freestallion wrote:Everyone here keeps saying Harvard averages LSAT scores; I got in with a 167 and 173 and would like to say otherwise. Based on everyone's responses on this board, I thought I had no chance of getting in. I know this is only anecdotal experience, but I am not sure they *really* average LSAT scores. If they did, I never would have gotten in.
Generally speaking, the common convention is that the scores are averaged if the two scores are within 5 points or under. I'm not sure on what Harvard specifically does. The underlying logic behind this is that it shows that range around which you score, and not much is likely to be different given 1 or 2 more tests. If on the other hand, your score was over 5 points different, this points to there being something that happened during the first test that caused you to need to retake, such as test anxiety, or an ineffective study method, or some sort of trauma during the test. If this is similar for Harvard, then your 173 would've really been the main LSAT score with your application.
I could be off base here, but that's my impression.
Think about it from the committee's perspective. The adcoms want to both recruit a talented class and have high LSAT numbers submitted to USN to maintain a high ranking. Say you have two identical applicants, one who scored a 173 and one who scored a 170 and retook for a 176. To the adcom, both are probably equally talented and likely to succeed- all scores are within the same score range, the LSAT is only as predictive of 3 years of law school performance as a test in a single sitting can be, norming is only so good, you're talking about a difference of maybe three questions on a MC test, etc., etc. BUT the score range of the incoming class is extremely important for a law school to maintain its rankings, and since USN takes only the highest score, and since there really aren't all that many people scoring 175+ relative to the size of the top 5, top 10 law schools, I think the adcom would look more favorably on the 170/176 scorer simply because of the scarcity of scorers at the 75th percentile and above necessitates a high acceptance rate of anyone who can score that high in a sitting.
You can have all sorts of variations to this setup, but in the end I think it's a combination of weighing both the predicted law school performance of the applicant as much as the LSAT can and the need to put up very high numbers for your law school class.