m often skeptical that the math will work out. I live an Houston right now and the O&G people seem to be doing just as well as the lawyers, and the hours don’t seem quite as hellish!

  104. Hello, I graduated from UC Irvine in 2004, so almost ten years ago, with a cumulative GPA of about 2.7. Now at the time I was serving in the Marine Corps and was balancing school with multiple combat tours to Afghanistan and Iraq which accounted for my GPA being low, but all things considered, I graduated. My professional resume is impressive and now work for state government as a regulator having the professional background to support my qualifications.

    I know that some schools look at an “Overall picture” of an applicant. the Last time I took an LSAT test I scored above the median, but on the low end of the scale. I am in Arizona and was looking am limited to AZ based schools to either Arizona State University or Phoenix college of Law. The Arizona BAR last I heard does not recognize online based law schools regardless of accreditation. I have taken graduate level courses since 2004 as well as some professional certification courses with good GPA’s. What are my chances at being able to get into a law school program taking into consideration professional career and length of time since I graduated with my Bachelors.

  105. *repost*

    Hi!! Great read and super helpful and informative. My stats are as follows… I’m currently studying for the LSAT hoping to pull off a strong split since my GPA is low (at least 170):
    - URM, Female
    - Strong interest in Intellectual Property Law
    Post-Undergrad:
    - 3 years out of undergrad
    - Working full time as paralegal at law firm 3 years and part time in retail for 1 year while working full time
    - Started a small marketing company for visual branding needs
    - Created a legal blog
    - Active in volunteer and local community service
    Undergrad:
    - GPA: 2.56; Journalism major and Marketing minor; top 25 tier school
    - GPA took a hit during junior and senior year because of sick parent and travel back and forth
    - Worked part-time all throughout school
    - Member of 3 student organizations: legal, music and ethnic
    - Summer internships at media companies within their legal departments
    What would be my odds for UCLA, Loyola (Los Angeles), Temple, Drexel, Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn, and NYU???
    Thanks!

  106. Great article! Here’s my info:

    -177 LSAT from December 13 (I have two cancellations from 2011 as well).
    -3.27 UGPA at UVA
    -3 years work experience (hotel clerk from August to September ’11; US Senate campaign from September ’11 to December ’12; US Senate office from January ’13 to the present)
    -UVA law is my first choice

    1. What are my chances at UVA law? Would applying ED help?
    2. Do I stand any shot of getting $$ from any Top 20 schools?
    3. Hypothetically speaking, would it be dumb to go to UVA at sticker versus a lower ranked school (Vandy, Emory for example) at a reduced rate?
    4. Most importantly, besides getting LORs and my PS ready, what can I do between now and August to make myself a better candidate?

  107. Question: Do you recommend repeating courses that do not have a grade of C or higher? My current GPA is 3.07 and repeating a course with a less than desirable grade would show law schools that I am capable of passing all of my classes. What do you think? Is it worth it?

    • Yes, I think it’s certainly worth it to repeat anything you got below a C on. It will help your GPA as much as any other grade and will indeed show them that the poor performance was a product of circumstances, not your ability.

  108. Hey Guys,

    I have a 3.4 UGPA at a top 100 US University. My first two years were spent struggling a bit in pre-med courses as a bio major. I later changed to Healthcare Business and Administration. Junior and Senior year I averaged close to a 3.8 GPA, but since my first half of school was a struggle, it is pulling my GPA down. My first two years as a bio major I had a 3.0 and the last half as a business major I had a 3.8.

    With a cumulative 3.4 GPA and a 3.8 major GPA with a 168 LSAT score, can I get into…

    1) Emory
    2) Boston University
    3) Temple
    4) Brooklyn
    5) UCLA
    6) Drexel
    7) Northwestern
    8) Penn
    9) Michigan
    10) Cornell

    Thanks for your help

    • Hi Nick,

      Some of those are sure bets. Brooklyn, Drexel and Temple will accept you. The better question is whether you want to go to those schools: each only had rougly 50% of grads hired into full time legal jobs following graduation. That’s not a good bet in my book unless it’s free or damn close to free to go. Even then, it wouldn’t be my first option.

      BU is better, but I would still only attend with a significant scholarship. With your numbers, you are better of focusing on schools ranked just below the t14 such as UCLA, as well as applying to whatever the best state school is in your state. You will have good chances at UCLA, USC, UT-Austin, Vanderbilt and the like.

      Definitely apply to T14 schools, though with your current numbers it is going to be a long shot. If you could boost that LSAT even 3 points it would be a whole new world, with admission to Cornell, Georgetown and Northwestern suddenly looking likelier than not.

  109. I have a 3.0 GPA with 4 semesters left. I know I have to do a lot of work to get into the law schools I want. However, is it possible if I work hard enough and get above 3.6 in the rest of my semesters do you think I can get into:

    1) Ohio State University
    2) University of Florida
    3) Florida State University
    4) Duke University
    5) University of Tennessee
    6) University of Indiana
    7) Northeastern University?

    If so, what LSAT score do I need?

    • Given that you’d end up somewhere just above a 3.0, any of those schools are possible. Duke however, would require a high power LSAT score, probably a 170 or better, for a chance. The other schools would be considerably easier. A 160 would probably give you good chances at most of them. That said, you should likely focus on the score necessary to get you into your home state’s best public school. If you can’t get into an elite school, in-state tuition is usually the next best option. Keep those grades up!

  110. I have a 3.57, and I have a technically downward trend in grades, I had a high 3.7 until my last semester, where I took an almost full time job that overwhelmed me and I got mostly B’s and even a C! I applied to schools explaining it quickly in an addendum, but I’m wondering if that’s even the correct strategy. I’m retaking the LSAT again, I was scoring 168-170 but ended up with a 161 in February, so this would be mostly for my next cycle’s apps. USC and UCLA are my top two (and basically only) choices.

    • Katie, just hit that practice average on the real thing and you will have good chances at UCLA and USC. A 168 will put your numbers at about median for both. Try of course, to beat a 168 so you have an enhanced possibility of drawing scholarships. Good luck. That’s tough having a bad day on the LSAT, but it’s not likely to happen again!

  111. Hi,
    I was wondering if you have any advice for a current grad student almost finished with a PhD in philosophy and planning to apply to law school. Would having an advanced degree in philosophy count for much when it comes to scholarships or admissions into the top 20 schools?
    Also, I had a 3.71 as an undergrad, my top choices for law school are Penn and Duke, and I haven’t taken the LSAT yet. What LSAT score I should be aiming for?
    Thanks!

