We all have our guilty pleasures, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed Legally Blonde–and not just because I carried a toy poodle around my law school campus in a book bag more than a decade before anyone had heard of Elle Woods.
For the sake of entertainment, I was willing to suspend disbelief when a first-year law student won a murder trial by drawing on her knowledge of hair care. But, I drew the line at “You’ll need at least a 175 on your LSAT.”
Virtually every law school in the United States publishes information regarding the GPA and LSAT score ranges of students accepted in a given year. The admissions information on the schools’ websites also makes it clear that there’s no magic number: admissions decisions are based on a combination of factors.
Of course, we all know that there are number combinations with which you’re very unlikely to be admitted to particular schools. But, even those schools that rely very heavily on the numbers don’t offer a magic number–not even behind closed doors. No one can tell you that you “need at least a 175” (or a 170, or a 162) to get into a particular school.
Yet, students often start off with a magic number in mind, and the stress associated with falling a couple of points shy of what they see as a bright line requirement on practice tests is hugely counterproductive.
When you’re selecting schools and preparing for the LSAT, you should definitely do your homework and understand the score and GPA ranges for your target schools. And, you should be realistic about your chances and about how much you’re likely to improve in the time you have to prepare. But, those numbers you’re looking at are medians or 25th percentiles or 75th percentiles, not cut-offs. Don’t lose sight of that–especially if you’re a person who doesn’t perform well under stress.