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Please correct me if I am wrong: GPA and LSAT scores

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SmilingFish:

Okay, I have been thinking about these two numbers and what they can say about the students.

I think GPA is a reflection of students' studying strategies, ethics, and his or her consistency of studying and getting certain grades, and maybe his level of mastering his subject? When people say, oh, he is B student, what does is really mean? That he is not good at using certain study strategies, that he probably partied too much, that he probably went to the wrong school, that he probably do not really like his class? Or, that he is just not smart enough - he is a B-tier student. I like the idea that GPA is the "average" grade of one's entire academic performance. Then, the theory of "he is just not an A-student" seems to be more appropriate since we don't know what other classes that he got A and A+ and what other classes that he might got C or D. So, what does GPA really tell us? Without looking at the transcript, how would you really tell what kind of student this one is?

In addition, transcript does not necessary represent the challenges that the student might overcome. For example, different professors can teach one same class, and as a result, different professors will propose different difficulties of the same class. So, the transcript viewers would not know if the professor is what we students call "hard," or the other for the same class is what we call "easy." With this factor in mind, how can a GPA reflect the true strength of a student? And let's say a student who constantly gets "easy" profs and getting a lot of A's in his transcript. GPA is high, and he gets into a top law school. What will happen later? He realized that he does not seem to be ready for the rigorous classes and thus fail the tests. Are these failures the admission offices wish to see? My final question is, what does GPA really tell about us? and can rely on it?

Now, let's say GPA proves one to have a better study ethics, and then how about LSAT? I heard people say LSAT tests the skills necessary for law school such as reading comprehension, logic thinking, etc. I agree, because I think the test is fair. It does not matter who has a richer dad, neither who went to a good school, and neither who is a teacher's pet, you and I, having nothing but our brains, answering the same test under the same pressure. The one who performs better is said to have better skills for law schools. (yes, circumstances come up and some people might not perform well, so they can retake.)

This is where my question comes in: can you say one with a lower GPA but a high LSAT is ready for law school? How about one with higher GPA but lower LSAT? How about higher in both? (I guess that is what we say a true genius, isn't it?)

I guess this is why we need personal statements, letters of rec, and other stuff. Oh boy, I am just thinking aloud...

But, final question: what really determines our skills and potential to succeed in law school, at least the possibility to survive in law school? GPA, LSAT, PS, L of R, or anything else?

Nathaniel:
I dropped out of college, which left a slew of W's on my transcript in fall '04; I took the LSAT in '05; I scored a 166; in fall '06 I went back to college and graduated with a 3.65 gpa; and then I got into BU Law and the University of Southern California Law.  The mean salaries for graduates from both of those law schools is above $100,000.  I bet that can buy you lots of t 'n' a.  And isn't that like 1/3 of what it's all about???

Julie Fern:
much more t than a, especially usc.

cooley3L:
You could have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 at ITT, and still get into Harvard if you get a 180.

Statistically though grades and lsat tend to correlate. Not a death sentence, but a glimpse of the condition of the the road ahead.

HolmesBoy:

--- Quote from: SmilingFish on September 02, 2012, 04:00:03 PM ---
But, final question: what really determines our skills and potential to succeed in law school, at least the possibility to survive in law school? GPA, LSAT, PS, L of R, or anything else?

--- End quote ---

There are exceptions, but it really boils down to one's ability to do well on standardized testing. A high UGPA generally indicates hard work and intelligence, while a high LSAT and low UGPA might indicate intelligence and laziness or poor planning, lack of commitment, maturity issues, etc. Also, students can totally game UGPAs (easy classes, easy major, professor selection, cheating, etc.).

Similar to the LSAT, law school exams and the bar exam are a time crunch. You generally only get one shot and a limited amount of time to demonstrate to the professor/bar grader that you know what's up.

If you're really interested, an essay by Gary S. Rosin called Unpacking the Bar: Of Cut Scores, Competence and Crucibles discusses the correlation between the LSAT and bar passage.

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