Multiple LSAT Scores - The Average Question

Multiple LSAT Score Policies for Law Schools

In June of 2006, the American Bar Association changed its rule on score reporting for its accredited member schools. This bit of arcana is important to you because (if you’ve taken the LSAT more than once) it may have the effect of making you more attractive to law schools nowadays than you would have been before. Here’s how:

Prior to the ‘06 change in reporting, the ABA required its schools to report the average of the scores from any students or prospective students who had more than one active LSAT score on file with the Law School Data Assembly Service (notable, but not unique, among those agencies is the publication US News and World Report, which compiles, among other things, annual rankings of law schools based in part on the LSAT scores of applicants and admitted students).

In other words, if you took the LSAT in February of ‘03 and scored 155, then you took a class with us, took the test again in June and scored 165, the ABA required every law school to which you applied to report your score to any reporting agency as a 160.

This meant that even though you had scored 165 on the LSAT (roughly in the 93rd percentile of all test-takers) your score would have been published to all reporting agencies as 160 (roughly the 80th percentile). This reporting requirement made it more likely for schools to treat your application as though you’d scored just 160.

But, with the ABA’s decision to allow its schools the option of reporting the higher of an applicant’s scores, if you were to take both the February and June tests in 2012, and achieve the same results as in the earlier example, you would most likely see your score reported as 165. You would then be correspondingly more likely to be treated by law schools as a 165-scorer.

So, that’s better, right?

Now, mind you - it’s still the best advice to take the test only once. It’s good to know that re-taking the test is now a much more viable option than in the past, but you want to do this: Study hard, work it out, and get your highest score the first time you take it. Then, you won’t have to worry about it ever again.

This means most law schools consider your highest LSAT score! Just in case you're interested here is a full breakdown of what each school has to say on the matter:

USNWR Ranksort descending Law School Multiple LSAT Score Policy

1

Yale Law School

We do not use a formula or index to weigh various factors (like LSAT scores). We consider all of the information about an applicant, including multiple LSAT scores. We do not average scores, nor do we look at only your high score.

http://www.law.yale.edu/admissions/jdadmissionsfaq.htm

2

Harvard Law School

The LSAT need be taken only once. If you take the test more than once, all scores will be received but we will use the highest score in our evaluation.

http://www.law.harvard.edu/prospective/jd/apply/the-application-process/jdfaq.html#retake

3

Stanford Law School

As in other aspects of its admission process, Stanford reserves the right to take a holistic view of multiple LSAT scores. In other words, the admissions staff will evaluate the scores however they see fit depending on the circumstances.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/wiki/Stanford_Law_School#Multiple_LSATs

4

Columbia University Law School

Even though the ABA requires that we report the highest LSAT score, the Committee considers the entire LSAT testing history when evaluating applications for admission.

http://web.law.columbia.edu/admissions/jd/apply/faq/review#Multiple%20LSATS

4

University of Chicago Law School

We will review all LSAT scores that you have received. In accordance with the American Bar Association and LSAC policies, we place the most importance on the highest LSAT score and report the highest score (we do not average). Any large differences between LSAT scores should be explained in an addendum (uploaded through the LSAC electronic application). If you submit an addendum, we are looking for your honest assessment of why one score is a better predictor of your ability than another.

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/node/1454

6

New York University School of Law

If I take the LSAT more than once, does the Committee see the higher score? Yes, but they evaluate based on the average score in most cases. The Committee may take special circumstances into account. If a candidate can point out specific reasons why the Committee should consider an LSAT score aberrant, they should detail those reasons in an addendum to the personal statement.

http://www.law.nyu.edu/jdadmissions/applicants/jdapplicationfaq#7

7

University of Pennsylvania Law School

If I took the LSAT more than once, does the Admissions Committee consider the average or the higher LSAT score? All LSAT scores are noted by the Admissions Committee and are part of the application evaluation. If there are circumstances that you believe affected your performance on a prior test, we encourage you to provide a supplemental essay explaining those circumstances. The Admissions Committee will consider such information and may, at its discretion, evaluate your application based on the higher (or highest) LSAT score. How does the Committee view a canceled LSAT score? A single canceled LSAT score has no impact on the evaluation of an application.

