LSAT Kung Fu Forum / UGPA

UGPA

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majorgeneraldave
majorgeneraldave's picture
UGPA

Questions about your transcripts or UGPA? 

Hit me.

d

Sarah
Anonymous's picture

if an applicant doesn't have the greatest academic records, what are the chances he/she might get accepted? is there any way they can show the law school admission office that regardless of their past post secondary academic records he/she is a great candidate for their law school?

majorgeneraldave
majorgeneraldave's picture

The chances depend on the school and on your history, but the fundamental answer is yes: A student can overcome a weak UGPA or a weak LSAT score.

Your LSAT score will go a looong way toward making up ground you might have lost via a poor UGPA. For example, just last year I had a student with a 2.9 UGPA admitted to USC, UCI, and waitlisted at Georgetown and UVA. He took a 50% scholarship to attend UCI. He had a 179 on the LSAT.

The reverse is also true - some schools (perhaps most notably Berkeley) take more account of your grades than your LSAT score.

Law schools have a real, not-just-lip-service commitment to establishing and maintaining diverse student bodies. For some people, LSAT scores and grades may play a distant second- and third-place to the compelling arc of their personal history. 

Do not, however, join a Pre-Law club or change your major to Criminal Justice in order to attempt to curry favor (do those things - if at all - because you want to do them). Everybody is in the Pre-Law society, and everybody majored in Criminal Justice. These things do not make you stand out - they make you blend in.

You'll stand out by excelling at doing the things that you love, whether that's starting a knitting club or playing professional rugby. Be your best and most authentic self. Law school admissions committees are staffed with people who seek out and reward personal excellence - and not just the kind that shows up on your CAS report.

d

drewed
drewed's picture

Hey Dave,

I've really enjoyed your test prep. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on graduate school GPA. I know that the LSAC only considers UGPA (not everyone goes to grad school), but do you think there is any admissions advantage for people who have excelled in a graduate program prior to applying for law school? I had a 3.5 UGPA, but a 4.0 GPA in my master's program, and I'm trying to determine if I should try to highlight this in a personal statement, or if it even matters.

Thanks in advance!

Drew

majorgeneraldave
majorgeneraldave's picture

Thanks, Drew!

There is no formal metric in which your graduate GPA figures into the admission decision (unlike the metrics in place for considering your UGPA).

I think that's mostly because of 1) the extraordinarily wide variaton in quality among graduate schools; 2) the commonplace grade inflation at many graduate institiutions, and; 3) the relatively small number of law school applicants from grad school (which makes it less likely for the ABA or for law schools to develop a system to account for points 1 and 2).

It can be worth making note of your achievement in grad school within an addendum—it's exactly the appropriate place for highlighting things you want the admission committee to consider. Your addendum should be brief and evidentiary; you will properly use the space to put a light on a fact about yourself, not to attempt an argument.

Good work done in a school environment should—and indeed may!—play some part in teh committee's assessment of your chances at admission, but the primary considerations for almost every law school will be your UGPA and LSAT. Everything else goes to tiebreakers. That's an oversimiplified (but fair!) assessment of the process.

Hope that helps you think and plan!

d

drewed
drewed's picture

Thanks for the info. That helps!

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