Law school admissions statistics can be pretty intimidating, considering the highly competitive nature of US law schools. But despite the selective nature of these schools, it is possible to craft a winning application to any of them. If you’re interested in applying for law school in Canada, take a look at some and admissions requirements. You can also familiarize yourself with the , as many of Canada’s best law schools are located in Ontario. In this blog, we’ll explore how competitive admissions are at US law schools, selection factors, how to improve your chances of getting accepted, and some tips on how to prepare for law school applications.
The below list of law school acceptance rates and other admissions statistics comes from the latest . It’s important to understand the distinction between acceptance rates and enrollment rates. Just because a school has a 50% acceptance rate does not mean that 50% of applicants actually attend the school. The enrollment rates are usually significantly lower than acceptance rates. Acceptance rates are higher in some schools because schools usually send out acceptances to more students than they can enroll. Why? Because when some students are offered places in these schools, they reject the opportunity and choose to attend a different school. So schools keep sending out acceptances until they enroll enough people for their matriculating class. There may be another simple reason too: some schools are just smaller and less well-known, and therefore have fewer people competing for the available spots.
However, for our purposes, acceptance rates are more important than enrollment rates because acceptance rates represent the number of acceptances sent out. We also include the median GPA and LSAT scores of accepted students. It’s important to note that the median accepted GPA and LSAT scores have increased pretty significantly compared to the previous admissions cycle. Not only is this true for Ivy Leagues and prestigious schools, but also for all . So even though the acceptance rates seem high, the thresholds for GPA and LSAT are consistently increasing.
So if you think law acceptance rates are the only stats you need to know to see if the school is selective, think again! Tyler Chiasson, a JD graduate and our Law admissions expert, knows that the GPA and are ultimately what many law schools in the US and Canada will value over any other application component. This is why he used the LSAT as a barometer to assess whether a law school was a good fit for him to apply to:
"I didn’t really look too deeply at acceptance rates, but I did research on what LSAT score was competitive at the different schools. It is the biggest barrier to entry and requires the most time and effort. A low LSAT score will make some schools inaccessible to you. My GPA and LSAT got me most of my acceptances, so I’d say that GPA and LSAT are more important than the written parts of the application." – Tyler Chiasson, JD
The table below summarizes the latest admission statistics data for US law schools.
What GPA and LSAT Score Do You Need to Get Into Law School?
Law school admissions is notoriously competitive, and the above stats reflect this. The median acceptance rate for all law schools in the US sits at 40.8%, which is already a fairly competitive rate. The top 15 law schools in the US, such as the with acceptance rates below 20%, are even more selective. The toughest law school to get into, , has an acceptance rate of just 5.72%. Conversely, even the easiest Ivy League law schools to get into, such as , Columbia's law program and have very competitive acceptance rates.
To get accepted to law school, you’ll need an excellent application and good scores. The average accepted LSAT score is 150, but to get into the top law schools, you’ll want to score above 162 out of 180. If you score below 145 on any practice tests, work on improving your score before you take the real exam. Or you can retake the test to submit stronger scores on your law school application. A can help guide you in navigating this really difficult . They can help you figure out to get a competitive score.
To recall Tyler's story, you will need a relatively high GPA to get accepted to law school as well. You should aim for a GPA of 3.6 or higher to get into the best law schools. Some law schools will accept students with lower GPAs, but realistically, you’ll need a GPA of at least 3.3 to have a fair shot of getting accepted to less selective law schools.
Getting into law school in the US is undeniably challenging, but it is possible. With many excellent law schools to choose from, including some of the most well-known such as , and School, there are many opportunities for students to get accepted. If you’re concerned about or below average LSAT score, don’t worry. There are ways to compensate for lower statistics and get in, which we will discuss later in this article!
It is important to say that some schools, especially the competitive, prestigious ones, will not likely overlook a very low GPA and LSAT - even if you submit excellent supportive application components. Aaron Schulze, our law admissions expert and JD graduate of the knows that you have to meet the required GPA and LSAT score if you want to have a good chance of acceptance:
"When I was applying, I was told by multiple sources that an applicant’s ‘numbers’ (GPA and LSAT) were always the most significant factors. Of course, the written parts of the application are important, but they are not weighed the same. While strong scores can make up for weak written materials, strong written materials can rarely make up for weak scores." – Aaron Schulze, JD, University of Texas School of Law
Tyler, whose experience with the LSAT we already mentioned above, echoes this sentiment:
"[A] personal statement may push a student over the finish line to acceptance, but I don’t think it’s given as much importance – I did not do much to personalize my personal statements to each school but got many acceptances anyway." – Tyler Chiasson, JD
So the verdict is out: as hard as it is for us to accept, we have to be realistic about the importance of GPA and LSAT scores in law school admissions. This is certainly not to say that the rest of your application does not matter, not at all! But if you want to compete for spots in some of the best law schools in the US, then you have to use the acceptance rates and admissions info we provide you with above to choose which of the schools you would be a good fit in. Here's how our JD admissions expert Aaron Schulze used the stats:
"I spent a considerable amount of time researching and finding all the metrics (i.e., average GPA, average LSAT, etc.) for the schools I was interested in. Because I was unsure of where I wanted to practice, I wanted to apply to recognized, more notable programs with a reputation both in-state and out-of-state. However, these programs were more competitive. I divided my school list into categories of how likely my acceptance would be based on comparing my numbers with the school’s statistics." – Aaron Schulze, JD
You don't need to look for the stats! They are already present in this article! And once you create your school list where your GPA and LSAT would be accepted, you can plan and organize strategies to increase your chances of acceptance via strong application components. Remember: all of your competitors will also have strong GPA and LSAT scores, so you must show something extra to the admissions committee to secure that spot. How do you do this? Read on to find out!
