If you are planning to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), there are high chances that you are gunning for the prestigious Harvard Law School (HLS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of the most prestigious law schools in the country with alumni as distinguished as Barack Obama, a stint at the school is a dream come true for the aspiring lawyer.
However, a seat at Harvard does not come easy. Extremely large applicant pools make the admissions process a highly competitive affair. While there is no official LSAT cut-off score for admission in HLS, judging by historical numbers, a score of 170+ should give you a great chance. Additionally, if you have a GPA in the range of 3.75 and above, your odds of getting a seat increase highly.
The school itself provides no clear indication of admission barometers. Harvard states on its website – “At no point on the GPA or LSAT scales are the chances of admission to Harvard Law School 0 or 100 percent. As reported to the ABA, the 75/25 percentile GPAs for the class entering in 2013 were 3.95/3.77 and the 75/25 percentile LSATs were 175/170.” This essentially means that an LSAT score in the range of 170-175 with a GPA of 3.77-3.95 would make your case very strong.
That being said, applicants with slightly lower GPAs but high LSAT scores have also got a seat at the law school. Probably it’s down to some basic math. If you have an excellent LSAT score, a slightly lower GPA would do. On the other hand, if you have a good LSAT score (around 170), you would need a much higher GPA. The median LSAT scores for Harvard have been reported at 173.
It would be a good idea to give your best shot at Harvard in your first take itself. Reports have indicated that retakers do not find as much representation in the school as the first time test takers. The school states – “The LSAT need be taken only once. If you take the test more than once, all scores will be received but we will use the highest score in our evaluation.” The ambiguous line serves as a worthwhile indicator of the school policy towards retakers. This is not to say that they do not get admitted. Many of them have found a seat at the law school.
Since Harvard Law School admits on a rolling basis, it would be a good idea to submit the application as soon as it opens in September. This will give you better chances of admission at the institute. Another point to note is that LSAT scores taken within 5 years are considered valid for admission.
While LSAT scores and GPA do play the most important part in the admissions, it is important to understand there will be a large pool of applicants who would have scored high on both the fronts. A good work experience and strong personal statement might just give you the extra edge in such a scenario.