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by Anna Ivey | March 10, 2009

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Anna Ivey is a private admissions counselor who works with people applying to the top business schools and law schools. If you have a question for Anna Ivey, send her an e-mail.

Question: I have a 167 LSAT and a 3.74 GPA from Princeton. I have also earned a masters (top of my class) and a doctorate from Oxford (published 6 articles). What do you think my chances of admission are at the top 15 schools? I am a Virginia resident.

The most reliable resource for gauging your odds at different schools is the LSAT/GPA calculator provided by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). It's a bit hard to find -- LSAC buried it under several layers on its site and gave the link a very non-descript name ("LSAC Data Search"), but every law school applicant should bookmark it:

http://officialguide.lsac.org/UGPASearch/Search3.aspx?SidString=

I'm a power user of that calculator, and it usually takes me several attempts to load the page at any given time, but keep trying -- it's worth it. Once you're on the calculator page, you'll see two boxes near the top: one for you to fill in your undergraduate GPA, and the other to fill in your LSAT score. For any combination of numbers, the calculator spits out your odds for nearly all of the ABA-approved law schools. You can sort the results alphabetically or by odds. This calculator is especially handy if you're trying to decide how a change in your GPA or your LSAT would affect your odds at different schools. LSAC changed the layout of the results recently to present the odds graphically (using different colored bands and lines), a method I find irritating compared to the old layout, but no matter, it still gets the job done.

These odds aren't perfect predictors, of course. First of all, the odds are based only on raw numbers, and while your raw numbers are highly predictive, they don't get you all the way there. The caliber of your undergraduate institution, your masters degree, your doctorate from Oxford, and your publications would certainly catch an admissions officer's eye, and this database won't reflect those or other variables. See my previous article, "Is Admissions a Numbers Game?" for more on that.

Also, the data underlying the calculator are based on the entering class from the previous year, and past results aren't necessarily going to repeat themselves in the coming cycle. Furthermore, not all schools have agreed to be included in the database. The following schools do not participate: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Hastings, Chicago, Columbia, and Stanford. And finally, the database doesn't break out the data based on legacy status, race, in-state residency, or other factors that can dramatically change any given applicant's chances.

Despite its limitations, the LSAC calculator is still the best way to shape and manage your expectations during the application process, and it certainly beats the self-reported and sometimes fraudulent data on other websites. Stick with the official LSAC data.

Anna Ivey is a private admissions counselor who works with people applying to the top business schools and law schools, as well as the author of The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions: Straight Advice on Essays, Resumes, Interviews and More. Formerly the Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, she has also practiced corporate and entertainment law in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. from Columbia and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as an editor of The University of Chicago Law Review. To learn more about her admissions counseling, visit annaivey.com.

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