https://www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/jd/faqs.php#lsat

8

University of Virginia School of Law

What is your policy on multiple LSAT scores? The ABA requires law schools to report LSAT information using an admitted student’s highest score, so that is the score to which we give the most weight. We evaluate all information submitted as part of the application for admission, however, including all scores earned on the LSAT. Studies by the Law School Admission Council suggest that in most cases the average score is the most accurate predictor of academic performance in the first year of law school, so we encourage applicants with a significant difference in LSAT scores to include with their application any information that may be relevant to the interpretation of test results, such as illness, testing conditions, or other circumstances that may have affected LSAT performance.

http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/prospectives/faqs.htm#lsat

9

University of California, Berkeley School of Law

You should retake the test only if you believe that your first score was atypical and that you can improve your score sufficiently to make a net gain. The majority of applicants take the test only once. If you take the test more than once we will use the highest score unless the scores are grouped closely together, in which case we will use the average.

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/47.htm#Q6

10

Duke University School of Law

In the case of multiple test scores, data show that the average score is generally the most useful in predicting law school performance. However, we may place greater weight on a high score if you provide compelling information about why that score is a better indication of your potential. If you feel that one or more of your test scores does not accurately reflect your ability or potential, please explain this disparity in a separate attachment.

https://law.duke.edu/admis/faq/#scores

10

University of Michigan Law School

How does the University of Michigan Law School handle multiple LSAT scores? The LSAC report for an applicant who has sat for the LSAT more than once will show every score or cancellation, as well as the average score. The ABA requires law schools to report score information based on an admitted student’s highest score, and therefore, that is the score to which we give the most weight. We do, however, consider the average score as well, because data provided by the Law School Admissions Council suggests that it has the greatest predictive utility. The average score becomes less useful, though, as the disparity between two scores increases; for that reason, if you have a significant disparity between scores (six or more points), it would be very helpful to address any explanation for the difference in an optional essay or addendum.

http://www.law.umich.edu/prospectivestudents/admissions/pages/faq.aspx#lsat

12

Northwestern University School of Law

Northwestern Law’s policy is to take the highest score earned on the LSAT.

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissions/faq/faqjd.html#lsatretake

13

Cornell Law School

In general, Cornell Law’s policy is to take the higher score if it is at least 3 points higher than a prior score, but the Admissions Committee invites applicants to submit an addendum to their application explaining the different LSAT scores and why we should take the higher score.

http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/admissions/FAQ/applying.cfm#CP_JUMP_34090

13

Georgetown University Law Center

For reporting purposes, Georgetown Law adheres to the ABA policy of reporting the higher LSAT score. For evaluation purposes, the Georgetown Admissions Committee typically considers the highest LSAT score. Georgetown may consider an average of scores if you have taken the LSAT more than two times. Please address any mitigating circumstances you feel the Admissions Committee should consider in your application materials.

http://www.law.georgetown.edu/admissions-financial-aid/jd-admissions/full-time-part-time-program/faqs/LSAT.cfm

15

University of Texas School of Law

Candidates with multiple LSAT scores will be evaluated using all reported scores. However, the Law School will no longer solely consider an applicant’s average score in the admissions review process. The ABA recently revised its survey reporting requirements; all law schools are being asked to report an applicant’s highest LSAT score.

http://www.utexas.edu/law/admissions/jd/faqs.php

16

University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

Our general policy is to consider the highest LSAT score attained, although we will take note of all scores. In the case of a significant discrepancy between scores, applicants are advised to address it in their application. It is always helpful for the Admissions Committee to be aware of any factors that may have adversely or positively impacted one’s performance on the LSAT.

http://www.law.ucla.edu/admissions/faq/

16

Vanderbilt University Law School

There is no minimum LSAT score; however, applicants with lower LSAT scores are admitted at lower rates than applicants with higher scores. The median score of J.D. students at Vanderbilt is 167. We consider each applicant's LSAT score in the context of all the information in the full application. This means that applicants with lower scores are more likely to be admitted if they are strong in other respects.

http://law.vanderbilt.edu/phd/frequently-asked-questions.php#LSAT

18

Washington University School of Law

If you take the test more than once your application will be reviewed based on your highest score.

