Getting into law school is no easy task; the number of admissions is limited and competition is fierce. Top-tier schools are particularly brutal; Harvard Law School accepted just 15.9% of its law school applicants last year.
Your LSAT score carries a lot of weight on your application (anywhere from 60%-75%, depending on the school). The minimum score a school requires and the score you’ll actually need to be accepted are probably two different things.
LSAT scores range from 120 (horrible) to 180 (perfect). Most years, the average score across the board is around 150.
A “good” LSAT score could be considered any score that gets you admitted to the school you want to attend. If you compare yourself to your law school application colleagues in general, a “good” score could be considered between 160 and 175.
Requirements vary, and some schools won’t even give you an idea of what they’re looking for. Rest assured that admissions boards look poorly on scores of 120 and love scores of 180, though.
Harvard Law School (the 2nd highest ranked law school in the country) reports that its 2011 entering class had 75/25 percentile scores of 176/171.
By comparison, the University of Notre Dame reports 75/25 percentile scores of 167/164.
While neither school requires the scores reported, your odds of gaining admittance with a score lower than the 25th percentile are not great.
Law schools require that you take the LSAT prior to applying. The LSAT is offered several times per year, but most schools require that you take the test no later than the December prior to your spring application. For instance, if you want to apply for law school in the spring of 2014, you’ll take the LSAT no later than December, 2013.
Most law schools require you to submit an LSAT score that is 5 or less years old. The purpose for the test is to see that you are a good candidate for the rigors of law school and the law profession; if more than 5 years has passed, your situation may have changed significantly.
You can always retake the LSAT, though if you’ve waited until winter to take it the first time, you probably won’t have time to retake it and get your score in time for spring applications. It’s generally recommended to take the LSAT in June, so that you have plenty of time to study and retake the exam if you need to raise your score.
Law schools consider the LSAT to be just one part of your application. Other factors, including your GPA and transcript, letters of recommendation, resume and personal statement, also weigh into admissions decisions.