Here's some tips for those who are trying to get into law school with lower grades:
As we’ve seen, US law schools’ admissions is extremely selective, and law school admissions committees are looking for the best of the best in applicants. For the best chance at , you’ll need a well-rounded application. This means a respectable LSAT score, the highest GPA possible, and a compelling .
Having a good balance of all application components is best, but a weak point in your application can be overcome by a solid whole. Having a really strong application is especially important if you have lower statistics. The written sections of your application will need to be very well constructed. The highest GPA and LSAT scores won’t be enough to get you into the best law school if your written essays and other application components are underwhelming.
Law School Essays
Your law school personal statement will answer the question “?” and why you’ve chosen to apply to a particular law school. Some applications may include specific you need to respond to, so review the you’ll be writing on to help you construct a strong essay and brainstorm ideas.
Many students struggle with the written sections of an application, particularly law school essays, and plenty of students hire a for this reason. Reading examples can be an excellent way to prepare for this step, too. Try reading some for inspiration on writing stellar personal statements for law school.
Law School Recommendation Letters
can be another powerful tool on your application. Recommendation letters are important because law schools want to evaluate your character and fitness for the legal field, not just your academic skills. Hearing about your abilities and strengths from others who know you can be a strong asset for your application.
To secure the strongest recommendations possible, choose the best referees, follow instructions from the law school on how many letters to submit and how to submit them, and maintain a good relationship with your recommendation letter writers.
Supplemental Law School Application Components
There are also some important ways you can compensate for lower law school admissions statistics. These are supplementary parts of your application but can be highly effective tools:
Want to learn how Chat GPT can help you with law school admissions?
The application package is only part of preparing for law school. There are other elements you’ll need to prep for, including optional essays and the law school interview. Your preparation for law school should include a holistic strategy where you can get ready for each aspect of the admissions journey. Below we've included some tips on what to prepare for and how you can do it to give yourself the best chance of getting accepted.
1. What law school has the highest acceptance rate?
Creighton University Law School is the law school with the highest acceptance rate in the US at 79%.
2. What law school has the lowest acceptance rate?
Yale Law School has the lowest acceptance rate of all US law schools at 5.72%. Yale Law School is also the top-rated law school in the US, and is one of the famed Ivy League schools.
3. What GPA do I need to get into law school?
To get into most selective law schools in the US, you should aim for a GPA of at least 3.59. If your goal is to get into a top 10 law school, you should aim to get a GPA of 3.7 or above.
4. What LSAT score is needed to get into law school?
The average LSAT score is 150, but to get accepted to the most competitive law schools in the US, you should try to score at least 162 and higher. If you want a good shot at getting into any law school, you should try to score over 150 at least.
5. How hard is it to get into law school?
Generally speaking, it is difficult to get into law school in the US. The average acceptance rate of all US law schools is around 40%, so they are quite selective. However, it is possible to get accepted, even to a competitive program, with a strong application and good preparation.
6. What is the easiest Ivy League law school to get into?
The easiest Ivy League law schools to get accepted to are the University of Cornell, Dartmouth University and University of Pennsylvania law school programs.
7. What is the most popular US law school?
The Georgetown University Law Centre receives the most applications of any other law school in the US. The program has consistently been called the country’s most popular law school over the years.
8. Can I get into law school with a low GPA?
Yes, it is still possible to get into law school with a low GPA, but you will need to strengthen the rest of your application to make up for it. The lowest score GPA with which you can still realistically get accepted to law school is 2.5.
9. Can I get into law school with a low LSAT score?
Yes, you can still get accepted to law school with a lower LSAT score. If you’re consistently scoring lower than 145, however, you should consider retaking the LSAT and trying to get a higher score. Retaking the LSAT, even more than once, will not hurt your application, but you can also explain the reason for your retakes in a law school addendum.