Can I Go to Law School if I Have a Criminal Record?

Law School Expert Blog

Tips for applying to law school with a criminal record:

  1. Gather all relevant facts and documentation from courts, police departments, and your university (if disciplinary action at your college was involved);
  2. Review law school character and fitness questions on applications to determine whether your incidents must be reported.
  3. If your arrests and/or convictions or other discipline must be reported, draft a candid, factual explanation and make sure to demonstrate that this incident or pattern of incidents no longer defines you or is indicative of your current behavior.

If you’re thinking about applying to law school, and you have a criminal record, it’s important to go into the process with your eyes open. First, you’ll need to report almost all incidents in your law school applications as part of the character and fitness disclosure. The questions on each application vary slightly, but in most cases you’ll have to report all criminal incidents (sometimes arrests even when there was no conviction) and sometimes even if the charges were expunged or sealed. You should obtain all documentation related to these events, and be prepared to be candid in the applications. That, above all else, is what the law schools are screening for. In order to practice law, you will need to complete a background check with the state bar examiners where you intend to practice. They will uncover if there is something you failed to report in your law school applications, and if you were not candid in your law school applications, you could be prevented from practicing law.

I often field questions from people who are wondering whether they can get into law school with a criminal record combined with a low LSAT and/or low GPA.

“I’m wondering if it’s possible (or what the likelihood is) of getting into law school with a 2.5 GPA, 138 on the LSAT twice, and a DUI on my record. Is there anything I can do at this point to get into a law school? Going back to undergrad and increasing my GPA? Taking the LSAT over? Anything?” – J.

The answer for J. is that there is an incredibly small likelihood of his acceptance to an ABA law school right now. Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt about diversity, being president of everything at school, having a few years of significant work experience, and a fairly reputable undergraduate college (a combination of which is highly unlikely), law schools have no incentive to take a risk on him. He brings nothing of value to a school, from a law school’s perspective. Any law school would have to sacrifice its numbers to admit him and probably sacrifice its first time bar passage rate and employment statistics as well.

Breaking Down The Specifics

Going back to undergrad doesn’t work. It doesn’t change your LSAC computed GPA. If J. could get himself into a graduate school program of repute and do very well (not just a 3.0, but in the neighborhood of a 3.7 GPA) and get some solid academic letters and significantly increase his LSAT score, then I think he might have a better chance of being admitted to law school. This would show maturity and seriousness of purpose.

One DUI is problematic, but if J. can show he’s changed and grown and learned from the experience, this alone probably won’t keep him out of law school. J. needs to put some real and metaphorical distance between himself and the DUI incident for law schools to be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Read The Comments!

I anticipate some questions and comments on this one, so fire away. And happy Friday!

619 Responses

  1. I have been following the blog for a while now. It has been a bad day and went straigt here for solace searching the archives.

    I am a non-traditional student (35+) raising a family and working 45 hours a week. I was just denied application to 2 PT programs (low Tier 1 and Tier 2) and waitig for the third response. I have a 2.9 GPA, 150 LSAT, and no option to quit work if I want to eat (FAFSA says no aid).

    Where do I go from here when attending Law School was a career and personal goal?

    1. Wow. This is impressive, to say the least. I’m currently lying in bed after having just thrown myself into a state of mild dejection resulting from examining my statistical chances of matriculating into *any* law school, and I certainly did not expect that my search for information on applicants such as myself to yield this very informative, decade-old blog. I’m quite glad I found it, though. And I’m even more impressed that you’ve been keeping up with it for all this time, Ms. Levine. Then again, you are the “Law School Expert” for a reason.

      Anyway, to the details: I am an aspiring law student who is big on ambition but short on statistical relevance. I’ll start with the “indicators of success:” my LSAT score and my UGPA. Neither are stellar at 149 and 2.95, respectively and, frankly, I feel that I‘m fooling myself into thinking I can become an attorney based solely on this data (and the inherent stigmas attached). The UGPA is associated with a bachelor’s degree in finance with a concentration in real estate and land use from California State University-Sacramento—a major I passionately regret pursuing (I now completely understand the reason behind choosing a major one likes if considering a legal career later). However, a factor contributing to the lackluster GPA is that almost two decades ago I was an undergraduate straight out of high school and that initial stint in college was an unmitigated disaster. I walked away from those first two semesters on academic suspension burdened with a 1.75 GPA.

      And then there’s my LSAT score. I have never been particularly solid when it comes to sitting through standardized tests, and it doesn’t help that I feel rather disdainful towards said exams. I am of the school of thought that high scores on standardized tests and exceptional GPAs are not always accurate indicators of academic prowess, but it is very difficult to refute the statistics that indicate otherwise. I took the LSAT one time with zero prep and eked out the score I previously disclosed. It’s not terrible, but it could certainly be better.

      So is that it? Are these my only concerns? Of course not. I was also, in the years since graduating high school, a generally terrible person. In compiling the litany of interactions I had with law enforcement in that time, I realized that my character & fitness addendums are going to make it seem as if I did nothing but disregard every traffic law conceived. Yes, I know that traffic infractions are not considered, but failure to appear to court for said infractions is a markedly more serious offense that often results in issuance of bench warrants and driving privilege suspension. If you think that I merely said “ok, sure, I’ll stop driving my car now,” you’ve been missing the general narrative. I have no less than eight instances of driving on a suspended license that I have to explain and there’s no other excuse other than blatant disregard. Sure, I could use the “car-dependent metropolis“ excuse and blame my defiance on the failure of municipalities to expand and/or enhance their mass transit systems, but clearly that won’t fly (regardless of how true it is for many placed in the same scenario). The most recent instance of getting caught took place in 2013 (personally regarded as the worst year of my life). Then there were the bad checks written in the early-aughts. Oh, and then there was the forgery charge also in 2013. You want to talk about obstacles to overcome? For some odd reason, I didn’t think I had enough obstacles being presented in life so I made some of my own! You know, because I’m brilliant like that.

      So that’s what I have going against me. What do I have working in my favor? If you ask me, not a whole hell of a lot. I’m hoping you’ll tell me otherwise, but I’m also not a complete idiot with regard to public perception and I’m pretty good at understanding what counts as “virtuous” in the eyes of those who have supposedly set the standard. Anyway, I am a Navy veteran. Served for over five years from 2002-2007. Not only did I serve in the Navy, I was a part of one of the most academically rigorous and challenging programs in the Armed Forces: the nuclear propulsion program. And even in that exclusive company I was a part of an even more exclusive enclave: those who had the privilege of being nuclear reactor operators. As you can imagine, I totally ruined that with my immaturity and defiance and I was ultimately discharged under “other than honorable” conditions. However, I did serve and I did so proudly; there is no discharge category that can take those years of service to my country away from me even if I was a complete jackass the entire time. I am clearly a non-traditional student. I’m a first-generation Caribbean-American who will be the first to pursue a law degree from either side of the family. I overcame my relatively low GPA when transferring from community college to CSUS and was selected for the university’s business honors program, an honor bestowed upon only tens of transfer applicants out of thousands (I shouldn’t have even been considered for the standard undergraduate program, let alone the honors program). I was selected as a legal intern *as a community college undergraduate* among L1 law students at a local franchise law firm and was later promoted to become a full-time legal assistant. I managed to scrape together three very solid letters of recommendation: two from professors at CSUS (one of whom recommended that one of my assignments be published) and one from the lead attorney I worked with at the franchise law firm. I have punched high many times and I’ve landed some very solid hits, and yet, here I am worried about my prospects for getting into law school.

      The bottom line is this: I DO NOT DOUBT MY ABILITY. I CAN AND WILL BECOME A SUCCESSFUL ATTORNEY AND A HELL OF AN ADVOCATE. The only thing holding me back is my past. Even my recent shortcomings with some unfavorable grades pale in comparison to the overall pattern of ineptitude I’ve displayed through now. The question is should I even bother? I’m almost certain that the benefits are still largely overshadowed by those two “measures of ability” in my LSAT score and UGPA, and if that isn’t enough to dissuade admissions officers, then my general crappiness as a human being certainly will. I would appreciate your honest opinion and to also keep in mind that this is an abridged account of past events (!!!). I still haven’t mentioned my passion and my reasons for seeking a legal career or how they tie into my past experiences and my current professional career. My pessimism lies less in myself and more in how I perceive the admissions system, which isn’t to say that I find it flawed—it’s just very difficult to finally commit to making a difference when you know that very few, if any, will give you that chance, and that’s incredibly discouraging.

      1. Hi – first, thank you for sharing your story.
        Second, it’s not your past holding you back from going to law school.
        It’s that you haven’t tried applying! (Or at least, that’s how I’m understanding your story!).
        Just try. Pick schools that take people with LSAT scores in the 140s and put in your application and see what happens. Then you will know.
        Sound good?

  2. I’ve also been following this blog for some time and I have a similar experience as J but a few exceptions: I was President of everything, African American first generation college student, great letters of rec from professors and heads of the department in which I majored. I have significant work experience as a community organizer and I started a marketing company on the side. I am in the process of going to one of my state schools for an MBA/MPP but my ultimate goal is to go to Law School and become a Civil Rights lawyer.

    What is at question is my undergrad gpa of 2.7 and that I’ve been arrested before. I plan on going to Law School in the next 4 years, however my concern is if I can attend a good law school with these attributes and what type of things can I do to boost my chances?

    1. Brandon,
      Your background sounds amazing. I help people apply to law school when they have an arrest in their background; I can help you strategize how to present this to schools and I talk about this some in my book. It doesn’t have to preclude your admission to law school, especially if you distance yourself from the event and show that it does not define who you are. You have a lot going for you and – with a solid LSAT score – I feel that you have the potential to be successful in reaching your goals – especially if your arrest ties into your aspirations to be a civil rights attorney.
      Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

  3. First off, Thank you for this amazing blog/website and all the informative links and posts that you have. As a senior year undergraduate student who is in the process of applying and studying for the LSAT your website and the information here has def. decreased my stress level a bit. So thank you (:

    In regards to one of the comments you made the initial post of J. You said ” going back to undergrad doesn’t work”. Is that implying that after one graduates, they decide to go back and re-take courses they did not do well in to bump up their gpa is not a favorable ( I use that term loosely) option?

    Also what are your thoughts on a Low GPA/ High LSAT combo? With your past experience in the admissions office how is that looked at?

    Thank you.

    1. N – Yes, after you get your bachelor degree additional credits you earn do not bump up your LSAC calculated GPA. (See Your Academic Summary Report GPA is what really matters most so this is important to understand. (You have to play on their website a bit to understand this, but it’s an essential website to get to know).
      A high LSAT shows great potential in law school and also some smarts, so it can absolutely overcome low grades at the right school. The key is to look at the 25th/75th percentile numbers for each school to see where you might fit. I have lots of testimonials on my website from clients who had 2.4 and 2.6 GPAs, did well on the LSAT, and were really thrilled with their results. I also have clients with 3.9s and 151s going to Top 30 schools. It’s all about how you package the lower #…..

  4. Hello and thank you for all I am learning by reading your blog.
    I have seen posts from aspiring law students about low gpa’s and fears of that factor hampering law school. I do have the same issue, but I have seen that every situation is different so I really want to tell you mine.
    Although I have a low UGPA of 2.56, I believe everything else about my application can show a strong case. When I was an undergraduate I had a surgery and was often in a wheelchair, on crutches, or just struggling by with a medical problem caused by gun shot injuries to my knees during my U.S. Marine Corps service. This also hurt me financially, since I could not get coverage from civilian insurance for a military injury (as my student insurance company, OETNA, told me. So, I was often too injured to work and support myself compounded with huge medical costs. Later, my knees started getting better but I was working full time to pay my tuition and medical bills; and I always had a pain and inability to sleep problem until the end of my undergraduate studies, which also strongly affected my performance. I have professors who can verify this in their letters, if you think it would be helpful.
    On the other hand, since graduating with my undergrad in Anthropology from Indiana University, with 2.56 UGPA, I have been living and working in Ethiopia for two years, now going on three. I have also worked in medical coordination and several other humanitarian affairs in several African countries since 2006. I am responsible for getting one Liberian Child life saving medical care (it took me four years of very hard work and some hazardous travel time throughout West Africa, even during the Cote’d’Ivoire Civil War. I have also been managing humanitarian projects in education, human rights, orphans (of HIV) welfare and education, and other areas where I have experience in management, project design and implementation, fundraising, etc. I have even learned to be proficient in the local language of Ethiopia, Amharic.
    I have also recently negotiated the release of a human trafficking victim who was help in slavery, without pay, in Dubai, U.A.E. That event inspired me to begin my long time dream of applying for an international law degree because I had to act very similar to a lawyer in order to secure her release. In the end, I brought her back to her family in Ethiopia. They are now my family, as I married the girl’s sister (we were dating at the time that the sister went missing due to her captivity in Dubai).
    My organization in Ethiopia was shut down due to the outlawing of organizations practicing human rights activities, but I managed to re-open our projects, in spit of government persecution, under a new organization which still serves our orphans and other beneficiaries; but with less emphasis on human rights talk and education (although we can still do our work if we watch out for legal red-flags that could get us in trouble again.
    Sorry to ramble about myself, but I believe I have the kind of experience that shows that I could make a big difference if I was armed with the knowledge and recognition that comes with a solid international law degree. I have even been practicing the LSAT and believe I will score really well. I also have the most amazing recommendation letters from professors and I could acquire more. I had a great reputation with my professors because I worked as a teachers assistant and research assistant for the high profile head of my school’s Anthropology Dept., and later Dean of Students for Liberal Arts (by promotion). I was also a Senator in student government, as a representative of the School of Liberal Arts. It is only my UGPA of 2.56 that really threatens to hold me back.
    Could you please give me some personal advice??? You can still post it, however. I would really like to hear your feedback; good or bad.

    1. Bryan, Thanks for sharing your history. You have a wonderful story – especially what you’ve been doing in Ethiopia – and if you can do very well on the LSAT then I feel optimistic about your chances. I can’t really give strategy information over the blog – this is a service I provide for my clients only once I’ve reviewed transcripts, resumes, standardized testing history, goals, etc. I wish you the best of luck.
      PS. One of my former clients had a 2.4 UGPA and did well on the LSAT. He transferred from a Top 50 to a Top 10 and graduated #1 in his class from the Top 10! How’s that for hope?

  5. HI, Im hoping I can get an answer fairly quickly, I just found this blog and am a little nervous about my application to law schools regardless of my credentials. I went to a top 20 undergrad university, came out with a 3.7 cum gpa, poli sci honors society, 2 years undergrad unpaid internship at a consumer advocacy lobby, and 1 year working as a human resource developer for the international rescue committee- a refugee resettlement agency. I got a 165 on the LSAT, and am currently working as a legal assistant full time for a reputable law firm. The bad news is that last year I was pulled over, adn being negligent of laws that involve the breathalyzer, I refused a breathalyzer test and that in my state was an automatic temporary loss of license. Other than that my record is clean. I hope to attend a top 20 JD program, and am wondering how much admissions boards are going to penalize me for my refusal charge.
    Any comment appreciated. thank you!

  6. I am 34 years old and have worked at the same place for 14 years. I have done volunteer work with hospice and victims advocate for years. I graduated with a 3.3 gpa and have not taken the lasat yet. The problem is this past week I was arrested for assault. There was alcohol involved. A guy started screaming in my face and it’s a long story but I turned around at some point and scratched him in the face and then he close fisted punched me in the face. I was in shock and even though I had a witness, they believed him and did not believe that he hit me. It was a horrible investigation by the cops. They charged him with nothing. Everyone I know cannot believe how the cops acted towards me. First,can I even take the LSAT at this point. I guess that is my major question If I do get convicted, what does that mean as far as trying to get into a law school? Thanks

    1. Kimberly – if you are mentally prepared for the LSAT, take it. If life is too weird right now, wait until December (or February).
      Get a good lawyer.
      It’s not over til it’s over.

  7. Sometimes I honestly feel like giving up ;-( I graduated from undergrad 2 years ago and I have taken the LSAT 3 times, not being able to score above a 140 on all 3 exams. I graduated from undergrad with a 2.85 GPA and my highest LSAT score is a 140. I will not be able to take another LSAT exam until Feb 2011, as per LSAC rules. Which would be a little to late for me to apply for the Fall 2011 class. As for right now I am looking into getting my masters next fall in Public policy to show law school admission that I could handle graduate level work and do very well. From there I will take an LSAT prep course and retake the LSAT. I just wanted to know if you feel I would still have a chance of getting into maybe a part-time program if I study harder and take the LSAT again as well as get my masters.

    1. P,
      If you’ve never taken an LSAT prep course then that’s the #1 thing you can do for yourself. The grad degree will help a little but not if your high score is still a 140. I wish you all the best.

  8. Hi,

    Thank you for this blog!! The Law School admissions process can be quite overwhelming at times and information like this is a necessity! I am a non-traditional student (27) working to finish my undergrad (which has taken me several years and quite a few bad grades scattered around the past 10 years.) In the past 3 years I have had a big life change “grew up” and have been working hard to do well in school. Unfortunately my older grades are still haunting me (some of them almost 9 years old), this has left me with what I calculate will be a very low TOTAL (all institutions) gpa that LSAC will calculate. (around a 2.0). I just took the LSAT and was scoring in the very high 150’s on diagnostics. (I am not opposed to taking it again, based on my score to raise it into the mid 160 range). I am also a minority female with years of work experience as a legal assistant at a few law firms. What are my chances of getting in to law school? I will obviously be writing an addendum about my grades, though not sure how to approach that exactly…

    1. Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for your comment. We need to see where your LSAT comes back before we can really address this but if it comes back where you were scoring in the high 150s then you can absolutely go to law school – it’s just about picking the right schools. You’ll definitely need an addendum about your grades. You might find my book really helpful for that.

  9. First of I just want to say, thank you so much for this blog!!! I have taken the LSAT 3 times with my highest score being a 141. I graduated from undergrad with a 2.87 GPA. I know that I do not have a strong GPA or LSAT score so I have been thinking about taking the GRE and getting into a master’s program. With hopes that I will perform extremely well (3.50 and up) to show that I have matured and to show “the seriousness of my purpose”. From there I will restart my LSAT prep, this time around I will not take the exam until I am completely ready and I know that I will not let my nerves get the best of me. I know that I have the ability to score higher on the LSAT because I have, so I guess my questions to you are: Do you feel that if I retake the LSAT for the 4th time and score nothing lower then a 150, I have a chance of getting into law school even though I took the LSAT 3 times already? Do you feel that applying for a maters program and performing very well will help me gain admissions to law school?

    1. Hi Mary. I’m glad the blog is helpful.
      I think an LSAT score in the high 140s, low 150s is much more important to your candidacy than a master degree. The master degree does help, and will allow you to get some academic letters of rec, but by itself it won’t overcome a 141 LSAT.

  10. I am graduating from college this year with a 3.2 gpa and I am also a four year veteran of the Air Force. i was arrested for DWI recently and I am concerned about the outcome of this when I am up for the bar. I know I can go to law school with a good lsat score but I am afraid of being limited to certain job options with anything related to a DWI on my record. I also have a few credit issues, no bankruptcy but a few late bills. What am I facing? (I have not been convicted and I have a lawyer)

    1. John, I don’t think it’s over for you. I think you need to resolve this and show growth and an understanding of the consequences, but one such incident shouldn’t bar you from much. You can contact the state bar where you hope to practice and inquire further.

  11. this is frustrating…i don’t know if i should even bother applying. i hope you can be completely honest with me…here’s my info:
    I’ve take the lsat 3 times with a 140 being the highest, i’ve taken a prep class, i have a 2.7 gpa, i’ve worked for an attorney for 7 years, i’m a Hispanic divorced mother with 3 kids. i worked full time while attended school. Seriously, should i even bother applying? i’ve heard of a few people that got into Thurgood Marshall in Texas with such scores…i don’t know..maybe i’m not meant to go to law school.

    1. Ricca, You face an uphill battle getting into law school. On the other hand, better for the law school to reject you than you to reject yourself by not trying. At least then you’d know for sure.

  12. My question involves websites like law school predictor. How much can you trust the matrix and the results that those websites produce? I have a 2.5 ugpa and a 158 lsat score, and that score puts me in the consider pile for a lot of tier 3 and 4 schools but i am afraid that my gpa is too low to be brought up by my lsat’s. Do law schools look at them more independently or as a combination?

    1. Hi Mike, I explain this in my book so you might want to check that out. The combination is what gets you in the door for consideration, but then the subjective aspects (how old the GPA is, how difficult the major, extenuating circumstances, etc.) determines whether you get a second look despite the combined numbers (called the “index”).

  13. Hello,
    Like everyone else on here, I am very thankful for this post.
    I am a 25 year old Hispanic female that unfortunately has a low ug gpa of 2.9. My LSAT score was 166…vie been working full time for a large utility company for over 5 years…. What do you think my chances in getting into a top 20 law school???

  14. hello, i know it seems like you have answered this question a million times but none of the other individuals had my same problem. i graduated from a state school with a G.P.A of 2.27 i have a b.s in criminal justice and a B.A in political science . i have taken the lsat twice the first time i received a 140 and the second time i received a 146 both times i took no prep classes and i only studies about a month for the second test . no prep at all for the first ( stupid !! i know) i was considering going to a non ABA school but all of my professors suggest that i don’t. i have seen some people say that they are going to a masters program to raise there G.P.A but i was advised that california schools only look at your undergrad G.P.A . i wrote a personal statement advising that my college g.p.a was low due to the passing of my older sister . but i’m wondering if i should re take the lsat with a prep class or go into a masters program. any suggestions on how i can get into an ABA school ?

    1. Amber, you absolutely must take a good 6 months with a prep course and/or tutor and retake the LSAT. A graduate GPA would help you make your case that your undergraduate GPA was more a reflection of the turmoil in your life than your abilities. But it’s true that schools won’t ignore your undergrad GPA just because you have graduate work. I think you need to attach things on two fronts to be successful in law school admission in 1-3 years.

  15. Hi Ann,

    I just discovered your blog today and I’m hoping you can give me some advice.

    I work as a paralegal for a major law firm and I’m toying with the idea of applying to law schools. My undergrad GPA was a 3.5 and my LSAT was unfortunately very low (140). I plan on studying and retaking the LSATs by next October but I was wondering if I have a shot at getting into a top 50 school? Is it possible to dramatically increase an LSAT score?


    1. Carrie,
      The good news is that it is possible for your to dramatically improve your LSAT score in a year if you did minimal prep the first time around. I have a lot of advice throughout the blog re: LSAT prep programs, tutors, etc., so definitely spend some time checking that out and planning for how you can use the next 10 months wisely.
      It’s not possible to get into a Top 50 school with a 140, so this is the right game plan for you.
      I wish you all the best.

