Who Gets To Attend A Top Law School?

Law School Expert Blog

(Originally posted in 2014, I’m updating this on 3/26/2020 – changes are in bold text):

How to Get Into a Top Law School?

Top law schools require stellar undergraduate grades, an LSAT score that shows you can compete with their student body, and soft factors which demonstrate experiences that will add to the diversity and knowledge of the law school class. For Top 10 law schools, a ballpark combination would be scoring 170+ on the LSAT and 3.8+ GPA.

What’s the difference between someone who gets accepted into Harvard Law and someone who doesn’t? Experience tells me there are two universal traits of people who get into top law schools: the quality of their undergraduate education, and their engagement in extracurricular activities and professional positions that show passions and a level of expertise in one or more subject areas. They also have high LSAT scores, unless they have overcome significant obstacles in their life in order to excel in academics and extracurriculars.

Top Law Schools are looking for thinkers – people who are not afraid of a challenge and were truly engaged in their educational and professional environments. If you phoned it in during your college years, doing the bare minimum academically while focusing on less intellectual endeavors, top law schools have the luxury of turning you away even if your LSAT score is 174+. When I review a law school applicant’s transcript and resume, it’s immediately obvious whether they took their college experience seriously and whether they have pursued the kinds of activities and positions that will help them compete with people at the top law schoolsAn internship on Capitol Hill isn’t enough unless it’s combined with a series of interesting pursuits and a record of excelling. For law school applicants who don’t have the luxury to pursue unpaid internships, law schools are looking for whether you balanced school and work well or just barely managed. Getting a 4.0 at Ohio State while working full time can get you into Harvard Law if your LSAT is in the right range (as one of my clients did this year) not everyone has to have traditional pre-law internships but the work experience should show advancement and intellectual engagement.

Quality of Undergraduate Education

Attending a prestigious undergraduate institution puts you at an advantage in the eyes of the Top Law Schools. You’ve been tested against the nation’s best and brightest, and – presumably – engaged in rigorous coursework with renowned professors. Earning top grades and writing a thesis in this environment is something Top Law Schools appreciate. It also makes it highly likely you will have a letter of recommendation (or two or three) from professors who are truly in a position to evaluate your work and can compare you to past students who have gone on to Top Law Schools. An applicant from this background, especially one who has supplemented their time with volunteer efforts, travel, and interesting and well-rounded pursuits, is ideally positioned for success in the law school admission process. For the Fall 2014 application cycle to date, my applicants who have been admitted to Harvard Law attended Berkeley, Yale, Penn, Stanford, Dartmouth, and (yes) Harvard for their undergrad work. (Update for Fall 2019: Stanford, Trinity, Kenyon, Columbia (x2), Ohio State and Arizona State – and some still pending on the waiting list. Note: The ones from Ohio State and Arizona State had 4.0 GPAs and went through honors college programs).

Top Law Schools are unlikely to admit people who attended less impressive undergraduate schools, especially if there were opportunities you did not pursue (such as independent academic research, challenging courses, and intellectual pursuits outside of the classroom.) However, if you have a near perfect GPA and stellar academic accomplishments at a well-known and respected school, especially where your major is known to be rigorous, the fact that you didn’t go Ivy League may be forgiven. Examples include studying Philosophy at Rutgers and Business at the University of Southern California because these are departments that are particularly respected within the academic community. It also includes attending a college-within-a-college honors program.

If you started at a community college, changed majors several times, attended a state university near home where you had few opportunities to interact with faculty members, majored in something not known for rigor, like Communications or Legal Studies, and still only managed a 3.5 GPA, Top Law Schools are unlikely to take you seriously even if you absolutely kill the LSAT. In fact, a 3.5 at a respected university is a disadvantage in recent cycles. Top Law Schools are not compromising on GPA; they can forgive an LSAT that’s a bit low if everything else is in line and impressive but not a GPA because it’s earned over time.

For non-traditional applicants who have been out of school for many years, a lot can be forgiven if their work experience is truly impressive and if their LSAT score demonstrates academic abilities beyond what is evident from their transcript. But remember that Top Ten Law Schools don’t have any incentive to overlook these issues because they are able to fill their classes with applicants who did everything right.


