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While this question gets asked all the time, there is no objective answer. Yes, everyone wants to get a stellar score. A 99th percentile score on the LSAT is about a 172, meaning if you get a 172, then you did better than 99% of all test-takers. That’s clearly an excellent score. However, even though most people put in a decent effort to prep for the exam, only 1% of test-takers will hit that or above each year.

The LSAT is a standardized test that law schools use to select candidates for admission. A good LSAT score for an individual depends on the law school they are applying to. The average LSAT score for law schools at the top of the rankings ranges from 167-172. On the other hand, scores of 145-155 are generally good enough to be accepted into less prestigious law schools.

RELATED: LSAT/GPA Medians for Law Schools

A good LSAT score can open up a whole world of opportunities for you. I got a 177 on the LSAT, which changed the entire trajectory of my life. Never underestimate the impact that a few extra points on the LSAT can make!

Click Here to find out how I got a 177 on the LSAT

Luckily, you don’t need an LSAT score in the 170s to achieve excellent outcomes in law school and your career afterward.

A good LSAT score can help get you into a school that provides solid job prospects at an acceptable price.

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Whether your LSAT score can help you get that should be the only consideration as to what makes a score ‘good’. The LSAT is just one of the factors that will determine your admissions chances at law schools, though for better or worse, the LSAT is the single most important part of your application. It’s roughly twice as important as the next most important factor, your undergraduate GPA. For an explanation as to why see our post on why the LSAT matters so much. 

LSAT SCORE RANGES

LSAT Highest Score: 180

LSAT Lowest Score: 120

Scoring high on the LSAT can get you into law school. However, how do you know what score is good? The LSAT is scored between 120 and 180, with 153 being the average score. A good score depends upon the school. There are many factors involved in getting accepted to law school, including GPA, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, work experience, and personal statement.

The highest possible score on the LSAT is a 180 and the lowest possible score is a 120. The average is about 153. These are ‘scaled scores’ that are determined from your ‘raw score’, which is the number of correct responses you give.

153 would mean you got about half of the questions right. A 170 or better usually requires getting all but 10-12 questions right. Contrary to popular belief, the test isn’t curved.

A 160 or better is a good score that will get you into a lot of law schools. Anything over a 168 or so, paired with a decent GPA, might give you a shot at going to the countries most elite schools, those that carry a strong national reputation such as Cornell, University of Chicago, Harvard, and the like. A 175 or better will be a very strong LSAT at any school, even at Yale (the most difficult law school to get into).

Whether an LSAT score is good enough for the top law schools also depends on your GPA. Your GPA matters because the lower it is, the higher your LSAT may need to be to have a strong chance of getting into your desired school.

Ideally, you want both your LSAT and GPA to fall within the 25th-75th percentile ranges for a school to be considered a competitive applicant. Being above both LSAT and GPA medians makes you a very competitive applicant. You measure this by looking at the school’s numbers for whatever class enrolled most recently.

However, the LSAT is incredibly important to the law school admissions process. Though estimates vary a little, the consensus is that about 75% of whether you get into X law school is determined by your LSAT score alone. Thus, to a large extent anyway, a high LSAT can often override a somewhat sub-par GPA. For more details on that, see our post on getting accepted with a low GPA.

This article covers the LSAT scores you need to get into the top 14 law schools. The top 14 is an informal category of schools that have always sat atop the US News and World Report rankings since they began in the nineties. These schools are all dominant in their regional market and enjoy a solid national reputation, meaning graduates are readily employable anywhere.

We will also discuss how confident you can be about getting scholarship money with certain scores.

What is a Good LSAT Score for the Top Six Law Schools?

What is a good LSAT score for getting into the top 6 (T6) law schools in the country (UChicago, Columbia, NYU, and the holy trinity of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford)?

I am going to propose a new name for the T6: “170 Land.”

If you want to get into a T6 law school, you need to aim for a 170+ LSAT score to feel confident about getting accepted to a T6 law school. Though UChicago, Stanford, Columbia, and NYU all have 25th percentile LSAT scores just below 170, most students at T6 law schools got in with a 170 or better.