  16. Hello Anne,

    I’ve wanted to go to law school since I was 13 but lately I’ve been facing some major bumps in the road. First I would have have to explain a little bit about my background. Although I am 100% American, I come from a very strict Yemeni background. I dropped out of high school and entered an arranged marriage at the age of 17. A few years later, I had my daughter. After a few years of a marriage and life that seemed to be going nowhere, I left with my daughter. I got my GED and I went to Yemen for a few years until all the “ex drama” cooled down. While I was there, I worked as an early childhood teacher at the American Internationsl School and I also worked as an immigration consultant at a Canadian immigration office. It was there that I decided it was time to go back to school and further my education (my family strongly disagreed as I am the only in my family to go as far as GED). I started off at a community college and went on to get a B.A. in International Relations with a 3.3 GPA in 2009. I took a year off and went back to the Middle East where I did some volunteer work in a refugee camp. I took the LSAT in October and that’s where I got a rude awakening. I got a 141 on my LSAT. I signed up to retake it in December and I am taking a LSAT prep course but my scores do not seem to be improving. I take a mock test every weekend and my score is not improving. So I guess, my question is, do I stand a chance with my 141? The schools I’m looking at are University at Detroit Mercy Law (Dual U.S./Canadian program) and Stetson Law. I spoke to a few admissions counselors and they “advised” me to retake the LSAT which I don’t think will help me. Any advice you could give would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Thanks for you time and sorry for the essay but I thought I should give the background info.


    1. Layali,
      I am so impressed with your life story. I love that you are a self-made person who took initiative to obtain her education. I think retaking in December, if your practice tests aren’t improving, isn’t going to get you anywhere. You may want to pursue a 2-pronged approach: Apply to Detroit Mercy and Stetson and see what happens, and if you’re not successful then you can take a prep course or work with a tutor and retake the LSAT in October 2011 to improve your score. (According to the LSAC ABA Official Guide to US Law Schools, Stetson took 4 people with LSATs of 144 and lower but Detroit Mercy took More than 140!)
      Good luck!

  17. Hi,
    Absolutely great website!!
    So I am a Canadian doing my undergrad currently. My GPA is in the C/C+ range currently. So far theres indications this will go up to a B or B+ at graduation. I sit for my LSAT for the 1st time in February. I know I want to get into Public Service, people say i might change after a coupla years in Law School, but I doubt it.
    My qstn is this. I really am considering CUNY because i hear its good for public service. Is it true? And do I have a shot at getting admission? I have volunteered in Africa twice, but thats about it. Due to my Africian background, I have a colourful story of escaping cruel regimes and what not and my desire for public service stems from experiences as an immigrant, a political and economic refugee etc. I was advised to put this in my personal statement as this will make it stronger. Is this so? What else will get me into CUNY? And is it true that CUNY graduates suffer immensely from unemployment?
    So can I get in? What other schools hve a good rep for public service? And what schools are easy on the pocket seeing as Im canadian and will be an international student. Thank you

    1. Hi Hopefull,
      You raised a lot of issues with this question, but the ultimate question of “can you get in” will depends largely upon how you do on the LSAT. CUNY is not your typical law school – it’s public, first of all, which is why the tuition is reasonable. It’s also a small law school – taking only about 129 people into its first year class in 2009. Because its stated mission is related to public interest, about 30 percent of its grads go to work in this field, 20 percent in government and only 30 percent in law firms. That’s very different from most law schools. I’d say it’s only the right law school for you if you’re sure this is what you plan to do and if you plan to stay in NY after graduation. However, the faculty prides itself on working internationally, and your experiences may resonate with them if well presented on your application.
      In your particular case, with your GPA, you’ll have a difficult time getting in unless your LSAT is on the high side for this school. I suggest you consult the ABA LSAC Official Guide to US Law Schools for more information about whom the school accepts in your grade range.
      I wish you all the best.

  18. Hi Anne,

    I am currently studying for my lsat.. it is a bit of a struggle but I do believe I will have a decent score. My concern lies in the fact that I received two DUIs while in college. I did learn from them and managed to do well in school despite them. But will they ultimately keep me from getting a place in a law school?

    1. Hi Kevin,
      The answer depends upon how long its been since you’ve been out of college and whether you can show that you really took it seriously and turned your life around. Sometimes that requires the passage of time. Sometimes any concerns about this can be addressed through your personal statement, letter of rec, and of course in your addendum surrounding the circumstances. The DUIs will put your application through extra scrutiny, and some schools may not be willing to take a chance on you, so I advise adding more safety schools than you might otherwise need to add. And please apply as soon as possible because it will take extra time for your application to be reviewed.
      Good luck!

  19. I have been out of college for nearly two years and have worked since with no repeat offenses. What do you suggest I say in my addendum regarding the DUIs?

  20. Hi Kevin,
    This is the kind of thing that is too personal for me to answer within a blog post. You can see my book for additional insights on addenda, or if you’d like we do offer consulting to help with these issues.

  21. Hi Anne,
    I am currently enrolled in a distance learning program from a top 50 state University, I have recently gone back to finish my bachelors and was hoping to go on to law school. I was wondering if the distance learning program would hurt me even though it is from a highly ranked accredited school? I currently have raised my GPA from 2.59 to 3.487, and work full time to raise my four kids. I have had some credit problems which are straight now and was wondering if that is something that is considered by adcoms? Any insight would be helpful.


    1. Jay,
      Raising your GPA counts. The fact that you’re a non-traditional applicant and a parent makes it evident why you had to choose a non-traditional route to obtain your degree. I like to tell people to only worry about the things you can control. At this point, you can’t control that you did things nontraditionally, so now you have to “sell it” in your applications. The credit issues are not asked on most law school applications, but it’s definitely something you should consider if you expect to take out loans for law school.

  22. Hey Ann,

    I received notice from a law school that i was being deferred (for later review), and possibly not given notice of admission (or not) until the week before class.
    Of course, nowhere in the letter did it say “waitlist” of any sort, so I’m assuming I’m in a different category.

    Wanted your opinion on if being on deferred status was worse than being waitlisted, better…or just…”it is what it is” type of thing. Thanks Ann.

  23. Hi Ann,

    First off, thanks for providing such a great website and for such encouraging advices to all of us.

    I got my BA in Int’l Relations with a 3.06 GPA from State University; Low GPA I know. No criminal record and such. I then attended an ABA-Approved Paralegal Studies Program and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. Meanwhile, I interned at the public defender’s office and an immigration law firm, for a total of a one year. I know it probably won’t matter much. Now I truly feel like I have interest in law way more than Int’l Relations. I took an LSAT and scored 167. I have recommendation letters all from attorneys. I am fluent in 5 languages: my native language, English, Mandarin, Korean, and Spanish.

    What are my chances of getting into a prestigious law school in CA?

    Thank you in advance.

    Happy New Year!

    1. BF, your chances are very, very good so long as your materials are consistently well written. I knew from your first sentence that you were not a native English speaker so that’s something you’ll need to watch as you apply.

  24. Hi Ann,

    I graduated with a 3.6 (bs in environmental policy, minor in public health) this past May, 2010. I finished with departmental honors, cum laude honors, and have held various student body positions throughout all four years of my college experience. I have also won national Slavic writing competitions (two years in a row!) and have been inducted into two national honor societies. I’ve been working at one of the world’s best pharma. companies for nearly 3 years (2 as an intern, then hired fulltime as an HR associate). I am a first generation American with parents who were political refugees from the former USSR. I am also the first in my family to finish college in America and the only who dreams of going back for more. I also have no criminal record. I took the LSATs once and scored an embarrassing 136 – I was “sick” – my junior year. I signed up for a course and will be taking them again in June 2011 – with hopes to jump AT LEAST 20 points. Will I have a shot to make it into Rutgers or any NYC school (such as Pace, NYLS, Brooklyn, etc). Do you think improving my LSAT score is all I need?

    Kind Regards,

  25. Hi Anne,
    I took the LSAT in February 2010 and received a low score of 144. I have my associates degree in Paralegal Studies and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. I then transferred to a 4 year school and received my bachelors degree in business and graduated with a 3.0 GPA. I worked part-time while in school, first as a legal secretary then as a paralegal and I’ve been working full-time as a paralegal since graduating. I was planning on retaking the LSAT in June and applying for fall 2012, but now I am thinking of applying to only one school for fall 2011 (part-time). Should I not bother applying? If I get denied, will applying a second time after retaking the LSAT hurt my chances or have any effect?

  26. Thank you for your response, Ann.

    Just one quick question here, the paralegal studies program GPA and my language skills would probably influence a school’s decision only a little, am I right? The two principal factors a school mainly considers are undergrad GPA and more importantly the LSAT score, am I right again?

    Thank you very much.


  28. ann,

    I graduated in December of 2009 with a 2.9 GPA and I am thinking about entering the peace corps. Unfortunately I have been convicted of a DUI charge. Will the peace corps help my chances? Can I still get into law school with a decent LSAT score? What might that score be? Thank you very much.

  29. Ann,

    I graduated college in december of 2009 with a 2.8 GPA but I was recently convicted of a DUI. My dreams are to enter the peace corps and then attend law school in a few years. Can I still get in with a decent LSAT score? What might that score be? Also, will the peace corps and other volunteer community service programs help my chances?

    1. Tom, volunteer programs would absolutely help. Your LSAT will have to outweigh your GPA and you’ll have to keep things very clean in terms of your drinking and record in the next few years.

  30. Hi Ann,
    I have a really low LSAT score even after taking it twice. I have never thought my academic potential to be accurately reflected through standardized testing though, and I know it’s acceptable to send an addendum with SAT score reports to back up this idea. What range of SAT scores are usually considered “low” enough to be good support? A similar percentile score?

  31. HI Rebecca,
    The key is this: Was your LSAT low for your undergrad college and your grades high? If so, you can show that the LSAT didn’t predict undergraduate performance.

  32. Hi Ann,
    I just received my LSAT score back and it was a 141! I know this is low, however I did very well in college. I graduated in three years with a bachelors degree maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout. I was involved in almost every major organization on campus. I am also hispanic, and I am a first generation college graduate. I have been looking at several law schools, but I am not sure if I will get in. Any advice? Thank you in advance for your time and response.

    1. Hi Maria, You have a lot of good things going for you and it’s possible that if your application is strong a law school might take a chance on you. However, it’s late in the cycle so that worries me, and I would also want to know whether there might be more you can do to prepare and perhaps raise your score 5-7 points.

  33. Hey Anne, I recently took the December lsat and scored 147. I’m 24 and this was my second time taking it, the first time I took the lsat I cancelled the score. Do you think It’s a good idea for me to take it a third time?

  34. Hi Ann,

    I recently found this blog, and it has been extremely helpful. I am currently applying to law school, and I am concerned with my GPA and LSAT (2.9 and 150, respectively). I worked full time as a paralegal all throughout college, and raised my GPA in my last 2 years from a 2.4 to 3.9. I was wondering what you think my chances are for getting accept.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Amanda, I’m so glad the blog is helpful. The answer to your question depends upon where you are applying. The improvement in your grades, especially while working, is really impressive.

  35. Dear Ann,

    I received my LSAT score this morning, and, unfortunately, I only scored 147. My undergraduate GPA is a 3.1. I graduated from a private, liberal arts college in Mississippi in 2009, and for the past 2 years, I’ve worked in New York City. Last year, I was a City Year Corp. member and this year, I work at the Harlem Children’s Zone. Although my LSAT score isn’t the greatest, considering that my GPA is decent and I have two years of volunteer/work experience, would you say that I have a good shot of being admitted to a decent law school this year?

    1. John, this depends on what you mean by ‘decent’. Your GPA isn’t high enough to “bring up” your LSAT score so even though you have interesting soft factors, it’s unlikely you’ll get into a school that’s a big “reach” on the numbers unless you have a really strong personal story to share.

  36. Dear Ann,

    I have a 3.7 GPA and I scored pretty good on the LSAT where I got a 168. However, I got a written warning where I got charged for being in the presence of alcohol and posession of alcohol under the legal age. Also, when I have a posession of alcohol ticket from when I was in high school, and we were prom camping, there was alcohol on the scene and we all got posession of alcohol tickets. I did not consume alcohol in either of these incidents. I was wondering if I still have a good shot of getting into a top 14 Law School

  37. Dear Ann,

    I am a 29 year black female, with an ugpa of 2.5, bs in accounting. I took the LSAT in Oct 10 ( I didn’t prepare) scored 138. I am taking the LSAT again next weekend. My ugpa was so low mainly because I suffered from depression triggered by family financial trouble, my parents getting divorced, and losing our home. I’ve worked since the age of 16 and was completely resopnsible for providing for myself and financing my college education. Since graduating from undergrad I’ve worked as a staff accountant for about 5 years. Right after graduation I started a graduate program (masters in accounting) only completed one semester (3.0 gpa) and then relocated to another state to find a position in accounting. I left the graduate program because I was working as a bank teller and couldn’t find an accounting position in that area. Once I was settled in the new area I started taking a few graduate classes to meet the requirements to sit for the CPA exam, I realized I didn’t need two of the classes but it was too late to drop the courses so I earned 2 B’s, one C and one D.
    Do you think I have any chance of getting accepted into a law school for Fall 2011?

    Thanks for this wonderful site

    1. Sha,
      I think applying with a February LSAT score for fall admission is tough, especially when the numbers are low for a school because by that time the schools have admitted/rejected/waitlisted applicants and they aren’t as likely to have room, or to be inclined to make room for someone whose numbers are not competitive. But see how you do on the LSAT. I wish you the best of luck!

  38. Hi Ann:

    Here is my dilemma. I took four LSAT tests and applied to the same law school four different times- each time respectively after taking the LSAT. My scores were 143, 145, 145 & 149. After I applied the second time, I was offered acceptance into a conditional acceptance program (AAMPLE). Unfortunately, I didn’t do so well- I earned an F and D plus grade. However I felt more confident reapplying during my fourth attempt since I attained a higher LSAT score-149. However, I just received a rejection letter from this school. Recently, I’ve taken a few practice LSAT tests and have earned scores between 150-158. I feel confident about reapplying but I’m afraid this school will consider the fact that I got an F and D plus in their AAMPLE program, applied to their school four previous times, and will ultimately reject my application again. I am a 45 year old male that’s married with two children, a wife, a mortgage, a stable career. Therefore, I’m unable to relocate and unfortunately, this particular school is the only choice I have, so I am at their mercy. Do you think I have a good chance of being accepted if I apply again-for the 5th time-and perhaps attain a score between 150-163?

    1. Sean, the fact that you didn’t make it through the AAMPLE program is probably a deal-killer at this school. Unless something out of the ordinary was going on that summer that prevented you from studying, you are going to have a hard time proving you can succeed this time around. There is a world of difference between a 150 and a 163, and given your past history I find it really unlikely you’d hit at the top of that scale. Sorry to be a downer, but if you haven’t already scared away the admission office you may want to make an appointment there and discuss your predicament.

  39. Hi again Ann:

    I forgot to mention that I have a cumulative GPA of 2.50 and a degree GPA of 3.20. The cumulative low GPA is the result of a twenty-three year school record. I was a traditional student 20+ years ago. After high school, I went to college for two years, received horrible grades, and dropped out. When I finally matured and went back to school to pursue my degree, I was in my early to mid 30s and I earned mostly A-grades.

  40. Ann:

    I am a potential non-traditional law school student. I was enrolled in a Kaplan LSAT course but had to stop attending the course for the last 3 weeks because of family issues concerning my mother. My score was a 134. I am a military retiree and have 2 graduate degrees which I achieved 3.75 GPA. I am planning to attend the University of Baltimore in the Fall of 2010. Tell me, what are my chances of getting in with a low LSAT score?

    Awaiting your reply.

  41. Ann,

    Thank you, I appreciate your candor. As a last ditch effort, I’ve considered talking to the school’s director of admissions to discuss my predicament. While I was enrolled in the AAMPLE program, I was in the midst of a volatile divorce, where, in some instances, intervention by law enforcement was required. I also would like to convey to this school that I have no intention of taking the bar exam. If I’m fortunate enough to go to law school, I would be in my early 50s upon graduation, thus I’m not interested in working 60hrs a week as a new associate for a law firm. Currently, I’m in my 15th year of a career with a government agency and I intend on working at this agency for an additional 15 years before I retire. A law degree would enable me to attain future promotions. Therefore, do you think this school would impart any serious reconsideration of my predicament if those other factors-bar passage and employment rates-aren’t considered?

  42. Sean,
    While that makes sense to me, the school will probably think it’s sketchy that you have no intention of practicing law. You have so many issues in your application (including arrests) that it will probably be difficult to overcome them. You may want to consider another route to promotion at work.

  43. Ann:

    Thanks for replying. I have some family concerns to address first so that I will not be distracted and re-take the LSAT & possibly apply for the Fall of 2013.

  44. Ann:

    I have a 3.5 GPA for undergrad with a degree in Communication Studies. I also completed a 2-year teaching service program where I graduated with a Master’s in Education, giving me a 3.9 GPA. My LSAT score is 160. However in 2007, I was arrested for a DUI. I planned to apply to schools in Minnesota . Do you think the DUI will prohibit me from: 1) gaining admission to a school? 2) will this pose a major problem in being admitted to the state bar association?

    1. Hi Brenda. A DUI four years ago won’t prohibit you from either, but if you have questions, call the state bar in Minnesota. You will need to explain your actions and how you’ve changed/grown since.

  45. Ann,

    Speaking in generalities, can someone like myself with a low cgpa (2.0) and a relatively high LSAT score (170) get accepted into a solid, top 50 American law school? Any insight would be kindly appreciated.

    1. Ryan, Generally speaking – yes. I’ve worked with clients in similar situations, and while a 2.0 is REALLY low, that 170 may save you. It’s all about how you can distance yourself from that GPA and show that the 170 is the right indicator of your future success. It also assumes that there are no other red flags (like a recent DUI, etc.) in your background.

  46. Ann-
    This blog has really helped me throughout this process. I do not feel alone in the fact I am not at all happy with the LSAT score I received but feel I have so much potential and desire to be a successful attorney based on my personal, professional and educational experiences. I am determined and a hardworker in both my educational and professional endeavors; however, standardized tests do not reflect that for me. I learned my LSAT score was a very low 140. As devastated as I was, I was not surprised. I don’t have problems with basic semester tests, just standardized tests for some reason. I am a full time police officer (3+ years), graduated top of my academy class, won a successful trial due to my testimoney on the stand within the first year of policing, am very involved in the community and organizations and have received several awards in the academy and from my department. I am married to a police officer who is also attending the law school I hoped to attend since they offer the PT program. He is ranked 4th in his class and will obviously be a great tutor. I graduated with a BS in Criminal Justice with an overall 3.4 GPA and major 3.6 GPA in 2004. I was very active in college, interned with the federal gov’t, president of organizations, etc. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in a 3-day trial giving me front-row courtroom experience and receive a written letter of commendation from the Comm Atty. I also had to go through legal issues with my previous employer due to harrassment from a supervisor. Do I have enough in my professional and undergrad to have a chance?

    1. Hi Jewel, I am so happy the blog has been helpful. I don’t know what school you are trying to get into and that will make all the difference in how I respond… Congratulations to your husband on his success too!

  47. Ann-
    This blog has really helped me throughout this process so thank you for all your help! I do not feel alone in the fact I am not at all happy with the LSAT score I received but feel I have so much potential and desire to be a successful attorney based on my personal, professional and educational experiences. I am determined and a hardworker in both my educational and professional endeavors; however, standardized tests do not reflect that for me. I learned my LSAT score was a very low 140. As devastated as I was, I was not surprised. I don’t have problems with basic semester tests, just standardized tests for some reason. I am a full time police officer (3+ years), graduated top of my academy class, won a successful trial due to my testimoney on the stand within the first year of policing, am very involved in the community and organizations and have received several awards in the academy and from my department. I am married to a police officer who is also attending the law school I hoped to attend since they offer the PT program. He is ranked 4th in his class and will obviously be a great tutor. I graduated with a BS in Criminal Justice with an overall 3.4 GPA and major 3.6 GPA in 2004. I was very active in college, interned with the federal gov’t, president of organizations, etc. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in a 3-day trial giving me front-row courtroom experience and receive a written letter of commendation from the Comm Atty. I also had to go through legal issues with my previous employer due to harrassment from a supervisor. With that being said, my goal is to become a Prosecutor and/or go into Employment Law. Do I have enough in my professional and undergrad to have a chance?

  48. Dear Ann,
    In accordance with my earlier post, I received my LSAT score, I scored a 151 and have a 2.86 CGPA from an esteemed university. My score increased from 143 to 151. I have used my three chances, and cannot re-take the LSAT.
    I have applied to Buffalo University(SUNY), Thomas Cooley, and New York Law School. What are my chances for either of these schools?
    Many thanks
    S (hopeless)

  49. SK_ you are no longer “hopeless” – this puts you in the running. If you don’t get in for Fall 2011, you can re-evaluate your application materials and schools list and apply early for Fall 2012. Congratulations on the increase!

  50. Hi Ann,

    I need some advice: I was trying to go to a top 40 school beginning in the Fall of 2012 (I graduate from undergrad in May 2011, so I was taking a year off) I took the february LSAT but got a disappointingly low 158 (My practice test runs were in the mid 170s – I even had a pair of perfect 180 runs) I had a feeling I should cancel the afternoon after I took the test (It was a grueling 7 hour administration, and I could feel my performance slipping by the fourth and fifth sections) , but unfortunately those close to me talked me out of it.

    I have an undergraduate combined total GPA of 2.7. This is low, but I also go to a relatively tough undergraduate school in north carolina, and have a unique undergraduate major combo (Latin and Economics – perhaps only person at the university to pursue that double major, I’ve learned) that really my low GPA is the result of, they don’t mix well. My LORs are solid and my personal statement is good, I suspect, and my resume includes presentations at major undergraduate research conferences with multiple published research papers, in addition to leadership in a dozen student organizations. I think I’ll be able to make the argument to write off my GPA, but how badly will my 158 on the first run hold me back when it comes time to apply if I was to retake in September or October?

    1. Tim, I’ve seen people in your situation make huge jumps. You need to retake in the fall and hopefully get a score more in line with your practice tests. Then the 158 won’t hold you back if everything else in your application is strong.

  51. Ann- Thank you!! I’m very proud of him 🙂 Chase Law School at Northern Kentucky University. They are a smaller school that offers PT evening program in my area.

  52. Ann:

    I have a 2.0 gpa and 145 on my lsat. I got a B.S. in Marketing and I have significant experience working in a large corporate law firm. I have 3 LOR’s (2 from employers and 1 from a former professor) and I wrote a decent personal statement as well as an addendum to my poor undergraduate grades. I have applied to all the part-time evening programs in every Chicago school. I recently signed up to take 2 courses at a particular law school and I have set up an interview with the admission staff. I’m wondering, what do you think my chances are?

