Law school applications for 2013 are collectively down 38% since 2010, as reported by the Law School Admissions Counsel (LSAC) as of January 25, 2013.
What this means: law schools are hungry for applicants and you will have a better shot at getting into a good school if you play your cards right. Schools are also giving more scholarships as incentives. Here’s what you need to know about how to get into law school any year that you decided to apply, and what goes on behind the scenes in law school admissions departments.
I have a 3.23 GPA and a 172 LSAT. I was wondering if your it would be achievable to attend University of Virginia if I applied early decision? Or is my GPA too too low. This is my absolute dream school.
Emma, it’s absolutely worth trying!!!! UVA likes strong GPAs, but if your materials are strong and you have a great application, you’ll be in the running.
Hi Ann, I am a junior and have the reverse situation as above but am interested in UVA as well. I have a 162 LSAT but have a 3.95 GPA. Do you think that is competitive since my GPA is above there 75% percentile or is more weight put on the LSAT?
I have a masters degree and 23 years of human resources and leadership experience but don’t do well on standardized tests. If I have a high GPA but low LSAT scores, how likely am I to get accepted to law school?
Carmen, it depends how low your LSAT score is and where you are applying. You can look at schools’ 25th percentile LSAT scores and get a good idea of what to shoot for.
I just recently took my second LSAT and scored a 149. I have a 3.78 GPA and double majored in Psych and Criminal Justice. I did take a year off from school as I graduated in 2012. Do I have a chance of getting into one of my local law schools? I live in Miami, FL so my preferences are Nova, St. Thomas, FIU, and Ava Maria (worst case). I really would hate to wait another year, I am anxious to get back into school and start this next chapter!
Thank you in advance!
Sam, I answered this on the other place where you posted it.
I feel like I am in that middle category on the graph in between the 25% and 75%. I have been put on “reserve” and on “hold” at two T-14 schools thus far, and feel like this is going to be a trend for the rest that I haven’t heard back from yet. Is this pretty much a pre-WL? Other than sending a letter of continued interest, what would you recommend to enhancing my position on these hold and reserve lists? Also, can I preemptively send a letter of continued interest to try and enhance my chances of not being placed on hold or on a WL?
I always say that you cannot predict what one school does based on what any other school does (with your application). What you should do depends on which schools -some have “Why This School” essays so another letter about your interest in the school can come off as a bit lame. If you have legitimate updates to your application, start with those.
I am a HK student in my first year doing science. I should graduate 3 years later. Will the legal market be saturated by then. Also, i want to ask if your admission advice package have a time limit. Finally, i would like to know what additional things an international student need for law school admission and whether your package will include that.
Keep an eye on the legal market as you proceed through your education. Most people sign up with me within 1 year to 18 months of when they hope to start law school. I work with international students all the time and can absolutely help you through these issues when the time is right.
I have a question about the best time to take the LSAT? I won’t be able to attend law school until Fall 2014. My GPA is 3.6, I was invited to join Phi Kappy Phi my junior year and I am a non-traditional student with an extensive employment backgroud. My practice LSAT scores range from 163-167, and I want to go to a top tier law school if at all possible. Do you believe that these numbers would give me a decent chance of acceptance where I could go ahead and take the LSAT in June, or should I practice more trying to raise my score?
I would appreciate any advice you could give me.
You should try the June LSAT if you feel you can get a 165+. You still have time to get there! The June LSAT is still more than two months away!
I have been following your blog for many months. I currently find myself in somewhat of a difficult situation. I graduated from Cornell in May 2012 with a 3.61( I was a transfer student).
After being in the workforce for couple of months, I realized that I could reach my full potential, personally and professionally through law school. Hence, I took the December LSAT (while working full-time) in an effort to apply this cycle. Unfortunately, I did not score very well- 153 (standardized tests have always been a struggle for me as English is a second-language for me. Its been hard-work due to which I’ve been successful as a student).
I applied to the following six schools in late Feb: Minnesota, American, Maryland, Baltimore, Pepperdine, and W&L. I’ve been wait-listed at Minnesota and American, and was accepted into Baltimore.
In short, I wanted your advice with regards to weather, in the worse case scenario, I should go ahead and attend Baltimore (would be in-state for me) and then attempt to transfer?
Thanks for reading the blog.
No, I would not go ahead and attend Baltimore if you still have the potential to improve your LSAT score. I’d rather you start law school at a school you would be happy to graduate from; you only graduated from college a year ago. You could spend more time and prepare for the test.
