Low UGPA? You’re not alone.

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I received this great question on the old blog and thought it should be a post of its own on my new blog, so here goes:

“I have a question that no one has asked. I may be the only one with the nerve. My UGPA is 2.6 – and yes, I have a learning disability but that is only a tiny reason for my undergrad performance. You can probably guess the larger reasons: fraternity, girls, sports. Now, two years out of college, I am incredibily REMORSEFUL and mad at myself. How can I come back from this lack of maturity? The LSAC told me that they will never consider more classes taken after the degree is granted. My LSAT is 155. I have grown up so much, and if I am given a chance to go to law school, I will be the hardest working student in the school. Can you give me advice? Thank you for this blog. Sincerely, Former Slacker.”

Dear Former Slacker,

This is an incredibly common problem, so don’t beat yourself up about it to much. The important things will be to emphasize your maturity and growth and the level of responsibility you’ve handled since college graduation. An addendum to explain why your grades are not a fair indicator of your future success is also in order. A strong resume, strong letters of recommendation, and perhaps taking a class just to get a good letter of rec from it wouldn’t be the worst idea.

These are all the kinds of issues I help my clients with on a regular basis and you should not feel alone in your circumstances!

Ann

207 thoughts on “Low UGPA? You’re not alone.

  1. Former Slacker on said:

    I hope I am not repeating a FAQ – here it is: if a learning disability diagnosed during undergrad is PARTIALLY responsible for low UGPA, should I disclose it? I have since learned to cope with the disability (reading) and will not be requesting any accomodations from LSAC or law schools. Thank you again for this valuable blog. I hope your birthday was a great day.

    • Dear Former Slacker,
      First, thanks for the birthday wishes.
      Second, if you feel the disability was significant then it might be worth sharing if you can really show that you overcame it and how you overcame it. As an excuse by itself, it’s not persuasive since there are professionals who diagnose these things rather liberally. However, if it can be shared in a way that shoes you worked hard and grew from the experience, then it’s fair game.
      Ann

  2. Hi Ann,

    I have a UGPA of 3.14 and the median GPA admitted to my top choice is 3.4 – should I include an addendum to my application? My last two years average out to a 3.4 but my sophomore year is really low (2.3 one semester) because I was trying to do engineering and I hated it, and also partied too hard. I changed to political science the next year, grew up a little bit, and got my grades back up, which is pretty much shown on my transcript. I don’t mind doing an addendum, but I didn’t want to send it if it was going to be overkill.

    Thank you!

    • If you were studying Engineering that year, it will be fairly obvious to the schools but a one-sentence addendum wouldn’t be out of whack. I’d leave the partying out if it, though. Good luck!

      • Anne on said:

        I am a disabled student and a week before my first semester I was rushed into emergency surgery and spent my first weeks unable to walk properly – not that I could before, cancer has been affecting me since the age of ten in more ways than one – I had a low gpa (2.5ish) but, by that winter I got even worse. This medical scare made me realized I didn’t want to live the possibly short life I may have unhappy in my career so I changed from chemistry to political science. By the end of my first year I am on academic probation and a gpa at 1.58 – thoroughly disappointed in myself and letting my disabilities getting the better of me. I am now happy and should have a gpa of mid-low 3’s (approximately 3.4) but, my major gpa is much higher (3.8ish). Is there something I can do to get into a relatively good school, with a scholarship other than Lsats scores – after enough research I definitely know that is a key factor. I know it’s always “possible” but, I can’t afford to feed myself half the time so paying in full is not an option. I go to IUB and was looking at their Law school – although its a little low on the ranking than I’d prefer.

        • Anne, If I understand correctly you have a lot of time left in college so do the best you can to (1) improve your health, and (2) your academic performance.

  3. Hi Ann,

    I graduated undergrad 7 years ago and am planning on leaving my current career and going back to law school to fulfill my dream of becoming an attorney. My UGPA was 2.5, but have had 7 consistent years of solid performance in my current profession. I was wondering how much this can offset a low UGPA. Also, how much can where I attended undergrad mitigate a low UGPA if I’m able to achieve a respectable score on the LSAT? Thanks for your time!

    • Hi John,
      Your LSAT will count for a lot, especially if your undergraduate major was difficult and you attended a good school and you’ve been doing sophisticated, professional level work. I’ve worked with a lot of applicants in your situation and you can actually read a few of them as success stories and testimonials on my main website.
      Good luck on the LSAT!
      Ann

  4. I am curious about this topic as well. I graduated from a liberal arts college with a 3.0. I have been a fashion model for the past 7 years and have been scoring in the 160s on LSAT practice exams. Do I have a shot at a decent law school. I am concerned about my non-traditional work experience although I do have executive assistant experience.

    Thanks!

    • J – of course you have a shot! You are who you are – you’re not the first model, actor, or artist to apply to law school. And you have life experience to share. It’s all about how you choose to share it. Good luck on the LSAT!

  5. I have the same story as former slacker. Same GPA. Same LSAT. Only I’ve been out of school for a few years now, have plenty of work experience in the field of education and I’ve been volunteering at a law firm for a little under a year now.

    I still haven’t been accepted anywhere EXCEPT for a masters program in something unrelated to law. What should I do? Do the masters and reapply in two years? Or study during the summer for the Oct 2010 LSAT and see what happens?

    • A. – improving your LSAT score will have a more direct impact on your law school admission results. Doing a master’s program and getting good grades can help overcome concerns about your UGPA. However, it’s purely subjective and if you are spending money to get your masters and it’s not something that you see using in your career then you are running a risk of wasting time and money with graduate school if you’re doing it just to improve your chances of getting into law school.

  6. I have a similar question. My UGPA was 2.5, I’ve been working in law firms since graduating in 2007, I’ve obtained a paralegal certificate in 2009 and have been working as a paralegal since then. My LSAT score was 148 both times I took it. What are my chances? Thanks!

  7. Hello Ann,

    I graduated undergrad with a 3.07 GPA in Political Science. After I graduated, I got an online Master’s degree from the University of Phoenix and graduated with a 3.6 GPA. During that time, I had a baby and got married and held down 2 jobs (one being a Correctional Officer at a maximum security prison)
    I have taken the LSAT 3 times (I am awaiting the results of the 3rd test) and scored 130 and 137. Law school is my passion. Is there any hope for me?

  8. Daniela on said:

    Dear Ann,
    I’ve read your book The Law School Admission Game and have been referring to it often during my application process. Thank you for the advice you’ve already dished out.

    I’m sure my problem isn’t unique, but it’s creating a lot of anxiety as I move forward with applications. My cumulative UGPA is a 2.61 in a Communications major. It’s absolutely not an accurate reflection of my academic abilities and mostly due to youth and lack of prioritization during my early years as an undergrad. I had a 4 year interruption in my undergrad education and upon returning took 19 and 14 credits and earned semester GPAs of 3.86 and 3.93 respectively all while working 2 jobs, supporting myself, and working an unpaid internship. During my break I experienced a lot of personal growth and my new commitment to school is evident in my GPA’s upward trend. I was not born in this country and moved here when I was 6 years old, grew up in a single parent home on welfare, am the first in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree not to mention pursue a J.D. I’ve been employed without interruption since I was 14 years old and have been financially independent since moving away from home at 18. I also worked throughout college as a bartender and have financed 100% of my college education. I am now 28 years old and ready to get out of the restaurant business and put my intelligence to work.
    I just got my LSAT score back and got a 162 which was a little disappointing since I was scoring 165 on practice tests and was hoping to be in the 90th percentile. I know my LSAT score is of paramount importance to make up for my hideous GPA.
    My questions are: How much will schools weigh my GPA against me despite the upward trend? Is my LSAT score good enough to get me into a school like Fordham? Am I wasting my time applying to my dream school NYU? Also, I plan on focusing on my personal growth and perspective on my personal statement but I am worried that my story may come across as mediocre, or worse: arrogant while telling a mediocre story. I’ve had to earn everything I have through hard work and my education and experiences did not come cheap. I learned the hard way that school should have taken priority over work or social life.
    Please help!
    Thank you

    • Hi Daniela,
      I’m so happy the book is so helpful to you! I love that when you came back to school you did so well (assuming it was at a good college). Your diversity also adds to your case, as does working throughout school.
      If 165 was your practice test score, then a 162 on the real thing is probably the right score for you. Your LSAT and GPA does not put you in Fordham range or NYU. You need to be more realistic about schools even with a story that is presented beautifully.

  9. Daniela on said:

    Also, I forgot to mention I am considering re-taking the LSAT in December although I don’t know that I could significantly increase my score. Should I just accept the 162 or shoot for the 90th percentile which I know I am capable of?

  10. Sangits Datta on said:

    Hi,
    So I have a 3.0 and a 171 LSAT. The reason my GPA is so low is because I started off as a Biology major and realized my second year that I hated it. I spent my second and third years pretty confused about what I wanted to do, and got really low grades ( 2.4 and 2.7) because school didn’t seem important since I didn’t know what I wanted to do anyways. I changed my major to art history and have decided I want to study International Law so that I can work in Cultural Propery Law. I was wondering if I should write an addendum explaining my lack of interest in school those two years. Also since switching my major my grades have gone up a lot. I got a 3.5 this past year.

  11. I graduated 15 years ago with an engineering degree and a 2.31 GPA, supported myself through school. I’ve held multiple managerial positions, including my current one, Engineering Manager. In addition, I have a Professional Engineer’s license. My package will include two very good LORs, one from an executive at my company and another one from my boss. URM, no need for scholarship though. I took the LSAT twice and scored 149 and 153. I would like to apply to a part time program in the NYC area. How realistic is this?

  12. I wanted to know if law schools must admit former military vets and if so, in what proportion to the class size? Is it just a bonus for diversity reasons to them?

    • Ed, vets make GREAT law students and future lawyers! Law schools love the professionalism, dedication, notion of public service and leadership that members of the military bring. While you also need to have the #s to get in, this definitely helps you get into a reach school.

  13. Stephan on said:

    I graduated in 2003. I had a GPA of 2.7 in school and took a year off. I admit it was because of lack of maturity in school. When conducting practice tests I have always gotten in the 140s. One of the reasons I have considered the Law profession is because of a serious lack of steady work since I graduated school so I doubt my resume will be of help. Do I sound like a lost case or are there things I can do to get into a law school.

    • Stephan, you sound a little lost but you’re not a lost case. I really want you to read The Law School Decision Game. This is a bigger decision than just not being able to find a job right now, especially with the schools you’d be eligible to attend. If you’re not willing to invest $12 in making a good decision, then it’s definitely not the right decision for you.

