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Ranking Undergraduate Schools By Average LSAT Score

PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
edited June 24 in Law School
Another law school forum CC thread (Which Ivy Undergrad is Best for Top Law School Admission) introduced a link to "LSAC Top 240 Feeder Schools for ABA Applicants: 2015-2017".

The LSAC list is arranged by number of LSAT test takers from each of the 240 schools. I have rearranged the list to show the schools from highest average LSAT score to lowest.
I did not list all 240 schools; I limited the list to the top 100 highest scoring schools. This list is for 2017 (which is in line with the results for the two other years--2015 & 2016--shared by the LSAC).

The LSAT is scored from 120 to 180. Obviously, 150 is the mean score, while 152 or is usually the median LSAT score for all test takers in a given year.

LSAT score percentiles:

178, 179, & 180 = 99.9%

177 = 99.8%

176 = 99.7%

175 = 99.6%

174 = 99.4%

173 = 99.1% (meaning this score was better than 99% of all LSAT test takers in a given year)

172 = 98.7%

171 = 98.2%

170 = 97.5%

169 = 96.6%

168 = 95.6% (means the student scored well into the top 5% of all LSAT test takers)

167 = 94.4%

166 = 93.1%

165 = 91.7%

164 = 89.7% (almost top 10%)

163 = 87.3%

162 = 85.2%

161 = 82.7%

Continues point-by-point down to 120.

There are about 200 ABA accredited law schools in the U.S.

The law schools with the highest average LSAT scores for admitted students are:

Harvard--173

Yale--173

Columbia--171

Stanford--171

UChicago--170

Duke--169

NYU--169

UPenn--169

Virginia--169

Northwestern--168

WashUStL--168

Averages & medians can, and often do, change year to year by a small movement of a point or two.

LSAT 25% and 75% score ranges for accepted students by school:

Harvard Law School--170--175
Yale Law--170--176
Columbia Law--169--173
Stanford Law--169--173
UChicago--166-172
NYU Law--168-172

UPenn--165--171
Duke Law--165--170
Michigan--165--170
Georgetown--163--169
Northwestern Law--161--171
Cornell Law--165--167

Vanderbilt--163--169
USC--163--167
Notre Dame--160--165
Emory Law--157--166
UC-Davis--159--164
SMU Law--157--163

These numbers are a few years old & usually vary a bit year-to-year.

One's LSAT score is the most important factor considered in law school admissions.

Below I will list the top scoring undergraduate schools by average LSAT score.
edited June 24
19 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Ranking Undergraduate Schools By Average LSAT Score

  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    edited April 15
    Undergraduate schools listed by average LSAT score for all of that school's LSAT test takers in 2017:

    1) Yale--167.50
    2) Harvard--167.40

    3) Princeton--166.10
    4) UChicago--165.98
    5) Stanford--165.72
    6) Dartmouth College--165.67
    7) Columbia--165.00

    8) Duke--164.97
    9) UPenn--164.58
    10) Tufts University--164.48
    11) Brown--164.31
    12) Northwestern--164.30
    13) WashUStL--164.05

    14) Georgetown--163.48
    15) Vanderbilt--163.45
    16) Rice--163.44
    17) Amherst College--162.79
    18) Notre Dame--162.75
    19) Cornell--162.65
    20) McGill (Canada)--162.64

    21) Wesleyan--162.61
    22) Johns Hopkins--161.82
    23) NYU--161.75
    24) College of William & Mary--161.18
    25) Univ. of Virginia--160.84

    26) Univ. of British Columbia--160.76
    27) Boston College--160.70
    28) Emory--160.64
    29) Michigan--160.48
    30) Brandeis--160.30
    31) Colgate--160.23
    32) UCal-Berkeley--159.44
    edited April 15
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    edited April 15
    33) GWU--159.09
    34) USC--158.94
    35) UNC-Chapel Hill--158.85
    36) BYU--158.97
    37) Wisconsin--158.36

    38) Wake Forest Univ.--158.70
    39) Tulane--158.48
    40) URochester--158.21
    41) Fordham-Rose Hill--157.70
    42) Furman--157.64

    43) Villanova--157.59
    44) SUNY at Geneseo--157.37
    45) USMA at West Point--157.23
    46) SMU--157.01
    47) UCLA--156.96