  112. Hello,
    I’m currently in my junior year and will apply with a 3.4 gpa in finance and I’ve been hitting in the low 170′s on the LSAT practice tests. I have had two internships in finance previously and have been involved with the business school. What is the likelihood of getting into Georgetown, Berkeley, Columbia, Cornell or UCLA? Do I have any chance at all with my low gpa? Also when you report your grades can you include your fall grades by turning them in after you’ve finished your classes? Thanks again in advance.

    • If you get that 170′s LSAT score, I’d say you have a pretty solid chance at all of them. A 3.4 really isn’t that low right now. Gtown and Cornell would be a cakewalk. Berkeley and Columbia will of course require a little aligning of the stars, and you are obviously better off the higher you get that LSAT. If you are hitting that high now, I’m optimistic you can turn in a great performance come June, so keep on top of your prep and let us know if you hit any snags. I’ll be rooting for you.

  113. Hi, I graduated from a service academy with a cumulative 3.2 GPA, 3.8 major GPA (polisci) and have been serving as a helicopter pilot. From practice tests, I feel I can expect an LSAT of ~175. I realize my cumulative GPA isn’t the best, but still intend to apply at the top law schools, among others. Dream school is Stanford- think I’ve got a shot? And, while I know undergrad GPA holds more weight, would good grades in another graduate program help? Or should I save my pennies…? Thank you in advance for the advice.

    • I would save your pennies– grad programs really don’t help much expect as possibly a good soft if you have a good story behind why you are pursuing a certain area of study. Definitely never just get another degree for the sake of it. Stanford is a very, very long shot. Last year it appears that they didn’t take anyone with below a 3.5, but if you get that 175 I am sure that some t-14 school will bite, probably several of them. Sorry I can’t give you better news.

  114. Hey guys great site:
    I am a non traditional student (33)finishing up my BAAS degree in business operations @university of Texas Tyler. My lsac gpa should end up about 3.3-3.4 with a strong upward trend. All while working full time in telecommunications sales and supporting a family. I took a cold lsat and scored 154. My dream school is UT Austin, any chance I could get in there, or maybe Baylor/SMU with some scholarship $$?. I REALLY want to go to law school, and always have but I just can’t move my family across the country, and pay full price for a mediocre school at my age

    • Hi Ben, a 3.3/3.4 really isn’t all that low, esp. now when schools can’t be too picky (not enough people applying to law school). I’d say get into the 168 plus range and you have a very good chance of getting in and even getting scholarships at UT-Austin. Don’t worry about that cold diagnostic score, that doesn’t mean anything.

      I hear you. Definitely avoid paying a boatload for law school. As you may know, we definitely oppose going anywhere at full price unless it’s a Top-Tier Law School.

  115. Hi! Graduated last year with a 3.3ish GPA from undergrad business school (NYU Stern) which unfortunately curves grades which was particularly rough when I studied abroad for 1.5 semesters and had class sizes of ~20. Majored in Business and political economy with a French minor, am a female minority, and I think I can get some good rec letters (though maybe I should get on this soon, as I’ll soon be out of school for a year?) I originally wanted to apply to law school straight out of undergrad, but decided to work for a while before applying. Have scored from high 150s to mid 160s in practice tests, but could dedicate time to getting much better, as I wouldn’t go to law school unless I got into a top school – NYU being one of my top choices though would love to apply to Columbia, UChicago, UVA, Gtown, Vanderbilt. Would I really have a chance though? What do I need to score and what would make my application stronger? Gracias!

    • Yes G, not a bad idea to secure recs early while you are still fresh in their mind. I think it’s a good decision to take a year. I really think with that GPA you are going to need the 170+ score to have solid chances at a top school, so keep that in mind. You may want to set your sights on business school down the road, where GPA will play a much smaller role in the application. Frankly, a huge percentage of law students secretly want to be business students, esp. nowadays, so make sure that’s not what you really want to do. I myself had a case of BSchool envy while at UChicago.

      As to making your application stronger, just make sure you are keeping yourself busy during this year off.

  116. Hopeful Law School Student on

    Hello!

    I never really took care of my gpa. I put my work and being able to pay for my bills as my priority. Unfortunately, this has really caused a lot of stress for me since now I want to go to Law School. I have a 2.5 cumulative gpa and have 2 semesters to go. I calculated and even if i get all A’s this semester my gpa will not go up as much as I will like. My dream law school would be University of Maimi. I have a lot of work experience under my belt. I have been working since i was 17. I am 24 now. Any advice??

  117. Hello!

    I am planning on working for Justice Corps as a full time member for one year and also work at a law firm or a related administrative office position for the next, so 2 years total in the real world. I already have a lot of work experience. It’s my gpa that is really lacking.

    I am going to have a 2.6 / 2.7 gap after my last spring quarter.

    I am planning on taking as much time needed to study for LSATs and get in the 170 range.

    Do you think I would have an okay chance of getting into a school like UCLA, Loyola, or Irvine?

    Thanks!

  118. So, I’ve found myself in a midst of a small dilemma. I graduated last May with a 3.3 LSAC GPA with a major in biochemistry and a double minor in philosophy and biology. I took the LSAT in December and scored a 173. With this GPA and LSAT score I figured to be a splitter, and hoped at least one T14 school would bite. Yet it’s April and all I’ve received so far are spots on some top Law Schools’ waitlists. Although I’ve been accepted to a few schools that are willing to give me generous scholarships (including a few within the top 20), none of them are my top choices. That said I have a few questions:

    1) Is the reason I’m seeing so many waitlist offers because I’ve applied too late in the process? I wasn’t able to start applying until January, when I received my score.
    2) If this is true, and I am unable to gain acceptance from the waitlist to any of my top schools during this application period, would it be worth it to wait another year and begin the application process earlier on in next year’s application period?

    I would really appreciate it if you could give me some feedback as to what would be my best option from this point on, as I lack any real guidance regarding the process of getting into law school. Anyway, thank you for the helpful site and I hope to be hearing back from you soon.

    • My credentials will be very similar to yours. I would be interested to know which T20 schools accepted you and gave generous scholarships. That is if you don’t mind my asking

    • Hi Jeff,

      Well, a 3.3 in Biochem is certainly better for you than a 3.3 in political science or something like that. With the 173 to boot, I have to believe that applying late did indeed hurt you. Well applying late was generally fine this year if you were in a commanding position numbers wise, it appears not to have gone too well for people with one number below median. You can ride the waitlists and see what happens (I will bet that you are very high on them) but certainly, if nothing acceptable comes in, I would reapply as early as possible and make sure your application is bombproof.

      If you’ve read certain of my other posts, you know that I am a big proponent of trying again if you don’t like your results in a cycle. No reason to lower your standards now without being sure that it’s not the timing that hurt you.

