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Top law school feasible?

tempustempus - Posts: 40 Junior Member
edited July 2007 in Law School
Say you're going to a decent university such as Boston College or NYU and got a cumulative GPA of 3.2 (87%) freshman year (I hate the fact that there's a massive .5 difference in GPA between a B+ and an A-, which initially seem so close -- bummer seeing as I could have obtained that A- by working a bit harder in those classes or by not making stupid mistakes on tests). Seeing as the median GPA for a school like Harvard Law School would be 3.8 or so, that means I would more or less have to get straight A's from now until the end of college in order to have a realistic chance of getting in (factoring LSATs out). I know I would basically have to work my ass off all two and a half years (credits from IB means I get to graduate half a year early), with no solid guarantee that I would actually get all straight As (but I'd say definitely an improvement from 3.2).

My question is, is it worth it?

The reason I would like to go to a top law school is that it seems to ease some of the pressure later off of finding a job, as you know that firms tend to go crazy over people who come from top law schools even if you did mediocre. At least that's what I've heard.
Post edited by tempus on

Replies to: Top law school feasible?

  • marny1marny1 Registered User Posts: 2,235 Senior Member
    You can't factor out LSAT's. Your LSAT score will give you the best indication of what schools you can realistically aim for--
    A 3.2 with a 166 LSAT vs. a 3.2 and a 176 LSAT is a BIG difference in which schools your're accepted to.
  • Student615Student615 Registered User Posts: 1,885 Senior Member
    First, are we talking about Harvard in particular, or are we talking about "top law schools" in general (and if the latter, do we mean Ivies, T14, T25...)?

    Second, you can't realistically ignore LSAT, or factor it out. If one major part of your application has to be weak, it's better GPA than LSAT (not that either is ideal). Strong LSAT can potentially compensate for weak GPA, while the reverse is less often true.

    Third, LSAC will recalculate your GPA according to their own rules rather than those of your school. The particular guidelines are online, I don't know them off the top of my head.

    Fourth, your post doesn't really scream "please send me to a prestigious, competitive law school." Whether or not this is actually the case, it screams "I'm lazy."

    Finally, what exactly are you asking? Are you asking if top law schools (which you still need to define a bit) will really make the job-search so much easier than other schools--easy enough to warrant 'working your ass off' for the next two and a half years? Or are you asking what the title of your post suggests: whether or not it's feasible for you to raise your stats enough to get into a top law school?

    My own feeling is that if you do what feels right to you--whether that's continuing on in the same way you spent freshman year or working harder for the next few semesters--you'll end up where you should be.
  • tempustempus - Posts: 40 Junior Member
    You can't factor out LSAT's. Your LSAT score will give you the best indication of what schools you can realistically aim for--
    A 3.2 with a 166 LSAT vs. a 3.2 and a 176 LSAT is a BIG difference in which schools your're accepted to.

    Okay. Say I got a 3.6-3.7 GPA overall at NYU, and a 172 LSAT or something around there. Would HYS be out of the question?


    First, are we talking about Harvard in particular, or are we talking about "top law schools" in general (and if the latter, do we mean Ivies, T14, T25...)?

    T14 and up. HYS preferably.

    Second, you can't realistically ignore LSAT, or factor it out. If one major part of your application has to be weak, it's better GPA than LSAT (not that either is ideal). Strong LSAT can potentially compensate for weak GPA, while the reverse is less often true.

    Okay, I understand.
    Third, LSAC will recalculate your GPA according to their own rules rather than those of your school. The particular guidelines are online, I don't know them off the top of my head.
    Right, I know about this. I think it partly depends upon the undergraduate institution.

    Fourth, your post doesn't really scream "please send me to a prestigious, competitive law school." Whether or not this is actually the case, it screams "I'm lazy."
    I'm not lazy at all. On average I probably did at least 3 or 4 hours of homework each day at NYU. But I do tend to procrastinate sometimes, albeit not as bad as some people. I think in order to raise my GPA, I have to make more efficient use of my time, try very hard not to procrastinate, and after each class, do a little reviewing so I'm not cramming too much a few days before middterms and finals. It will require a bit of will power on my part.

    Finally, what exactly are you asking? Are you asking if top law schools (which you still need to define a bit) will really make the job-search so much easier than other schools--easy enough to warrant 'working your ass off' for the next two and a half years? Or are you asking what the title of your post suggests: whether or not it's feasible for you to raise your stats enough to get into a top law school?

