Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

BetterLateThanNever1
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Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby BetterLateThanNever1 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:40 pm

Yes, I'm sure this question has been posed many times before. But earlier today I participated in an NYU online admissions Q&A, and they said that they average LSAT scores. Until today, I was under the impression that schools just care about the highest.

On this same note, if I got a 155 on one LSAT, and a 169 on the next one, does the 155 negatively affect me? Does the 155 factor into their consideration? Do certain schools average, while others just care about the highest?

Basically, I want to know if a 155, 169 two-score set hurts me in anyway, or if I should add an addendum for it. Thank you!

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Nova
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Nova » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:43 pm

No one averages

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wtrc
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby wtrc » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:12 pm

BetterLateThanNever1 wrote:Yes, I'm sure this question has been posed many times before. But earlier today I participated in an NYU online admissions Q&A, and they said that they average LSAT scores. Until today, I was under the impression that schools just care about the highest.

On this same note, if I got a 155 on one LSAT, and a 169 on the next one, does the 155 negatively affect me? Does the 155 factor into their consideration? Do certain schools average, while others just care about the highest?

Basically, I want to know if a 155, 169 two-score set hurts me in anyway, or if I should add an addendum for it. Thank you!


You sure they said they average, or did they say something like "we take an holistic approach!!"?

Schools care about reporting high LSAT scores and GPA's in their incoming classes. If the median LSAT for a school is 165, not taking someone with a 169 because of a 162 "average" (your case) would be silly. I wouldn't worry.

Does the 155 negatively affect you? Probably not. The consensus on TLS is that Yale and Stanford might care, but even with them not too much. I'm going for my third take now (mid to upper 160's both times), and have heard universally (from people that know what they are talking about and have experience in the process in various capacities) not to worry. People that don't know what they are talking about (no admissions experience, etc.) tell me not to take a third take. The misinformation here is huge.

No schools average. Some might look at the lower score, but there is so much evidence from past cycles of lower scores not mattering. It's like a slight negative soft.

Re addendum, unless you have a compelling reason (dog died, zombies, kidney stones during test, forgot pencil) I don't think it will do much.

Planning on retaking, or sticking with the 169?

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Nonconsecutive » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:48 pm

wtrcoins3 wrote:No schools average. Some might look at the lower score, but there is so much evidence from past cycles of lower scores not mattering. It's like a slight negative soft.


I would definitely +1 this, not only on available data, but also based on the experiences of a few people I knew who were retakers with comparatively horrible 1st scores.

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Jeffort
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Jeffort » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:28 pm

Nova wrote:No one averages


Unless they specifically say they still do, which NYU does. They are one of if not the last LS that still states in their admissions information that they typically evaluate based on average score rather than highest. I take the rest of their statement to indicate that they'll focus on the higher score if you convince them the lower one is aberrant, which would be easy to accomplish with a 155 and a 169 on face value alone

--LinkRemoved--

Maybe some of you guys should actually read the specific information schools publish about their policies. If they outright say they do something or do it a certain way rather than not specifically saying one way or another and leaving it vague, I tend to believe they are not lying to students in their statements of policies.

jptw88
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby jptw88 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:37 pm

Schools don't average. They only report the highest score in their ABA annual survey. As to does it negatively affect you? Yes and No. Competitive law schools namely T-20s can use both scores to compare you with other applicants. For example, considering all else equal, if there is a student with 1 score of 169 and another with 169 and 155, the student with 1 LSAT attempt and a 169 will be viewed in more favorable terms.

Kimikho
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Kimikho » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:24 pm

Okay now I'm confused.

NYU, UW, and a couple others explicitely say "WE AVERAGE." I'm not trying to disagree with people, but I'm more just...confused.

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Nova
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Nova » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:27 pm

They're lying

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Jeffort
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Jeffort » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:53 pm

Nova wrote:They're lying


Oh common, why would schools make it a point to give a specific direct false answer to the question when they could just give the same vague answer about maybe taking all scores into consideration with the usual case by case holistic blah blah blah if it wasn't true? I don't see what purpose it would serve to lie about an issue they know is significant in the admissions process that affects many applicants, do you see one? I don't see how the school or anyone would benefit from deceiving students about the actual admission policies that are applied. Perhaps to discourage people from re-taking the test? What purpose would that serve?