I graduated in 2011 with less than a 3.0 from Oklahoma State University (terrible I know). I am currently employed full time at a large energy company in Oklahoma and am also working on my M.S. in Energy Legal Studies from Oklahoma City University. I have a strong community service record as well as involvment in various industry related clubs. I think I can graduate with my M.S. from OCU with a 4.0. I would like to go to a top tier law school at some point but I am wondering if my bad undergrad GPA will make that impossible, assuming that I score well on the LSAT? Thank you!
I think you have a lot going for you and wouldn’t count you out of a great law school.
I’m about to take my first LSAT. Based on practice tests i’m not optimistic –I’ve been scoring in the 140-145 range on all of them. I am also not a traditional student: I graduated undergrad in 1997, joined the Air Force, then separated after 6 yrs to stay home and raise my family. I’ve taken a Kaplan course but with essentially being a “single mom” (my husband is also in the military and travels all the time for work) i’m stuck juggling kids and studying and the kids win! My GPA isn’t that strong as I started out in college having too much fun and those low grades sabotaged my cum GPA to around a 2.9. However, while in the military I completed a Masters Program with a 3.7 gpa. With all that being said, my question is do I have a chance to get accepted into a part-time program at GA State? My only option right now. And, do I just go ahead and apply in Oct. with a potentially crappy LSAT score and GPA? I know I have a strong, unique personal statement with my military experiences and even being home with 4 very young kids, and strong LOR from past commanders, but i’m most worried and discouraged about my scores. Can you offer any insight or encouragement to get me through this LSAT?– Thanks
I think you’re not ready to take the LSAT. I think you should spend the summer studying and perhaps working with a different prep course and/or a tutor and then take the test in October.
Great blog and great advice. I received a 169 on the June LSAT, but I had very little time to study with my work schedule. I have a 3.91 lsac gpa, but I want to shoot for a t6 school. Should I really try to squeeze out point on the margin and retake the LSAT? I had previously studied for the test six months before but did not take the test then and just kind of warmed up for June. Thank you for the help and keep up the amazing advice.
Pick up your books. If within 4 weeks you have practice scores in the 172-175 range, you should absolutely retake the test.
I have a question regarding LSAT timing. I am going to enroll in a prep course for the fall, and anticipate taking the LSAT in December of 2013.
I am currently working to make myself a unique candidate (I volunteer with a labor right’s organization/provide translation assistance for a human rights organization/ am also forming a a grassroot org that addresses reproductive rights in my region all while working for a non-proft in the social services sector).
I am hesistant to apply for schools this year, because I don’t feel I would have strong enough letters of rec (these are all fairly new endeavors for me). As a non traditional college student, I had a difficult time finding time for extra curriculars.
If I take the LSAT now, is it looked down upon if I wait a year or two before submitting my applications to schools?
Thank you for your time!
An LSAT now and an application in a year or two is absolutely fine. Really. If you really want to go to law school, I wouldn’t wait for LORs. By the time you apply in December/January, you will be in these positions for six months and that would work fine for LORs.
I have a low gpa and low lsat but im working to tke the lsat again in december to try and get atleast a 160. What do think of going to unranked law school then transfering to like Georgia
It’s very hard to transfer from a non-ABA-approved law school, if that’s what you mean by “unranked”.
I have been out of college since 2009. I had a low GPA and I just scored a 172 on the LSAT. I went to medical school for 2 years and decided it was not for me and rather pursue law. What are the chances for someone like me who is a few years older than the average applicant to get into a top 20 ranked school?
Hi Misra, A lot of other factors would be needed for me to answer this question – such as where you went to college, your grades, your major, how well you can make a case for law school. The fact that you are older is not really the issue.
I know this is a few months after your article, but I just printed out your timeline, so I wanted to say thanks(: and ask a hopefully quick question.
So I just graduated as a Drama major from a top thirty school (but in the theater world, it’s top three) with a 3.3– the low gpa is due to studio grading, where A’s are not given out, save for beyond excellent acting work. For most of the other students, a low gpa wont really affect them as actors but for someone trying to get into law school… ANYWAYS. i took the october lsat while working two jobs and taking classes, and got a 158. I just retook the lsat this weekend, but I don’t think I did any better. Right now the schools I’m really looking at are USC, UCLA, Pepperdine and Loyola. I’m also a first generation African American female, if that helps. I just want to know if you think these are schools I have a chance at, and what I should focus on to improve those chances!