What activities are Top Law Schools looking for? What actually impresses them? Here are a few examples:
• Participation in college athletics (no matter the division)/Olympic or other high-level competitive sports involvement;
• Significant volunteer experience at home or abroad regarding an issue you are particularly knowledgeable and passionate about;
• Learning another language, along with significant international and/or multi-cultural experience;

• Holding a leadership position within a journal, college newspaper, or political or service organization.

Anything that demonstrates passion/knowledge/drive and direction. Even if it might be a bit controversial or distinctive.

What doesn’t impress Top Law Schools? Applicants who spent most of their time on fraternity and sorority involvements, whose internships are scattered and primarily include online marketing and social media management, who have not spent significant time volunteering in a meaningful capacity, and who only have traditional travel or study abroad experiences.

Obstacles Overcome

Merely having obstacles in your background won’t get you into a Top Law School; a lot of application fees are wasted by people who believe otherwise. The key to getting into a Top Law School is being able to show that despite growing up with significant disadvantages, you got yourself somewhere really amazing on your own two feet. In other words, it’s how you reacted to the obstacle, how you overcame the obstacle, that impresses Top Law Schools. One of these rare and amazing stories of triumph, coupled with impressive academic, extracurricular, and professional achievements makes Top Law Schools willing to dip lower on their LSAT score requirements. For example, if you couldn’t attend college so you joined the military, then earned multiple degrees while deployed. Or if you were a single mom and had to pay your way through school while managing your life and you still excelled. It’s the “overcoming” that matters most to law schools – that’s what shows your personal drive and motivation and that’s what brings a diverse viewpoint to the classroom and to the legal profession.

2021 Top 10 Law Schools

Rank School
1 Yale Law School
2 Stanford Law School
3 Harvard Law School
4 (tie) Columbia Law School
4 (tie) University of Chicago Law School
6 New York University School of Law
7 Penn Law (Carey School of Law)
8 University of Virginia School of Law
9 (tie) Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
9 (tie) Berkeley Law
9 (tie) University of Michigan Ann Arbor

142 Responses

  1. T14 schools don’t care where you got your UG, they care far more what your GPA is. This article is misleading. Going to some random state college with a 4.0 can get you into Harvard. Going to Princeton with a 3.6 will not.

    1. Well said! This article is, in fact, misleading.
      I went to an “unimpressive undergraduate school” with a good, but not great LSAT score, yet I was offered admission by a T14 law school

    2. Thank you so much for making this comment. I’m attending Hofstra University and it’s a goal of mine to attend a T14 law school but I was so scared that my chances would be nonexistent because of where I went for undergrad. I couldn’t afford a better school but I have a 4.0 and I work very hard.

    3. This article is correct. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s not the rule. There have been numerous studies. Top likes to admit from the top.

  2. I’m beginning my Law School Application process, hoping to submit for Fall 2015 acceptance. I’m taking my LSAT in June and have already collected my transcripts and sent out some recommendation requests. I’ve been out of school for a couple years, so its looking like getting recommendations from professors is proving a bit difficult for one reason or another. I’m still just a bit overwhelmed by the whole process, and can already feel application paranoia setting in. I know a lot of the schools I want to apply for are relatively selective (even reflecting the recent trends in applications). I’m always afraid I just won’t stand out enough, especially since I waited until after achieving my B.A. and M.Ed. and being in the work force for a little while before applying. I tend to be very personally critical and can’t help but wonder if I’ve done anything to WOW the admissions boards. I’m not necessarily looking at schools at the very top of the list, but the ones I’m interested in certainly seem prestigious.

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Sounds like you’re getting things ready right on schedule, and it’s natural that it would be hard to get professor letters given the time you’ve been out of school. I don’t think “WOW” is the thing to go for – I think it’s sincerity, authenticity, and seriousness of purpose. I think you can probably create that impression pretty effectively!

  3. I will be a junior this coming academic year at a state university after having transferred from a community college last year and hope to apply to law school upon graduation. I had some major financial setbacks that delayed me from attending undergrad and as such I will be four years behind the traditional student. While I fear graduating law school too late, I do not want to rush the procedure. I have been and continue to work full time (for the past 2.5 years I have been in the banking/financal sector) while attending undergrad. Currently I hold a 3.74 GPA and plan to take the lsats in june. What are my chances of getting into a top-tier law school? How well should I do on the LSATs to consider a school of that caliber? And will law schools look at my transfer college GPA?