However, common wisdom is that no LSAT score & GPA combo guarantees a mere mortal admission to Yale, Stanford, or, to a slightly lesser extent, Harvard. This is why these schools are known as “black boxes”: they tend to have a surplus of candidates with great LSAT and GPA numbers, so they must differentiate between them on some other basis.

A great LSAT score and GPA are necessary, but not sufficient, to guarantee admission at Harvard/Yale/Stanford (HYS). A candidate’s soft factors, such as work and life experience, assume a larger role in making these “tie-breaker” decisions. Evaluating soft factors is, of course, much more subjective than comparing LSAT and GPA numbers, which makes admissions decisions at these schools much harder to predict.

If you have a good score on the LSAT and grade point average, it is easier to get into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford. But if there are two people with the same score and grade point average, the person who has done interesting things with their life will have a better chance of being accepted into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford.

It is hard to get into Harvard, Yale, and Stanford because a high LSAT score and great grades are not always enough. Ideally, you’ll have other things, like extra-curricular activities. Some people get in even though they didn’t do so well in the classroom.

Simply put, you need great numbers, but that might not be enough.

Columbia and UChicago are also somewhat “black-boxy” as well, though not nearly as much as the top 3 schools, and NYU is commonly viewed as being substantially less of a black box than the rest of the T6 schools.

Putting aside the issue of unpredictability, let’s look purely at the numbers for the T6:

School75th Percentile LSAT Score25th Percentile LSAT Score
Yale175170
Harvard175170
Stanford173168
Columbia173169
UChicago172166
NYU170166

To go deeper into these numbers, we will take a snapshot of my Alma Mater, The University of Chicago. Even though UChicago’s 25th percentile LSAT score looks somewhat low (166), keep in mind that most of the class had at least a 170 LSAT score. Most of the successful applicants with LSAT scores in the 166-169 range were likely high GPAers as well. There may also be some early decision admits or early-cycle applicants with strong soft factors thrown in there too.

In general, students with LSATs in this 167-169 range tend to accept offers from T6 schools at a very high rate than their 170+ peers (who often get several offers from schools in the T6). Therefore, schools need to admit far fewer students overall in this lower range.

So if we take a look at LawSchoolNumbers for LSAT scores it took to get into UChicago, the picture for sub-170 applicants is somewhat bleak. The most recent graph showing applicant scores (based on user-submitted data) shows no admitted students with GPA below 3.6. I give this as an example to explain why the T6 is justly dubbed ‘170 Land.’

Given that a 170 puts you in the 97th percentile of all LSAT takers, it’s easy to see why the T6 schools are hallowed ground.

At the very top of the pack, we have Yale and Harvard, which have 25th percentile LSAT scores right at the 170-mark. Count on having a tough time getting into those schools without a high GPA (3.75+) and LSAT above 170. Only with a 175 or better do we start to see some successful applications with a GPA below 3.7.

With all that said, these schools do take students in these lower ranges. If you are shooting for a “reach” school (one where your numbers are both below median), focus on crafting a superb application and personal statement, then give it a shot. If you have the right set of ‘soft factors,’ things like great work experience and other distinctions, the school might take you regardless of slightly weak numbers.

Scholarship Money at the Top 6 Law Schools

First, a note on scholarship money in general: by and large, scholarship money is not given out from some sense of magnanimity. Law schools use scholarship money to attract the students necessary to maintain their ranking in the USNWR.

Schools spend money to attract the best students to their school. They do this by offering them scholarships. This makes it more likely that these students will go there.

Most of this money attracts students towards the front edge of who they think they can get: the high-quality students who would likely go to better-ranked schools unless they get some money.

Further, some scholarship money is awarded to average applicants — those with LSAT/GPA numbers between the school’s 25th and 75th percentile goalposts — to keep up acceptance rates.

Schools have less need to give money to students who have LSAT and GPA numbers around (or below) their 25th percentiles since those students will typically matriculate in sufficient numbers without such enticement.

The traditional wisdom is that you want to hover around the 75th percentile numbers for the target school if you want to get scholarship money. Luckily you don’t necessarily need both 75th percentile LSAT and GPA because they can mix and match students to get the numbers they want.

Thus, for T6 schools, the LSAT score good enough to give you a strong shot at a scholarship offer will be in the 171-173 range, depending on the school. Receiving this LSAT score places you in the 99th percentile of all those taking the LSAT, so it should be somewhat apparent why schools use the money to draw these students in… there aren’t many such students to go around.

