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One of the most persistent law school admissions myths is the notion that schools consider every LSAT score – or the average score – for individual applicants when assessing their admissions profile. This is a particularly tough myth to counter because it often originates from the carefully crafted semantics law schools themselves use in describing how they view multiple tests.
Only the high score is submitted
Law schools do read files holistically and they do read/see every LSAT score/withdrawal/cancellation of each applicant. However, no matter what anyone says, the reality is that only the high score is submitted to the ABA and it is therefore the only score USWNR will ever see. Thus, the high score means everything and the only thing to a school’s median LSAT and rankings. All other scores/takes are meaningless for reporting purposes.
When to retake the LSAT
Put in practical terms, it behooves an applicant to retake the LSAT if they feel like they haven’t reached their potential. This not a green light to take the test 6 or more times without regard to its effect on your application. An extreme amount of takes may indicate larger issues to an admissions office, but that’s an exceptionally rare case. For the vast majority of scenarios, to retake for a higher score presents all opportunity with no downside.
Admissions offices will admit people from the WL throughout the spring and summer until the start of classes in the fall (usually August or September).
The math behind the Wait List
The math behind the WL is more robust than most applicants assume – many schools’ Wait Lists are much larger than they will ever be able to admit (sometimes as much as 40-50% of their applicant pool) and the activity level of admitting from the WL can range from single digits to up to half of the entering class. Most schools will fall in the middle, but this still means there are many opportunities to be admitted from the WL. But you will need to differentiate against a large number of people in the same WL boat.
The easiest, most empirical way to differentiate is with an LSAT score. The higher the score, the more rare it is – especially this year. This is measurable, empirical and arguably coveted above all else in admissions Wait List situations. For many on the WL, a simple increase in 1-2 points from the Feb or June LSAT can make all the difference. Indeed, this is one of those happy scenarios where I have seen hard work and persistence at the LSAT not only get applicants their dream school, but even significant scholarship awards being admitted off of the waitlist.
Mike Spivey and Karen Buttenbaum of Spivey Consulting
The Spivey Consulting Group offers premier services for law school applicants and prospective students, current students and job seekers, and law schools. Years of experience in admissions, career services, and strategic initiatives at leading law schools combined with a highly individualized and client-centered approach have gained Spivey Consulting national recognition for delivering tangible value. We offer a different approach — one that is tailored and highly attentive to each client. Our commitment is for every client to gain a substantial advantage through our services and our track-record is unparalleled.