    1. Correction: I am a junior and will be a senior this coming academic year…. I plan to take the LSATs in september, not june. The GPA score is that of my junior year.

    2. Hi Gin,
      I’m glad you don’t want to rush – better to do things right. I don’t know where you are enrolled in school and I don’t know your full story. Schools will see all of your grades – they all count toward your LSAC GPA so no one gets a fresh start unfairly. Good luck on the LSAT – that will really make a big difference in your chances at different schools. Your current GPA is very promising, obviously.

  4. Hi Ann,

    I was wondering if you offer any advice to international students who studied at an institution that is not in the U.S.?

  5. Hi Ann,

    I played a sport my first year and a half of college, after competing in it four years in high school. I feel like it would be weird to put it on my resume if I quit part way through my college career, but would it help me? I have heard similar statements other places about athletes being successful in law school, and law schools liking them. I have considered writing my personal statement about my decision to leave the team, but didn’t want to focus on being a quitter either. Thoughts? Thanks!

    1. Hi Syd, You should absolutely put athletics on your resume – yes!!!!
      I have read a good personal statement that was about the decision to quit, to show what you did, how you changed for the better, found your way, focused on academics, etc. But you don’t necessarily have to go that route.

    2. Hi Ann,

      My daughter is undergrad at Berkeley. She is about to complete her second year with a 3.8 (or higher) gpa.

      She keeps on stressing about admission at a top 5 law school (Harvard being her top choice). She was in Cal field hockey team during her first year (she was distinguished as one of the athletes with the highest gpa), played with the French National team at the European championship (under 18), at the under 21 World Cup, and at the world league. She had to drop top level field hockey after a serious knee injury which require heavy surgery. She has been a research assistant at Cal and works for non profit organizations on campus.

      I keep on telling her that she has an impressive profile but she keeps on thinking that she is average. Could you give me you neutral opinion.


        1. Hi Ann,

          I will advise my daughter to contact you.

          She has now graduated with a major in political science and a minor in History from UC Berkeley (3.9, highest honors, phi beta kappa) and is now heading to Cambridge for a MPhil before applying to law school.

          Hope the two of you match.



    1. John,
      It’s something that is highly respected by law schools, but you will also need an LSAT score that shows you can compete (assuming grades are lower and that’s why you’re asking?)

  6. You carelessly minimize individual circumstances with the facile notion of “applicants who did everything right.”

  7. Hi Anne,
    I am a mother and currently pregnant with my second child. I am going to Virginia Commonwealth University for psychology and have a 4.0. Would top law schools be impressed with the fact that I am going to school, participating in extracurriculars and maintaining a high grade point average? I would love to the chance to go to a top tier school, but I also want to be realistic. What are your thoughts?

  8. Hi Ann,

    I have a 3.48 GPA (science major) from UT Austin (graduated in may 15′) and I’m taking the LSAT in february for the first time. I’ve been studying really hard for it and am hoping to do well on it. I know my GPA isn’t stellar and that applying closer to deadline is disadvantageous because of rolling admissions. I have a variety of leadership roles from my undergrad including two years of resident assistant experience as well a semester of teaching assistant experience for an undergraduate public health class. I also had officer positions at student organizations but I don’t know if that really counts for much. I don’t really have a question for you but just wanted to hear your thoughts about where you think I stand in terms of my chances of getting admission in UT law school or others of comparable caliber.

    Thank you!

  9. Hi Ann,

    I currently attend a non-so-impressive undergrad university. I am a sophomore and currently looking at law schools to attend. My GPA is a 3.875, I am President of various clubs and a Honor Society, and I also hold a job on campus while being Vice President of my class in Student Government. I also recently just became a Student Member at Large on a National Council for a honor society. While my undergrad isn’t so competitive what other law schools can I get into?


