What LSAT Score Is Needed to Get Scholarships?
- Jun 24, 2022
- Admissions, Law School Admissions, LSAT
What LSAT Score Do You Need For a Full Scholarship? It Depends.
As I learned on my first day of law school, the answer to most questions when it comes to law school is: it depends. The question of what LSAT score will get you a scholarship is no different. In fact, its answer may epitomize the phrase.
Let the Median Be Your Guide
For a general guide, you can look at the profile of your intended school’s most recent class of students. A school’s class profile will tell you the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile LSAT scores of their latest students. Admissions departments will be looking to beat their previous class’s LSAT scores. Is your LSAT score above their 50th percentile? Lookin’ good; above their 75th percentile? Lookin’ great! Will you get a scholarship offer? It depends. See what I did there?
If you are the mystical type, you can try divining more by gazing into the crystal ball that is your target law school’s Standard 509 Report. Here you will find data about how many students were offered scholarships and the range of those scholarships. While prognosticating, be sure not to skim over the school’s median grade point averages. Admissions departments are trying to beat all of their last class’s numbers—including GPA numbers. To target scholarships, seek out schools where your LSAT is above their 50th percentile LSAT and your GPA is above their 50th percentile GPA. For a slam dunk, target schools where both your LSAT and your GPA are above their 75th percentiles.
Doing the Splits
If you have trouble finding target schools where your LSAT and GPA are both high in comparison to medians, you may be a splitter. A splitter is a law school applicant with a large disparity between the strength of their LSAT and the relative strength of their GPA.
If you have a great LSAT score and a less than stellar GPA, it’s okay; like they say in bowling—splits happen! The good news: LSAT scores are weighted more heavily in merit-based scholarship decisions than GPAs are.
If you’re a reverse splitter, an applicant with a strong GPA and a relatively weak LSAT, you’re in for a more difficult time. The unequal treatment of LSAT to GPA makes a reverse split harder to overcome. You should make sure you’ve done everything you can to increase your LSAT score before you commit yourself to an application cycle of splitting against your own favor. In the case of a reverse split, I strongly advise you to wait, prepare longer utilizing more materials, and retake. Avoid being one of the many reverse splitters who come to this conclusion on their own after one (or several) long, disappointing cycles.
Rankings or Money—or Both?
Facing an entirely different kind of decision, some applicants, who have both the highest LSATs and the highest GPAs, will be deciding whether to turn down full-ride scholarships to attend higher-ranked schools with little or no scholarship money instead. These tough-to-make and oh-so-enviable decisions come down to future earning potential. The theory is that sometimes one school’s average post-graduation salary numbers are so much higher than another’s that paying out of pocket or even going into debt to attend is a better financial decision, despite having to pass up on large or even full scholarships.
Should you find yourself in the position to weigh several advantageous offers, you’ll want to seek out the Department of Education law school earnings data (found via a simple search). The DoE provides law-school-related data such as debt-to-income ratio, median and mean debt, and average post-graduation salaries. Armed with that info, the school’s tuition rates, and your scholarship offers, you’ll have all the numbers you need to make a smart decision.
Calculating debt-to-income and debt-minus-scholarship-to-income math can be complicated but LSAT math isn’t—it’s simple addition: there are 60 points between 120 and 180 and every added point gets you closer to scholarships and higher future earnings.
Some schools report debt-to-income ratios as high as five to one while some other schools report average salaries 500 percent higher than their peers. With stakes this high, it’s imperative that LSAT takers focus on maximizing their score—the additional point, five points, or, in the case of the average Blueprint Prep Live Course student, 15 points, can considerably increase your odds of getting scholarships and earning more money in the future.
Consider a hypothetical applicant, Judy. Judy has a 3.5 undergraduate GPA and a 156 LSAT score. Judy self-prepped. Let’s give credit where credit is due, though; Judy did pretty well for herself. She could even expect to receive a scholarship to a school in the #150 to #200 ranking bracket. This hypothetical school would likely have a 3-year tuition cost of $120,000 and an average post-graduation salary of just under $50,000 per year.
Judy could also expect to be admitted without a scholarship to her local state law school where the three-year tuition cost is closer to $40,000 and the average post-graduation salary is $60,000. In this instance, Judy paying out of pocket to attend her local school is a better financial decision. If Judy chose to attend the state school, she’d quickly earn her money back and she’d look forward to years of higher earnings.
But, imagine Judy had chosen to begin her law school investment by becoming a Blueprint LSAT course student. With 15 additional LSAT points, which is the average increase for Blueprint students, Judy’s outlook would have been greatly improved. She would likely have enjoyed full scholarship offers from law schools in the #50 to #60 range, where the average salaries are $70,000 a year, and she would likely have received offers of admission (some with large scholarships attached) from law schools in the #25 to #30 range, which boast post-graduation average salaries of over $90,000 per year. If Judy had also put together a stellar application packet, she could even have gotten into some of her reach schools with their average post-graduation salaries of over $150,000.
The wide range of Judy’s hypothetical options result from her fictive application strategy. In an ideal application cycle, applicants apply to five reach schools (schools where the applicant’s numbers are a little lower than the school’s published medians), five target schools (where the applicant’s numbers are good to very good in comparison to the school’s published medians), and two safety schools (where the applicant’s numbers are excellent in comparison to the school’s published medians). Utilizing this strategy, potential law students maximize their opportunities for acceptances and scholarships. At the end of their cycle, when all of their acceptances and scholarship offers have been received, they’ll sit down and crunch the (hopefully) favorable numbers.
The Offer Doesn’t Have to Be the End
What if you, like Blueprint Prep Judy, got several great offers? You may be particularly money savvy and want to squeeze out a few more pennies by encouraging a little friendly competition. Or you may have fallen in love with a school that offered you just a little less than another. Or maybe you really want to move to the East Coast to be closer to your grandma, but your highest offer came from the West Coast. There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to reach out to a school and ask if they can do a little better.
Don’t be afraid to engage in negotiations, you’re dealing with lawyers—they can handle it. At some schools, initial scholarship offers are made with the understanding that a later negotiation is likely to take place. But, negotiations can be tricky, and various schools have various policies. Make sure to do your research and know what policies are in place before you reach out.
It Depends, It Depends, and Test-Takers Depend
What LSAT score you need to get scholarships all depends. It depends in part on what school you want to go to and in smaller parts on what GPA you have and on how well you put together your application packet.
The one thing you can know is that when it comes to applying to law school, it all depends on your LSAT score. Admittance, scholarships, and future earnings are all affected positively by it.
When you’ve properly prepared for your LSAT, your resulting score can be a real moneymaker—and that’s why so many test-takers depend on Blueprint Prep!
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