Most admissions committees place a heavy emphasis on a candidate’s GPA and LSAT score when they evaluate eligibility. Therefore, knowing the average scores of successful applicants at various law schools will help you to choose your prospective schools.
One website that can help to narrow the field of law schools is the Boston College On-line Law School Locator. It provides a matrix of median GPAs and LSAT scores of first-year students at accredited law schools and is based on data from the 1998-99 MAPLA Law School Admissions Profiles.
You will notice that this matrix does not include information on all law schools in the United States or any in Canada. Information regarding Canadian law schools is provided at the end of this section.
Using the Online Law School Locator to help you choose prospective law schools is a worthwhile strategy. Many career and pre-law advisors recommend a method of choosing law schools that is similar to the one explained in the Boston College website. When using the matrix, it is a good idea to consider three possible categories of potential law schools:
· Competitive Schools
· Outside-Chance Schools
· Safe-Bet Schools
The matrix will help you determine those schools where you have a competitive chance of being admitted. Since the matrix is based on the admission medians of GPAs and LSAT scores, your chances of being admitted to a competitive school – one corresponding to your GPA and LSAT score – are roughly 50:50. At least half of your applications should be sent to schools in this category.
The matrix should also be used to find your “outside-chance” schools. These schools are one or more categories above your standing. When applying to them, you will have to persuade the admissions committee that your previous experience – be it personal, professional, or academic – deserves special consideration.
The “safe-bet” schools are at least one category below your GPA and LSAT standing. It is important to remember that your “safe bet” may well be someone else’s “outside chance,” so he or she will be working extra hard to persuade the admissions committee. For this reason, you must take the same care in preparing applications to these schools as with the others.
When deciding where to apply, you will have to balance your chances of being admitted with other reasons for wanting to attend a particular law school.
For example, you may have friends or relatives who are alumni at a certain school, or perhaps you wish to attend the same institution where you completed your undergraduate studies. There are often financial considerations that can override your decisions and, in other cases, you may believe that your career prospects will be enhanced if you attend a particular school.
These are all valid considerations, but they should be weighed against your actual chances of being admitted. It is not wise to concentrate all of your energies on one or two “outside-chance” schools at the expense of the others.
Admission to Canadian Law Schools
Detailed information on Canadian law schools can be found in the Canadian edition of the LSAT Information and Registration Book. The Council of Canadian Law Deans website is another useful source of information regarding Canadian law schools.
The matrix below is based on admissions data provided by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) for Canadian law schools from 1998-99. It is a useful reference for finding your relative position among applicants.
It should be noted that not all Canadian law schools release admissions information in a format that allows for comparison. Therefore, those schools have not been included in the matrix.
Median GPAs and LSAT Scores of Students Admitted to Canadian Law Schools
|Median LSAT||Median GPA|
|3.3 – 3.4||3.5 – 3.6||3.6 – 3.7||3.8 – 3.9|
|155-158||U of C||U of A
U of NB
|U of M
U of S
|U of WO|
|163-169||U of T|
|UBC||University of British Columbia|
|U of A||University of Alberta|
|U of C||University of Calgary|
|U of S||University of Saskatchewan|
|U of M||University of Manitoba|
|U of WO||University of Western Ontario|
|U of T||University of Toronto|
|YU||York University, Osgoode Hall|
|U of NB||University of New Brunswick|