AccessLex Institute Research

Measuring 'Up': The Promise of Undergraduate GPA Growth in Law School Admissions

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



admission criteria, law school diversity, incoming indicators, standardized test scores, undergraduate GPA


Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores and final undergraduate GPA (UGPA) factor heavily in admission decisions at most law schools. However, these metrics overlook other characteristics that might also correlate with law school success—such as a growth mindset— and tend to exacerbate existing racial disparities in educational attainment. Using a sample of 5,599 recent law school students from 14 law schools, we compare the predictive power of UGPA growth (the difference between students’ final and first-year UGPA) to that of final UGPA and LSAT scores in law school admissions. We find that UGPA growth is positively associated with first-year law school GPA (1L LGPA) and negatively associated with the likelihood of first-year (1L) non-transfer attrition. Furthermore, our findings indicate that contrary to LSAT score and final UGPA, UGPA growth values do not substantively vary by race/ethnicity. Our conclusion is that UGPA growth might be a valid metric to consider as institutions across the nation examine how to recruit diverse cohorts without the ability to consider race.