  10. I went to a small school in Long Island and am a senior I am on pace to graduate with a 3.5 GPA, i am also a college athlete. In your earlier post you said colleges prefer bigger schools with harder majors. I majored in Political Science which I am not sure if its considered an easy major. Would this hurt me for Law School, I took hard electives level 3000 Psych and 3000 Sociology classes. I would like to go to a top 25 school would i have a chance if i did well on the lsat.

      1. So I did very meh on the lsat – 165. That said, I had a 3.86 GPA undergrad, have won numerous nationally competive scholarships for undergrad and grad school study, speak five languages, and have had some serious work experience. Is there hope for me at harvard??

  11. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for writing such a helpful and informative article for those of us getting ready to dive into law school, this definitely helped me feel better prepared for what’s to come. I am a 3.9 ASU Honors student with another 3 semesters left and am majoring in Political Science. My biggest concern going into next year is time management. So my question to you is when exactly should I start preparing for the LSATs, school applications, etc.? Also with the fact that I am attending a university that is not as distinguished and renowned like that of Berkeley or Yale how much weight would my extra curricular and LSAT scores pull? I have quite a bit of travel experience as I took time off before college and lived in Australia as well as England and will be volunteering in Nepal for six weeks this year. I also am involved in things like the debate team, toastmasters, and local homeless shelters. I also work full time while going to school full time and am financially independent. I apologize for the information overload, I would just like to know where you think my focus for the next two years should be to better my chances. Thank you so much for your time and look forward to hearing from you!

    1. Hi Shea, I love this question. If you would be able to study for the LSAT over the summer, you could plan to take it in September. That might be the best timing for you.

  12. Hi Ann, I am 31 years old working for a top IT company for the past 8 years. I have a Bachelors in Engineering from India (GPA:3.5) from a top 5 ranked college in the country and a Masters in International Business from a top school in France(US GPA:3.65). I have also led teams at work as a manger and worked in Europe, Latin America and now in California.In school i was helped setup the student body and was elected for 3 years straight alongwith founding and setting up the placement cell for university. I am yet to take the LSATs and would only want to go to a top school. Do you think considering my circumstances (not being a young 25 year old anymore), i might be of interest to a top school? Also, based on the data points, what LSAT score should i be targeting to get into a top 10 school?

    If possible, i would like to consult with you 1:1 to discuss my case. Please let me know if this is feasible.

    Thank You.

  13. I am a Biomedical Engineer at a lesser known state school. I have a 3.75 GPA in my third year. I plan to do quite well on the LSAT as I have been preparing diligently for it. Will my not so prestigious undergraduate school hold me back from a T14 law school?

  14. I am a recent graduate at a top 10 (USNWR) university. I have a 3.81 gpa with a 173 lsat. I am currently working and plan to go to law school after about two years of work. I have a question about Letters of Recommendation. I thought that I had read that for people who have work experience, they can choose to have one academic LOR and one business LOR if they want. I recently read a blog from the dir of admissions at Yale where she says she really wants only academic LORs since since what she cares about is their ability as a student – not the worker. What is your advice?

  15. I am a sophomore Journalism major at a lesser known university. I have a 3.87 GPA and currently hold executive positions in my fraternity and the interfraternity council. I was elected president as a sophomore and continue to hold multiple positions. I have been actively preparing to take the LSAT and believe when the time comes, I will do well. I noticed you stated that top-tier law schools are unimpressed with being involved with either a fraternity and sorority, will holding positions in greek life at a lesser known university hurt my chances?

    1. Mikhael,
      I love your leadership and GPA. It’s not that your leadership won’t count in the admission process, but standing alone it’s not what will make a huge difference since it’s a pretty common involvement (although leadership positions at a young age are impressive). It won’t hurt you that your primary involvement has been though the Greek system, but it’s good to show you are well rounded too.

  16. I am an Environmental Science and Political Science double major and know I want to pursue Environmental Law. I currently run my own startup NPO dealing with promoting environmental sustainability, I’ve been the president of my university’s environmental club since I founded it my freshman year, I have done biology/enviro research with my university (although, it is a rather small school/department) and I have had several papers published dealing with the environment. I have also had several law internships over the course of my college career, one of which being with environmental attorneys specifically.