http://law.wustl.edu/Admissions/pages.aspx?id=76

19

Emory University School of Law

We will only accept LSAT scores less than five years old. If there is more than one score on the CAS report, the highest of those scores will be used.

http://law.emory.edu/admission/juris-doctor/jd-admission-faqs.html#accordion-pannel-N178FF

20

The George Washington University Law School

We will consider each of your LSAT scores if you take the test more than once, but will give greater weight to the highest score.

http://www.law.gwu.edu/Admissions/JD/Pages/FAQ.aspx

20

University of Minnesota Law School

If multiple scores are available, the highest score will be used for review of your application.

http://www.law.umn.edu/prospective/application.html

20

University of Southern California, Gould School of Law

We report the highest LSAT score to the American Bar Association and other organizations. However, all scores (not averaged) will be considered in the admissions review process.If there is a significant discrepancy in your scores (five or more points), we encourage you to submit an addendum in order to put the variance into context for our Admissions Committee.

http://weblaw.usc.edu/how/jd/faq.cfm

23

University of Alabama School of Law

For admissions and scholarship consideration, the University of Alabama School of Law considers the highest LSAT score when multiple scores are presented.  An addendum is not necessary.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/retaking-the-lsat.html

24

William & Mary Law School

William & Mary Law School will evaluate the LSAT portion of the application by using the highest reported score.

http://law.wm.edu/admissions/faqs/

24

University of Washington School of Law

Multiple LSAT scores are averaged.

http://www.law.washington.edu/admissions/FAQ.aspx?vw=LSAT#MULTIPLE

26

Notre Dame Law School

All LSAT scores will be considered; however, more consideration may be given to the highest or most recent score.

http://law.nd.edu/admissions/information/application-faqs/

27

Boston University School of Law

If an applicant has taken the test more than once, the Admissions Committee will view all test dates and scores, with the highest score considered in admission review.

http://www.bu.edu/law/prospective/apply/jd/application/#lsat

27

University of Iowa College of Law

If you have taken the LSAT more than once, the Admissions Committee uses the higher of the scores.  

http://law.uiowa.edu/juris-doctor-jd/degree-overview

29

Indiana University Bloomington, Maurer School of Law

Should I retake the LSAT if I am unhappy with my first score? - We cannot answer this question with a definitive yes or no. You will find that most law schools look at the higher or highest LSAT test score for applicants with multiple scores. However, applicants should keep in mind that Admissions Committee members will see all scores and may be negatively influenced by a large number of tests or a downward trend in scores. If an applicant is certain that a poor LSAT performance was caused by an illness, unavoidable mishap, or other stress, a retake may be advisable.

http://www.law.indiana.edu/degrees/jd/faq.shtml#22

29

University of Georgia School of Law

The Admissions Committee will consider all LSAT scores but will rely primarily on the highest LSAT score if an applicant takes the LSAT more than once.

http://www.law.uga.edu/entering-students

31

University of Wisconsin Law School

We take the highest LSAT score when considering an application for admission to the Law School.  Students are free to submit an addendum regarding their scores as well.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/retaking-the-lsat.html

31

Wake Forest University School of Law

For multiple LSAT scores, the higher test score will be used. 

http://www.lsac.org/officialguide/2013/lsac_5885.asp

31

Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

If you took the LSAT more than one time and received significantly different scores, you may wish to provide an explanation for that difference. Candidates sometimes seek to establish that their academic potential is not accurately reflected by scores on standardized tests or that one LSAT score is more representative than another.

http://www.law.asu.edu/files/Admissions/Fall%202007%20Application.pdf

31

Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law

It is our policy to average multiple LSAT scores, however, we do recommend that you attach an addendum explaining any special circumstances.

