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If you graduate with a low GPA, it might seem as though law school is not an option for you. We’re here with good news: You can absolutely get into law school with a low GPA! Though your application process might look a bit different than those of students who received a high GPA, it is still absolutely an option for you.

In this article, we’ll go in-depth on how to get into law school with a low GPA. We’ll discuss what is considered a low GPA for law school, and then talk about different ways to fill out your application that will compensate for your GPA. Let’s get into it:

Also see: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

What is a low GPA for law school?

Law schools are a generally selective group of graduate schools, but it’s important to note that there is wide variation in selectiveness among different law schools. Top-rated schools such as Yale and Harvard usually admit students with close to a 4.0 GPA. Others, such as the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, admit students with a lower-end GPA of 2.8.

So, as you can see, one law school’s low GPA is another’s high GPA. It’s a good idea to look at the average admitted GPA of each school you’re considering, and apply to schools where your GPA falls in the higher percentile, middle percentile, and lower percentile.

Related: Top reasons to become a lawyer

How to compensate for a low GPA

Now let’s get into how you can make up for a low GPA when it comes time to apply for law school. There are many different approaches you can take, and we’ll address all of them here:

Gain real-world experience before applying

One of the best strategies to make up for a low GPA is to gain real-world experience through employment. There are plenty of legal and legal-adjacent jobs that do not require a graduate degree. These include:

  • Victim advocates
  • Legislative assistants
  • Legal secretaries
  • Law librarians
  • Paralegals

Working in one of these roles for a few years is a great way to bolster your application and help you decide whether you want to go on to study law.

Another advantage to gaining work experience is the possibility of making connections in the field. You might build a relationship with a lawyer or law firm that can help you pay for law school or that you might have a good chance of being hired after graduation.

Related: Grad school financing options

Ace the LSAT

The LSAT is essentially the law school equivalent of the ACT/SAT. If you manage to achieve a great score on the LSAT, this can help compensate considerably for your GPA. But this is easier said than done. Start studying early and often, and even consider hiring a test prep tutor to help you stay on course. You can also save money and self-study using free online resources such as Khan Academy.

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Acing the LSAT can demonstrate that you thrive in academic environments, even if you did not earn especially high grades. A high score on this test will be a great asset in the eyes of admissions officers.

Also see: Top 10 tips to reduce test anxiety

Focus on your essays

With an unremarkable or low GPA, your essays will become all the more important. Make sure to put a lot of effort into each of your application essays. Demonstrate your capability, your resilience, and your passion for law. It’s a good idea to expand on some of your achievements and reflect on how you learned from them.

To gleam some inspiration, try asking your friends and family about things that you’ve accomplished that would make good additions to your essays. Oftentimes, other people can provide insight about us that we would be unable to name ourselves!

Related: How to write an essay about yourself

Explain your grades

Instead of glossing over your GPA, you should make sure to address it head-on in your essays. Before you begin writing, do some thinking and identify what it was that caused you to earn low grades.

If it was due to extenuating circumstances, such as illness in the family, or financial strain, explain these circumstances and tell the reader how balancing school with your hardships made you grow as a person.

If your low GPA was not due to extenuating circumstances, you can take a positive approach that describes how you have grown and the steps you’ve taken to improve your academic performance. Make sure to find a way to put a positive spin on it; pretending your GPA doesn’t exist won’t work!

Also see: Top reasons to become a lawyer

Apply to a wide range of schools

As a student with a lower GPA, you’ll be looking at a different set of options than students who graduated with a high GPA. Make sure that you apply to a range of reach, safety, and match schools to bolster the chances that you gain admission somewhere.

To get an idea of your chances at a school, you can look up their average admitted GPA and test scores and see how you fit into the student body. Remember, these averages are not the be-all-end-all determinant of admissions decisions, but they are a good indicator.

Related: Top law school scholarships

Secure stellar recommendations

A low GPA can be a warning sign that a student does not perform well in class. But one of the best ways to combat this impression is to include stellar recommendations from professors in your application. Make sure to choose the right professor to ask for your recommendation, and be very courteous when you ask for your letter.

