Do students from CUNY schools have a chance at Law schools like Harvard or Yale?

I go to Brooklyn College and I really want to get into a Top 10 law school. If I finish with a GPA above a 3.9 and get a really high LSAT score, do I have a chance even though I go to a city school?

4 Answers

  • Anne
    Lv 4
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi Lilah,

    The short answer: Yes. I have worked with plenty of law school applicants from city/state schools that have obtained admission to top-10 schools. Your undergraduate institution doesn't have as much bearing on your application as your GPA does, so the fact that you are attending a city school doesn't really affect your admissions chances all that much.

    However, keep in mind that even with a GPA of 3.9 and an LSAT in the 98th or 99th percentile, you will still face some tough competition if you're looking for admission into a school in the top 10--not because you attended what you perceive to be a "less prestigious" school, but because competition for law schools of that caliber is intense for anyone, regardless of their credentials.

    In order to maximize your chances, I would suggest that you make every effort to finish with a GPA of 3.9+, and then spend considerable time prepping and studying for the LSAT in order to maximize that score. Aim for a 172 or above--preferably, if you're shooting for schools in the top-5, a 175 or above.

    A stellar LSAT/GPA combo won't be sufficient, either. You will have to devote some serious time and thought to your softs: Your personal statement, résumé, addenda, and letters of recommendation. Of particular importance will be the personal statement and LORs. When you are competing for admission into the top echelons, where everyone has GPAs of 3.9+ and LSATs in the 172+ range, it's the softs that set you apart and make you memorable.

    You didn't mention when in your undergrad you currently are but, depending on which college year you're in, some of this may be useful to you:

    1. Pick a major that will require a lot of reading- and research-intensive classes. This will not only prepare you for law classes (which themselves are incredibly research- and reading-heavy), but it will also demonstrate to schools, when you apply, that you can handle the academic load of law school.

    2. Keep an upward grade trend throughout college. This means that your grades either get stronger as you go through school, or start off strong and remain there for all 4 years of college. Most law schools will want to see GPAs of 3.5 or above (the closer you can get to a 4.0, the better). If you get a B during your freshman year, it's not a deal-breaker; your focus should be to keep your grades as high as you can get them.

    3. Take a challenging class load: Intro classes are okay for freshman and (maybe) sophomore year, but once you get to junior and senior year, your focus should be on upper-level classes and seminars that allow you to really hone in and focus on your specific interests within the major. And, as always, keep your grades up throughout.

    4. Establish rapport with your professors (particularly during your junior and senior years). You can do this by attending office hours, working for them as a research assistant, and talking to them after class. They will be the ones writing your letters of recommendation, and will only be able to write effective, overwhelmingly positive ones is if they have specific, anecdotal knowledge of you and can favorably compare you to other students in your class.

    5. Work on your extracurriculars. Don't worry about being a part of 30 student groups; instead, focus on 2 or 3. Become a part and get involved during your freshman and sophomore years, and then obtain leadership positions in them during your junior and senior years.

    Another useful thing you can do, regardless of your major choice, is to take formal logic courses (which can be found under the Philosophy Department at the college you end up attending or currently attend) during your sophomore and junior years; this will help you later as you prepare for the LSAT.

    I know I gave you a lot of info, but I hope this was helpful! Feel free to reach out if you have any further questions; I'm happy to help! :-)

    Source(s): I am the Director of Admissions Counseling for PowerScore Test Preparation ( ). I can be reached at I help hundreds of students apply and get into law school every year.
  • 9 years ago

    You absolutely do. GPA and LSAT are the most important part of any law school application. Where you attended undergrad only matters in some cases, like if you attended an incredibly prestigious school like HYPStanford, in which case it'd only be a small admissions bump.

    With a 3.9/170+, you shouldn't have much trouble getting into a top-10 law school and certainly a top-14.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I don't know where people get the idea that you have to be rich to attend Ivy schools. I attended two of them, and I wasn't from a wealthy family. I'd say your chances are reasonably good, but U.S. law schools naturally give preference to Americans who are likely to practice or teach here. The other issue is that Yale is one of the smaller law schools in this country, a fact that increases its selectivity. It is very, very hard to get in. However, it is a highly intellectual place as U.S. law schools go, rather theoretically-oriented. For that reason, the admissions committee could be well-disposed towards a highly-qualified foreign applicant, who would add some interesting diversity and perspectives to a class. Sports and other activities are not considered quite as important for graduate/professional applicants as they are for applicants to U.S. undergraduate programs. I'd say you have a shot. Good luck.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Hey Lilah,

    Everything Anne said was spot on, and I don't have much to add other than an anecdote. One of my good friends from HLS was a CUNY graduate (you've probably seen his face plastered around promotional materials at the school), so it's definitely possible.

    Keep up the hard work, and good luck!

    Source(s): Harvard Law School graduate, 180 on the LSAT, now consulting for Blueprint Test Prep:
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