      Really though, I’m optimistic that something will come through. Please let us know how it goes.

  119. Well the biggest one was Minnesota twin cities. A lot of it I feel has to do with regional location. I am from the Midwest; so I imagine that’s why they gave me close to a full ride and UT Austin waitlisted me. I would say you would have good chances of getting in to UT Austin, since you are from Texas.

  120. Hi! This website is so helpful, thank you! I am currently studying for the LSAT. I graduated from a t25 undergrad with a 3.3 gpa (major gpa is definitely higher but don’t know if that matters at all).and I have been working for four years not in a legal profession but in a highly competitive corporate advertising environment. Law school has always been my dream and I am excited to finally take the plunge. I’d really like to go to a t14 school but I’m worried about my Gpa. Realistically I see my LSAT in the high 160s although I’m hoping to break the 170 Mark. Will high 160s be too low for a t14?

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Marina, I think right now you would have some shot at the T14s with a 168 or a 169. You are certainly the kind of candidate for whom they might be willing to overlook a lowish GPA. Also 3.3 really isn’t all that bad given that so few people are applying. Definitely do your best on the LSAT and get your applications in very early.

      You will want to make sure your personal statement is great and that your application is very solid, so definitely do not wait til the last minute to do that stuff!

  121. Hi!

    Reading through the comments has given me a lot of help regarding what I need to do to get into law school. Here are my personal creds,

    Finishing BS in Chemical Engineering with Minor in Biomolecular Engineering
    3.4 GPA
    3 semesters of work experience (engineering internship)
    Paid for most of my own schooling

    What kind of LSAT should I shoot for to get into a top 14 school and what are my chances? I want to study patent law; does this and my engineering background help me at all?

    • I think 169+ will give you good chances at getting a t14. I’d say yes that having a reason to go to law school and a focus should make you a stronger candidate, so you might slightly outperform those with comparable numbers. Really shoot for that 170+ though as it will make a big difference. Engineering students tend to do well on the LSAT, so take a mechanical approach to it with at least 3 months of study and I am optimistic that you’ll do well!

  122. If you don’t make into the top 40 schools, is law school even worth going to? According to Law School Predictor, if I score 170, the highest ranked school for strong consider are University of AZ and University of CA-Davis at 38. Is that good or bad?

    • There are good options at 40 and lower, mostly state public law schools. I’m pretty leery of recommending that anyone go to a school outside the top 100 law schools unless the cost is very, very low, like close to free. I’d have to know more about your situation but I’m assuming you have a very low GPA (~2.0-2.5) In that case, typically I recommend pursuing options other than law school. Law school is literally the only field that is so preclusive to students with low GPAs, and it’s tough to get started in a career from such a disadvantage.

  123. - BA in Accounting from Top 100 school, Top 50 Liberal Arts
    - 3.167 LSDAS GPA
    - Screwed up first semester and had 2.284 while starting out in Pre-Medicine and Biology, got about a 3.5 every semester after
    - Haven’t taken the LSAT yet, testing in the 173-175 range on my practice tests, so guessing somewhere in the 170s on test day
    - Looking at Penn, Northwestern, UVA, Cornell, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Emory, and Notre Dame as my top schools. UCLA, Duke, NYU, Michigan, Indiana, WUSTL, SMU, Baylor, and Houston as reaches and safer schools.
    - NCAA Division 3 athlete – 3 years, 2 year starter (sat out senior year due to injury)
    - 3 officer positions in fraternity, (1 – President, 4 – Secretary, 7 – Parliamentarian)
    - 2 years Work Experience in oil and gas accounting and analysis
    - Team Red White Blue, YMCA/BBBS Mentor, Habitat for Humanity, local charity work
    - Plan on writing an addendum explaining my awful first semester

    - Do you think that any of the T14 are realistic goals or should I focus on going somewhere like Vanderbilt or Emory?

    Thanks so much.

  124. So had an awful start to college. But I did some classes while still in high school. My grades are on a upward trend finally but my first year in college really messed me up. Realistically, I’m looking at a 3.0 gpa or slightly lower for graduation considering LSAC takes into consideration my first attempts of my grade forgiveness classes. I’m currently studying to take the LSAT in June and aiming for a 170-175. Is there any possibility of me getting into GWU or U of Miami? I’m a URM junior that currently works at a law firm. Also, should I write and addendum for my low gpa?

    • Get anywhere above a 170 and you have a shot at schools ranked well above GWU and Miami. URM “splitter” (high LSAT, low GPA” tend to fare really well in admissions. Get your LSAT at least into the 25th-75th percentile ranges for a school (ideally above the median) and you while have extremely good chances. Good luck and let us know where you are at after taking the LSAT!

  125. Hello,

    I am currently an international undergraduate student at UWashington, about to reach senior standing. Non-URM, did extremely well in high school, with an extensive list of softs such as extracurricular internships and certifications over the years till now. My first two years at university have been tragic, however – culture shock, two medical hardships and two funerals back home together dragged my GPA way down. The lowest was, in all honesty, 1.5 in freshman year winter quarter.

    It wasn’t working out for me, so I took two quarters off by the end of my second year. After a few of my hardship withdrawals have been granted, and some painful discussions, I managed to pull my grades back up at the same university. Major GPA is currently a ~3.5, while my quarterly GPA has been averaging approximately 3.6-3.7 closing approximately a year now, as well as being nominated on the Dean’s List multiple times. I still have some ways to go before I graduate because of the HWs and off-time, and I’m prepared to accept that my cumulative will most probably end up around 3.0-3.1 tops by graduate, even if I continue to average ~3.7 per quarter nowadays.

    My question is, while LSAT will be key, what would your professional opinion be regarding my chances in a T20-T50 law school? I’m simply afraid if a 3.0-3.1 cumulative GPA is going to delete the benefits of a good LSAT grade, I might need to start planning alternative routes while I still have the option to.

    Thank you so much..

    YKLD

    • With a 170+ T20s even are certainly possible, however, I’ll say the same thing I say often to low GPAers who appear to have a lot of talent: heavily consider other careers. Well it can be overcome, the low GPA is like an anchor dragging on the bottom. No other course in life is going to put as much stock in your GPA as law schools will. While you can get in to some top schools, the very top (Top 10) is probably a no go, and you won’t be able to count on much scholarship money at any T25. It’s obvious to me and anyone else looking at your record that you are a capable student, but, unfortunately, law schools are chained to playing the numbers game.

      Just be aware of the handicap. If you do have other courses available to you I definitely think they should be given full consideration.

      • Thank you so much, Evan. I will definitely keep your comments at heart, and be sure to update you along the way as I continue my studies. I hope everything goes well, too.

