T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby jmcali19 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:38 pm

Hi all,

I am applying to law schools and am a bit uncertain if applying this late in the cycle would make sense:

I am AA, first-gen, LGBT, Master of Science (3.5 GPA), 6 languages (including Mandarin, German, etc.), 7 years work experience (mainly in Europe), and have my GPA due to engineering focus in undergrad (I finished in social sciences), so there was an upward trend.

I am aiming for T14 (especially H) am wondering if anyone has any thoughts to share...

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:16 am

Chances are non-existent right now. You might have a shot if you can bring that LSAT score up, but a sub-3.0 GPA can be an application killer, even for AA applicants.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby Kiskeya » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:59 am

*Personally* I would sit out this cycle and aim for a retake. Especially for splitter (high lsat, low gpa) URMs the general consensus is that we should apply earlier in the cycle ad have strong materials. Take that time to get as high as you can on the LSAT and focus on writing strong personal/diversity statements. Also visit lawschoollife to get more responses from URMs.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby BrainsyK » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:24 pm

MyLSN says no one, URM or otherwise, has gotten into any school higher than Penn since at least 2013. Even Penn and the lower T14s have like less than 10% of people being admitted since then. This is even with a 180. I'd set a lower goal than T14. That GPA is just too much of a killer. You could still get in, but I wouldn't expect it.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby LSATWiz.com » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:06 pm

I think being AA gives you a shot, but the softs you bring in aren't really that game-changing. I'd aim for 5 points higher on the LSAT, but it's conceivable the 163 will be enough to get you into a t-14. AA cycles are difficult to predict. What I can say is that if you hit a school's LSAT median, you help their LSAT and URM figure, which makes your GPA substantially less relevant. Although law schools want to admit URM candidates, they want to admit candidates who will be able to compete well on a graded curve. The historical track record of candidates 5+ GPA points and 5+ LSAT points below a school median is not great so the question is not necessarily whether you are impressive (which you clearly are), but whether you will have a decent chance at breaking median. Getting your score closer to their LSAT median will go a long way there, and I would disagree that it is simply a numbers game for AA applicants because schools are willing to dip below their medians for these candidates.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby jmcali19 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:27 pm

LSATWiz.com wrote:I think being AA gives you a shot, but the softs you bring in aren't really that game-changing. I'd aim for 5 points higher on the LSAT, but it's conceivable the 163 will be enough to get you into a t-14. AA cycles are difficult to predict. What I can say is that if you hit a school's LSAT median, you help their LSAT and URM figure, which makes your GPA substantially less relevant. Although law schools want to admit URM candidates, they want to admit candidates who will be able to compete well on a graded curve. The historical track record of candidates 5+ GPA points and 5+ LSAT points below a school median is not great so the question is not necessarily whether you are impressive (which you clearly are), but whether you will have a decent chance at breaking median. Getting your score closer to their LSAT median will go a long way there, and I would disagree that it is simply a numbers game for AA applicants because schools are willing to dip below their medians for these candidates.


I have added 3 pts to my LSAT in the meantime. My softs aren't game-changing? :-/ Speaking 5+ foreign languages, one of the first employees at a successful and innovative early stage startup, and I have worked in Europe's largest government and am now a foreign agent in the US. I am considering retaking the LSAT and aiming for 172+ (plausible, but aiming for 170+ is more realistic)...

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby GFox345 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:20 pm

jmcali19 wrote:
LSATWiz.com wrote:I think being AA gives you a shot, but the softs you bring in aren't really that game-changing. I'd aim for 5 points higher on the LSAT, but it's conceivable the 163 will be enough to get you into a t-14. AA cycles are difficult to predict. What I can say is that if you hit a school's LSAT median, you help their LSAT and URM figure, which makes your GPA substantially less relevant. Although law schools want to admit URM candidates, they want to admit candidates who will be able to compete well on a graded curve. The historical track record of candidates 5+ GPA points and 5+ LSAT points below a school median is not great so the question is not necessarily whether you are impressive (which you clearly are), but whether you will have a decent chance at breaking median. Getting your score closer to their LSAT median will go a long way there, and I would disagree that it is simply a numbers game for AA applicants because schools are willing to dip below their medians for these candidates.


I have added 3 pts to my LSAT in the meantime. My softs aren't game-changing? :-/ Speaking 5+ foreign languages, one of the first employees at a successful and innovative early stage startup, and I have worked in Europe's largest government and am now a foreign agent in the US. I am considering retaking the LSAT and aiming for 172+ (plausible, but aiming for 170+ is more realistic)...


No. Your softs are not game changing. Consider the application process from the law school's perspective. Their ultimate goal is to preserve their ranking on the USNWR list. The lion's share of that ranking is determined by the median GPA and LSAT score of the applicant pool. True, URM status can overcome sub par numbers, but chances are schools in the T14 will be able to find an applicant with a GPA that comes close to or exceeds their median.

