One of the questions we get most often is this: “How will XYZ Law School react to the fact that I have two (or more) LSAT scores? Will it hurt my chances?” Having more than one score show up on your LSAT Score Report is a source of stress and consternation for many applicants, so we thought we’d shed some light on it.
First, a little history: In the past, when applicants had more than one score, schools used the average of all scores when making admissions decisions and when reporting admitted applicant scores to the American Bar Association (ABA). Since the average of an applicant’s scores is included in their LSAT Score Report, this was easy for schools to do. Then, in 2006, something happened that changed all that: The ABA Section of Legal Education & Admissions voted to change its data collection procedures. It now required that law schools report the highest LSAT score for those students that took the test more than once.
Needless to say, this was huge for students with multiple official LSAT scores. While schools would still see every score and the average of those scores, the school would only use the highest one for reporting purposes–and if they reported the highest one, then it stood to reason that they just might ignore all the other scores when making admissions decisions, too.
So what does this mean for you? That taking the LSAT more than once is now is much less of a “risk” than it used to be. Schools are now not required to take or report the average of all your LSAT scores (although that average still appears in your LSAT score report), and can now use your highest LSAT. However, the rule did not require schools to use the highest score during the admissions process, which means that schools can still use the average score when making admissions decisions—and some still do.
What do law schools say about how they handle multiple scores?
Emory Law: “If there is more than one score on the LSDAS report, the highest of those scores will be used.”
Harvard Law: “If you take the test more than once, all scores and their average will be reported and considered.”
Yale Law: “We consider all of the information about an applicant, including multiple LSAT scores. We do not average scores nor do we look at only your high score.”
UT (Austin) Law: “Candidates with multiple LSAT scores will be evaluated using all reported scores. However, the Law School will no longer solely consider an applicant’s average score in the admissions review process.”
UF Law: “Multiple LSAT scores are all reported by the LSAC in your LSAT Law School Report and are considered by the Admissions Committee.”
As you can see, the answer does vary from school to school. Some use only the highest. Some use all of them (but not necessarily the average). Some use both the highest and the average. Schools are forthcoming in their policies, both on their websites, and in person. To get an answer specific to the schools you are applying to, check the school’s website; if the policy is not listed, call their admissions offices and ask.
* * *
Have a question about applying to law school you’d like me to answer? Send me an email.
Subscribe to the PowerScore Admissions Tip Of The Week via email
Note: The content of this blog post originally appeared in the PowerScore LSAT and Law School Admissions Blog.