How does GPA matter for International students?

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janborn

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How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby janborn » Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:13 am

All the tools helping estimate chances of acceptation by law schools take GPA as an important factor, but for international students surely GPA doesn't mean exactly the same as for US applicants.
I'm Chinese, got a JM degree, and I'm planning to apply for fall 2015 with numbers of 165/3.2. Numbers are relatively low, especially when there are so many 170+/3.8+ in the forum, but I'm wondering how US law schools will judge my GPA? Is it acceptable?

And I'm hoping to be accepted by a T20...

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wingding

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby wingding » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:14 am

Depends on whether you have a US undergrad degree, or not.
If you have a foreign degree, your grades are a lot less relevant. If you have a U.S. degree, you might get a (very small) bump for being an international student. How much of a bump depends both on the school and the country. Some schools care more about having students from lots of foreign countries, whereas other schools care less (or not at all). Likewise, if you hail from a country that sends a lot of students to the U.S., the impact will be diminished because there's a lot of competition, but if you're from a country where very few students apply to law school in the U.S., it'll make a bit bigger difference precisely because of the rarity thereof.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby janborn » Sat Jul 19, 2014 9:38 am

wingding wrote:Depends on whether you have a US undergrad degree, or not.
If you have a foreign degree, your grades are a lot less relevant. If you have a U.S. degree, you might get a (very small) bump for being an international student. How much of a bump depends both on the school and the country. Some schools care more about having students from lots of foreign countries, whereas other schools care less (or not at all). Likewise, if you hail from a country that sends a lot of students to the U.S., the impact will be diminished because there's a lot of competition, but if you're from a country where very few students apply to law school in the U.S., it'll make a bit bigger difference precisely because of the rarity thereof.


Thanks for the reply.
I don't think China is the second kind of country...

I don't have a U.S. degree, so how can i use the LSN's results as reference, if the GPA is a lot less relevant? Is there a way to estimate accepting chances for foreign students?

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby fixnroll » Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:24 am

GPA does not matter AT ALL for international students unless you are shooting for HYS and Chicago (but according to your LSAT score, that doesn't seem like something you should worry about). All that matters is LSAT score. That being said, if you have a good GPA, say Superior grade calculated by LSAC, that might raise up the eyebrow of AO a bit, but the effect is marginal compared to LSAT.

With a 165, you barely have any chance in T14, you might be wait listed by UCLA/UT-Austin/Vandy (though its more likely you get rejected). So the schools you should be looking at are Top 25-17.

Any chance you can retake?

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Big Dog » Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:57 am

GPA matters because internationals should not be

I'm hoping to be accepted by a T20..


Internationals should not waste their time at a T20, unless it is free. For internationals, prestige matters, and T15-20 ain't got it.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby janborn » Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:42 am

fixnroll wrote:GPA does not matter AT ALL for international students unless you are shooting for HYS and Chicago (but according to your LSAT score, that doesn't seem like something you should worry about). All that matters is LSAT score. That being said, if you have a good GPA, say Superior grade calculated by LSAC, that might raise up the eyebrow of AO a bit, but the effect is marginal compared to LSAT.

With a 165, you barely have any chance in T14, you might be wait listed by UCLA/UT-Austin/Vandy (though its more likely you get rejected). So the schools you should be looking at are Top 25-17.

Any chance you can retake?

I'm thinking about retaking too, problem is in China there are only two LSAT administrations, respectively in June and December. December LSAT will be too late for applying for fall 2015. How i wish i was in Hongkong.
Thank you for your information.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby janborn » Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:53 am

Big Dog wrote:GPA matters because internationals should not be

I'm hoping to be accepted by a T20..


Internationals should not waste their time at a T20, unless it is free. For internationals, prestige matters, and T15-20 ain't got it.