  14. Hi Ann,

    First off thank you for your website, it has been very helpful. I took the LSAT a few weeks ago, and I am studying to retake it in Feb. I don’t feel I was adequetly prepared and would like a score to reflect my true ability, therefore I decided to retake. I just finished my Bachelors in early November, I have an overall GPA of 2.11 – horrible I know. I have worked full time the entire time I went to school, I have 4 kids ages 11 and under, even though it was very hard to balance, I was determined to finish my degreee. I am a first generation grad, my GPA was mostly affected to two hard semesters I had due to medical problems with my last pregnancy. Going to law school is my ulimate goal and I have saved enough to be able to quit my job to attend school full time, I cannot move out of state so I am limited to schools in Michigan. What score would I need to get to be worth applying and actually having a shot, given my very low GPA, and at what score would you consider taking me on as a client?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Leticia,
      I’m so glad the website is helpful to you. If you haven’t read The Law School Admission Game, I highly recommend doing so because a lot of it will answer your low LSAT/low GPA questions. I think you need to break into the 150s as a minimum to get into MSU or Wayne State. It’s not a cut-off score, but it’s a good goal that would help you, and a level at which I would feel comfortable taking you on as a client.

  15. My first two years of university I had a high GPA (3.65 average), but I took time off due to personal and family issues.

    Two years later I returned to school and successfully transferred into a good university (top 25 school). Unfortunately, long term depression got the better of me and it’s been showing in my grades (my average at my current uni is a 2.6).

    Right now I’m focusing on just graduating and I’m planning to enroll in a year long paralegal certification program since I don’t think my chances at law school are very good due to my GPA. I also think that maybe that time would be a good opportunity for me to take an internship and get a better feel for the field.

    I haven’t taken the LSATs yet, but my first practice test with no prior studying was 159, so I’m fairly confident that with studying I can at least get it to mid 160s if not higher.

    What would be my best course of action at this point if I still want to go to law school?

    • Hi Grace,
      I think the best course of action is to show that the depression is behind you. You don’t need the paralegal certification. But showing a record of success would be good, whether it’s that program or professionally or a graduate program. You have real potential on the LSAT and that will absolutely be your saving grace here.

  16. Dear Ann,

    Just wanted to say that I am so happy that you have this blog on this subject. I am currently finishing undergrad with a degree in Criminal Justice but I had to take time off in between due to two pregnancies and financial reasons. I was discouraged for a moment when I thought of attending law school because I do have a low GPA (2.2) currently semester hasn’t ended as of yet. Until I read this blog, I figured my law school aspirations would be nothing but a dream. So I thank you for this. I am going to purchase your books to prepare myself for what is ahead of me. I am a single mother of two so I figure if I can triumph over that, then I can triumph over anything.

    Thank you again for this great blog! It truly made my evening.

    Kay.

  17. Kristen on said:

    Dear Ann,

    My question is similar to the rest. I’m a senior in college and am about to start applying to law schools, however my GPA is very low. I have a 2.5 but am currently scoring a 160 on practice LSATs. With the combination of my LSAT score and GPA do I have a chance at getting accepted into law school? If so, what types of schools should I apply to? Should I apply to schools with low median GPAs and LSATs to accommodate my GPA or should I apply to schools with a higher median GPA because my LSAT score is higher?

    Thank you so much for your help,

    Kristen

  18. Nick S. on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I received your book through Nathan fox and it helped me tremendously during my law school application process. I have a 2.75 gpa and 151 LSAT. I have a 4.0 the last 3 semesters including both semesters after transferring from junior college to state college. I had to work full time to help my mom pay bills after high school and started off unable to work and go to school so my grades suffered. I am middle eastern and i come from a low SES single parent home. My mom is a hairdresser. We never have had much money but since I have been reenrolled in school I have done well. I got 3 really great letters of rec from my teachers and have tons of community service, internship experience at a law firm, and volunteer work. I applied to 30 schools across the country, most realistically based upon my LSAT. Does the fact that I had a work conflict and had to help my mother help amend my poor start? Thanks

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Nick, I’m so glad the book was helpful (I always love collecting 5-star reviews on Amazon if you’re so inclined!).
      I love your upward trend in college, and the fact that you had family responsibilities is a factor the law schools will truly appreciate.
      I wish you all the best!

  19. Adeyemi Murphy-Higgs on said:

    Hello Ann:

    I am a 32-year old, African-American female educator. I have been toying with the idea of going to Law School for over ten years. I have finally decided to take the plunge and apply for 2014, largely due to your two books. My undergraduate gpa was 2.61 – Anthropology. I also have a graduate degree in education with a 3.61 gpa. I am currently enrolled in a commercial lsat prep course and I am registered for the February 2013 administration. I scored a 150 on practice test and I hope to increase my score with the commercial test prep course. I live in the NYC metro area (westchester county) and I would like to stay in the area. Do I have a chance of getting into the law schools in the area (CUNY Law, New York Law, Pace, Touro)?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Adeyemi,
      I’m so happy my books helped and were influential in your decision! That means so much! (I’m always happy to accept 5-star reviews on Amazon by the way!).
      I think you have great potential to improve your LSAT score between now and February (you might even be able to take December and apply sooner, if you wanted). Assuming your LSAT performance only improves from here, the schools you mentioned are the right target schools for you.

  20. Hi Ann, I graduated with with a CGPA 2.69 and I wrote the October 6,2012 LSAT. I’m still awaiting the result but i score a range 148 – 160 in the practice test. I have 2 years working experience, a years as a customer care representative in a telecomunication company and a year in a media house. My question is do i have a chance of being admitted into any law school? also, should i send an addendum as to why i have a low GPA even though partying and not being matured enough then is the reason for my low GPA?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Kunle,
      Your LSAT range is huge. If you score in the 140s on the test, I’d say you have to retake the test before applying to law school. However, if you score in the mid to high 150s, there’s absolutely a law school out there for you. Let me know how you do on the LSAT and if I can be of any help.

  21. Elizabeth on said:

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks so much for taking the time with this blog post–it’s very helpful!

    I, too, am a splitter (GPA-3.2, LSAT-169). I have a marked upward grade trend (2.5 my first two years, 3.5+ last two years) that can be attributed to some (not so serious) health issues resolved after my sophomore year. Do I need to provide any sort of supporting documents if relying on a medical explanation in the addendum?

    Additionally, I applied to law school two years ago, decided I needed to take some time off, and withdrew my applications BEFORE receiving all decisions (though after some had come in). I am applying to many of the same schools. Should I include an addendum regarding my previous application?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Elizabeth. You don’t need supporting documents, but you should explain what happened and assure the reader it is unlikely to repeat itself in law school.
      No reason to explain why you are re-applying.

  22. Andrew on said:

    Hey Ann,
    Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, and your works have been very helpful throughout the application process. My story is slightly non-traditional in comparison to other law school applicants. I went to a competitive liberal arts undergraduate college and majored in Biology and minored in History. Given my background, I am interested in Environmental Law. However, taking a majority of science classes partially deflated my overall UGPA.
    My overall UGPA was a 3.2, however the breakdown is quite skewed. I received a 2.6 GPA in my first 62 credit hours (4 semesters). However, over the final 80 credit hours (final 4 semesters), my GPA significantly increased to a 3.68. I am currently in graduate school pursuing a Master’s in Renewable Natural Resources and my GPA will finish at 4.0 (although I have heard this isn’t considered).
    Do you have any advice concerning how to present these increase in grade trends, and do law schools generally take this into account. I understand that GPA is factored into law school rankings, so I am a little worried that they won’t see the student that I believe I’ve evolved into.
    Once again I greatly appreciate your insight, and I apologize for such a long winded question.
    Thanks,
    Andrew

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Andrew, glad to be helpful.
      This is a really common problem, actually. Your Masters GPA will be considered subjectively, but does not carry a lot of weight. It helps you show, however, that your early grades weren’t the best indicator of how you will perform in law school.
      You should have an explanation in your application to point this out – absolutely.

  23. Jordyn on said:

    Hi Ann,

    Just finished the “Law School Admissions Game” and I learned a lot of valuable information — thank you!

    I am having trouble deciding how high I should reach for my reach schools.

    I am a 25 year old female and half Native American. I am enrolled in my tribe. I graduated with a BA in Human Development, GPA 2.5. But my LSAT is a 162!

    I live in the Bay Area and would ideally like to stay here but I am anticipating better scholarship offers from out of state schools. I currently work full time at a laboratory. I have been here for almost 6 years and received several promotions.

    I got an email from Columbia encouraging me to apply based on my LSAT score alone. Prior to this I was not even considering top 20 schools let alone top 10!?

    What are your thoughts?

    Sincerely,
    Jordyn

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Jordyn,
      Schools are all about marketing, especially when they anticipate applications to be down overall.. . you can’t read too much into the invitations to apply.

  24. Hi Ann,

    I am currently a Bioengineering Major that was originally on the Pre-Medicine track at my school. I am also currently a Junior. After a lot of research and a lot of thinking I’ve decided to pursue a Major in Criminal Justice with a minor in psychology, in which all my credits go towards my Electives for graduation. I need 45 more credits to graduate 35 of which involve taking Criminal Justice classes. I currently have a UGPA of 2.66 but thats due to the engineering and upper level Sciences that I’ve taken. If I pursue the Criminal Justice Major, and end up getting a good LSAT score as well as raising my GPA, will law schools look at me negatively due to the low GPA during the time I was an Engineering/PreMed Major?

    Thanks,
    Kyle

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Kyle,
      Criminal justice isn’t my favorite major, but it you can get a 4.0 in it and show the upward trend in your grades then I’m all for it. If you get mediocre grades in Criminal Justice then it’s not a good situation, especially if your LSAT score is also low or mediocre. If you can motivate yourself to do exceptionally well in the rest of your classes, then law schools will notice that and take it into account.

  25. Hi Ann,

    I am currently enrolled in Widener University, senior year pursuing a political science degree. I have a bad gpa right now, about a 2.7, but have mainly B’s in my poli sci courses, a B in constitutional law, and basically A’s and B’s and one C in all law related classes. I only have one semester left to pull it up, which I know is not much, but my gpa suffered the first semester of my freshman year as I was young and immature, but brought it up my spring semester because I began to mature more, but it continued to suffer my sophomore and junior year as I began working 20-30+ hours a week, sophomore year I was also enrolled in ROTC, but cannot join the Army due to a peanut allergy. I just got my grades this semester (now only working about 12-16 hours a week) and got 3 B’s and 2 C’s (one was in a class that had no tutors as it was its first semester at Widener, and another was senior research, with which my group was plagued with lots of problems, such as one of our members has Crohn’s disease, and the other was extremely busy with his own schedule all the time, so our schedules were very badly matched)I did not choose my group either. I know the majority of my poli sci courses are Bs, but I am unsure if this will be enough to fix my current situation, as I would like to go to Widener University School of Law. It is close by, and it is associated with where I currently attend school. I am unsure of how I would do on the LSAT, but I think I could score somewhere in the 150-165 range or higher, but I will not know until I take it. Also, I feel I could get some decent letters of recommendation from poli sci professors and criminal justice professors. What are my chances of getting into law school and fulfilling my dream?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Wesley, keep working on your grades and create a serious plan for LSAT prep – your goal law school is not unreasonable if you can get a score in the mid-150s. Good luck!