You might ask the professor to address your low GPA in the letter of recommendation. Sometimes, a professor can vouch for your classroom performance in other areas, such as attentiveness and participation, while acknowledging that these traits are not always captured in grades. A great recommendation can be a great way to balance out a low GPA.

Also see: How to ask for letters of recommendation

Send out lots of applications

If you did not earn high grades in undergrad, you’ll be relying more heavily on aspects of your application such as your essays and personal statements. Unlike numbers, these portions of your application can be interpreted differently by different admissions officers. Some might be very compelled by your writing, while others might be more numbers-oriented.

To improve the chances that your application lands on the desk of an admissions officer who emphasizes essays, make sure that you send your application far and wide. The more schools that receive it, the better chance that you get a sympathetic reader.

Summing it up

Students with low GPAs can absolutely still make it to law school, though their path there may look a little different. It can be extremely helpful to take a year or two off from school in order to gain real-world experience. Great essays, a high LSAT score, and heartfelt letters of recommendation can also go a long way in compensating for GPA.

So, don’t give up on your law school dreams because of a low GPA! Even if you have to take a few years off of school in order to get there, law school is still entirely within your reach. Good luck!

Also see: How to pay for law school

How to Get into Law School with a Low GPA - Scholarships360 (5)

Key Takeaways

  • You can get into law school with a low GPA!
  • In order to compensate for a low GPA you should gain real-world experience before applying, ace the LSAT, focus on your essays, secure stellar recommendations and send out lots of applications!
  • In your application, acknowledge your low GPA and explain why your grades were low.

How to Get into Law School with a Low GPA - Scholarships360 (6)

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Frequently asked questions about getting into law school with a low GPA

Can I get into law school with a low GPA?

It is possible to get into law school with a low GPA by overshadowing it through extracurricular experience, a high LSAT score and a stellar grad school application. However, it is recommended that you try to raise your GPA for law school to help improve your chances of getting into the law school of your choice.

What is considered a low GPA for law school?

Typically, a low GPA for law school would be below 3.0.

How do I explain a low GPA in my law school application essays?

You should acknowledge your low GPA in your law school application essays. You can explain your low GPA by taking responsibility and providing a valid reason. However, try to avoid the blame game and rather take responsibility for your actions. Additionally, you should focus on what you have learned from this experience and how you will improve and change for law school.

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How to Get into Law School with a Low GPA - Scholarships360? ›

As a student with a lower GPA, you'll be looking at a different set of options than students who graduated with a high GPA. Make sure that you apply to a range of reach, safety, and match schools to bolster the chances that you gain admission somewhere.

How to get a scholarship for law school with a low GPA? ›

For students seeking financial aid for law school, applying to lower-tier law schools increases your chances of getting scholarship offers. This is because lower-tier law schools have lower median GPAs and LSAT scores, so if you apply to these schools with a relatively high LSAT score, you may be offered a scholarship.

Can I apply to law school with a 2.5 GPA? ›

But to answer the question what GPA do you need to get into law school, any law school, then the answer is at least a 2.5. That is realistically the lowest GPA you can have to get into law school. But even with a 2.5, you have an uphill battle to climb as that is in the lowest category of GPAs any school accepts.

Can I get into law school with a 2.0 GPA? ›

No law school has a minimum GPA or a minimum LSAT score required for admission. However, as a general rule, the higher the law school's ranking, the higher your grades and scores need to be in order to have a realistic chance of admission.

Can I get a scholarship if my GPA is low? ›

There are also numerous scholarships that have no minimum grade point average requirements and are open to all students. Furthermore, there are 2.0 GPA scholarships that are open to any undergraduate, graduate student, or even high school students who wants to apply so they can attend their accredited college.

Is a 2.7 GPA bad in law school? ›

What is considered a low GPA for law school? Typically, a low GPA for law school would be below 3.0.

What LSAT score do I need to get a full ride scholarship? ›

What LSAT score will get me a scholarship? 90% of students with LSAT scores higher than 166 receive merit scholarships as law school students. While it is easier to get a scholarship with a high LSAT score, those with an LSAT score lower than 140 still have a 16% chance of receiving a merit scholarship.