Keep in mind that those few schools that say they do don't say how much they weigh it as compared to weight they place on the highest score alone, they just say they take it into consideration. How much consideration is the real issue. From LSN and other admissions info about peoples cycle results it doesn't look like the schools that say they average put a huge amount of weight on it rather than the high score, but it's impossible to know how big of a sample that data really represents or to know what the basis for admissions decisions actually were for people with multiple scores since there are many other important factors in each application that matter a lot too.

I wouldn't stress about the issue. Whichever way it is there is nothing you can do about it or change to deal with it other than write an addendum if warranted. All you really can do is re-take, get a better score and hope they focus only on it if your current score sucks. A higher score will always help no matter what, even if the school averages. It could only hurt if you choke on your re-take and somehow get a lower score by doing something stupid.

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Hotguy
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Hotguy » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:14 pm

This is getting interesting.

OP, I always heard that some do average. Never researched which ones did.

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Dr.Zer0
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Dr.Zer0 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:58 am

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... zcnc#gid=0

A look at that link show that Harvard, Columbia, NYU and Berkeley state that they do average. Harvard and Berkley's websites state the same. Not sure about Columbia as I recall reading in one of these threads that they go for the higher score despite stating that they average.

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hephaestus
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby hephaestus » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:14 am

I wouldn't believe the forum. The higher LSAT is really all that matters.

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finnandjake2
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby finnandjake2 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:10 am

Highest. You should be able to get the same score or better if you study efficiently.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby ScottRiqui » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:36 am

A school stating "we average" doesn't really mean anything concrete, though - it could mean anything from "We at least look at all of your scores" to "All else being equal, someone with scores of 155 and 169 has no better chance of being admitted than someone with a 162."

But looking at the admissions data outside of HY, the reality seems a lot closer to the former than the latter.

Besides, schools know that if they average strictly, they're just tying their own hands unnecessarily. Why would they pass up a 155/169 scorer in favor of someone who just has a single score of 163? Sure, the 163 applicant has a higher average, but now the school has to report a 163 to the ABA, rather than being able to report a 169.

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WaltGrace83
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby WaltGrace83 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:21 pm

Dr.Zer0 wrote:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Av6KdtD-YP1rdENLaUhha0stNDUyY1hwdnFMdHQzcnc#gid=0

A look at that link show that Harvard, Columbia, NYU and Berkeley state that they do average. Harvard and Berkley's websites state the same. Not sure about Columbia as I recall reading in one of these threads that they go for the higher score despite stating that they average.


This is anecdotal but my friend got into Harvard with a 160/169 from the waitlist. This doesn't really prove anything but I find it hard to believe that they would even consider someone with basically a 164. (Though I find it hard to believe that she got accepted with a 169 without being a URM).

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wtrc
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby wtrc » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:40 pm

Adcomms lose their jobs if they don't keep numbers up. Numbers mean rankings, rankings mean prestige and all that comes with it.

I know someone that had an abysmal 152 followed by a 173. She got into Harvard. Her reasoning for the low score was just that she hadn't studied appropriately. Harvard would not have taken her with a low 160's, I'm fairly confident.

If there was a consistent trend of people with competitive GPA's and LSAT's getting denied because of a lower score I would believe it. But the evidence is really not there. This holds for NYU as well.

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Jeffort
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Jeffort » Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:09 pm

They key thing is that just because those schools say they take the average into consideration doesn't mean they give it a lot of weight compared to just the highest score. Notice that they don't say they ONLY consider the average score. Obviously they also consider what the higher score by itself is and put weight on that too, probably more than the average score

None of this really matters in cases with one extreme outlier score since its obvious the low score is aberrant.

However, it gets hard to speculate about how add comms will view multiple score situations when the scores are within one or two score bands of each other, especially when they are around 3-6 points different since its harder to say which one or where in between more accurately represents true ability level due to not being able to ignore one as being an aberrant outlier.