  26. Alexandria on said:

    Hello Ann,
    I am currently enrolled at the University of Utah I am a senior pursuing a bachelor’s of science in psychology and political science. I have a g.p.a of 2.56 because my first two years of school I majored in biomedical engineering, then realized it wasn’t for me. I grew up on the American Indian reservation where high school education wasn’t the finest. We did not have a chemistry or biology class because there was not a science teacher available. So I pretty much went into the biomedical engineering major with no prior experience in the field. I finally realized that it was not the major I wanted to pursue. This required me to do some searching and resulted in not really having a passion with the classes I was taking. I then started taking classes in psychology which I loved and have maintained a good academic standing within the field. I began to think about law school so I started taking classes for political science and have a 3.4 gpa within the major. The next two semesters I plan to continue to work hard to increase my gpa. After I graduate I plan to work for a year or two to support my son and possibly save for law school. I am also planning on using the time to study for the LSAT. I am wondering if I have a shot at applying for law school considering my low gpa? Also, what advice can you give me to increase the likelihood of getting accepted into law school?
    Thanks

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Alexandria,
      I think law schools will definitely take your background into consideration when it is presented to them. Of course you have a shot!

  27. Caroline on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I, too, am a splitter, which is making it very difficult for me to decide what tier(s) of law schools to be looking at. Here’s my situation: I graduated from Mount Holyoke College this past May with a major in astronomy and a double minor in physics and French. My GPA was 2.7, and it took me an extra year to graduate because I took time off to battle the depression that, at least in part, contributed to my low GPA. HOWEVER, in taking LSAT practice tests with minimal studying, I’ve been scoring 160-172. With a discrepancy like that, what kind of tier am I looking at?

    P.S. I’m looking at IP/patent law, and am currently working part-time in sales.

  28. Cherish on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I have read your book and I’m currently apply to law schools, but I’m a bit nervous. I’ve supported myself through school the entire way. I’m a vet that went to school on and off during deployments and I’m currently a police corporal with a local jurisdiction. I took the LSAT back in Oct and scored a 143 by GPA is 2.7, and I have no idea what to write about for my personal statement. I have LORs coming from my former military supervisors and my current chief of police. I’m applying to local schools with part-time programs because I’m 29 with lots of finanical responsbility. What should I make my personal statement about and what do you think are my chances for being accepted?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Cherish,
      I think you need to highlight your experiences, and you must make sure to emphasize how you put yourself through school between deployments.

  29. Steven on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I recently graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from a top 10 engineering program. My GPA is relatively low at 3.06, but I scored a 167 on my first LSAT attempt.

    I performed very poorly my sophomore year due to an unfortunate living situation, which I will be including an addendum about. I turned my grades around after this, getting a 3.4+ both junior and senior year. Excluding my sophomore year, I would have a 3.44 cumulative GPA.

    Will the admissions councils factor in my difficult major or my GPA addendum very much, if at all? Would a top 25 law school be in my range?

    Thanks,
    Steven

  30. Peter Earley on said:

    Hey Ann,

    I am graduating from CU-Boulder with a 3.23 gpa in International Affairs and a history minor, which is a little low. What LSAT score would I need to obtain to get into a top 30 school?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Peter, First , I love the Peace Corps! My clients who do the peace corps get into reach law schools. What a great experience to have?
      Usually, if the GPA is under the 25th percentile for a school, you should need an LSAT score above the 75th percentile to maximize your chances for a particular school. However, Peace Corps is a definite soft factor, so even if you are at or slightly below the median you should be in the running with a strong application.

  31. Hello Mrs. Levine,
    I have read two of your books and they were amazing I could not put them down. I refer them to my friends. I am in a similar situation with a low GPA. I have a 3.0 right now and I have 3 classes left. My tuition is free so I was thinking if I should add a minor to bring up my gpa. I’m not sure if law schools will count it if I add a minor. I am a 31 year old African American who lives in Dallas and would like to go to UT Austin. Also from reading your books you said overcoming life obstacles can help on the application. I grew up in foster care and was a high school drop out. I returned to school late and wasn’t sure if this would be a plus or a negative. In other words should I add a minor and do you think I should give up on UT law (I will apply for several schools of course)?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      T, thank you so much! That’s awesome! I have a new version of The Law School Admission Game coming out June 1, so keep an eye out for that! It’s new, expanded, improved, and updated!

      I think a minor would count – ask LSAC how those grades would be computed if you already finished your BA requirements.

      The obstacles you have overcome are ABSOLUTELY a positive. Absolutely!!! Don’t give up on UT! Fight for your dreams – you have tons of potential.

  32. Cenell D. Harrell on said:

    I graduated in 2008 with a 2.6 GPA from a small school in Baltimore MD, I had to work full time while in school because my family had no money, so I had to pay for my school myself. I recently took the LSAT and score a 178. What are my chances for getting into a top Law School, such as Georgetown and Harvard?

    I was thinking about taking a Course or obtain a master degree from the Harvard Extension School to boost my academic resume. Do you think that is a good choice?

    Cenell D. Harrell

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Cenell, I think I answered your question when you submitted it on another post. So much about your chances of admission at these schools comes down to everything else you bring to the table, things I can’t possibly become privy to via the blog. I do offer free initial consultations. However, the simple answer to your question is that if you can do well in an academic course or two and get a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, it would be worth doing. It would help you build your argument that the undergraduate grades are not a good representation of your abilities.

  33. Ma’am,
    I have a concern about my GPA. My undergraduate GPA was about a 2.7 from the Air Force Academy and I hold a Masters in Management (3.79 GPA). I have not take the LSAT yet but am starting to prepare. If I want to shoot for Duke or a school in the top 15 will I have to ace the LSAT because of my low undergrad GPA or will my military experience offset anything. New to the whole process and I would appreciate an honest reality check. Thank you.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi RJ – Your military experience counts for a lot, but without an LSAT score (and knowing a lot more about your personal story) it’s impossible for me to say whether your school selection is reasonable.

  34. Ann W. on said:

    Hi, I graduated with an undergrad GPA of 3.1 and graduate degree GPA of 3.2 (one C in International Political Economy really screwed me up). I know I can score in the 160’s in the next upcoming LSAT exam but I was wondering what my chances were in gaining admission to schools scoring in the 40’s-50’s of the top 100 law schools? I worked primarily two jobs (40-50 hours per week) throughout my academic career at both law firms and at a non-profit human services ageency simultaneously and was wondering if I should supply an addendum to my application. I already have two strong letters of recommendation from law firms I’ve worked with too. Please help! Thanks!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Ann W!
      I think you have a lot going for you but I can’t comment on your chances at schools in certain rank because there’s a big difference between a 160 and a 169. I also don’t like hypotheticals. We need to see how you do on the LSAT and then look at the total package. Even then, I can’t discuss schools chances on the blog because I just don’t know enough about your application. But I wish you all the best on Monday!

  35. Chris on said:

    Is it true that taking five years off after school before applying to law schools will soften low undergraduate gpas?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Chris, I would never advise anyone to not try applying for five years just for this reason. But if you happen to be out of school for a significant period of time (5 years is not a “magic” number), then the importance of your undergraduate grades is minimized. However, if you haven’t really done anything impressive in those five (or however many) years, then it doesn’t really work in your favor.The point is to show you’re a different type of student today.

  36. I was wondering if I have a chance of getting into one of the top 10 law schools with a GPA of 3.50 in Chemistry (major private university) and 168 LSAT score. Thank you.

  37. Annabel on said:

    Hello Ann,

    I graduated with an undergrad GPA of 3.1 in Industrial engineering in Mexico. I am currently studying for the October ’13 LSAT and want to know what would be a good score to have a chance at a top school. Also, english is not my first language, so the LSAT is really really hard but I have been studying for 2 months now and I am PTing around 159. Would my low GPA count a lot even if I have a high LSAT? Also would it count positively that my low gpa is from an engineering degree? Is it true that being minority and a woman can also help?

    Thank you

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Annabel,
      Being a minority with another language and a degree in engineering will help. Right now, focus on the LSAT and then once you have a score you will be in a better position to evaluate what schools are realistic.

  38. Hi Ann,

    I have a 2.69 gpa from undergrad, but a 4.0 gpa from graduate business school. I want to apply to a law school that has a part time evening program because I am raising my daughter. I realize that I have to do well on the LSAT but know that I do not do well with standardized testing. Is there anything I can put on my application that will increase my chances into getting into law school such as the graduate gpa with honors, awards, etc? Also, is it easier to get into a part time evening program rather than the full day?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi LS, at some schools the part time programs are more forgiving, but more importantly they are more geared toward people who have other responsibilities in their lives and may give you a better sense of community and a stronger chance to succeed in law school. You can submit an addendum with your application about why standardized testing is not a good predictor of your academic abilities. I have a lot of information about this in The Law School Admission Game.

  39. Ann,

    I know everyone has asked about their chance of getting admitted to law school with a low(er) UGPA and high LSAT, but would a personal statement highlighting the positives and lessons learned from a below average freshman and sophomore year be a potential topic? Things such as: an upward trending UGPA, deans list, developed maturity, balancing extracurriculars and internships during junior and senior year? Or should this information be explained strictly in an addendum?

    I’m having difficulty with the whole “upper-middle class upbringing” issue for personal statements you’ve discussed on another page, so I was wondering if I could show growth as a person and overcoming an obstacle indicated by my grades and undergraduate career.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Matt, I usually put those things in an addendum and use the personal statement to concentrate on positives. You don’t have to be underprivileged to write a compelling personal statement. You could also address the details of the upward trend in your addendum but more about your extracurriculars and internships in your personal statement. There are so many different ways you could handle this effectively.