It is in that context that you should evaluate what is or is not a "game-changing" soft. Speaking 5 languages, working at a start-up, etc. while impressive, does not make the school whole on its decision to admit an applicant with two numbers below their 25th percentile figures. Moreover, in your case, your GPA is such a red flag that it may defeat your application chances even with a perfect LSAT score. There is always the possibility that a school will admit you based on your major and/or background, but you should not expect that to happen.

Takeaways are: retake, apply to the Top 20 schools and the regional flagships in your area, and see what happens. While you may do well, especially given a 170+ retake, you should be prepared to fall short of your expectations. If that happens, seriously consider whether law school is the right path.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby LBJ's Hair » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:14 pm

Strongly, strongly disagree with above. There are very few black applicants of any GPA range who break 170. I think it's like 100-150 per year, and HYS takes most of them. So every other law school in the T14 is short on high-LSAT score black students. Which they want, because it's predictive of law school success.

If you can get a 170+ on the LSAT, I think URM + Ivy undergrad + engineering + LSAT score indicating you're a sharp dude/gal will absolutely get you into multiple T14s. Anecdotally, have a friend at a T6 law school with a similar profile - URM, Ivy, STEM, low 3.0 GPA. Yes your GPA is bad, but you have the profile of someone a law school desperately wants to admit. The LSAT score will push it over the top.

Good luck!

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby albanach » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:00 am

LBJ's Hair wrote:Strongly, strongly disagree with above. There are very few black applicants of any GPA range who break 170. I think it's like 100-150 per year, and HYS takes most of them. So every other law school in the T14 is short on high-LSAT score black students. Which they want, because it's predictive of law school success.

If you can get a 170+ on the LSAT, I think URM + Ivy undergrad + engineering + LSAT score indicating you're a sharp dude/gal will absolutely get you into multiple T14s. Anecdotally, have a friend at a T6 law school with a similar profile - URM, Ivy, STEM, low 3.0 GPA. Yes your GPA is bad, but you have the profile of someone a law school desperately wants to admit. The LSAT score will push it over the top.

Good luck!


If you're going to disagree, back it up with some evidence.

For URMs with a 3.0+ GPA and a 170+ LSAT, Y&S reject more than half, H rejects two fifths.

Image

For the couple of candidates with sub 3.0 GPA, the outcome wasn't good with respect to T14 admission.

With a GPA between 3.0 and 3.4, no one got in to YS, and only 15% were accepted to H.

Image

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby nixy » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:13 am

“URM” and “AA only” have different outcomes on mylsn.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby LBJ's Hair » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:18 pm

Think you misread my post? I said HYS take most black applicants with LSAT scores above 170+, period. Not most with LSAT scores above 170+ and bad GPAs. Most black applicants with LSAT scores above 170+ aren't extreme splitters like OP.

My point wasn't that OP is going to get into HYS. He's probably not. It's that if he breaks 170+ on the LSAT, he is absolutely getting into multiple T14s. Which your data confirms?

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby Sprinkler » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:06 pm

As doubtful as this is, if you are accepted to any school ranked in the top 30. Let us know.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby albanach » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:49 pm

nixy wrote:“URM” and “AA only” have different outcomes on mylsn.


It does, but there's not enough data on AA only to be really meaningful here. It's easy to click on the links for both charts and set it to AA only. For Y there's a small boost, whereas for S and H there's a decreased acceptance rate.

Image

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby albanach » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:55 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:Think you misread my post? I said HYS take most black applicants with LSAT scores above 170+, period. Not most with LSAT scores above 170+ and bad GPAs. Most black applicants with LSAT scores above 170+ aren't extreme splitters like OP.

My point wasn't that OP is going to get into HYS. He's probably not. It's that if he breaks 170+ on the LSAT, he is absolutely getting into multiple T14s. Which your data confirms?


Well, let's try and keep the thread relevant to OP.

My data confirms nothing of the sort. There is no data:

Image

Even if we stick with all URM's, not just AA, there's only two data points and neither bode well for OP.

Image

Everyone knows that a sub 3.0 makes entry to a top school extremely difficult. Personally I think OP's cycle is entirely unpredictable. They likely need to apply to every school in the T-20 and then every school in a desirable geographic location between 20-50. And they can expect everything from zero dollars to, perhaps, six figure offers that bear no relationship to the rank of the school making the offer.

With all that said, switching the graph above to all rather than URM suggests OP might have a shot at UVA. I have no idea why it's an outlier here.

Image

UVA does like ED applicants. Even better if OP was in-state. Question is, would they mind paying sticker?