Students with numbers above the schools’ medians also have a relatively good shot at scholarships. Schools offer these students money to get them to come and help prop up ‘yield,’ the ratio of students accepting offers to offers made. This increases the school’s apparent selectivity, which helps them in the rankings.

Good LSAT Score for Penn, Virginia, Berkeley, and Michigan- The Middle T14

75th Percentile LSAT Score25th Percentile LSAT Score
Penn170163
Virginia170163
Berkeley168164
Michigan170164

What is considered a good LSAT score for Penn, Virginia, Berkeley, and Michigan?

Berkeley was traditionally considered an outlier among the T14 for the greater emphasis they place on GPA. While this appears to be their practice still, they are very close to their peer schools, having a 25th percentile at 163 and a 75th at 170. So any high side 160s LSAT score might be good enough for Berkeley.

Berkeley is further notable, however, because if you look at user-submitted application data on LawSchoolNumbers, there are a fair number of applicants getting accepted with scores in the lower LSAT range for the school without a stellar GPA to balance it out. If any school in the T14 can honestly boast that they look at the total applicant, not just their numbers, it may be Berkeley.

The other schools in this group have a more traditional hard-line whereby the lower the LSAT is, the higher the GPA necessary to balance it out. Perhaps the big difference between these schools and those above them is that LSAT score-wise 170+ scores give you a great shot of admittance even with a relatively low (~3.5) GPA. 172, in particular, looks like the magic bullet. A 172 is a good (great even) LSAT score for the middle T14, and it will probably draw some scholarship money offers.

Higher and perhaps you start to run into what is called ‘yield protection’: schools will tend to waitlist rather than accept students they feel are perhaps out of their league and wait for a further show of interest on the applicant’s part before admitting them. Note that being waitlisted in such a situation may mean you are in an excellent position to get $$$ from the school if you show heavy interest. Hovering in the 169+ range here should be enough to see some scholarship offers from the middle T14 schools.

Good LSAT Score at Duke, Cornell, Northwestern, and Georgetown- The Rest of the T14

The story here is much the same here as at the tier above, and it is clear that the bottom T14 schools (Duke, Cornell, Northwestern, and Georgetown) are drawing from the same part of the applicant pool as the middle T14 schools:

School75th Percentile LSAT Score25th Percentile LSAT Score
Duke170166
Cornell168163
Northwestern170163
Georgetown168161

Northwestern is serious about its emphasis on work experience. Someone who already has demonstrated success in the business world can expect a boost that may make up for a lower LSAT score. That said, such applicants usually boast a high GPA too. Northwestern also is purportedly fond of ‘splitter’ applicants with a high LSAT score. It appears from looking at LawSchoolNumbers that a 172 tends to score an acceptance at Northwestern even with a GPA in the lower 3.0-3.5 range.

At these schools, a 170 or better is again a magic bullet. After that, as the LSAT score goes down, GPA has to go up to balance it for the best chance of receiving a letter of acceptance. Typically, when you hit the 25th percentile for LSAT score, an applicant then needs around 75th percentile GPA to see a good result. So taking Duke as an example, those admitted to Duke with an LSAT score of 166 (the 25th percentile LSAT) typically had a 3.8 or better GPA.

Also, a higher proportion of the people in this lower LSAT range are waitlisted compared to high LSAT/low GPA splitters, indicating that more candidates are applying with high GPA numbers. In other words, high GPA/low LSAT students are less scarce and therefore slightly less in demand. At schools in this tier, it is clearly somewhat better to be applying with the high-end LSAT score (~171) and a slightly worse GPA than the other way around.

This has been a brief tour of the LSAT score game in the rarefied atmosphere of T14 admissions. For a lengthier discussion of law school admissions, you may find it helpful to consult a book on the subject, such as the well-known Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments thread, and I will respond. I hope this helped your understanding of what a good LSAT score for the T14 is!

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39 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I have taken the LSAT twice now (September and November 2018). My scores have been 165 and 166. I was really disappointed, especially for my November one, because I really thought I had improved enough to hit 170, which is my goal. I know I can reach 170, because I was consistently hitting 170+ scores during my practice tests when I was studying for my retake.

