UChicago Law School Placement

Hey guys, I’m a senior and I’m leaning towards applying ED I to UChicago. I really like the school (I went there for a summer session and loved it), and I’m also fine with the rigor and work. However, the one thing that concerns me is law school placement from the grade deflation, as I’ve always seen myself going to law school after college. Most top law schools want to see at 3.8+, which I’ve heard is ‘impossible’ at Uchic. Even if they are aware of Uchicago’s rigor and compare UC applicants with each other, wouldn’t that create a pretty cutthroat and competitive atmosphere? While I would like to not worry about GPA stuff and focus on learning, it’s a valid concern that has been on my mind for a while.

Latest data:

84% of UChicago 2017 cycle applicants
were admitted to a top-20 law school

Top-Tier Law Schools
14 Columbia
12 Harvard
24 NYU
8 Stanford
16 UChicago
7 Yale

https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/files/documents/class-2017-outcomes.pdf P. 5

Also, it’s not “impossible” to get a 3.8 at UChicago, and law schools DO take into account your undergraduate education including institution and major.

You can contact the Office of Career Advancement’s Careers in Law pre-professional program for more information. https://careeradvancement.uchicago.edu/uchicago-careers-in/law

You know the line about there being “lies, damn lies, and statistics”? Those legitimately top-tier law school acceptances may represent 15-20 extraordinary students who got accepted at multiple top-tier law schools, while the rest of their classmates went to Boston University. It’s a fine law school where friends of mine teach, and #20 on the USNWR law school list last year, but it’s a few rungs down the ladder from the top tier.

The top-tier law schools used to tell you every year where their classes came from, but as far as I know none of them makes that public any more. Back then – when UChicago did have modest grade deflation, something that is no longer really true – Chicago did OK in the numbers at top law schools, but not super-duper great. Certainly not up to the level of Harvard or Yale. The numbers above look a little stronger than what I saw back then, but those are acceptances, not enrollments. If those numbers represent the same 20 people being accepted at multiple schools, then the actual UChicago enrollment at any of them will be pretty small.

One thing that was true then, and I think is still true now – fewer people apply to law school from UChicago than from its peer universities. Maybe that’s because Chicago gets them interested in other things, or maybe it’s because they think they have less of a chance to get accepted where they want to go, who knows? I think there’s still less of a pre-professional attitude there than at many of their peers, and fewer people apply to med school, too. That could mean that someone who really wants to apply to law school has an advantage – the law schools all know Chicago is a great place, but there are fewer applicants to choose from.

Anyway, if the only thing that matters to you in life is getting accepted at a top law school, AND you make all of your decisions solely on the basis of what increases the likelihood that will happen, AND you don’t have a feeling that Chicago is so perfect for you that you will perform better there than you would elsewhere, AND you actually get accepted at Harvard . . . you should probably go to Harvard.

Yale makes this information public. Looks like for the Fall of 2018, there were 18 from UChicago attending Yale Law School. Fewer from UChicago than from Harvard and Yale (UChicago was #8 in feeder schools by the numbers), but hardly indicative of UChicago only graduating 15-20 top students that were accepted to all the top law school.


Most of the undergraduate representation lists I’ve seen by top law school include the name but not number attending. Good for Yale to publish this data. UChicago looks quite respectable. The schools in front are all Ivies and Stanford, and it edges out Brown and Penn :slight_smile:

The CIL people (see prior post for link) should be able to provide where the 2019 application cycle ended up. Actual enrollments are more useful than acceptances due to the potential cross-admit issue as @JHS mentioned. A good number of applicants are probably going to be out a year or two from undergrad as well, so it would be helpful to understand whether and how those guys are included in the data.

So, while our data is sparse, it points to Chicago undergrad being a great place for future law students. Some data points:


Chicago undergrad’s mean LSAT score is absurdly high (166 in 2017), and the avg. GPA is perfectly respectable (3.60). It’s a shade lower than some peers, but not by much. Also, the number of applicants in 2017 (154) is comparable to Brown, Princeton, Columbia, etc. It doesn’t look like Chicago undergrads are avoiding law school because of poor GPAs or other concerns, at least any more than Chicago’s peers.

Also, the data we have points to Chicago placing extremely well. As noted above, Chicago is in the top 10 feeders for Yale Law. It also places great at Chicago Law and Michigan Law.

https://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/2019-08/announcements_2019-20_-_final.pdf (go to p. 180)


Chicago undergrad is the top feeder to Chicago Law - sending around 15 students a year there. Chicago also is in the top cluster of feeders for Michigan Law.

Again, all the numbers look quite good. Law school is a numbers-based game, and Chicago undergrad does extremely well on the numbers front - with lots of students getting high LSAT scores and good GPAs. That translates to a lot of success in terms of law school placement. Chicago undergrad has improved noticeably on this front over the past 5-10 years.

Bottom-line: if you have the chops to get into Chicago these days, it’s probably going to translate into law school admissions success.

Update: on the re-tooled Career Advancement page, it now says there is an 83%-88% “top 15 law school” acceptance rate for UChicago students:


^^sorry but I am extremely skeptical with any report that claims a 80%+ acceptance rate into med schools thus, the law numbers have to be suspect. Heck the numbers even defy common sense of law school apps. There are plenty of applicants with decent numbers who take the big merit money at say, #18, vs. paying sticker at #12.

Gotta be cookin’ the books.

Well, a lot depends on the qualify of the advising. If the advisors can dissuade someone with poor stats from applying, then that boosts the average accept rate of those who actually DO apply. They have been touting that 80+% acceptance to medical school for awhile now. For instance, In 2017 it was 85%; see page 5. https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/files/documents/class-2017-outcomes.pdf

For law school specifically, they are boasting slightly stronger admit rate stats now than they did in 2017, when UChicago’s average LSAT was 166 and (LSAC) GPA 3.6 according to the document linked by @Cue7 above. It’s possible that 2018 and 2019 saw better stats and better applications to the T15, and therefore better outcomes.

