“You need over a 155 into get into law school.”“Your LSAT score makes or breaks your application package.”“You’ll never get in with that score.”
That’s what was said to me when I decided to apply to law school with a 145. Although the advice was well-intentioned, I knew I was more than an LSAT score. A law school would see me for who I truly was. And so with that mindset, I hit submit on 15 applications and relied heavily on God to do the rest.Yes, the LSAT score is a big component of your application package, it is also a determining factor of how generous a scholarship you receive.
That said, it is not the end-all be-all. I prepared for the LSAT for 2 years. I took 2 prep courses (BluePrint and Manhattan Prep), and self-studied for almost a year using PowerScore. Despite my efforts, I couldn’t break into the 150s. I studied while working as a paralegal at a demanding law firm because I didn’t have the luxury of quitting my job to study full time. I also only took the LSAT once because I knew the only way I would score higher was if I dedicated myself to studying full time for at least 6 months, and that just wasn’t an option for me.
The Importance of the Written Components
Applying to law with an extremely low LSAT score and a 3.4 GPA shifts all the weight to the written components of an application package: the personal statement, diversity statement, addendum, and other optional statements each school provides. Generally, if you are above the school’s 75th percentile in either the LSAT or GPA, you will get in with decent statements. If you are below the 50th percentile, the statements become much more important, and if you are below the 25th percentile, the statements become critical. Knowing this, I knew I had to write really compelling statements. I also seized the opportunity to write any optional statements law schools offered to show how interested I was in that law school and how committed I was to the legal profession. It also served as another opportunity to showcase my writing abilities.As a diverse candidate, I had a lot to write about. In particular, my journey through the immigration system and being socioeconomically disadvantaged. Although viewed as “negatives,” I painted a picture of resiliency to admission counselors. Strong work ethic, perseverance, and commitment were traits I used to prove I was worthy of a seat at the table.
Law school Acceptances and Rejections
Out of the 15 schools I applied to, 12 denied me, 2 waitlisted me, and only 1 accepted me. The one that accepted me, Northeastern University, was my top 3 choice. That was God showing out! The multiple rejections didn’t matter to me because I only needed one yes. Throughout the waiting period, and even before, I prayed daily about my law school journey. I spoke positively and manifested my acceptance. Any opportunity to talk about law school I spoke as if I was already admitted:“When I start law school I will…” “When I receive my acceptance I will…” Instead of “if I get in…” “If” was never a word in my vocabulary. It shouldn’t be in yours either because it indicates you don’t have enough faith in yourself and in God’s hand over your life.
If applying to law school with a low LSAT score, the best advice I can give is to: (1) write immaculate statements; (2) apply early – before or by November 1st; and (3) hold onto your faith! The law school admission process is tough. It will test your patience, confidence, and overall commitment to becoming an attorney. Hang on tight, you can do it! Even with a low LSAT score. Stay committed to your vision and in communication with God. If you are walking in purpose, all things will fall into place accordingly. Danae Rosario