    My question is whether I should retake the LSAT in January and work to hit that 170. I attend a small regional university, but have a 4.0 in Biomedical Sciences-Biology degree. I have okay enough extra-curriculars – internship at local civil rights non-profit, president and member of student leadership organizations, research assistant in cancer-research lab on campus, and a few other involvements.

    Ideally, I would love to go to UChicago Law, but I know that if I apply after a January LSAT, I will be pretty late in the cycle and wouldn’t have much of a chance. My other top picks are Columbia, Duke, UT Austin, Virginia, and Cornell, but I don’t think Cornell accepts January LSATs.

    I would have my winter break to dedicate solely to studying. Do you think it is worth it to retake and apply later in the cycle? I am worried that my chances and scholarship opportunities will be much lower in February as opposed to now in December. I know that score is more important than when you apply, but I am still feeling relatively conflicted.

    Any thoughts and input would help and be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks.

  2. Hi thank you for this website! Amazing insights and info.

    Please can you confirm one thing: how does the list of books you have on this site compare to the official books recommended by LSAT? Are they valid for the Oct 2018 LSAT? Also one more question – do the books used matter depending on which country you are taking the LSAT ? Thanks in advance for your reply.

  3. Hi guys,

    My name is Sam I am a graduating senior at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul MN. I have a 3.0 GPA along with that I am a student athlete. My LSAT was a 148. I am taking a year off of school to get some working experience before law school. I just bought the 6 month study guide from you guys and it is super helpful! I am planning to retake the LSAT this September. I am not the best test taker but what do you think I should do in order to get into University of St. Thomas Law or Mitchell Hamline?

    • Hey Sam! Glad you’re finding the 6-month LSAT study schedule to be helpful!

      My first recommendation would be to retake the LSAT, so you’re on the right track already!

      Mitchell Hamline has a median LSAT of 150 and a median UGPA of 3.21

      St. Thomas Law has a median LSAT of 154 and a median UGPA of 3.43

      Your numbers are currently a little low, but with proper preparation I don’t see any reason you couldn’t hit the 154+ mark on your LSAT retake in June. If you’re able to hit that mark, then you’ll have a solid shot at Mitchell Hamline, possibly even with a scholarship offer.

      For St. Thomas Law, which is a bit more competitive, you’d certainly have a shot with a 3.0/154, but if you are able to hit 157+ on the LSAT, that high of an LSAT score would really help to mitigate the below-median GPA.

      I think you’re on the right track. Good decision to take a year off, get some work experience and retake the LSAT in order to get into the best law school possible, rather than simply rushing into law school ASAP.

      Your top priorities need to be LSAT, LSAT and more LSAT! I’ve seen plenty of students improve their scores by 5, 10, 15 points or more. It takes some students longer than others, but I’m confident that with hard work and proper preparation, you’ll have a real shot at your target schools. Keep your head down and focus on the June LSAT! Follow our study schedule religiously and commit yourself to at least an hour or two of prep at least 4 or 5 days a week.

      Our study schedules will guide you through months of consistent, deliberate practice. Stay committed and you can do this!

  4. Hey Dana, a 166 LSAT and a 3.6 is nothing to snuff at. Your undergrad degree doesn’t really matter for law. Certainly hit up the bottom T14 schools- Georgetown and Cornell will certainly accept you but I doubt they’ll give you any scholarship money. Look at Texas, UCLA, or Vanderbilt.

  5. Hi,
    I am a senior at Yale with a GPA of 3.61 ( might improve this year) and an LSAT of 166. I published 2 articles (psychology) and had an internship at a State House. Can anyone give me an opinion, should I even apply to the T14 ?
    Thank you!

  6. Hi guys! Thank you for all those useful information! I love your site!
    So, my questions is: I’m international student, is there any specific advice to study for LSAT?
    Do you know how the law schools deal with international students, for we don’t have GPA?

  7. Hi, guys!

    I am University of Arkansas LL.M. graduate (GPA 3.69). I came to the U.S. year ago. I was licensed lawyer in Ukraine. My goal is to get scholarship at one of the T14 (or T6 if possible). However, my English is still not perfect. What study schedule should I choose to prepare for LSAT?

    I wish you the best.