Is there that much deference between T14 and T20? I'm quite confident to get a 170 if i retake, but like i mentioned above, it's really inconvenient for me.
Anyway, appreciate your opinion.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby wingding » Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:04 pm

janborn wrote:
fixnroll wrote:GPA does not matter AT ALL for international students unless you are shooting for HYS and Chicago (but according to your LSAT score, that doesn't seem like something you should worry about). All that matters is LSAT score. That being said, if you have a good GPA, say Superior grade calculated by LSAC, that might raise up the eyebrow of AO a bit, but the effect is marginal compared to LSAT.

With a 165, you barely have any chance in T14, you might be wait listed by UCLA/UT-Austin/Vandy (though its more likely you get rejected). So the schools you should be looking at are Top 25-17.

Any chance you can retake?

I'm thinking about retaking too, problem is in China there are only two LSAT administrations, respectively in June and December. December LSAT will be too late for applying for fall 2015. How i wish i was in Hongkong.
Thank you for your information.

Retaking in December is perfectly fine for fall 2015. Basically, you need to aim for the top 75% to be reasonably confident of acceptance

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby janborn » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:26 pm

wingding wrote:
janborn wrote:
fixnroll wrote:GPA does not matter AT ALL for international students unless you are shooting for HYS and Chicago (but according to your LSAT score, that doesn't seem like something you should worry about). All that matters is LSAT score. That being said, if you have a good GPA, say Superior grade calculated by LSAC, that might raise up the eyebrow of AO a bit, but the effect is marginal compared to LSAT.

With a 165, you barely have any chance in T14, you might be wait listed by UCLA/UT-Austin/Vandy (though its more likely you get rejected). So the schools you should be looking at are Top 25-17.

Any chance you can retake?

I'm thinking about retaking too, problem is in China there are only two LSAT administrations, respectively in June and December. December LSAT will be too late for applying for fall 2015. How i wish i was in Hongkong.
Thank you for your information.

Retaking in December is perfectly fine for fall 2015. Basically, you need to aim for the top 75% to be reasonably confident of acceptance


Thank you, I checked the deadline of applying, it is feasible to retake in December. I think i can begin to apply this September and claim in the application that i will retake in December, hope i can do better 5 months later.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Big Dog » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:37 pm

s there that much deference between T14 and T20?


Yes, and its huge if finding a job is important to you. Moreover, if you expect to be involved in international transactions, you need the prestige of a T14.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby wingding » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:55 pm

janborn wrote:
wingding wrote:Retaking in December is perfectly fine for fall 2015. Basically, you need to aim for the top 75% to be reasonably confident of acceptance


Thank you, I checked the deadline of applying, it is feasible to retake in December. I think i can begin to apply this September and claim in the application that i will retake in December, hope i can do better 5 months later.

As a matter of fact, as long as you get your applications in on time, you can retake next June to get off any waitlists you might be on, or to try and get more money

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby BKB » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:21 am

Big Dog wrote:
s there that much deference between T14 and T20?


Yes, and its huge if finding a job is important to you. Moreover, if you expect to be involved in international transactions, you need the prestige of a T14.


Indeed. International students are really biglaw or bust. Only T14 (actually I would say only T6) can give you a reasonable chance for biglaw.

T20 for free is a reasonable option too. U Minn with full ride is quite likely as long as you raise your LSAT by 2-3 points.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby FlanAl » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:46 am

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=130045&hilit=International
You'll find this helpful. Just as a heads up lsac (the company that you apply for law school through) will convert your foreign GPA into below average, average, above average and superior. As far as I can tell a superior means your more or less in the top 10% of your undergrad class. Although the law schools won't have to report your GPA to us news, they still look at your transcript and it still matters.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Hand » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:42 am

Last edited by Hand on Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby BKB » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:25 am

Well I should say biglaw or bust for jobs in the US.. as it's really difficult to get any other employer to sponsor a law student H1B.

OP is from China. He can probably find a legal job back in China with a T20 law degree, but the best Chinese law firms pay less than $30k starting salary.

hereisonehand wrote:Hmm we should have another international applicants thread this cycle...

Anyway, I'd say the following only applies if, after graduation, you need a green card, and you need to get it through your employer, and/or you financed your education through private loans.

