This is a question that I often find very few applicants know the actual answer to. It's surprising to me that, with all the hoopla surrounding LSAT preparation and taking the LSAT, most students never actually stop to wonder: Why exactly is this test so important?
Because most of you are (or should be) done with your applications and are sitting, waiting, dying to hear back from schools regarding a decision, I thought that shedding some light on why you spent a good chunk of the last year striving for the best LSAT score possible was a good idea.
Much like the SAT is used in college admissions, the LSAT is used as a standardized measure in law school admissions. Why? Because it is the only across-the-board numerical indicator that law schools have when comparing applicants. Law school admissions officers have no way of really knowing how one major in one college stacks up in difficulty to the same major in another college, or how a 4.0 GPA from one school compares to a 4.0 GPA from another (sure, they'll be able to hazard a fairly accurate guess, but it's still not an exact science).
When it comes to the LSAT, they know that everyone was given the same level of difficulty and very similar questions. This makes the LSAT is the single most important number on your application, even more important than your undergraduate GPA. In fact, some schools weigh your GPA 4 or 5 times more than your undergraduate GPA—which means that a three-and-a-half hour test can weigh much more than four years of college!
The LSAT is also considered to be an accurate predictor of first-year law school performance--which means, essentially, that if you do well on the LSAT, you're telling schools that you'll do well during your first (and arguably most difficult) year of law school.
Use this information to your advantage. Think of it this way—even if your GPA is below the median for the school of your choice, you can significantly improve your chances by thoroughly preparing for the LSAT andscoring in a high percentile. And, if your GPA is well above the median for your dream school, you can make yourself a virtual shoo-in by getting a high LSAT score and making sure everything else in your application is well taken care of. No matter which category you fall into, you can play the LSAT score game to your advantage.