    Sincerely

    Val

  8. Hey guys! I have a quick question about GPA. When submitting materials to universities do they want your total overall GPA or your GPA from your current University? I’m currently at a 4.0 at my current university but my overall GPA (which includes summer classes at community colleges) is at a 3.91. Does any one know?

    Thanks!
    Averie

  9. Hey guys! Thank you for the fantastic blog!
    Here’s my situation. In the first two years of my undergrad I had no intention of going to law school. As a journalism major I was extremely focused on gaining work experience, which I did. I have compiled a massive list of employment/volunteer/extracurricular work. Consequently, my grades suffered in the first two years of my undergrad because of the amount of outside work I was taking on. I then decided that I did, in fact, want to go to law school. I’m in my fourth year now. My grades in the last two years have significantly improved, but my CGPA suffers because of my subpar grades in year 1 and 2.
    I wrote the LSAT in December 2015. I’m really not sure how I did, but I have a tendency to think the worst of every situation as I deal with a lot of anxiety. I was hoping you could provide me with some sort of direction. I’m really not sure if it’s worth applying right now. What should I do?

  10. Very interesting blog and I realize it’s only focused on the very top law schools (by somebody’s reckoning or other). There are a ton of law schools in the United States. If one truly wants to go to law school, somebody w/a 2.8 GPA and a 155 LSAT will find takers. The economic reality is that the industry as a whole (yes being a lawyer while a “profession” still requires one to have a job) continues to be abysmal. The number of total applicants continues to decrease every single year because nobody wants to have a mortgage (student debt) which does not come with a house. Those graduating from the premiere schools in America likely have a better chance of finding gainful employment but nobody should conclude that just because one went to ANY specific school, a great job is waiting for them upon graduation and passing the bar. Good luck to all.

  11. I have a 3.9 GPA and I just scored a 166 LSAT. I want a shot at the T6 and I’m willing to take the LSAT again to score in the 170s. 1. If I do score in the 170s the second time around, will I have a shot at, say, Harvard/Stanford or even Yale? Also, how would I go about closing the gap to raise my score from the 160’s?

  12. Hi Evan,

    How much do law schools consider the rigor of the curriculum when viewing your GPA? I did quite well on my LSAT (between 171 and 175), but my GPA is on the lower end for T6 schools (~3.6). However, I am an engineering student at a top 15 university. Do law schools consider that, or is it just about GPAs to report for the USN rankings? Thanks!

  13. Hi Josh and Evan,
    Thanks for keeping such a detailed blog. I discovered this last week and have been visiting daily to take in as much information as I can!
    I decided last week to sign up for the LSAT this October when I saw that my state university (University of Connecticut) is developing an Education Law program (I’ve been a teacher for 3 years), I was able to contact the program director and she encouraged me to apply. My undergrad GPA was nothing great (~3.1), while my grad GPA was a 3.99. From what I’ve read, the GPA from my MS isn’t going to be much of a factor. My questions are:
    1) Is the fact that I have a graduate degree and a few years of professional experience in the niche field of law that I’m looking into going to help mitigate the low undergrad GPA?
    2) I did a cold diagnostic and scored a 155 (logic games killed me!). Any idea what I’m looking for to help lessen the blow of the low undergrad GPA? Is high 160s (at minimum) a safe assumption?

    Thanks again for keeping this blog. I’ve already purchased all of the prep books and set up a study schedule based on your recommendations and I’m oddly looking forward to spending the next few months studying!

  14. Hi,

    Thanks for the detailed article!
    I am rising senior, and have only just realized that I would like to go to law school–so, I haven’t exactly spent my undergrad slaving away on my GPA. That being said, I go to a prestigious school and have a 3.75, as well as a ton of soft factors. Assuming that I get a good LSAT score, would I have a chance of getting into a top tier school?

    • Kate,

      It depends on what you consider “top tier.”

      With a 3.75 UGPA, you’ll easily be able to get into at least a few “Tier 1” (top 50) law schools if you end up with a 160+ LSAT score…

      But in order to break into the coveted “T14” (top 14), then you’re probably going to want to aim for a 167+

      It may seem like a daunting task, but trust me… you CAN get your score there. One of our LSAT mastermind group members just accepted a $60,000+ scholarship offer from Northwestern Law School (Rank: #12) with a 170 LSAT & a GPA under 3.5. Before he joined the group, he was prepping in the 150 range.

