Available only to Credential Assembly Service (CAS) registrants
How Grades Are Converted
Grades are converted to a standard 4.0 system in order to furnish law schools with a uniform basis for comparing applicants.
LSAC-member schools have selected a common set of numerical values to represent the various grading systems used by US/Canadian institutions. LSAC makes no attempt to assess the value of grades earned at different colleges. Each law school sets its own rules for interpretation of applicants’ grade-point averages; members of law school admission committees understand that a particular grade earned at one college may not have the same meaning as the identical grade at another. In all cases, a copy of each transcript is sent to law schools along with LSAC’s Law School Report.
- Withdraw, Withdraw/Pass—only if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive.
- Incomplete—only if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive.
- Those given for remedial courses only if the transcript clearly indicates they are remedial.
- Those awarded after the first undergraduate degree was received.
- Those assigned for noncredit courses. Noncredit courses are defined as courses where the student has not registered for credit, attempted credit, or would not have been assigned credit even if any type of passing grade (e.g., A, B, C, Pass) had been received. Physical Education, Practical Art, Practical Music, and ROTC courses that are assigned credit will be included in the academic summary, even if the issuing institution does not include these courses in its calculation of a GPA.
- Passing grades from systems of one or two passing grades (e.g., Pass/Fail, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Credit/No Credit, or Honors/Pass/Fail, High Pass/Pass/Fail), and those for which conversion rules cannot be formulated, including courses for which a transcript gives only narratives or descriptions. Credits for the work in these courses are totaled and reported separately as unconverted credits. The only exception to this policy is for a reported grade below C-minus from a two-passing-grade grading system (e.g., Credit/D/Fail) when the issuing institution includes this grade in their calculation of a GPA.
- Grade symbols that have multiple meanings at the issuing school, and the issuing school’s registrar is unable to confirm whether course credit was attempted (such as NC=either No Credit Attempted or No Credit Awarded, etc.). The total number of credits usually assigned to the particular type of course will appear on the applicant’s academic summary but will not be included in the GPA calculation.
- Withdrawal grades that signify failure (such as WF=Withdraw/Fail, WU=Withdrew Unsatisfactory, WNP=Withdrew Not Passing) if the issuing school considers the grade nonpunitive. The total number of credits assigned to these grades will appear on the applicant’s academic summary, but will not be included in the GPA calculation.
- The original grade for a repeated course when the transcript does not show both the grade and the units for the original attempt. The total number of credits assigned to these grades will appear on the applicant’s academic summary, but will not be included in the GPA calculation.
- Those removed from the official transcript due to an institution’s academic forgiveness—only if the grade is not displayed on the transcript. A line drawn through course information or a grade does not eliminate the course from GPA calculation.
- A No Credit grade that does not signify failure and for which no attempt at credit was made (e.g., NC=No Credit/Withdraw, or NC=No Credit Attempted).
Any grade notation that signifies failure (such as No Credit, No Credit/Fail, Not Passing, Incomplete, Incomplete/Fail, Withdraw/Fail, Unsatisfactory, Fail, etc.) is converted to zero on the 4.0 scale and is included in the calculation of the GPA, even if the issuing school considers the grade to be nonpunitive. Failure is defined as credit attempted but not earned. If a transcript is not clear about credit attempted, LSAC staff will contact the registrar at the issuing school to confirm whether course credit was attempted. Incomplete and Withdraw grades considered punitive by the issuing school will be included in the conversion. The only exception to this policy is for No Credit, Withdraw/Fail, repeated courses, and incomplete grades specifically explained in Grades Excluded from Conversion.
All grades and credits earned for repeated courses will be included in the GPA calculation if the course units and grades appear on the transcript. A line drawn through course information or a grade does not eliminate the course from GPA calculation if the course units appear on the transcript.
Academic Renewal/Academic Forgiveness
All grades reflected on your transcript for forgiven courses will be included in the calculation of the GPA even if the institution issuing the transcript excludes the courses from its own calculations. Credits for forgiven courses not reflecting the grade earned will appear on the academic summary but will not be included in the GPA calculation. If the transcript reflects neither the grade nor the credit attempted for a forgiven course, credit will be assigned. If a transcript is not clear about the total number of credits attempted and the course information is not readily available on the institution’s website, the total number of credits for a similar course will be assigned. A line drawn through course information or a grade does not eliminate the course from GPA calculation.
If a transcript contains academic notes such as dean’s list, study-abroad credits, academic probation, suspension, dismissal, warning, and so on, these notes will appear on your law school report.
Transcript notations such as dean’s list, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, and the like will be included on the report as “Academic Honors.” Academic honors not included on your official transcript will be noted on the Law School Report if an official, sealed letter sent from the registrar is received by LSAC.
If you question a transcript notation of academic action, you should contact the institution directly and resolve the matter as soon as possible. Please note that a discrepancy between your answer to a law school application academic record question and notations on your transcript(s) could result in a misconduct and irregularities investigation.
Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Programs (CLEP)
AP or CLEP courses are summarized and included in the GPA if the undergraduate school transcript shows grades and credits for them. (See Unconverted Credits for transcripts showing credits but no grades.)
Grade-Point Average (GPA)
LSAC calculates a GPA for each year and a cumulative GPA for each undergraduate institution that issued a transcript for you. A cumulative GPA that includes all undergraduate work is also calculated and reported. A cumulative GPA for a school within an institution cannot be calculated.
In calculating a GPA, LSAC uses the grades and credits for every course that can be converted to the 4.0 scale, although the institution issuing the transcript may exclude some of the courses from its own calculations. Courses excluded from the academic summary are not included in the GPA calculation.
There may be some variation between the GPAs calculated by LSAC and those calculated by colleges or students; however, the variation is rarely substantial. Because the law schools that use LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service understand its procedures, a slight variation in GPA is not likely to affect a law school’s admission decision.
No Cumulative GPA Calculation
In the following atypical instances, no cumulative GPA calculation will occur, as reporting one for someone who only had a few hours of US/Canadian classes could be misleading.
No cumulative GPA will be calculated if an applicant has
- received their undergraduate degree from an institution located outside the United States, its territories/associated states, or Canada, and has also completed less than 60 graded credits of US/Canadian undergraduate-level work prior to the awarding of the international degree;
- received their undergraduate degree from a US/Canadian institution that does not issue grades and credits, only narratives, and has also completed less than 60 graded credits of other US/Canadian undergraduate-level work prior to the awarding of the US/Canadian degree; or
- a total of less than 60 graded credits of US/Canadian undergraduate-level work on their file and may or may not have an institution identified as their undergraduate degree-granting school.
All credits are reported in terms of semester hours. All earned credits not reported in semester hours are converted to that system. Trimester hours are treated as semester hours; quarter hours are multiplied by .67 to arrive at semester hours. Credits recorded in other units are converted to semester hours using the formula supplied by the college issuing the transcript.
Although passing grades for courses with only one or two passing grades may not be converted to the 4.0 scale, credit is given for them in the Credential Assembly Service summary (see Grades Excluded from Conversion for examples). These courses, and any course for which the transcript shows credit but no grade, appear in the Unconverted Credit Hours section of the law school report.