The Law School Admissions Index
Most law schools begin evaluating your application by determining your “index.” This number (which varies from school to school) is made up of your undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and LSAT score, with the latter almost always given more weight. It is generally the case that your index will put you into one of three categories:
- (Probably) Accepted: If your index is very strong compared to the school’s median or target number, you more than likely will be accepted. Few applicants fall into this category.
- (Probably) Rejected: If your index is very weak compared to the school’s median or target number, you are probably not going to get in. In this case, your supplementary materials would have to contain something so outstanding or unique that the law school is willing to take a chance on you. Factors that can help here include ethnic or regional diversity or very impressive work or life experience. That said, not many people in this category will receive acceptance.
- Maybe: The majority of applicants fall into this category, which comprises people whose index number is right around the median or target number. Why do most people fall into this category? Because people generally apply to schools that they think they have at least a shot of getting into based on their grades and LSAT scores. For students in this category, schools may take additional factors into consideration. First, law schools may look at the competitiveness of your undergraduate institution and program. A person with a 3.3 in an easy major from a school known for grade inflation will face an uphill battle, whereas someone with the same GPA in a difficult major from a school that is stingy with As may be in better shape. Second, admissions officers will look at the rest of the information in your application—personal statements, letters of recommendation, etc.—for any outstanding qualities.
To increase your chances of getting in to the school you want to attend, we encourage you to focus on your undergraduate studies at Elmhurst College, do well in your classes, and prepare thoroughly for the LSAT (which usually requires some type of preparation class).