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Law Schools With the Highest Median LSAT

Only one West Coast school made the top 10 list.

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The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

The June Law School Admission Test is in less than a week, and soon-to-be test takers have at least one reason to breathe easy. Average LSAT scores have been slightly higher for people taking the exam during this month, as well as for those taking it during September or October, according to a report from the Law School Admission Council.

The report tracks data from seven testing years, which start in June and end in February of the following year, between 2005 and 2012. The scores were slightly lower for those taking it in December and February. Prospective law school students in New England scored highest during all seven years.

This region is also home to the two law schools that have the highest median LSAT for full-time entering students starting in 2012: Yale University and Harvard University.

[Learn who should take the June LSAT.]

Students at the two schools, which are respectively ranked first and second by U.S. News in the 2014 Best Law Schools rankings, had a median LSAT of 173. The highest score on the LSAT is 180; the lowest is 120.

Yale and Harvard are joined by two other Ivy League institutions on the list of law schools with the highest median LSAT. Columbia University first-year students had a median of 172, and University of Pennsylvania 1Ls had a median of 170.

The law schools at Duke University, Georgetown University, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor and Vanderbilt University tied with the lowest median score on the list, 169. Stanford University, which is ranked second with Yale in Best Law Schools, is the only school on the West Coast to make the list.

[Find out which law schools operate most efficiently.]

Of the 193 ranked schools that submitted data to U.S. News in fall of 2012, Southern University Law Center had the lowest median score with 145. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

The median for all 193 ranked schools is 157. The median of the top 13 schools is 170.

Below is a list of schools with the highest median LSAT for full-time students. Due to a tie, there are 13 schools on the list.

Law school (state) Median LSAT for full-time students U.S. News law school rank
Harvard University (MA) 173 2
Yale University (CT) 173 1
Columbia University (NY) 172 4
New York University 171 6
University of Chicago 171 4
Northwestern University (IL) 170 12
Stanford University (CA) 170 2
University of Pennsylvania 170 7
University of Virginia 170 7
Duke University (NC) 169 11
Georgetown University (DC) 169 14
University of Michigan—Ann Arbor 169 9
Vanderbilt University (TN) 169 15

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Law School Compass to find LSAT information, complete rankings and much more.

U.S. News surveyed 200 fully ABA accredited law schools for our 2012 survey of law programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Law Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The LSAT data above are correct as of June 4, 2013.