If you want to apply to law school in the United States, you have to go through the Law School Admission Council, commonly referred to as the LSAC. You must send your transcripts and other requested materials to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), previously known as the Law School Assembly Service (LSDAS).
The CAS is maintained by LSAC and used by law schools to assess application materials from prospective students. The LSAC uses a special formula to work out your grade-point average, formerly LSDAS GPA, for law schools.
LSAC GPA Process
When you send a transcript to the LSAC, it evaluates it to determine whether actual credit was awarded by the college or university. Certain classifications of grades, including those classed as "incomplete" or "withdraw" are not included in the grade point calculation. The LSAC GPA calculator converts grades to a standard 4.0 system, ensuring that law schools have a consistent way to compare applicants.
To calculate your GPA, LSAC uses the grades and credits for every course that can be converted to the 4.0 scale. However, the institution issuing the transcript may not include certain courses in its own calculations, and courses not included in the academic summary are not included in the GPA calculation either.
Law School GPA Calculator
After all credits are properly determined, the LSAC converts all points awarded to the standard 4.0 scale. For example, an A+ grade converts to 4.33, an A grade converts to 4.00, and a B+ grade converts to 3.33. If an institution grades from 1 to 5, a 1+ grade converts to 4.33, a 1 grade converts to 1.00, and a 2+ grade converts to 3.33. The LSAC conversion table also applies to grading systems on the basis of zero to 100 grades, four passing grades and three passing grades. You can find a law school GPA calculator online.
After all conversions are made, the points per course are added, then divided by the total number of courses. For example, if your transcript has a "withdraw" grade, a 4.00, a 3.33 and a 2.50, the withdrawal is removed from the calculation. The other three grades are added together and divided by three. This gives you a GPA of 3.3.
Other Law School Considerations
Any law school you apply to will look closely at your college grades and pay close attention to your grade-point average as an indication of how you will perform in law school.
If you took more difficult or advanced undergraduate courses (and got good grades), this is often viewed more positively than easier course.
Your undergraduate performance trend is another relevant factor to your law school application. For example, if you had better grades in later school years, a less than impressive start may be overlooked. However, the opposite, a strong start followed by a poor quality finish, may suggest that you lack the ability to do well in law school.
Claire Gillespie has been writing and editing for 18 years. She has written about high school and higher education for private clients and various websites, including SheKnows and Reader's Digest.