    48) CalPoly--156.82
    49) UC-Santa Barbara--156.77
    50) Northeastern (Boston)--156.58
    51) Boston University--156.60
    52) The Coll. of N.J.--156.48

    53) American Univ.--156.34
    54) Univ. of Oregon--156.28
    55) Univ. of Pittsburgh--156.24
    56) Univ. of Georgia--156.18
    edited April 15
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    edited April 15
    Several others that may be of interest:

    Univ. of Toronto--156.14
    Univ. of Vermont--155.87
    Univ. of Texas at Austin--155.99

    Fordham at Lincoln Center--155.17
    TCU--154.73
    Univ. of Kansas--155.03

    Nebraska--155.49
    Univ. of Florida--156.03
    Santa Clara University--157.25

    Syracuse--151.98
    Maryland--155.43
    Indiana--154.73

    Texas A&M--153.83
    College of Charleston--154.24
    Clemson--155.15

    UC-San Diego--155.62
    Univ. of Colorado--155.48
    Univ. of Arizona--154.15

    ASU--152.50
    Univ. of San Diego--154.43
    Univ. of Texas at Dallas--155.35

    Oklahoma--154.25
    Illinois--155.02
    Minnesota--155.65

    Univ. of Washington--154.92
    Seattle Univ.--154.54
    Alabama--154.72
    Auburn--153.74

    Howard--145.49
    Pepperdine--155.62
    Chapman--155.11
    Elon--153.77

    James Madison--154.07
    Iowa--154.53
    UMass-Amherst--154.01
    Univ. of Denver--154.03

    SUNY-Stony Brook--154.36
    UConn--154.34
    Baylor--154.86
    Missouri--155.12

    Univ. of Utah--154.61
    Univ. of Miami--156.61
    UNLV--151.24
    St. Louis Univ.--154.35

    Loyola Marymount--154.34
    Colorado State--153.99
    LSU--152.38
    North Carolina State--153.45
    edited April 15
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    @Calimex: It is just a list. Should be self explanatory.

    Just rearranged LSAC data.

    Some may find it interesting; some may find it useful; it's just another resource.
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 2201 replies39 threads Senior Member
    edited April 15
    I'd argue that an undergrad institution's average LSAT score demonstrates the average standardized test-taking ability of its students, and that its students' average success in law school admission is mere correlation via LSAT scores rather than an indication that the undergrad played any sort of causative role, negating the very idea of "feeder" schools.

    Sorry, I missed the thread you're referring to, or I would have spoken up there about their choice of the "feeder" term, a pet peeve. The "feeder" myth can mislead aspiring law students into making unwise choices for undergrad, particularly where they feel pressured to spend more for a misguided leg-up in law school admission.
    edited April 15
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    LSAC's use of the term "feeder" refers to all ABA accredited law schools. The first school on the LSAC list--the University of Florida followed by UCLA--had the most LSAT tests taken (about 650) by its students during 2017. The schools at the bottom of the list had the fewest LSAT sittings (54) among the 240 undergraduate schools with the most LSAT tests taken by its students.
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    Other websites which discuss law schools & law school admissions often dicuss whether the SAT or ACT correlate to LSAT scores. The list provided by the LSAC that I have rearranged suggests that it may.
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    It is helpful for law school applicants to know the average LSAT score of their undergraduate school as well as the median GPA for potential law school applicants from their undergraduate school as that information is sent to law schools by the LSDAS (law school data assembly service) along with the applicant's LSAT score & undergraduate GPA as recalculated by LSDAS.
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  • monydadmonydad 8074 replies161 threads Senior Member
    Friend of family went to a college that did not make this list, scored 175 LSAT and got into five T14 law schools (=all of them applied to).
    Scores of others did not seem to be contagious in this case.
    "So what?" indeed.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 2643 replies35 threads Senior Member
    evergreen5 wrote: »
    I'd argue that an undergrad institution's average LSAT score demonstrates the average standardized test-taking ability of its students, and that its students' average success in law school admission is mere correlation via LSAT scores rather than an indication that the undergrad played any sort of causative role, negating the very idea of "feeder" schools.

