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If I'm planning to move on to law school, does the quality of my undergraduate degree matter on a law school application?

I want to know if the school I attend prior to law school matter when applying. If so, I need to take that into consideration when applying to colleges. #law-school


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Gabriel’s Answer

The simple answer that many lawyers would give you is: "It depends."

Now, the slightly longer answer: The answer depends on what you mean by "quality of [your] undergraduate degree" as well as numerous factors that are completely out of your control. For now, I am going to assume you are asking about prestige of the undergraduate institution. With that assumption, the answer is that it matters very little, in and of itself. It is just one small part of the full profile of you. As Lea mentioned, far and away, the most important factors of your law school application will be your GPA and your LSAT score.

But these are not looked at in a vacuum. Admissions officers know that a 3.5 GPA at Stanford is not the same as a 3.5 GPA at East Cupcake State. And, they also know that not everyone is similarly situated at those schools, or which factors led them to choose those schools in the first place. For example, if you are the first person in your family ever to go to college, earned a prestigious full scholarship at East Cupcake State and wouldn't have been able to afford a more expensive school, held down a full-time job, cared for an ill family member, and still achieved a 3.5 GPA, this would absolutely be taken into account when they review your application.

It also depends on the profile of the class they are trying to fill. If they've admitted 100 Harvard undergrads before receiving your application, then they might be more inclined to accept someone from a different institution.

In other words, you should do what interests you and go to the undergraduate school that best meets your needs and wants. Worry about law school later on. Just convey your story through your application. Make them realize the reasons for decisions you've make and obstacles you may have overcome.

In the end, if you make decisions in pursuit of something that you are passionate about, and seriously pursue that passion, you'll do well (and be much happier).

Good luck!

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Pauk’s Answer

Honestly it depends on the law school. Harvard, yes. But there are many law schools that are easier to get into.

Thank you for taking the time to write back to me! Autum C.

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Lea’s Answer

Unless, your going to an Ivy League undergraduate school, i.e. Harvard, Yale, where the name really stands out, it does not really matter where you go to undergraduate school. The most important variables for getting into law school are grades, LSAT scores and extracurricular activities, i.e. internships at a law firm or legal corporate departments, volunteering, something that makes your application stand out.

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