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How much do school adhere to their "average" stats?

MrSamIamMrSamIam Legacy Inactive ⭐
edited November 2015 in General 2086 karma
Hey Everyone!

Just out of curiosity (I've already decided to withdraw from the December test), do schools seldom admit students who do not fall within their "25%, 50%, and 75%" LSAT/GPA numbers?
A friend of mine graduated from USC, and mentioned that he knows two people who were accepted with LSAT scores that were about 5 points below the "25%" number. I'm not sure if he was referring to USC law, but either way, how common is something like this?
I know that my GPA falls within the "75%" for the vast majority of schools, but my LSAT is lacking. Regardless of where I apply, I am aiming for a 165+, for the purpose of receiving a decent scholarship.


  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    edited November 2015 6736 karma
    It's literally impossible for a school to not accept outside their 25-75s, because by definition 25% of the people they admit fall below their 25th percentile mark, the same way that 25% of the people they admit come above the 75th percentile mark. That's how those numbers are calculated, after all. If they didn't admit outside of a range, it wouldn't be a 25-75, it'd be a 0-100.

    If USC matriculated 200 kids, that means 50 of them fell below the 25th percentile number, and your friend happens to know two of them. That's all.
  • jyang72jyang72 Alum Member
    844 karma
    @"Jonathan Wang" This is very helpful. Thank you!!
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    FWIW, because it is a median, the schools could only admit people within them. They just wouldn't change it to 0-100 since that is not what they are asked to report. If you only let in 200 people who each had a 170 then that will be your 25th, 50th, and 75th. So a school's 75th or 25th could actually be the upper or lower limit, but that is likely to be extremely rare.
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    So to further touch upon your question, because they are medians and not averages, you could theoretically get in with a score far below the 25th and not hurt their 25th or median any more than something close would. So if a school has a 25/50/75 that looks like 160/165/170 then a 120 has the same effect on that dynamic as a 159 does. You are just adding a single occurrence of a number and then it's taken care of, so once a 159 is on the books then an infinite number of 159s would have no greater effect.
  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Legacy Inactive ⭐
    edited November 2015 2086 karma
    Thanks everyone! I think I had a "D'oh!" moment, considering the numbers...
  • pritisharmapritisharma Alum Member
    477 karma
    I found this interesting : I guess they all need a "happy-bottom-quarter". This is a long read and maybe not all of it is relevant so just search for : law school and bottom-quarter separately to get to relevant parts.
  • MrSamIamMrSamIam Legacy Inactive ⭐
    edited November 2015 2086 karma
    @pritisharma Indeed an interesting read. Thanks for posting it. I vote the LSAT be excluded from law school admissions, and replaced with a test of lawyering ability...who is in?
    ...kidding, I can only hope.
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