    So you are suggesting the undergrad education is meaningless to score well on the LSAT. What about high school, does the high school you went to have no bearing on doing well on the SAT/ACT?

    While I think that the individual test takers intellect, motivation, discipline and test taking abilities is a big part of doing well on the LSAT, the test sections such as logic, reasoning, and reading comprehension can be enhanced by the type of undergrad curriculum, faculty and fellow students discussions that take place over 4 years. I have to believe, all things equal, that the UChicago student will have a more enriched experience to do well on the LSAT than the same kid attending the low ranked directional state university. Some colleges, just like high schools, will have you better prepared than others. And those differences might be the difference between a 155 vs 165 LSAT score.
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1828 replies9 threads Senior Member
    What would be very interesting data is the acceptance rate by undergrad institution of their students applying to T15-20 law programs, and what the median LSAT and GPA scores were of the successful applicants. That would give some insight on whether attending specific schools is itself a boost.
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 2201 replies39 threads Senior Member
    edited April 16
    evergreen5 wrote: »
    I'd argue that an undergrad institution's average LSAT score demonstrates the average standardized test-taking ability of its students, and that its students' average success in law school admission is mere correlation via LSAT scores rather than an indication that the undergrad played any sort of causative role, negating the very idea of "feeder" schools.

    So you are suggesting the undergrad education is meaningless to score well on the LSAT. What about high school, does the high school you went to have no bearing on doing well on the SAT/ACT?

    While I think that the individual test takers intellect, motivation, discipline and test taking abilities is a big part of doing well on the LSAT, the test sections such as logic, reasoning, and reading comprehension can be enhanced by the type of undergrad curriculum, faculty and fellow students discussions that take place over 4 years. I have to believe, all things equal, that the UChicago student will have a more enriched experience to do well on the LSAT than the same kid attending the low ranked directional state university. Some colleges, just like high schools, will have you better prepared than others. And those differences might be the difference between a 155 vs 165 LSAT score.
    My thoughts: there are some students scoring in the top percentile on the LSAT (and SAT/ACT) at every top 100+ undergrad, obviously with more high-standardized-test scorers at more selective undergrads than less selective ones. Intuitively, there would be some significant correlation, though I have not looked for studies. I'm sure this topic has come up in past years here at CC; maybe a search would be useful. SAT/ACT and LSAT measure different things, so one would not expect perfect correlation for the individual. LSAT may be more ability-based and is heavy on logic, as you noted. In contrast, the current, Redesigned SAT explicitly purports to measure academic skills via the Common Core, leaning more achievement-style than either LSAT or the old, old, old SAT. (Hmm, probably no studies since the redesign.)

    In the U Chicago example, leaving aside self-selection, if U Chicago features more intellectual discussion, at the margin, than other top schools, perhaps compare U Chicago average LSATs with the average LSAT for some other university with a similar SAT score range (all of which are also elite), and the difficulty in ruling out general test-taking-skill correlation in the top LSAT percentiles is even more apparent.

    Anecdotally, I know multiple people who scored 15+ pts higher than their undergrad's average LSAT, around or above the 75th percentile for T14s. Some of us were 2-3 years out of undergrad. Scoffing at my own lack of engagement rather than my undergrad, enriching intellectual discussions played no role in my LSAT scores. Again anecdotally, having been surrounded by law school classmates from a wide range of undergrads, the feeder paradigm feels a bit ridiculous. My maid of honor went to HLS out of an undergrad currently ranked somewhere around 100. Her choice to take the full ride at the lower-ranked undergrad did not impact her prospects.

    Caveat: I am unfamiliar with the extent to which logic for LSAT can be trained. Perhaps an LSAT prep course would be efficient, though I was unaware of their existence back in the day. Consider taking electives such as the basic logic course offered in every philosophy dept, or even better, some proof-heavy math.

    Where the undergrad institution may be most relevant to law school admission is the extent of its effect, if any, on the numerical college GPA earned, though there would be many variables in trying to measure that effect as well, variables which might lead to a different undergrad choice for different students.
    edited April 16
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 28255 replies213 threads Senior Member
    Publisher wrote: »
    It is helpful for law school applicants to know the average LSAT score of their undergraduate school as well as the median GPA for potential law school applicants from their undergraduate school as that information is sent to law schools by the LSDAS (law school data assembly service) along with the applicant's LSAT score & undergraduate GPA as recalculated by LSDAS.

