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Can You Get Into Law School With a Low GPA?

May 9, 2024


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 3/27/24

If you want to attend law school but fear your GPA is too low, read on to learn more about getting into law school with a low GPA.

Although it is possible to get into law school with a low GPA, you’ll need to bolster up your other application materials such as your extracurricular activities, LSAT score, and essays. However, you should still try to improve your GPA score because admissions committees do favour a competitive academic record. 

This article will tell you everything you need to know about having a low GPA while applying to law school and ultimately answer the question: “can you still get into law school with a low GPA?”

How to Get into Law School with a Low GPA

Luckily, your GPA is only one of the law school requirements the admissions committee will consider when reviewing your application. So, if you don’t quite meet the expectations in this one part, you’ll just have to surpass them in the others! Read on to figure out exactly which parts you should focus on to overshadow your GPA.

Infographic outlining what to do if you have a low GPA

Write a Law School Addendum

A law school addendum is an explanatory letter that allows students to explain why they have low LSAT scores, grades, or misdemeanors that would make them seem like unideal candidates.

Having a low GPA is a worthy reason to write an addendum. It can give the admissions committee more insight into your situation and prevent them from making wrongful assumptions about your character.

For instance, what the admissions committee might otherwise chalk up to as you being a careless or incapable student, can be explained as you being a hardworking, resilient person that persevered through adversity.

Whether you were tied down by a time-consuming job, lost a family member, or had personal problems that consumed your energy, an addendum can help the admissions team overlook your GPA.

That being said, you want to make sure you don’t use this addendum as an excuse. You aren’t trying to make the committee feel bad. In your addendum, you must take responsibility for your actions, stick to the facts of the situation, prove that you’ve grown, and assure them you will not repeat your fault.

Get Strong Letters of Recommendation

While securing good letters of recommendation requires more effort on your part than writing a one-page addendum, these letters directly attest to your character. They can prove that you’re an excellent student despite your low GPA.

The best way to prove you’re a good student is to get letters of recommendation from professors or teaching assistants from previous courses.

You can get a letter from a faculty member who taught you a course you did exceptionally well in, or if you formed a connection with a faculty member from a course you didn’t do as well as expected, you could get a letter of recommendation from them.

The latter is useful because it’ll prove that your professor who assigned your grade, still believes you’re an exceptional student and will do well in law school despite your marks.

The key to having outstanding letters of recommendation is to ensure the writers portray you as an extraordinary person – one of a kind, even. If you’re painted as average, or even just good, the admissions committee won’t be convinced you’re an admirable student they’d be lucky to have. 

Ace the LSAT

A high LSAT score can also help compensate for a low GPA. Luckily, many competitive law schools weigh your LSAT score equally with your GPA, meaning extra points on the LSAT may effectively boost your GPA and vice versa.

Doing extremely well on the LSAT is challenging but possible with the right resources and dedication! While the average LSAT score is around 151-152, you’ll want to score well above this average to be considered competitive with a low GPA.

Let Juris be your mentor! Our superstar team of experts will ensure you have the perfect tools to ace the LSAT and get into your dream law school. It’s simple – you choose the program, and we’ll get you there.

Write a Strong Law School Personal Statement

One of the most dreaded parts of the law school application is the personal statement. This statement requires you to draft compelling and unique responses to the law school prompts. The objective is to write about key experiences that demonstrate your interest and ability to become a terrific attorney.  

According to experts, this statement adds color to a one-dimensional process. Your law school application is not solely numbers-focused; an exceptionally average or exceptionally well-written personal statement can potentially make or break your application.

To gain a better understanding of what an excellent personal statement looks like, ensure you go over some past successful examples.

Write A Resume That Shows You’re Ready For Law School

Another way to prove your grades do not reflect your character is to write a resume that shows you have plenty of law-relevant experience and skills.

If you have worked or volunteered at organizations where you made a significant impact, had great accomplishments, or gained valuable experience, you should include all of this on your law school resume.

This resume can show that while you lack the grades, you have the right experience and skills to do well in law school.

Apply Early

You probably didn’t expect to be told the early bird gets the worm when asking if you could still get into law school with a low GPA. Well, considering it’s the law school that’s selecting you, it’s more like the early worm gets picked first by the bird (sorry for comparing you to a worm!).

By applying early, you’re making yourself available for one school only, telling the committee you want to be chosen by them over any other institution (or bird, if we’re sticking to the analogy).

When you submit an early application, you commit to attending that specific law school and must reject any other offers.

As early applicants prove their dedication and eagerness, the admissions committee tends to be a bit more lenient when assessing applicants. The early admissions pool is also smaller than the general admissions pool, meaning you’ll be compared to fewer students, and your GPA may be more acceptable.