  53. Hi Ms. Levine –
    I am graduating from a USN and Forbes nationally ranked school and will likely have an aggregate ~3.0 – 3.2 GPA, along with four years of participation in an NCAA sport and greek affilitation (relevant from the perspective of being well rounded). With that GPA and an LSAT score of 149, what would you consider to be “normal” for a reach school, relative to GPA and LSAT 25th/75th scoring. I realize this is all supposition, but I’d value your opinion – I tend to reach high, but don’t want to waste time as I don’t have it to waste. Appreciate your time.

    1. Hi Sara,
      Your four years of NCAA athletics will take you pretty far, but I really can’t comment on schools lists on the blog format because I just don’t know enough (even where you want to live, for example! Or what your major is, or whether you have the potential to improve your LSAT score).

  54. Ann, thanks for replying promptly. I appreciate you can’t speak to schools. I was wondering as far – in general terms – the numbers. W/ my stats, would a reach school be ~3.5 GPA/155 LSAT. Or is that just too difficult to determine because of all the other factors… diversity, what that school is looking for that year, how good is the personal statement, etc.

    So, a different question then. Do you have info on your site, or do you have some guidelines on what is appropriate for an addendum and when to use them to aid you most?

    As always, thanks Ann.

    1. Hi Sara, if you haven’t read my book I think it would really help you with school selection and writing addenda. Then, if you need additional help, we do assist people with those things.

  55. Hello, I happen to be at work, searching the web on my phone and came across this site. So far I have read some very down to earth situations and you have given great answers. I’m hoping you can do the same for me. I’m an African American, clean record, and 1st generation college graduate. At the time of my attendance in college I was going through severe depression, issues at home, and an unhealthy relationship, this all led to my terrible 2.5 gpa. I’ve always wanted to go to law school since my high school days and though I’ve been out of school a number of years I haven’t lost the desire. I don’t want to get into a tier 1 or tier 2 school, I’m content with tier 3 or 4 but also would like to stay in New York. I plan on taking the LSAT this October and have looked at taking a prep course though the Latinos Justice law fund here in the city. My question is what are my chances of getting into my desired tiers with that gpa (pace, New York Law, Cuny- Queens, touro) and is the Latinos Justice prep course a bad idea? It’s the least expensive of my prep options with no false guarantees.

    1. Hi Michael, So glad you found the blog. I’m not familiar with the Latino Justice Law Fund prep course, but give it a shot and see how you do with it. Plan to take the October 1 LSAT to give yourself plenty of time to prepare, starting in the next month or so. You’re going to need to make up for your GPA, but your goals are reasonable and your background will definitely help. Think of every point on the LSAT as an increase in scholarship funds – that should motivate you. If you don’t feel you’re making progress with the course, then you know to step up with a different method.
      Good luck!

  56. Hi Ann,

    I’m 48 and am retiring from the military next year with an interest in going to law school. I graduated with a 2.35 combination from community college and undergraduate work back in 1984. I knuckled down later in life and earned a Masters of Science in Human Resource Management from Troy U and a 4.0 GPA; a Masters of Science in Military Arts and Science from Air University; and I graduated with distinction from Kings College University (UK) last year. Assuming I can achieve a top score on the LSAT, what are my chances for getting into any law school; but hopefully a top law school?

  57. To add to my previous comment, I graduated from Kings College with a Masters of Arts in International Relations.

    1. Hi Troy,
      So, your age doesn’t keep you out of a top law school. (One of my clients in his mid-40s from last year is now at Harvard Law). However, the undergraduate academic record will come back to haunt you. The graduate degrees can be persuasive, especially if you have recent academic letters of rec. To get into a Top law school you’re going to need a very high LSAT (high 160s-170s).

  58. I have a 2.7 GPA with a Degree in Criminal Justice. I have a DWI but it isn’t on my criminal record due to Wyoming First Offender Program. I am a Texas resident, Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, served in the Air Force for 4 years. I have letters of recommendation from Judges, as well as letters from commanding officers of mine from while I was enlsisted. All of this being the facts, my question is, what is the score I need to have any shot of getting into a decent law school?

    1. Brandon, your answer depends on what you mean by a “decent” law school. I think instead of thinking of a score and working backward, start preparing for the LSAT and giving it your all. Once you have a score (or a good indication of where your score would be after a lot of practice tests) then we can talk about what some possible schools might be given your background. Good luck!

  59. I have a dilemma that I really hope you can help. I am graduating this semester with a 2.5 gpa but after Lsac a 1.97 (due to W’s, F’s, retakes). I was expelled from school due to forgery in my early years (trying to withdraw from courses, I created phony letters to drop) (completely stupid I know!!). During this time, I had a lot going on. I was paying my way through school and couldn’t afford to live and go to school. Neither my parents could help and my father was dealing with cancer. Long story short, I managed to go to another university, but while at this new school 2 semesters later I didn’t not cite correctly and was suspended. The teacher disliked me but unfortunately, I had to retake him again and you won’t believe this, (I can’t) I made another error and was suspended again. I am graduating this month I’m thinking about retaking a few courses? would this be a smart idea or no? My lsat was a 148 and I’m retaking it in Oct also.. I’m a first generation student, hispanic female. I really appreciate your advice.

    1. Marie,
      You really need time and distance from these events during college. You need to demonstrate maturity and high ethical standards in the professional world, and/or obtaining great grades and letters of rec in a reputable graduate program before any law school will seriously consider your application.

  60. Hello I am a first generation Latina student and I am about to graduate with a about a 3.70 from my undergrad program. The problem is that I did my first two years at a city college and got a 2.8 gpa. I know that once both gpa’s are combined on LSAC I will be at maybe a 3.0 and since I have not taken my LSAT yet I don’t know whether I stand a chance at being accepted at a top tier law school which is my dream. Do you think I should take some classes over before I get my degree in order to bump up my gpa. My last two semesters were brutal for me and lowered me from a 3.88 to a 3.70 all because I was juggling my children, school, and a mandatory internship. I don’t know what to do please help me if you can and if not thank you again for listening at least. I am beside myself with grief because it seems everything I worked so hard to achieve for me and my children is being stripped away. I have not been in any leadership roles in the groups I was in on campus by the way but I have a clean background so far, will any of this factor into getting into a top tier law school? Sorry about all of the questions but I am honestly clueless to what I should do.

  61. I also wanted to add that I majored in Justice Studies with a minor in History at Northeastern Illinois University and I am willing to work as hard as I can and travel to any top tier law school that accepts no matter what even though I really dream of Yale. I do not think I could get into Yale but it is still a dream that I hold on to. I really want to show my children that it is possible to achieve anything as long as you try. I am 24 years old and have dreamed of being a lawyer since my first career day in grade school. This is what I want and I just need a bit of guidance in order to make it happen.Thank you once again for listening and any of your suggestions are welcomed.

    1. Marianela,
      You cannot raise your GPA by taking additional classes after graduation. It doesn’t work that way. It will really come down to your LSAT. I believe in focusing on the things that remain within your control, rather than things that cannot be fixed in hindsight. Conquer one thing at a time, then if your LSAT puts you in range for the schools you hope to attend we can talk about how to explain your grades and diverse background.

  62. Hi Ann,

    I have a 157 LSAT (will be retaking in the fall) and a 2.5 GPA. I have one semester left of undergrad so ill be applying to law schools later this year. In the past week i found out that i’ve been dealing with undiagnosed ADHD that has been affecting my entire life including my schoolwork, which is a major reason why my grades have been so much lower than what i know im capable of. My question is will law schools take this into consideration when looking at my application and possibly accept me to a higher ranked school than i could get into if i didnt mention it in the application? Also, could it hurt me to include this information at this point if schools dont want to take an unneccessary risk on me?

    1. C Jeans,
      This is always a complicated issue because there are pros and cons since people have mixed views about ADHD diagnoses, especially when you haven’t had significant time to show that treatment is working and that your academic focus is improving. This is a bit more complicated than something than can be answered within a blog post response – there’s a lot more information someone would need about the situation in order to give you good advice. You may want to consider working with a law school admission consultant.

  63. Thank you for your response the thing is though that I have not graduated yet because I have incomplete classes that I need to finish before I could officially get my degree. So I was wondering if before I finish them I should take some classes over and would it make a difference. Also does LSAC take points away from your GPA due to D’s, W, and retaking courses like Marie had mentioned? Because if thats true my GPA will drop below 3.0 once I get all of my info on LSAC. I think I have lost all hopes in even getting into any law school at this point if this is true.

  64. I have a varied undergrad background. I took a few courses in visual arts and received a mediocre GPA – 2.5. I got my undergrad degree in business and received a better GPA – 3.5. I was wondering if law schools will consider the combination GPA in determining my acceptance? Also, do I need to report the combination GPA on law school applications?

    I think that I am a strong candidate for my target schools.

  65. Hi Anne,
    I’m a rising senior English major at West Virginia University and I would like to go to law school-however,I’m wondering about my chances.I have a 2.5 GPA…with 2 semesters of undergrad left…I have not yet taken the LSAT…I’m a member of the Young Democrats and I write articles for my school newspaper,which comes out weekly and is ranked in the top of all college newspapers.I have excellent recommendation letters lauding my writing skills.I speak French,Italian and German and some Spanish.I’ve traveled all over the country and the world because of my father’s job as a professional football player and I’ve interned in the prosecutor’s office.However,my grades my freshman and sophmore year were really bad-I had some health and family issues going on.So what I’m wondering is if I should even bother applying to law school?Is there any chance of me getting in anywhere?

    1. Marian, take the LSAT and let’s see where you stand. I’ve worked with a lot of clients with your GPA who get into great law schools but you’ll need your LSAT score to demonstrate your promise as a student. Good luck!

  66. Hello,

    I am so glad I came across your blog. I am 38 and really screwed up my college career almost twenty years ago. I was/am an alcoholic and my college career was destroyed by my drinking. I was academically dismissed in the mid-1990’s.
    I sobered up in 2008 & I went back and finished my degree but my cumulative GPA was still only a 2.1.
    In 2009 I got a job in law and fell madly in love. I knew within the first few months that I wanted to go to law school. I took the LSAT last February and scored 147. I was rejected from the Tier 4 schools I applied to.
    I am not deterred. I am retaking the LSAT this October and will be submitting my applications much earlier. I am concerned that I am unable to adequately express why my grades had been so terrible and why I was academically dismissed all those years ago. How honest should I be? Is there anything else I can do?

    1. Hi Ted, Thanks for writing. You are the exact person I wrote this post for! I think you should check out my book -I have a lot of info there on how to explain things. But I’ve had quote a few clients who are recovering alcoholics/addicts get into law school and it’s just a question of how you present the information.

  67. Hi Anne!! I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Political Science with a 2.75 GPA and have not yet taken the LSAT. I’ve just started studying for the LSAT and right now I am looking at scoring about a 160 (according to practice tests). I hope to raise that to 165 or more since I still have 3 months left to prepare. Unfortunately my GPA is rather low due to lack of effort in college, and I also received a DUI (about 6 years ago). The DUI was really the turning point in my life. After I was arrested, I decided to get my act together. I graduated college 6 months later. At this point in my life, I saw myself as a 22 year old with a college degree, but nothing to do with the degree. After I graduated with my Political Science degree, I decided to return to school and get an associates degree in an ABA approved paralegal program (I know this seems kind of backwards). I got my act together when I went back to school and graduated with a 3.99 GPA while working and participating in a paralegal internship. I also took the Certified Legal Assistant Exam and passed this on my first attempt (this exam is not a requirement to be a paralegal in Louisiana). After I graduated I got a job at a very respectable law firm as a paralegal and have been working here ever since. I mainly do work in utility regulation and travel to Washington D.C. (I live in Louisiana) roughly 3 times annually for hearings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I wanted to know what you thought my law school chances are knowing this information and how much my DUI may effect my admission chances. For the sake of this post, let’s just say I finish with an LSAT score of 160. I was looking to apply to schools such as LSU or Loyola in New Orleans. Any thoughts or advice would be great!! Thanks in advance!!

    1. Justin, it sounds like you’re doing everything right. I think the DUI, when explained, will not be the reason you wouldn’t get into law school. Keep plugging away at the LSAT and let me know how you do!

  68. So u recently just graduated undergrad and my overall gpa is a 2.6 but I recieved an LSAT score of 160 but I want to take the test again to score higher to get Into a better lawschool. My question is to you guys is there any chance that I will get into lawschool in Massachusetts with that gpa?

  69. Hi Ann,
    I am a senior undergraduate at an Ivy League school majoring in Government and Native American studies. I am a Native American female, have consistently held leadership positions in various organizations on campus, have worked throughout my undergraduate career to finance my education, and have volunteered at least 6 hours/week in addition. I have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and have not taken the LSAT, but if real-time practice tests so far are any indication, I can expect to score in the mid-160s. What are my chances at getting into a top 20 law school?

  70. Hi there,
    I will be graduating in May of 2012 with my Bachelor’s in Interior Design. I currently have a 2.8 GPA and recieved a 146 on my LSAT. I’m hoping to bump up my GPA within the next year and thinking about retaking the LSAT in December. I also have an OWI from when I was 19. I have been working at a Collection law firm for three years in September, working here has kind of been the driving force behind my want to go to law school along with my brother being an Attorney. I was just wondering your thoughts on my acceptance into any sort of law school, and if I should attempt to take the LSAT again to maybe bump up my score as I didn’t really prep myself too much the first time. Any information or thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,

    1. Courtney, you absolutely must improve your LSAT score to have a chance at law school because your GPA and major aren’t going to help you. I wish you all the best!

  71. Hi, I’m glad I found this website! I am a 27-year old Filipino female who is legally blind. I went to UC Berkeley and received a UGPA of 2.78 because I started out as a Pre-med and ended up failing my calculus class, however, my transcript does show an upward trend. I’ve taken the LSAT twice, once back in 2005 with a score of 148 which no longer counts, and again in December 2010 with a score of 146 (I didn’t fully study for this second try). I took the Testmasters prep course in 2005 and the Kaplan prep course in 2010, but I don’t think they help me much and I don’t think I put in enough study time. After undergrad, I went to paralegal school and I have been working as a paralegal for the last two years. This year I applied to USF, Golden Gate University and University of the Pacific and got rejected. I am planning to retake the LSAT in February and apply next September. What else can I do to improve my chances of getting into law school other than improving my LSAT score? Do you think it is advisable for me to get a tutor for the LSAT?

    1. Rena, you need not only a private tutor but a private tutor who is an excellent teacher and who can help you get over this hump. Make sure you connect with the person and that he/she has real teaching experience and not just LSAT expertise. Good luck!

  72. Very informative website thanks for all the info. I too need some advice about this. I’ve always been in love with both law and business. I decided first to go towards business and I am now an undergrad junior studying finance. I still am very interested in law and going to law school. I wanted to change my major to law but I’m too invested in this major now and if I I’d change my major I would basically be in school for another two years. I have a 2.8 cumulative GPA and am still working to raise it(which I will). Would it be beneficial to study on my own time and take LSAT classes? How much of a chance is it to get into law school

    1. Joey, don’t change your major but do get your grades up. Business and finance are fine majors for law school but you need to do well (as you’ve already figured out). Unless you’re a naturally brilliant standardized test taker, don’t take the test on your own. If you do, then you’ll be writing to me about how you got a low LSAT score : )

  73. Dear Ann,
    I have a situation regarding my lsac gpa. I am about to graduate and my lsac gpa will be about a 3.24, but the problem is that I attended another school many years back that is not included in that 3.24. I was dismissed due to a rough time in my life. I understand I should write an addendum, but my lsac gpa after sending the transcript from the school I did poorly at will drop it to a 2.67, roughly. My question is, what can I do other than rely on a good lsat score? I am doing a 2 month study plan and taking the October test with a cold score of 142. Thank you!

    1. Tom, you will absolutely need an addendum, and if you don’t feel that your LSAT score is rising quickly enough in the next six weeks then put it off until December rather than risk a very low LSAT combined with your overall GPA.

  74. Hello Ms. Anne Levine:

    I, like a lot of the posters here am a minority first generation grad. I was informed that I am on hold for entrance into John Marshall here in Atlanta. I have an undergraduate GPA of 3.91 from Ashford University online. I have been working full-time for the last 7 years and have been promoted progressively. My LSAT score is a 147.

    I had gotten into trouble while in college and spent 2 years in prison for a forgery, identity fraud charge, however I was able to successfully have my record expunged about a year ago so now I am clear of any criminal charges. My personal statement shows how I grew up without the influence of education and how I educated myself on college and the like. Since my issues in college I have never had any other issues with the law. I purchased my very own home at the age of 27 and have been growing since. Let’s say that the classes fill and I am not admitted. In order to show a stronger standing, do you think I should try and raise my LSAT score? I’m thinking that this is the only thing that is putting me in the bottom below choice candidates for law school?
    Also, I have actually talked to everyone in the admissions office several times so they know me as more than an application. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    Thanks so much. Your blog has put me on ease!!!

    1. Hi Caleb,
      I’m hoping everything works out for you with John Marshall! In the event that it doesn’t, you should see if you can raise your LSAT. But if you aren’t admitted, schedule a time to talk with the admissions people and see if they are open to addressing things you can do to improve. Just make sure they know you and like you, and that you’re not annoying them ; )

  75. Ms. Levine,
    This fall I will be beginning my junior year of undergrad at a liberal arts college. My GPA is inching closer to 3.5 with each term and I’ve gotten A’s in the few “law” classes that my institution offers. What are some things I can do now to prepare for the LSAT and begin applying to law schools?

    1. Hi NCH,
      I think you should start by reading my book : ) It’ll give you a good overview of what you need to be thinking about. You should plan to take the LSAT next June if your school schedule allows for it. You should be making friends with professors who will write you stellar letters of rec too!

  76. Hi Ann,

    I was wondering if someone with a low undergrad GPA- 2.0-2.5- and a high LSAT score-160-might have a chance of getting into a top 100 law school or any law school at all for that matter.I have no arrests or anything else suspicious in my background, I have excellent letters of recommendation discussing how I’m a hard worker and attesting to my writing skills. I also spent four years interning in the prosecutor’s office.I’m very involved at my school (school newspaper, Young Republicans,etc) and I have a lot of community service on my resume.
    While I was in college,I was struggling with undiagnosed diabetes and there is an upward trend in my grades. I would obviously need to write an addendum about my grades,but I’m wondering if there’s any point to me applying to law school. If you could give me some insight I would really appreciate it!

    Also,what is the best way to write an addendum and get law schools to see that the LSAT is more predictive of your success in law school than your GPA?

    1. Elizabeth, of course there is a point!!!!! How else will you know whether it’s feasible? You have some good things going for you. I have information in my book about writing addenda so check that out.

  77. Hi Ann,

    So, as many others have come to you for advice and encouragement I am doing just that. I graduated with a 3.65 and cum laude honors from my university. My cumulative GPA is a 3.7 though due to community college credits. Sadly though, I got a 146 on the LSAT. I plan to re-take it in October and am studying currently, but just for the heck of it, what do you think my chances are with my current numbers? Is there any shot at all? I am just concerned that my score won’t jump up since this will be my 3rd time taking the test with no improvement. Let me know your thoughts!


    1. Kelly, I can’t give advice on likelihood of admission without knowing a lot more about you – you haven’t even told me where you hope to attend law school. If you don’t see your practice exam scores improve, that will help you make the decision about the 3rd LSAT. Good luck!

  78. Oh and just to clarify, any shot to get into a decent law program? I am concerned that I can only get into the programs that are labeled horribly in the law community due to my low LSAT score.

  79. Sorry about that, my practice scores are in the mid 150’s, so I know I can do it, but they were that way too for my previous exams. It’s just something about the test that makes me freeze up. Besides that, I have goals of attending schools on the west side of the country (CA, AZ, WA, OR, NV, CO, TX) and many of those schools are ranked highly or I do not think I have chances of getting insuch as: University of Arizona, ASU, UCSD, UNLV, University of Colorado, University of Denver, Baylor, Seattle University, Gonzaga… just to name a few. I was a student-athlete for part of my college career, I speak American sign language, I am in the top 25% for those students from my school year applying to law school in terms of GPA, I volunteer at a few organizations as much as I can, I have worked full-time for over a year and a half and worked part-time all through college. What else can I tell you that may help you help me or give me some advice? I am planning on writing my personal statement on all the goals I have achieved in my life and how that is a reflection on my success and that a test score isn’t. Is that a good topic? ANY guidance will be greatly beneficial!

  80. Hi Kelly, I’m really glad you’ve thought these issues through. If you haven’t read my book, it would help you on the personal statement and schools list issues, as well as addenda. I can’t give such personalized advice about topics and schools on the blog format – that is advice I give after really knowing a client and everything about the person’s background – but the book would be a great start.
    Almost anything can be a good topic or a bad topic – it’s all about execution.

  81. Taking a break from a presentation I’m working on for my MPA class on bureaucracy and public policy, I will also voice my concerns. I had a pretty ugly undergrad, barely able to get into the Masters program and so far am holding onto a solid 3.0 gpa. I am 32 at the moment and work with my local county government. I plan to probably put in the rest of my time and retire after I’ve reached my 20 years, but I want to hold onto the option of law school. Here is where my predicament comes into play: I have 2 prior arrests for dwi BUT no convictions. The first one was dismissed by the courts and the second is (hopefully) on the verge of being gone too. I had planned on after that second gets dropped to get them both expunged from my record. I was not aware that arrests would hinder chances of getting into law school until I read this blog. How would something like this affect my possible future career?

  82. Hi, I graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2010 with a 2.94 GPA and a B.A. in History of Public Policy. I planned on taking the October LSAT since I have been studying for a while now. I regularly score 168 to 170 on the practice exams. My problem is my criminal record. I was arrested for public intoxication in 2005 but it was reduced to a noise violation, I was convicted of DUI in 2007, another public intoxication in 2009 and I was just charged with a felony DUI this week. I believe my attorney can reduce it to a misdemeanor but it is yet to be seen. I spoke with the ABA office in San Francisco, a nice lady said if I get my act together, never mess up again and join AA as well as do something to help others (I had teen drinking in mind) that bar admission was possible since there would be time between my second DUI and the moral fitness evaluation. My question is, do you think law school admission is still possible for Fall 2012? I would truly appreciate anything you have to say Ms. Levine. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    1. Rick,
      I think you need to wait before applying to law school. I think you need time to prove a turnaround. You need to be sober and committed to sobriety as a lifestyle before you can demonstrate to a law school that this is behind you and you are ready for law school and the responsibility of becoming a lawyer. I have worked with many clients in a similar situation to you and after 1-3 years of being sober and being able to prove they’ve turned their lives around (by improving their grades, excelling in a profession, managing adult responsibilities well, giving back to the community, etc.) they are admitted to law school (sometimes even top law schools). First, before thinking about law school, you need to get your house in order because the history shows you’re not ready (even if you feel you are). I wish you the best of luck.

