HOW LAW SCHOOLS MAY LOOK AT THE GPAMAY LOOK AT THE GPA
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WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUR SENIOR YEAR GRADES
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A LOW UGPA
If your transcript was sent to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) during a semester, this transcript will not reflect the grades from that semester. Assuming that these grades are best left unreflected, do nothing. Assuming that these grades merit attention, write a brief note to your prospective law schools indicating that your latest grades and indicating that your college, acting on your instructions, will be sending your new official transcript to these prospective law schools and to CAS. CAS will submit an updated report to your prospective law schools that have indicated they will accept such updates. Follow through by making sure that the necessary transcripts are sent.
LOW UNDERGRADUATE GPA AND APPLYING TO LAW SCHOOL
A senior with a low GPA but with high expectations for his/her senior-year grades, may want to delay applying to law school for a year so that the senior-year grades are calculated into the GPA. An alternative is to make sure that the first semester senior-year grades are included in the applications.
A senior with a high GPA but expectations for lower first-semester senior-year grades, may want to consider applying to law schools early enough in the fall semester of their senior year in order to prevent the senior-year grades from being calculated in the CAS GPA. If perchance you do better than you had reason to expect, you may change your mind and have the first-semester senior-year grades calculated in your CAS GPA.
In calculating the grade point average, CAS excludes all grades awarded after the first undergraduate degree is received. If this poses a problem, note that graduation can be delayed (usually not applying for graduation will do the job); if not, postponing a required course will certainly do the job).
If you have a low GPA when the time to apply to law school rolls around, make sure to maximize your effort on the LSAT. If this effort does not pay off, see our ranking of the LEAST SELECTIVE law schools or RETAKE THE LSAT.
The University of Notre Dame Prelaw offers the following useful advice: "If your GPA is really hurting your chances, taking several years off can help. The more distance you put between you and your undergraduate GPA, the lesser its negative impact on your application. If your GPA is low, but your LSAT is high, you might want to consider this option seriously. Letters of recommendation from professors who attest that your ability is not reflected in your overall GPA may also help.
Arizona State University Pre-Law indicates that "For those who have been out of school for more than a year or two, undergraduate GPA will be less important. Law schools will give greater weight to your LSAT score and accomplishments since leaving school."
University of Michigan Prelaw gives an answer to the the question, "My GPA is low but I really want to study law. What are my options?" Their answer is: "If you are truly interested in studying law, there are several law schools nationally where competition for admission is not as great. This does not mean that the programs at these schools are easier, simply that they have different admissions philosophies that allow more subjective evaluations of your ability to be successful. The pre-law advisor can help you to identify schools to optimize your chances of admission."
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE LSAT AND GPA ARE NOT IN SYNCH
Law schools Admission Committees (LSAC) first focus on the applicant's LSAT score and UGPA. On a typical undergraduate's application, these two factors are paramount. However, most law schools will tell you, and at some law schools it may even be true, that the student's entire application is reviewed and considered. As a result, it would be to your advantage to supplement your curriculum with activities that demonstrate leadership, initiative, creativity, responsibility, analytical skills and research ability. University of California, Merced Law School Information
If your LSAT score and UGPA do not match up, explain this discrepancy (without bitterness, anger or defensiveness) on a separate piece of paper entitled Explanation of LSAT Score or Explanation of UGPA. This separate sheet of paper would be part of your law school addendum. Johns Hopkins University Law School Option