So happy this was helpful!
I’ve worked with a lot of actors/theatre/music majors. You did well on the LSAT considering your schedule. Your diversity helps too, absolutely. Build the strongest possible personal and diversity statements and addenda (including resume) and make sure your letters of rec are top notch. I don’t comment on school chances on the blog (because I’d have no time left to do anything else, and because I don’t know enough about your situation to know how much of a reach school you would have the potential to reach TO…. but you are definitely raising some facts here that show me you are not too far off base with your schools).
I plan to take the LSAT for the first time in December and hoping for a retake in February 2016 if my schools are not ideal. When should I apply for Fall 2016 admission? If my scores are not so good in December but much better in February, how would that affect my admissions?
if my *scores are not ideal.
Lesa, plan to only take once – in December – and apply in January.
Hi Anne, I am in quite the dilemma. I just took the October LSAT hoping to apply in December, but I scored a 149. For some reason I could never get my score higher than this in the four months I studied leading up to the LSAT. I would, however, like to attend law school Fall 2016, but I am currently finishing senior year of my undergrad so study time for the LSAT will be in competition with my classes as well. Should I attempt to take it in December? Or see if I can get my score high enough for February? I am aiming for at least a 160.
Please forgive the late reply – all comments were going to spam and I missed this!
If you still have any questions, please let me know.
I really appreciate this infographic and your previous article that linked me to it.
I was also wondering about what tier law schools I should be looking at.
I recently began studying to gauge where I stood and my diagnostic score was 164. I will graduate next fall due to having switched majors twice (Architecture to Biochemistry to English) and my gpa is low (~3.3) due to poor grades in biochem (architecture and English almost all A’s). I’m hoping to raise my gpa a bit in the year I have left and take an lsat course to prepare for the September 2016 exam. However, I’ve been told my gpa, late graduation, and having switched majors severely hurt my chances of getting into a “good” school. Following a lot of research, law is something I wholeheartedly know I want to pursue and I’m wondering how much these factors limit which schools I can attend.
Thank you so much for your time.
Daniela, you won’t know until you try, but look for schools where your LSAT will be near the 75th percentile as a good gauge.
I am an African American female with a 169 LSAT and 3.87 lsac GPA from a public university. I have strong+++ LORs and Resume. My question is, have I really disadvantaged myself for the T6 schools, if I’m completing my applications at the deadline? I’m struggling with the focus of my Personal Statement (too much advice has been given to me regarding my PS and I’m struggling with getting it down to two pages, double spaced, readable font)!
What do you recommend, should I wait till Fall 2016 to submit or go ahead and do an application cycle to see how I do? I have fee waivers to Columbia, UChicago, NYU, UPenn, UVA, Mich, Duke, Georgetown, and UCLA, NOT Berkeley, and of course not the T3, so the cost of applying now is not totally undoable. (These are the law schools on my list, not applying to Northwestern or Cornell.)
One more question, I know I can get a 170+ on my LSAT, should I consider taking again, everyone has advised me against a retake? I had no prep class only self study.
Deon, try now! Go forward! Do the best you can!!!!! Try the T3 too! Don’t count yourself out!
Hello, I am currently a junior undergrad student and my dream is to enter Harvard Law School. My currently GPA is 4.0. I really want to study in this law school. So, I want to know what I can do in order to increase my chances of entering in Harvard. Thank you!
You’re doing great academically! A well rounded resume, great letters of recommendation, and a beautiful application (oh, and and the LSAT!) will get you on your way….
I’m currently a rising senior at Penn State University, and just decided I would like to start studying for the LSATS. Am I extremely behind schedule?
I have a full-time internship starting in June and will have a rigorous schedule of classes my next two semesters, as I am a Risk Management major. But if I plan to study as much as possible and take the LSATS in October and December, am I well behind the rest of the students in my position?
Gabrielle, take the LSAT in September and use the summer to study. If you don’t feel ready by 9/20, then move it to December.
I had a 2.3 Undergraduate GPA and plan on taking the LSAT in September to hopefully be admitted by next fall. What kind of LSAT score would I need to achieve in order to become a competitive applicant? Will I even be seriously considered with such a low GPA? What exactly can I do to prove I can do well in Law school?
I will be a 4th year biochemistry major at the University of California, Riverside this fall 2016. I always thought that I would be on the premed track, however, just recently, I have decided that I do not have any interest in going into med school, and I would like to pursue law.