        YKLD

  126. Hey guys. I am graduating this May and my lsac GPA will be between a 3.3 – 3.4. I have taken the lsat before and I made a 148. I didn’t study for the lsat at all due to my campus involvement. I was involved in numerous organizations and actually was selected from a school of 18,000 students as an Outstanding Junior and then once again as an Outstanding Senior Leader at our Campus Awards Banquet. I have a really strong resume’ due to my campus involvement and interning at both my state senate for a semester and my state’s governor’s office for a summer. I currently work at a law firm and will be working here full time upon graduation. I have strong letters of reference, my personal statement will be good and I am Native American (so a minority). I am studying for 5 months and taking the LSAT in October. Realistically, how well do I need to do on the LSAT to get into a top 20 or top 14 school? What I am thinking is that if I can blow the LSAT out of the water that will get admissions offices looking at my entire application, where I would hope to shine with my campus involvement, internships and work experience. That is my plan as of right now. I wanted to get your opinion and see if you think that I am going about this the best way I can. I appreciate and welcome any advice that you all have to share with me!

      • It’s somewhat difficult for me to predict outcomes for you as a Native American URM applicant because there are so few such applicants, however, you would likely have a larger range of numbers lead to favorable outcomes. That said, I always say to shoot for at least near the 25th percentile range at the schools you are looking at. For LSAT, that will mean something in the mid to high 160s to get in to a Top 20 school or better. You other credentials will certainly help too.

        Don’t worry too much about that 148. An LSAT taken without studying is really not indicative of your potential. I wish we could have gotten you advice before hand so you wouldn’t bother taking one without study, but it’s really not that big a deal as long as you get in their and post a higher score.. Good luck.

  127. hi,
    i have a 3.0 gpa from an ivy league school and i am an URM female. i am trying to get a 170 or higher on my lsat. i am also interning at a top law firm this summer. what are my chances at georgetown?

    • Hi Blaire,

      I’d say very good if you get somewhere near that on the LSAT. Take a look at the above comment. Aim for the highest LSAT possible obviously as some score within the school’s 25th-75th LSAT percentile range will greatly up your chances of receiving scholarships.

  128. Hello

    I am an African American male and I’ll graduate with a 3.1 LSAC GPA. Really blotched some classes while I was in high school at a local junior college but finished my upper division courses with a 4.0… I’ll graduate ASU with a BA in Philosophy.

    On the LSAT, I’ve been studying for the better part of 6 months and am consistently hovering around 177-180 on practices tests. Lets grant that my test score may fall short of my actual LSAT score and I receive a 171 (honestly can’t see myself getting anything lower)– what would my chances be at a T-14?

    I am 24 and have 6 years of continuous work experience and I endeavor to enter the best school that will permit me. Any info would be helpful!

    • As a URM I would say you’ll have pretty good chances at even higher T-14s if you can post that 170+. Your cycle might be a bit unpredictable, but I’d think it very likely that some T-14s will bite and possibly you’ll be looking at decent scholarships. Keep that confidence up and you’ll crush it. Good luck!

      • Thank you for the encouragement! A needed qualifier is that the ASU program was completed online. The ASU transcript and degree will not specify that it was completed online but the perceptive eye will be able to discern that I worked in Cali while in school in Arizona. Is that a significant loss?

  129. Hello, I’m an Indian American (first generation, became citizen in 2010) graduated with a 3.34 Undergrad GPA double majoring in Econ and Political Science with a minor in Environment Sci (science class hurt GPA). I was a national debate finalist and award international speaking awards (2nd, 6th speaker). I am currently finishing my 2 year commitment with TFA and I have been accepted into the Coro Public Policy Fellows program (national acceptance rate of 2%). I am also working this summer as a Fellow at the U.S. Dept. of Education. I am planning on taking the LSAT this summer. Any advice for what I need to score to get into T14?

  130. I have a 2.8 undergrad gpa from a school ranked in the top 25. My major gpa was a 3.7. I worked directly after undergrad and got a masters. I also am a female URM. I have been averaging a 170 on the LSAT. What are my odds for UVA? Would I crack admission to T40 schools?

  131. Hi, thank you for all the incredibly useful information! I have a UK 2.1, average 65.125 from a good uni ( it’s 65.556 at my university to qualify for a 1st, but I heard a 2.1 nevertheless only translate to 3.4-3.5 US GPA). I was in a pretty good programme for my cohort so the courses were more difficult. Would you say I have a shot at the lower T14-20, and the LSAT range I would need to have a good shot?

  132. Non-URM
    GPA – 3.17 (3.5 except for an abysmal 2.28 first semester) from top 50 liberal arts, Accounting major
    LSAT – diagnostic 168, PTs in the mid 170s
    NCAA athlete in school, fraternity president, other volunteer work
    1 year WE oil and gas accounting consulting, 2 years by start of law school in 2015
    Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Team RWB, local volunteering

    Trying to figure out which top schools I have a realistic shot at earning admission to. Open to all top schools and regional (Texas) options.

    Thanks for everything on this site, it is very, very helpful!

  133. I have a 2.5 undergrad gpa; 3.2 gpa from an ABA approved School for paralegal certificate; 8 years of working experience as a paralegal in personal injury in New York and Washington, DC. Averaging 170 on practice test. I plan on taking the October LSAT to start law school in the Fall of 2015.
    Boston College
    Boston University
    Northeastern.

    Thanks for your advice!!

  134. Hi there,
    I am an Asian Male and currently working as a first lieutenant in air force for my country.
    By the time my officer career ends (after serving for three years), I expect to see myself enrolled in top tier law school. I’m currently planning to take lsat in october and aiming for 170+

    My stats are
    1) Major/Institution: Chemical Engineering @ U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    2) GPA w/ transfer credits from summer courses at community college : 3.18
    3) 2 Internships: one engineering research firm / accounting firm
    4) 1 research experience w/ professor
    5) serving for my country as an air force officer for 3 years
    6) willing to put utmost effort to pull off lsat 170+
    7)reach school : top14 target school
    target school: Emory, Boston College or University, / other top 50s

    I have few questions regarding this.

    1)Do law school admissions grant any advantage on gpa for engineering majors? for ex) adding an extra 0.1 or 0.2 or so

    2)Would the transfer credits from community college (summer courses) count toward the lsac gpa?

    3)Is my aim (t14 and at least top 50) reasonable enough on the premise that i achieve 170+ lsat?

