The Big Takeaway From LSAT Scores at Top Law Schools

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The Wall Street Journal made a splash this past week by doing an ever-so-scientific study by comparing the LSAT medians from three years ago with the new numbers. Above The Law expanded on the study with a few more top law schools.

What did they find?

Not much has changed. Yale Law School didn’t budge at all. Harvard’s numbers are down one point; and it was only Columbia’s 75th percentile that dropped down. Chicago’s bottom fell out a bit — two points to 167. Berkeley. UVA and Michigan also saw a single-point decline in their respective 25th percentiles.

So, for the most part, a point here or there. Which means it’s just as hard to get into a top law school, right?

Not quite.

As anyone who has studied for the LSAT knows, a single point can be a big deal. Just ask anyone who scored the exact same LSAT score 3 or 4 times in a row. A single point is well within the LSAT’s published margin of error, but schools don’t really consider that standard deviation unless you take multiple LSATs. Even then, it’s not a huge factor in the decision process — most schools are mainly looking at your top LSAT score.

And this is only looking at top schools. If you take a look at schools ranked lower, they’re seeing larger hits to their numbers. The story is about the top schools because those are the ones everyone has heard of; but the schools in the middle of the rankings are the ones to which the vast majority of students are applying.

So for most of you out there, the advice still holds true: it is a great time to apply to law school, and gaining admission is a little easier (which doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea). And for those of you looking to the top, any advantage is going to help out. One point on the LSAT now might make the difference.

Unless you’re applying to Yale.

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