  83. I am 32 years old and have taken undergrad college coursework at several schools throughout the last 14 years. Some good grades others not so good. My final school of completion and graduation is National Louis University which is not very competitive. I have worked for the same company for many years but it is not related to the law (Supply Chain Management). I have gotten 3 straight A’s starting off in my final undergrad program and will hope to graduate with a GPA cumulative in the high 2 points. 2.7-3.0 area. I have a DUI charge that was expunged in 2005. I do not really have any extracurricular activity outside working for the same company for a while and I am a white male- Do I stand any chance of getting into Law School with strong LSAT scores? Would I need to score in the 160’s to even stand a chance of getting into the lowest tier of Law Schools? My dream has always been to go to John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

  84. Hello,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog it has really help motivate me to continue my pursuit of becoming an attorney. My situation is a bit different from others I’ve read on this page, first of all I’m a 25 yr old black male still finishing up undergrad as of right now I have pretty good GPA (3.5) majoring in accounting. I’ve been studying for the LSAT for the past two years and I still have about two more years to ago, so I feel pretty confident about my ability to get a good score hopefully (155-165). Now the problem is when 21 yrs old I was charged with a federal felony which had me facing anywhere from 35 yrs to life in prison, thank god it’s been almost four yrs and I haven’t had to do any time as of yet. That event in my life is what made me change my life around, since then I’ve enroled in college, gained meanful employment, volunteer in my community, I’ve gotten married, and stayed out of trouble. What do you think my chances are of getting into law school and being admitted to my state bar? Thankyou very much!

    1. Hoping, I think you’re going to have to do something to show why this move makes sense at this time in your life, but if you can really get an LSAT score in the 160s then JM seems reasonable.

    2. Delorean,
      First, congratulations on turning your life around. Second, nobody should study for the LSAT for 4 years. That’s ridiculous and unnecessary and I’d rather you use that time doing something more productive. It of course depends on the circumstances of the felony and whether it is still pending, but if you have a good story to tell and you keep your grades up, I don’t count you out. Come out stronger and see what you can accomplish!

  85. Ann- What would you suggest I do to show why this makes any sense of pursuing to become a lawyer? I have always had a dream of becoming an attorney but certain things in life have come in the way up to this point. My convictions to achieve this personal and professional goal still makes sense to me but who would I have to target and what sort of actions would you suggest I do to prove or convince it makes sense? Thank You Anne!

  86. Hello, I’m in a weird situation. I graduated from UCSB in 2010 as a double major in english and history with a 3.31 lsac gpa. I got a 151 then a 150 on the lsat but had great letters of rec, community service and personal statments. I applied to Loyola-Los Angeles in fall 2009 and got in. But then I found that I was completely not ready for law school, having been distracted and depressed from a breakup as well as not having the work ethic or analytical or reasoning skill of my peers. I got a C and a D on my fall grades there and was advised to withdraw because of the likelihood that I’d be disqualified. So I withdrew. I’m taking the lsat again in October 2011 and feel that I have the potential to do really well. I’ve been working as an intern for a professor at the law school, and If I get a score about 10 to 14 points higher, would I have a good chance at getting into a T14-20 school even though I did poorly my first semester in law school?

    1. Chris, if you can pull up your LSAT you’d still be looking at a top 50 school, not a top 20, and you’d have to cast a wide net with applications and explain the circumstances very well.

  87. Hi Ann,

    I’m graduating this December with a B.B.A degree concentrating in Finance and Management Information System. My GPA is going to be around 2.5, and I haven’t taken the LSAT yet. My concern is that I haven’t really done a lot extracurricular activities outside of school. I’ve volunteered at some places (museums, cultural centers, etc.) from time to time, but nothing too impressive.I know I’ll have to get a high LSAT score and amazing LOR and PS. What are my chances of getting into a law school in Canada? Thanks!

  88. P.S. I forgot to mention that I’m also planning to get a CFA and PMI certificate after my graduation. Would that increase my chance of being admitted?

  89. Ann, I was working in Finance and due to a misunderstanding a client complain led to my termination from the company. There is a note on my u4 form even though my licenses were not taken from me . Do I have to disclose this on my law school applications and will this in any way hurt my chances of getting into a school?
    Thank you in advance

    1. John, You will need to review how each law school asks its questions. If a school asks about termination, any professional disciplinary action, etc., then the answer is yes – you have to disclose it. However, if you do it well and everything else is strong then you may still have a shot. You won’t know until you try.

  90. Hi Ann,

    Right now,I’, a senior English major and I have a 2.0 GPA, with two semesters of undergrad left. I was struggling with undiagnosed diabetes from the second semester of my freshman year until the spring of my junior year.My grades have showed an upward trend,however and I have good letters of recommendation. I worked for four years in the district attorney’s office in the summers. I was wondering, with a high LSAT score, in the 160s-170s, would it be possible for me to get into a top 100 law school? I’m really interested in going to Ole Miss,WVU,University of Tennessee or Syracuse. I would really appreciate it if you would honestly left me know what you think of my chances at these schools…or at any schools. Do you think an admissions consultant would help me? Also, my major GPA is better than my cumulative GPA.

    1. Hi Jenna,
      Your overall GPA is really low, so you’re going to need to explain that well in your application. I think you would benefit from working with an expert who can help you explain the circumstances and who can help you evaluate which school are in your range (and your chances at the schools you’ve listed). Certainly, a lot depends on your LSAT score and your work during your last 2 semesters. Sometimes people choose to wait a year until their final grades are in so law schools will have those (higher) grades factored in so they can really see an upward trend. That’s one idea to consider.

  91. Ann- What could I do to show that it makes sense for me to pursue becoming a lawyer? Are you talking about proving to Law Schools or myself?

  92. i am graduated with a 2.5 ugpa with a degree in geography from the university of louisville. I scored a 168 on the lsats. I also have 3 duis (two first offense, and one second) in 2008 and 2009. What are the chances of gaining admission to any law school?

    1. Mark, you can totally get into law school but you need to really show you’ve put drinking behind you and that you’re a new and improved version of yourself.

  93. Ann, I am applying to second and third tier law schools. Would it be better to go to a third tier with little money offered from a scholarship or attend a second tier school with a bit more debt? I am also more likely to graduate at the top 10% at a third tier as opposed to a second tier which will help upon graduation when looking for work. Also, my friend is starting law school this fall, but he was accepted with a transcript left off without informing LSAC and the law school of this? My concern is that he will get expelled from school. Should he come forth with the missing transcript now and his he certain to have no law career by doing this? Sorry for the stacked questions, but he doesn’t think that it’s a big issue. Thank you.

    1. James, First, tell your friend to disclose this ASAP. It could be a huge deal – it could even prevent his admission to the bar – being candid is a HUGE deal in moral character evaluations.
      I believe in taking on as little debt as possible and being a big fish in a small pond – I see a lot of benefits to that. I have a new book coming out in October that talks about this very issue and I interviewed 300 lawyers to come to my conclusions! Keep an eye out for that.

  94. I also forgot to ask if my numbers are more so in the second and third tier range, would it be a waste of application fees on first tier schools. I would only apply at a handful of first tier schools. This was not supposed to be in the form of a question from my last post (just in case it seemed confusing when reading). ” Also, my friend is starting law school this fall, but he was accepted with a transcript left off without informing LSAC and the law school of this?” Thank you!

  95. Thanks so much Ann. After reading this however, I wonder if it’s worth my time and energy to take the LSAT and apply to law school. What do you think?

  96. I forgot to mention that I’m taking a prep class for the LSAT and I’m supposed to take it in October. Would it be better to take the December LSAT and apply after taking the test?

  97. Ann,

    My friend told me you helped her tremendously, I am hoping you can do the same with me. I am an under represented minority. I graduated with a 3.9 gpa. I took my LSATs in June and got a 155. Not a great score at all, I’ve been studying extremely hard for my October LSAT but I am not sure if it will even increase my score to a 160. I am horrible at standarized testing, I didn’t do that well on my SATs either but I got into Penn State University and I did stellar. I think it is test anxiety. My first choice school is Boston College, Newton MA. I really do not want to take my LSAT for the third time in December but if I have to I will. I really really want to go to law school. I took an LSAT prep class, did ALL the powerscore books and every book I could lay my hands on. I fear I have reached a plateau in my LSAT testing ability and will not be able to rise any higher. If this helps, English is not my first language and I have only been in the united States for 5 years, I came from a village where I barely learned much English. Vocab is so frustrating, I have about 500 notecards with vocab words. I am trying so so hard. I rally want to go to Law school. Please help.

    Thank you so much,

    1. Bella, first of all I am so glad your friend sent you to me. I probably helped her as her law school admission consultant, and not just on the blog, but who knows : )

      Second, you are obviously not “horrible” at standardized tests since you already have a score that places you in the top third of all LSAT takers!
      If you’ve reached a plateau then be honest with yourself that this is what you are capable of achieving on the LSAT and I’m sure you will explain your English knowledge and experience in the US in other parts of your application. You are absolutely going to law school so don’t panic- it’s just about picking the right schools. And you have great potential to get into a reach school with your background and GPA in Biology.

  98. Ann,

    I am about to apply for law school. I am curious what you think my chances are of getting into Saint Louis University Law School. I am currently finishing up there for my undergrad and will most likely finish with a 2.9 or 3.0.

    I took the LSAT in June and received a 146. I am taking it again in October. I am a recently diagnosed MS patient which helps explain my lower gpa.

    What do you think my chances are of getting into SLU Law?

    1. K Wright, with your current LSAT score it’s not likely but you’re retaking it in October so it’s not really a fair question : )
      If your practice exam scores are not at least 10 points higher than your first LSAT, consider what you might be able to do to improve your score if you were to wait until December. (Remember that it’s not that you absolutely need a 156 to get in but that people almost always get a lower score on the real thing than they were getting on practice tests.

  99. Jenna, if you want to be a lawyer, there is only one option: go to law school. I have a new book coming out next month called “The Law School Decision Game” that I hope you will all read and consider before deciding whether to attend. If you are retaking the LSAT, then see how that goes – but only take it in October if you are really ready to do so, otherwise wait until December. I hope that helps!

  100. Hi Ann,

    I’m graduating this December with a B.B.A degree concentrating in Finance and Management Information System. My GPA is going to be around 2.5, and I haven’t taken the LSAT yet. My concern is that I haven’t really done a lot extracurricular activities outside of school. I’ve volunteered at some places (museums, cultural centers, etc.) from time to time, but nothing too impressive.I know I’ll have to get a high LSAT score and amazing LOR and PS. What are my chances of getting into a law school in Canada? Thanks!

  101. Hi Ann,

    My daughter will graduate in Dec w/majors in History and Psychology from Univ. of IL. She is involved in various organizations at college: History Honor Society, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, ect… my question is will it be possible for her to get into a top 50 law school with a GPA of 3.2 which I know for the more selective schools is low. She did get 174 on her LSAT the first time so we know that is fine. Also please tell me more about your book coming out next month!

    Thank you
    Inquiring Mom

    1. Dear “Mom”,
      Your daughter’s LSAT is fabulous and she needs to reach for the stars and weave a fabulous story and strategy throughout the application – if she can do that, she can aim higher than Top 50, and with scholarships too if that is important to her.
      My book (coming out in a few weeks, and I will definitely announce that here) is called “The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers.” I interviewed 300 lawyers about their career choices, law school choices, lives, etc. and share that information (with my opinions and observations, of course) for people thinking about law school and already in law school to help them make decisions about where to go to school (and whether to go to law school) and how they can build their careers while in law school. I hope you’ll read it and buy a copy for your daughter too!

      1. Hi Ann,
        Apparently I was worrying too much as my daughter was accepted at Northwestern Law school. :0}

        Thanks for your advise.


  102. Hey All!

    I have some serious thinking to do in the next few months. I recently quit my job and have been unemployed for a month now and burnt a bridge with my boss of 3 years. I have a bachelors degree in political science with a gpa of 3.5. I am now 26, and have been arrested for DUI in 2007 and another DUI in April of 2011. My most recent DUI yielded a BAC of .230 and I have been placed on probation for two years. I am currently studying for the LSAT in hopes to be admitted to Law School. Is there any chance I would get in to any Law School? Or am I just wasting my time? Thanks All!!!

    1. Adam, the recency of your second DUI is going to be a problem for immediate admission to law school. You are going to have to demonstrate that you have addressed any underlying issues about the DUI and that you have made changes in your life accordingly. If you rock the LSAT and apply to safety schools, they may be willing to overlook this history. You are going to have to explain this, and I do wish it wasn’t so recent, but it won’t necessarily prohibit your admission to any law school.

  103. Hi Ann,

    I graduated from UF in 2010 with a degree in sociology, and I can honestly say I was not focused. I graduated with a cumulative grade point average of a 2.3 Initially my intent was to attend law school after my B.A. Now i am 25, luckily i dont have any real responsbility, but I am frustrated because like many other people I feel that I have a useless degree. Every job within my field that I applied to, either wants years of experience or a masters degree. So currently I am a Non-degree student at Florida State distant learning program, doing criminal justice and will be doing a Children Advocacy Program in October and hoping that I will get accepted into the actual Masters Program at Florida state this summer. If not Florida State then UCF. So right now I’m in a bad situation. My question is should I go back to school and get a second bachelors in legal studies, since alot of the classes overlap from my current B.A? And do they compute ur second bachelors gpa with ur first B.A gpa. Or should I just try to do the Masters Degree, then apply to Law school along with taking the lsat? Do most law schools focus more on your undergraduate GPA or will they consider your gpa from ur masters? Please help me because my brain is pounding of confusion! lol

  104. Ann,
    Kind of an off the wall question, but here it goes. Have you ever heard of someone who already has a law degree being admitted to a top tier school. I have a JD from a California State Bar Approved school, thinking about doing things that require an ABA approved JD.

  105. Ann,
    I am sure this is an unusual question, but here it is anyway. Is it possible to get into an ABA school even though I already have a JD? I graduated from a state bar accredited law school in CA quite awhile back. I was unsuccessful (but not all hope is lost. I did get a re-read). I do have an interesting background, to me at least, but will wait to share it with you if you think there is any hope.

    Just wondering

  106. Hi Ann!
    I have been reading your blog. You offer great advice. I have a degree in biology with a 2.5 gpa from a SUNY school. I graduated in 2007. I took the LSAT once and scored 145. I have since done the Kaplan prep course and have only raised my score by 5 points despite studying hard and taking practice tests. I am supposed to take the exam again next week, but am not happy with my progress. I know that my gpa and previous test scores are not good. I am 28 yrs old and work in the science industry. I am ultimately interested in schools such as St. John’s, CUNY, New York Law, Brooklyn, and a few others. I appreciate any advice that you can offer. Sorry to ask a “typical question.”

    1. Hi Determined,
      Glad the blog is helpful! Your score is what it is (unless you haven’t prepared enough) so you’ll have to try applying with what you have – at least then you’ll know what will be feasible. But you are definitely facing an uphill battle, especially in NY where competition for schools is intense.

  107. I have been reading through this website for some time now, and I hope you can provide me with some insight. I graduated in June of 2011 with a GPA of 2.87. I failed a few classes, arrested for DUI in 2008(which was dropped to reckless driving), and took off an entire semester due to being diagnosed with mononucleosis, pneumonia, and bronchitis at the same time. However, my final year I maintained a 3.75 gpa, earning Dean’s List honors, and taking 2 summer classes (and getting a 4.0 during summer).

    Honestly, I have changed as a person since my days of bad grades and law breaking. I have put all that behind me, and thats where I would like it to stay. Also, I am interning at a law firm, and I am taking the LSAT in one week, where I score a 152 pretty consistently.

    I guess my question is that with my 2.87 gpa, 152 LSAT, DUI charge (no conviction), law internship and solid letters of recommendation, what tier school should I be looking at? Do I even have a chance of going to law school? Im so worried.

  108. I have been reading through this website for some time now, and I hope you can provide me with some insight. I graduated in June of 2011 with a GPA of 2.87. I failed a few classes, arrested for DUI in 2008(which was dropped to reckless driving), and took off an entire semester due to being diagnosed with mononucleosis, pneumonia, and bronchitis at the same time. However, my final year I maintained a 3.75 gpa, earning Dean’s List honors, and taking 2 summer classes (and getting a 4.0 during summer).

    Honestly, I have changed as a person since my days of bad grades and law breaking. I have put all that behind me, and thats where I would like it to stay. Also, I am interning at a law firm, and I am taking the LSAT in one week, where I score a 152 pretty consistently.

    I guess my question is that with my 2.87 gpa, 152 LSAT, DUI charge (no conviction), law internship and solid letters of recommendation, what tier school should I be looking at? Do I even have a chance of going to law school? Im so worried.

  109. I have been reading through this website for some time now, and I hope you can provide me with some insight. I graduated in June of 2011 with a GPA of 2.87. I failed a few classes, arrested for DUI in 2008(which was dropped to reckless driving), and took off an entire semester due to being diagnosed with mononucleosis, pneumonia, and bronchitis at the same time. However, my final year I maintained a 3.75 gpa, earning Dean’s List honors, and taking 2 summer classes (and getting a 4.0 during summer).

    Honestly, I have changed as a person since my days of bad grades and law breaking. I have put all that behind me, and thats where I would like it to stay. Also, I am interning at a law firm, and I am taking the LSAT in one week, where I score a 152 pretty consistently.

    I guess my question is that with my 2.87 gpa, 152 LSAT, DUI charge (no conviction), law internship and solid letters of recommendation, what tier school should I be looking at? Do I even have a chance of going to law school? Im so worried.

    1. Andrew, the fact that you’ve shown growth and change will make a big difference. Really. You need to apply to schools where your LSAT and GPA put you in a “safety” realm since you have other issues.

  110. Hi Ann,

    I was only going to read a few posts, but became hooked and read every one as i saw a bit of myself in a few of them!

    I am currently 29 and will be finishing up my bachelors in public administration in the fall of 2012. I went to community college right out of high school with no specific goal in mind and my earlier grades reflect this. If gpa is based on overall gpa (not just what I transferred over to ULV) I have calculated my lsac gpa may be around 3.2. Currently my partner and I live in California and would like to stay here. I am not aiming for top tier (obviously). I work full time and attend school 3 nights a week. Also we have 2 adopted kids so attending a class for the LSAT prep may be difficult:
    Where should I be aiming in terms of an acceptable LSAT score to even be considered? What is the best method of preparing for it with such a busy schedule?

  111. Ok, here is a longshot and please dont judge…about 8 years ago I pled guilty to a csc charge in Michigan. I was sentenced to 5 years probation, which I completed with absolutely no problems. Since the conviction (which is my only conviction) I completed a Bachelors degree in Business with a 3.2 GPA. I have taken various online practice LSAT tests and have done very well. I am confident that I can score in the High 150’s to mid 160’s. I am now 39 years old, father of 2 wonderful kids. I have owned my own business for 6 years, specializing in fundraising for non profit organizations. I have not found anything that states I am automatically excluded from going to law school or taking the bar exam. I know its going to be a long road, and its going to take appeals, letters of recommendation, and a lot of luck, and even then there may not be a real shot at becoming an attorney. Do you know of anyone with a background such as mine who got into law school and could take the BAR exam?

    I have absolutely no other felony or misdemeanor convictions, and have overcame horrific circumstances since I was young (foster families, abuse, etc.) I have a lot of professional people (attorneys, psychologists, church leaders, and teachers) who are in my corner and have written positive letters attesting to my character. Any advice? Am I wasting my time? I know if I can get into law school and be accepted to the BAR, I’d most likely have to go into practice for myself with my conviction, and I am more than OK with this.

    1. Tom T,
      Not judging – I love how you’ve pulled your life together after the adversity you faced as a young person. Take the LSAT and apply to law school. I hope, and believe, that the right school will absolutely take a chance on you.

  112. Ann,

    Quite a service you are supplying here, and I thank you for it.
    (Perhaps a mailing address should be required in each post so that you may invoice us)

    On a serious note, I am a 26yo white male with a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from Texas A&M. I have an undergrad GPA of 3.101, though LSAC may calculate it differently once they run their magic. I attended two junior colleges during the intervening summer semesters and maintained a 4.0 GPA at both. I am unsure what those grades may do in regards to LSAC’s calculation.
    I have been working(and am currently employed through the recession) at an architecture office that specializes in design/build services. Given the four year duration from graduation to present, I still received excellent letters of recommendation from two of my professors who remembered me fondly. The vice president (an attorney by trade who practices in Texas and Colorado) of my company also wrote an excellent letter on my behalf.

    Oct 1 2011 marks the first time I will sit for the LSAT, as I have applications in progress for Fall 2012 admission.

    I have been consistently scoring in the 162-168 range on LSAC’s proprietary practice tests under simulated, actual LSAT conditions.

    My question: Assuming a minimum of 160 on the test I will take in three days, what are my realistic options for admission to Top 50 law schools? Is my lack of traditional “pre-law” credentials likely to harm my chances?

    To supplement the above credentials, I am also an Eagle Scout, have extensive community service efforts, have provided pro bono design work for a small town, and in my short (4 year) employment, have acted as designer, project manager, and contractor on several buildings.
    I have zero criminal background; 26 years old and only a single speeding ticket on my record.

    1. Hi Karl,
      You sound like you’re doing everything right. Your diverse background is good so long as your application materials demonstrate why you are doing what you are doing (by applying to law school). I don’t comment on admission chances on the blog because I just don’t know enough to do that – and not all Top 50 schools are the same. Good luck this weekend, and I’m glad the blog is so helpful!

  113. Hi Ann,

    I have a horrific criminal record (3 DUIs, minor consumptions, procuring for minors – keg party ten years ago -, and expulsion for half a year from high school for fighting (1997)). I already got into the law school, but I would like to know what are the chances of not being admitted to the bar. The last incident was five years ago, and since that time I have completed extensive treatment, volunteered for the humane society, traveled abroad twice to study, and graduated magna cum laude. I have had no incidents since then. So…what are my chances of getting denied entry to the bar?

  114. Hi Anne,

    Thank you for all of your wonderful insight and knowledge on this subject! My question is actually for my son. He is a recovered addict, who struggled in his later college years while dealing with his father’s death. Although he was never arrested. He was placed on academic probation and finally managed to finish college with a 2.4 gpa. It wasn’t until after he graduated that he became sober. His lsat score was a 145. He has since gained paralegal experience (however, not officially certified) through working the past two years, and is now working at a reputable law firm, and has recommendations from the associates and partners of the firm. My question is, does he stand a chance of getting accepted anywhere? Should he omit the fact that he was an addict? Or would no ABA school accept him? I just want to know if there is still a chance, and if your book can help him at all.

