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Which Grades Count toward your LSAC GPA?

Your GPA (as calculated by LSAC) will play a key role in law school admissions. Admissions officers will use your LSAC GPA to assess your motivation, commitment, and academic readiness for law school (for more on the importance of law school numbers, click here).
 
However, you might be surprised to hear that the GPA that appears on your school transcript is not necessarily the GPA that LSAC will report to law schools, nor is it the GPA that will be considered for admissions indexes. Unfortunately, LSAC’s official transcript summarization policies don’t tend to work in students’ favors, but they do their purpose of standardizing GPAs from various grading systems that schools use.
 

What grades does LSAC include in the calculation?

LSAC considers all of the following grades when recalculating your LSAC GPA:
 
• Any failing grade for which credit was attempted but not earned, even if your school considers the grade nonpunitive. This includes but is not limited to No Credit, No Credit/Fail, Not Passing, Incomplete/Fail, Withdraw/Fail, and Unsatisfactory. LSAC will calculate the failing grade as a 0 on a 4.0 scale.
• Grades for repeated courses, when both the grades and the attempted course credits appear on your transcript
• Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Programs (CLEP) courses, if your school shows both course credits and grades for these courses
• Any college-level class for which you attempted credit and received a grade, prior to receiving your first undergraduate degree. Transfer credits and any college-level credits that you took in high school are included.

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What grades does LSAC exclude from the calculation?

LSAC does not count the following grades toward your GPA:
 
• Withdraw, Withdraw/Pass grades (as long as your school considers the grade non-punitive)
• Incomplete grades (as long as your school considers the grade non-punitive)
• Remedial course grades (the transcript must clearly state the courses are remedial)
• Grades received after you earned your first undergraduate degree
• Grades for which no credit was received
• Passing grades from any grading system in which a conversion rule cannot be determined (for example, Pass/Fail, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Credit/No Credit, Honors/Pass/Fail, High Pass/Pass/Fail, and course performance described only as narratives or descriptions).
• Original course grades for repeated courses, if the transcript is not specify both the grade and the number of credits assigned
• Grade symbols with multiple meanings from the same school, when the registrar cannot confirm whether you attempted course credit (for example, the symbol “NC” could mean both “No Credit Attempted” and “No Credit Awarded” at the same school)
• “No credit” grades that don’t reflect failure and show no attempt at credit.
 

Tips to keep in mind

• Some students attend grad school or take supplemental courses after earning their bachelor’s degrees in an attempt to put distance between their college records and law school applications. While this strategy can be smart to show maturity and commitment to school over time, it will not help you “pad” your GPA. LSAC’s policy is to only consider grades earned toward your first bachelor’s degree.
• If you are not sure whether your school considers a failing grade punitive or non-punitive, ask! Your school’s registrar should be able to help you interpret your transcript so you have an accurate estimate of your LSAC GPA.
• Send your full academic record for college-level courses attempted prior to earning your first undergraduate degree. Yes, we know it might not seem fair for law schools to consider grades you earned while still in high school, especially if those grades are mediocre compared to your current performance. But keeping things from LSAC is very likely to delay your applications.
• If you are still in a position to improve your GPA, our video below has more helpful tips:


 
 

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19 Responses to Which Grades Count toward your LSAC GPA?

  1. Sean November 2, 2018 at 7:42 PM #

    I took a summer course at USC while in high school that counted as a credit towards my undergrad. That course appears to be reflected in my undergrad transcript, but do you know if I’ll need to have USC send a transcript of its own just for the course I took in high school?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 7, 2018 at 9:53 AM #

      Hi there, Sean!

      Thanks for your question! =D

      The short answer to your question is, yes. You should submit the transcript from USC for the class that you took in high school. Generally, law schools will ask applicants to submit all transcripts from all institutions that they have taken classes at. If your USC class credits are present on your undergrad transcript, then law schools will want your USC transcript to accompany it most likely.

      With that being said, it never hurts to call the admissions offices at the schools that you’re planning to apply to so that you can confirm this. Admissions committee members are generally pretty transparent about the materials that they require, so you should be able to get a definitive answer from each school that you’re interested in.

      I hope that this helps! =D

      • Dov Levin June 30, 2019 at 11:10 PM #

        Hello,

        I tested out of the language requirement in high school because I took IB Spanish. Now I’m in my senior year of undergrad and enrolled in a beginners Spanish course to boost my gpa. I am earning college credit (it will factor into my GPA), however, it is not “technically” going towards my degree since I already met the language requirement. Will LSAC count this course?

        • David Recine
          David Recine July 8, 2019 at 6:41 AM #

          They definitely will! Basically, any course that appears on your undergraduate transcripts will be counted by LSAC. (Unless you took the course pass-fail, since pass-fail coursework doesn’t come with grade points.)

  2. Zachary Kolodny June 19, 2019 at 3:49 PM #

    I took AP credits in high school. The grades for those credits appears on my high school, but not my college transcript. In addition, all of these credits were taken within my high school. My college transcript just shows these credits as being credited but not the grade. Do I need to submit my high school transcript with these grades? Will these AP grades affect my calculated LSAC GPA?

