What LSAT Score do I Need to Get Into Stanford Law School?


What LSAT Score do I Need to Get in to Stanford Law School?

The short answer is that you need an LSAT score somewhere in the range of 168-173 to get in to Stanford Law School. That is the published range of their 25th percentile to 75th percentile scores last year, meaning that 25% of there students had an LSAT score at or below 168, and 25% had an LSAT score at or above a 173. The rest fell in to the middle. Along with the GPA here are numbers for students admitted to Stanford 2013:

25th%ile Median 75th%ile
GPA 3.76 3.86 3.96
LSAT 168 170 173

Now what does this all mean as the LSAT score you specifically need for Stanford Law School? Well, if you have an LSAT better than 168 and a GPA above 3.76, Stanford Law School is potentially an option for you.

stanford-law-school-logo“If your LSAT is your weak piece, then every other aspect in your file must be strong in order for us to say that the LSAT should lessen in importance.  If your LSAT is strong but your personal statement is poorly written and there is no evidence that you’ve taken any courses where serious writing was required, your file may not get very far.” (Source)

The difficulty is that Stanford is not just any other law school when it comes to determining your chances by the numbers. Because it is one of the top 3 schools, Stanford has far more applicants that meet its criteria than it has seats to fill. Though this is true to some extent at every school, it is way more true at Stanford, whose 9% acceptance rate is topped only by Yale. This acceptance rate is also so low in part because the overwhelming majority of those students who are accepted at Stanford Law School choose to matriculate.

These conditions make Stanford Law School in to what is known in the admissions game as a “Black Box.” In plain speech, this means that while bad scores might break you, good scores won’t necessarily make you. Because way more applicants than Stanford can admit have numbers in the range they are looking for, they will look to other factors to decide whether you will be accepted.

The common belief among many applicants is that discovering the cure for a serious disease or writing a Booker prize winning novel, along with having a good GPA and LSAT, might be enough to guarantee you admission to Stanford Law. While this is obviously somewhat of an exaggeration, the point is that there has to be something about you to gain admittance to Stanford Law. I wish that I could quantify exactly what this certain something is for future applicants but perhaps that is best left to the Associate Dean of Admissions, Faye Deal:

“Forget standing out.  Don’t approach it that way.  Don’t think about a “wow” factor.  No need to do it up in a big and loud fashion.  Instead stop and think for a bit about what it is that you want to convey to me.  We all have stories to tell so your task is really to figure out which story you want to tell me.”

Now here she is discussing how to write the personal statement which is part of the application process. However, the point stands that you don’t need some crazy “hook” such as being an olympic athlete. What you likely do need to be is interesting and you want to come across as such in your application.

Being an interesting person is going to help at any law school, but Stanford more than any other school can really claim to look beyond the numbers and take the whole person in to . The proof of this is in the numbers: because Stanford is an incredibly desirable school (A top 3 school in a place with some of the nicest weather on Earth!) it could easily have the LSAT 25th/75th of Harvard or even better, yet it choose not to.

Nor does it look like this is changing anytime soon. This is from a 2012 blog post by Faye Deal of Stanford Law School admissions:

“I was asked an interesting question about our admissions policy.  Will Dean Kramer’s departure signal a change in the way we review files and make decisions?  Specifically, will we become a school that places a great deal of emphasis on the numbers rather than looking at the entire file?  …[N]o need to worry.  I’ve worked closely with three deans (Brest, Sullivan and Kramer) and not once in all the years of collaboration did we ever think about doing things any differently.  I have no doubt that the incoming dean – from inside SLS or from outside SLS – will see any reason to change our course.  What do we have to gain in comparison to all that we’d lose?”

For more of Faye Deal’s glosses on SLS admissions check out her posts at the SLS Admissions Blog

Meanwhile, if your heart is set on Stanford, remember that while it isn’t Yale, you still need a very high LSAT score (getting a 168 or better is no mean feat!) to have your best chance. Check out some recommended reading for boosting your admissions chances in the law school game, and also remember to post your questions in the comments section!

If you want to get into Stanford Law, make sure that you are maximizing your LSAT score by studying with the right LSAT prep books: CLICK HERE to learn how I got a 177 on the LSAT.


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1 Comment

  1. Hi, Josh. Great article!

    I’m a bit nervous about whether I will be accepted to Stanford and Harvard (the top two schools to which I applied), and am hoping that you can give me your take on my chances.

    A little information about me: I’m a Black male, and graduated in May of 2014 from Kansas State with a 3.33 cumulative GPA. I work in IT for the oil and gas industry, and will have completed about one full year of employment before the fall 2015 semester begins.

    I didn’t decide to apply to law school until mid-November, so I’m definitely one of the later applications. I’m taking the LSAT in February, and on my last five practice exams (under strict time conditions and with a fifth experimental section) I have averaged a 176. Since I’ve got about 5 weeks left, I plan on completing the RC book (I’ve already finished the LG and LR books) and drilling the tougher questions on all three sections. I’m hoping to get my score up to a 177-178 by the date of the test.

    So, do you think there’s hope? I’ve already submitted my applications, but my packet won’t be complete until March obviously. I’m concerned because on Harvard’s website it states that they don’t “normally consider” February LSATs and I’ve heard that Stanford is big on GPA (and mine is well below their 25th percentile). I’m hoping that my URM and non-traditional status will make up for my GPA and timing shortcomings, but don’t know for sure.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your response! Your site has been of so much help to me.

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