    Thanks,

  135. thelawdreamer on

    I am graduating this semester with a bachelors degree in English Literature. My overall gpa is a 2.5 gpa due to some horrible mistakes early on with math courses. I work at a Law Office and know I could get some really good recommendation letters. Is there any way a school would take me if my LSAT went above and beyond, or will my gpa be the death of me. I’ve heard that you can take classes as an undergraduate to boost your gpa, do you think that would help in this situation. I am absolutely clueless on what to do next. I would appreciate any kind of advice on the subject. Thank you in advance :)

  136. I am an exercise science major with a school gpa of 3.80. Lsac factors in a D from a high school concurrent enrollment course dropping my lsac gpa to 3.74. I know it’s impossible to tell what my lsat will be, but I’ve been consistently scoring 170+ on timed pt’s. IF I achieve a similar score in October/September, what are my chances at a T10 school? My softs are URM-Mexican American (male), served a 2 year mission (Mormon). Thanks in advance!

  137. Hi! I am American and I recently finished law school in Mexico, I ended up with a 3.0 since I worked through school (at state congress and a law firm). Now I want to get my JD from a good school in the US (Top 50 school); I know I need a very high LSAT score to have a shot and a near perfect application but do I have anything going on against me as an non foreign applicant with a foreign degree? Thanks!

    Best.

    • Definitely not Adrian. It’s certainly not unheard of to study law in two places. You will likely be more employable with both degrees and believe me, US law schools want highly employable students. Crush that LSAT.

  138. Hi I’m an exercise science major with UGPA of 3.80, however LSAC factors in a D from high school (several years ago) and drops it down to 3.74. I’m scoring between 170-175 on my practice tests; assuming I do as well in October, do I have any shot at an HYS school with that low gpa? I’m URM (Mexican-American male). I know nothing is guaranteed at those schools, but how well would I need to perform to have a good shot? Thanks in advance!

  139. Hi!
    I am currently finishing my junior year in undergrad. I am in Army ROTC and will be graduating as a 2nd LT in the Army. I had an internship with a state senator for 1 semester and worked for my school newspaper for a year. My current GPA is a 3.4, but it will probably drop to a 3.3 after this semester is over. I have a 154 LSAT score and I am looking to apply to schools in the NC area. Any suggestions? Any other schools or areas I should look in? My main goal is to get into a law school–location or school ranking don’t take top priority for me.

    Thanks!
    Annie

  140. So here is my situation: I had a cumulative GPA of a 3.8 and then I transferred the beginning of my junior year. I am entering my senior year and the past two semester at my current school have been absolutely awful for me. My first semester I got a 2.3 and this semester I got a 2.1 (which is not like me at all!). Since I transferred, my GPA at my previous college is completely irrelevant. I made the mistake of taking too many challenging classes every semester at my current school and my GPA suffered tremendously because of it. Prior to this I could have been T14 material (granted I score well on the LSAT). Any advice on what I can do to get into a top school?

    • Meghan, your old GPA is not irrelevant. All those credits will be calculated into your final GPA that gets reported to law schools. However, you have to find a way to stop the bleeding so that things don’t get any worse. Make sure you take classes where you can do well for the remainder of college. Also consider retaking the courses you did worst in if that is an option and you know you can do better this time. The old grade will still stand, but you will dilute it because the new grade will count with as much weight as well.

      Get the kind of good grades you were getting for your senior year and you’ll have a high enough GPA to have a shot at top schools. Do your best!

  141. Hi,

    Thank you for this article and all the feedback! I’ve been worried about my chances at a good law school because my GPA is average and I don’t have a lot of extra factors like international experience or a prestigious internship. I’ve been out of school for three years and have spent it working full time. I didn’t even have plans to go to law school until last year. NYU and Berkeley are my dream schools, NYU for its program and Berkeley because it’s both great and close to home, but I would be satisfied with cracking the T14. Money is a huge factor, but my GPA is middling, so I think I’d have a better chance with money at lower ranked schools

    UGPA: 3.57 from UCLA as a Poli Sci major
    LSAT: 172

    What are my chances in Georgetown, Northwestern, University of Chicago, U of VA, Berkeley, NYU and UCLA?

  142. I am currently a Junior at UC Davis, and am about to start my senior year. As of now I have a fairly low GPA, 2.58, but am really hoping to graduate with at least a 3.0 (idk if thats possible or not, but am pushing for it) am planning on taking some time off to study for the LSATs after I graduate, 1 year max, but am not planning on applying right after I finish my undergrad. Ideally, I’d want to stay in California and am looking at UC Davis as my top law school right now, and was wondering what LSAT I would need to get in/ what my chances are.

    Experience wise, I intern at the District Attorney’s Office and because of that it has really motivated me to go to law school and pursue something within the criminal justice realm. Side not, recently recovering from ACL surgery so the PT appointments along with my new motivation for working in the criminal justice realm is really what has motivated me to go to law school.

    How much do law schools factor in work experience, and personal challenges when applying? Specifically, UC Davis. Also, does it matter if I attended the same school for my undergrad? And do I stand a chance at even getting into UC Davis, or are there any other California schools I should consider?

  143. Hi,

    I am a college junior, going on to senior year, with a 3.2 accumulative GPA and am hoping to score above a 172 on the LSAT. I am a History/Philosophy double major, if that helps my case, and am pretty well versed in symbolic logic. My goal is to get into one of the T14 schools, if I do very well I would like to be admitted into east coast colleges. I just bought the 15 LSAT Prep books that this website recommended and am willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a score above 170. I am not very motivated in school, hence my GPA. But I have a very strong interest in my future as a lawyer which is my greatest motivator. I want to know how much I’d have to study per week. Is 5-6 days with 4 to 5 hours a day good enough? Or shall I do more? Thanks!

  144. HI,

    I am 2 and a half years out of college. I have worked at one disability law firm and now work at a family law firm. I have my recommendations , transcripts, and am working on my personal statement.

    I have a 2.5 GPA, are you saying that in order to have a shot at any law school I would need to score above a 170?

    Right now, certain schools are taking late applications with the June LSAT. My goal was to apply to Suffolk university for their evening program and keep my job, as family law is what I hope to practice. Do you recommend against this? Further, should I just apply to this school since it is so late in the game? I know that other schools are taking late applications as well.

    Thanks

  145. Jazzmine Burch on

    Hi!

    First let me start by thanking you for giving advice on case by case situations.

    I graduated with a 2.99
    I am taking the LSAT in a few months and am aiming for a 165+
    In undergrad, I was accepted into a law school summer institute at UNC where we went to law school classes for a month, studied logic, amongst other things.
    Before we studied, we took the LSAT and I got a 141.
    I figure with some actual studying I can raise my score at least 20 points,
    My goal is to simply get accedpted into a good school, it doesnt have to be in the top 50. I just want to know if you think I have a good chance of getting in with my low GPA.
    Thanks!