Because of my average grades in biochemistry (~3.0 gpa), I am scared that I will be unable to get into a good law school. When do you recommend that I take an lsat course & the lsat? I am projected to graduate after winter quarter, so in march of 2017. Thank you.
Hi Anne, If you want to start law school in the Fall of 2017, you should consider taking the LSAT September 24th (assuming you can spend this summer studying). If you end up not having enough time, you would take the LSAT in December. Most prep courses start about 3 months before the test.
Hi Ann, I am a rising senior at UCLA this fall and am working on my law school applications. I am a history/communications double major with a 3.81 GPA and just received a 166 on my June LSAT test. I did score in the low 170s on my practice tests. Do you think I should retake the LSAT this fall or should I just go with the 166?
Hi Caitlin, if the average of your last 5 practice tests was in the low 170s, you should consider retaking. If the 170 scores were rare, or on very old exams, and especially if you don’t have time or motivation to continue preparing, then stick with what you have. You can register for September and withdraw from the test date if you change your mind.
I had planned to take the LSAT in September this year, but I’m in a program where my location is unpredictable and workload is super heavy, so I’m postponing taking the test until December. Would this be considered late for law school applications? Also, my college GPA was 3.5 and I am aiming for at least a 170 on the LSAT. Would these be good enough to get into a top 20 law school?
Bev, it’s not late and it sounds like the right decision given your goals!
I do not generally take standardized tests well so may need to take the LSAT twice. I will not be ready in June but want to apply as early as possible. Should I take the fall LSAT and apply and then take December if needed and forward those scores? Or should I take the LSAT now (while I am not in school) and again in fall if necessary? I was also suspended for 1 semester from college and am going back to finish up by next June. How much will the suspension be taken into consideration for law school admission? Thank you.
Aurora, I’m confused about when you’re hoping to start law school?
Hi Ann, reading and loving the Law School Admission Game,
Current cycle. 163 June LSAT. 2.6 GPA in engineering. Non-traditional graduated seven years ago. GPS is obviously below the 25th for all schools, so I’m targeting schools where my LSAT is the median. This means I’m looking at rankings between the high teens and top-25. Is this realistic given my GPA or do I need to look lower? I have some safeties in the mid-30s to mid-40s and will be explaining my GPA as per the guidelines in your book but some days I get stars in my eyes and look at a few of the lower-tiered T14s and I’m trying to use all the tools I can to realistically gauge my expectations.
Hi Ann, loving The Law School Admission Game.
Current cycle. 163 June LSAT. Non-traditional graduated seven years ago with a 2.6 in engineering, so my GPA is below the 25th percentile for all schools. I’ve been targeting schools where my LSAT is about the median, so high-teens to top-25 and I’ll be explaining my GPA per the guidelines in your book. Are my expectations too high? I have safeties in the mid-30s to mid-40s but I’m trying to use all the tools I can to gauge my expectations, and some days I get stars in my eyes and look at low-end T14s.
Hi Ken. I’m so happy the book has been helpful. Sorry I’m a month behind on blog post responses. I think you need to focus on schools that will want your LSAT score, so schools where the 75th percentile is high 150s-mid 160s.
I graduated in May 2016 from UC Berkeley with a degree in Biology and a minor in French Literature, fully intending to apply to medical school/prepping for the MCAT. I’m now having a Christmas crisis and thinking of switching over to law school.
I have just over a 3.0 — very low. I got A’s in pretty much every non science class and C’s in all my science classes. You’d think I’d have gotten the hint earlier.
What kind of an LSAT score would I need to make me a candidate? What kind of jobs/volunteer opportunities do you recommend I pursue in the meantime? In the past I have done mostly medically related jobs/extracurriculars.
I’d appreciate any advice you have and whether you think I have a chance at pursuing this path.
Thanks so much for your time and Happy Holidays!
Hi Shana. Everything will depend on which schools you hope to attend. If you’re planning to take the February LSAT you need to get started now… Register for it now and get started with a prep plan. Let me know if I can be of help as you move forward.
Thank you for The Law School Admission Game- it’s such a big help in this stressful process! Based on your opinions in the book and your responses above, I could probably guess your advice on my next question, but I wanted to get an answer from you point-blank, if possible!
I’m a relatively traditional student: graduated in May 2016, 3.53 GPA in Anthropology, 2 LSAT scores so far: 150 then 158 (December 2016), I’m taking this gap year to gain work experience and was hoping to start school Fall 2017. I’m registered for the February 2017 LSAT where I hope to break through 160, but I know that I need to apply ASAP.