    Well my main question was question 2, but since I realize now that this question is practically impossible to answer at this stage of the game, let's go for question 1. Is it true that going to a top law school such as HLS or YLS will attract many job positions and/or give you a higher salary on the spot, even if you do mediocre in that school (say, a C-average)?
  • marny1marny1 Registered User Posts: 2,235 Senior Member
    Quick answer- 3.6 with a LSAT of 172: You should get a few T-14 acceptances (but make sure you apply to T-10 through 14)

    I wouldn't rule out HYS but your chances aren't great with a 172. Much better chance with a LSAT of 175.

    There is more to life than HYS Law School- Expand your horizons-- you'll be a happier person. Don't know the stats-- but my guess is that 98% of lawyers go to Law Schools other than HYS.
    I also kinda agree that going to a T-14 Law School will give you a definite advantage in attracting jobs and a higher salary.
    If you can maintain a 3.6/ 172 (easier said than done), you should get some T-14 acceptances.
  • AmericanskiAmericanski Registered User Posts: 683 Member
    Okay. Say I got a 3.6-3.7 GPA overall at NYU, and a 172 LSAT or something around there. Would HYS be out of the question?

    No, but who cares? This kind of speculation is totally pointless. You can look at the GPA and LSAT distributions to get an idea of what numbers you need for those schools.
    Right, I know about this. I think it partly depends upon the undergraduate institution.

    They recalculate the grades the same way for everyone, regardless of where they went. It's just that you might have grades from an off-campus program or community college that your school gave credit for but didn't use to calculate your GPA. LSAC will include them when re-calculating it.
  • tempustempus - Posts: 40 Junior Member
    Quick answer- 3.6 with a LSAT of 172: You should get a few T-14 acceptances (but make sure you apply to T-10 through 14)

    I wouldn't rule out HYS but your chances aren't great with a 172. Much better chance with a LSAT of 175.

    There is more to life than HYS Law School- Expand your horizons-- you'll be a happier person. Don't know the stats-- but my guess is that 98% of lawyers go to Law Schools other than HYS.
    I also kinda agree that going to a T-14 Law School will give you a definite advantage in attracting jobs and a higher salary.
    If you can maintain a 3.6/ 172 (easier said than done), you should get some T-14 acceptances.

    Well HYS would be my top choice, but I'd be happy in any of the T14 schools.

    They recalculate the grades the same way for everyone, regardless of where they went. It's just that you might have grades from an off-campus program or community college that your school gave credit for but didn't use to calculate your GPA. LSAC will include them when re-calculating it.

    According to various sources, they do take your undergraduate institution into account. It makes sense, afterall. I'm sure it's not necessary to have a 3.9 GPA from MIT to get into Yale Law School, provided you have sufficient LSAT scores. Meanwhile, such a GPA might be necessary if you come from a community college, seeing as they wouldn't have as good of an idea of the quality of education, workload, etc. there.
  • bizymombizymom Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    Well HYS would be my top choice

    ok -- this makes you no different than most of the prospective law students who seem to post here. just about everyone here wants to go to HYS if they can. that's the whole reason it is really hard to get into them and why you can't focus on that goal as your whole goal for your undergraduate career.

    you just finished your freshman year? all you can do is work hard, try to keep your gpa as high as you can, prepare for the lsat when the time comes and do as well as you can. then in a couple of years, you can decide where they put you in terms of law schools.

    be realistic, give yourself the best chance you can, but don't make yourself crazy -- by definition, most people who want to go to HYS simply aren't going to.

    i went to YLS. but i never once really thought about it during college -- i knew i wanted to go to law school and that it was best to go to the best law school i could get into. come senior year, my gpa and lsat made applying to YLS a not unrealistic waste of an application fee -- i applied with no assumption or expection of getting in. i'd have to think that if i'd spent all of college focusing on aspiring to HYS it would have accomplished not much more than ruining what was a great college experience which i was able to enjoy without worrying whether getting an occasional B+ was going to destroy my chances.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,112 Super Moderator
    At Yale there were approximately 740 applicants within the GPS/LSAT range you are asking about. 40 were admitted over the past 3 years.

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

    you should also look up how you would fall at Harvard and stanford and the number of NYU students admitted.

    To go through the next 3 years soley focused on only 3 schools you will be setting yourself up for some major disappointments especially if all you are doing is wondering will this course get me into HYS.
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