  40. Hi, I have a very unique story. My mom is an alcoholic. Dad hasn’t been in my life much. I started undergrad school in 1998 and will have my BA degree in Psychology in December 2013. I attended 10 colleges in that time frame only because I moved a million times because of either my parents, work, my husband etc. I have two kids now and my husband was recently deported. I even lived in a shelter while I was pregnant with my first son but I’ve been persistent in completing my education. Both of my parents are college professors with doctorate degrees. I am a smart woman but have had a lot of chaos in my life. I’m not sure how my UGPA will be calculated with so many schools etc. I think its about a 3.50 but it all depends on how it is calculated. I even had an abortion in between all of that. I haven’t taken the LSAT yet but will do so in september and december. Do I have a chance?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi NB,
      You have a very compelling and interesting background and as long as you can show the law schools you are in a position to successfully apply yourself to your law school studies, yours is an application I would enjoy reading!

  41. Hi Ann,

    I have a similar situation like Former Slacker.

    I just recently graduated John Jay College with a Bachelors in Forensic Psychology with a gross 2.7 UGPA.

    I have regrettable taken the December 2012 and February 2013 LSAT and received very very low scores. In retrospect, I should have waited until after graduating to take a prep course and focus on the LSAT instead of working full time and going to school full time. However, now I am currently taking an LSAT course and intended on taking the October 2013 LSAT that is until I read your blog about taking the December exam and STILL having a chance to get into law school for Fall 2014.

    Since this is my last chance to take the LSAT without having to wait two years, I am thinking about seriously preparing for the December 2013 LSAT and improve on my score but I do not know how well I will do then.

    For the past six years I have been working in law firms as a secretary, paralegal, legal assistant and now, manager and head paralegal of a boutique law firm in downtown New York. I believe I have very good work experience and recommendations letters from both employers and professors.

    What do you think my chances are of getting into law school in NYC with a low GPA and most likely a 155 LSAT score?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Kat,
      A 155 would get you into law school. See if you can bring your score up to the mid 150s for December. I wish you all the best.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      LS, thanks for letting me know. I get so many blog comments that sometimes I do miss some. I have just posted an answer to your question.

  42. Ashley Blanco on said:

    Hello Ann-
    I know this question has been asked in various forms but each scenario seems a little different than mine. I attended a mid-sized college that was not a good fit for me at all. I graduated a little over a year ago with a 2.0. During my time at this college I was placed on academic probation and even suspended for a semester. I started to clean up my act a few semesters before graduation and raised my semester GPA’s to over a 3.0. I have been working at a law firm for over 3 years as a paralegal and I am really interested in what I do. I am thinking about taking a LSAT prep course and trying to get into law school. I previously took a practice test and scored a 154. Do you think that I could get into a third or fourth tier law school with great letters of recommendation, or should I reconsider this plan altogether?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Ashley,
      I’m glad you were able to raise your GPA. If you can score in the mid-to-high 150s on the LSAT, I think this is worth pursuing because of your work experience and letters of recommendation.

  43. Hi Ann, I was wondering if I have a chance of getting into one of the top 10 law schools with a GPA of 3.50 in Chemistry (major private university) and 168 LSAT score. Thank you.

  44. Travis on said:

    Ann,

    I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy following your blogs and our responses to other hopeful law school students. I changed majors from business to history and my grades have improved. 3.4 GPA right now with a year left in undergrad. Several Ws on my undergrad transcript really concern me but I hope that a good LSAT score will alleviate this. My target schools are Ole Miss, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Emory. Thanks again!

    Travis

  45. Hi Ann,

    I didn’t get a response to my July 15th question. I am really interested in your opinion on my chances of getting into one of the top 10 law schools with 3.5 GPA (Chemistry) and 168 LSAT score. Thanks

  46. Hi Ann,

    I didn’t get a response to my Aug 17th question. I am really interested in your opinion on my chances of getting into one of the top 10 law schools with 3.5 GPA (Chemistry) and 168 LSAT score. Thanks

    • Ann Levine on said:

      PH, Hi. I’m sorry you were waiting. I do not discuss acceptance changes on the blog format for a few reasons (1) I don’t know the full story; (2) it would reduce me to being nothing but an LSAT/GPA calculator (which is available elsewhere on the web); (3) it would become my full time job! Certainly, the little bit you told me would put you in the running at a top 10 law school, but I don’t know (for example) where you went to school, when you graduated, what you have been doing since, whether you have multiple LSAT scores, whether you have applied in the past, whether you have interesting experiences in your background/on your resume, how well you write, whether you have any disciplinary issues or red-flag issues in your application, etc. Because of the nuances, I can’t answer these questions well on the blog.

  47. Hi Ann,

    My question revolves around my low cumulative GPA. I am a non-traditional student and will be applying for Fall of 14. I took a handful of courses over 25 years ago and because of military deployments did not do well. I have since gone back to school and received better grades, I graduated (BS) in 2011 with a 3.55 and am almost done with a MS, with a GPA of 3.6. Unfortunately my cumulative is a 2.77. How bad do you think this hurts me and what would you recommend?
    Thank you,

    Mark P.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Mark P., This is very common – you will write an explanation, and your personal statement will show your growth over 25 years, and schools will understand and look to your more recent academic history.

      • Jkpracticelaw on said:

        Ann,

        I’ve read your books about the law school game, and it got me into all of my schools. Additionally, I paid particular attention to your advice about “reach schools” and transfers. I not only was able to transfer, but I got into my “reach school” as a transfer. I’m absolutely thankful for your advice. I used your advice to 1) get off a wait list, 2) get into my schools of choice with low GPA and low lsat and 3) get into my schools of choice as a transfer.

        Now my questions presented to you are about students with a first time low UGPA who have gone back to undergrad with the goal of making good grades to get into law school. I know a student who has also read your book and has chosen to go back to school at highly ranked university, has made honors societies, received scholarships, and has a 4.0 GPA 3 years into obtaining a double major in information technology and legal studies. My question is whether this student’s 4.0 GPA will be combined with his previous UGPA or will this new UGPA be considered alone for admit to a law school.

        Thank you for your advice.

        • Ann Levine on said:

          Hi JKpracticelaw. Thanks so much for this feedback, and congratulations on all of your success.
          I think you also contacted me through email, but I’ll also answer it here. LSAC will combine the GPAs, but the upward trend will be evident to schools, will carry weight, and will pay off.

  48. Ann,

    I graduated in 2011 with a very low UGPA (around 2.3). I triple majored in Poly Sci, History, and Religion at one of the top state Universities in the country and have excellent, focused internship and work experience since then. Two of the major factors in my GPA were undiagnosed severe depression and a lack of focus through most of my undergrad experience (I started as physics/math major then was computer science…). Since graduating, I have sought treatment for depression and aggressively addressed the issues related to that. I have a 179 LSAT score and am working on a Public Affairs graduate certificate from a top school right now. My current grad GPA is a 4.0 and I will have letters of recommendation from 2 professors there.

    Do I even have a prayer of getting into a top 25 law school for 2014? How do I address depression in an addendum in a way that makes it clear that it is under control and that doesn’t make it a weakness that will count against me? I feel like it really needs to be addressed, but mental health is such a hot button issue that can really follow you.

    Thank you!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Kate,
      You absolutely have a prayer. You have much more than a prayer. You want to be careful about discussing the details of depression, but you can emphasize how you have demonstrated that it no longer (or “an illness” no longer) impacts your daily activities. I think you have great potential if you emphasize your recent accomplishments, and schools will want to grab you for your LSAT score and I think they will offer you scholarships as well.

  49. Laurel on said:

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks for writing such an informative article. It’s great even years after you first published it.

    I have a low undergrad gpa in engineering from an ivy (Cornell). We’re talking like 2.5-ish low. I have a high masters in engineering gpa, 3.9, which was also from Cornell. I also have a 165 lsat. Would you know of any law schools that would be open to looking at graduate studies an applicant undertook after undergrad or a rising gpa trajectory in the last years of undergrad? Also, would the difficulty of my major/school be taken into account?
    thank you very much!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Laurel,
      I’m glad the article was helpful to you. All schools are “open” to looking at your graduate GPA, and all schools will take your major and school into account in evaluating your grades. But you can’t ignore the 2.5 GPA – you have to build your schools list where your LSAT is in the middle-to-high range for a school.

  50. Ann,

    I am in my senior year of college and considering applying to law school. My current GPA is 2.46 with an LSAT score of 150, and I feel pretty trapped in my situation. I have kept two jobs while I’ve been in school (one during the summer in a management position, and one for the school the school during the year), however, the time constraints between school, family, volunteering, and work has kept me from getting into any extracurricular acttivities. I majored in psychology, however, I relized two years ago that I didn’t like it and wasn’t particularly good at it but I stuck with it out of pressure to graduate on time. I know that if given the opportunity I can succeed in law school because I love it and it has always been a dream that I was scared to follow but I think that I am past the point of second chances, despite my efforts to broaden my resume.
    I would like to know if there is anything I can do. I have struggled since I was a child with a learning disability and always had to put in extra work to suceed, but I dont know if that is someone that a law school wants. Is there anything I can do to help my chances.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Zach,
      The fact that you worked so much during school is something law schools will consider, but you need to find a school that will allow you to prove yourself. Your LSAT score shows that you can hang at a fourth tier school, and so long as your application is free of typos and errors and tells your story effectively, there are probably schools that will give you a chance, but be sure to do your research on the schools you are applying to and make sure you can afford to attend if you are not working.

  51. Kuchibi on said:

    Dear Ms.Levine

    I am currently a Junior in college. I had a particular situation happen to me where I was the victim of domestic violence for about a year. Before this I was on the Dean’s List 3 consecutive semesters. The situation turned physically violent, so I had to flee my college’s city to my mother’s house, and started a long process of reporting to the police, going to trials, and through my initiative obtained representation of law advocates and worked on my own case with other law school interns. I had 4 court appearances on top of 45 hours of work per week (I pay my school and living expenses and help my mom back home) and 5 classes at school, while attending counseling and meeting with my lawyers. My ending grades were 2 B+s 2 C+s and a Withdrawal.
    I also earned 2 recommendation letters from my professors (I had to miss a lot of classes so I participated actively to. Compensate)

    Problem is that this really threw off my GPA. I am wondering if I should include the DV situation and how I overcame it. (I learned a lot about family law, restraining orders and such) it also fueled my interest in law even more (I did not know my rights or how to proceed, but learnt and now volunteer at the women’s shelter to help others navigate the system)

    I also overcame things like language, escaping from warfare,being an immigrant and homeless as a kid,being almost mistakenly deported due to an error de INS made, and working fulltime or two jobs through college.

    I am wondering if including the domestic violence might hinder me, or make an admissions committee look at me under a wrong light.

    I do not want to write a sob story, in fact I consider myself lucky because I was always able to overcome things.

    Should I include the DV as an addendum of my grades that time or would they think less of me?

    Thank you for your insight!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Kuchibi,
      You should absolutely include the situation you describe in either a personal statement or addendum, or both by putting the part about your grades in the addendum and the rest in your personal statement. Then you can use your diversity statement to discuss your immigrant status, homelessness, and working during school.