  115. Hi Anne,

    Thank you for all of your wonderful insight and knowledge on this subject! My question is actually for my son. He is a recovered addict, who struggled in his later college years while dealing with his father’s death. Although he was never arrested. He was placed on academic probation and finally managed to finish college with a 2.4 gpa. It wasn’t until after he graduated that he became sober. His lsat score was a 145. He has since gained paralegal experience (however, not officially certified) through working the past two years, and is now working at a reputable law firm, and has recommendations from the associates and partners of the firm. My question is, does he stand a chance of getting accepted anywhere? Should he omit the fact that he was an addict? Or would no ABA school accept him either way?

    1. Anne, The problem isn’t that your son has a past as an addict. As long as he is sober and doing good things now, he has a good story to tell that will impress people. The real problem is the LSAT score. He can’t control the GPA at this point, so the LSAT score is the thing he needs to concentrate on improving.

  116. Hi,

    I’m 26 years old with 4 years of experience in the field of education. I’m a special education high school teacher and I also adjunct at a community college (Remedial Reading and Writing). I have a 3.0 GPA from a top 25 undergraduate school. I have a masters degree in education from a city school in New York (Graduated with a 3.88) I am still waiting on my LSAT scores, however I averaged in the low 160s on practice tests and feel that I scored in the 161-166 range on the actual LSAT. I am a minority female. What are my chances at a tier 1 law school (NYU/Fordham)? Also, would I have the time to continue teaching a 6-credit college class during L1?

    1. KW, I don’t comment on school chances on the blog because I don’t know enough about you. However, you cannot teach a class while attending law school full time, no.

  117. Also, should I add an addendum explaining my GPA? I don’t really have a great excuse, except for the fact that I worked and at times was not as focused as I should have been. I also took 4 classes at a local college in New York before starting at my top 25 undergraduate school ( I graduated form high school a semester early). I got 3 A-minuses and one C. Should I include that transcript? Will it help much? Thanks so much for your help

    1. KW, unless you have a good excuse/reason for low grades there’s probably not much to say in an addendum. Hopefully you have academic letters of rec from your graduate program to show you are a smart student.

  118. Hello,
    I am a sophomore in high school and I finished out my freshman year with a 3.0 and I’ve always had the confidence and assurance to go to law school and become a lawyer. Though I have been working my butt off to get a’s and b’s but I’m still concerned if a’s and b’s are good enough for law school. That’s including the few c’s I already received last year. Should I consider a new career? I just don’t know what’s expected in high school grades in order to be prepared for when college comes around for law school.

    1. Holly, you have lots of time to get your grades up. Your high school grades are to get you into college. You do not need to be thinking about careers right now – enjoy high school and do the best you can in your classes.

  119. I was arrested for DUI and subsequently found not guilty by the judge. Law schools ask for all arrests. Will this hurt me? The fact that I was arrested and the judge dismissed the case?

    1. Jamie, it would hurt you if you failed to disclose it and they or the Bar found out later, but a dismissed charge will not hurt your chances for admission to law school.

  120. I can understand nolo contendere, prayer for judgement, plea deals, but the whole point of the judicial system is innocent until proven guilty. The fact that you have to disclose everything you you have been “arrested” for seems unjust! And if you think that all “arrests” imply guilt I beg to differ. Minorities are “arrested” for crimes like having 22 inch wheels. Some are pulled over for having “Hispanics” in the drivers seat. I have seen “charged” offenders with court appointed lawyers that never receive a visit from their attorney! “Offenders” rotting in jail when the crimes that they are charged could be plead out with the time they have already served in jail. I have seen crooked cops. Cops that make up similar lies in court for to ensure convictions. “Stretch it” they say to encourage a conviction. Some judges pick up on these crooked cops. One plug court appointed lawyer after another. This is not justice. This is a travesty of justice. The whole system is set up at an advantage for the rich. Well I plan on representing the poor. And the false choice of joining the “arrested” with the guilty!

  121. Hi Ann,

    First off, thank you for all your posts and blogs are a really great source of help and information. The lack of quality information out there for the nuances of the law school admissions process is really disheartening at times.

    In particular, I have been worried about a DUI I received in 2009. It was the first offense on my record. While on probation in 2011 I had a violation because I rode my scooter to the university to my community service job. There are some mitigating circumstances that work in my favor, but obviously only marginally.

    As for my record. I have a 3.45 LSDAS gpa and a 170 LSAT. I have some good extracurriculars, Hispanic, and good letters of rec. What do you think my chances of cracking the Top 20 are? If you don’t think I can, what do you think a more realistic range would be?

    Again, thank you for all your advice and help.

    1. Paul, still go for Top 20. Present a strong application, a convincing addendum, and go for it. I have clients with similar #s and backgrounds who are at Top 20 (and Top 10!) schools today.

  122. Hi Ann,

    I currently have a UGPA of 3.6 and an LSAT score of a 146… I was going to take the lsat in October but I withdrew because my practice exams were way too inconsistent. I decided to apply with the score I have and see what happens… but I was just wondering if you think I should write an addendum since my lsat does not match up to my GPA. Also I want to go to school at Widener University in Delaware. On LSAC it says I am over their 75 percentile for GPA but under their 25 percentile for the LSAT by 4 points. I have a letter of recommendation from my criminal justice teacher who is the head of his department and another recommendation from a criminal judge in camden nj, who I interned for. I’ve also interned for an immigration attorney and the public defender’s office in Miami. I’m not sure if you can give me any ideas on my chances?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Brooke, I think you need to explain your standardized testing history. Widener is a reasonable choice, and they may invite you to their conditional acceptance program.

  123. Hi Ann,
    I appreciate the blog and I love your book. I’m currently working on my admissions essay and I never open the document without your book in arm’s reach!

    I am a non traditional student. I’m 39 years old. I am not a minority, I came from a very poor background and am the first generation to attend college. When I graduated high school I went immediately into the Marine Corps and was injured and medically discharged after two years in the Corps. It was a bad year for me and while wallowing in self pitty I managed to get a DWI. I signed up for college but dropped out and failed to withdraw properly so the classes are all reporting as failed (I have submitted an appeal to have them changed to a withdrawal but I don’t know how likely that is because I only told the professors, I did not fill out any forms). After a year or so of being a general drain on society I got my act together and got a job. I ended up in the finance industry, got fully licensed (series 7,6,63,66 etc) and worked my way up to being a regional consultant with very large investment firm. Ultimately my lack of a degree caused me to hit a ceiling and in our recent financial collapse and the ensuing layoffs I took a severence package in 2009 and returned to school. I now have a bachelors degree from an online university that is fully accredited but does not use the traditional 4.0 GPA (WGU is the school). So, my GPA will be calculated off classes from twenty years ago.

    When I got close to finishing the degree last year I decided to take the LSAT and scored a 164 on the October 2010 test. I’ve always wanted to work as a prosecutor but with no degree that was not an option. Now I’ve decided to go if I can make it work. However, since my goal is government I can’t afford big debt. I’ll actually be taking a pay cut from what I make in finance but it’s what I want to do. When you combine having a lower income potential due to the type of law I plan on practicing with the fact that I have a shorter horizon to pay off the debt because of my age I want very little debt if possible.

    So, with bad numbers on GPA (2.2-2.8 probably) and a 22 year old DWI but a good LSAT and a strong resume what is the likelihood that I will get half-full scholarship offers at some lower ranked schools? I would love U Denver or Baylor for regional reasons but will be applying to most schools that give high scholarships and are in my areas. Texas Tech seems like the most likely to give scholarships and that would be fine with me although I would prefer a school closer to a large like Dallas or Denver.


    1. Steve, I’m so happy the blog and book are so helpful! (Check out my new book too!)
      I love how you got your act together and that you did well on the LSAT. If you apply to a school that will be thrilled to have someone with your LSAT score, I think you will receive some scholarship offers – absolutely!

  124. One more thing…
    When I took the LSAT I studied for about 5-6 while also taking some other classes. My scores were going up 2-3 points a week and I feel pretty confident that I could get my score up to the 168-170 range by December if that would make a huge difference.
    My goal is a full ride somewhere and since I’m figuring it’s unlikely at a top 30 under any circumstances the 164 seems sufficient.

    1. Steve, I agree that your 164 won’t get you into a top 30 with your educational background, but if you really think you could get in the high 160s, it would improve your outlook for scholarships at additional schools.

  125. Hey Ann,

    I am currently waiting on an LSAT score from the October LSAT, but I know I did not do as well as I did on my practice tests because I essentially stressed myself out before the test and was not as focused as I should have been. I would retake the test, but I always get this way with standardized tests so I assume the score I get is going to be what I would score if I retook it. I am guessing I will get around a 157-160. I have a 3.95 GPA, but don’t think my LSAT is good enough to get me into a top 20 school. I have no criminal record and was a college athlete and I have a lot of academic and athletic awards, however, I have absolutely no work experience. Do you think schools will understand that I was an athlete and you can’t really work at the same time or should I include that in my application somewhere? Also, do you think I still have a chance at getting into a top 20 school?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Nikki, I have no way of knowing based on this information where you’ll be competitive but YES, schools absolutely understand that athletes don’t have time for jobs. Really!

  126. I just got my LSAT score and am horrified….140. I graduate this semester with a double major and a 3.4 GPA. I was just wondering if i have any shot at getting into law school. Since this was my first stab at the LSAT i plan to take it for a second time in february, but this time i will definitely prep, unlike the first time…please help?

  127. Hi Ann,
    I am 33 years old with over a 10 year work history, I had a 2.7 GPA undergrad from a top five engineering school. I just took the LSAT in October 2011 and didn’t score as well as I would liked to (145). I am looking only to get admitted to a tier 4 PT program. What do you think are my chances?

  128. Ann, as you’ve heard time and again, a million thanks for this website. I did buy your book a while ago, along with several hundred dollars worth of LSAT prep material, and really did appreciate your insight. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since 5th grade thanks to a class project. Unfortunately, my 5th grade plans haven’t panned out quite as I had hoped.

    After my freshman year at Virginia Tech, I suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in a week-long coma. The accident brought me so close to death that I was actually given my last rights (religious ceremony right before death) in the hospital. I beat all medical expectations and was discharged from the hospital a month and a half after being admitted. I was in rehabilitation for the next 5 months until I beat expectations again and re-enrolled at VT full-time.

    I don’t mean for this to come off as if I’m looking for pity, but I think it’s an important part of my history to know. Since I was forced to miss a semester of school, I’m graduating this December, one semester late. I’ll be graduating with two full degrees, as opposed to a double major, and a minor in Spanish.

    All of this sounds great, until you look at the numbers. The degrees are in Communication (Public Relations) and International Studies (Business) with a cumulative GPA of 2.7. I have taken the LSAT twice, my first score was 150 and my second attempt, 4 months later, was 152. The GPA is shoddy to say the least, especially considering the majors, and the LSAT scores are hovering right around the 50th percentile. From what I can see, I’ve got an outstanding story but nothing that supports a bid for admission to a reputable law school.

    I let my past get to me and everything just kept building up until it was too much to fight through. I choked on my first LSAT attempt and decided to try again 4 months later with no real improvement. I did complete a prep course through Kaplan where I was scoring in the low 160s, but I wasn’t able to demonstrate that on the real test.

    Practicing law has been a goal of mine since I was 11-years-old (I’m 22 now). Unfortunately, I am the poster child for life throwing you a curve ball and scrambling all of your plans. Is there any hope of improving my appeal to law schools in the relatively near future or do I need to accept my current standings and work from there?

    1. Justin, you need to get yourself into law school and spend your time proving yourself there. Obviously it’s not going to be a Top 20 school but if your dream is to be a lawyer, you don’t need a Top 20 school.

  129. Hi Ann,

    I’m 25 years old and graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a 2.83 GPA in 2008. I’m currently about halfway through my M.B.A. from Columbia Southern University (online) with a 4.0 G.P.A. I recently took the LSATS and scored a 158 (I was satisfied but was hoping to break 160). I am also active duty U.S. Coast Guard until August 26, 2012. While in undergrad and in the Coast Guard I have done volunteer work with special needs adults, Habitat for Humanity and at-risk teenagers in juvenile centers.

    I would like to attend Law School in the Boston area or the New England area. With my G.P.A., LSATs and background, where would you recommend applying? Also, would you recommend retaking the LSATs in December or is it better to submit the application as early as possible.

    Finally, if I wanted personal advice on how to make the most of my application are you still available to take a look?


  130. I have a 162 LSAT score, an arrest for DUI but a dismissal from the judge and a 2.7 gpa. I graduated 4 years ago and took the LSAT October 2011. I want to go to school this cycle. My father has a lucrative AV rated law firm at which I will have a job. He can also pay for my entire law school with no debt. What are my chances at law school? What is the best school I can apply to? My father went to Wake Forest but I think that is out of my range.

  131. In the meantime I have interned at the D.A.’s office and worked for my father. I will admit I am not underprivileged and have had every opportunity. My GPA is pretty bad, also I was scoring between a 164 and 169 on the practice tests I took. But I am willing to take a 162 and get in to the best school I can. But I don’t think it will be Wake Forest. How bad will a 2.7 hurt me? He seems to think the fact he is an alumni will help me. But the LSAC indicator says I have like a 20 percent chance.

  132. Also he graduated 3rd in his class at Wake Forest. But that was decades ago. He also had terrible grades in undergrad but was an athlete on scholarship to his undergrad. He cared nothing about grades until he tore his ACL. Then he took the LSAT as a Sophomore and was in the 96 percentile. Not that this has anything to do with me, but doesn’t the fact that I will have a job, and no debt have any impact on my application?

  133. Anthony, I recommend going to the LSAC website where you got your LSAT score and seeing what your percentages are at the law schools in your area. A 158 can get you into law school somewhere. I would apply with the score that you have as soon as possible. Write a good personal statement and have good recommendations. (They might help a little) and if you want to retake the test you can upgrade your admissions with the schools you apply to. But the important thing is getting in AHEAD on the rolling admissions cycle. You can get into law school. And you don’t need a “consultant”.

  134. Law schools are already screwing people enough. Read the USA Today. The Federal Government and its 12 percent approval rating are now looking into the lies these schools fabricate in order to take prospective students’ loan money. The law schools are for profit. The graduates are for debt, no jobs, and little prospects. We got people moving into our area from schools like Georgetown, Berkley, and Duke that are struggling. The law schools don’t teach you how to run a practice. The major law schools won’t enlighten you on various statutes, or how they are interrelated. Law schools don’t teach you how to handle clients or how to address the judges and associate within the D.A.’s office, insurance law firms or other bar associates. That is all real word experience. And those going to professors that can’t cut it in the real world, at law schools that are ripping people off is one of the biggest scams of higher learning in this country. I could be a better lawyer right now without going to law school than 80 percent of the lawyers I see that just graduated. It is all a rip off. 60 years ago you did not need to go to law school. If you could pass the bar you could become a lawyer.

  135. Hi Ann,
    I was wondering what-in your opinion-is more important when it comes to getting into law school, undergraduate GPA or LSAT score.In your experience as an admissions officer, were you more likely to admit a candidate with a high LSAT score and low GPA or vice versa? Also,I would like to know how much thought law schools actually give to your work experience, internships within the law field, letters of recommendation and LSAT writing sample,even though it’s unscored. If you could give me your thoughts on the matter, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

  136. Hi, i’m sixteen and have a 2.5 GPA. I’m currently in the 11th grade and have wanted to become a lawyer for some time. what can I do to have a good chance at getting into law school?

    1. M Craig, good for you to be thinking about this so far in advance. Your first concern needs to be getting to college – that’s the reason to get your grades up. Once you get yourself there, you start fresh and no law school will care about your high school grades.

  137. You can get a GPA majoring in basket weaving. Undergraduate also has nothing to do with the law. You have to have a logical mind to be able to practice law competently. I recommend reading Faulkner, Dostoyevsky (which was on my LSAT) Henry James etc. plus reading up on periods of history like the Byzantine Empire. For example Theodora. She was one of the most powerful women in written history. Law school is being able to write well and being well read. I have a terrible GPA but I played baseball in college. I still read a lot. And I have done nothing but read since then. Reading will help you on the LSAT. I studied none but two practice tests on the LSAT but did decent. And the LSAT is the best indicator of success in Law School. Plus dorks don’t make good lawyers!!!!!! The geeks that make great grades can’t cut the mustard in the real world of being a lawyer. You have to be SMOOTH. Some of the smartest lawyers are the worst lawyers. Unless they are paper lawyers!

  138. Also I read about the Byzantine Empire because of Tribonian and the Corpus Juris Civilis. Much of American law can be traced back through common law to England. But the Corpus Juris Civilis is a very important work. GPA does not mean crap. Being well read, having an understanding of what you are getting into, and not being a dork trying to get great grades are more important. The best trial lawyers did not go to Yale or Harvard. Many of them went to marginal Law Schools. Seeing a GPA and an LSAT score really has no way of judging the nerve and bulldog attitude, along with the mental toughness and charisma needed to be a lawyer! Plus the ethical standards. Because a lot of lawyers are crooks that advertise to the public and do terrible work for their clients. Dealing with trust and other peoples money means you HAVE to be an honest person.

  139. A lot of the best lawyers in my area were athletes!! Being highly competitive, and not scared is better than kissing your professors but and putting in the extra effort in worthless term papers. Your secretary is there for that crap. Your job as an attorney is to go fight like hell for you client. Let your staff do the BS paper work! Which there is much of!! Whether it be going to the jail repeatedly, telling the D.A.’s office they got a weak case and will lose and then whooping their butt when they don’t plea, telling the insurance adjuster or Insurance lawyer you are not settling for their scraps while your client spends the rest of his life in a wheel chair. You will go to trial you are not scared. And you will get justice for your client. These nerds from Harvard and Yale. The paper pushers, they settle. They make terrible lawyers. They don’t have the bulldog mentality and they FAIL.

  140. Hi Anne,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog as I am also very concerned about my law school admissions.

    I am completing my undergraduate degree at SFU (in Canada). I have one course left to complete, but, have been re-taking some courses to upgrade my mark. I am currently at a 2.65 GPA (out of 4.33) scale. If I am lucky, I will probably end off with at least a 2.8.

    My inital plan was to enter law school after completion of my BA, however, life circumstances did not allow me to do so. I am pretty much independent and have not had parental support, thus, I worked fulltime all throughout my undergraduate career. When everything was finally working out, I did really well, and had brought my CGPA up to 2.8 in Spring of 2010. That semester I got straight A’s with 5 courses. I was very happy at that time. It seems as if bad luck follows me; the day I wrote my last exam my fiance (boyfriend of 8 years) went missing. Since then, my grades began to drop. Not drastically, but, in the B and C ranges.

    I want to go to law school and am planning to write the LSAT in February. At first, I was going to write in December, but I feel I need more prep. I have been scoring about 155 on the diagnostics. Since it is too late to apply for law school for 2012, I will have a free year. I was thinking of doing my Masters: do you think this will help my law school application? I am hoping this will show admissions I am capable of getting my focus of studies back where it was.

    Please advise.



    1. Hi Karen, So happy the blog is helpful.
      I’m familiar with SFU – I’ve had clients from that school.
      I think getting a masters and showing strong academic performance would really help, yes. And you can always take the LSAT in June and still be very early.
      I’m sorry to hear about your fiance – that would of course be traumatizing.

  141. Hi, my situation is that I have about a 2.0-2.1 GPA right now with one semester to go. I just took the LSAT and I scored 148. I am so confused on whether or not I should try to retake classes to boost my GPA, try to retake classes AND change my minor in political science to a double major in sociology and political science, or should I keep retaking the LSAT until I get the score I want, or if I should just gradute and work on applying? My goal is to move to Chicago at the end of spring 2012 semester. If I continue with undergrad by retaking classes I can take them online and be in Chicago or I can transfer to a university in Chicago to work on boosting my GPA by doing a double major. Or should I just graduate in May and concentrate on my LSAT??

  142. Hi Anne,

    Any suggestions of grad schools in Ontario which would accept a 2.8 GPA at the least?

    Thanks again for your help

  143. Hello

    I have aspired to become a lawyer since the first time i picked up a law book at the age of eight. Today I am finishing up my journalism degree and currently hold a 2.5 (which I am bringing up to 3.9 next year at least). My question is because I want to pursue law right after my journalism degree should I minor in Public Policy (what does it consist of and how is related to Law)?Second, I want to know what should I expect on the LSAT and how I can practice for it? Is there a website that will help me? I want to attend NYU College of Law, what should I expect? What should I do to make my portfolio amazing and most of all to score a 174 on the LSAT? Please help.. is my email if anyone can help me. Thank You have a wonderful day.

  144. Hello:

    This is an amazing blog, thnx for running it.

    I got my BA from The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Majored in Psychology with a over all GPA is 2.9 and i have a 158 LSAT.

    For work experience, I have been working in a law firm in Canada for the past year (i’m just mentioning it incase you think it might help).

    Do I have any chance to attend a law schools? If yes can you make me some recommendations?

    Thank you in advance

    1. Rob, of course you can go to law school! But I can’t make specific school suggestions on the blog. You can look at schools where your LSAT is at or near the 75th percentile and your GPA will always be low (but no grade inflation in Canada so that helps….).

    1. Hi Angela, great question. I think it depends on the person. 10 years seems excessive but I think showing the turnaround and re-assessing priorities doesn’t happen overnight.

  145. Hi. I am a Mexican American first generation college student at the University of Michigan. I am studying political science, have a 3.2 gpa, and got a 170 on the lsat. My goal and dream is to go to Yale. Is this an unrealistic goal?

  146. Hi, I am currently a college senior with a 3.7 gpa and 26 act, my grades are good enough to get a partial scholarship at Oakland University but I also got accepted to Michigan State, Wayne State,and the honors program at ufm Flint, would my chances of getting into law school be better at one of these colleges and if so by how much?

  147. Ann,

    Thank you so much for fielding my question. I was wondering if maybe you could help give me some information that would help me as I submit the rest of my law school applications.

    I graduated in 2009 with a 2.96 GPA, and scored 165 (92nd percentile) in June 2011. I worked for the final two years as an undergraduate, with the corporate office of a major bank, and was promoted early during my tenure there. After graduating, I accepted a sales position with a professional sports organization. I was the top salesman within my department throughout my tenure, but left the position for financial reasons.

    I then accepted a position as a Mortgage Banker at a major lender, and was very successful there (ranked #1 in loan volume production in my region of over 100 bankers on a few occasions). I left this position because it was not the right fit for me, and decided to pursue a legal career. I studied for, and took the June LSAT, and accepted a temporary position as a paralegal for the Chapter 13 Trustee’s office here in my city.

