What LSAT Score Do You Need For Harvard Law?
Although there is no “cutoff” LSAT score that you need to get into Harvard Law School, Harvard only offers admission to a small percentage of its applicants. Therefore, in order to gain admission to Harvard Law School, you are likely to need an LSAT score in the 170+ range. And LSAT score in the 170s tied with a GPA over 3.75 will make you a competitive applicant.
The Harvard Law School Class of 2018 had a 25th%ile LSAT score of 170.
a median LSAT score of 173, and
a 75th%ile LSAT score of 175.
The 25th%ile GPA was a 3.75, the median GPA was 3.86 and the 75th%ile GPA was a 3.96. [source]
If you have LSAT and GPA numbers in this range, Harvard Law School might be an option for you.
Of course, the higher both of those numbers are, the better. If you have a GPA of 3.96+ and an LSAT score of 176+, then you should be confident of a high chance of getting into Harvard. However, because Harvard is so competitive, even applicants with these outstanding numbers would be well advised to apply to at least 5-10 law schools in addition to Harvard.
2016 UPDATE – Harvard now only uses your highest LSAT score: “The LSAT need be taken only once. If you take the test more than once, all scores will be received but we will use the highest score in our evaluation.” [source]
Let’s take a closer look at what LSAT score and GPA combination might get you in to Harvard:
Harvard Law had this to say to potential applicants: “Admission decisions are based on the Admission Committee’s experienced judgment applied to individual cases, and many factors are taken into account. Each application is given a thorough review, taking account of all available information. Because GPA and LSAT scores alone do not fully or adequately summarize information about individuals that is important to admission decisions, these “numbers” often prove poor predictors of admission decisions on individual applications. At no point on the GPA or LSAT scales are the chances of admission to Harvard Law School 0 or 100 percent. Current 75/25 percentiles for both GPA and LSAT scores can be found on the first-year class profile.”
That said, numbers are still the best way to predict success, even at Harvard. Here, as elsewhere, having an LSAT at the 75th percentile is the best way to be reasonably sure of admission provided your GPA is high enough. Looking at data from the last cycle on LawSchoolNumbers.com, it seems that applicants with a 175 were consistently getting in even with GPAs as low as 3.65. I expect Harvard’s 75th percentile LSAT score to stay at 175 during the 2013-2014 application cycle in spite of the fact that applications to law school are still dropping, even at Harvard.
If you hope to have a good result applying to Harvard Law with a GPA around the 25th percentile of 171, you want to have a GPA of 3.85 or better. If all this seems daunting, it is only what could be expected of one of the most selective and prestigious law schools in the country. The Harvard name commands universal respect and probably exceeds Yale Law School in its reputation among lay people, so it is no surprise that they cull from the strongest applicants to law schools in a given year.
However Harvard is serious when they say they look beyond the numbers. Many schools essentially auto-accept almost all applications with LSAT & GPA numbers at or above a certain range. On the other hand, Harvard, along with Yale, Stanford, and (to a lesser extent) other Top 6 law schools typically receive more applications with numbers within their target LSAT/GPA range than they can accept. This tends to make Harvard’s admissions decisions a little more difficult to predict, because they’ll look to factors beyond the numbers to choose between the over-abundance of well-qualified applicants. This makes Harvard what is called in the admissions game a Black Box. What makes the likelihood of admission to a black box school so hard to predict is that that its difficult to say exactly what a school is looking for when making decisions based on ‘soft factors.’ Suffice to say, impressive work experience and other unique, standout credentials will certainly be helpful when applying to schools at this level.
If your heart is set on going to Harvard law, be sure to check out the following recommended reading to help you max out your chances of a favorable decision.
Other Recommended Reading:
- How to Get Into the Top Law Schools (via Amazon)
- The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert (via Amazon)
Also, If you want to get into Harvard Law, make sure that you are maximizing your LSAT score by studying with the right LSAT prep books. Although I ultimately made the decision to attend U Chicago, my 177 LSAT score was enough to gain admission to Harvard. CLICK HERE to learn what I did to get 177 on the LSAT.