  52. Hi Ann,

    I’ve read you book and it has been a huge help in getting everything prepared for law school applications. However, recently I’ve been questioning my chances of getting into law school because of my situation. I got my BS in Biology (Baylor) but had a low GPA of 2.8. I had some family/financial problems in undergrad that affected my grades. One semester, I couldn’t afford to register for classes on time and was two weeks behind. I decided to go to grad school and the is past May got my MS in Biology with a GPA of 3.9. My December LSAT score was 152. I know I’m ready to go this fall but what do you think my chances are and how should I explain my situation?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Maia, I’m so happy the book has been helpful to you. You need to submit an addendum about the financial problems that impacted your grades in undergrad and juxtapose that with your MS grades – obviously you have what it takes because biology is a difficult field, so just make sure law schools understand what you were going through during college.

  53. Maggie on said:

    I’m a splitter, too. I have a pretty mediocre UGPA (3.35) from a well ranked program. I’ve been out of college for four years and have worked full-time in the non-profit sector and gotten a Master’s degree (3.8). While my UGPA is below a 3.5, my LSAT is a 172. Do you think a decent LSAT can make up for a mediocre GPA? Is it worth applying to top 20 programs? (Columbia, NYU, Berkley, Georgetown, Vandy, Texas)?

  54. Mark on said:

    Graduated from a Service Academy with a 2.36, so to say my UGPA was mediocre is an understatement. I can list a handful of reasons for such a low GPA, but what’s done is done and nothing is going to change that now. I’ve performed really well as an Army officer the last 5 years and I’ve held and been successful at some legitimate leadership positions. Taking the June 9 LSAT. I have not cracked above 155 in my diagnostics. Just wondering my chances of getting into ANY decent law school. No desire to go to T14 or T50 for that matter.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Mark, Your experience in the military is good, and let’s see how you do on this LSAT before we jump to any conclusions. So much depends on what you consider a “decent” law school, but I don’t think things are hopeless. Good luck on Monday!

  55. Jake on said:

    I’m waiting on my LSAT, but if I score between 155 – 159 (Thats what I was hitting during practice tests) Would any of the top 50 law schools would be willing to give me a chance? Below are the stats for my grades.

    Cumulative GPA = 3.01 (167 credits) (186 total – 19 unconverted)
    School 1 GPA = 1.73 (71 credits) (2000-2004)
    School 2 GPA = 3.80 (30 Credits) (2006-2009)
    School 3 GPA = 4.0 (6 credits) (2007)
    School 4 GPA = 3.87 (31 credits) (2012)
    Degree Granting GPA = 4.0 (48 credits) (2013-2014)

    The bad grades I have are my my first years in college from 2000 – 2004. I failed out and enlisted in the military in 2005, worked my way up to E-6 and have been a paralegal for the JAG corps for the last 6 years. I have several letters of recommendation from the attorneys I worked for and my resume shows all of my legal work since 2008, specifically when I deployed to Iraq to work for an JAG and when I worked in the legal office onboard an aircraft carrier. When I wasn’t deployed I took classes online and on the bases to finish my degree. From 2005 (Schools 2 and up), my cumulative GPA is a 3.91. I have to submit a statement to each law school because I was suspended over those horrible grades and, believe me, I take full responsibility for my actions in my statement. Do I have a chance at a top 50 school, or will they all just look at my cumulative GPA and (hopefully between 155 – 159 LSAT) and say No?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Jake, I am so sorry I didn’t see this comment earlier. Please forgive the late response. What did you end up getting on your LSAT in June?

  56. Quincy on said:

    I recently graduated from a very highly ranked university with a low GPA of 2.6. My GPA suffered greatly as my time was heavily consumed with playing varsity football. I suffered numerous concussions and injuries which required surgery and on a daily basis football would take up roughly 9-12 hours. I know my GPA is not a true refection of my abilities and I have yet to take the LSAT. I realize the odds are stacked against me but I would like to know if I have a chance of admittance into schools like UCLA, USC, UT Austin, or Washington. If so, what LSAT score is necessary? Also, what type of work experience or internship would be most beneficial in the application process? Thank you for your time and consideration and I hope to hear from you soon!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Quincy. The fact that you played sports will help explain why your GPA is not ideal. I can’t answer whether you can be admitted to those schools, but you would want an LSAT score at the 75th percentile or above for the schools in order to have a fighting chance. There’s not a magic internship or work experience that would help, but having a strong LOR from a professor certainly would.

  57. Henry on said:

    I graduated from my university with a 2.35 about 5 years ago. My last two years were 2.5, and my history major was above 3.0. Is there any chance that I can go to law school or would I need to go the foreign law school route to actually have a chance? What can my other options be?

      • scareykidwthbooks on said:

        please contact the law schools of interest, there are a few law schools with academic programs to help you gain acceptance to their program.

        PLEASE CALL THE LAW SCHOOL’S…

        AAMP PROGRAM : The Alternative Admission Model Program in Legal Education (AAMPLE) is designed to provide an opportunity for law school admission to applicants who would otherwise be denied admission. The program consists of two law school courses. These were selected from our regular law school curriculum and modified to provide the most accurate indication of a student’s potential for law school success. The courses are taught by tenured professors from our full-time faculty.”

  58. tracylacy on said:

    I am thinking about applying to law school, but I am concerned about my undergrad GPA, which was 3.4. I am currently enrolled, and about to graduate from a social welfare masters program at a well known ivy-league school maintaining a 3.9. I am planning on taking my LSAT this year, but wanted to have a sense on if this is feasible with my background, and what LSAT score I should am for if I wanted to get into a top law school

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Tracylacy, Everyone has their own “top law school” line – I am not clear on what yours is. I think anything is possible for you – put your focus on that LSAT & on presenting yourself well to law schools.

  59. Hello Ann,

    I recently graduated with a Bachelor’s in biology from UMass Lowell, with an abysmal 2.51 GPA. This does not reflect on the type of student that I am today in any way whatsoever. Mainly this is from my first few semesters in school. The trickling effects from my father being incarcarated while in high school/college (attempted murder of my mother, drug charges, etc) really prohibited me from adjusting to college life. I was a student athlete (Division 1 varsity captain of cross country and track) and was financially on my own since 17 since my mother couldn’t support me. Juggling sports, working, and being a biology major along with continuously going to court and fearing for my family’s safety took its toll. But, I finally dug deep and worked my butt off to try to raise my GPA. Sadly, you can only do so much after you’ve been in school for 2 1/2 years. I completed my degree in 5 years.

    I really want to go to law school and go into patent law. I’m working in the biotechnology field right now and I hate it. It’s definitely not for me. I have yet to take the LSAT or even study for it because I want to know if I even have a slight chance of being accepted, ever, no matter how much I prove myself. I want to know what my options may be. Should I go back to school and get a masters degree? I really have grown up a lot since the middle of my college career. I know I would do very well in graduate school. I have learned how to balance my life. If you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi gina,
      Biology majors generally have low GPAs & you certainly overcame obstacles. I am so blown away by your story – if you can pull off the LSAT, you can get to law school. Give the LSAT a chance – show what you can accomplish when you can focus.

  60. Hello Ann,

    I have a quick question about my GPA as well. So last week I just saw my academic summary report and almost fell out of my chair. My NEW cumulative GPA is a 3.21!? I changed majors from biology to something I found more interesting since it was not working out at all, I was very unhappy. I was a transfer student as well and got into UCLA due to my hard work after I switched my major. I worked so hard to get myself into a great school and I do not feel my past mistakes should hold me back from my goals. Though I did learn much about myself during those times.

    I am very upset about this and I am worried about this GPA killing my chances at a great law school. I didn’t do well in my science/math classes and had to retake some etc. I am also currently taking an LSAT prep class and will either take the Sept. or Dec. test (depending if I reach my goal of a 160+ by Sept.) Should I not worry about this too much and just write an essay to explain the situation? Should I just sit here and freak out? Any advice would help!

    Thank you so much for your time!

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi JC, Freaking never helps. Ever. You should explain the difference between your upward trend in your major and your overall GPA, but don’t write an overblown essay about it – point out the facts that caused your LSAC GPA to be lower than you expected, for example if you repeated courses (for which LSAC doesn’t count the second grade, etc.)

  61. So would getting not another bachelor’s help at all? Unfortunately getting a master’s is tough if don’t have a high enough gpa.

  62. Sorry posting about posting that twice, I didn’t think it got posted the first time. If someone doesn’t make into a top law school, but do really well in a lower ranked one, is it still possible to pursue a more ambitious career, like eventually work for a high paying law firm or even become a major city prosecutor or judge?

  63. Hi Ann: I have been out of school since 2003. My GPA was 2.7 in communications and I have my bachelors degree. The last time I took the LSAT was in 2006 and my highest score was 149. I went back to school for paralegal studies and have an Associates Degree in legal studies. My GPA for my associates was a 3.1. I have been working as a paralegal for the State of NJ for seven years. I am going to take the LSAT again in December. Would schools look at my work experience and Associates degree when considering me as a law school candidate? Is there anything else I can do to be considered a good candidate since my undergrad GPA is low?

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Hi Sherray,
      Your GPA from your bachelors degree is still the one that matters. Your Associates won’t be weighed a whole heck of a lot, but your work experience will be important. Do whatever you can to improve your LSAT score. it’s far from hopeless!

  64. Arianna Smith on said:

    Hi Ann,

    Firstly, I would like to say that I am absolutely glad I bought your book. It has been very useful and proven to be a great investment :).

    My questions is:
    Do you think I have any chance of getting into a top 20 or top 30 school? Or would I be wasting my time by applying?

    I have a 3.1 overall gpa. I messed up my first two years with a gpa low of 2.7 because I got caught up in the college lifestyle which I regret tremendously. However, following those years I have shown an upward trend. I am URM. I am the first one in my family to go to college. I am very active on campus, and have some related volunteer experience. I plan on taking the lsat in December so I can continue to practice. Currently, I am scoring in the mid 160s on practice tests.

    • Ann Levine on said:

      Arianna, I can’t comment on school chances but if you can score in the mid to high 160s you will be in the running with strong application materials.

  65. I started college in 1982 and finally graduated in 1995 with a degree in sociology with a 2.3 GPA taking time off for financial reasons. I started a masters program in the same year and completed it in 2002 with a cumulative GPA of 3.67. After working 30 years I will be 52 and retiring in the next couple of years from the public sector workforce. I have worked as a Financial Officer for the last 14 years managing 13 staffers. I want to start a part time law program. Its a lower tiered program which is fine. Is 52-54 to old for law school? How much of a problem is my low undergrad GPA , or have the years and work experienced distanced me from the error or my ways (UGPA). I have ordered your book, hope it gets here SOON. Thanks for answering.

