LSAT score and admissions

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mz253
Posts: 319
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:18 pm

LSAT score and admissions

Postby mz253 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:32 pm

I'm relatively new to the admissions game. it appears to me that most people here say that you have a chance at x school ONLY if you score higher than median. why's that? i mean 50% people get in to that school with a lower than median LSAT score. my guess is that as long as you have the 25 percentile, then you have a chance. am i wrong (a sincere question)?

i was bored and did some simple calculation. suppose there are 100,000 people taking LSAT each year (probably fewer?), since 170 is 99 percentile, then only 1000 people would score 170 or higher. then suppose there are another 1000 people scored 170+ in previous years applying in this cycle, then there are only 2000 people with 170+ in total applying this year. let's say the average number of seats for T14 is 300, then there will be 5200 seats opening up each year. so most people get into T14 with a score lower than 170? But this is just my guess, I have no idea if any of these numbers is a good estimate.

Integrity
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:14 am

Re: LSAT score and admissions

Postby Integrity » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:37 pm

The law school admissions process is mostly, but not exclusively, about your LSAT/GPA index. Of course, in some instances, other factors will be taken into consideration. But, to put it in LSAT terminology, a competitive LSAT/GPA index for a given school is necessary, but not sufficient, to gain admission. Yes, it really is a numbers game the majority of the time.

thechee
Posts: 174
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:42 am

Re: LSAT score and admissions

Postby thechee » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:16 pm

Last year over 170,000 LSATs were administered. If we assume that 30% of these are repeaters, then that gives us c120,000 unique LSAT takers. Source: LSAC data on lsac.org

170 is the 97.5 percentile, so that gives us at least 3000 test takers scoring a 170 or above. Test takers from previous years likely don't change the numbers that much, since many taking it this year will also choose to use their scores further down the road (although ITE it's likely that fewer people are waiting than in past years, given crappy post-college job prospects).

So, there are around 4500 1st year seats in the T14, give or take. A decent proportion of those with 170+ scores will likely be shut out because of low GPAs, although some of the splitter-friendly schools (NU, UVA) might take a handful of them. Still, I think it's safe to say that at least 2000 (but probably more) T14 seats are going to those with 170+ scores.

That leaves 2500 seats.

Now, at 169 (96.8 percentile), you have about 1000 test takers, and another 850 at 168 (96.1). I won't speculate about what % of these individuals crack the T14, but I don't think 50% is too liberal. For argument's sake, let's say 1000 of the 1850 at 168-169 make it into the T14. Now were are at 1500 seats left.*

So, if at least 2/3 of the T14 can be filled by those with 168+ scores, it seems obvious that the score alone is a pretty powerful determinant of your admissions chances. For each point below 168, you have more and more people with the same score, making it even harder to distinguish between applicants. For example, there are nearly as many people with a 163 as there are with a 170-180.

I'm not saying that it's impossible to overcome a sub-25th% LSAT score for a given school (a good buddy of mine got into a T10 with a 160/non-URM), but the odds are definitely not in your favor. Grades can help, but that still doesn't change the fact that the supply of high GPAs is much great that the supply of high LSAT scores.

*Then of course there are URMs, who tend to get a significant boost, despite more often than not having LSAT scores lower than those of other non-URMs admitted to the same school. Again, not sure what the percentage is here, but I think we can assume that it's significant enough to significantly reduce the number of available seats.

mz253
Posts: 319
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:18 pm

Re: LSAT score and admissions

Postby mz253 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:51 pm

wow, you have a much better estimation than i do. i wonder why they don't think asians are URM.

thechee
Posts: 174
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:42 am

Re: LSAT score and admissions

Postby thechee » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:14 pm

Asians aren't URM because they lack the underrepresented part. That is, top law schools don't typically have a problem getting the percentage of Asian applicants enrolled to at least match the percentage of that ethnicity in the US population as a whole.

On top of that, there isn't any major difference between the LSAT scores of Asian test takers, and those of the population as a whole. The mean score for white testers is 152.56, and for Asians it's 152.04 (2007-2008 numbers). For black and Hispanic applicants, the numbers are 142.15, and 146.32. This means that while the 98th percentile scores for white (SD 8.96) and Asian (SD 10.01) testers are 170.48 and 172.06, the 98th percentile scores for black (SD 8.4) and Hispanic (SD 9.26) testers are 158.95 and 164.84, respectively.

So, it makes sense why Asians get no boost, while some other races do.

Source:
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mz253
Posts: 319
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:18 pm

Re: LSAT score and admissions

Postby mz253 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:22 pm

ah, why asian (english native speaker, not internationals like me) don't score much higher than white in LSAT? i remember we do score higher in SAT right?




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