31

University of North Carolina School of Law

For applicants who have two LSAT scores, the policy at Carolina Law is to base our admissions decisions on the highest score. If you have more than two scores, we will decide on a case by case basis whether to use the highest or the average score. Despite this, we generally advise prospective students against taking the LSAT more than once, unless there are extenuating circumstances that caused the student to perform poorly during prior LSAT administrations.

http://www.law.unc.edu/admissions/faq/

36

Boston College Law School

We will consider all LSAT scores in the application review process.  We will report the highest LSAT score to the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).

http://www.bc.edu/schools/law/admission/faq.html

36

Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School

The highest score will be considered for admission, as the Law School is now required by the ABA to report the highest score rather than the average.

http://www.law2.byu.edu/page/categories/admissions/faq.php

36

Fordham University School of Law

Fordham looks at all LSAT scores, but reports the highest. There is no denying that USNews matters to us, but the students matter more. We take a lot of small splitters, but most students are near our medians. (166/3.66 as of the latest report.)

http://www.top-law-schools.com/stephen-brown-interview.html

36

University of California, Davis School of Law

The Admission Committee will use the high score for purposes of a final admission decision, however it has access to all scores earned within the past five years. In exceptional cases where there is a significant difference exists between scores, applicants may choose to provide a brief addendum of explanation. The highest score will be the recorded score in all reports and publications.

https://law.ucdavis.edu/jd/faqs.html

40

University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Multiple LSAT scores: Higher score accepted

http://www.top-law-schools.com/wiki/The_University_of_Arizona_James_E._Rogers_College_of_Law

40

University of Illinois College of Law

UIUC places the most emphasis on the highest LSAT score. On the brief list of things that require an addendum, we have two more things to add. If you have multiple cancellations or four instances of sitting for the test, concerns may be raised that will require an addendum to explain. A low LSAT score can be overcome by "past strong academic performance."

http://www.top-law-schools.com/wiki/University_of_Illinois_College_of_Law#Multiple_LSAT_scores

42

Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law

SMU does not average multiple LSAT scores. We use an applicant’s highest reported LSAT score for admissions and scholarship awarding purposes.

http://www.law.smu.edu/Prospective-Students/J-D--Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx

43

University of Colorado School of Law

Colorado Law's Admissions Committee sees your CAS Report with your scores for each individual examination. The Law School uses the higher score for reporting purposes.

http://www.colorado.edu/law/admissions/faqs

43

Washington and Lee University School of Law

In accordance with our policy of reviewing all the materials submitted with an application, we look at each of your LSAT scores as we consider your candidacy. Absent a compelling reason that persuades us otherwise, we place the greatest weight on your highest score because statistical analysis indicates that a student's highest score is the best predictor of his/her success at W&L Law. In accordance with American Bar Association guidelines, the median LSAT score for an entering class is calculated using matriculants' highest LSAT score.

http://law.wlu.edu/admissions/page.asp?pageid=313#a11

45

Florida State University College of Law

If you take the LSAT more than once, the committee will consider the highest score.

http://www.law.fsu.edu/prospective_students/admissions/procedures/lsat_and_lsdas.html

46

George Mason University School of Law

We will receive each LSAT score from LSAC and, therefore, will see if there has been significant improvement. However, for statistical purposes, we will consider the high score of any LSAT scores that you earned in the past 5 years. For fall admission, scores earned between June 2009 and February 2015 will be considered.

http://www.law.gmu.edu/admissions/jd/how_apply_jd/faq#If_I_take_the_LSAT_more_than_once_will_you_consider_the_high_score_or_an_average_34

46

Tulane University School of Law

If you took the LSAT more than once, we will see all of your scores.  We encourage you to provide us with information that will help us determine which score is more indicative of your abilities.  The LSAT and GPA, in combination, play an important--but not conclusive--part in our admission decisions.

http://www.law.tulane.edu/tlsadmissions/index.aspx?id=46&terms=lsat

46

University of Maryland School of Law

Multiple LSAT scores normally are averaged.

http://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/schoolarchives/documentspriv/Catalog1990-1991.pdf

49

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law

In situations where a candidate has multiple LSAT scores, the College of Law will presumptively use the highest score. The reviewer, however, may use the average score if information in the file indicates that the average score is the most appropriate measure of the candidate’s skills.

http://law.utah.edu/admissions/admissions-faq/#twelve

49

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Multiple LSAT scores are all reported by the LSAC in your LSAT Law School Report and are considered by the Admissions Committee. Applicants are encouraged to explain differences in multiple scores in an addendum.

http://www.law.ufl.edu/admissions/explore-uf-law/faqs