Applying to law school can be a confusing, drawn-out process. Like any professional school, it is difficult to determine your chances of acceptance, causing you to wonder whether or not it may be worth it to endure such a grueling admissions process. However, law school is arguably a numbers game. A certain GPA and a certain LSAT score could get you into any law school in the country. A good way to judge if you have what it takes to get in is by looking at their median GPA and LSAT scores from current students.
Correlation to Rankings
There is an undeniable correlation between a law school's rank according to "USNews" and the average GPA and LSAT scores of its students. For example, Stanford University in Palo Alto, California has been ranked as number three in the nation for the past three years. It also boasts a student population whose median LSAT was a 170, roughly the 99th percentile, and GPAs of 3.87, or mostly As. In contrast, the University of Arkansas school of law was ranked number 84 in 2011 by USNews, and its students enter the university with median LSAT scores of 155, scoring roughly within the 67th percentile, and GPAs of 3.53, or a B+ average. This is demonstrated across the board.
What Do They Measure?
Some have postulated that higher LSAT scores and higher GPAs are indicative of a higher level of natural intelligence. It is assumed, then, that law school candidates with high LSAT scores and GPAs are more intelligent than students with lower numbers, and that is the reason that some students are allowed into the most prestigious law schools and others are not. In actuality, it has been demonstrated that while some students may have a natural aptitude for academics and the LSAT's content, most of the time higher numbers demonstrate a greater work ethic and academic interest. Law schools want law students who have the drive to succeed in school and in their future careers. If a student is willing to work diligently throughout their undergraduate education to receive top marks and then study hard for the LSAT, that student becomes a desirable candidate for any law school.
Correlation to Academic Performance
Studies have been conducted in an effort to demonstrate a correlation between a law student's academic performance and his initial LSAT score. Unfortunately, no conclusive evidence has led to researchers to believe that one exists. It is hypothesized that this is largely due to the fact that most of the content on the LSAT is seemingly unrelated to the content of law school classes. In addition, the relatively short time frame required for LSAT preparation does not always coincide with a student's performance in the longer term of three years or the average length of a law school program.
Finding a Law School's Average GPA and LSAT Scores
Up until recently, accessing a list of median GPA and LSAT scores for law schools was virtually impossible without buying the Top Schools edition of "USNews Magazine." Now, however, one can access a website called Top Law Schools for free. The site features a compiled list of all law schools in the country, including those in the lower rankings, along with their "USNews" rankings for the past three years, their Gourman Report rankings, Educational Quality Rankings, as well as GPAs and LSAT scores for those students in the 25th to 75th percentile range. In addition, the site has an article for each law school which outlines student life, tuition, admissions rates, and, of course, their median GPAs and LSAT scores.
Madeleine Baber has been writing professionally since 2002. She specializes in art, travel, cultural anthropology, language, theater and religion. Baber holds a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Millsaps College and a Master of Arts in art history from Richmond University in London.