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Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:19 pm
by ryenbani
Hey everyone, I'd really appreciate any thoughtful responses on my chances at T-14 schools given my stats.

I am finishing my final year at UC Berkeley, and have an LSAC GPA of 3.97. I am practice testing around 165, meaning that I may not reach 170 by the September 16 exam. For further context, on a 1-5 scale of extracurriculars, rec letters, and essay strength, I'd place at a 5. It's really just the LSAT which is troubling me.

Will my GPA make up for a slightly below average LSAT score at the top law schools, or would the GPA not make up for the slight drop? I just don't know if I should just wait a year to improve, or if it's worth applying and going to the best school in which I get in.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I wish you all the best of luck too!!

Re: Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:20 pm
by UVA2B
http://mylsn.info

Your best tool to gauge chances.

Re: Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:28 pm
by cdotson2
Wouldn't be surprised if you got into cornell, GT, or Berkeley, but beyond that it would be tough. You would probably not get much money at a t-14 with those stats though.

Re: Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:29 pm
by ryenbani
Thanks for the link. These calculators are a little tricky though since I still don't know if my GPA could make up for an LSAT slightly below the medians for the top of the T-14 schools. Any experiences that may shed some light on this? How accurate are these calculators really, considering they give little regard to the other components of the application?

Re: Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:32 pm
by cdotson2
ryenbani wrote:Thanks for the link. These calculators are a little tricky though since I still don't know if my GPA could make up for an LSAT slightly below the medians for the top of the T-14 schools. Any experiences that may shed some light on this? How accurate are these calculators really, considering they give little regard to the other components of the application?

if you used the search function they are using actual data points of real applicants. So you can't get more accurate, but of course there will be all the usual problems with statistical data.

Re: Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:34 pm
by sharris2017
ryenbani wrote:Hey everyone, I'd really appreciate any thoughtful responses on my chances at T-14 schools given my stats.

I am finishing my final year at UC Berkeley, and have an LSAC GPA of 3.97. I am practice testing around 165, meaning that I may not reach 170 by the September 16 exam. For further context, on a 1-5 scale of extracurriculars, rec letters, and essay strength, I'd place at a 5. It's really just the LSAT which is troubling me.

Will my GPA make up for a slightly below average LSAT score at the top law schools, or would the GPA not make up for the slight drop? I just don't know if I should just wait a year to improve, or if it's worth applying and going to the best school in which I get in.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I wish you all the best of luck too!!


I wouldn't bank on 165 on test day. Plenty of people under-perform and get 157 in your situation. Try to improve as much as possible.

Re: Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:35 pm
by UVA2B
ryenbani wrote:Thanks for the link. These calculators are a little tricky though since I still don't know if my GPA could make up for an LSAT slightly below the medians for the top of the T-14 schools. Any experiences that may shed some light on this? How accurate are these calculators really, considering they give little regard to the other components of the application?


Maybe you misunderstood what I linked, and that's okay. Everything you see in that link is crowd-sourced data on applying to law schools and the results from those applications. They don't directly account for the other parts of the application, but if you want an accurate gauge of your chances at a given law school, that's a fairly accurate take that you should base your presumptions on. You could overperform and be in the small percentage that get a particular outcome, but you could also be the person who underperforms your numbers. Long story short, expect you'll fall in between the worst outcomes and the best outcomes, and work from here.

Re: Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:39 pm
by DaydreamNation
If you can't get to 170 on this LSAT sitting, don't apply this cycle. Seriously. I'd kill to have your GPA. Take a year out of school and do something else, buckle down and get a 172+ on the LSAT and apply next cycle and sit back and watch the T14 money roll in. It would be silly to do anything else.

Re: Higher than needed GPA, slightly lower LSAT

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:43 pm
by JustHereToComment
OP, I just wanted to offer you a data point.

I applied last cycle from a top 20 undergraduate institution, had three stellar recommendations, great ECs, work experience during school/summers, a 3.9X GPA and a 165-166 LSAT.

Accepted: Michigan, UVA, Duke, Northwestern, Cornell, Georgetown, UCLA, Vanderbilt, WashU, USC, Notre Dame (11)
Waitlisted: Chicago, Penn, NYU, Berkeley (4)
Rejected: (0)

I got money from everywhere except UVA and Georgetown, which are both notoriously stingy. I'm currently going to one of the T13 I mentioned on a $15,000/yr. scholarship. I had matching offers from two other T13 schools and a $10,000/yr. offer from the other.

I didn't really want to sit out a year and wanted to do what most here would consider non-prestigious PI work anyway, so the debt and prestige gap from HYSCCN wasn't too big of a worry for me. I just went for it. However, if you're looking at a entering BL or any other private industry directly after law school or for the medium-term future, I would 100% sit out if you can't get your LSAT to the 168+ zone. Your GPA is too good to get what I got in scholarships if you have BL/private industry hopes, because the debt will suck when it doesn't need to. What's the point of making $180,000+/yr. if you're blowing all of it on repayment for years? If you also have WLRK, SCOTUS, fed clerk, fed judge, assistant solicitor general, ACLU, or other unicorn outcome goals, then you should work for a higher score and attend YHS. If your'e like me and don't care about literally any of those things + want to do non-prestigious PI, then go for it. Otherwise, rethink your attack plan. You're leaving big money/unicorn jobs on the table.