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How Important are Good LSAT Scores?

There are a lot of factors that go into the law school application progress, and it can be confusing keeping track of all the requirements for law school admissions. But hands down, the two most important factors for potential law students are strong GPAs and good LSAT scores.

I guess you can say there is a little bit of debate around whether GPA or LSAT scores are more important. Different schools may prioritize one over the other. However, if you look at the stats on sites like starclass.com, you’ll notice that the rankings follow LSAT scores more consistently than GPA. In other words, it isn’t that difficult to see which part of your application is going to be the most important.

It’s your LSAT score.

The reason your LSAT score is the most important thing is because it’s the only means of measuring all potential candidates against each other.

A Level Playing Field

There are currently over 2,500 four-year colleges and universities in the United States alone. That means there are over 2,500 different schools assigning GPAs. Every school is different in the way they grade. It’s just a fact of life.

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Translating that to a law school that is trying to filter though a couple thousand applications for a couple hundred open seats is pretty tricky. If a law school has to choose between two students with equal GPAs (let’s say both students have a cumulative of 3.48), how are they going to make a choice? Are they going to look at their personal statements, letters of recommendation, and job experience? Well, probably. However, the easiest way to differentiate between these two applicants is to look at their LSAT scores. Why? Because LSAT scores mean the same thing everywhere.

Put another way, these two applicants have the exact same GPA, but from two completely different universities. Rather than take a ton of time trying to weed out the details of their applications, it is much easier for them to look at a standardized test they both took. It’s an easy choice. The higher score is going to get in.

The LSAT is a great way for law schools to measure the differences between the different students.

A Good LSAT Score will Compensate for a Lower GPA

In addition to helping schools make a determination between fairly similar applicants, law schools simply give a lot of weight to the LSAT.

Studies have shown that good LSAT scores are more closely correlated with success in law school than are strong GPAs. This means that law schools are going to be more willing to take a risk on a student with a lower GPA and higher LSAT than a student with a higher GPA and lower LSAT. That said, the combination of both LSAT and GPA is the better correlated to law school success than is LSAT alone, which is why every law school in the country will, in some way, consider both measures in admissions decision.

But ultimately, this goes back to my previous point. Higher LSAT scores usually mean more successful students.

While law schools like to see great GPAs, they like to see higher test scores much more.

What Does this Mean for you?

This should give some of you a lot of hope. While your grades matter, they don’t matter quite as much as your LSAT will. If your grades are a little lower than you were hoping, don’t hang your head too low. Hold it up and and work your tail off to post some good LSAT scores.

You’ll be happy you did.

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