12 Law Schools With the Highest LSAT Scores

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School andThe Short List: Online Programsto find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

A good score on the Law School Admission Test, known as the LSAT, can boost your odds of getting into law school. But an ideal score at one program may fall short at another, so aspiring attorneys can use admission statistics to set a target LSAT score for themselves.

The LSAT is designed to assess whether a candidate is prepared for a demanding legal education, and it is made up of two parts: a multiple-choice exam divided into several sections and an unscored written essay. Test-takers who complete the LSAT receive scores ranging from 120 to 180. Scores in the high 160s are above the median among admitted students at most ranked law schools in the U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings, but below the median at certain prestigious and selective J.D. programs, where the norm is for enrolled students to have a score of 170 or higher.

However, while an applicant’s LSAT score is important, it is not the only factor in an admissions decision. Law schools typically consider multiple application components when comparing and contrasting candidates, including personal statements, academic transcripts, resumes, diversity statements and GPA. J.D. hopefuls can also distinguish themselves through unique work experiences and extracurricular activities, as well as through admissions interviews.

Many law schools accept results from the Graduate Record Exam, or GRE, General Test in place of the LSAT. (There is a list of such schools on the GRE website.)

[Read: GRE vs. LSAT: 9 Key Differences Between the LSAT and GRE.]

Among the 192 ranked law schools that reported the median LSAT score for incoming full-time students in fall 2021 to U.S. News in an annual survey, the overall median of those scores was 158.

Meanwhile, prospective students hoping to gain admission to a competitive law school will need to set their sights high when studying for this lengthy exam. According to U.S. News data, among the 12 ranked schools with the highest-scoring students, including ties, the overall median LSAT score for those 12 schools was 172.

Columbia Law School in New York, Harvard Law School in Massachusetts and Yale Law School in Connecticut top the list, as entering full-time students earned a median LSAT score of 174 at each school.

[Read: What Is a Good LSAT Score?]

All of the programs on the list below are ranked in the top 15 of the U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings.

When examining this list, law school hopefuls should keep in mind that the fall 2021 admissions cycle was highly competitive, since the number of J.D. applications skyrocketed early in the coronavirus pandemic. The median LSAT scores among students who enrolled at top law schools in fall 2021 were higher than in the prior year. Those scores may dip slightly next year, since the total number of law school applications submitted so far in this admissions cycle is lower than it was at the same time last year.

Here is a list of the 12 ranked law schools with the highest median LSAT scores among incoming students in fall 2021. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School (name) (state) Median LSAT score for full-time students entering in fall 2020 U.S. News law school rank
Columbia University (NY) 174 4 (tie)
Harvard University (MA) 174 4 (tie)
Yale University (CT) 174 1
New York University 172 7
Stanford University (CA) 172 2
University of Chicago 172 3
Cornell University (NY) 171 12
Georgetown University (DC) 171 14
Northwestern University (Pritzker) (IL) 171 13
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor 171 10
University of Pennsylvania (Carey) 171 6
University of Virginia 171 8

Don’t see your school on this list? Access the U.S. News Law School Compass to find standardized test scores, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News assessed 192 law schools. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Law Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The LSAT data above is correct as of March 29, 2022.

More from U.S. News

When to Take the LSAT to Apply to Law School Next Fall

LSAT Logical Reasoning Questions: What to Know

10 Factors to Consider Before Applying to Law School and Becoming a Lawyer

12 Law Schools With the Highest LSAT Scores originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 03/29/22: This story has been updated with new information, including fresh data from the new U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings.

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