This fall, we will discuss each major component of your application in a series of blog posts.  First up: test score(s).

It’s the start of October, which means many of you received September LSAT scores this past weekend.  Whether you reacted with elation, relief, or disappointment, you may wonder how we consider your test score.

Picture a rectangle filled with circles.  Some are larger than other, and put together, they fill the space of the rectangle.  The rectangle is your academic skills and potential to excel during law school.  Each circle is one data point, informing the analysis of the whole.

Your test score – be it LSAT or GRE – is one of those circles inside the rectangle.  It may be smaller, it may be larger, but it is just one circle.  Yes, we look at your test score(s) to help us understand your academic abilities, but we look at a variety of other factors, too.  Rigor of course work, undergraduate grades, letters of recommendation, intellectual engagement outside the classroom, experience writing in academic and professional settings – all of these circles appear in the rectangle alongside your test score.

You might take a test more than once, or perhaps you took both the GRE and the LSAT.  If so, each of those test scores appears as a circle in that rectangle.  Two test scores?  Two circles, and we consider both as part of the overall rectangle.  If there is any context you think we need to know about your scores, you can tell us why in a short addendum.  (In case you are wondering, the scores you see in our class profile are the highest scores of our 1L class.)

How many times should you take the test(s)?  That’s a personal decision.  Think about the application process as an allocation of resources.  You know your abilities and how much time you have to devote to your applications.  With the time you have set aside, what do you want to prioritize?  Which parts reflect you best, and which parts are less indicative of your abilities?

And finally, one note to put test scores into perspective.  Both the LSAT and the GRE have been shown to be predictive of first-year grades in law school (according to national studies).  As far as we know, no one has ever claimed that LSAT or GRE scores are predictive of your potential to develop into an excellent attorney or leader in your field of choice.  We see that you are more than a test score, and we hope you can keep that in mind as you go through the application process.

Filed in: Inside the Black Box

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