    Not really helpful to you, the applicant. The only thing that matters is whether you, the applicant, have a LSAT score above the law school's median. That is what Adcoms care about.
    I'd argue that an undergrad institution's average LSAT score demonstrates the average standardized test-taking ability of its students...

    No question. Those undergrads at the top of the LSAT heap purposely Admit strong test takers. In other words, their sorting-hat (for the unhooked) excludes weak test takers.
    What would be very interesting data is the acceptance rate by undergrad institution of their students applying to T15-20 law programs, and what the median LSAT and GPA scores were of the successful applicants. That would give some insight on whether attending specific schools is itself a boost.

    There is some anecdotal info that indicates for the same numbers, Yale Law gives a boost to applicants from Yale College; ditto HLS and Harvard College.
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1828 replies9 threads Senior Member
    It seems law schools are not as forthcoming as they once were on undergrad makeup of entering students. When I graduated in the mid 80's from Berkeley Law, the most highly represented schools by quite a bit were UCB, UCLA, Stanford and HYP. The other Ivies, top LAC's, other UC's (particularly Davis and UCSD) and top state flagships also had multiple students in the class. The classmates from non top 100 schools were outliers , and often there was a "story" (vet, intervening career). One of my roommates and soon to be good friend had careers as a fire jumper, logger, fisherman, IRS agent and was part of a national show jumping team (the parachutists who do those big formations at air shows). The Berkeley law website still lists the top undergrad schools represented, and it has not changed much. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/admissions/jd/entering-class-profile/ I doubt Berkeley is an outlier, other than being more Cali centric, compared to other top programs.

    Now is this causation or correlation? Has to be a little of both. Students going to the top undergrad programs are proven "test takers" and high achievers, however top college programs, where your classmates are all smart high achievers, undoubtedly push your critical thinking, writing and analytical skills.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 85298 replies761 threads Senior Member
    edited April 19
    evergreen5 wrote: »
    Caveat: I am unfamiliar with the extent to which logic for LSAT can be trained.

    Math and philosophy major students tend to do well on the LSAT. Is it because those majors require logical thinking in much of the course work (treatment effect), or because those majors tend to attract student cohorts who are stronger at logical thinking than most other majors do (selection effect), or both?
    edited April 19
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 28255 replies213 threads Senior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    evergreen5 wrote: »
    Caveat: I am unfamiliar with the extent to which logic for LSAT can be trained.

    Math and philosophy major students tend to do well on the LSAT. Is it because those majors require logical thinking in much of the course work (treatment effect), or because those majors tend to attract student cohorts who are stronger at logical thinking than most other majors do (selection effect), or both?

    For math, I'd opine its more treatment effect (as math pros pies are usually math stars in HS). So they are doing more of the same.

    And since high schools don't offer philosophy, to me it falls under the Both category. Some kids are attracted to it as they already have already obtained logical & critical thinking skills, but there are others who learn logical/critical thinking skills by taking Phil coursework. (Perhaps I'm biased, but I believe that Phil is one of the few lit/hume majors that requires critical thinking skills to do well.)

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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13630 replies32 threads Senior Member
    edited April 29
    I personally think this list is useful. Not so much for anything to do with law school, but for gauging the strength of the student body at different colleges (at least research U's; it seems that other than at a handful of top LACs, at almost all other LACs, not enough students apply to law school for the LAC to show up on this list). At least the liberal-arts-focused portion.

    Many kids want to go to a college where they are with intellectual peers. The problem is that we know that several schools really try to game their entering SAT/ACT and acceptance rate numbers hard (because USNews only takes in self-reported numbers of fall freshmen from colleges).

    This list, IMO, shows a truer reflection of the quality of the undergraduate student body at various unis.

    It's shows, for instance, that McGill has a student body that is Ivy/Near-Ivy quality (roughly equivalent to Cornell) and a full-pay student can attend there at a fraction of the price while getting in is straightforward. A few of the schools that are above the lowest Ivy (Cornell) offer some generous scholarships (WashU and Vandy come to mind; also Duke and Rice, but they are very difficult to get).
    edited April 29
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