  66. Anonymous on said:

    I was wondering if I should write an addendum to explain my previous academic shortcomings. I received two F’s, but retook the classes and received passing grades throughout my first two years of school. Since then I was able to raise my GPA from a 2.67 to a 3.14; by receiving a 3.66, 3.46, and 4.0 throughout my later semesters. I have also received an outstanding letter of recommendation from a Fordham U. grad and assisted her throughout various youth court training processes. I am also aiming for another 4.0 for my last semester in undergrad, which should bump me up to around a 3.25. I am currently putting in the time and effort to be fully prepared to take the JUNE 2015 LSAT. I wanted to know if I would be able too get into schools around the caliber of either Fordham or U. of California Davis with an Lsat score around 160? I also wanted to know if my previous F’s would be calculated in my Isaac GPA? Even though they are inactive grades on my transcript since I retook the courses.

  67. Anonymous on said:

    Hello Ann,

    I was wondering if I should write an addendum to explain my previous academic shortcomings. I received two F’s, but retook the classes and received passing grades throughout my first two years of school. Since then I was able to raise my GPA from a 2.67 to a 3.14; by receiving a 3.66, 3.46, and 4.0 throughout my later semesters. I have also received an outstanding letter of recommendation from a Fordham U. grad and assisted her throughout various youth court training processes. I am also aiming for another 4.0 for my last semester in undergrad, which should bump me up to around a 3.25. I am currently putting in the time and effort to be fully prepared to take the JUNE 2015 LSAT. I wanted to know if I would be able too get into schools around the caliber of either Fordham or U. of California Davis with an Lsat score around 160? I also wanted to know if my previous F’s would be calculated in my Isaac GPA? Even though they are inactive grades on my transcript since I retook the courses.

    • Anonymous- I can’t answer posts written anonymously because it’s not helpful to the readers to know which person I’m responding to. But I’m going to try here… I can’t tell you about chances at a particular school, but I can tell you that you need to explain the upward trend and that you retook the grades (because LSAC won’t count repeated courses in its GPA calculation).

  68. Dear Ann,

    I’m a transfer student, and I haven’t seen very many posts that relate directly to my situation. I transferred to Notre Dame as a biology student from a public state school. My first semester there, I took 17 credits in biology courses, and I feel like I overextended myself in a new, more rigorous academic environment too soon. I realized the next semester that biology wasn’t the right major for me and switched to environmental science, while also lowered my course load for 1 semester to fully adjust. From there, my grades improved every semester. I also graduated 1 semester early (3.5 semesters total). My final cumulative GPA was a 3.208, but my freshman year GPA of a 3.735 was not counted.

    Will addressing these topics in an addendum help my application? I would like to address how I transferred to my dream school as a positive in my personal statement, highlighting how it shows tenacity. I just don’t want to come across as if I am making excuses if I include the rest in an addendum. Also, would this help compensate for a lower GPA if my LSAT were to fall in the 25%-75% range of a school?

    Thanks,
    Mary

    • Mary,
      You do know that your freshman year GPA WILL count for LSAC and law school purposes?
      I’m not sure I’d put this explanation in your personal statement. Sounds more like an addendum topic to me.

  69. Hello,
    I completed an online paralegal certificate program while I was in undergrad (and it was completed before I was awarded by first Bachelors degree). Will the grades for that program be included in the calculation for my LSAC GPA.
    Thanks for the help!

    -H

  70. Hi Ann,
    Thank you for your blog post. This has been pretty helpful. I am in sort of a unique situation. I have completed a bachelor of law degree in England, and I was hoping this would be a valuable advantage for me when applying to law school in America to receive a Juris Doctor degree but my marks are not very good. Also, the grading system in England was much different and very competitive. For example, I only needed a 40% to pass and this was not easily achievable and a 60% was considered a first. I have been out of school for two years now but have only gained about 8 months total legal experience. I wanted to put the grading system of my institution in perspective for admissions via the addendum but I am not sure how to go about it. I do not want them to think that a 45% or 50% that i received in a course in equivalent to a D- but I don’t have the time or money to go back to school.

    • Mark, when LSAC evaluates your transcript, the grading curve should be noted and will assist law schools in understanding your grades. If you do not feel that it’s enough of an explanation when you review it, then you can include an addendum, or ask one of your professors to explain it in a letter of recommendation.

  71. Joanna on said:

    Hi, Ann:

    While I do not have too abysmal of a GPA (3.4), three semesters stand out on my transcript, my freshman spring, junior spring and my senior spring (the latter when I was only registered for two classes). Before that, my GPA was about a 3.8 but the drastic drop was due to two things: I had an abortion my junior spring (it was the day before one of my exams and I got a C in that class) and my senior spring when I contracted a pretty unfortunate virus (which caused me to take fewer classes in the first place and I got Bs in all of my classes). These are pretty personal medical issues, but how do I mention such things in an addendum? Is it even worth addressing? I was a nearly straight A student otherwise.
    Since then, I’ve had about two years of work experience, and hope to get my LSATs up into the 170 range. Unfortunately, most of the professors with whom I was close have left my university so I’d have to get two of my bosses to write recommendations instead of a professor–will that hurt my application as well?

    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Joanna,
      I definitely understand the delicate nature of the issues and would advise you to say something about a medical procedure and leave it at that. Point out how well you did when you were healthy, and how you’ve been healthy since graduating and these issues haven’t plagued your performance professionally, etc.

  72. potential student on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I’m very impressed with how many comments you handle! I would greatly appreciate it if you had time for another. I am an African American studying Anthropology who just finished his Junior year at The University of Arizona. I know that my school is not the highest ranked in general, and many people don’t take Anthropology seriously, but the UA has the countries #4 Anthropology program so it’s a great choice for me. I also believe that Anthropology is directly related to the study of law, especially the emphasis on research. My GPA is only a 3.2 (4.0 most recent semester), I took a cold practice test (timed) last week and scored a 165. I have practiced every day since and plan to practice 20+ hours a week for the rest of summer and then as much as I can during the school year until I take the real test in October. If I can score a 170, or higher, will I be a strong candidate for international law at George Washington University? Ideally I would want to get in under their early admissions process which comes with a scholarship but I want to be realistic.

    Thank you!

  73. Nalini p on said:

    Hey. I’m from India. I took a two year drop after school to prepare for medical school. However I didn’t get through any med school, so joined a very low ranked university for law in India. I am currently doing well in law, I have publications and my grades are good. And I’ve been doing internships. Do you think my drop or the fact that I did my under graduation from a very low ranked university affect my chance for a masters in the US or UK per se?

  74. David on said:

    Hi Mrs. Levine how are you my name is David and currently have a 3.25 Gpa and am going to be a senior after the fall.
    My first freshman year went bad because I could not write essays well. However my second year went well I made the Dean’s list twice and earned a 3.60, and a 3.68. My junior year i scored a 3.43 and a 3.46. Should i write a addendum explaing the decrease in my third year and also why I did bad my first year ? My next question is that the Lsac offical site it states that it averages all grades on the transcripts. I have a few retakes would they count in the average. I n you book the Law School admission game that retakes are not averaged. Thank you for reading the question.

    • David – this is from the LSAC website:
      Grades Excluded From Conversion
      Withdraw, Withdraw/Pass—only if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive.
      Incomplete—only if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive.
      Those given for remedial courses only if the transcript clearly indicates they are remedial.
      Those awarded after the first undergraduate degree was received.
      Those assigned no measure of credit by the issuing institution, regardless of the grade. Physical Education, Practical Art, Practical Music, and ROTC courses that are assigned credit will be included in the academic summary, even if the issuing institution does not include these courses in its calculation of a GPA.
      Passing grades from systems of one or two passing grades (e.g., Pass/Fail, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Credit/No Credit, or Honors/Pass/Fail, High Pass/Pass/Fail, and those for which conversion rules cannot be formulated, including courses for which a transcript gives only narratives or descriptions. Credits for the work in these courses are totaled and reported separately as unconverted credits. The only exception to this policy is for a reported grade below C-minus from a two-passing-grade grading system (e.g., Credit/D/Fail) when the issuing institution includes this grade in their calculation of a GPA.
      Grade symbols that have multiple meanings at the issuing school, and the issuing school’s registrar is unable to confirm whether course credit was attempted (such as NC=either No Credit Attempted or No Credit Awarded, etc.). The total number of credits usually assigned to the particular type of course will appear on the applicant’s academic summary but will not be included in the GPA calculation.
      Withdrawal grades that signify failure (such as WF=Withdraw/Fail, WU=Withdrew Unsatisfactory, WNP=Withdrew Not Passing) if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive. The total number of credits assigned to these grades will appear on the applicant’s academic summary, but will not be included in the GPA calculation.
      The original grade for a repeated course when the transcript does not show both the grade and the units for the original attempt. The total number of credits assigned to these grades will appear on the applicant’s academic summary, but will not be included in the GPA calculation.
      A No Credit grade that does not signify failure and for which no attempt at credit was made (e.g., NC=No Credit/Withdraw, or NC=No Credit Attempted).
      Failing Grades
      Any grade notation that signifies failure (such as No Credit, No Credit/Fail, Not Passing, Incomplete/Fail, Withdraw/Fail, Unsatisfactory, Fail, etc.) is converted to zero on the 4.0 scale and is included in the calculation of the GPA, even if the issuing school considers the grade to be nonpunitive. Failure is defined as credit attempted but not earned. If a transcript is not clear about credit attempted, LSAC staff will contact the registrar at the issuing school to confirm whether course credit was attempted. Incomplete and Withdraw grades considered punitive by the issuing school will be included in the conversion. The only exception to this policy is for No Credit, Withdraw/Fail, repeated courses, and incomplete grades specifically explained in Grades Excluded From Conversion.
      Repeated Courses
      All grades and credits earned for repeated courses will be included in the GPA calculation if the course units and grades appear on the transcript. A line drawn through course information or a grade does not eliminate the course from GPA calculation if the course units appear on the transcript.

  75. Panic Mode on said:

    HI Ann

    You work has been a first and foremost a god send to me in my hour of concern. I have had several life changing experiences and have just recently graduated and there are some concerns I have about applying to law schools. After dealing with hospitals and my most recent hit and run I have decided I’m taking the legal fights on myself ( i have always loved law). I have a Poli Sci degree with a mere 3.2 GPA. I have had 2 internships, drafted policies, supervised public works projects, and was very active before and in college. I am taking time to find more internship experience from law firm (corporate law firms) and public service work. My concern is that I don’t stand a good chance of beating the law school admissions odds if my resume doesn’t have more exciting things to add and if my LSAT score is mediocre (haven’t taken it yet). What do you think?