BKB wrote:
International students are really biglaw or bust.


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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Chrstgtr » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:01 am

BKB wrote:Well I should say biglaw or bust for jobs in the US.. as it's really difficult to get any other employer to sponsor a law student H1B.

OP is from China. He can probably find a legal job back in China with a T20 law degree, but the best Chinese law firms pay less than $30k starting salary.

hereisonehand wrote:Hmm we should have another international applicants thread this cycle...

Anyway, I'd say the following only applies if, after graduation, you need a green card, and you need to get it through your employer, and/or you financed your education through private loans.

BKB wrote:
International students are really biglaw or bust.



There are biglaw firms in China and especially in Asia's financial centers like HK. I don't know what their pay scale is but I assume it is lucrative.

One important consideration for you will be how well respected your LS is in China/Asia. Certain schools hold more regard in China due to name of the university and the university's reputation in areas outside the law than the LS holds within the US (think Cornell being overvalued while NYU being undervalued compared to US perceptions).

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby BKB » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:38 am

US firms in HK typically pay 160k. But if a US JD does not have the grades to get a job out of OCI, he/she probably cannot get a US biglaw job in HK either. Law graduates from UK, HK, China all compete in that market.

It might be easy for US JDs to get a job there several years ago when US lawyers were in high demand due to the boom of US IPO, but that's no longer the case now.

Chrstgtr wrote:
BKB wrote:Well I should say biglaw or bust for jobs in the US.. as it's really difficult to get any other employer to sponsor a law student H1B.

OP is from China. He can probably find a legal job back in China with a T20 law degree, but the best Chinese law firms pay less than $30k starting salary.

hereisonehand wrote:Hmm we should have another international applicants thread this cycle...

Anyway, I'd say the following only applies if, after graduation, you need a green card, and you need to get it through your employer, and/or you financed your education through private loans.

BKB wrote:
International students are really biglaw or bust.



There are biglaw firms in China and especially in Asia's financial centers like HK. I don't know what their pay scale is but I assume it is lucrative.

One important consideration for you will be how well respected your LS is in China/Asia. Certain schools hold more regard in China due to name of the university and the university's reputation in areas outside the law than the LS holds within the US (think Cornell being overvalued while NYU being undervalued compared to US perceptions).

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Ineedapillow » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:07 am

OP I am an international student too but I don't need work sponsor.
As to your undergrad GPA, it doesn't matter at all.
However, if you want to stay at US after law school, you must get a big law job because those are only firms would sponsor you. Yes you can get OPI, but no firm would hire someone can only stay there for several months.
So you need to get into a top law school, T-14 is definitely necessary, you need to improve your LSAT, 170 is not enough, especially that is the only thing the law school admission would look at.
Don't think your international background is a valuable asset especially for firms have oversea offices. True story: a friend of mine (who is also Chinese) went to interview with a big firm for a position requiring speaking mandarin, he thought being Chinese gives him great advantage , but turn out there are over 30 t-14 mandarin speaking law student competing for that position.
Good luck, PM me if you have more questions, I am very happy to help.

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Picosaurus » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:13 pm

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Hand » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:28 pm

Picosaurus wrote:I have a related question to the OP's
Seeing as clearly having an International UG (mine is UK) the GPA doesn't really exist but I was wondering since I'm a US/UK dual national and therefore do not need any form of sponsorship or suffer any restrictions in work/travel/study in the US (or the EU for that matter :D ) would I be considered as an American applicant since I'm a US citizen or as an International applicant since I did my UG in the UK? My two most recent PT are at 166/167 so heading in the right direction if an above 170 (!) is needed for a T14.

I'm not completely sure how a grade point average pans out but it'd at least be nice to see a rough guideline what the CAS evaluation means such as:
Superior: ~4.0
Above Average: ~3.5 etc...


The explanation that CAS (or actually, AACRAO) for the grading scale is as follows

Superior = A (4.00)
Above Average = B (3.00)
Average = C (2.00)
Below Average = D (1.00)

It is, on other words, a very coarse-grained system; I would expect that - if they go by degree classification - a first gets 'superior', second (both upper and lower) get 'above average', and a third gets average.