What GPA Do You Need For Law School?

If you aren’t set on a specific law school, it might be worth considering both ends of the spectrum.

Top-ranking law schools often require high GPA scores, and lower-ranking schools often accept much lower GPAs. To help you visualize this, here are the GPA scores of the top-10 law schools, followed by some law schools that accept lower GPAs.

Top-10 Law School Median GPAs

If you’re interested in getting into one of the best law schools the nation has to offer, here are the median GPAs you’ll want to aim for:

Ranking Law School Median GPA
#1 Yale University 3.92
#1 Stanford University 3.92
#3 University of Chicago 3.94
#4 University of Pennsylvania 3.88
#5 Duke University 3.87
#5 Harvard University 3.93
#5 New York University 3.52
#8 Columbia University 3.80
#8 University of Virginia 3.94
#10 Northwestern University 3.77

As you can tell, top-ranking schools have extremely high GPA requirements! If your GPA is far below these medians, check out the following law schools that have lower GPA requirements.

Highest-Ranking Law Schools With GPA Medians of 3.5-3.0

If you have a GPA that doesn’t meet the medians of the top-10 law schools, here are the highest-ranking law schools for GPAs between 3.5–3.0.

Ranking Law School Median GPA
#89 University of Pittsburgh 3.55
#105 Albany Law School 3.48
#109 Rutgers University 3.41
#141 University of Idaho 3.36
#180-196 Barry University 3.23

Even if you have a GPA in this range, you still have numerous decent options to choose from!

Law Schools With GPA Medians of 2.9 and Below

While there aren’t many accredited law schools that have median GPA scores in the 2.9–2.0 range, here are a few options:

Ranking Law School Median GPA
N/A Thomas Jefferson School of Law 2.80
N/A Concordia University School of Law 2.80
#180-196 Appalachian School of Law 2.80

So, can you get into law school with a low GPA? Well, admissions statistics say you can! There is quite a large range of acceptable GPAs across all of the nation’s law schools and our quiz is here to help you find out which schools to apply to if you have a low GPA!

Can You Still Get Into a Top Law School With a Low GPA?

Yes, it is possible to get into law school with a low GPA if your other application components, such as your extracurriculars, high LSAT score, and stellar essay, overshadow it. However, you should improve your GPA to improve your odds of getting into your top law schools. 

Another option to consider before applying to law school with a low GPA is taking a gap year to gain valuable experience that can make you stand out as an applicant. There’s no shame in taking a gap year, and doing so can actually boost your application, regardless of your GPA.

Finally, remember to keep in mind that if you’re applying to law school, you’ll receive an entirely new GPA: your LSAC CAS GPA. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) calculates this GPA per the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) to provide a baseline GPA scale for law school admission purposes. You can easily convert your GPA by using our law school GPA calculator.

If you want some further insight about whether you can get into law school, give our law school admission quiz a try. We’ll take a look at your profile and help you determine your chances of getting into law school.

FAQs: Getting Into Law School With a Low GPA

If you have any remaining questions, take a look at our answers to these frequently asked questions.

1. What Is the Lowest GPA For Law School?

Since the majority of law schools require a GPA of 3.0 or higher, anything below a 3.0 is considered very low. Some of the absolute lowest GPA requirements for schools are 2.80.

2. Can You Get Into Law School With a Low GPA?

Yes! It’s still possible to get into law school with a low GPA. You’ll just have to work harder on the other parts of your application to ensure you prove you’re still a worthy candidate.

3. Can You Get Into Law School With a High LSAT and Low GPA?

Having a high LSAT score can counteract a low GPA. As both scores are weighted heavily in the admissions process, a high LSAT score can increase your chances of getting into law school with a low GPA.

4. Which School Has the Highest GPA Requirement?

Yale University has the highest median GPA at 3.94!

5. How Important Is My GPA For Law School?

Since your GPA is an actual number law schools can use to measure your academic potential, it’s a significant factor in the admissions process. However, your LSAT is another significant score that can help boost your application.

6. Should I Still Apply to Top Law Schools With a Low GPA?

Yes! There’s no harm in trying. If you know you can write a clear addendum, get strong letters of recommendation, ace the LSAT, and write a solid resume; you still stand a chance of getting into a top-ranking law school.

Final Thoughts

Your low GPA doesn’t guarantee rejections from law schools. Law schools look at who you are as a person, not just how well you perform academically. If your GPA was all that mattered, there would be no need for such extensive application processes.

Do your best to excel in each of the listed application components, seek and trust the help of experts, be an early worm, and keep your hopes high!

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