    Once my stay with their office concluded, I began looking for work to help tide me over until law school, and have been working as a Regional Account Manager with a title company here in my area. I know that it is not Wall Street or anything, but having worked during college, and built somewhat of a decent resume…I’m beginning to wonder if I should expand my horizons in regards to my law school applications.

    Both of my parents are attorneys who graduated from law schools within the top 10-15, but I realize that my GPA/LSAT make doing the same impossible.

    So far, I have applied to six law schools. My top choice school is ranked in the top 30, but not top 20 (I’m trying to keep the information somewhat vague so that I don’t hurt myself). Interestingly enough, I have a lot of family history tied to this school, though it is mainly in the very distant past. One of my uncles graduated from this school, and long, long ago an ancestor helped to establish the university. Subsequently, his son helped to establish their school of law.

    My first question: Do you think that I have a shot at being accepted to this school? Please be honest. It’s not like my family has given them millions of dollars recently or anything, but I thought that those interesting ties, my work experience during and after college and my LSAT score that is above their median might help. However, I am an out-of-state applicant.


    I received my first acceptance just this week, and the school that accepted me is ranked in the top 55 by US News. They offered me a free application, so I basically sent this one out as a “feeler” application before I was really ready to start my applications.

    The other schools I’ve applied to are ranked approximately – *40-45*, *45-50*, *85-90* and *100+* (gauging scholarship).

    Since I was so early with my first six applications, I am wondering if I should start submitting more to expand my options.

    Which leads me to my next question:

    Do you think it would be foolish of me to apply to a school like UofM or USC given that my metrics are below the majority of those they accept?

    I doubt it counts for much, but I have an excellent personal statement, great recommendations (though not members of Congress or anything) and a pretty solid LSAT score (though not 170+). I have good work experience, but obviously it’s not exceptional as I’m sure they receive Wall St./Board of Trade applicants….Congressman’s aides, etc… On a graph, the change in my undergraduate GPA from year one to graduation, would be an exponential curve – illustrating proven development…and developing maturity.

    I don’t know if you answer all of these posts, so I apologize for the length, as I figured I would just throw it all out there…but if you do reply, I really appreciate your time. I really can’t afford to be applying everywhere…and especially not those top schools that would absolutely not waive their fees, so I want to learn whether an expert like you thinks it would be foolish of me to apply to schools like those. Or, whether or not you think I have any shot at my top choice… Or, lastly, whether you think I could move up the ranks just a bit with re: to which institutions I am applying to…?

    Thank you so much for the time,


    1. Hi Mark, it’s way too much to answer in a blog post. There are two “U of Ms” and two “USCs” so I can’t answer this specifically enough….. I also can’t comment on your schools list just based on ranking. I know top 30 schools that would take you and other top 50s that wouldn’t…. what USNews says doesn’t dictate what schools will take a chance with you. Also, without seeing your materials, I can’t comment on your likelihood of getting into a reach school.

  148. Good Afternoon Ann,

    Thank you very much for replying to my post! I realized when I was done typing before that I had given you a wealth of information, but that it may be difficult for you to “answer”/reply.

    Would there be any way that I could submit something to you so that you would be able to see into what I am talking about? I would love the opportunity to discuss things more specifically.

    Please let me know when possible.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

  149. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for the wealth of information. This is great. So my dream is to become a patent attorney.

    I was a Chemistry major, English minor at a rigorous, top 10 University. Due to some unwise choices during a difficult time, I was suspended for academic dishonesty after my sophomore year for a year. After returning, I suffered from depression while facing family problems and graduated with a cumulative 2.5 GPA. Some of the upper level science courses definitely weighed me down.

    It is a difficult major, it is an elite university, and I can probably explain my story with an addendum. However, I realize I still have a handicap. Provided I try to gain some work experience in the patent law field before applying, how high of a LSAT score would I need to have hopes of attending a top 25 or even a top 10 law school? I am shooting for somewhere in the 165-175 range. Hopefully, I can break 170. With such a score, would I have a good chance of getting into say Northwestern, NYU, Cornell, or GWU? (I hear UC’s weigh GPA a bit higher than other schools)

    1. Erika,
      Because of the weaknesses in your explanation, you will need to have an LSAT score at or above the 75th percentile for these schools in order to be seriously considered. And that’s not easy to do when you’re talking about schools where even the 25th percentile LSAT score is in the 90th percentile range and higher. I think you need some time to show you’ve turned yourself around, that you can be successful, that depression and family problems do not continue to impact your ability to perform, and that you exercise good judgment.

  150. Hello Ann,

    I am so relieved to see that I am not the only one in this boat. I just came back from retaking my LSAT for the third time over the past three years. My score averages in the high 140’s. Unfortunately, I also have a DUI on my record from 6 years ago. I have undergrad GPA 2.7 where I majored in Political Science and Economics and minor in legal studies, 5 years work experience including working for law firms during my undergrad where I also financed myself through out my undergrad. I am civil war survivor and first generation immigrant to the United States. In addition, I am also fluent in 4 languages and have presidential campaign internship lined up as well as many mentor-ship and volunteer work. My goal is to become International Human Rights lawyer. My personal statement would be strongest part of my application. What are my chances? Attending law school has always been dream of mine. I believe in myself and have lots of potential. I will not allow numbers and statistics to define me.

    Please help! Thank you in advance!

    1. V,
      It’s not about the numbers “defining” you or who you are as a person, it’s about using the numbers as a guide to see what law schools you should be applying to… If you pick the right law school and everything is strong in your application, you have a chance to get into some law schools.

  151. Seasons Greetings, Ann

    I stumbled upon this page while looking for advice on my personal statement. I am a senior at a state university in illinois studying politics and government major/ legal studies minor (basically a paralegal program). I graduate in may this year and have started my process applying to law schools. I took the lsat last fall and got a 156 but my GPA is 2.5 right now but I forsee that being raised to at least a 2.6 the way things stand now. My dad died my first semester at school a month before finals so ended with a 2.0 that semester than we our house and business got reposed so I had a very bad first year at the university (I transferred from a community college). I was never really all that interested in my major but love my minor which I am finishing up now. I get all A’s and B’s in my classes and am doing an internship for the Federal Public Defenders office for Central Illinois. My boss, the senior litigator, and a couple professors in my minor (a prosecutor and a judge) have all written me great letters. My goal is to get into Southern Illinois University: Carbondale for law school. All of the writers of my letters were alumni from there and agreed to write me letters of Alma Mater. How good do you think my chances are of getting in? (sorry for the long post)

    Thanks and keep up the good work,

    1. Hi Matt. Thanks for writing. I hope you found today’s post, which has a lot of personal statement info and links to great resources. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot and made some great connections. Put your best foot forward and see what happens. You’re local and committed to the community. Your GPA is near the 75th percentile and their GPA #s are on the low side. I’m pulling for you, so let me know if we can help in any way!

  152. Hi Anne,

    This is a little bit of a follow up, plus an extra question for you. I posted on this board a couple months back and I appeciate the answer you gave me. Since my post I took the LSAT and got a respectable 159 (to go along with my poor 2.75 GPA). Just thought I’d mention this since you asked me to follow up and let you know how my LSAT went. My follow-up question is in reference to writing my Addendum for my DUI. I’ve written my addendum, and really focused on my mental state and immaturity at the time I was arrested (six years ago), and the transition to where I am now. I explain that I do regret my actions from when I got arrested, but do not regret the outcome (I’ve become a much more mature person as a result of my arrest). I posted my addendum on TLS Forum and asked for criticisms and was actually surprised by what I got back. Several people felt that it was too mushy/”drama queen” and that I needed to just stick to the facts (dates, citation number, etc…). Do you believe this to be true? I know your book says to consider the source when dealing with any advice on your personal statement/addendums, which is why I’m wanting to check with you in regards to this. The addendum is only 1/2 page double spaced. I guess I can see why some people would percieve this as mushy (because I’m explaining how this incident has changed my life), but I thought this is what I should be portraying. I’m distancing myself from the situation and showing how I’ve learned form it. One TLS Forum comment even said that the addendum is not to convince the admission council to accept you to law school (because they don’t care), but is required for them to maintain a paper trail. Does this have any truth to it? Thanks in advance, and I hope this will assist others when preparing their DUI addendum.

  153. Justin, this is why people should stay away from forums. Your competition is telling you what should be in your law school applications??? Sounds nutty to me.

    I think it generally requires context in addition to dates/details. It’s a delicate balance. You shouldn’t be falling over yourself apologizing and showing how you’ve turned yourself around. But if your addendum is only 1/2 a page double spaced it can’t be that overboard.

    You may benefit from a quick consult with an expert on this so that you can feel assured you’ve represented yourself well.

  154. Graduated 26 years ago with a BS in Business. I am considering going back to school for my law degree. Do you recommend an online program? I only have 1 law school in my area so attending a brick and morter location may be tough. What entrance requirements will i be facing? Any way to bypass the LSAT after so many years out of school? Suggestions for studying or taking the test?

    1. Danny, it sounds like you’re at the beginning of the process and you might benefit from my book, which provides an introduction to these topics. The LSAT requires significant preparation. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to practice law if you do an online program. There is no waiver for the LSAT for ABA Approved law schools.

  155. Hi,

    I am applying for law school and am a bit worried about a couple of things. Five years ago I was convicted of shoplifting. I was 18 at the time and simply made a very bad choice. Then when I was 20 I received a DUI. It has now been three years since that and I graduated with a 3.8 gpa and haven’t received my LSAT scores but am expecting a score of between 155-160 based on practice tests. I have been teaching full time for the past two years and so am able to show much growth and maturation since my mistakes during college. Will those two things make it impossible for me to get into law school?

    1. Hi Kristin,
      These things will not keep you out of law school. You’ll explain them well, highlight your growth, maturity and relevant experiences, and you’ll be just fine.

  156. Ann,

    Thank you so much for your quick response. This makes me feel tremendously better. I know that I have changed enormously since that time, and was just incredibly worried that they might still affect me. I am fully prepared to illustrate how the things that I have done in my life during the end of college and since then have helped me to mature. Thank you again.

  157. Hi! I have a UGPA of a 3.46 & my LSAT score is a 142. I re took my LSAT on Dec 3 and will receive my score the first week in jan. I am applying at texas wesleyan, texas tech, south texas, university of new mexico, university of tulsa, phoenix school of law, and st mary’s. Do I have any chance of getting in to any of these schools?

    1. Hi Aly, I can’t comment on school selection on the blog format but I certainly hope your second LSAT score puts you in range at as many of these schools as possible. You are looking at the right level of schools, so that’s the good news – you’re being reasonable.

  158. I have a 3.2 undergrad GPA from an HBCU (FAMU). I was president of everything in undergrad. I started a national non-profit, and plan on completing a Miami Fellowship program before the end of my associate program at the firm. I worked at Procter & Gamble, and J.P. Morgan as an intern in college. Since graduating I have been an Investment Analyst at J.P. Morgan, and I’m thinking of doing a part time MBA at the University of Miami. At the age of 27 (5 years of work experience in high end finance)with the above accomplishments, strong recommendation letters from senior management, a 3.7 (hypothetical) graduate GPA, and a 165+ LSAT is it possible to get into a top ten law school?

    1. Hi ANthony,
      Sounds like you’ve been doing everything right. Your undergrad GPA will probably preclude you from admission to a Top 10 unless you have an LSAT above the 75th percentile for those schools, but see how you do on the LSAT and that will tell you which schools would be reasonable reaches.

  159. Hi Ann,

    I stumbled on your website and it put me somewhat at ease. I am currently a sophomore at a private college. I am looking to go to law school. As of right now I have a 3.6 GPA but this semester was a hard one for me. I was sick and I had to late withdraw from one class and I think I will get a C in another, which might lower my GPA to a 3.3. My other grades are mostly A’s and two B’s. Will the withdrawal and/or the C make it hard for me to get into a good law school?

  160. Hi Ann,

    I am currently a student at a private college. I was reading your website and I thought you could give me some advice. I am a sophomore and my GPA is a 3.6. However, this semester was hard and I had to withdraw from one class very late, and I am getting a C in another class. My other grades are A’s (one A+) with 2 B’s and one B+. Will the withdrawal or the C grade make it hard for me to get into a really good law school?

    1. Edith, one C or one withdrawal is not going to keep you out of a good law school. Just keep working hard to get the best grades you can – you’re doing great.

  161. Hi I came across this site through tons of research. I will be transferring to a 4 year university in a year but it’s too early to apply. I was wondering if I would be acceptable to a law school if I keep about a 3.5 GPA or at least a 3.3 my GPA has been flactuating a little. I’m an undergrad student at a community college and majoring in Criminal Justice. My grades show satisfactory and in the past I received great feedback on recommendation letters from teachers (art, newspaper, & lifetime 2nd mom). I don’t know what others think but I believe an artist does not have to be JUST an artist. My CJ instructor right now says I have respectable grades, and friends say I would be a great Forensic Social Worker because I am really nice and aggressive.

  162. i wrote you earlier and sounded kind of like a prick. I still think it is kind of questionable taking 4 thousand dollars from someone to just get into law school and then the debt law school requires. Then they must establish themselves in the real world with a mountain of debt. My point though with top law schools and even professors is directed at a more larger theme. It is not that elite law grads are not highly intelligent, they know the law and principle theories back and forth. It is not that they are not dedicated, they put forth tremendous efforts. And professors are shaping the future of American jurists. But they are totally disconnected from the American people and make terrible trial lawyers. They have no understanding of the way the average juror would think, or the American people as a whole. All the elite law schools push out lawyers that, yes, can go in many different fields, and have promising careers. But they are stuck with hourly billable hours and have to slave like hell. This is for top graduates. Also, their associations, upbringing, and thoughts make them totally oblivious to the plight of the average man. They are terrible trial lawyers. Hence, they must be great paper lawyers and certain specialty lawyers, but absolutely terrible lawyers in front of a jurors. That is why a dedicated reasonable intelligent humble attorney that can identify with the average juror can whoop Harvard elites butt on a regular basis.

    1. Jamie, I’m just wondering if you’ve read my new book, The Law School Decision Game. I ask because after reading it I think you’ll have a better understanding of how much you and I might actually agree in substance, if not in style. Happy New Year.

  163. Hi my name is Sierra and im 17 years old. im in high school right now but just found out i was pregnant and im only in 11th grade. ill have the baby in the start of my 12th grade year. im thinking about dropping out and getting a job so i have the things i need for my baby and getting my GED. what are my chances of getting into law school with a GED?

  164. I just received my LSAT score today. I scored 148 on LSAC and i have a GPA of 3.50. Do i have a chance of getting to a law school in Texas.

  165. Hi Ann,
    Currently I have a 2.03 GPA with one semester of undergrad left to go and a 149 on the LSAT. I have really good letters of recommendation, four years of internship in the district attorney’s office,excellent writing skills,and I worked at my school newspaper for two years as a features writer. I struggled with diabetes my first two and a half years in college. I was wondering what you think my chances are of getting into a T3 or T4 law school are at this point and if I don’t have any chance,what I should do.Thanks!

  166. Hi Ann, well unfortunately I took the LSAT in December with the intent of applying to law school for the fall. I say unfortunately because I just got charged with a DUI, and am obviously really stressed out about not being accepted to a law school because this just happened right before I’m getting ready to apply. I know if people show they have grown from an experience like this law school admissions will be understanding, but i obviously have no time to show that I have grown or matured. How bad are my chances of getting accepted into a law school with this case still pending, and should I just wait until next year and hope for the best? Thank you for your help.

    1. John,
      I don’t know enough about you to know how much this recent DUI will hurt. If everything else is stellar and you’re applying to safety schools you might be ok. But you may want to consider closing this chapter before applying.

  167. Sierra – you can ABSOLUTELY go to law school with a GED. I am proud of you for thinking about your future. Be a good mom, take care of your education, and when you are ready you will go to college and excel and be ready for law school. Keep reading the blog to keep you focused on your goals.

  168. I started on a journey to explore the potential opportunities which might exist for a student such as myself. I am a 40 year old single mom of 1 college aged child and 1 high school aged child. I have a 2.96 UGPA but struggled through undergraduate college years due to financial and family issues(victim of domestic abuse and assault).

    I have since completed two additional degrees at the graduate level earning 3.75 GPA(s) for both. I took the LSAT in December without preparing for it at all. I got a score of 147.I have been a career educator, union steward, and special education advocate. I want to know if there is any likelihood that I might be accepted into an ABA approved program with the current score and low UGPA. I also would like to inquire as to if there are any law study scholarship/grant programs for minority women of my age.

  169. Great to see the information on here. Very helpful. I could use some advice, though. My grades aren’t great at all, with my gpa at about 2.6. I also have a dwi on my record that i plead guilty to over a year ago and am off probation now. The good is though my gpa in my majors, both political science and international relations, is over 3.0, with a 3.04 in i.r. and 3.1 in poli sci. I took the lsat in december and recieved a 152. I’d really like to know what my odds are of getting into a law school, ever bottom tier. I can explain essentially all discrepencies, like the dwi and low gpa. Ive had to work my entire academic career, usually overnights until 6am, and the dwi i really did learn a lot from. I

  170. Hi this blog gave me some hope! My issue is this I just graduated undergrad from St.Johns University with a 2.87 GPA. In the middle of school iv worked got married and had a baby it was so much going on. I have experience in the law field iv always been working in the field. I have such passion for law but feel I fell short because my GPA is low. Do I have a chance of getting accepted into law school? I haven’t taken the lsat yet I’m planning to take it in June. I also got recommendation letters from professors submitted through lsac. Do I have a chance???

  171. Hi this blog gave me some hope! My issue is this I just graduated undergrad from St.Johns University with a 2.87 GPA. In the middle of school iv worked got married and had a baby it was so much going on. I have experience in the law field iv always been working in the field. I have such passion for law but feel I fell short because my GPA is low. Do I have a chance of getting accepted into law school? I haven’t taken the lsat yet I’m planning to take it in June. I also got recommendation letters from professors submitted through lsac. Do I have a chance??? What options do I have to boost my credibility?

  172. Hi,

    I am 39 and have been a police officer for sixteen years. I have GPA of 3.87 and taken the LSAT twice scoring a 136. I am not stupid by any means, and obviously I will have to give up my career to enter law school. I have to say the the idea that the LSAT is a predictor of how I will perform my first year is silly. I have the skills, intelligence, and experience to complete law school and do well. I am not even trying to get into a top 20 school. My question I suppose is am I wasting my time if admissions will not look at my entire package. Thanks.

    1. Tom, they will look at the entire package and perhaps if everything is strong they will consider you for a conditional admission program, but the very low LSAT scores may hold you back. You should try and see but do understand that no one thinks this is an intelligence test – it’s an aptitude test for success in law school. If you have prepared for the test then perhaps there is some other issue, like timing, that you would benefit from working on with a tutor.

  173. Hi Anne,

    I’m a hispanic woman and I went to undergrad at a top 25 school and received a gpa of 3.02 (But I did I have two p/f classes that i did not pass due to wanting to drop the class too late, so that will lower it a bit under lsac rules ugh). I then went to grad school (professional psych school) and got a masters degree and continued on towards my doctorate. The spring semester of my last year, I made a very stupid decision during a personal crisis and I used a small portion of my previous case paper for a current case paper. I had already started my last summer classes and accepted a really prestigious doctoral internship when i was called on it, so I ended up not being able to go on my internship. My punishment from the professional development committee was going to be to retake the ethics class and write a paper, but I decided to just withdraw from school instead (left 1 F and a W on my summer classes). I was still dealing with a serious personal issue and I felt that once I had to back out of an internship in that way, no other internship would touch me. My training director was also very rude and demeaning during the whole process, so I knew he wouldn’t give me the support I needed to overcome this in the next internship cycle. I still have a 3.78 gpa from grad school even with that F (In 4 years, I had 3 Bs and the rest As). This happened 2 years ago and I have been working since.
    I have always had law school in the back of my mind and I recently started looking into it. I score very well on standardized tests and after doing a couple practice LSATs with no prep, I think my score will be in the 170s. The problem is, I don’t want to spend all of the $ to take the LSAT and pay CAS and app. fees, if what happened in grad school will ruin my chances of getting into a school (And getting any type of tuition grants). I wouldn’t mind starting in a PT program (probably a chicago school), but I don’t think it would be worth it if I could only get into a bottom of the barrel school that would give me limited opportunities post graduation.
    I’m trying to do some volunteer work now, hopefully something that would relate a bit to the legal profession and mental health. Not sure if that would make a difference….
    Sorry this is so long and thanks for your candor!

    1. Mimi, This is the kind of thing law schools take very seriously. And you’d really need to show that your personal circumstances have changed. You may need to let some time pass. I think a top law school won’t be especially viable with your undergraduate GPA and this in your recent background and your better strategy would be to get into a lower ranked school that would be happy to have someone with your LSAT score and would be willing to overlook the low GPA and ethical concern.

  174. Ann, Thank you for this blog. I am 48, Hispanic, first in my family to go beyond elementary school, English was not my first language, and I had to quit high school to support my family. I worked 15 years at various law firms as an legal assistant, returned to school for the first time, on and off, after getting married for a period of 10 years. After loosing a child and a divorce, i returned to work and school, earned an AS in paralegal studies GPA 3.62, BA GPA 3.46, and MBA 3.27. I was also involved in volunteer leadership positions during undergrad. However, my cumulative GPA totaled 2.82 – devastating! But I put together an addendum to explain the stain during the 10 years of school ups and downs. I have been preparing to take the LSAT and have postponed taking it 5 times, freaking out that I was not ready. I have now been scoring between 160 and 165 on the practice exams, but still afraid beyond belief. Scheduled to take the LSAT in February. Not sure I have a chance at top 10 schools, but wonder what your thoughts are if I score above a 160? I would be fine with a school like Southwestern and actually like that some Tier 3 schools have newer facilities and newer technology in their class rooms. if I completely bomb and score 150 or 155, however, would i still be able to have a chance for admission and some type of scholarship at a Tier 3 school with my low cumulative GPA?

    1. Jessica, first things first – you are ready for the LSAT. Take it. Then, once you have a score, we can address where you would be competitive. Your story is impressive and, if presented well, will carry you far. Especially if your LSAT shows how hard you’ve worked.

