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Do Law schools cut GPA slack to students at top tier undergrad?

studentathlete18studentathlete18 216 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 237 Junior Member
edited June 4 in Law School
I just completed my first year at Harvard and my GPA was lower than I had hoped. I finished with a 3.7 and i know this is too low for the law schools I intend to apply to in the future. I plan to get it close to a 3.9, and I have always done well on standardized tests (like the LSAT hopefully). Do top tier law schools give preferential treatment to students at very difficult undergraduate schools relative to applicants from less difficult schools? Will they treat a 3.8 GPA from Harvard worse than a 4.0 from an average state school? My dream law school is Stanford Law, if that helps answer.
edited June 4
33 replies
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Replies to: Do Law schools cut GPA slack to students at top tier undergrad?

  • bluebayoubluebayou 26529 replies172 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,701 Senior Member
    the short answer to the title is, No, no slack for those attending a top tier undergrad. (sorry). In its law school rankings, USNews does not consider undergrad rigor, so law schools don't care either.

    That being said, attending Harvard College is a plus factor for Harvard Law.

    btw: having a very small class, Stanford LS (and Yale LS) considers EC's in addition to top grades and LSAT.

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  • 3girls3cats3girls3cats 1979 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,985 Senior Member
    My understanding is that the LSAT is the most important factor in the mix. If you have a 3.7 from Harvard and a perfect LSAT, you will probably have a good outcome, though not necessarily Stanford.

    I know students with grades in that range from Harvard who were accepted to Harvard Law this year. While I don't know for sure, I am guessing that their LSAT scores were very high. That's where the "slack" for attending a top tier undergrad comes in: you likely have strong test taking skills and those skills will factor into your success.

    https://lawschooli.com/what-is-a-good-gpa-for-law-school/

    My advice would be to do your best, enjoy your undergraduate education and use the remaining three years to learn and stretch yourself, then make decisions about the next phase of your education when you are closer to that phase.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26529 replies172 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,701 Senior Member
    another thing to consider: all professional schools love work experience, so plan on taking the LSAT after you graduate. That way you can get another semester to boost your GPA, while doing something interesting to bolster your app.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28056 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,112 Senior Member
    No. However, a 3.7 isn’t going to keep you out of lawschool. There will be law schools happy to have you and will even give you tuition assistance, depending on your LSAT scores. But if you are talking about the top 14 or do las schools, no, they aren’t going to give you a beak on that gpa. Maybe, Harvard Law will give you consideration if something in your resume strikes them to do do. They do take more students from their own undergrad pool
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  • merc81merc81 9915 replies144 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,059 Senior Member
    edited June 5
    Law schools have made formal GPA adjustments based on undergraduate college attended, at least in the past:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20000829094953/http://www.pcmagic.net/abe/gradeadj.htm

    You can see in this example that applicants from Harvard College were given a significant positive adjustment to their GPAs in comparison to applicants from many other colleges. Though this policy seems to have been challenged for its rigidity, looser forms of it may nonetheless exist at top law schools.
    edited June 5
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1834 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,857 Senior Member
    Nice data find @merc81!
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 1397 replies30 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,427 Senior Member
    That is not current info. The Boalt practice of GPA adjustment ended shortly after the LA times article, 22 yrs ago.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 37373 replies6486 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 43,859 Super Moderator
    @merc81 Interesting on the date, 7/16/97. I'm not sure how much water it holds 20 years later. Harvard and Princeton are rated equally. And although Princeton officially ended its grade deflation policy, I'm not sure many would argue that the GPA ranges at HP are similar today.
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  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 552 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 600 Member
    Unless I'm reading the post incorrectly, this information is almost 22 years old and the process described was the subject of a complaint to DOE.
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  • merc81merc81 9915 replies144 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,059 Senior Member
    @skieurope and @crankyoldman: I posted that information with respect to the principle as to whether an applicant's undergraduate college may be considered in any form during the process of law school admission. Note that I did make reference to both the age of the information and the formal complaint along with the link. For a current source that relies simply on correlation, the OP will find Harvard among the twenty colleges listed through "Top Lawyer Producer Schools – Infographic."
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  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 552 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 600 Member
    You make, at best, a passing reference to the fact that the information is a generation old("in the past"). Its age, and the fact that it was subject to a discrimination complaint with DOE, makes it essentially worthless as a reference point.
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  • boudersbouders 2417 replies166 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,583 Senior Member
    I've just been following law school admissions for the past couple of years, but I've noticed that at the margins, a Harvard graduate does get a small boost in admissions prospects at HLS and its peers on the east coast. I'd estimate the boost only happens in the 3.8 range though to give H grads a similar likelihood of admission as someone at a non-Ivy with a 3.85. You can check out who's been admitted from which school on mylsn.info.

    Stanford is a very particular admit. They tend to admit those have have it all GPA >4.0, high LSAT, great work experience etc.

    I don't know how H calculates their GPAs, but make sure you are using the LSAC conversion to get an accurate GPA for law school admissions.

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  • sorghumsorghum 3494 replies109 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,603 Senior Member
    Do top tier law schools give preferential treatment to students at very difficult undergraduate schools relative to applicants from less difficult schools?

    But Harvard isn't very difficult.
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  • oldfortoldfort 22729 replies288 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 23,017 Senior Member
    When law schools were more transparent on their admitted students (8 years ago), I found both Harvard and Yale admitted a lot more of their own students and top tier schools than lower tier schools. Now they only list which UG schools are represented - it could be 1 or 50.
    I don't think 3.7 is going to preclude OP from many of those top tier schools if his/her LSAT is in the high 170s. Law schools do consider splitters, especially from Harvard UG.
    D2 tells me most of classmates are from top tier UG schools.
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  • oldfortoldfort 22729 replies288 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 23,017 Senior Member
    Most students have lower GPA freshman year and it generally improves. I wouldn't surprised if you end up with 3.8-3.9 by the time you graduate. My older daughter, as a STEM student, started with 3.5 and ended with close to 3.8 by the time she graduated.
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