    • David Recine
      David Recine July 8, 2019 at 6:49 AM #

      Those grades won’t affect your LSAC GPA, since the LSAC doesn’t look at college-level credits that were taken in high school. So you won’t need to submit your HS transcript, only your undergrad transcript.

  3. Sidne July 11, 2019 at 9:12 AM #

    This article was great! In terms of repeating a course that you previously got an D in, if the original grade appears on your transcript and but does not count for credit (attempted, not earned), will it still be counted in the LSAC calculation or not? Please let me know thanks!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 19, 2019 at 4:37 PM #

      Hi Sidne,

      This post was written by a guest author, and our expertise here at Magoosh is in test prep, not admissions advice! That being said, it sounds like this grade would count on the LSAC transcript according to this condition listed under grades that will count towards your GPA:
      “Grades for repeated courses, when both the grades and the attempted course credits appear on your transcript”

      I would recommend reaching out to LSAC or an expert for confirmation!

    • LostInLawLawLand July 6, 2020 at 7:08 PM #

      Hi! I have a quick question. While in high school, I did dual enrollment at a community college. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I failed the classes. This was before I started at my university and these classes were not counted toward my degree at my university. Do I submit a separate transcript from the community college if it did not count toward my degree or my credits at my university that awarded me my bachelors degree?

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
        Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 24, 2020 at 12:58 PM #

        Hi there, unfortunately I believe that this quote indicates that these classes will be counted:
        “Any college-level class for which you attempted credit and received a grade, prior to receiving your first undergraduate degree. Transfer credits and any college-level credits that you took in high school are included.”

        Since these credits came before your first undergraduate degree, I believe they would count. I’d recommend reaching out to an admissions counselor at your target school for more information.

  4. Catherine October 25, 2019 at 12:59 PM #

    I got a low grade in a dual enrollment course in high school. I’ve been doing great in college and I’m worried that grade will really hurt my LSAC GPA. The course is offered at my university, if I retook the course at the university level would LSAC still calculate that grade from high school.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 1, 2019 at 1:59 PM #

      Hi Catherine,

      The LSAC says that the following grades are excluded from the transcript:

      “The original grade for a repeated course when the transcript does not show both the grade and the units for the original attempt. The total number of credits assigned to these grades will appear on the applicant’s academic summary, but will not be included in the GPA calculation.”

      So, you should reach out to your university’s registrar to see if the original grade would appear on your transcript if you retake the course.

      It’s also important to note that this will be one grade of many, and it may not have a huge impact on your overall GPA. Before committing to the time and expense of retaking the course, you should make sure that you do all of your research 🙂

  5. Mary Andary November 8, 2019 at 5:23 PM #

    Hi,

    I’m just curious if anyone knows what LSAC classifies as “remedial.” I took two math algebra prep classes in community college, and as far as I know, my school considers them remedial. They are called “COLLEGE MATH PREP: BEG: ALG” & “MATH PREP LEVEL 3: INT ALG.” The word “prep” should signify this is a remedial class, no? I have asked around & I can’t seem to get a straight answer on the matter.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2020 at 3:44 PM #

      Hi Mary,

      I think your transcript would have to say remedial, but perhaps other readers have a different experience.

  6. Shalini December 19, 2019 at 5:02 PM #

    Hi,

    I got a W in one of my community college courses that I took when I was in high school. I dropped that course in the middle because of some personal issues. I retook that course at my university and got a B+ in it. In fact, I am majoring in that particular subject and have aced all the classes with an A. So my question is: Will my GPA count that W and that B+ for the same course? In other words, will LSAC count it two times?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 29, 2020 at 3:22 PM #

      Hi Shalini!

      Here’s what we’ve found. 🙂

      The LSAC says that the following grades are excluded from the transcript:

      “The original grade for a repeated course when the transcript does not show both the grade and the units for the original attempt. The total number of credits assigned to these grades will appear on the applicant’s academic summary, but will not be included in the GPA calculation.”

      So, you should reach out to your college’s registrar to see if the original W would appear on your transcript or have an impact on your GPA.

  7. Brooke May 12, 2020 at 2:28 PM #

    I am taking community college classes during the summer but they are not transferable to my undergrad institution. Will they be included in my LSAC GPA?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 30, 2020 at 1:42 PM #

      Hi Brooke, if you are taking the college-level classes before receiving your undergraduate degree, then they will be included in your LSAC GPA. The transferability to your undergrad institution doesn’t factor into this decision.

  8. Zen November 26, 2020 at 1:54 AM #

    Hi, I am 34 years old and currently graduating with a bachelors degree. When I was 18 I took CC classes in another state and failed most of them. My current transcript doesn’t reflect this at all as I started fresh in another state. Here is something I read on the LSAC page.

    “No cumulative GPA will be calculated if an applicant has”

    – “a total of less than 60 graded credits of U.S./Canadian undergraduate-level work on their file and may or may not have an institution identified as their undergraduate degree-granting school.”


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