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby LBJ's Hair » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:26 pm

The image data isn't working but run AA only, 170+ LSATs, from the 2.0 - 3.1 range, going back since 2001. I.e. including some of the most competitive admissions periods ever. 100% admissions at GULC, 86% at Northwestern, 86% at UVA.

I feel like you're being deliberately obtuse about this. AA cycles are just totally different, and the data bears this out. And given that OP has any Ivy STEM degree and will tell a cool startup story..like, there's no universe in which s/he's not getting into at least one T14, probably multiple. You're out of your mind if you think this guy/gal needs to dip to 20-50 rank schools.

OP, once you break 170, if you've got it spend $2K on Spivey or one of the other admissions consultants to make sure you've got a good personal statement, and I'd bet my life's savings you're not dipping below GULC.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby albanach » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:45 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:The image data isn't working but run AA only, 170+ LSATs, from the 2.0 - 3.1 range, going back since 2001. I.e. including some of the most competitive admissions periods ever. 100% admissions at GULC, 86% at Northwestern, 86% at UVA.

I feel like you're being deliberately obtuse about this. AA cycles are just totally different, and the data bears this out. And given that OP has any Ivy STEM degree and will tell a cool startup story..like, there's no universe in which s/he's not getting into at least one T14, probably multiple. You're out of your mind if you think this guy/gal needs to dip to 20-50 rank schools.

OP, once you break 170, if you've got it spend $2K on Spivey or one of the other admissions consultants to make sure you've got a good personal statement, and I'd bet my life's savings you're not dipping below GULC.


The image data works fine here. Maybe you need to refresh.

OP very well may get into one or more T14 schools if they break 170 (something 98% of test takers don't manage). It may also be at sticker.

It's absolutely reasonable to suggest that someone who can go to school for free at a T1 but might have to pay >$250,000 with interest to attend a T14 apply widely. Indeed it borders upon recklessness to suggest otherwise.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby LSATWiz.com » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:11 am

I agree that a 2.8, 170 black applicant will probably have good outcomes but the data size is going to be very small. The # of 2.8/170 applicants is small. Most college grads have a GPA above a 3 and most applying to grad school have even higher GPA's. Splitters also aren't as common as you'd think based on these forums, and I think a disproportionate amount are likely to post on forums like this. So just a 2.8/170 already presents a relative small sample size. Now, toss in being a black applicant and the statistical data indicating only a minuscule percentage of these test takers break a 170 (think one in thousands) and we're dealing with an even smaller sample size. I'd be surprised if more than 1 student every 2 or 3 years has this numerical profile, which is going to severely limit the applicability of any data or predictor.

What I can say is that by breaking a 170, OP is valuable to a law school in multiple ways and a 2.8 vs. a 3.5 really makes no difference for T-14's from a rankings standpoint. When we toss in the facts that (1) law schools actively want more racial diversity but (2) don't want to accept people who won't be able to compete against the curve and (3) the fact a 170 suggests OP wouldn't be coming in at an intellectual disadvantage, I think it's very possible they'd get many t-14's with scholarship money. It's just not easy to predict.

I think where softs come in handy are in situations where a school is choosing between two candidates who both have one number below the median. In these situations, it's more likely having great softs will make someone with a 2.8 more attractive than someone with a 3.2. The issue is most young people tend to exaggerate the value of their accomplishments.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby Thelawsklkidd » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:12 am

LBJ's Hair wrote:Strongly, strongly disagree with above. There are very few black applicants of any GPA range who break 170. I think it's like 100-150 per year, and HYS takes most of them. So every other law school in the T14 is short on high-LSAT score black students. Which they want, because it's predictive of law school success.

If you can get a 170+ on the LSAT, I think URM + Ivy undergrad + engineering + LSAT score indicating you're a sharp dude/gal will absolutely get you into multiple T14s. Anecdotally, have a friend at a T6 law school with a similar profile - URM, Ivy, STEM, low 3.0 GPA. Yes your GPA is bad, but you have the profile of someone a law school desperately wants to admit. The LSAT score will push it over the top.

Good luck!



I just wanted to let you know most of this is FALSE. HYS have HARD gpa floors. You can see this in the fact that the lowest gpa either of them accept is ~3.4, regardless of lsat. A 180 and a 3.3 isn’t getting ANYONE into HYS. MyLSN will show time again it’s better to be a 4.0/160 AA applicant than an AA applicant w a 180/2.9. This applicant exemplifies this, where not even Florida would bite: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/VegasMan23, whereas a165/3.8 combo is damn near guarantee NUI/Columbia according to mylsn.

