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Harvard/Yale Law GPA/LSATs

Smeds05Smeds05 Registered User Posts: 172 Junior Member
edited September 2012 in Law School
Let's say I go to University of Illinois (my state school) for undergrad, and I want to get into Harvard or Yale Law. Can anyone tell me roughly what GPA and LSAT scores I would need to have a shot at admission?
Post edited by Smeds05 on

Replies to: Harvard/Yale Law GPA/LSATs

  • PSedrishMDPSedrishMD Registered User Posts: 712 Member
    A GPA > 3.75 & an LSAT > 172 would give you a good shot, but by no means a guarantee.
  • im_blueim_blue Registered User Posts: 2,142 Senior Member
    The middle 50% ranges for these schools are:
    Yale 3.80 to 3.97, 169 to 175
    Harvard 3.76 to 3.94, 169 to 174

    So the minimum stats you would need are roughly 3.8 GPA and LSAT in the 170s. Yale considers the extras (extracurriculars, work experience, etc) a lot more than Harvard does.
  • ariesathenaariesathena Registered User Posts: 5,087 Senior Member
    When you look at those GPAs, realize that there is a huge variation by school and majour. The 3.5 MIT electrical engineer will probably get a seat over the 3.9 Podnuck poli sci major. If you go to a decent (but not excellent) school, my guess is that you'll really need to have better LSATs to show that you are capable.

    Also - I'll say it a million times - as a high school student, forget HLS and Yale. Seriously. The chances of getting in are absolutely miniscule. I know someone who chose between Columbia, NYU, Penn, Chicago, etc - and flat-out rejected at HLS, and didn't even bother applying to Yale. Think multiple majors, excellent schools, great grades, and Fulbright or Rhodes scholarship for your typical HLS/Yale L.S. admit. It's a different league from undergrad - very hard to get that perspective as a high school student, but, about four or five years from now, you'll understand and think "Wow, that Aries person knew what she was talking about when she told me not to get too wrapped up in HLS or Yale."
  • concerneddadconcerneddad Registered User Posts: 1,734 Senior Member
    Wise beyond your years ariesathena!

  • ariesathenaariesathena Registered User Posts: 5,087 Senior Member
    (Laughing). Thanks! (Though, given that I was up late finishing an open research memo, I'm feeling those years now. Not like the good old days of being 17 and bouncing back after a long night.)
  • concerneddadconcerneddad Registered User Posts: 1,734 Senior Member
    Oh, don't make me laugh ariesathena. I long for the good ole days in my 30's when I could stay up all night to get a brief done. Now they just drape a blanket over my old bones and wheel me off to bed!
  • ariesathenaariesathena Registered User Posts: 5,087 Senior Member
    It's not the years; it's the mileage. :)
  • sakkysakky - Posts: 14,759 Senior Member
    "The 3.5 MIT electrical engineer will probably get a seat over the 3.9 Podnuck poli sci major. If you go to a decent (but not excellent) school, my guess is that you'll really need to have better LSATs to show that you are capable".

    That would be nice if that was true, but I'm afraid that I doubt it. There seems to be little hard evidence that MIT graduates are compensated to that extent by law school adcoms, and in fact the hard evidence that does exist points against it. The evidence points to the conclusion that law school adcoms care about grades first, and where you got those grades a very distant second.

    Nevertheless, I do agree with the basic point that HLS and YLS (and I would also add Stanford Law) are quite difficult to get into. I don't have information about Illinois undergrads specifically, but I do have information about Berkeley undergrads. In 2004, Berkeley undergrads who successfully got into YLS had an average LSAT of 173 and an average GPA of 4.03 (if you are wondering how you get a GPA >4, for LSDAS purposes, an A+ is worth 4.33 points). Those who got into Stanford Law had an LSAT of 171 and a GPA of 4.12. Those who got into HLS had an LST of 171 and a GPA of 3.98.