What is the lowest GPA to get into law school? ›

What is the lowest GPA for law school? The lowest GPA for law school would be below 3.0. While you might get acceptance on the basis of other factors, any GPA below 3.0 is considered very low.

What is the lowest GPA to get into Harvard Law? ›

While there is no minimum GPA required to apply to Harvard Law, you should aim for the median GPA of 3.92 or higher for a more competitive application.

What is the lowest GPA accepted to Yale law school? ›

There is no minimum GPA or LSAT score for applicants, but the recent statistics show that the lowest GPA and LSAT scores received by a member of Yale Law School's most recently admitted class were 3.32 and 155 respectively. 50% of successful applicants scored a 173 or higher on the LSAT.

Which state has easiest bar exam? ›

Easiest Bar Exams

The following are simply considered to be less challenging than others in the US: South Dakota (Pass rate: 68%) Wisconsin (Pass rate: 59%) Nebraska (Pass rate: 80%)*

Is GPA or LSAT more important? ›

While LSAT is the most important factor, GPA is still significant. When you get down into schools lower in the rankings (outside the top 10 schools), numbers alone become an even better predictor of how likely you are to get into a specific school. LSAT is still the more important number than GPA.

What is the fastest way to get a law degree? ›

The fastest law degree you can earn is a Master of Legal Studies, as some of these programs allow you to graduate in 12 months. Master's programs require you to have a bachelor's degree beforehand, and some require you to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) beforehand.

Do scholarships verify GPA? ›

Many scholarships require a transcript to verify your GPA. What is a transcript? It's a complete record of all of your academic achievements. It lists every class you've taken, the grades you got and when.

What GPA is too low for financial aid? ›

To be eligible for federal student aid and college financial aid, a student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). This generally consists of maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (i.e., at least a C average) and passing enough classes with progress toward a degree.

What scholarships can you get with a 2.5 GPA? ›

Best 2.5 GPA scholarships
  • Gay's Den Scholar Award. ...
  • The $25,000 Be Bold No-Essay Scholarship. ...
  • Network After Work No-Essay Scholarship. ...
  • Verto Semester Abroad Scholarship. ...
  • Bold Learning and Changing Scholarship. ...
  • Bookman 5 Scholarship. ...
  • Gottfried Mentee Scholarship. ...
  • Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship.

Do law firms care about GPA? ›

Academic performance may be important during the first few years of your career, but as you gain experience as an attorney, employers care less and less about your grades and judge you on your work instead. It's unlikely you'll be asked much about your class rank or grades after about four years of law practice.

Is 165 a good LSAT score? ›

25 law schools all reported an LSAT median score of at least 163‡. This means that to be a competitive candidate at a top 25 law school, you will most likely need a score above 165.

Do law firms care about grades? ›

Grades are important to many law firms when making hiring decisions. However, the weight that they carry in these decisions most often depends on the particular firm involved and whether you are (A) a junior attorney or law student, (B) a mid-level to senior associate, or (C) a partner.

Is 140 a low LSAT score? ›

This shows that the lowest acceptable LSAT score is 139. Typically, a good rule of thumb is that you want to at least break 140 to make taking on the cost of law school economically feasible. You can get into a law school with a 140 LSAT score.

What GPA will get me a full-ride? ›

A 4.0 Grade Point Average is not only a high GPA, it's an impressive GPA that's sure to catch the eyes of many scholarship providers. Since the minimum GPA for a full-ride scholarship is usually set at 3.5, a 4.0 is sure to always be above and beyond what's required.

Is 130 bad on LSAT? ›

An LSAT score of 130 places you in the bottom 2% of all test-takers. This score is so low, it's actually worse than the score you could expect to earn if you filled the bubbles in randomly. No reputable law school would admit you with a score this low.

What if my GPA is too low for law school? ›

To compensate for a weak GPA on your law school application, consider these three tips: Explain your grades in an addendum. Show your abilities elsewhere. Take extra classes.

What score is too low for law school? ›

An LSAT score below 160 is not competitive for admission to the top law schools, and it's not competitive for scholarships to law schools with decent employment prospects.”

What GPA is top 25% in law school? ›

2021-2022 Class Rank Ranges
  • Top 10% includes students with a GPA at or above 3.678.
  • Top 25% includes students with a GPA at or above 3.473.
  • Top 50% includes students with a GPA at or above 3.167.
  • Top 75% includes students with a GPA at or above 2.883.

