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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, to gain admission to Harvard Law School, you will likely need an LSAT score in the 170+ range. An LSAT score in the 170s tied with a GPA over 3.75 will make you a competitive applicant.

The Harvard Law School Class of 2023

Harvard Law School Logo
25th%ile LSAT score of 170,
median LSAT score of 173,
75th%ile LSAT score of 175.

25th%ile GPA was 3.78,
median GPA was 3.88,
 75th%ile GPA was 3.95.

[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 3.95+ and an LSAT score of 175+, 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.

How Does Harvard Handle Multiple LSAT Scores?

Harvard considers all LSAT scores when reviewing your applications.

We consider any information an applicant provides about their scores. If you feel that one or more of your scores is not representative of your capabilities, you may address your concerns in an addendum attached to your application.

SOURCE

Let’s take a closer look at what LSAT score and GPA combination might get you into 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 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 Law School Numbers, it seems that applicants with a 176+ were consistently getting in even with GPAs as low as 3.65.

Is Harvard Law School Harder to Get Into This Year?

Harvard managed to spectacularly stable LSAT/GPA numbers throughout the dip in law school applicants over the past decade. I expect that we are very likely to see a small bump for those applying in 2021/2022, given the increase in application volume. I expect LSAT scores for the class of 2024 to increase, at least back to 2013/2014 levels. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see a 174 median.

Class Of25th %ileMedian75th %ile
2013171173176
2014171173176
2015170173175
2016170173175
2017170173175
2018170173175
2019170173175
2020170173175
2021170173175
2022170173175
2023170173175

Getting into Harvard with a Low LSAT Score

If you hope to have a good result when applying to Harvard Law with an LSAT score around the 25th percentile of 170, it certainly helps to have a high GPA of 3.9 or better to make up for the low LSAT score. With an acceptance rate of only 13%, Harvard is incredibly selective, so anything you can do to stand out from the crowd and improve your odds will help.

If all this seems daunting, remember that Harvard is one of the country’s most selective and prestigious law schools. The Harvard name commands universal respect and probably exceeds Yale Law School in its reputation among laypeople, 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, 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. The likelihood of admission to a black box school so hard to predict is that it’s 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.

If you want to get into Harvard Law, make sure that you maximize your LSAT score by studying with the right LSAT prep books. Although I ultimately decided to attend UChicago, my 177 LSAT score was enough to gain admission to Harvard. I improved my LSAT score by over 20 points, so keep studying.


BONUS: 50 Successful Harvard Law School Application Essays

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16 Comments

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  2. Hey Josh! Thanks so much for posting this article. One question I have about it: I notice in it that it says that based on stats from the last admissions cycle, applicants with GPAs as low as 3.65 have been getting consistently with at 175 LSAT score. The 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile data for GPA and LSAT information does show what the Harvard Law website shows for the statistics for the class of 2021. However, the claim about the 3.65 GPA applicants is based on what was seen from the LawSchoolNumbers website according the to the article. I have just looked up Harvard Law’s profile on the LawSchoolNumbers website, but they are showing class of 2022 data, which shows 3.75, 3.86, 3.96 for the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile GPA information, respectively. From what Harvard Law’s profile on the LawSchoolNumbers website says, is it really true that applicants with 3.65 GPAs are getting in consistently with LSAT scores of at least a 175?

  3. Hello Joshua,

    I am currently considering applying to law school for the fall of 2017. I graduated from my undergraduate program with a GPA just under 3.74 in May of 2015 and immediately entered a graduate program at Northwestern. I anticipate that I will graduate from this program in December of 2016 with a GPA in the 3.8 range.

    How much weight will having a masters degree from a top 15 have in the admissions process? What sort of LSAT score do you think I would need to get into a top 10 law school? And lastly, how long should I study before I take the LSAT?

    Sorry for the long post.

    Thanks in advance,

    Joseph

    • Thanks for pointing this out, Tara!

      The article has been updated to reflect Harvard’s current approach to multiple LSAT scores (and the LSAT/GPA numbers adjusted to reflect class of 2018)

  4. hi.. i am planning on taking the lsat and hoping to get a 170+.. i am from india and have completed my bachelors degree in law here. i stood third in my university but for some reason i wasnt qualified for the university rank. our university gives low grades(highest being 65% an d i scored 63%) and i am presuming that my gpa for applying to law school would be pretty low.. i dont want to ruin my chances of getting into a top law school merely becoz of my low gpa..can you help me out as to how i could overcome this

    • I have the same problem. Im planning to take the LSAT, and my estimate is around 175. Most asian universities give really low grades.

  5. 169 lsat (only take) 3.97 LSAC GPA African American male.

    I have pretty average softs but a average written diversity statement and PS.

    Dream school is harvard, Ivery heard both that I’m a shoe in and that it’s Blackbox so I have no way to know. How would you rate me?