    • Panic Mode,
      I’m happy to have been helpful. I don’t see any reason for you to panic at this point. You have interesting work experience and extracurriculars – the key will be how you do on the LSAT since “mediocre” is a relative term. Instead of panicking, focus on being productive with your LSAT efforts and we can take things from there.

  76. Alice on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I am a recent graduate of a top-ranked public university, and am planning to apply to law school this fall. I have a political science degree with a 3.2 GPA and 170 LSAT and am interested in pursuing public interest law.

    I am concerned because toward the end of my freshman year and all through my sophomore year of college I struggled with severe depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. My sophomore GPA was abysmal because of this, and I graduated a year early so I didn’t have much of a chance to make up for it. However, I made difficult but significant strides toward improving my health in my last year of school and made honors in my last year. I was involved in several public interest-oriented organizations throughout college, as I’ve known since high school that I want to work for either a nonprofit legal clinic or as a public defender.

    I have two questions: 1) What range of schools should I aim for in my applications? 2) How should I describe the impact that my mental health had on my GPA without making it appear as a weakness/red flag to law schools?

    I apologize if these questions have been answered before or outside the scope of your blog comments; I recently discovered your blog and am looking forward to reading your book (and giving it a positive Amazon review (: )

    All the best,

    Alice

    • Hi Alice,
      Your issue is remarkable common, and I hope you’ll take some comfort in that. You should pick schools where your LSAT is within the 25th percentile as reaches, and weigh heavier where your score is a little bit above the median. If you want scholarships, add more schools where your LSAT is above the 75th percentile. I hope this helps!

  77. Lauren on said:

    I am graduating from UNM with a B.A. In History minor Political Science. I have a very poor GPA 2.6 because I had three semesters of bad grades due to medical illness. My LSAT is 165 and I was planning on including an addendum… but do you think i even have a shot at getting into Law school with those numbers? Thank You!

  78. My Ugpa is 3.14 (after 6 years in university I will have by April 2016 a specialization in English -Honours Bachelor, from Ontario, Canada). I was hit by a car in April of 2010 which is why my marks suffered for mostly the first three years of undergraduate studies. Fourth, fifth, and this sixth year was where my marks increased from better focused effort and the repeat of some select courses that I had previously gotten C+ or even D’s on. I have permanent disability on file with my university and its helped a lot in terms of assignment extensions where I am able to obtain higher marks for thoughtful and comprehensive work when granted the extra time. I am in no rush to graduate or go to law school, because it is my ultimate goal I understand the journey is a satisfying growth process. Do I keep retaking courses to increase my gpa (should i allow my uGPA to span more than six years on record for law schools to see? just so that I can increase to a possible 3.2 + ??) ? Is a 3.14 uGPA that spans 6 years in the liberal arts (my english degree) and a 170 LSAT score competitive between top tier Canadian law schools? What do you suggest? I have also emailed you about paid help with the law school admissions process for Canada. Thank you so much for your time and hope to hear from you soon..
    JM

  79. Hello,
    I’m finding a lot of answers on your forum, but I have a question that has not quite been addressed.
    Firstly I was sexually abused by my uncle for years and did not get help until I was well into my 20’s. This is the subject of my personal statement, do I need to rehash this in an addendum to explain 2 years of low grades (the following years my gpa greatly improves and I explain that after therapy I achieved my highest level of academic success).

    Secondly, I (stupidly maybe) got pregnant twice (one immediately after the other) in undergrad. Do I need to explain that I had two abortions or just that I learned a life lesson in responsibility?

    • Rebecca,
      I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. You don’t need to rehash details in the addendum, but do put facts in the addendum to show how the event directly impacted your grades, and to demonstrate the turn-around.
      You do not need to mention the pregnancies or abortions.
      Ann

  80. Latisha on said:

    I went to the LSAC forum this weekend, and I learned so much information. Like many other people here I started off college really horrible I was actually on academic probation during my first semester at a community college, (I was homeless, unprepared for college, and I lacked direction) however I took a break, joined the military and I am now an undergraduate student with a GPA of 3.66, however since we have to submit all of my transcripts to LSAC it would drop my GPA 2.79 I was wondering what can I do to supplement this? Will schools even look at my application even with an LSAT score of 160 or better (I’m still studying for the LSATs)?

  81. caroline on said:

    Do I have a chance of having my application reviewed by NYU Law with a 3.32 undergraduate from SUNY Stony Brook University, and my October LSAT has not come in yet.

    My GPA could have been higher-I was diagnosed with chronic depression during my toughest semester, and it is behind me now. I since then have obtained a masters in public health, 3.89 GPA and have worked professionally for 5 years since undergrad.

    I heard from a deans of admissions panel, that since the universities receive so many applications, if you do not meet the median GPA, your application gets cut from review.

    Please give me some hope! 🙂

  82. I currently attend the University of Louisville and have a 2.5 GPA as a first semester junior is there still hope for me to get a respectable GPA that will get me into an accredited law school?

    • Jas, upward trends matter so do the best you can in your classes from here on out and think about applying the year after you graduate so that your senior year grades count in your applications.

  83. Hey Ann,

    Firstly, as many people have already state, your book was spectacular! I was wondering about my chances at getting into a law school in CA or a T14 school. I’m an African American male and wrote about that and being gay in my diversity statement. I’ve taken the LSAT twice and gotten 162 both times but I would be willing to take it again in December. I was uncertain about how a 162 LSAT app in Oct compares to say a 165 LSAT app in January.

    GPA: 3.15
    LSAC: 162

    Softs:
    1 Year of work experience working for the state government (AGO)
    1 Year as director of a Cancer Society Program

    I also had a death in the family which required me to withdraw from a quarter. GPA would have been a 3.4 without that. Managed a 3.88 in my senior year when I returned.

    I’m trying to decide if I should retake one more time (risking no score increase) or apply right now. Do I have a chance at USC/UCLA (with money) if I framed it all correctly?

  84. Hi Ann,

    I read many of your responses to the previous comments, and I was hoping maybe you’d be able to give me some advice as well.

    I am currently enrolled in community college, on the cusp of graduation, with an extremely low CGPA (give or take 2.5/4). I would really love to attend law school, however I really don’t know what my chances are as 1) I am graduating a community college, not a university and 2) my CGPA is very low.

    I have been contemplating the possible methods of getting into law school, and so far I have come up with a few: 1) get a paralegal diploma (and licensing), and either try to apply right after graduation or go and work in the field for a few years to get some experience, 2) apply to a university abroad and get my law degree there and see if I would be able to get a masters back in Canada to gain the rights to practice here. 3) simply go work in my field of current studies (human recourses) to gain some professional experience and then after 16 apply to law school.

    I would really appreciate some advice on the matter. I will not even attempt to justify my poor CGPA, as the only thing I can say is that I was young, immature for the first 2/3 years of the program and not at all was I passionate about my choice of study.

    My dream is to expand my horizons and learn as much as I can, I would love a re-do of my junior years, but then again I didn’t care much about what I was studying so I doubt that even if it were possible would it change anything.

    Anything you can say about my options would help me greatly.

    Thanks in advance,

    Na2sik

  85. DJ Perry on said:

    Hi Ann,
    My name is DJ. I’m a current sophomore at Michigan State University. I’ve changed my major once so far from Finance, to Political Science Pre-Law. I had a 2.2 GPA before retaking classes last summer bringing it up to a 2.6. I also failed one of my retakes due to a run in with law enforcement – I did nothing wrong, it was a misunderstanding that I had nothing to do with, however, the police confiscated a lot of the resources I used for school over the summer and I became completely lost as what to do and ended up failing that class. Furthermore, I didn’t do well again this semester and I’m pretty sure my GPA will be brought back to around a 2.4. I do plan on retaking a couple classes this year, however I’m worried that my chances for law school are shot. I aimed for UPenn last year and quickly realized It’s probably impossible for my acceptance there. Now, I’m beginning to lose faith in going to a good law school as a whole. Could you offer any advise?

  86. Hi Ann,

    I have been out of school for about 8 years now. My undergrad gpa was 2.75 and my employment history has not been great. I am slowly becoming more proficient at the LSAT(have not taken) but at this point is a high LSAT score required to even attend bottom tier law schools?

  87. Eric Di Giacomo on said:

    Hi, so I have a 3.45 cumulative GPA. My 1st year was a 2.7, my second year was a 3.6, my junior year was a 3.8 and so far this year has been a 3.8. Would writing an addendum about immaturity and lack of focus my freshman year be beneficial or not really?

  88. Hey Ann,

    I am considering apply for Law school. I haven’t taken my LSAT yet, I am planning to take it in June, I am currently in my second last semester of undergraduate with a double degree in Psyc and Econ (i don’t know if law school cares about that) and my school is considered as one of the competitive ones in Canada. My GPA is now as good, because I suffered from family issues in one of my semester in 2nd year, so my current GPA is 3.53, and i still have 2 more semesters left so I will raise it up a bit but i don’t know how much. I know it may sound ridiculous to say but I want to try for Columbia, do you think my GPA is makes me impossible for admission?

    • Hi Ella,
      The good news is Canadian schools don’t have as much grade inflation, so if everything else is in line, this could happen for you. I hope that having time to raise your GPA works in your favor. Outstanding LORs will help too.

  89. Hello Ann,
    So I came in to the US about 13 years ago ( I was 17) with mediocre English. Spent a whole year working on my English and then started at a CC. I struggled with classes but I was good in sciences and I got accepted to the nursing program. I graduated with an associates in nursing and started working as an RN.My CC GPA was 2.5. I continued to pursue my Bachelors in nursing and I graduated with my BSN with a 3.6 GPA. My speculations over my LSAC GPA drags me down to 2.70. (Unless I am not calculating right)!
    Do you think pushing towards an LSAT score of 155-ish would offset the bad GPA that is mostly related to CC classes and my struggle to learn the language?
    Thanks

  90. Megan on said:

    Hello Ann,

    I am reaching out in regards to my options for getting into law school (primarily looking at Loyola in Chicago). I was a two-time captain of a Division 1 Women’s Basketball Team where I ended up getting a major Business Management and Entrepreneurship. I started out as a Biology Major my Freshman year, which really hurt my GPA starting out (2.5). I then switched to an Economics major my sophomore year, but due to schedule conflicts with sports there my grades slipped and I ended up graduating with a 2.3 overall. I have been studying for the LSAT and on my diagnostics have been scoring 165-169. I have three years of work experience at an Asset Management firm. I am wondering what my chances are, if any of continuing to pursue my law school dreams. Would taking some additional relevant courses at the Graduate level help out in terms of getting academic recommendations?