Edit to add - sure, plenty might take the money. These stats are acceptances not enrollments.

I think that is a very key point. I wonder if they count #acceptances/#applications or #acceptances/#applicants or #acceptances to at least 1 T14/#applicants? I would hope it is the last. The 2nd one could easily be misleading. Most apply to a ton of law schools, you get accepted to 5 you inflate that number.

I also like to think people are openly honest and don’t game these numbers maliciously. Even the mistakes we see when a school misreports to USNaWR, most often it appears to be an honest mistake.

^ The 2017 LSAT range was 143 - 180. Guessing some in the lower half of that range weren’t necessarily applying to T15. A lot depends on quality of pre-professional advisng that UCIL is providing. They should be helping these applicants identify a set of schools that meets their goals (including funding if appropriate) and ensures some degree of success (ie safeties and matches are accurately identified, reaches are reasonable fits, etc.). It’s not as individualized as college apps., perhaps, but some of the same underlying principles will apply, especially given that law schools are fairly holistic in their review.

Med admissions are gamed by many schools, and they have been for years. You have to ask what is in teh numerator…allopathic? osteopathic? unaccredited off shore med schools? You also have to ask what is in the denominator. Does the college have a Committee Letter, i.e., those the college determines are not a likely admit will not receive a recommendation, and even if you still apply, we won’t count it.

Plenty of threads on cc on how med admissions are gamed. (Not so sure on LS admissions, however.)

@bluebayou said: “I am extremely skeptical with any report that claims a 80%+ acceptance rate into med schools thus, the law numbers have to be suspect. Heck the numbers even defy common sense of law school apps. There are plenty of applicants with decent numbers who take the big merit money at say, #18, vs. paying sticker at #12. Gotta be cookin’ the books.”

You can then disregard Chicago’s Career Office data, if you want. The data from external sources (like LSAC and the enrollment data from Yale Law and Chicago Law) still point to Chicago having great placement. It’s impressive for any college not named HYPS to send 6-8 students a year to Yale Law, or 12-15 students a year to Chicago Law.

The LSAC data is the most probative - having undergrads with an avg. LSAT score of 166 is extremely impressive, again, for any college not named HYPS.

Chicago seems to be doing very well on the law school placement front.

These anecdotes prove nothing, (except perhaps that Chicago has as much grade inflation as other top privates). And the 166 LSAT mean should be no surprise since Chicago selects for top testers (SAT/ACT), and those top testers can easily ace the LSAT (which is a very learnable test).

More importantly, the claim was not “great placement” (which any top private has) but that 88% get into the T15 (however #15 is defined: Vandy?, UT? UCLA?). But here is where the math is important. #14 GULC’s mean admitted LSAT is 168, so a 166 is below that threshold. Sure, a high GPA will mitigate, but no way 88% are getting in as LSAT is ~50% of the admissions criterial for all but Y & S.

Just not possible.

@bluebayou - where are you getting the 88% get into a T15 law school? If a poster said it above, they misquoted the report.

The chicago outcomes report stated that 84% of chicago 2017 applicants were accepted to a T20 law school.

Given the lsac data, that seems plausible - as there is a fairly big gap in standards from georgetown (traditionally about #14 in the rankings) or boston u and u minn (around #20 in the rankings).

Given that, per the lsac data, chicago is one of the top 6 or 7 places for undergrad pre law talent (per gpa and lsat), it’s conceivable the vast majority of the chicago undergrad class could get into places like BU and Minnesota.

^ 83 - 88% T15 Law School per latest stats (which are more recent than the 2017 placement report)


JB, does it really say anywhere what the scope of the metric is? Is it the last reported class? Cummulative? I don’t see the reason for a range. Not that it really matters too much. At the end of the day any individual applicant has to do the work, write a good application, apply, regardless of historical success rates.

I also, don’t think one can say UChicago did that. Given any “raw material” they can get the desired outcome 83-88% of the time. The “raw material” that they have been getting has been getting better and better. Each class is the “Best and the Brightest, yatta, yatta…” Like someone said above, admit great test takers (or lets say students), get better results.

“But here is where the math is important. #14 GULC’s mean admitted LSAT is 168, so a 166 is below that threshold. Sure, a high GPA will mitigate, but no way 88% are getting in as LSAT is ~50% of the admissions criterial for all but Y & S.”

Not all University of Chicago grads who apply to law school apply to Top 15 schools. I imagine that the Chicago grads who scored in the 150’s or low 160’s set their sights lower, and only those who scored in the high 160’s or 170’s applied to Top 15’s. Looking at it that way, I could see an 83 to 85% acceptance rate for those who actually apply to Top 15 schools. Also, I believe that 168 LSAT is the median for Georgetown, not the mean.

A statistic is not an anecdote. Just sayin’ :wink: UChicago places at the low end of 2017 GPA’s compared to the eight Ivy’s plus Stanford, Duke and NU. In fact, the lowest school is Princeton due to their grade distribution freeze which was lifted in 2015 (and for which the impact is still seen in 2017) and UChicago is the 2nd lowest. However, its average 2017 LSAT is toward the higher end; Behind H and Y, just about tie with P, and then a bit to notably ahead of everyone else. And it ties HYS in presenting a max score of 180 (although one doesn’t need a max score to get into a T15 law school).

In 2017, GULC’s median LSAT score was 165. Apples to apples!

@BrianBoiler at #16 - just posting what the new Career Advancement website is representing. I’m sure anyone interested can contact them for more information :smiley: