How LSAC Calculates Your GPA
You’re applying to a number of law schools. But you’ve noticed that there are different versions on how LSAC has been calculating your GPA.
Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News and admissions consultant at Stratus Admissions Counseling, recently discussed LSAC’s policies on GPA averages.
“There are a lot of intricacies and conflicting accounts out there, and many are just a result of conjecture or speculation.,” Waldman writes.
How Much Is An A+ Worth?
The most common question Waldman says he receives is whether an A+ is converted to a 4.33 or a 4.0.
Despite what many people may think, LSAC actually converts an A+ to a 4.33.
“One reason for the assumption is fairness – some schools don’t have +/- grades, putting their students at a possible disadvantage,” Waldman writes. “Another is simply that even colleges that do hand out A+ grades count them as a 4.0 on their own transcripts.”
Generally speaking, Waldman says, pass-fail courses are excluded from LSAC’s calculation of your GPA. However, students should proceed with caution.
“While a passing grade won’t do anything to impact your LSAC GPA, a failing grade will count as a 0,” Waldman writes.
The difficulty of your coursework makes a difference in admissions.
According to LSAC, “difficult or advanced undergraduate courses are often evaluated in a more favorable light than easier or less advanced subjects.”
While taking a difficult course as a pass-fail might seem like a wise strategy, Waldman warns that a number of law schools are suspicious about an applicant with too many pass-fail courses.
“In their mind, that student just took every remotely challenging class as pass-fail, making their GPA suspect at best and raising a red flag over their application,” he writes.