    Grades and LSAT scores aside, would T14 schools take to seeing all the work that I do with the environment or would they be turned off by it being too homogenous? I have a few more leadership positions under my belt, but I would like to focus on the work I’ve done with the environment, as it is my passion.

  17. So I am in a sorority but do not hold a position and am just an active member. I am also a part of a pre-law association club, and I didn’t get on the school newspaper. Should I leave my sorority off my application?

      1. I’m trying to go to Harvard, Stanford, Yale, so to them you don’t think it would matter? That I never held a position?

      2. I’m trying to get into Harvard, Stanford, Yale so you don’t think they would care that I didn’t hold a position and was just a member?

        1. Hi Alison, you should share the information, elaborate on your strengths, but there’s no shame in “just being a member” of things… I can’t see the earlier part of your question (not sure why…) so I respond more specifically.

  18. Where could I find a list of colleges that are represented by each top law school? I am trying to decide on a University for my undergrad in preparation for law school.

  19. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for continuing to answer questions!

    My undergrad GPA was 3.63 (private/liberal arts), and my master’s program 4.0 (smaller for-profit college). I’ve recently been worrying these are not impressive enough because especially my master’s program was not at a particularly well-known institution, and I do wish I’d proven myself more in undergrad.

    I surprised myself actually doing alright on my cold diagnostic, and really think my studying efforts could lead to a great LSAT score… Is there anything specific I can be focusing on to strengthen my applications? (or push through GPA anxiety?) My grades are done, and I want to make sure I’m presenting my best for consideration as a competitive applicant.

    I know answering questions with little information from comment boxes must seem vague, and I truly appreciate your time and resources you provide!

    1. Hi Dana, An LSAT that shows you can compete with a school’s students will go a long way. You can’t change your GPA now but you can show your abilities through your LSAT score. I always believe it focusing on the things you can control and letting the rest go….

  20. Hi!
    Do you know how American Law Schools look at international students who have studied Law before in another country as an undergraduate degree? For example a bachelor in Law from England?
    Will this be a disadvantage or will they just look at your GPA, LSAT score and extracurricular activities?

    I know international students can study for a Master degree but I’m really interested in studying for a JD.


    1. Tim, I have worked with people in your situation before. Many start with the LLM and then transfer to a JD program. Different schools have different policies on this.

  21. You said that it would be very unlikely for a student from an “unimpressive” college or university to get into the top law schools. How come when you look at some of the top law schools’ accepted students’ undergraduate university catalogs you see a very diverse range of schools? I have no doubt that the majority of law school students come from the “prestigious” schools but there still must be a sizable percentage coming from state colleges and lesser known universities.

    1. Ed, I think it probably comes down to a definition of “unimpressive” – a wide range of public and smaller schools are represented, of course, but it’s harder to get in from very small, lesser known, or less competitive schools.

  22. Ann,

    I am currently finishing up my sophomore year at a public state university (ranked #115 nationally by US News). I am double majoring in finance and accounting. My GPA is currently a 3.92 (3.95 if you include the summer classes I took at a community college last year). I’ve taken an art history class and a philosophy class and I plan to take all of the business law classes offered by the time I graduate.

    Do I have any chance whatsoever of getting into a really top-tier law school (at least T14), seeing as I’m attending a university that is not prestigious? Also, will my majors hurt me? I’m considering changing the accounting degree to economics, but I am undecided at this point. I understand that a huge part of this depends on my LSAT score, but I haven’t taken it yet so I am just trying to get an idea of where I stand. Thank you!

  23. Hi Anne,

    I am currently at Miami University and I am hoping to attend a t-14 law school. Currently I have a 3.64 and I am a veteran from the Air Force. My practice LSAT’s I have been scoring in the late 160’s and early 170’s is there any chance to get into a top law school with such a low GPA?

  24. Thank you for writing this article. I am a 34 year old senior at a small university in Texas graduating with a BS in Industrial Technology with a expected GPA of 3.80. I understand getting into a good law school would be greatly dependent on my lsats, however I’m concerned with my age, transferring from a community college, and going to a small university. Law school is expensive and I am not exactly in my 20s; time is limited. My question is what are the chances of getting into a top 15 school with my so so background and age even with a decent GPA? I’m an INTJ personality, I feel very confident that I will do well above average on the lsats.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Without knowing an LSAT score or range, it’s hard to say whether you would be competitive for a top 15 law school. Depending on your score, work and life experiences, writing ability and letters of recommendation, you could be in that range.