Multiple score situations could be worrisome if the lower score is more recent than the higher score because it could get ad comms to discount the higher score as not being representative of true ability level since the person failed to replicate it the second time taking the test after having more prep time. What if a persons scores are 170 followed by 165? It would be tough to ignore the more recent 165 in that situation and view the person as a solid 170. If they were really a true 170 skill level person you'd expect them to at least get close to it again instead of taking a big dip after more prep time and having done it once already. That would get me to want to put more weight on the average when comparing to other applicants in order to be fair.

When people talk about one low score on record not really making a difference in admission chances due to focus on the high score, I think people mostly assume the lower score came before the high score so the situation can easily be seen as it is, improvement over time with more prep. The scored lower later situation is different though since the person got worse instead of staying the same or getting better after more prep time. That could be troublesome since it calls into question the accuracy of the first score. It doesn't make sense that someone would lose ability level between the tests to cause the 165, the more rational interpretation is that the person was never actually a true 170 skill level, it was just a lucky score at the top of the persons score band. The concept of regression to the mean applies.

If the scores came in the other order with 165 then 170 I would think something totally different. I'd see it as a sign of continued improvement since it came after more learning and practice time and would put more if not all weight on the higher score as true ability level since it was the end result after all the prep/learning/practice and therefore is more likely to be a true measure of actual ability level after all possible training has been done and had time to take hold.

But again, only thing anyone can do about it is prep better and try to get a higher LSAT score anyway, so speculating about what add comms will think is largely a waste of time. Focus on what you have control over ---> your LSAT score.

BetterLateThanNever1
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby BetterLateThanNever1 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:34 pm

Thank you to everyone for your time and input, it's very much appreciated. It seems that the consensus is that these schools "average" not to make a final, ultimate determination of what your LSAT score is in their eyes, but as a way to, as one poster said, comparatively assess you against someone with a single LSAT score that is similar to your highest (or maybe this is what I'm making/hoping the consensus is in my mind). Regardless, all of this information was very informative and I appreciate all of the help!

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banjo
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby banjo » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:31 pm

Nova wrote:They're lying


This.

Use your common sense guys. NYU's LSAT split has fallen from a 170-172-174 to a 168-170(?)-172 in just a few years. Applications are at record lows. Most law schools, including NYU, don't have the luxury of using averages as anything other than a tiebreaker, and even then, schools are better off using softs like work experience to distinguish similar candidates; they know that people are paying more and more attention to placement.

I don't doubt that averaging is NYU's official policy. I think the statistics show that averages have more predictive value than the highest score. In the real world, though, NYU does does not evaluate candidates based on the average in most, or even a minority of, cases. I don't even think Harvard does.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Nonconsecutive » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:36 pm

banjo wrote:I don't even think Harvard does.


Several of the current/former HLS students in the various Harvard related threads seem to concur with that.

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wtrc
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby wtrc » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:39 am

Nonconsecutive wrote:
banjo wrote:I don't even think Harvard does.


Several of the current/former HLS students in the various Harvard related threads seem to concur with that.


From what I've heard from many people is they absolutely don't- but the low score might be a slightly larger soft factor at HLS than at other schools. I have a 166 and 167 on the record- the 167 was such an unfortunate fluke- so hoping a higher score in 12 days counters that.

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jk148706
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby jk148706 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:59 pm

Wow, this is interesting. I was of the belief that no school really averages anymore.

I took the LSAT last year after basically no studying and scored an abysmal 160. I'm now PTing much higher and hope to score significantly better. Really hope the averaging thing is not a major factor at most places.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby Nonconsecutive » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:02 pm

jk148706 wrote:Really hope the averaging thing is not a major factor at most places.


Its not

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jk148706
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby jk148706 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:04 pm

Nonconsecutive wrote:
jk148706 wrote:Really hope the averaging thing is not a major factor at most places.


Its not


Whew.

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hephaestus
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Re: Do schools average LSATs or take the highest? 155 v 169?

Postby hephaestus » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:15 pm

Schools do not average. Use the search function to qull your anxiety - many threads discuss this and come to the conclusion that schools do not.




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