Past experience and the search terms bringing people to this blog indicate that “What’s a good LSAT score?” is a common question from prospective law students. The answer, however, depends on your goals, your grade point average and–especially–the law school you hope to attend.
At Yale, which US News currently lists as the # 1 law school in the country, the 25th/75th percentile scores are 170 and 176. Obviously, not every admit is going to score in that range, but an applicant hoping to be competitive at Yale (or another top school) will be shooting to score in the 170s.
Of course, not everyone is aiming for a top ten school. Here are a few additional scoring ranges to give you an idea of the distribution:
#41 ranked University of Illinois posted 25th/75th scores of 158 and 163.
#87 ranked Syracuse University posted 25th/75th scores of 152 and 158.
#138 ranked Pace posted 25th/75th scores of 148 and 153.
In addition, there are more than 20 law schools in the United States with median LSAT scores in the 140s or below. In short, it’s unlikely that a low LSAT score alone will prevent anyone from getting into law school; however, a low score relative to a particular school’s norms may prevent you from attending the school of your choice.
Thus, a “good” LSAT score for you may be very different from a good LSAT score for your roommate or cousin.
The best way to set your LSAT goals is to research the schools you’re most interested in. In part, that means checking the medians and/or 25th/75th percentile scores for a given school, but remember that the LSAT isn’t the only factor in play. Your GPA will also have an impact, along with any unique background or experience you might have. LSAC provides an excellent resource for plugging in your GPA and LSAT practice test scores to determine your statistical chances of admission.
A couple of caveats, though:
Remember that there’s more to law school admissions than numbers.
And, your LSAT score can impact more than law school admission. While applications are down and admission may be somewhat less competitive today than it was a few years ago, money is emerging as a prime barrier to law school attendance. High LSAT scores often significantly impact scholarship opportunities, so when you’re taking those practice tests, don’t just set your sights on what it will take to get in–pushing beyond the expectations of your target schools may save you tens of thousands of dollars.