JDizzle2015 wrote:There's a TLSer who currently has ~2.8 GPA who is looking at elite schools (t14, possibly t10 but she has an absolutely amazing LSAT). It's not impossible. However, you will have to destroy the LSAT.
You should be aiming to get perfect grades from here on out if you want to go to a top school or any law school that is worth the tuition but know that your GPA probably only closes doors at the top 11 schools (NU being the law school that is notoriously splitter friendly). 3.0 is definitely a nice threshold to get over but at this point you should be aiming at top schools' 25th%tiles for GPA (i.e. 3.4/3.5ish). GL! Bring those grades up!
D'awww, JDizzle. Thanks for the shoutout <3
OP - you are VERY VERY VERY lucky to be thinking about this when you're in undergrad and still have a chance to change your GPA.
To answer your question about how your grades will be calculated: LSAC includes ALL grades, including for classes you have retaken. So basically if you took Phi 101 and got an F, then retook and got an A, both grades will show up (and will average out to a C GPA). What does this mean? This means that you need to not only ACE the classes you are retaking, but take a lot more classes that you get A's in so that you can balance out the existing Cs/Ds/Fs.
I have a 2.8 (as JDizzle mentioned) and I have these suggestions for you (aka, this is what I would do if I could go back and change my life, lol)
1) IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO CHANGE YOUR GPA. A lot of the reason why my GPA isn't over a 3.0 is because I spent a lot of time underachieving because I thought it was 'too late' to improve my GPA and there was 'no point in trying'. This is NOT TRUE. Bust your ass. Even a 3.0 or 3.2 will be leaps and bounds better than a 2.8 or 2.9.
2) TAKE AN EXTRA YEAR. If you have the funds for it, take an extra year of completely BS and easy classes. Law schools do not care HOW you got your grades, just that you have them.
3) Get work experience. If you're shooting for schools in the T14, a lot of them will not hold your GPA against you as much if you have a few years of WE. Some (ie Northwestern) prefer WE to the point of almost requiring it. Since NU is the only T14 school that regularly takes people with a 2.X GPA, this means that WE is a crucial part of your application as a splitter.
4) GET A 170+ ON THE LSAT! I'm serious here, DO NOT take the LSAT until you think you can score over 170. Retake if you have to. Bust your ass, do what you need to do. The only reason I even have a shot at the top 20 (much less T14 or T10) schools is because I have a 176, which helps balance out my 2.8 GPA. There are tons of resources for this on this forum, so start looking into it as soon as you can.
5) Get your LORs on file and start working on your PS/DS/GPA addendum/Why X essays at LEAST 9 months to a year in advance. I requested my LORs in March, and one of them didn't arrive until October. I was still fixing my PS a year after I started it. As a splitter, you want to apply AS SOON AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN in order to get the best shot at getting in. This means taking the Sept/Dec LSAT BEFORE your cycle, and then retaking in either Dec/June. This also means getting your apps done and ready by early September (I didn't do this, since I retook in October, but IMO it was worth it since I jumped from 169 --> 176. Still though, you want to be in the 17X territory BEFORE October
I hope this was helpful. The most important two things to take from all this text are that you NEED to get your GPA over 3.0 and DO NOT be satisfied with anything less than a 170 LSAT. (: Feel free to ask me any questions, and you can follow my cycle at http://lawschoolnumbers.com/whimsical
(though hopefully you'll have better numbers than me by the time you apply