      Your GPA (3.75) is right around the median GPA at the T14. Aim for an LSAT score at or above median & you’re going to be in great shape!

      For more info on median LSAT/GPA numbers for Tier 1 law schools, check out our list of LSAT & GPA Medians

      Evan and I spend most of our time these days helping LSAT Mastermind Group members achieve their goals, and I’d love to help you achieve yours as well. Let me know if you have any questions about joining the group!

  15. I’m from india, what is the required lsat score for me to pursue a jd in good schools… Please reply me.. Thank you.

  16. William Robson on

    Hi, I was just wondering if you had any advice for foreign students applying to US law school? I went to Oxford (in England), and received a quite high Upper Second Class degree (my average marks were about 67.5, with a first class degree being 70+, but that is skewed by one particularly bad mark). I also have a masters from Cambridge, where I have a similar range of marks. My LSAT was 168, so on the lowish end for the top schools, although I could potentially take again. So do you have any idea where that places me relative to US students? Obviously we don’t have GPA, so there is no way of developing such an exact science, but I did go to a top school so does that help at all? Thanks.

  17. I realized a semester ago, two years into undergrad, that I really want to go to law school, and I have my sights set on Chicago. I visited and sat in on a class and loved it! I’m worried about some things in my past that will jeopardize my chances, though.

    The bad:
    -I don’t attend a prestigious school, and my GPA is bad due to a C & an F in my first semester.
    -My soft factors are weak/nonexistent because I needed to work full-time to pay for school since I blew my financing. I am thinking about picking up some volunteer work, but I don’t know how I’ll get leadership roles in any groups or any prestigious awards before graduation.
    -I have some serious traffic tickets in the past that I’m certain a law school admissions team would frown upon.

    The good:
    -I took my first LSAT after reading one book and taking one practice LSAT. 176! I was so excited. Maybe I could fudge 2 more points next year after taking a class.
    -The school might retroactively withdraw me from my first semester which leaves me with an expected UGPA of 3.6-3.8 (Graduation is still 2 years off)
    -I have not gotten a speeding ticket in a while and I’ve been driving very carefully. They’ll be off my record soon.
    -I think I can attribute most of my mistakes in the past to a diagnosed case of depression and anxiety. I believe I have turned into a great candidate and I’m hoping a well-written personal statement will persuade admissions to see me as someone who has worked incredibly hard to better themselves.

    Obviously, I need to cast a wide net. I’ve read some old information that said Chicago loved splitters, but it looks like that’s not the case anymore. Any idea on whether that still holds true? Any advice on how to improve my chances? Will applying early admit help me in any way?

    I know soft factors aren’t the largest factor, but not having anything on the application will kill me. I’ve considered signing up for the reserves, but I don’t think I can afford to be deployed mid-semester. I’ve also considered getting an MBA and gunning for a management role in work to get some leadership. Unfortunately, I’ve heard nothing you do after undergrad matters, and I don’t want to waste my time… How true is that for Chicago?

    • I really hope that first semester gets wiped off the books because with a 176/~3.7 or better it’s not going to matter much whatever else is going with your application, you are likely going to have a very good cycle. I wouldn’t bother retaking as statistically it just isn’t likely to go well for 175+ takers, and you are over the 75th percentile for every school anyways.

      Why are you so certain they are going to really frown on traffic tickets? If it’s a DUI, that’s one thing, but a little speeding in your youth is no big deal. Write a brief addendum to explain it and point out that you’ve matured considerably since then.

      Having to work full time adequately explains a lack of extracirriculars, and they will understand the situation. Being able to maintain a decent GPA while working speaks well of your potential as a law school candidate. It would have disturbing implications if law schools showed preference to students who do XCs over those who are forced by circumstance to work. Luckily, they show no such pattern of discrimination in their admissions decisions. If you can take on some volunteer work without hurting your GPA, do so, otherwise, leave it alone.