  146. Hi Evan!

    Wow, I wish I would have found this site months ago, extremely helpful!

    I just graduated, woohoo! I was a Biology major and wound up with a 2.9 overall. Miscellaneous circumstances resulted in a less-than-desirable GPA. I had never before considered med school, but my senior year I became extremely interested in public health.

    I took a public health course and loved it! I also took an econ and accounting course, because I was originally considering an MHA. Now, I am really interested in Health Law (Malpractice, insurance, government work, etc. etc.). Maybe a JD/MPH or JD/MHA degree?

    However with my numbers and no law experience, what do you think I should do? I am going to be researching/working with a professor very high up in Public Health, so a great rec letter may come out of that. With my GPA and no idea what I would get on the LSAT, have any suggestions?

    Thanks you so much!

  147. Hey I graduated with a 2.45 GPA this year from Penn State with a degree in Political science. I’ve been pretty disappointed with my performance in college. But I know that I can do much better if given the chance in law school. I don’t want to sell myself short anymore. But with this GPA, I doubt that I can get into any law school within New York City. I plan to prepare intensely for the LSAT but do you believe that I have a chance? If so, what more can I do to increase my chances?

  148. Hello! I’m a rising senior at Lehigh. I’m anticipating my LSAC gpa to be 3.1 (department gpa is 2.9) for a degree in chemical engineering and minor in philosophy. I also have multiple research experiences and will be spending this summer working as an intern at an air quality testing-related corporation. Further, I am anticipating a 165 LSAT score. What range of schools should I be looking at?

  149. Hey Josh,
    Wow! I am so glad I found your blog, it had helped me out so much in preparation for my first LSAT. I just graduated from MSU with a double major in Criminal Justice and Art History. I have a 3.0 overall and 3.5 departmental in art history & 3.1in Criminal justice. I just got a job in DC with Americorp, so I won’t start law school until I am done with my first year of service. (Fall 2015) My top choices is Georgetown, UMD & George Mason. I am also open to other law schools as well, what are some of the schools I should be considered and what is the score I should be aiming towards? Thanks so much.

  150. I graduated Community College with a 3.89 GPA

    At community college I served as:

    -Student Body President
    -Student Body Vice President
    -Student Body Defense Council (Defended students accused of academic dishonesty)

    I have worked a few jobs as a sales associate, marketing director and currently I am hopefully going to work as a secretary for an immigration attorney this summer. I am also a Resident Assistant on my hall.

    Currently I am at a 4 year school and I had a really tough semester last year which dropped my GPA to 3.58
    I am fairly positive that I can earn “A”s in my final two semesters in my undergrad which will put me around 3.69-3.7 at graduation.

    I have taken a few practice tests and score consistently in the mid 160s. I am going to study all summer for the September LSAT and I am fairly certain that I can score around 175 once I learn strategy and gain more practice.

    I will also be 19 when I apply to schools because I completed almost my entire AA while in high school and graduated high school when I was 16 (4.13 GPA.)

    Will my age or the fact that I went to community college hurt my application? I am planning to spend a considerable amount of time making my applications “air tight” as well.

    What are my chances of getting into Columbia or other top tier schools?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    JJ

  151. Hi Josh,

    Thanks for all of your posts — they’re EXTREMELY helpful!

    I’m a rising junior majoring in chemical engineering. I will be taking the LSAT next June and applying to law schools the following fall. I’m about to start studying this summer, and I was wondering how I should approach it since I am an entire year away from the exam. The semester I would be taking it is the toughest in my curriculum so I would most likely have to take off in order to get the most out of the three month study plan.

    Thinking ahead, I currently have a 3.56 GPA and I am aiming to reach and maintain a 3.6 by the time I apply to schools. I am an URM (I’m a bit confused as to how much that weighs into admissions) and I’m planing to work my butt off for a 170 on the LSAT. Would anything below a 170 eliminate my chances at a top 10 school?

    Thanks!

  152. Hi!

    Hopefully you can help me answer a rather pertinent question. I’m trying to figure out whether I should take the LSAT in 1 week or wait until Sept.

    Currently, I’m consistently scoring around 175 (+/-). I’m confident given a few more weeks I could pull my score up to 178+ but then I worry I would lose all my momentum before the Sept test. Plus I would like to have a life again.

    I really really really want to do International Trade Law. Like my dream is to either be suing the shit out of China on anti-dumping suits or representing companies/countries in cases brought before the WTO’s DSB (Boeing v Airbus is THE DREAM). As a result, I’m kind of picky about schools that I would go to; if they don’t have a great international law program there isn’t really a point. Columbia would be perfect since their faculty includes Petros Mavroidis and Jagdish Bhagwati (swoon!). But I would also love to go to NYU (Alan Sykes) Cal (Andrew Guzman) or Georgetown (No professors off the top of my head but really interesting postings on trade blogs).

    Anyways, I graduated Princeton with an AB in International Political Economy and 3.24 LSAC GPA (stupid grade deflation)

    I have a couple random awards from college, like being Li and Fung Scholar and have been working as a product manager in tech in Silicon Valley since i graduated. I’m hoping to find a position as a research assistant to some professor in trade before I apply to grad school.

    Anyways, given that profile and my goals, should I wait to take the LSAT until I’m confident I could get a really good score?

    • Just a heads up to those thinking about getting into law school, this is the sort of person that you are competing against (that’s not at all a dis to you Ashep, just pointing out that half-hearted entrants should take heed).

      I have to say I’m not sure what the right course is here. How sure are you that the 178 range is attainable? If you haven’t already poked into that range a few times, I would say it’s far from a guaranteed thing and you are best off just taking the test now. A 175, if you can hit it, is effectively about the same as a 178, in that both scores are over any school’s 75th percentile range. Also, you may make the jump in just this last week anyways. Go with your gut, but I would probably just take the test were I in your shoes.

      With that GPA, Yale and Harvard are already somewhat unlikely to admit you. They are the only schools that look down on taking LSAT twice. That means you can try again for a higher score later if things don’t go perfectly this time, and having taken it once before will not harm you.