What did Elle Woods get on her LSAT? ›

Conversation. The least realistic part of Legally Blonde is how Elle Woods went from scoring a 143 on her practice LSAT to a 179 on the real thing.

What is the lowest LSAT for Harvard? ›

As you can see from these numbers, an LSAT score of 170 or higher and a GPA above 3.75 will give you a chance of gaining admission to Harvard Law School. If you have a GPA of 3.94 or higher and above a 175, you are pretty much a lock for admission, particularly given the class size of ~560.

Can you get into Yale Law with a low GPA? ›

Law schools generally require that you have specified minimum collegiate GPA and LSAT scores to qualify for admission. Harvard, Yale, and the other top five-ranked law schools require that you have a GPA of at least 3.50 and an LSAT score of 170.

What is the lowest GPA ever accepted Ivy League? ›

And maybe, you can get into a top tier college with a low GPA. We've always stated that the lowest GPA student we've ever helped get into an Ivy League school had a 3.3 unweighted GPA. And we're not saying that we could get anyone in with a 3.3 GPA. But it has happened before – and the student was Asian American too.

How many people get a 180 on LSAT? ›

Remember, the LSAT is one component of the application, and the definition of a good LSAT score depends upon your specific goals. While only 0.1% of test-takers get a 180, many more get accepted into law school each year.

What is the lowest GPA ever recorded? ›

What is the lowest GPA ever recorded? 0.0 on a 4.0 scale is the lowest GPA record.

What is the most difficult subject on the bar exam? ›

Most people regard the MBE as the hardest portion of the bar exam. The questions are rarely easy or straightforward. They can be tricky and sometimes worded in a way that guides you to the wrong answer.

What is the hardest bar exam subject? ›

Many aspiring attorneys who have taken or are presently studying for the bar exam, however, appear to agree that the following three topics are the most difficult: Real Property. Contracts. Civil Procedure.

Which law exam is the easiest? ›

There is no such thing as an 'easy' entrance exam, hence there is no 'easiest' exam either. Law exams conducted for every university, be it CLAT for NLUs or other private college exams, have a basic difficulty level on which the candidates are tested.

What to do if you don't get into law school? ›

Consider waiting another year.

Remember, you don't have to go to law school next year. If the decision just doesn't feel right, given your options, then consider waiting another year. This time will allow you to earn some money and experience, potentially re-take the LSAT if needed, and apply again next year.

Should I go to law school at 40? ›

It's never too late in life to apply to law school. Although most applicants are under 25, roughly 20% are 30 or older, according to the Law School Admission Council. Many older law school graduates build fulfilling second careers that draw upon preexisting skills and experiences.

What is the lowest GPA accepted to Berkeley law? ›

For the past several years the median GPA and LSAT score of admitted applicants have ranged from 3.70-3.82 and 166-169, respectively. The ranges are broad. The Berkeley Graduate Division requires that graduate students have at least a 3.00 undergraduate cumulative GPA for admission.

What is the toughest year of law school? ›

The first year (1L) Most students consider the first year of law school to be the most difficult. The material is more complex than they're used to and it must be learned rapidly. What's more, the way students are taught and tested is very different from high school or undergrad.

What is the most popular law degree? ›

Juris Doctor

Most individuals who are lawyers in the United States have the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. The Juris Doctor degree is not only considered the first law degree in the United States but is also the most well-known and one that's offered through the American Bar Association.

Which year of a law degree is the hardest? ›

Sophomore year in an institute of law comes with it a multitude of subjects, broken down into important units that also dwell into a more detailed approach in legal subjects. From two units to four or five units for a single subject, second-year students believe that sophomore year is the hardest.

What if I lied about my GPA? ›

Is it worth it? Also no. Not only do you risk losing your job if you do get caught lying, but you also risk some serious damage to your future. There have been numerous cases of well-known executives getting fired because they lied about their GPA or degree.

Can I get a scholarship with a 2.8 GPA? ›

While you may find some scholarships require a 3.0 or higher to apply, there are many that have GPA requirements of 2.5 or higher, as well. Alternatively, there are many that don't require a GPA at all. You can find a variety of scholarships in our database, so apply to as many as you can!

