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This week’s podcast examines the frequently asked question, “can a master’s degree raise my GPA for law school admission?” Guests for this program are Anna Ivey, author of Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions and Heike Spahn, senior consultant with Admission Consultants and former Assistant Dean at the University of Chicago Law School.

According to Anna Ivey, law schools don’t expect applicants to have a master’s degree. If you have a low GPA, another degree isn’t required, but to raise your GPA you might consider registering for undergraduate courses to show admissions offices you are serious about high academic excellence.

Heike Spahn, senior consultant with Admission Consultants and former Assistant Dean at the University of Chicago Law School, says some career fields do require master’s degrees, but happily, being a lawyer isn’t one of them. Spahn suggests that if you have a lower than average undergraduate GPA, you can offset it with an above average LSAT score. She says that a lengthy amount of time between obtaining your undergraduate degree and applying to law school could remove some weight from the importance of your undergraduate GPA. Finally, Spahn reports that if you do have a low undergraduate GPA, school choice is key, and using letters of recommendations to explain underwhelming grades is a standard tactic.


Anna Ivey – Author of Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions
Heike Spahn – Senior consultant with Admission Consultants and former Assistant Dean at the University of Chicago Law School

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Talk to students who are now anyplipg for law school and see what they think.Talk to people now in law school or recent grads.Talk to attorneys, especially, but not limited to those in criminal practice.Try to find summer or part-time work for a law firm. Any job at any type of law firm. That would give you a way to be in casual conversation with people in the field and would give you a feel for how it is to work in that field.Do you know where you want to live? East coast, West coast, in between? Attending a law school in that area would give you a headstart on making local contacts for future job or business.

  2. I would be very interested in uednrstanding why a college decided to percieve High schools with weighted GPA’s as more valuable then high schools without weighted GPA. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA from my private school and felt that I was at a disadvantage to my some of my friends that graduated with a GPA above a 4.0. The problem is I came from a private school that had no weighted GPA, No A+ that counted as a 4.3, simply the max as a 4.0. They never valued any class more then another even when I was taking the same material as my friends who’s classes were considered AP in public schools. I learned Many of my friends who averaged more like B+ and A- got over 4.0 because they took mostly AP classes their last two years. This really frustated me because when I graduated with almost all A’s and A-, I took all the same classes as my friends including 2 extra college classes I took in a university school that were prerequisites for my major which I got two A’s as well.This is a real problem and from what I was told by my friends most of the time in their AP classes all they did was goof around. Its obvious to me that while they contain more difficult problems, they still are not college level quality, indeed most AP classes I see still give the same course work an average high school class gives. I see more friends who are use to AP classes work load and then are stunned by the college workload and environment then any other student.I disagree with AP classes being weighted I mean really how many students do you know who take AP classes graduate with less then a 3.0 GPA. Not many because almost everyone who is capable of taking AP classes is capable of getting a higher GPA then the ones who are not capable of uednrstanding the AP material. I believe a more just answer to this problem is to not include AP classes to your high school GPA, but count them towards high school graduating credits. Instead have a second GPA that calculates purely what you got in AP classes and how many credits you took as AP classes. This will get rid of the need of recalculating GPA’s and will be simpler because its more similar to what schools have to do with students who take college classes before they graduate high school. They look at their high school GPA and college GPA and credit amount. AP classes should be separated the same as college courses and let colleges decide on their own how valuable the AP classes are.

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