  25. Hi Ann,
    I am currently a freshman trying to decide on whether to double major in Economics and Government or minor in international relations. Do you think that double majoring is more advantageous when it does to applying to law school?

  26. Hi Ann,

    I am a recent high school graduate. I’m going to a private university this Fall and plan to major in History. I know aiming for one of the best law schools in the country might be a bit far-fetched, but I plan to give it my best shot. I’ve never been athletically inclined, but I’ve always been very interested in learning new languages and studying abroad. I also compete in national beauty pageants and am very passionate about volunteering. Is there any advice you would give to a young student planning to go to law school who is just beginning her journey?

    1. Liza,
      Thanks for asking. Take time to find your passion. Don’t choose anything because others expect it of you or because it sounds like something law schools will appreciate. Enjoy college. Challenge yourself. And keep reading the blog : )

  27. I’m starting undergrad next year at UC Berkeley and Harvard Law has been the dream ever since I was little. I am going to major in Political Science and minor in creative writing, join and hopefully gain leadership in the humor magazine and the Amnesty International chapter, and intern in the fields of film, writing, and politics. I also would probably take a year or two off before applying to law school to work perhaps as a creative writer. Is that too scattered? I am passionate about Political science and law as well as creative writing for film and hopefully will continue this passion through entertainment law. I am also prepared to work as hard as possible to get top grades and a top LSAT Score. Please let me know what you think.

    1. Sarah, enjoy this time. Worry less about Harvard and more about finding your passion – enjoy every opportunity that comes your way.Ask the tough questions and have fun exploring your college experience. I look forward to hearing about all of your adventures over the coming years.

  28. Hi Ann,
    First of all I would like to thank you for writing this article and helping guide students like me with it.
    I had a question in regards to what you had mentioned about the consideration admission officers take for the undergrad school that is attended. I am going to the University of Washington, a huge state university, and would really like to get into a T5 law school. Would it benefit me or harm me to try and transfer to a more selective school for my undergrad? Would you recommend it or should I stay?

  29. Thank you for posting this blog. I obviously want to get into the best law school that I can, and I wanted to know the realistic possibilities about this endeavor, considering my academic and extracurricular activities. I have two semesters left until I graduate from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor in marketing. I know that MTSU is a low-tiered, unimpressive undergraduate school and that the marketing major is not known for it’s academic rigor. But I have a 3.9 overall G.P.A, and will have some experience interning for a law firm before I graduate. However, I do not have much civic service experience. Hypothetically speaking, say I make a 160 on the LSAT: What are my chances at getting into a top 14 law school? And is it worth it to go to a less prestigious law school if I can’t get into a t14?

    1. Also, would it be worth it to transfer to a slightly higher tiered undergraduate school such as Belmont?

  30. Hi Ann,

    I have 3.0 GPA in chemical engineering from a top school and an lsat of 167, what tier of law school will I be able to get into?

  31. Hello Ann,

    I would highly appreciate your opinion on my chances and most importantly, on advising the direction I better follow to get accepted. I have graduated from a University of my country (Azerbaijan) in International studies with the GPA of 3.02. Even though all law courses I have ever taken were A, microeconomics and statistics were my weak points. In September I am starting my LL.M in International laws in University of Southampton (UK). I have already started preparing for LSAT, and registered for December. Should I better work after completing my graduate degree, or applying directly to JD would be fine? And most importantly, will my graduate degree’s GPA compensate the undergraduate one?

    Looking forward to hear from you!