My plan is to apply with the 158 I have and indicate my intention of taking the February LSAT, but as I work my way through your book I get the growing feeling that I’m at a huge disadvantage already because I’m applying late in the game. I’m aiming for schools ranked in the mid-20s to mid-30s range (UC-Davis, for example). With their median LSAT of 163 and median GPA of 3.52, would my chances of getting accepted be significantly higher if I applied next year instead? I’m unsure of how disadvantaged I am applying in January and was hoping you could clarify!
Thanks so much for your time!
Hi Emily, sorry I didn’t see this sooner. I think you can apply now and see what happens and if it doesn’t work out then wait and apply in the fall.
You’re a rock star for assisting all of us with law school admission questions… I’ve been reading through all of them and appreciate the time you take to thoughtfully answer.
Please advise on admission and timing based on the following details (a bit complicated, I know)…
I’m a real estate broker who just turned 50 but I’ve always wanted to go to law school (be an attorney).
I attended college (80 units) in the mid 90’s with a 2.8 GPA. I quit after my junior year due to family obligations.
Forward 20 years… I’m attending Arizona State University through their online program to complete my undergraduate degree in prep for law school (I have a 4.0 GPA at ASU).
I will complete my undergrad degree at the end of Summer 2017.
I have not taken the LSAT but my practice test results are strong.
What is the soonest I can expect to attend a law school if I don’t complete my undergrad degree until August of this year and haven’t yet taken the LSAT?
When should I shoot for taking the LSAT and applying to law schools?
Thank you for your time,
Hi Cameron. Thanks for sharing this background. Since law school generally starts in the fall – with only a few exceptions beginning in January – your best bet would be to take the LSAT in December (so you have lots of time to study after graduating) and apply in December/January to start law school the following fall. I hope this helps.
No questions here. I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time and answering everyone’s questions. That is truly commendable and impressive.
Have a great day!
I am a recent graduate from Binghamton University, my GPA was a 3.05. I took the LSAT in September and received a 150. I’m taking the January LSAT and the majority of the schools I’m applying to are in NY/NJ (Cardozo, Brooklyn Law, New York Law School, Hofstra, St. Johns, Rutgers, Seton Hall). With that being said, I would ideally like to start school this year (September 2019) but this means I would be sending it relatively late (around February). All of these schools will accept the January test but am I putting myself at too much of a risk? A lot of people I have spoken to told me to just do it and some say to wait for the next cycle. Would appreciate your opinion.
p.s I’ve been studying for a while now for the January LSAT and I’m confident that I will score at least 5-8 points higher than I did in September.
Lara, apply this year and if you’re not happy with how it works out, apply again early in the fall.
I initially went to a community college and did poorly (like a 2.7 GPA, some failed courses and retakes) because I was honestly not ready. However, years later I transferred to a research Uni and did much better (3.59 GPA). Currently, I am working on my Master’s and have maintained a solid 4.0. Will my performance in my graduate program help over-shadow my low performance from 12 years ago? The university I am currently attending is the Berklee College of Music.
Hi Michael, this is pretty common, and your performance since then will carry weight. Your masters in music may be hard to make relevant to law school but it shows focus and commitment, which is good. Let me know if I can be of further help.
I am a sophomore at UCLA with a 3.5 GPA (I am confident I can get this up to around a 3.6 by graduation). I am graduating in December of 2020 and ideally want to get into law school starting fall of 2021. When should I take the LSAT? With my GPA, what LSAT score should I be shooting for? (If it helps, my goal is to go to U Miami Law School since I’m from Florida and want to move back home eventually) Should I wait to apply for schools in Fall 2022? Thanks!
Mariana, YAY for UM : )
You can see they are really looking for high 150s at UM, and higher for scholarships. No reason to wait!
I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2018 with a BA in International Relations with a CUM GPA of 3.01. After looking for jobs and wasn’t able to land one, I am deciding to go back to law school. I am studying LSAT, took my first practice test and did not really do well, but I am not giving up, I will keep on practicing. I don’t have any administrative experience so far. Do you think law schools will accept me if I am able in a near future to score 160-170 on my LSAT test? Also, I am not so confident about LSAT test. Do you have any advice for me that could help me boost my confidence? I am an immigrant who speaks french.
Thanks so much,
Hi – I recommend reading The Law School Admission Game (4th Ed) for tips on how to plan your LSAT prep.