Getting into Law School

Law schools look at a variety of factors when admitting students, including work experience, extracurricular activities, advanced degrees, quality of undergraduate institution, difficulty of major, and personal, economic, or educational obstacles overcome.  

However the two most important factors for most law schools are your undergraduate GPA and your LSAT score.  Of these, the LSAT is by far the most important.  Most observers estimate that LSAT/GPA is given an approximately 60/40 weighing by most schools, and many feel the weight is actually closer to 80/20.  Therefore, the LSAT is clearly the single most important factor when applying, and prospective law students should take it very seriously.

There are two good reasons to do so.  Almost all legal programs are very expensive, and the average amount borrowed for law school, including living expenses, tends to average around $150,000.  This is therefore an enormous investment by any measure.  

Law is also a competitive profession.  To get the most from your investment, therefore, it is important that you attend the best program possible.  Otherwise, it may be difficult to find positions justifying the debt incurred.  The LSAT can be very helpful in this regard.  Even students with average or mediocre grades may be able to attend top programs with a strong enough LSAT.  For those who already have strong grades, a good LSAT will ensure admission to a quality program.  

The second reason the LSAT is important is that students with good "numbers" (GPA and/or LSAT) are often awarded scholarship money.  So even someone unconcerned with national prestige, or interested in a more regional program, should ensure they do as well as possible on the LSAT.  It's not uncommon for students with good scores to get full-ride scholarships from strong regional programs, and graduating from law school with no debt is highly desirable.  (Of course, students with truly excellent numbers might even get scholarship money from top, national programs.)  

The bottom line is that the LSAT is worth more to law schools than four years of college, and you should approach it accordingly.  

While the above may seem arbitrary and/or silly to many, you should view it as a positive.  For those with the intelligence, motivation, and drive to get good grades during school, doing well on the LSAT should not be a problem.  And for those who did not display their true intellectual abilities during college (because of work commitments, social distractions, etc.),  the test is a new opportunity to show what you're truly capable of.

GPA/LSAT ranges for various law schools are listed in links present on the following page.  You can also apply to many schools through links listed there.  Finally, you can get additional information about applying to law school from the LSAC, from links on the "Discussion Groups" page, and from links on the "Articles" page.  Before applying to any program, you should research their website thoroughly and see what they specifically require.  

However, a few other helpful sources are listed below.  The first two help you identify your overall odds of admission at various schools, based on your GPA and expected LSAT:

Chiashu Admissions Odds Calculator

This site helps calculate your odds of admissions to variour programs based on your GPA/LSAT score.

Chiashu Odds Calculator

LSAC Admissions Odds Calculator

This site, from the Law School Admissions Council, also helps predict your odds of acceptance to various schools.

LSAC Odds Calculator

A website that provides tips on law school applications and personal statements.  Included are several sample essays. website Applicant's Corner

Information for law school applicants, including a pre-law advisor, personal statement help center, an insider's guide to law school, and supplemental application materials.

Applicant's Corner

Law Schools