. . . you should consider your LSDAS GPA when making your application decisions.
I have a few questions. I don't understand how or why the LSAC alters our undergraduate GPAs in a lot of cases. I just don't get it. So would someone please explain:
1. why the LSAC alters our GPAs?
2. on what do they base the decision to alter our GPAs?
3. what does it mean if they didn't touch my GPA at all? They let it stand.
4. what dictates if and by how much they alter our GPAs?
5. does the age of our undergraduate GPA matter (i.e., do they account for the notorious phenomenon of "grade inflation" that's supposedly occurred in the more recent past?)?
Thanks, you guys.
I'll answer your questions by numbering my responses to correspond to my responses.
1. LSAC "alters" your GPA because different schools give different GPA values for varying grades. For example, some schools consider a B+ a 3.5, while others consider it a 3.3 or a 3.33. Since these differences can matter greatly in GPA calculations, LSAC normalizes grades so that there is at least a numerical basis for comparison. This, of course, does not eliminate the problem that different majors and different schools have different degrees of difficulty so that a 4.0 at one school might be much easier than a 3.3 at another.
2. I think my response to #1 addresses this question, too.
3. If your LSAC GPA is the same as your school's reported GPA, that just means that LSAC and your school agree on the GPA value of all your grades. So, for example, a B+ is not only a 3.33 according to LSAC but also according to your school.
4. The difference between how your school and how LSAC weigh each letter grade is the primary factor in determining any difference between your transcript and LSAC GPA. There are, however, other factors. These are generally related to two things:
a. college courses taken at other institutions besides your undergraduate institution(s) -- these courses are also reported and the grades are included in your LSAC GPA calculation.
b. for LSAC purposes, withdrawal-failures and failures in pass/fail classes all count as a 0.0 when calculating GPA, even if transcripts treat these statuses differently
5. LSAC does not account for any grade inflation, grade deflation or any similar reasons whether or not these reasons are either related to the age of the degree or not. Schools may or may not account for these explanations, but I don't think there is a definitive answer. LSAC only normalizes the numbers -- it is up to schools to interpret them how the see fit, and this will probably depend on each school. Most likely, though, grade inflation is not the primary factor in assessing GPA, because it would be an impressive undertaking to calculate grade inflation at the thousands of schools in the country in a way that would allow admissions officers to make reasonable decisions.
The official explanation of how LSAC GPA calculations work is available here: http://www.lsac.org/aboutlsac/faqs-and-support-lsdas.asp#gpa-different
This link shows you the value of each grade and also links to the official LSAC guide, which is more comprehensive and a source that may be helpful for you to read.