LSAC GPA for Transfer Students?

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scho24
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LSAC GPA for Transfer Students?

Postby scho24 » Tue May 19, 2015 12:30 pm

Hi,

I transferred after my 2nd year of undergrad to another institution with a completely different major.

I went from being a Biological Anthropology major with a 3.2 GPA to being a International Relations major with a graduating GPA of 3.75

This is obviously a huge jump, but i was wondering how LSAC will calculate their GPA in their system? I know i have to report both transcripts but I heard from somewhere that for transfer students, LSAC will calculator a cumulative GPA (combining both transcripts) and a "graduating gpa"

Is this true? And should i pick which law schools to apply to based on my graduating GPA or cumulative? Also, is this worth of explaining in an addendum?

Thanks for all your help!

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haus
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Re: LSAC GPA for Transfer Students?

Postby haus » Tue May 19, 2015 12:42 pm

Yes you will need to send in all transcripts (for me it was ~11 transcripts). They will all be calculated together to determine your LSAC GPA.

The package that LSAC will send to all the schools to which you apply will include all of your transcripts, but for most schools the LSAC GPA is what seems to matter the most (other than your LSAT score). I doubt an adendum would be needed. Although you might want to ask this in one of the thirds where adcoms offer advice (such as the Spivy thread).

There has been very little discussion recently, but a few years back there was talk of a small handful of schools that focused on Degree GPA vice LSAC GPA, but none of these schools are at the top of the spectrum.

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LawsRUs
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Re: LSAC GPA for Transfer Students?

Postby LawsRUs » Tue May 19, 2015 2:48 pm

I used this calculator before I sent in my transcripts to LSAC: http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/wp-co ... ulator.htm

It ended up being accurate. GL

SPerez
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Re: LSAC GPA for Transfer Students?

Postby SPerez » Tue May 19, 2015 3:20 pm

The coverpage to your LSAC report, which all law schools receive, does indeed have two GPAs calculated. One is the "LSAC GPA", which is a combination of pretty much every single course you have ever taken from/through a school that grants post-high school degrees (AA's on up). If you have more than 60 hours at your degree granting school, you will also have a "Degree GPA".

The only one that matters for the purposes of statistics (including USNWR) is the LSAC GPA. That is the one schools are required to report and is used for all the 25/median/75 numbers you see schools publish.

Now, that doesn't mean the other GPA is ignored. It's "considered" the same way everything else in your file is considered. In your case, the fact that you transferred and changed majors isn't really any different than someone who had a similar improvement changing majors within the same school. Schools will take into account what major you were, what you switched to, the rigor of each school, etc.

This all considered, as always, within the context of the rest of your file, i.e. LSAT score, writing ability, etc. Writing an addendum couldn't hurt. I usually advise them, if only so that you can at least put the improvement in your own words, cast in a light most favorable to you. Otherwise, you're more at the whim of the assumptions all the various adcoms make and how they choose to view the change in grades.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law

scho24
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 10:59 am

Re: LSAC GPA for Transfer Students?

Postby scho24 » Tue May 19, 2015 5:32 pm

SPerez wrote:The coverpage to your LSAC report, which all law schools receive, does indeed have two GPAs calculated. One is the "LSAC GPA", which is a combination of pretty much every single course you have ever taken from/through a school that grants post-high school degrees (AA's on up). If you have more than 60 hours at your degree granting school, you will also have a "Degree GPA".

The only one that matters for the purposes of statistics (including USNWR) is the LSAC GPA. That is the one schools are required to report and is used for all the 25/median/75 numbers you see schools publish.

Now, that doesn't mean the other GPA is ignored. It's "considered" the same way everything else in your file is considered. In your case, the fact that you transferred and changed majors isn't really any different than someone who had a similar improvement changing majors within the same school. Schools will take into account what major you were, what you switched to, the rigor of each school, etc.

This all considered, as always, within the context of the rest of your file, i.e. LSAT score, writing ability, etc. Writing an addendum couldn't hurt. I usually advise them, if only so that you can at least put the improvement in your own words, cast in a light most favorable to you. Otherwise, you're more at the whim of the assumptions all the various adcoms make and how they choose to view the change in grades.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech Law



Hello Dean Perez,

Thanks so much for insight. I just had one follow up question. How much time do adcoms spend reviewing the actual transcripts and course loads?

I ask because when I was at my first institution, my classes consisted mainly of the natural science courses i.e. biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, molecular biology, etc. My 3.2 GPA was more a reflection of the rigor of those classes, but also the fact that the natural sciences just wasn't for me.

On the other hand, I transferred and started to take classes in a new major and found a passion and my grades reflect that with a huge improvement.

Will adcoms notice that I found what was right for me and made the appropriate changes to accommodate that realization?

I imagine again, this where an explanation in an addendum can work in my favor?

SPerez
Posts: 400
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Re: LSAC GPA for Transfer Students?

Postby SPerez » Wed May 20, 2015 9:35 am

scho24 wrote:Hello Dean Perez,

Thanks so much for insight. I just had one follow up question. How much time do adcoms spend reviewing the actual transcripts and course loads?

I ask because when I was at my first institution, my classes consisted mainly of the natural science courses i.e. biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, molecular biology, etc. My 3.2 GPA was more a reflection of the rigor of those classes, but also the fact that the natural sciences just wasn't for me.

On the other hand, I transferred and started to take classes in a new major and found a passion and my grades reflect that with a huge improvement.

Will adcoms notice that I found what was right for me and made the appropriate changes to accommodate that realization?

I imagine again, this where an explanation in an addendum can work in my favor?


I can't speak for every reviewer at every school, but the adcoms at the schools I have worked for have almost universally looked closely at transcripts. Based on the other schools I've seen certain applicants get into, though, it leads me to believe that most reviewers at most schools either don't look at them or don't care what they say. For example, me and my staff seem to catch a lot of small mistakes, errors, missing transcripts, etc. that should require addenda at any school, but then applicants tell us we're the only school that has noticed or asked them for clarification.

I say this all the time...CONTEXT matters. If someone has a 4.0, I'm not really looking over the transcript with a fine toothed comb unless there's some reason to. Situations like yours are examples of when I would look more closely. The LSAC CAS cover sheet breaks down your GPA roughly by years at each school (those sheets have a TON of info) so a quick glance is all it takes to see if a student had a drastic upward or downward trend, bad semester, etc. That would be my signal to look more closely at the actual transcript to see what the deal was.

Law schools are filled with students who started pre-med or engineering (like myself), did poorly, then changed majors and improved. GPAs are basically proxies for things like general intelligence, ability to learn, work ethic, study skills/habits, etc., so insomuch as a bad one indicates you lack those things, having a few years of good grades can help your "argument" that you indeed possess those skills. It's not as good as having a 3.8 all through school, but it sure beats having a 3.2 all through school.

"Science was hard" isn't usually a convincing argument, although law professors and adcoms are also filled with people who don't do science so most of them would totally understand and by that argument. "I wasn't happy/interested" can also sound whiny, but is also understandable. It's all in using those writing skills we always say are important to walk that line in tone so your addendum doesn't come off negatively. Your story is pretty common and, from what you've said, doesn't sound particularly unique so I don't think your addendum would need to be longer than half to 3/4 of a page.

Personally, one of my biggest pet peeves is when there are huge trends or anomalies in transcripts that the applicant doesn't explain.




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