What GPA Do You Need To Get Into Law School?

Ever wonder what’s the lowest GPA you can have and still get into a top law school?

I used to think that everyone who went to law school had top college grades. I figured at the very least, those who got into the top schools had straight As. As someone with a C+ average, I thought it was impossible to get in.

After all, that’s what my advisors told me.

We couldn’t have been more wrong.

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I Did Worse the Second Time I Took the LSAT. Help!

So you re-took the LSAT and did worse the second time. Maybe it was your third time. Regardless-don’t worry! This is a super common situation. When I applied to law school, I took the LSAT 3 different times. The second time I took the test, I scored a 170.

That was a pretty good score, I thought, until I saw that most top law school median LSATs went up that year, AND they decided to change the rules to accept the highest score. (In the past, they averaged ALL of your scores so there was a significant downside to re-taking.)

I can’t even begin to describe the amount of stress I went through when I scored lower that third time. I thought I really screwed myself over by taking the risk of sitting for the LSAT after I’d scored a 170.

But in the end it didn’t matter. Here’s why:

Law Schools Only Care About Your Highest Score

If you examine the self-interest of law school admissions departments, you’ll find that maximizing their LSAT medians (and quartiles) is a huge priority. As long as they can report your highest score, they’re not really going to care that much about your second highest score. Now maybe–maybe, if there’s a gigantic drop of say, 8+ points, they’ll have second thoughts. But even then they might just defer your decision until later.

It Says Nothing About Your Ability

Most applicants believe that the LSAT somehow suggests how ready they are for law school, or how smart they are. In reality, the LSAT is an imperfect measure of legal aptitude–and law schools know this. If you score a 165, for example, your “true” score is probably anywhere from 162 to 168. That’s a huge range! So if your score drops by a few points, that’s just your standard measurement error. Law schools know this.

An Otherwise Solid Application Will Make Up For It

If you’ve got great grades (or even just OK grades) this probably won’t be a huge issue. Schools will look at the totality of your application, and won’t reject you outright. If you’ve got a long record of academic success, your total record will carry the day. However, if you’ve got bad grades, AND a big score drop, you’ve got a little bit more of a concern. But that’s where putting together a strong, coherent applicant with recommendations that mitigate your weaknesses, artfully deployed addenda, and a strong personal statement comes in.

Take the LSAT a Third Time!

If you did worse your second time, absolutely go for it again. Don’t just let that second score sit there. If you take it a third time, and that ends up being your highest score, law schools will–out of self interest–consider that the only LSAT score that really matters. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the LSAT to the admissions committee. Admissions Deans have lost their jobs due to plummeting law school rankings due to falling LSAT medians. You better believe they’re looking out for themselves.

So keep your head up. Re-take that LSAT. Double down on your preparation, and make sure you’re preparing the right way. If you’re not sure if you need to take a course or self-study, take a look at my post Should You Take a LSAT Prep Course? Five Questions to Ask Yourself First.

Do NOT Cancel Your LSAT Score

Now that it’s finally over, I bet many of you are wondering the same thing: “Should I cancel my LSAT score?” I’m sure there are some of you who crushed it on Saturday–but most of you are probably feeling uneasy about how you did. So I’ll help you make the decision:

No. Do not cancel your LSAT score. 

There’s a lot of debate online about whether you should cancel your LSAT score. You are obviously free to make your own decision, but in my personal opinion you should never, ever cancel your LSAT score. Here’s why.

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How To Get Into A Top Law School With a Low GPA

Are you trying to get into a top law school? Do you feel discouraged because you’ve got bad college grades?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. I was once a C+ student who was told he had no shot at getting into a good law school. Instead of believing the experts, I decided to do my own research. I read books, online articles, and spoke to law school admissions officers.

And you know what I found out?

It’s absolutely possible. In fact, each year, hundreds of applicants get into some of the country’s most prestigious law schools.

Every. Single. Year.

If you don’t want to read this entire post, sign up to receive my free checklist 30 Tips for Law School Applicants with Bad College Grades.


Now don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely not easy. It requires discipline, patience, and hard work.

I know this because I did it myself. I got into Northwestern Law, a Top 14 law school, with a GPA less than 3.0.


How exactly did I pull it off?

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Can A High LSAT Make Up For Low Grades?

Those of you with low undergraduate grades are undoubtedly wondering: Is your LSAT score more important than your GPA? What if you have a perfect LSAT score but a bad GPA? Can a high LSAT make up for low grades?

When I was thinking about applying to law school, I wondered about the answer to this question as well. I was a college kid with a C+ average and wanted to know if I could get into a good law school. If not, I could move on and explore other career opportunities.

I asked around and most people gave me discouraging news. Especially the so-called experts. They all said: “Even if you got a super high LSAT score there’s no way you can get into a good school with those grades.”

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

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