  • Smeds05Smeds05 Registered User Posts: 172 Junior Member
    Thanks for the replies everyone. I don't even know if I really want to go to HLS or YLS, but I was just curious about what kinds of grades/scores in general I'd need. I'll have to look into it more. Anyways, I still have four years to think about it. Thanks again!
  • over30over30 Registered User Posts: 2,411 Senior Member
    After a long search (because I forgot where I first saw it), I finally found this so it better be helpful and informative: http://web.mit.edu/career/www/infostats/preprof.html

    2003 Prelaw Data
    Number of MIT Applicants 110
    MIT Students Registered
    at a Law School 66 out of 110, 60%
    Number Accepted to 1 or more schools 90 out of 110, 81.81%
    Total MIT Applications Submitted 717
    MIT Acceptances 243
    Average number of applications
    per applicant 6.52
    Average number of admissions 2.21
    Senior applicants 20 out of 110, 18.18%
    Non-senior applicants
    (grad students & alums) 92 out of 110, 81.81%
    Average LSAT 163.5
    Average GPA 3.31/4.0*

    *GPA Conversion Instructions for calculating the GPA and converting it to a 4.0 scale can be found at http://registrar.mit.edu/gpacalc.html
  • ariesathenaariesathena Registered User Posts: 5,087 Senior Member
    Nationwide: about 62% accepted into one or more schools. Average LSAT: 151.

    Just a comparison: Tufts, with about 200-250 applying, most all from liberal arts:
    average GPA ~3.2 or 3.3
    average LSAT 158 or so
    number accepted into at least one school: somewhere in the low 80s

    Obviously, MIT has a MUCH higher average LSAT score and a comparable GPA to Tufts - yet they have the same acceptance rates overall. Now, this could be because the MIT kids shoot higher. There may be a lot of liberal-arts type MIT kids (the music majors) who are applying and doing well. It's tough to say, looking just at the numbers - but they could be former engineers who meandered over to Sloan or history who apply to law school. There may be a bias against engineers and scientists - which is what I suspect is going on. If you are an engineer and head to law school, it's because you really want to be a lawyer or want legal training. If you're a poli sci major and head to law school, it's because you realized that your degree is pretty useless. Now, people tend to think the opposite: the poli sci kid is obviously interested in things legal, whereas the engineer looks flaky, making a career change. I interviewed at a school where the guy treated me like a moron for actually having a career (no exaggeration - he didn't get why I would switch from engin. to law. Thought that engineers should stay engineers. Def. gave the impression that he thought I was flaky for getting out of the sciences). Just my take.

    On one hand, MIT students are doing pretty well - above national average - but those GPAs are pretty high, and the LSATs are amazing. Compare with other institutions, and they are underachieving by the numbers (but the kids who don't get in anywhere could be applying to Harvard, Yale, and Stanford only).
  • alicantekidalicantekid Registered User Posts: 1,239 Senior Member
    One of my friends who went to college with me at UC Irvine is a second year student at Yale Law right now. She had a 3.99 with a 173 LSAT, and she was also a Truman Scholar (only given to 70 juniors in the country every year) and had tons of other leadership and great credentials.

    To get into Yale/Harvard/Stanford Law, you need to not only get good grades and LSAT, but establish yourself on a national level as something special.
  • sakkysakky - Posts: 14,759 Senior Member
    Exactly - which again means that you shouldn't choose to do something difficult. It's sad to say, but choosing a difficult major like engineering doesn't really help you, but probably actually hurts you. Not only will you probably get lower grades, but you will probably have to spend an inordinate amount of time just studying, which takes away from time for you to develop a 'hook'.

    The fact is, while law schools say that they want somebody who has challenged themselves academically and worked hard, the reality is that they don't really want that at all. Actions speak louder than words, and law schools have indicated that they want somebody who has high grades and a 'hook' rather than somebody who has taken challenging coursework.
  • notsonovelnotsonovel Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    What are some examples of a 'hook'?
  • Susan777Susan777 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Actually, you can get into Harvard Law with pretty much nothing but (very) high numbers.

    Yale and Stanford are another matter, because their classes are so small. They can afford to be very picky, and they look at everything.
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