Low GPA (Low end of 2.xx) and Decent LSAT (172) - What can i do?

billyboolbillybool Monthly Member

I've got a pretty low GPA primarily due to an illness and subsequent death in the family where i had to step up and be the primary caretaker. Couldn't drop out but found some success working at an IB after graduation. Wondering if i have a shot at getting into Northwestern, that's basically the dream school for me.

Comments

  • Law and YodaLaw and Yoda Alum Member
    edited October 2020 4199 karma

    I don't think I have the advice you're looking for but felt compelled to just say - If an application fee isn't an issue, don't let anything stop you from trying. You won't know how great of a "shot" you have until you actually take the shot. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take ( :wink: ) Maybe other parts of your application catches someone's eye, maybe they see through an addendum that you tried your best given your circumstances. I'll leave you with this; “All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” —Earl Nightingale

  • LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
    13286 karma

    2.9gpa and 171 LSAT got me into Northwestern. Don't ever count yourself out. Your task is harder but not impossible. You need to show the schools that you are not your GPA!

  • VerdantZephyrVerdantZephyr Alum Member
    2054 karma

    I am in a similar situation. 2.5ish and I expect around a 176 on my LSAT score arriving this week. Right now I am planning applications for Penn, UVA, Northwestern, Michigan, Duke, Georgetown, Texas, and Wash U. I think for us a lot depends on contextualizing the poor GPA, and work experience after graduation or other factors should help with that. An ad com will have to really like our application and feel confident that we can perform well at their school. I assume you probably are from you post, but are you several years removed from that undergrad GPA with a good amount of work experience under your belt?

    For me I am hoping a very strong grad school GPA and international work experience is compelling for schools. Just have to hope for the best.

  • VerdantZephyrVerdantZephyr Alum Member
    2054 karma

    @LSATcantwin can you talk a little about your application process and strategy either here or in a PM? I am hoping for strong scholarship support but the word this year is that the number of 175+ LSAT scores on applications is more than double the usual so I am growing concerned.

  • billyboolbillybool Monthly Member
    11 karma

    @VerdantZephyr said:
    I am in a similar situation. 2.5ish and I expect around a 176 on my LSAT score arriving this week. Right now I am planning applications for Penn, UVA, Northwestern, Michigan, Duke, Georgetown, Texas, and Wash U. I think for us a lot depends on contextualizing the poor GPA, and work experience after graduation or other factors should help with that. An ad com will have to really like our application and feel confident that we can perform well at their school. I assume you probably are from you post, but are you several years removed from that undergrad GPA with a good amount of work experience under your belt?

    For me I am hoping a very strong grad school GPA and international work experience is compelling for schools. Just have to hope for the best.

    Yeah, about 3 years out of school. At this point like the previous commenter said you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. I don't know if i should re-take and apply with an even higher score or just focus on my PS/addenda to make the explanation. I don't know if 3 years of WE and 172 could make up for that. I was reading into this earlier as well but would a low GPA bring down the average for a school incentivizing them not to select someone with a low GPA?

  • VerdantZephyrVerdantZephyr Alum Member
    2054 karma

    In regards to what your question about GPA coming down, the important thing to remember is that it is not the average GPA, but the median. Because of that, while of course your GPA will be a knock against the school's three medians, all they need to do to counteract that is fine someone with a GPA above all three medians. With that said, that tactic only works as long as the today number of students in that situation is less than 25% and you have applicants with GPAs above that line to balance with. That said, because it's a median system, all that matters is that it is below or above. A school does not get additional benefit or penalty based on how much below or above or is. A 1080 LSAT would not change their median LSAT any more than a 172 would, nor would a negative 165 matter any more than a 165 for the purposes of that calculation. In your current case this is good and bad at Northwestern. Your 172 might be barely above median but all that matters is that it is above median. Your GPA likewise is simply below median rather than it being awfully, terribly, horribly below median. This can be a boost for admissions, where they overlook the GPA, but they are unlikely to give any scholarship aid if you do get in because you aren't helping them look net better in the rankings.

  • LSATcantwinLSATcantwin Alum Member Sage
    13286 karma

    @VerdantZephyr said:
    @LSATcantwin can you talk a little about your application process and strategy either here or in a PM? I am hoping for strong scholarship support but the word this year is that the number of 175+ LSAT scores on applications is more than double the usual so I am growing concerned.

    Pretty much my only real "process" was securing a 170+ LSAT. I used 7Sage admissions team to help me get my application materials in order, and then I applied everywhere. I ended up getting waitlisted at like every school I applied to. (I applied late, like mid Jan). Northwestern accepted me off their waitlist like two days before classes started and off I went lol

    I was lucky enough to not have to worry about funding at all. I have the Post 9/11 GI Bill which has pretty much covered all of law school for me.

    I'm a 3L now and wouldn't take any of it back!

  • VerdantZephyrVerdantZephyr Alum Member
    edited October 2020 2054 karma

    @LSATcantwin thanks for your response. I appreciate that there simply probably isn't some magic formula to make it work. I have a ton of debt from grad school already, and want as close to a full ride as I can get. I have the LSAT score (waiting on the writing to clear but I think I most hit about my average of 175.6) but I am super stressed about the applications and essays part of it. If I don't get a ton of scholarship support from my target schools I have already decided I am just not going next year. That is not necessarily limited to the T14. Texas, Wash U, and farther down Emory and possibly even Wash and Lee are high on my list, but because of financial concerns I want to be sure that the program is leading directly to a job in my chosen field of law.

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