Declining numbers in law school application submissions each year has some saying that the importance of GPA and LSAT scores is not as great because schools purely want to fill seats. Some schools are forced to lower their standards on GPA and LSAT scores to avoid closing their doors like some branches of the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law
Other schools are altering their programs so as not to require the LSAT at all. For instance, the University of Washington’s four-year dual degree (which combines a law degree with a Masters in Business Administration) has eliminated the need to take the LSAT if the student gets into the program through the MBA program, which requires a different standardized test called the Graduate Management Admissons Test (GMAT). Before, the university had required both exams to acquire admission into each program separately before the student could enroll in the joint degree program.
What does this mean for you? Well, if your GPA and LSAT scores are high or even what used to be average, there’s a greater likelihood for scholarships during the application period. Further, you have a greater ability to gain acceptance to schools that may have been more of a “reach” school before the application slump. Also, GPA and LSAT scores are still an indication of the likelihood of success a student has in law school. This means that if your scores are high/old-average and the majority of those accepted into your class are low scorers, the competition in your class as a whole may not be as great and you have a better chance of ranking in the top, which opens you up for more scholarships as well as better employment opportunities.
Whereas, those who have lower GPAs and LSAT scores now have a better chance of acceptance into a school than in years past. If you’re still worried about these components hindering your odds of acceptance, take measures to boost other areas of your application that you can do for free. Get great letters of recommendation. Boost your résumé by taking on additional extracurricular activities or find an internship at a law office. If you’re a non-traditional student, use your real-life experience in your personal statements to show why law school is the right next step for you. For other ways to improve your application, read Chapter 3 of my book. However, as mentioned above, GPA and LSAT scores are an indicator of your likelihood of success in law school. While the standards for admission may have lowered, the ability to do well and succeed has not changed, and low scores may be a sign that law school is not for you. This is a very expensive decision and the job market has still not returned to pre-recession levels, so choose carefully.
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Until Next Time,
Jenny L. Maxey