what to do in college to get into law school Grades, LSAT, scores, and academic performance

How important are my grades and LSAT score for admission to top law schools?

I often respond to questions from readers on the law school admissions process. Here is a question I recently responded to: 


Q: How important are my grades and LSAT score for admission to top law schools? How much do elite law schools look “beyond the scores” and focus on leadership qualities?

A: Even though your scores don’t mean everything, still try to shoot for as strong of a GPA and LSAT as possible. These things won’t determine whether you get admitted, but they will send a clear message to the admissions committee about your likely ability to handle the course load and excel in it. Your leadership qualities are supremely important, but your ability to handle the substantial course work required by top law schools is a threshold consideration for your application. The best indication an admissions reviewer will have to evaluate your ability in this regard is your academic performance. And while you don’t need top scores to gain admission to top law schools, you do have to show a baseline level of academic performance to address any concerns about your ability to handle the course load. Remember: your scores won’t be deal-makers, but they can potentially be deal-breakers, so if you still have a year or more before applying to law school, be sure to keep your grades and LSAT a top priority.

Be sure to check out our law school admissions guide “How to get into Harvard Law School (whether you have the highest scores or not)” for in-depth tips and strategies on admission to elite law schools!

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Andrew C.

Andrew Chen is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He was admitted to Harvard on his first attempt at applying – in the very first round of applicants. He was also admitted to the law schools at Stanford, Columbia, NYU, and Chicago among others – also all in their first rounds. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.