      Right now, Chicago, like every other school, if facing a shortage of applicants with great LSAT scores, so they are competing over the ones with decent LSAT scores and good GPAs. This creates the appearance when you look at class profiles that a super high GPA is all important. It’s not. They still love to snap up the rare high LSAT student when they get a chance. Any LSAT above their median helps them maintain or potentially improve that median. In that sense, they still like splitters (although if you do have a 3.6 or beter, you aren’t a splitter, you are just a strong-as-hell applicant).

      Undergrad prestige doesn’t count for much, so don’t worry about it. A wide range of schools can prepare people for law school, and admissions deans know that.

      An MBA would be a bad idea unless it’s a top 10 or so program, and if you get in there, why bother with law school? All things being equal it’s at least as good a life result. Focus your sights on law school directly if that’s what you want to do. Work experience will help on the margins if you’ve done something great, but lacking leadership credentials isn’t going to hurt you. Again, right now law schools are starving for candidates with decent numbers. You’ll hopefully have great numbers. You don’t have to be perfect in every other respect.

      As far as discussing the anxiety/depression stuff in your application, you might want to avoid it unless it’s needed to explain some major hole in your record (like the low grades if you can’t get them withdrawn). That’s just my opinion, so seek others, but I think it’s best to appear very stable. If you know that stuff is behind you, then you are very stable, so why introduce the appearance of instability for now gain. I struggled with panic disorder throughout junior and senior year of college, and never brought it up on my application.

      Basically I think you are going to be fine. Sorry if this response is a bit disjointed, but you gave me a lot to cover!

      • Wow, thank you so much for your detailed response! I’m a little less concerned about my chances getting in now. I assumed with a GPA under a 3.9 I would be a splitter anywhere good based on the admissions statistics.

        Character & Fitness is definitely still the boogeyman for me, though I suppose there are very few students who don’t pass, or we’d hear more about it. I’m afraid something I’m not even thinking of right now will suddenly pop up. I imagine my circumstances couldn’t be that special, though. I have, I believe, 7 tickets on my record over the course of two years–backing out too slowly, 5 speeding tickets, and an at-fault fender-bender. Ironically, when I consulted with a lawyer at a time at which I might have lost my license, I was inspired to look into this career path. Still, if I clean up my driving record, the improvement should prevent me from failing C&F.

        I might still have to explain my anxiety, though, since I will have a hole in my record, even if I’m retroactively withdrawn–I think I’ll definitely need to explain the withdraws and a semester I took off following . However, it will have been a few years by the time I apply to law school (since that was the beginning of undergrad), and I think if I frame it truthfully–as a very trying situation I managed to overcome–it won’t hurt me any worse than the bad first year would hurt me unexplained anyway.

        Kind of off-topic, it would be helpful if lawschooli.com would do an in-depth post demystifying Character & Fitness. I’ve heard they can somehow check out your medical records, which seems a little weird, but that’s part of why I’m concerned about not disclosing my anxiety.

    • Hi Ellie,

      I’m very curious on what book you used to study for the LSAT? If you could let me know, i would really appreciate it. I’m pretty much in your situation as well. I received a C and 2 B in my first year. If any of your questions were answered, I would really appreciate it if you could give me some insight.

      Thank you,
      Linda E.

  18. Brian JE Pinnegar on

    Might be able to get in some Canadian law schools. They don’t have that ridiculous ranking crap that American law schools have.

  19. Hi,

    I had a 2.8 in undergrad but I was on the varsity baseball team and was captain my senior year. I went to Holy Cross in Worcester, MA which is a extremely demanding school. Balancing baseball and the academics was an unbelievable grind, especially since I was taking courses like Constitutional and International Law. I scored a 173 on the LSAT. I have applied to UPENN, UVA, and Georgetown. Do I have a legit shot at any of these schools?

    • Hi Chris,
      Congrats on the great LSAT score. I had a 173 as well actually. I know Holy Cross well. I had a couple friends who went there, did sports too and yeah, they got worked.
      While nothing is guaranteed, I think you are in pretty good shape to get into at least one of these schools. You’ve already done the most critical part, which is getting a high LSAT. You should certainly apply to more T14 schools (I would apply to every single one from Columbia and Chicago on down). Because you are kind of a wildcard, you don’t know which school is going to bite, so cast a wide net. We talk more about this stuff here: Getting into law school with a low GPA
      Let me know how it goes. Did you write an addendum to discuss the low GPA?