  32. Hi Ann,

    I am an Industrial and Labor Relations major at Cornell University. I am a Law minor and a Business minor. I have a 4.0. I am a senior. I am taking the LSATs on September 24th and have been scoring in the 167-172 range on practice tests. For the purposes of this post, let’s presume I take the test in one month and score within that range (Although I know that test day can sometimes produce scores different from those scored on practice tests)

    Things I am involved in on campus:
    1. I am on the executive board for my major’s “peer mentor” program. I organize a group of mentors and I have also been a mentor to freshmen for three years. This program is something I have worked to develop over time, and it has evolved and improved pretty drastically from the time I became involved with it, through some of my work on it.
    2. I have been the Risk Manager for my sorority for 2.5 years. This is what I have put a large degree of time on consistently throughout my four years. I know that you said this isn’t impressive to top schools, but I worked really hard on this and in making my chapter one of the absolute safest on my campus, where there have recently been some bad happenings with Greek Life. I raise awareness about health and social issues within my chapter and teach bystander intervention trainings each semester. I wasn’t the “social chair” or something frivolous, is it too hopeful to think that this could be valued by a law school?
    3. I am involved in a pre-law fraternity.
    4. I interned in an employment law firm last summer (2015) near my home
    5. I spent this past summer 12 hours from home interning for GEICO doing a rotational business internship program. I chose to pursue a business internship because I am possibly interested in a dual law and business degree and wanted to have had exposure to both in internships.
    6. I am a Finance TA, for one of the harder finance courses on my campus.
    7. Last year, I was a representative for a company called Say It With A Condom that prints eye-catching messages on condom wrappers to raise awareness for HIV/AIDs prevention.

    1. I am currently writing a senior honors thesis relevant to my field of study. It will be complete by May.
    2. I am also a first generation college student.

    What schools do you think could be reasonable to shoot for? I, of course, would love to think I could get into Harvard or UChicago (my two dream schools), but, I would be happy if at the end of the day I could get into Duke or Northwestern. Do you think this is attainable?

    1. Hi Carly,
      I can’t give schools advice on the blog format, but if you’re interested in talking with you and possible consulting, I’d be happy to address this for you.

  33. Hi Ann,

    I’m from Puerto Rico and I graduated with a 3.41 GPA in accounting from a local college (University of Puerto Rico). I’m currently working as a CPA in a small firm here, and I’m also finishing the Enrolled Agent certification. I took the LSAT a couple of months ago and got a 168. Do I have any chances of entering a tier 1 law school? Does having these certifications helps me at all or recruiters don’t care about that?

    Thank you for reading this!

  34. This cannot be true unless by “Top” you mean literally only Yale. I am at a T-14 school and most of my friends went to non-prestigious state universities. Some went to ivy leagues or other fancy schools, but not the majority.

    I had poor grades in UG (like, below a 3.5) in a not very difficult major (and did no academic research/ no thesis), had mediocre work experience (though some volunteering experience as well), and wasn’t an athlete. I got into several T-14 schools just because I had a 173 on the LSAT.

  35. Hi Ann, I have a 3.0 GPA and a 155 on my LSAT. I competed all four years for University of Texas in my sport and competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics for USA earning a silver and a gold. I only really want to go to UT Law. What are my chances of being accepted?

    1. Paul, that’s AMAZING! Thanks for representing the USA so well! I’m impressed! I think with a strong application they will seriously consider you. Every law school would love to have an Olympian : )

  36. Hi Ann –

    I received 2 concurrent undergrad degrees from a major, private – not Ivy League – university, and completed all 3 of the most challenging areas of concentration for my business degree. I was the valedictorian (3.97+) and recorded a 177 on my LSAT. I was also a varsity D1 athlete for 3 years. I, however, have no “non-traditional” factors in my favor. I’ve been working in Finance since graduation to make sure the bills are paid 🙂 What can you broadly suggest would be my best approach to pursue admission at the very top-level; schools?

    1. I’m betting you did great in the admission cycle, or that you will if you haven’t hear back yet. Sorry I didn’t see this comment earlier. If I can be of any help at this point please let me know.

  37. Hi, Ann!

    I am currently going to University of Oklahoma (OU) and majoring in Criminology, minoring in Psychology. I expect to graduate with a 3.7 GPA.

    Without considering the LSAT, I had a few obstacles during my freshman year that caused me to withdraw from school and attend a community college near my chemotherapy center until I went into remission and transfer back to OU. I’m not trying to win over T14 law schools with a sob story, but will this situation hurt my chances of getting into a selective school?

    p.s. I am involved in MANY extracurriculars, including an honor society. Additionally, I have volunteered for many nation-level philanthropic organizations.