Further, less than 30 black people score 170+ a year (source: http://www.jbhe.com/news_views/51_gradu ... _test.html). Hence, scoring in the top 10%ile of lsat is equivalent of being in above the top 1% for African American test takers, which is why gpa is so important for us. Odds are - we are below median on lsat, so there has to room to “give” so to speak. The LSAT is a singular test showing some relevant skills, but does not replace 4 years of hard work excellent grades require. That is why a 2.9 is generally an app killer, and a 160 isn’t. The 160/3.8+ applicant is much less of a red flag. I agree with the user saying to definitely shoot your shot, but lower your expectations. Unless you have something on your resume they can brag about on a class profile (Rhodes scholar, Olympic medalist...), your softs will not move the needle.
Last edited by Thelawsklkidd on Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby Thelawsklkidd » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:18 am

Also, to the point of “competing against the curve,” the LSAT is only relevant for admissions. Once you’re in, no one cares. Many, MANY folks I know got in to t14s below medians and are excelling far above median at their choice schools. A 165 v a 173 sounds impressively different, but it’s still the top 10 percent - not a wild amount of variation in ability, imo, with that in mind. That’s the different between 10 or so correct answers, under timed conditions that you won’t really ever experience again.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby LBJ's Hair » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:36 am

Thelawsklkidd wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:Strongly, strongly disagree with above. There are very few black applicants of any GPA range who break 170. I think it's like 100-150 per year, and HYS takes most of them. So every other law school in the T14 is short on high-LSAT score black students. Which they want, because it's predictive of law school success.

If you can get a 170+ on the LSAT, I think URM + Ivy undergrad + engineering + LSAT score indicating you're a sharp dude/gal will absolutely get you into multiple T14s. Anecdotally, have a friend at a T6 law school with a similar profile - URM, Ivy, STEM, low 3.0 GPA. Yes your GPA is bad, but you have the profile of someone a law school desperately wants to admit. The LSAT score will push it over the top.

Good luck!



I just wanted to let you know most of this is FALSE. HYS have HARD gpa floors. You can see this in the fact that the lowest gpa either of them accept is ~3.4, regardless of lsat. A 180 and a 3.3 isn’t getting ANYONE into HYS. MyLSN will show time again it’s better to be a 4.0/160 AA applicant than an AA applicant w a 180/2.9. This applicant exemplifies this, where not even Florida would bite: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/VegasMan23, whereas a165/3.8 combo is damn near guarantee NUI/Columbia according to mylsn.

Further, less than 30 black people score 170+ a year (source: http://www.jbhe.com/news_views/51_gradu ... _test.html). Hence, scoring in the top 10%ile of lsat is equivalent of being in above the top 1% for African American test takers, which is why gpa is so important for us. Odds are - we are below median on lsat, so there has to room to “give” so to speak. The LSAT is a singular test showing some relevant skills, but does not replace 4 years of hard work excellent grades require. That is why a 2.9 is generally an app killer, and a 160 isn’t. The 160/3.8+ applicant is much less of a red flag. I agree with the user saying to definitely shoot your shot, but lower your expectations. Unless you have something on your resume they can brag about on a class profile (Rhodes scholar, Olympic medalist...), your softs will not move the needle.


The limited data available does not bear this out. Re-run the search I mentioned earlier in the thread. GULC has never rejected an AA applicant with >170 and 2.0-3.1 GPA. Ever. You mentioned Harvard having a "GPA floor" of 3.4 - again, not true according to the data available.

In the example you gave, this guy applied in *March*, never sent T14 apps, and didn't get a STEM degree at a top Ivy. In most cases it doesn't matter where you went to school...but for a massive splitter URM applicant? "I went to the most selective school in the country and majored in an incredibly tough subject. Oh by the way, I'm massively underrepresented in this field" is an incredibly powerful narrative.

Would a non-URM applicant get a similarly close look? Probably not, because there are other applicants with otherwise identical profiles with 3.8s. But OP is suis generis. And if you look at a decade's worth of AA cycles, you'll see that they do well. OP is probably not getting into Harvard, but hey, most of us won't. If he applies on time and writes a good personal statement, he's certainly not going to hav to settle for Florida.

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Re: T14 Chances - 163, 2.8 GPA (top Ivy ugrad, engineering)

Postby Thelawsklkidd » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:26 pm

Perhaps I came off strong - I was focusing more on OP's HYS aspirations, but it looks like only NYU and below are possibilities, given the limited data and GPA... maybe the Ivy league degree will be given more leniency, though. Also, again, no sub 3.0s have been admitted to HYS since 2003 according to mylsn, so perhaps the floor is 3.0. I'm sure at least one would bite in 7-14 range - it looks like really only Gtowm UVA and Northwestern are forgiving for AA splitters with sub 3.0s, but all the other t14s haven't appeared to admit a =<2.9 in any recent years. Data is limited, of course, and I do recommend OP to shoot his/their/her shot... but it's still not looking great. Not to mention the difficulty of going 163 --> 170+.



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