  153. I will be graduating Virginia Tech with a very low GPA, around 2.5, I spent 2.5 years in biological systems engineering but disliked it very much which is why i switched into environmental policy and economics with a minor in political science. Since then my IN MAJOR gpa has risen to around a 3.0. I have good intern work experience (worked for a engineering trading company in Middle East, worked as a compliance and legal analyst for the State government). Once I plan on graduating I plan on working for a couple years (potentially Lockheed Martin) before I actually apply to law schools to get another boost to my resume. I am taking the LSAT this fall and on practice tests I am scoring around 170-175. Do I have a shot of getting in anywhere? My gpa is in no way a reflection of my academic intellect

  154. Hey guys–thanks so much for this blog, it has helped me in more ways than you know!

    I hope one of you can please advise me about my GPA/LSAT circumstance. During my first year of undergrad I received two grades that dropped my UGPA significantly (to a 3.42)–my final two years were 3.88 and 3.89. I did not submit two major papers for two of my first year courses because my brother passed away and my cousin committed suicide—all within that time–I became academically disengaged and numb after what happened, didn’t submit assignments. I did not tell my professors or my TAs anything because I did not want to be treated differently and I just wanted to accept the consequences of my academic disengagement.

    I continued studying at London School of Economics after my undergrad and took the LSAT this February scoring 173. After reading the forums and getting a general sense, it appears that I have a low chance of being accepted to many of the T14 schools because of my low GPA–and I am disheartened. I completed by undergrad 5 years ago and I am in a much better place now and in no way is that UGPA a reflection of my abilities (my last two years demonstrate that).

    I worked as a court transcriber for 3 years to pay off my debts and that is where I was introduced to the legal field–made some great connections too. I have published a book, and served as a fellow for various research and social innovation hubs and many other involvements. In your opinion what more do you think I can do to demonstrate that I am a worthy candidate at a T14 law school? Should I write an addendum (would they even read my application with that GPA)? should I aim lower? Would I be a write off because of the GPA? Thank you for reading my long message, I appreciate any advice.

    • Sharpie,

      A 3.42 is really not all that low to begin with. While you might have only a not-so-stellar (but still okay) shot at the top 6 schools, you are very likely to get into several T14s. That LSAT (same score as me!) places you at or over the 75th percentile for every school right now, which is exactly what you needed to do to make up for the lowish GPA. The upward trend in your grades will help, as will your experience. Definitely do write an addendum. They will read it.

      Right now, the Median GPAs are schools are a little high just because there are so few students with good LSAT scores to go around and schools are competing over the ones with good GPAs and so-so LSATs. Don’t worry, they are still competing just as much or more over the ones with good LSATs. You’ll be in good shape. This is why we don’t love the forums: bad info is mixed in with any good.

  155. Hi there. Earlier this year, I graduated with an Economics degree from Ateneo de Manila University, which is easily one of the top two universities in the Philippines. Right now, I haven’t gotten any work experience. I am an American citizen and I would really like to take up law in the US. I am based in California and the law schools I would like to apply to are UCLA, USC, Boston University, Fordham University, and UC Irvine.

    I graduated with a GPA of 2.8 as I did not do well earlier in my college years however my grades went up during my last two years. I am determined to get at least a 168 on the LSAT. I was just wondering if I have a good shot at getting into the above mentioned schools, as I would not want my efforts put to waste. Thank you!

  156. Hello and thank you,

    I have a 3.51 GPA. Additionally, I have three years of experience in internships, political fellowships, and court mediation. I also do community outreach work.

    Although I need more professional work experience, I want to attend Northwestern right after I finish my undergraduate degree at age 23.

    What are my chances? What LSAT score and further work experience would I need in order to have a good shot.

    I appreciate this blog; you guys are a tremendous help.

    All the best,

    Matthew

  157. Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the blog.

    American University: 3.92 GPA (freshman year as a student-athlete)
    Graduated UPenn: 3.52 GPA… BA in Criminology with a Minor in Legal Studies and History

    Interned at 2 different District Attorney Offices in college.
    Military Service for 8 years as an officer.

    I’m not a good standardized test taker and would like to know what LSAT score is necessary to get into a T15 law school (if it’s even feasible with my resume). Ideally Columbia or NYU though.

    I appreciate the help.

  158. Hi guys,
    I’m a rising senior at a smaller private college. I’m a double major in chemistry and classical studies with minors in biology and English. I will most likely be graduating with around a 3.3 gpa. I’ve been very involved in chemistry research, working as a senior operator for the school’s partical accelerator, and working as a TA, and would ideally like to get into a T14 school with the intention of going into IP law. What LSAT score will I need to have a chance, and what schools are my best bets? Thanks so much!

  159. I have a 2.664 GPA and just signed up for the September LSAT and I am about to start my fifth and final year as an undergraduate. I have made my study schedule and am starting to study this week. Law school hasn’t always been my plan, but it has always been part of my possible career choices. What I really want to do is a dual degree program earning my JD and MPH (Masters in Public Health). Of the 145 ranked law schools, only 36 of them off this program. I have had a job all throughout college as well as volunteer experience. Will having either of those affect admissions decisions at all? What more can I do to really succeed and get into a program that has the dual degree program of my choice? Would you advise applying to all 36 of the schools with that program, or should I apply to law schools that don’t offer the program as well, and then later on get my MPH after law school?

  160. I have a 3.2 GPA at a public university with 164 LSAT score. I am looking to go to a school in California ie UCLA, USC, Berkeley, UC Davis. I plan on taking the LSAT again after signing up for a tutor, how much would I have to raise my LSAT to make that realistic?

    I have done alot of extracurricular activities; Nationally ranked college debater, summer legal internship, student government leadership position, founded a successful non-profit event, as well as doing/organizing volunteer projects through a student organization. How much do schools look at these factors compared to the numbers?

    Thanks for the advice!

  161. Hi!

    I’m an URM and I graduated from NYU with a 3.2 GPA back in 2008. I was dealing with some serious depression (we’re talking suicide attempts here) in my second year. I’ve been working full time since I graduated. I was hoping to possibly apply to T14, though I know that’s pretty much shot at this point. I was wondering if I would even have an outside change at possibly Georgetown or somewhere in the top 20, if I score 162+?

    Thank you!

  162. Hi I graduated with a 3.2 GPA from a CUNY with an upward slope and a 3.6 major GPA in political science. Leaving myself with 3 months before the Oct LSAT and signed up for a prep course I feel confident I can score in the low 170-173 range…I live in the NYC area and would love to study and practice the law here. I assume the 173 would be too low for Columbia/NYU. How much of an improvement on my LSAT score would give me a shot at those two elite schools and since I am looking to practice in NYC would it be wise if admitted to Fordham (another school I’m interested in) with $ to attend there over a school of a higher rank because of the alumni in NYC? Thanks for this blog post it provided me with a lot of insight.

  163. Hi,

    I am a Canadian student at a top school completing a specialization in Biology. I only have a 2.9 GPA but I am hoping to raise it in my final year. I want to apply to the US and am wondering how being an international student will affect my chances. As well, I am considering changing from a specialization in Biology to a major in Biology for my fourth year so I can take more electives and raise my GPA. Do you know if switching to a major would actually lower my chances for admission, as I have heard that professional schools prefer specialization or honours specialization degrees?

