Average GPA for the top Law Schools
How important is the GPA (Grade Point Average) in law school admissions? What is a good GPA for law schools? What GPA do you need to get into the top law schools?
We’ll answer all these questions and much more, so read on…
Unlike other fields, in law school admissions process, two factors weigh more heavily than the rest of the application – THE LSAT (Law School Admission Test) score and the undergraduate GPA.
Why is GPA and LSAT score so important in law school application process?
Law schools accept candidates from diverse backgrounds; LSAT scores provide a level playing field to compare candidates from varied academic and professional backgrounds.
That’s the reason why the LSAT score is of utmost significance when it comes to taking admissions decisions. (Note that some schools have started accepting GRE scores as well.)
Then, there’s your GPA which is an indicator of your performance during your undergraduate years and hence looked upon as a predictor of how well you’d be able to manage the academic workload in law schools.
These two factors also matter a lot to schools as they significantly contribute to U.S. News rankings. The LSAT score accounts for 12.5% and the GPA takes 10% of the share while calculating law school rankings. So, for schools, it’s in their interest to have a higher median LSAT and median GPA in order to rank higher.
These rankings are of utmost importance to schools as they affect prospective candidates’ perception about the school’s reputation and influence their decision of applying to a particular school.
Median GPA for the Top 14 (T14) Law Schools
These are the law schools that rank among the top 14 schools in the US News rankings. The school list has remained the same over the years.
These are the elite reputed law schools any prospective candidate would love to get into, however getting in can be really challenging as the admissions process could be highly competitive.
Here are the top law schools and the average/median GPA for each.
|Yale Law School
|Stanford Law School
|Harvard Law School
|University of Chicago Law School
|New York University School of Law
|University of Pennsylvania – Carey Law School
|University of Virginia School of Law
|University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
|Duke University School of Law
|Northwestern University – Pritzker School of Law
|University of California—Berkeley School of Law
|Cornell Law School
|University of California–Los Angeles
|University of Texas at Austin School of Law
|University of Southern California – Gould
|Vanderbilt Law School
|Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
|University of Minnesota
Ranking order: U.S.News, 2019 | GPA source: School websites
The top 20 schools have their median GPA above 3.7. Three law schools – Yale, University of Chicago and University of Virginia have a median GPA of 3.9 or higher.
From the above table, it is evident that a good GPA is an important requirement to make it to these top schools.
How is GPA calculated for law school admissions?
All law school applicants applying to American Bar Association-approved law schools are required to register with Credential Assembly Service (CAS), a service provided by the LSAC, the organisation administering the LSAT.
The academic transcripts of schools/colleges attended after high school should be sent to the CAS, and not directly to the law schools. The CAS will analyse the data received and calculate your GPA.
Since grading varies across countries, the LSAC has devised methods to adjust it accordingly. If you have concerns regarding your GPA, you may submit an addendum with your application with an explanation and the required information.
GPA to get into the top law schools
Considering the fact that the GPA score is among the top selection criterion, students aiming for a top school should take into account the median GPA scores for the school and ensure that their GPA is well above the median.
A GPA at or above the 75th percentile would be desirable to improve the odds in your favour,
How to overcome a low GPA
If your GPA is not up to the mark, aim for a high LSAT score to make your application competitive.
Again, work hard on the rest of the application including the letters of recommendation, resume and the personal statement.
Having some work experience, any extracurricular activity or volunteering experience would help improve your candidature.
Another thing to note is that the earlier you apply, you’ve a better chance of being accepted.
So, go ahead and give it your best shot. All the best!