  175. Hi all,
    My name is Suzanne and I graduated from college almost 3 years ago. My undergraduate GPA is a 2.96 and my first LSAT was a 144. I tried applying to the University of Miami, my dream school, but the rejected me. Since then I have been working hard to make myself a better candidate for law school. I have been gaining professional experience both as an intern at the UN and as a marketing assistant at Rolex headquarters in Geneva. I also took up a masters program in management and leadership and currently have a 3.7 GPA to show for myself. I re-took the LSAT and got a 151, not a tremendous improvement but still something… so i just re-applied to UM law and im nervous as hell!! do u think they even care about my graduate work and my work experience? im just so worried they are going to reject me again. thanks for yalls opinion…

  176. Hello anne
    I am a 26 year old black male entering my second semester at an under graduate university. Preceding my current school I received my associate’s degree at a community college and transferred. Unfortunately, my transition from community college to undergrad was greeted with a degree of turbulence, and although the second half of my first semester produced exemplary grades(particularly finals) they did not trump the scores I received in the first part of the semester,(due to the proportion of weight held overall) thus lowering my GPA to a 2.1. However I am confident that in this semester and semesters to come that my perseverance will ultimately increase my GPA substantially because the initial mishap has extremely motivated me to accomplish my goal of going to law school that I am determined to achieve. Since I have entered the school I have become an avid participant in the “Mock Trial” club and have proven to be a vital asset to my team as we prepare for regionals. My partaking in this extracurricular has further amplified my growing passion to be a criminal defense attorney, a passion that began where my problem persists. Ill-advised choices I made back in 2008 led me to become an addict and ultimately in September of 2009 a convicted felon (sentenced to 5 years probation for possession). The Drug treatment court I was ordered to complete as a stipulation of probation, or as I like to call it “a blessing in disguise”, is what fueled the fiery desire I have in me to overcome adversity, gain entry into a law school and eventually pass the New York State bar. I feel like if I had known a slight more about the CRJ at the time then I would not have the felony on my record and seeing that I have seen individuals get away with possessing absurd quantities and get off with misdemeanors makes me furious. I’m aiming to make a difference and motivate. I read in one of your responses that you specialize in helping people with records get into law school. Can you help me? Any insight would be immensely appreciated.

  177. Hello,
    I’m 20 years old and graduating with my BA in psychology right now. My GPA is currently a 3.15 and I took the LSAT twice obtaining my first score of 141 and my second of 143. I have a clean criminal background and have never been pulled over or failed a class. My GPA is low because my freshman year was not taken very seriously. I have obtained recommendation letters and have a job history of working for my university as a tutor for high school students in my community as well as two years in a guest services position. I already have applied two three schools including FAMU law, Florida Coastal law, and FIU law. I don’t see why I can’t get into FAMU or Florida Coastal, but my friend who got accepted to several schools so far told me to try for FSU law UMiami law, or UF law school. I see their minimum was a 160 on the LSAT and not to mention a 3.49 GPA. I don’t see the slightest chance in getting in to either of them. I was thinking about, if I did not get into any law school now I was going to try for the June LSAT and try to apply for next years admission. How good of a chance do I have I’m reality? Thanks for any feedback provided.

  178. First of all I wanted to thank you in advance for providing this blog to help so many people! I am a non-traditional student. I am currently 40 and I returned to college when I was 38. I returned to the same school I had attended back in 1990 when I quit mid semester for a job offer that I made my career until I took a disability retirement at 38 when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, I didn’t officially withdrawal back in 1990, so I failed all of those classes but one. I started back at 38 with a gpa of 0.5. I uses the D/F repeat rule to retake those classes and currently my overall gpa is a 3.78. I also was recently tapped for the international criminal justice honor society that less then 5% of criminal justice majors across the country qualify for.
    Also, when I was working I was President and elected National trial judge for the largest telecommunications labor union in the world. I represented workers in contract negotiations and defended them in disciplinary actions. Of the over 3000 grievances and arbitration cases that I personally handled, I only lost 147 in my entire career. That experience was what made decide to become a defense attorney, where I want to concentrate on representing juveniles. I am blessed that I do not need to go after the money but practice what I believe in since I was able to attain a pension from my previous career.
    I’m sorry for providing so much information but I knew it would be important to get a clearer answer to my question. I have not taken the LSAT as of yet because I’m currently only a 2nd semester sophomore. My question is, with my history including going back to school while dealing with the MS symptoms, do you believe if I score very well on the LSAT that I could get into a top 10 law school even though I started out with a 0.5? I plan on contacting you directly about your service when I am about to submit my application, I just wanted to get your opinion if I was expecting too much, and needed to be more realistic?
    I would truly appreciate any information you could give me. Thank you again!!

    1. Jeff, It’s too soon to tell but I also don’t know enough because you don’t tell me where you are in school, etc. We really need to see how your grades are.
      If you want to become a defense attorney, why do you need to go to a Top 10 school?

  179. LSAT 159, GPA 3.10 . I am 5 years removed from college, having spent the past 5 years in politics and thus wielding two solid-to-spectacular recommendations from elected officials (California). What are my chances for a Loyola Law School or Wake Forest acceptance? I know you don’t like to give concrete predictions, but what would your general feeling be? positive or negative?

  180. Hi Ann,

    I’m sorry for forgetting such an important part of my information. I am a second year sophomore and I currently have a hpa of a 3.7, with the likelihood being that it will rise to a 3.79 at the end of this semester. The reason why I want to go to a top tier law school is two fold. One, honestly it has been my dream since I was a kid to go to law school at Duke. Unfortunately, back then I didn’t have the grades or determination to even consider it. The biggest reason however, is the MS. I don’t know how dibilotsting it’s going to become over the next several years and I need to be prepared if I’m physically unable to continue being a defense attorney. If that happens and I decide to keep practicing in a different field, where I graduate law school will become an issue St that point, so I am just trying to be proactive.
    Thank you for your quick reply, and just let me know if there is anything else I can answer.

  181. Hi Ann-
    I graduated college in 2006, and since that time, I have been working as an independent contractor in the oil and gas industry. Specifically, I work as a petroleum landman, running title in the courthouse, negotiating oil and gas leases, and working closely with attorney’s to cure title before the actual drilling of a well takes place.
    I intend on working as a title attorney in the same industry upon graduation from law school, doing so for a firm for a time to get my feet wet, and then going out on my own, using the contacts that I already have to begin my own practice. I already have a handful of job opportunities through my current connections within the industry which will be waiting on me after graduation. For this reason, I am only applying to some part time programs here in Texas and plan on working full time during school.
    My undergraduate GPA was a 2.92, which I attribute to the fact that I worked full time throughout my schooling, and I will take the LSAT in February of this year. I have been studying for a few months now and based on my practice tests, see 160 as my worst case scenario, but expect to score at or above 165.
    I have excellent recommendations and feel confident in my ability to convince the reviewer that I will excel in law school and as a lawyer, but there are a few blemishes on my record about which I am concerned and not sure how to address. When I was 19, in 2002, I was charged and convicted of DWI. In 2005, I was arrested for public intoxication while sleeping in the back seat of my vehicle (apparently they were concerned for my safety because my door was unlocked). In 2008, I was arrested for DWI, again while sleeping in my vehicle, this time in the front seat, but this charge was later dismissed. In February of 2011, I was again charged with DWI under very similar circumstances, and this case is still pending. I have reason to believe with about 98% certainty that this case will also be dismissed and I should find out in the upcoming weeks. I understand that this needs to be explained, but I really don’t think it is in my best interest to discuss it (either to people I know or law school admittance boards) while the case is pending. Also, this happened while on a business trip, so the news spread throughout the company very quickly, yet I was given a 17% raise within 3 months, and have just been given another promotion this last week.
    How do you suggest I handle this on my applications? I felt confident about my prospects when I thought that you just listed convictions…when I saw that you had to list all charges, I became a bit worried. Please forgive the length and thank you very much for taking the time to respond.

    1. Lance,
      I think you have a lot of good things going for you, but I hope you take this advice:
      Wait and apply next fall. Do this because you have an application that will take longer to review and it’s way too late with a February LSAT score and an application that won’t be complete until well into March. Do this because this way – byt the time you apply – your current issue will have been resolved. Do it to give yourself more time to prepare thoughtful applications. Do it for all of these reasons and more.

  182. Ann-

    Thanks so much for your advice. It has certainly crossed my mind that my odds would be greatly improved if I waited to apply, but I did not realize there would be a reason not to try. My thinking was that application deadlines are much later for part time programs (mostly in March, Houston’s is in May), and I just figured that the worst case scenario was that I wouldn’t get in and I’d try again next year. Also, I’m not trying to get into Texas or anything, my list is Houston, South Texas and St. Mary’s- I’ve got jobs lined up for after graduation, I just need a degree. Would applying late and getting rejected negatively impact my applications for next year? Thanks again, I really appreciate your input.

  183. Lance, the drawback is that you’ll be applying before your issues are finalized, and late in the cycle, and if your materials aren’t good, all of this together tends to show poor judgment and makes it look like this is a last minute decision.

  184. Hi,

    I have a 3.31 undergrad and a 3.71 graduate gpa both in finance from Auburn. White male 26. I am planning to take the June 2012 LSAT. I am thinking about enrolling in the 10 week class. Do you have and thoughts on this? What do you think I need to make on the LSAT to get into Alabama or Vandy? I have 2 years experience at a reputable bank.

    1. Winston, I’m actually from Alabama myself : )
      I think you should take a look at the 25th percentile GPAs and 75th percentile LSAT scores for Vandy and Alabama to get a sense of where you would need to score on the LSAT. I think Alabama might be more forgiving of the undergraduate GPA than Vandy. Go through your testmasters course and see how you are doing on timed practice tests and gauge whether you are ready for the June LSAT and whether you have the potential to get a score that would put you in the running at these schools.

  185. Anne, I Have a complicated life history coming from an extremely poor Appalachian town. Only one of my parents has a high school diploma and grandparents with less than a fifth grade education. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after I was written up for being insubordinate and passive aggressive. I then sought medical care and have 100% turned my life around and set my health as a number one priority. I also am 28 years old and have a dwi from 10 years ago resulting from an overdose after my fathers death. I have a 2.3 undergrad and a 170 on the LSAT. This was due to my bipolar disorder and not seeking medical attention. I have been completely free of any bipolar episodes for over a year and a half. I also must admit I was a dancer to pay for my last year of college education and in addition to my full time job as an auditor continue dancing to pay for medical bills. I think it’s going to be impossible to be admitted to the bar based on moral character. I am unsure if I could even get into law school (lowest tier). I have references from a well known lawyer who presses me to go back to school. Also have reference from the judge who charged me with my DUI, as we live in such a small town and is aware of my progress since then. It’s always been my dream. Is there any hope due to seeking medical attention and ok LSAT score? There are many many things against me but I’ve overcome so much in my life. Thoughts?

    1. Bria, while there are complications with your application, I don’t know why you think you wouldn’t be admitted to the Bar unless you have something more than 1 DUI and being bipolar on your record. You should talk with the state bar where you hope to practice and also talk to a lawyer who specializes in representing lawyers who are brought up on disciplinary charges. Once you have assurances you could be admitted to the bar, I think you will find a law school for you if you make smart choices in your applications.

  186. Hello Anne,

    I spent a night in county jail for alleged domestic battery in which the charges were dropped. Will I be automatically be rejected for consideration fof acceptance to Law School because of this?

    Thank You

  187. Hello
    I’ve been racking my brain and stressing to the point that I am losing weight. I graduated from school in 2008 the semester of my graduation my school had a shooting that resulted in the deaths of 5 people, that family problems and fear let me to have a terrible semester. My gpa is a 2.4 with a B.S in economics. I am scheduled to take the LSAT this Saturday. I have been scoring between 150 and 153 on my diagnostics. I am applying at the deadline which most schools deadlines are March 1st or 15th. I am 28 with 3 years of managerial experience and I am also African American. My question is what are my chances of getting in a law school and should I right an addendum and what points should I focus on with the addendum. I want to and almost need to be in law school by fall. Please help me out

    1. Raul,
      First, you really need to calm down because I am worried that your anxiety will hinder your performance on the LSAT. I don’t know where you are planning to apply and what your materials say about you but you should explain the GPA in an addendum. Good luck this weekend.

  188. also I have my letters of rec and personal statment ready. A little bit more about myself I am orginally from Africa and I have also been working with a couple of Doctors and Lawyers back home are focused on human rights and equality in Western Africa.

  189. I am in the Chicagoland area and would like to stay in this area. I have about 20 schools on my list. But my top 5 would have to be Kent Law (itttech) John Marshal (Chicago)l, Depaul, Loyola, Georgia State. I am also going to apply to University of Indiana as well as University of Illinois but I dont think my GPA would allow me entry to those schools. My last resort I hope is Northern Illinois University. And what should I say or focus on on my addendum. I dont want to come across as making excuses for my GPA

  190. Hello guys,

    I recently graduated at Temple University with low GPA of 2.58 with a degree of Asian Studies. My question is what is the minimum range combine with 2.58 GPA + LSAT score? Thanks!

  191. First let me say, this website it great! I wish I had found it earlier in my search for a law school. I’m writing because I would like to know what rank of law school I should REALLY consider applying to.

    THE GOOD: I have a 3.6 GPA, with a 152 on the LSAT. I’m a 27 year old non-traditional student who has worked full-time for 10 years in hospitality as a manager, chef, bartender, etc… I did a study abroad last summer and I have been the vice president of my HOA for 2 years.

    THE BAD: I was convicted of a DWAI a year ago. I have completed all of the requirements of my sentence, with only two months left on my probation, which is disclosed in my addendum.

    I was primarily looking at lower ranking T1’s, some T2’s, and many T3’s. However, I received an invite to apply to University of Wisconsin a few days ago, which is in the top 30?! Their 25th percentile LSAT is way higher than mine? Should I reach higher? Thank you so much for your advice!

    1. Hi Chris,
      I can’t give schools advice on the blog but I think you’re probably casting too wide a net in terms of the levels of schools. Have you read The Law School Admission Game? I give a lot of advice there about how to come up with a schools list, how much work experience matters, etc.
      About the bipolar comment, law schools won’t know unless you tell them. This only comes up in an application if it is in connection with some other problem that needs to be explained (poor grades, an arrest, etc.).

  192. By the way, I’m a white male as well, so I don’t have the minority card to play.

    Also, just curious, I read a post earlier about someone being bipolar. How would the bar or a law school even know if you were or were not bipolar? Can they access medical records?

    Thanks again!

  193. Hi Ann,

    I graduated from a top school in Massachusetts with a 2.84 GPA in 2003. I took the LSAT 4 times. December 2002, February 2003, February 2004 and September 2009. All 4 times I scored in the 130’s and the final time I broke 140. I have already started studying to retake the LSAT a 5th time for October 2012 and wanted to know is this wise or should I give up my law school dreams? I was not sure if the schools would see my 3 previous scores before the September 2009 administration and would look down on my application. I would also need an addendum.

    I also have a graduate degree from Georgetown University and am a female URM non-traditional candidate with solid managerial experience at some of Washington, D.C. top nonprofit’s. Any advice would be appreciated. I am looking at mostly Tier 3 and Tier 4 schools as well as part time programs of some schools in the D.C. area.

    1. Shida,
      Law schools may see scores up to 5 years old. If you can’t break the 130s after preparing for the LSAT, I do think you need to reconsider your career path, even with a graduate degree, URM status, and work experience.

  194. Hi. I have a question, Ms. Levine, and I hope you can help. I currently have a 2.55 GPA (bad) and a 155 LSAT (average). Recently, however, I went back and got a paralegal certification, where I got a 3.7 GPA (or something close). I know that won’t impact my GPA for LSAC purposes, but I feel it gives me something positive to point out when I write my Statement Letter or my Addendum. Also, I have a DUI conviction, but that was 5 years ago, and I feel I’m far enough away (and have a clean record) so I can explain that I’ve learned from my mistakes and am extremely apologetic (which is true).

    My goal is to attend a part-time program while I work (currently a paralegal) and then transition into the legal field (I’m 28, so living off loans for three years is simply not possible). I’m debating whether to re-take the LSAT in order to boost my chances of maybe getting some scholarship money (I was sick when taking the test and feel I could score much higher, based on practice tests I took to prepare).

    Do you think that is in my best interest to re-take the test in June? The school I’m looking at is around 90th overall, but has strong ties to the city in which I hope to practice. Or should I just apply now? Can I do both, or could that possibly hurt me?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Mark,
      I agree that your DUI from 5 years ago won’t be an issue (although you will, of course, report it), but your paralegal grades won’t be incredibly persuasive. Your work as a paralegal shows you know what you’re getting yourself into, and that’s a good thing. If you think you can do better, you should retake in June and apply early for Fall 2013 admission (meaning, applying in fall 2012) rather than applying late right now. But of course, so long as you have your materials ready to go and they are strong then you could always try now and use next year as a back-up. However, please make sure your materials are strong. I wonder, also, why you haven’t yet applied – what have you been waiting for?

  195. Hi Ann,

    I have an undergraduate GPA of 2.78 and I made 144 on the LSAT. I graduated from undergrad in 2006 and have over four years of experience working in a professional field. I graduated with my MBA in Finance with a GPA of 3.51 last year and now I am looking forward to a rewarding career in law. I am being realistic in applying, so my main goal is to go an ABA approved law school. What are my chances in getting in?

  196. I have also been following this blog and reading on some of the other individual’s commentary.

    I myself graduated from a state school (San Francisco State University). My gpa was around a 3.0 and I’ve taken the LSAT 3 times. Once, I cancelled it, 2nd time i got approximately a 144, and just took it this past weekend (after 2 years). However, in the past 2 years since I finished college, I had been working at Genentech (a biotechnology company). And after my contract expired, i spent time studying and preparing for the LSAT.

    I’ve been told before (not sure if this is an urban legend), but to not be afraid of applying to good ABA law schools that are private. I.e. Harvard, Stanford, Yale. Although my chances of getting in based on gpa and lsat score may be unlikely. People have explained that some of these private institutions receive help from the state government. And some are given guidelines to place students of different ethnicity yearly. I.e. The government tells Stanford to raise the percentage of Latinos by 5% for Fall 2012. I know from experience a few people that have gotten into Ivy league schools that had well below the recommended scores.

    Do you recommend this as well? (I know it’s a long shot)

    1. Alex,
      I can’t imagine who would be telling you these things, but even if they were true I know quite a few Latino/a applicants to these top-5 schools who have 4.0s and 169+s on the LSAT. These schools have no incentive to take risks on people who barely have the numbers for bottom-ranked schools.

  197. Ms. Levine,
    Thanks for the reply. I haven’t applied yet because I’ve read the literature about law school and the extreme difficulty of the market. I thought it would be more prudent to get work in the legal field first, try to meet some people and make connections, and go part-time rather than diving right in. I personally know people with $100,000+ debt with a JD who are struggling to find work. Their advice on my going to law school was, shall we say, less than supportive. It caused me to seriously pause and make doubly certain I wanted to take this plunge.

    My plan was to take the LSAT in June and apply for 2013 as early as possible. I understand that my record is not the strongest, so the earlier I apply, the better. I think re-taking the test is my best option. I was consistently scoring in the mid-160s on practice tests, but was sick and distracted on test day. I think I can hit my target score which may help defray the cost of school even just a little. That, combined with working full time, will help me graduate with as little debt as possible. I doubt I would go if I had to pay full sticker price, plus take out loans for living expenses.

  198. Mark, i just wrote a book about this issue – The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers – and I urge you to read it.

    I agree with your June timeline. Please let me know if I can help in any way with your application process.

  199. I am 37, I started college for the first time in 2009. I will graduate in May with a 3.9 and a 151 on the LSAT. I have interned in Washington and want to get inot a good school. The problem (other than the not to great LSAT) is that in 1998 I recieved a DWI. Is it hopelass?

    1. Eli, the DWI does not make it hopeless – it’s more than 10 years old. You have to report it, of course, but it shouldn’t prevent your acceptance – especially since you’ve obviously turned your life around, gone back to school as an adult, etc.

  200. I am 24 and have been out of school for 2 years and am currently working as a retail manager. Due to poor foresight and other factors I graduated with a 2.6 GPA. Unfortunately I was lazy and did not put much effort into my work. Much has changed since then and I regret not doing well and also doing other activities or even internships. Well I can’t change the past but I have a strong ambition to go to law school. What are the steps that I can take to ensure that I have a strong chance of admission? I’d also like to know other things I can do to get more involved. *I liked your response to J’s problem, as far as going to complete a graduate program to show academic improvement– Is that something that I should also consider?

    1. Hi Catherine. I think you’re going to have to show this was well-thought out (the decision to go to law school) and isn’t a default decision after floundering a bit. A graduate degree might do that, but I also want you to try studying for the LSAT because if you aren’t able to get a score that would put you in range at the schools you hope to attend, the graduate degree would have been a waste if your sole objective in pursuing it was to try to get into law school.

  201. I am 25 and have taken the lsat five times. My highest score was a 137. My undergraduate GPA is 2.84. I have been considering getting my masters to improve my chances vs. taking the lsat again in June. I have also been through a conditional admittance program that didnt work out. I have spoken with two representatives from law schools that told me the masters degree may not neccessarily be the sure thing I’m looking for to gain acceptance. What is your suggestion?

    1. Joseph, I have a feeling you are not hearing the candid advice people are giving you – by saying it may not be a sure thing, they are saying this is not going to help. With 5 LSAT scores in the 130s, AND not making it through a conditional admission program when you had the chance, you have all of the evidence to make a case that you will not succeed in law school. You can still go on and be highly successful in many, many other professions but I think you’ve invested enough time and energy in law school and you need to re-evaluate your abilities and goals to find the right path for you. The good news is that 25 is very young and you have time to discover what career is better suited to you. I hope to hear from you about your future plans.

  202. Hi Ann,

    First thanks for so tirelessly answering all of our questions so forthrightly. Ok so here’s my situation… a 2.2 (horrid) UGPA and a 156 lsat. I took the lsat fairly cold, though I am not sure how much more I could squeeze out of it.

    I have a few mitigating factors and a few softs, I just have zero idea how they might alter my ugpa and lsat in the eyes of the adcomm.

    My softs include an upward trend (graduating in history with ~3.55 degree gpa this May). Poor grades are 12-19 years old. I am 37, married, family. I have extensive international travel, having lived and worked throughout the Pacific and SE Asia. I am also a combat veteran with decorated service in Iraq.

    Do you think these softs may be able to mitigate the 2.2 ugpa to some degree? I know you do not give schools advice but might you be able to tell me what tiers I may be competitive at? I really have no idea where to even begin building my spread.


    Oh and PS, I know how late in the cycle this is. I am thinking 2013.

    1. Ryan,
      You have a lot going for you – all of those softs will work in your favor. Start by looking at schools where the 75th percentile is 155-157. Don’t look at the GPAs – just make the rest of your application so strong that the schools want to overlook (are convinced to overlook!) the overall GPA.

  203. Hey Ann!

    So glad I stumbled upon this blog, it seems very helpful! As everyone knows a compilation of factors goes into an acceptance letter, but I was hoping to get yet another opinion on my chances at a Top 10.