    Best Regards!

    • Megan, that could work, but that nice LSAT score may accomplish this for you by showing how smart you are – I’d focus my energies there. The fact that you were a Div. 1 athlete will go a long way in your favor.

  91. Sanya Salehani on said:

    Hello Ann,

    Firstly, I love the work that you’re doing here. I truly respect you for all the time and hard work you’ve put into this. I was wondering if you take clients from Canada? I am international student (still in undergrad however) but looking to apply to law schools in the US.

    Question: My first year and a half at university were severely impacted by my financial condition and health issues (I suffer from a genetic condition, attacks would be painful and cause weakness). I mostly got Cs and Ds. However, after going on academic probation and figuring out my financial situation, I started taking courses that I was interested in and I’ve maintained a GPA between 3.5 – 3.7 every since. My last two years of university, lowest grades are A minuses and there are mostly A pluses and As. I am graduating with a CGPA of 3.8 or 3.9.
    However, my LSAC GPA is around 3.3 or 3.4 (maximum). I was wondering, do law schools look your UGPA at all? Or is it just the LSAC GPA that matters. With a high LSAT score, do I have a shot at any of the top 14?

    • Hi Sanya, Thanks for your nice message. I do take clients from Canada (and Saudi Arabia and China and S. Korea, etc.!) if they are applying to law schools in the U.S.
      I think you will explain the upward trend in your grades, and knowing that you went to a university in Canada (presumably without grade inflation) and having a strong letter of rec from a professor are all things that will help your situation and if your LSAT is in range, nothing would preclude you from a T-14.

      • Sanya Salehani on said:

        Thank you so much for your response Ann. I just had one follow up question if it’s okay. Is it a gpod idea to stay an extra year in school, and take classes for a minor let’s say, to boost my GPA? It won’t make much of a difference, but it will go from a 3.3 to a 3.4.

  92. Jake Leete on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I’m a 27 year old engineer with a B.S. in systems (control) engineering from the United States Naval Academy. I received 2.9 GPA while juggling varsity athletics and battling sports related concussions and training for a special operations career. I served for four years following my commission as an officer before succumbing to combat related injuries due to my job. I scored a relatively low,149, LSAT score and did not put in the requisite work that deserves a strong score. I was accepted to Seattle U Law School and was wondering if you think it would be in my best interest to attend (want to pursue IP law and contract law with my engineering background) or put off for year and prepare adequately for the LSAT and shoot for a tier 1 (T14) school with a strong admissions packet.

    • Jake, if you would always wonder whether you could’ve had better options then take the time to wait and prepare for the LSAT rather than take a fall-back option that you might regret later. I don’t know that T14 is likely with your GPA, but you would have more options if you raised your score 5-10 points, and – if it matters to you – scholarships as well.

  93. Stephanie M. on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I’m a non-traditional African-American female student whose original UGPA (from 15 years ago) was below 2.0. I completed my degree two years ago (2014) and graduated with a 3.72 (cum laude) from a local city university. I did not study as much as I would have liked (about 4 weeks) before taking the LSAT and scored a 151. I applied to Univ. of FL- Levin, UVA and CUNY Law. Of the three, only CUNY accepted me. I was content with going to the school, especially because it’s affordable and practically free for me, until as I was told repeatedly that CUNY was a) Tier 4 school, 2) I would not find employment after graduation and c) I would never work for a Top 100 firm or a position that would pay me what I’m being paid now (in the $70s). I currently work for a Top 100 law firm in a support role. I’ve been encouraged to turn down my admission offer and re-take the LSAT and try to get into a T1 school. I’m conflicted and miserable and literally have days before I would have to make a decision to enroll or turn it down. Your advice would mean the world to me.

    • Stephanie, Not everyone is capable of earning a higher LSAT score. If you felt you didn’t prepare adequately and that additional preparation would mean a significantly higher score, then the advice you’re receiving would make sense. I don’t have enough information to guide you on that point.

  94. Cameron on said:

    Ann,
    I am currently trying to finish my B.A. at a christian college (where I origionally was going to be a pastor). My current UGPA is 2.5. I took almost 5 years off, due to a divorce and just finished my first senior semester with a semester GPA of 3.6. The reason my grades were so low was because I was working full-time and trying to manage a family with 2 kids at the age of 26. Following my divorce I started drinking and had 2 DUI’s (all within the first 6 months after I was divorced). I immediately rebounded and am currently working for a law firm. Do I have a chance in getting into a law school following my undergrad? I had a criminal past before college (no felonies). Will this prevent me from getting into law school? Law is really my passion and I don’t see myself doing anything else.

    • Cameron, consult the State Bar Association of the state where you hope to practice. Seek some legal counsel on whether these issues will be a problem for the moral character and fitness section of the bar. If you are candid in your applications and show a turnaround and have fabulous letters of rec from the attorneys you work for (and your LSAT score is respectable) you may be able to get into law school.

  95. Alex on said:

    Hi Ann,
    I hope I’m not repeating a question from above and I know you probably get a little annoyed at all these candidate specific questions, but hopefully an answer can help me and any future applicants in similar situations. I’m an engineering major at a Big Ten public University with a 3.3 GPA (2.9 GPA freshmen year before transferring and holding a 3.4 at my degree granting institution) and 166 LSAT applying for Fall 2017. My question is will admissions committees view my GPA as low even though it’s not half bad for engineering? Or more importantly, should I aim for schools based more on my LSAT or my GPA? A school like Northwestern, Vandy, Notre Dame or WashU would be a dream come true but I’m worried I’m overshooting my boundaries a little and might have to aim lower. Thank you in advance for any and all advice you can give!

  96. Hello,
    I have a low LSAT score because I suffer from Crohn’s Disease. I asked for accommodations from LSAC but if I am required to use the washroom during the time I am barred from returning to that part of the test. So accommodation isn’t going to be helpful and may prejudice me further should I get a worse score or end up being hospitalized. I have an undergrad degree in Justice Studies with a roller coaster GPA because of hospital admissions, however, I am fine now.

    How do I make it clear that my ability on standardized tests isn’t a true reflection of my abilities ? Retaking the test is not an option, because it will endanger my health and quite frankly I refuse to subject myself to this torment. Any ideas to help me push my way in ?

    Thank You!

  97. Anthony on said:

    Ann,

    I went to school at a smaller public school and also played football. My first two years I was majoring in pre-med, and did not have a stellar start. I was just not prepared for what was expected out of me being a collegiate athlete and student. One semester I even had a 1.89 gpa. I lost my academic scholarship which forced me to get a job on top of playing football. I ended up switching my major to business finance, and my gpa increased each semester. I was able to graduate a semester early, but my final gpa is only a 3.15.

    How should I go about addressing this? I feel like I have a valid excuse, and I showed improvement while working a full time job and playing football on top of that.

  98. Hi I have a question is there any shot of me getting in anywhere I have a LSAC GPA of 1.97 my school cumulative GPA was a 2.42 and my degree GPA is a 3.38. I took the September LSAT and scored a 144 I am trying again in December. Im really worried about my chances I started as a Biology major and obviously was not good at it. I stuck with it hoping I would do good but eventually switched my major and my grade skyrocketed. I ended up graduating with honors but my cumulative gpa suffered terribly. I would love some advice.

    thank you,
    worried sick

  99. Anne,

    I graduated from a federal service academy with a 2.8 GPA this December i received a 168 on my LSAT. While there I was the Captain of the Lacrosse team and held various positions in the regiment.
    I’m now multiple years out of school and am an O-3 in the reserves. I am also a Union Steward for my company and am in a management position.

    I guess what i am trying to figure out will schools look at things like academy life when evaluating grades, should I retake my LSAT (I legitimately think i can get to a 172-174)
    Do I have any chance at a T-14 school?

  100. Steve on said:

    Hello,
    First off, thank you for the information you’ve provided on this website. Secondly, I was hoping you would be able to answer a question for me; what are my chances of being admitted into a law school? I have a pharmacy doctoratte, for which I received a 3.9 gpa, my undergrad gpa was 3.83, my lsat was 149 and I have a well put together resume with multiple extracurricular activities and leadership positions.
    Best,
    Stevw

  101. Hi Ann,

    Your post has been extremely helpful – thank you so much for all your wisdom! I am seeking advice on my situation as well…

    I graduated 3 years ago from a top 30 university with a 3.1 in biochemistry. I struggled with the science courses but decided to stick it through. I really did not know where my path was going to lead me as I was originally pre-med. I then did AmeriCorps for 2 years and now am getting a masters (GPA: 3.89). My LSAT score is 175. I have 2 questions:
    1. With my low undergraduate GPA, which schools should I aim for? Would schools in the top 20 or 30 be feasible?
    2. Would an addendum be appropriate? Could I place emphasis my masters in health policy even though I know they mainly consider UGPA?

    Thanks in advance,

    Emma

    • 1. Yes, they would absolutely be feasible.
      2. Yes, the addendum is the right way to explain this.
      You will be a very promising applicant. Please let me know if I can be of further help.

  102. Alex on said:

    Hi Ann,

    I am taking the LSAT in June 2017 with plans to apply for law school for Fall 2018. My undergraduate GPA was 3.45 at a liberal arts college ranked in the top 40-45. My practice LSAT scores have varied somewhat. I have scored as high as 166, but I think that, realistically, a good performance on test day would get me in the 160-162 range. I’m deathly afraid of getting anything less than a 160, but it’s a distinct possibility.

    I will be 30 by the time I apply for schools. After college, I attended a clinical psychology doctoral program for several semesters. I earned a paralegal certificate about a year and a half ago from an ABA accredited program considered among the nation’s best. If it matters at all, my GPA there was 3.69. For the past year plus, I have worked as a legal assistant in a major federal agency, where I have earned superlative performance reviews and have no shortage of accomplished attorneys willing to write me excellent recommendations. My writing typically earns high praise and I expect to have an extremely well-written personal statement. I could also submit samples of high-quality legal writing, from my paralegal program, if schools accept that sort of thing.

    I would ideally like to go to school on the East Coast, preferably in the DC area. Would I have any shot at Georgetown or somewhere of comparable prestige? I know that would be a stretch. How about schools around the 20-30 range such as GW, BU, BC, or Wash U?

    Thanks,
    Alex

    • Hi Alex, as a rule, I don’t comment on school chances in the blog format. But your goals seems reasonable if your LSAT score comes back where you think it will. You may want to consider applying binding to Georgetown. You shouldn’t send writing samples with your applications. The attorneys you work with should comment on your abilities in that regard. Your work experience is much more important than your paralegal certificate or grades from that program. If I can be of any help to you as you move forward, please let me know. Good luck on the LSAT.

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