    Thanks for your help.

  164. I have a 3.65 at the University of Rochester with a major in Political Science. I started out premed which tanked my GPA but my Political Science GPA is around a 3.9. I haven’t taken the LSAT yet but I really want to go to Stanford for law school because my mom works there and I really love the school. Do you think if I get in the 170s on my LSAT I’d have a shot? I’m a student athlete, I’ve had a job every year of college, and I volunteer at a community organization in urban Rochester to help low income workers. I have also interned in my Dad’s law firm the past two summers. I’m hoping to go to a T14 school (my other top choice would be Duke) but I just really love Stanford and want to know if it’s totally unrealistic to hope I could get in.

  165. This article is partially wrong; look up the term splitter. And gpa accounts for more like 25-50% of a law schools decision making process, while your lsat score is usually given more weight.

  166. Hi! I have a 3.42 GPA in English and Pre-Law from the University of Arizona. I’m gearing up to take the October 2014 LSAT, and am currently scoring in the low 170s. Do I have any chance of going to a top 30 school with some scholarship? I’d ideally like to attend one of the California schools. Also, do admissions committees place any real weight on grade distribution? All my lower grades are from freshman and sophomore year, while I earned mostly A’s my junior and senior years. Further, my GPA within my major (3.85) and minors (4.0) are hugely different from my cumulative…does this make any difference?

    Thank you so much for your time! This blog is extremely helpful.

  167. Hi. I have a 3.6 GPA as a biochemistry major and my practice LSATs are around mid 170s. I am hoping to go to a top 10 school but worry that my GPA is too low. I won first place in a few research competitions and was the outstanding honor’s college senior at a major state university this past Spring. I am currently working at a biotech company while getting my master’s in cellular and molecular biology. I want to do biotech patent law. Do you think my awards, LSAT as well as working for a few years in the biotech industry will help me get into a top 10 law school despite my lower GPA?

    • Lauren, I wouldn’t worry about that GPA too much. 3.6 is not that low, and it looks like you’ve got what it takes to overcome. Score in the mid 170′s and you are certainly in at most T10 schools.

  168. Hi, thank you for writing this article and answering questions. It has been an extremely useful source. Anyways im writing because I am hoping to get into columbia, Chicago, Upenn and maybe by some miracle Harvard but, like most people reading this post, my GPA is low. I have a 3.45 gpa (Econ major) and have had a decent upward trajectory, a 3.75 since freshman year, ( without counting my semester abroad I have a 3.37 and 3.7 respectively). I got a 175 on my lsat and have had two summers working at a law firm and will be interning for the Securities and exchange commission this coming fall. Do you think I have a reasonable shot at any of theses schools?

    Thanks so much for any insight you can provide!

    • You certainly have a decent shot at UPenn and Chicago (way better than even odds, I’d say), so don’t despair. Just make sure your application is tight and you should prevail. Columbia might bite as well, and Harvard is a possibility, though a very long shot. Best of luck and let us know if you have any questions during the applications process. Great score by the way!

  169. Hello Josh and Evan,

    As of now my #1 choice is Northwestern Law.
    – GPA, 3.3-3.4, Dual major PHIL/HIST
    – LSAT, taking the Sept 27 test, currently scoring 160-164, hoping to reach 170+ by test day
    – Nearly 10 years of work experience as a 24 year old
    Do you have any tips/advice for an applicant like myself regarding Northwestern Law admissions?

    Thanks!

  170. Nicholas Haigh on

    Thank you for answering everyone’s questions I have been reading through everyone’s own situations to try to gauge my own situation. I completed my undergrad in Dec. 2013 and have been working in the health care field full-time while completing a Master’s Certificate course through the Gillings School of Public Health. I currently hold a 4.0 GPA in the courses at UNC Gillings School of Public Health (#2 in the world). However, my undergrad cumulative is just over a 3.3 with a dramatic upward trend (2.58 freshman year to 3.34 upon graduation). I have also held many jobs in healthcare and the legal field. Where does my LSAT have to be to get into a top program? I am looking to enter a top healthcare law program and pursue a dual J.D./M.P.H. My soft factors on the application seem solid; yet, my undergrad gpa is not where I would like it to be.

    • Nicholas, well the softs do look good, a high LSAT is still generally necessary to get into top programs. Let me give it to you straight: your chances at the top 3 are likely negligible even with a 177-180, and even the top the 6 would be tough. However, things are quite a bit sunnier for you in the rest of the t14. Get a 170 plus score a you’ll have decent chances at Northwestern, Georgetown, and Cornell. 172 or better will give you a good bite at the middle T-14s like UVA and Penn. Best of luck.

  171. anonymous longhorn on

    Hey Evan,
    As with some other people here I didn’t do so well my freshman year. My reasons were more of the messing around and not doing college the right way type which put me at a 2.4 gpa my freshman year. However, in my sophomore year I was able to raise that to a 2.85 and still have two years maybe 2.5 as I switched my major to Economics and have to backtrack a little bit. I feel confident I can reach a 3.35-3.55 range GPA at The University of Texas as an economics major. I feel confident in my natural abilities on the LSAT seeing as it tests some of my better areas, but I have bought prep books and plan on taking prep classes and the such to supplement. My question is what would my chances be to get into a law school worth going to with my gpa and what grades on LSAT would be necessary? I’d prefer to stay top 20, but wouldn’t mind going to an SMU or University of Houston law school.

    • Hey longhorn,

      It happens. Make sure you do everything in your power to get that GPA at least over 3.4. 3.4 seems to be the magical number where it’s still possible to get into top 10 law schools provided your LSAT is high enough. You probably don’t want to go to SMU or U Houston unless it’s on a big scholarship, so really work for the best LSAT possible. You might be best off waiting to focus on it when you are out of undergrad. Keep in touch!

      Evan

  172. By my calculations I have roughly a 3.5 combined GPA. 3.3 while at a community college combined with 3.8 at a state university. Not sure if LSACs calculations will help, hurt or break even as I do have several A+s that I’m hoping will work in my favor. I’m taking the September LSAT and have been scoring in the 168-170 range. I’m wondering what my chances are for T14 schools with these numbers?

    • Those A+s will definitely help, (they count as 4.33). Do everything you can to get some more of those. Anything over a 3.5 is good enough to get you into several T14s is you pair it with a 170+ LSAT. You may even have decent chances with a 168 or 169, but do everything you can to claw your way over in the 170+ region. It can really make a difference with scholarships. Best of luck and keep in touch!

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