What GPA do you need to accept a scholarship? ›

Some scholarship committees only consider applicants whose GPA meets a certain threshold. Minimum requirements range from around 2.0 on the lower end to 3.75 or higher for competitive academic scholarships. Generally speaking, a 3.0 GPA or higher will give you a decent shot at qualifying for a variety of scholarships.

Does FAFSA check GPA? ›

The FAFSA does not look at a high school student's GPA when deciding if they qualify for need-based aid or federal student loans. However, a student's GPA will be used to determine eligibility for student loans in subsequent college years.

What is a SAP warning? ›

What is SAP Warning? Detail. An academic progress evaluation is completed at the end of each semester. SAP Warning indicates that you were previously meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards prior to this term and failed to achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of this term.

What GPA do you need for Sallie Mae? ›

All students applying to a Federal loan program must have a minimum GPA (usually 2.0 or higher), they must be a U.S. Citizen or legal resident, they must fall within the required income bracket and they must be able to prove that they have not defaulted on any prior loans.

Are no essay scholarships worth it? ›

Should I Apply for No Essay Scholarships? That's totally up to you. Many students find no essay scholarships to be one of the easiest ways to land free money for school. And yes, students do actually win them.

Can you get a full scholarship with low GPA? ›

There are also numerous scholarships that have no minimum grade point average requirements and are open to all students. Furthermore, there are 2.0 GPA scholarships that are open to any undergraduate, graduate student, or even high school students who wants to apply so they can attend their accredited college.

Can I go to Harvard with 2.5 GPA? ›

To get to Harvard your GPA has to be at least a 4.0 and even then if you get in your lucky but they require at least a 4.18 GPA only .

Is a 3.7 GPA too low for law school? ›

Among the 191 ranked law schools that submitted grade data to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average median GPA of entering law school students in 2021 was 3.55. But at the 20 highest-ranked law schools, the average median GPA is much higher – 3.86.

How I got into a top law school with a low GPA? ›

Get a stellar LSAT score.

The good news is a high LSAT score can truly help offset a low undergraduate GPA. For better or for worse, most law schools weigh your LSAT score and your undergraduate GPA about equally (and many even give your LSAT score more weight!) when deciding whether to admit you.

What is the easiest law school to get into with a low GPA? ›

What are the easiest law schools to get into with a low GPA or LSAT score? Some of the law schools which accept the lowest average GPA and LSAT scores are Whittier Law School, University of North Dakota Law School and Touro University Law School.

Can I get into an Ivy League law school with a low GPA? ›

Can you get accepted into an Ivy League or top-tier college with a low GPA? The short answer is yes.

How many people get a 176 on LSAT? ›

LSAT Percentiles
Scaled ScorePercentile
13 more rows
Jan 22, 2019

What matters more GPA or LSAT? ›

While LSAT is the most important factor, GPA is still significant. When you get down into schools lower in the rankings (outside the top 10 schools), numbers alone become an even better predictor of how likely you are to get into a specific school. LSAT is still the more important number than GPA.

What is the lowest average GPA law school? ›

What is the lowest GPA for law school? The lowest GPA for law school would be below 3.0. While you might get acceptance on the basis of other factors, any GPA below 3.0 is considered very low.

Is it worth going to a low ranked law school? ›

Unless they have personal connections or career experience, graduates of lower-ranked schools face steep odds on the job market. Graduates of top-ranked law schools have a leg up on securing legal internships, clerkships, and job interviews—even with mediocre grades.

Can I be a lawyer with bad grades? ›

Many students may feel that achieving bad law school grades will completely prevent them from finding a job, but that is simply not true. It can be a little more difficult to secure employment when you have lower than average grades, but it is not impossible.

What is the lowest GPA accepted to UPenn? ›

High School GPA

A strong GPA is essential to your application to any university, and the minimum requirement for UPenn is 3.25. But meeting the minimum requirement may not be enough. According to UPenn's Common Data Set for 21/22, 88% of admitted students had a GPA of 3.75 and above, and 52% had a GPA of 4.0.


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