EDIT: note though, that in some of the previous int. applicants threads, it appears that some people with a second (upper division) got a superior, and some got an above average, so perhaps its not the degree classification but rather the marks for individual courses that determines the CAS evaluation.

Also, citizen or not, with a foreign undergraduate degree, you're presumably in the same boat as everyone else without a reportable GPA. Hence, come check in at the international applicants thread! (yeah I'm gonna keep plugging it)

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby canon1845 » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:26 pm

[quote="hereisonehand"][quote="Picosaurus"]I have a related question to the OP's
The explanation that CAS (or actually, AACRAO) for the grading scale is as follows

Superior = A (4.00)
Above Average = B (3.00)
Average = C (2.00)
Below Average = D (1.00)

It is, on other words, a very coarse-grained system; I would expect that - if they go by degree classification - a first gets 'superior', second (both upper and lower) get 'above average', and a third gets average.

EDIT: note though, that in some of the previous int. applicants threads, it appears that some people with a second (upper division) got a superior, and some got an above average, so perhaps its not the degree classification but rather the marks for individual courses that determines the CAS evaluation.

Always appreciate your knowledge regarding international admissions hereisonehand.

I have graduated with an exact B average (equivalent to a 3.00 in American GPA scale) from a university in New Zealand, does this mean i am more or less guaranteed a "above average" for my transcript valuation?

TI am very glad that i have finally found someone who could answer this question...

Cheers mate

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Oatmeal_Me » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:20 am

fixnroll wrote:GPA does not matter AT ALL for international students unless you are shooting for HYS and Chicago (but according to your LSAT score, that doesn't seem like something you should worry about). All that matters is LSAT score. That being said, if you have a good GPA, say Superior grade calculated by LSAC, that might raise up the eyebrow of AO a bit, but the effect is marginal compared to LSAT.

With a 165, you barely have any chance in T14, you might be wait listed by UCLA/UT-Austin/Vandy (though its more likely you get rejected). So the schools you should be looking at are Top 25-17.

Any chance you can retake?


unless you are shooting for HYS and Chicago?
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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Oatmeal_Me » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:28 am

hereisonehand wrote:
Also, citizen or not, with a foreign undergraduate degree, you're presumably in the same boat as everyone else without a reportable GPA.



"Reportable" means none of the law schools report GPAs from foreign institutions?

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Re: How does GPA matter for International students?

Postby Hand » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:11 am

canon1845 wrote:
hereisonehand wrote:
Picosaurus wrote:I have a related question to the OP's
The explanation that CAS (or actually, AACRAO) for the grading scale is as follows

Superior = A (4.00)
Above Average = B (3.00)
Average = C (2.00)
Below Average = D (1.00)

It is, on other words, a very coarse-grained system; I would expect that - if they go by degree classification - a first gets 'superior', second (both upper and lower) get 'above average', and a third gets average.

EDIT: note though, that in some of the previous int. applicants threads, it appears that some people with a second (upper division) got a superior, and some got an above average, so perhaps its not the degree classification but rather the marks for individual courses that determines the CAS evaluation.

Always appreciate your knowledge regarding international admissions hereisonehand.

I have graduated with an exact B average (equivalent to a 3.00 in American GPA scale) from a university in New Zealand, does this mean i am more or less guaranteed a "above average" for my transcript valuation?

TI am very glad that i have finally found someone who could answer this question...

Cheers mate


No, not necessarily - if a flat B GPA puts you in, say, the top 20% of students from your institution and/or country, their evaluation should report that your record is superior. I don't work there so I don't know whether they look at the country as a whole or break it down to institutions, but the basic thought is that the evaluation ranks you as compared to others in your peer group, and that would for you be either other people at your school or (more likely) fellow new zealanders, not US students. Where I come from, an 80% puts you in the top 15% or so of students, while that is certainly not true at most US schools that use percentage marks in addition to letter grades.



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