Low LSAT Score? 7 Ways To Boost Your Chances of Admission
Despite your best efforts, some things don’t pan out as expected. Receiving a low LSAT score can be incredibly disappointing but don’t give up hope! You can still get into a great law school despite a low LSAT score.
Receiving a low LSAT score can be incredibly disappointing but don’t give up hope! Continue reading for tips and be sure to connect with one of our admissions experts for advice tailored to your situation! Our admissions experts will help you craft your application to highlight your strengths and boost your chances of admission, even with a low LSAT!
Low LSAT Score? 7 Ways To Boost Your Chances of Admission
1. Offset a low LSAT score with a higher GPA.
The rest of your application must be as strong as you can make it to offset a low LSAT score. The first thing an admissions office will want to see to balance out a low LSAT score is a high GPA.
This is a high cumulative GPA. This cumulative GPA is recalculated by LSAC to take into account any transfer credits received from community colleges, summer courses, or elsewhere. For most students, this will boost your cumulative GPA and give you extra padding you weren’t expecting. But if you failed summer school or transferred to a new school to wipe your GPA-slate clean, know that those low grades will follow you through the law school application process.
The admissions office will not solely look at your GPA and LSAT to make a determination of admission. However, these are the default criterion most used simply because they are a benchmark that applies to every candidate. The rigor of your undergraduate institution and major will be taken into account. However, a high GPA is still incredibly important.
2. Have a flawless personal statement.
The personal statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions office and demonstrate the integrity and values you will bring to the legal profession through past experiences. It is a critical component to every application that should not be neglected.
Keep in mind that it also serves as a writing sample and must be completely free of any spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. Take all of the time needed to draft your personal statement flawlessly. It should not be written in a day, or even in a few days. Most students take weeks or longer to perfect this statement. (We also help students with personal statements so feel free to contact us if you are looking for additional help!)
Seek out resources online and in bookstores on how to write a personal statement most effectively. Then have family, friends, professors, and any attorneys you know read over it for feedback. The personal statement should be a representation of your own work, so be careful not to have it too heavily edited. Nevertheless, be sure to solicit constructive criticism and evaluation from various resources.
To get you started, here are some dos and don’ts of writing a great personal statement.
3. Submit an LSAT addendum.
You should submit an LSAT addendum with each of your applications. Try not to use your personal statement for this purpose. Your personal statement serves to demonstrate why you’re an excellent candidate for law school and should be completely separate from your addendum. (Don’t waste the little space you have for a personal statement with questions that can be answered elsewhere in the application!)
The addendum is a separate document to address the weakness in your application. This can be done in one or two paragraphs explaining why your LSAT score is lower than you expected. Describe everything you did to prepare for the exam (assuming you dedicated the requisite hours to achieving a higher score), your study methods, any potential distractions on the day of the test, and why the low score is not representative of who you are as a student. If you had a low ACT/SAT score going into undergrad but still performed well, be sure to highlight the pattern of your low test scores not being indicative of high overall achievement in a program.
Not being a “good test taker” may seem like a sufficient excuse but your addendum should be more than just that. Keep in mind that the admissions office is reviewing your aptitude for success in law school and beyond. One major obstacle to success in the legal field is passing the bar exam at the end of your program. If you’re not a “good test taker” don’t make that the focus of your addendum because it may raise unintended red flags concerning your ability to pass the bar exam.
4. Apply for admission early.
Applying at the beginning of the admissions cycle gives you the best chances of being admitted, especially if you have a low LSAT score. Make note of when the admissions process begins and try to make sure your application is in within the first few months of its opening. Waiting until later in the cycle (February or later) could make the difference between an admission and deferral, or even a denial.
There will be fewer seats available in the class if you wait to apply. This makes admissions more difficult.
5. Ask about interviews.
Most law schools do not conduct interviews for admission, leaving your personal statement as the only means of introducing yourself to the admissions committee. However, some schools do have formal or informal interview processes. If the school is open to interviewing candidates, do what you can to secure an interview. This will give you another opportunity to present yourself in a favorable manner above and beyond just the numbers on your LSAT report. It might be useful to look for schools that do conduct interviews so that you do have an opportunity to meet with someone in person and explain your LSAT score.
It’s also worthwhile to request an interview. Although the admissions office might not have the time to afford this to every applicant, some may agree to meet with you. Even if it’s not designated as an “interview”, treat the meeting as such. Make sure you make a good first impression. This includes coming prepared with questions about the program and its graduates. Make the most of your time and theirs!
6. Do your research and set realistic expectations.
Research past admissions statistics for each of your interested schools and set realistic expectations. Know what their 25/50/75 LSAT percentiles are for past classes. Then, use them as a guidepost for how competitive your application may be. If you fall in the 25th percentile for the LSAT, hopefully, your grades fall into the 50th or 75th percentile.
One useful tool to gather this information for all schools is the American Bar Association’s 509 disclosures. These are reports required of every ABA-approved law school that detail their law school and admissions statistics for the last several years. (It’s as simple as generate an excel spreadsheet on your desired information.)
7. Consider retaking the LSAT.
Lastly, the best and most direct way around a low LSAT is to take the LSAT again! If you have the time and resources to do this, certainly consider it. The June LSAT exam is the last administration of the admissions cycle considered by most schools. Even if a school’s application deadline has already passed by the time this exam is administered, you may be able to request reconsideration. Reconsideration is often given to applicants if something substantial has changed on your application. Hopefully, that will be your LSAT score! If you have time to take the LSAT sooner, in the fall or early winter, give serious consideration to doing so. The LSAT is not the only component of your application schools are looking at. It is, however, a major consideration in the admissions process and indicative of first-year law school success.
For additional insight on whether to take the LSAT again, check out this post.
A low LSAT score does not doom your application. But it does mean that you must take steps to strengthen your application elsewhere. Good luck!
Still have questions? Connect with one of our admissions experts! We’ll break down exactly what we think you can do to boost your chances of admission despite your LSAT score!
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