    I am currently a junior at American University in DC. I plan on taking the June LSAT and applying to Georgetown Dual Degree program (JD Intl Law, MA Intl Security) early decision. I will be sending in my application with a 3.87-3.94 GPA, but that will only be from one year of school at AU. I transferred from Loyola University Chicago with a 3.34.

    Additionally, I will have had 3 internships by the time of my application, all focusing on research for international security think tanks. It is also a possibility that I can get some of my own research published at my current internship. Too, I have several on campus leadership and founding positions at a few clubs.

    Will my low Loyola GPA and slightly above average GPA not qualify me whatsoever for a law school such as Georgetown or NYU?

    Thank you for your help!!

    1. Hi Megan,
      The upward trend helps, as will amazing LORs from faculty members who say what a star you are.
      Great that you’ve had a specific focus and a real reason for going to law school. Now it’s all up to the LSAT!

  204. White male, two years work experience in tech/finance, 180 LSAT, miserable 3.0 GPA (with a strong upward trend).

    Are top, top tier schools, e.g. Stanford, out of the question?

  205. 3.7 gpa from a top undergrad university. Solid everything. Yet to take the Lsat. But I got a DWI this past weekend. There are hopes if it getting reduced to a lesser charge. But still I am uncertain if I can get into a good law school. Also I would not be surprised if this costs me job offers when I graduate

    1. Robert, this won’t cost you job offers. Nor will it preclude acceptance to law schools but it is something you will need to explain, show that you’ve taken responsibility, and that you’ve made changes in judgment/in habits/ etc. as appropriate for your situation. Your application will go through an additional level of scrutiny/review and depending on the circumstances you may want to wait for a disposition before submitting applications.

  206. Hello, Ms. Levine. Thank you very much for this blog. I am sorry to leave you one more message in your sea of messages, but I’ve read through several and haven’t found a comment that matches my story.
    I am a 29-year-old male with the ambition of getting a law degree, but I’m unsure of which course of action to take. I did poorly in my undergrad (2.78) at a mediocre college, but I have gained a lot of work experience teaching over the years in China, Italy, etc.
    I haven’t taken the LSAT yet because I am contemplating going back and applying for a BA/MA program in prelaw and political science at a better university to have a stronger educational background, higher GPA and a better chance of being admitted to a higher-ranking law school.
    Is this the best route, or should I only go that way if I don’t do very well on the LSAT? Will going to get a second BA show that I am more serious and educated, or will it not do anything for my chances? Thank you for your help.

    1. Chris, only your first BA counts in your LSAC GPA. I would focus on the LSAT and see how you do rather than invest in a BA or MA degree as a subjective factor. Always control the objective factors (LSAT/GPA) before subjective and see how you do.

  207. Ann, thank you for the valuable information and to the numerous posters contributing to the discussion. Per your suggestion, I have ordered your book.

    My first LSAT attempt was a 146, June 2011. Overconfidence was the main factor as I refused to study for it. I unfortunately had the, “it’ll get done.” attitude from kindergarden until the last six months of college. After years of successful employment and mental maturing, that attitude reared its head again; as is reflected in my initial LSAT score and my undergrad GPA of 2.9. I realized it wasn’t just going to get done this time.

    It is now March, I refused to take the December or February tests 1) I didn’t feel ready; 2) I’m not in a rush; and 3) The only other score I want reported is at least 20 points higher. June 2012 is the date, however, I’m debating a Certificate of Graduate studies in Law and Public Policy to show those receiving my law school application my undergrad scores are not representative of my current abilities. The credits are able to matriculate into a joint degree program (JD/MBA, JD/MA) if obtained from the same institution. My GMAT scores are still valid and went much better than the LSAT. I would like your thoughts on my plan of attack including possible suggestions and or criticism.

    Thanking you for your time, I remain

    Sincerely yours,
    Alan Smithee

    1. Hi Alan,
      I’m not sure what school you are talking about so I don’t know how the specific program works and what numbers would make it viable. I also don’t know enough about what you will be doing to prepare for the June LSAT, but it sounds like you have a plan and that is always a good thing.

  208. I took the lsat twice, once on Dec and recieved a 149 and the second time on February 11th and recieved a 150. I have a 2.8 UGPA (double major) from Colorado State University. I worked full time during all 4 of my under grad years. I only want to apply to Wyoming’s college of law in laramie. Its a T3 school, do i have any chance at all of getting into this school for the fall semester?

  209. Ann,

    My June LSAT preparation has consisted of a completed Kaplan course and a one hour per day study session, not including practice tests. Average of 13 practice tests is a 163.

    My question about the Certificate is basically regarding return on investment. While attemping to form a question here I realized there are too many “ifs” in my original post for a reliable answer. Simply put: Will my undergrad performance haunt me forever?

    Warm regards,
    Alan Smithee

  210. Hi Ann,

    I’m a senior undergraduate Applied Mathematics Major/English Minor at UCLA with a 3.13 major. I’m going to be graduating in June. I haven’t taken the LSAT yet, but am interested in going to law school. I was planning on taking the next year or two off to either teach in a low-income neighborhood or teach abroad.

    My question is do I have a chance to get in a great law school, like a Top 10? I know that I have to do really well on the LSAT since I have a low GPA. I don’t really have that much experience in the law field since I just decided that I would like to go this route. Is it possible for me to get into these top law schools? Is there anything I can do after graduation to help my chances of getting into a Top 10 law school in 2 years? Should I get another degree (masters in education maybe) or try to get some work experience? Your advice would be much appreciated!

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Jasmine. Thanks for your patience on this. I think that because you majored in math at UCLA, you are still in the running for a Top 10. I have a number of people with your GPA who have been getting into Top 10 schools this year. Demand is down, and that will work in your favor.
      I don’t think you absolutely need legal experience, but to start learning and networking within your future career (and taking time to decide whether it’s really the right direction for you) would be much more worthwhile than a Masters in Education if law school is really your next step. The Masters will just make you look a little lost, like a perpetual student.

  211. Ann, my son is graduating from Baylor with a 3.3 GPA and after 2 attempts has a 144 LSAT score, 4.0 major in Pol Sci. He has been denied admission at Baylor for summer 2012 and now realizes he did not apply for fall (past deadline). He has applied to some T2 and T3 schools but is plans to practice in TX. Should he take a study course, try to improve his test score and wait another year to apply to Baylor or continue to apply to T3 or T4 schools? He’s 22. He’s heartbroken as he has connections there who he thought could help. Please let me know if there are other schools in Tx that might be a better fit academically. He’s already past deadline on some. Haven’t heard back from SMU which was his 2nd choice.

    1. Carol, If your son hasn’t yet tried taking a prep course and/or working with a tutor then he absolutely must. He needs to wait, take the October LSAT – giving himself plenty of time to improve – and try for his final time. His GPA is fabulous, of course, and that will help him get into reach schools.

  212. Hello.
    I’ve recently jumped back into the law school game. I graduated with a BA about 5 years ago. My GPA is 3.14 and LSAT is 154. I have a public intoxication charge from 2009. I have already applied to Widener and would like to apply to Dickison but feel my chances are slim. I am also a veteran – I have focused my personal statement on the leadership skills I developed and provided demonstrations. I have also traveled and dabbled a bit with my experiences in my PS.
    I cannot leave the area – but I am close to D.C., Harrisburg, Baltimore, etc. Are there any schools I have a decent chance at this late in the game?
    Thank you.

  213. Hi Ann,

    I have a LSAT score 151,a undergrad GPA of 2.03, so far (this is my last semester) and an LSAC GPA of 1.76. So far I’ve been rejected by West Virginia and Florida Coastal. I’m waiting to hear from Appalachian, Thomas Cooley, Valparaiso, and Mississippi College. I would really like to go to law school one day and I think my LSAT score proves that I could be a success at law school, seeing as that score is me taking the test and not studying at all. Could you please email me and let me know if there’s anything I can do to improve my chances? I’ve interned for the district attorney for three years,I worked all through college and I have excellent recommendation letters. I would really appreciate any help you can give me!

    1. Jessica,
      I think you have a lot you can work on – your grades are very, very low. You would need to explain to the schools why law school would be different. And having a 50th percentile (approx.) LSAT score isn’t helping – the score is fine for those schools but the fact that you didn’t study shows me that you are not prepared for this process anad not exercising good judgment. You need to prepare for the LSAT properly and improve your score. Your personal statement, resume and addenda are all within your control and need to be truly outstanding. You may require help with these items. You may want to start by reading The Law School Admission Game: Play Like An Expert.

  214. Ann,
    Thanks for your quick response. I was just wondering if you think that I have any chance of ever going to law school or if I should just give up and pursue something else?

  215. Also,I wanted to mention that my low GPA is due to the fact that I was struggling with diabetes during my first three years of undergrad and I also had several family issues going on. My mother had to have a kidney transplant and because of that,I was back and forth between school and home a lot,which affect my performance. And I’m not sure how much it matters,but I’m going to graduate from West Virginia and of my three letters of rec,one was written by the president of a college and the other by the head of the English department. I’m an English major.

  216. Hi Ann,

    I’ve followed your blog for sometime and wanted to know what are the chances of getting into law school. I served in the military and was apart of Operation enduring freedom. I attended school full time and have a family. I have a gpa of 2.76 and I took the last once and got a 140. While iMy junior year in college my 3 year old was diagnosed with cancer and effected my gpa. That’s for any input.

  217. Ann,
    I just found out I was wait-listed at a my first choice school. What would you suggest doing to show them that I’m serious about attending?

  218. Hi Ann,

    First off thank you for your blog. It has obviously been beneficial to many and I hope to be a part of that group.

    I have been playing around with the idea of law school for quite a while but have been deterred by my GPA of 2.8. I went to UC Berkeley and got a BA in Linguistics. Unfortunately my learning disability tied directly into my major and it is reflected in my GPA (all my other classes were A’s and Bs while my main classes were Cs and below).

    I went on to get a MA in Education with a concentration in equity and social justice. I know that my 3.9 GPA will not factor into law school admission.

    My background is in disability rights advocacy. Some of my background includes starting the Disabled Student Union on the UCB campus and, while I was in graduate school, I had 3 short term jobs at the federal level regarding civil rights. I am now working at a hospital in Los Angeles.

    My question is, how much do law schools weigh experience? I have heard from a few people that my background is “exceptional” but I doubt that it will count for much.

    I also fear the LSAT as I am a horrible test taker. I hear getting accommodations are difficult for this test and that you get flagged if you use them.

    I would like to go to Loyola Marymount for their Disability Rights Legal Center but I also dream of going to Hastings. Am I reaching too far if I am even able to get a decent LSAT score?

    I would love your opinion on the matter…

    1. Nicole,
      (That’s my daughter’s name, too).
      Glad that the blog has been so helpful to you. Linguistics at Berkeley is a ball buster, don’t feel badly about that, especially with a learning disability. It sounds like you have very relevant experience. You need to try to get accommodations on the LSAT. I do not think Loyola or Hastings is necessarily out of range but first attack the LSAT. Good luck!

  219. Hi again Ann,

    Thank you you for such a quick response! Your daughter has the best name. 😉

    Thank you for the patience and responses to all the questions/concerns above. I guess I’m not the only one that suffers from anxiety!

  220. Hello Ann,
    I just found this blog and i think it is just simply amazing. I do not wish to take too much of your time but I had a couple of questions i was hoping you could answer for me. I’m 31 years old and I’m currently a junior at a college that has a pretty good academic reputation. However, at the beginning of my academic career I was in a different major, at a community college, and my G.P.A. was a 2.94. However last semester i changed my major and I had a 4.0 semester and this semester I’m looking at a 3.7 semester. How do admission councils look at someone changing a major from a science major (Biology) to a liberal arts major (History), and will my upward trend look bad because i moved from a traditionally harder major to a somewhat easier one? Also, at the tender age of 16 I was arrested for a felony, but the charges were dropped by the DA. I also had a charge for criminal mischief but i was not adjudicated for that either. Since then i did almost 9 years of active duty in the Marines (they really straightened the punk in me out) and have an honorable discharge. Does the fact i had a criminal past as a teen going to make it hard to get into a law school? I’m dreading the LSAT but if i do not have a chance to get into law school i will not even bother with it. Thank you in advance for your response.

    1. Hi Ed. I’m so happy the blog is helpful. An upward trend and major change are things law schools do take into consideration and this will help, actually. It’s a pretty common story (pre med to pre law!).
      Some schools do ask about arrests, but most ask about charges. You would write an addendum about the appropriate/responsive incidents mentioning your turnaround in the Marines. This will not be what keeps you out of law school, really.

  221. Hello Ann,

    I am thinking seriously about law school after a career as a filmmaker and a painter. I have been a legal assistant for four years, the last of which (my current position) is in corporate legal at a major movie studio. It took me a long time to get through undergrad because I was not eligible for financial aid for a long time and had to take only one class at a time for a while (I was not considered “independent” in CA even though I lived 200 miles away from my parents and they gave me no support). I also suffered a major health setback at the end of high school that took me years to fully overcome.

    Long story short, my university gpa is 3.7 but my cumulative gpa is 3.14 (including junior college overlapping with my health problem). I have not taken the LSAT yet but considering my extensive life experience (I’m 34 now), including starting my own company, directing and producing films, working in high end professional settings, and overcoming some major challenges, do you think top 50 schools will overlook my cumulative gpa? I also have a fairly recent DUI – driving home from a wedding, barely over the limit but convicted nonetheless… Is there a chance -assuming I get a high LSAT score?

    I was terribly disappointed to do this math as I had always considered my 3.7 when I went back to school full time in my mid-twenties to be the score everyone looked at. Anyway, thanks for a wonderfully helpful and informative blog!

    1. Jason, your GPA isn’t horrific. I don’t know where you attended or what you studied or when you graduated, but your professional experience will be impressive so there is no reason to give up on your goal. You’ll have to explain the DUI, and a little time will pass before you submit applications, but this isn’t the end of the world.
      Your upward trend in your GPA will be seen and noticed by law schools. Now, concentrate on the LSAT! I wish you all the best.

  222. Hello, first of all I would like to thank you for this blog, it has been interesting reading people’s stories because many of them are similar to mine. I graduated from Marshall University with a 2.9 GPA in Management Information Systems. I was a non-traditional student and dropped out of school in the 9th grade before going back and getting my G.E.D. I had an injury when I started college that absolutely destroyed my GPA the first 2 years of college. Actually it was the new experience of college in conjunction with the injury. I improved my GPA the last few years and was able to bring it up to a 2.9 respectively. I took my LSAT and scored a 167. Here’s where things get really bad… I got arrested several times when I was between the ages of 19 – 24, just got in with the wrong people. No violent crimes, a 3rd degree felony possession and driving while license suspended habitually. I am 32 now and I haven’t been in trouble since and I was just curious if there was even a chance I could get into a decent law school or ANY law school? Is a felony conviction a deal breaker?

    1. John,
      Your LSAT score will save you if you (1) choose schools where your LSAT is above the 75th percentile, (2) present your past with candor, regret, and distance, and (3) present a personal statement that shows focus, direction, and maturity.

  223. Thanks Ann! That made my day and took a bit of the edge off. I majored in Communications with a focus on Film, Television, and Media Studies at Cal State University, Los Angeles. I graduated in 2005.

    My only other question on this matter is whether or not I should use my post-high school health problem as a way to show my ability to overcome challenges. It is a bipolar diagnosis that I have had very much in check for nearly two decades – but comes with a stigma nonetheless. Would this stigma hurt me when I am trying to use the story to help me? Would I be better off sticking to the less dramatic version for law schools or would they be sympathetic? I would hate to share too much information out the gate and be penalized for it but on the other hand feel it could show courage and perseverance in the face of obstacles. What do you think? Thanks again!

  224. Jason, I’d need to know a lot more about your particular situation to give you meaningful advice on whether to share this information and, if so, how to share it. It’s part of an overall strategy and I’d need to know about the “plus” parts of your application before knowing how to present a potential minus in a way that adds something of substance to your application. I hope that makes sense.

  225. Jason, there is no reason this must be reported in your applications. However, you may choose to share something to explain your transcripts. I just don’t know enough about your situation (and couldn’t possibly through the blog format) to give you precise advice on such a complex topic.

  226. I see. I think I understand. Would you please delete my last comment from this blog? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

  227. Hello, Ann:
    I am still in the progress of reading your great book The Law School Decision Game. Before I reach the end, I just wonder if my GPAs are good enough for law schools. My undergraduate GPA was 3.53, ( engineering degree from international school), master GPA 3.73 from CS in UCSD. and I’ve been working as Software Engineer in some top software companies for 9 years. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. If my GPAs are not good enough, will LSAT score compensate them? Thanks a lot

  228. Hi,

    I graduated from the University of Maryland with a 3.38 and have a certificate from the UMD scholars program. Since college I have been working at a marketing firm for 5 years. I decided I want to be a lawyer and plan to take the LSAT in October.

    My question is, I had been slowly doing a pre medical post bac at night which has gone horribly. I could not pass Organic Chem for my life and have a W, D, D, and now maybe an F after taking the course four times. Is this going to hurt my law school chances? Is there any way that I wouldn’t have to show these grades as they are not for any specific degree? Is it true that anything post BA doesn’t go into your LSAC GPA?

    Thank you!

    – Melanie

    1. Melanie, your post-bac work does not count toward your LSAC GPA, but you do need to report it. See here:
      Transcripts to include:
      community colleges
      bachelor’s and graduate institutions
      law/medical/professional institutions
      institutions attended for summer or evening courses
      institutions attended even though a degree was never received
      institutions from which you took college-level courses while in high school even though they were for high school credit
      institutions that clearly sponsored your overseas study. Clear sponsorship means:
      the courses received the sponsoring institution’s academic credit (not transfer credit);
      the course codes, titles, credits earned, and grades appear on the sponsoring institution’s transcript. Typically, these grades and credits are included in the sponsoring institution’s cumulative GPA. The courses are often administered and taught by the sponsoring institution’s faculty at an overseas institution.
      International Transcripts, if applicable

  229. Hello Ann,

    I currently graduated from Montclair State Uni this past may in Justice Studies (conc in paralegal studies). I am a transfer student from a community college for 2 years where I was on the Deans List for every semester. My GPA then was about a 3.5. My first semester after transferring to MSU was a very bad one. The earthquake in haiti happened and a month later, my gmom past away. I failed all my classes that semester because I refused to drop and repeat. During my last semester, I currently have a 3.5 g.p.a for the last semester but overal is 2.5.

    I havent taken the Lsats yet, and actually was planning on taking it in June. I felt overwhelmed and pushed it back to October. I didnt want to feel rushed and decided to take a the longer version of the Kaplan Class.
    I was planning on going to Rutgers Law School or Mryland Law school. Do you think I have a chance If I score well? Or should I try to apply to Grad school and then transfer?

    Since 2009 I have been working as a Paralegal in a prestigious law firm in NY and Law school is something that I would Love to do.

    Thanks in advance for your answer Ann

    1. Hi Win,
      Thanks for writing. If you are not ready to take the LSAT, DON’T TAKE THE LSAT. Especially with a very low overall GPA. Send all of your transcripts to LSAC and see how they calculate your GPA. Perhaps you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your overall GPA.
      No reason to go to grad school in order to go to law school.
      Glad to hear you’ve been working in a legal setting – that adds a lot of credibility to your application. Keep your head down, keep focused, and concentrate on the October LSAT.

  230. Hi Ann,

    I graduated from undergrad this fall with a degree in English from a major four year university and I have a 149 and 152 LSAT,but my cumulative LSAC GPA was very low…somewhere around a 2.0 or even lower. I had some extenuating circumstances during my undergrad years and that was the reason for my low GPA. I was actually accepted at Thomas M Cooley,but decided not go because it’s just too far from home and I don’t have the money to move that far away.
    Anyway,this fall,I will be working the school system as a PALS tutor (a full time paid position) helping learning disabled children with their reading skills. I’m also planning on studying and retaking the LSAT in October…I didn’t study very much the first two times I took it. Anyway, I’m wondering if you think it would be possible for me to get into law school for the fall of 2013? I have heard that work experience can help cancel out a bad GPA, is this true? Do you think it would beneficial for me to hire a consultant to help me with the application process again?

  231. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for helping so many people get through this difficult process. I truly appreciate all of the incredibly insightful knowledge you share on the blog!
    My question is a follow up to one I asked a few months ago before I took my LSAT. I am a non traditional student, and I have over twenty years experience handling labor union grievances and arbitration cases. I decided to return to school to become an attorney after I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009.
    I am a junior now at a well known state university where my gpa is a 3.7, and I just took the LSAT where I scored a 169. I have two main questions….first is which law school is highly regarded for it’s employment law program and with my numbers do you think I would be accepted? Second is whether it is better to go to the best law school I can get into and accept the debt, or go to a lesser school where I can get a free ride?
    I truly appreciate your help,,,thank you for everything!

  232. Jeff, congrats on the great LSAT score!!!!
    Employment law is something you can do from almost any school – it’s not a narrow specialization. Don’t consider this when choosing where to apply, but when choosing where to attend. The debt question is so complex that I wrote a whole book about it (The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers), but the answer really comes down to your age and whether you’ll have time to recoup the expense. I encourage my clients in your situation to cast a wide net and see what scholarship offers come in so that you have real choices to make in the end.

  233. Hi Ann,
    Thank you for such a quick and thorough reply. I just have one last follow-up question. Do you believe that it’s possible for me to get any type of a scholarship offer from a tier 1 school with my stats, a 3.7 gpa and 169 LSAT? Thanks again for all of your help, I really do appreciate it.

  234. Hello.
    I recall vividly my excitement when I decided to go through law school admission process because it had always been a dream.
    I got into law school and overall enjoyed the rigors of studying and reading. Yet the law school I attended did not prepare the students for bar test or obtaining a legal position.

    If one wanted a course to prepare for bar exam they had to pay additional thousands of dollars.
    In this economy it is very difficult to find a job in the legal sector. A few friends I knew graduated at the top of the class and passed the bar on first exam and still cannot find jobs in the legal field.
    Most of graduating law students are in debt by hundreds of thousands of dollars and not able to find any legal positions or jobs that can pay these loans.

    My advice would be to anyone considering law school, save, save before to keep law school loans down. Go part time and work part time in order to keep the loans down!
    Go after your dreams as I did. Yet looking back I realize there were many things I could have done differently. I gave up 3 years of earnings to incur the degree which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. The law school books on admission mention 89% of students employed within 9months of graduation at average paying jobs of 48,000. These figures are outdated now due to economy, so keep in mind the vastly different employment opportunities in today’s marketplace!

  235. It was exciting to read all the excitement and desire to go to law school!

    My posting wasn’t to deter anyone wanting to follow their dream of going to law school. My posting was just to provide some insight into legal economy now and what life has been for some of the those who went through admission process and graduated from law school.

    Best of luck!