The Admissions Process
Law schools are highly selective in choosing applicants for admission. To be a strong candidate for admission, an applicant must present a strong college academic record and evidence of their maturity and potential to succeed in the legal profession.
You should review the LSAC's webpage The Law School Admission Process: What to Expect
To be admitted to an American Bar Association-accredited law school, an applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university (note: law schools will admit undergraduate students who apply during senior year, with the admission offer conditioned upon successful degree completion before enrolling for the first year of law school) and a valid score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). A complete list of application materials can be found here.
Generally, ABA-accredited law schools will evaluate applicants for admission on the basis of the following criteria (you can find a more comprehensive list of admission factors here):
- Cumulative undergraduate grade point average;
- LSAT score
- Personal Statement and resume;
- Letters of Recommendation; and
- Character and Fitness
Many law schools use a rolling admissions process.
Many law schools accept students with less than stellar academic records. There are strategies for middle-range and borderline students to improve their chances for acceptance.
If your GPA is low:
- Wait a year or more before you apply. The more distance you put between you and your undergraduate GPA, the less impact it has on your application.
- Ask for Letters of Recommendation from professors who will attest that your ability is not reflected in your overall GPA.
- If your GPA has steadily risen or has been high except for an aberrant semester, explain the reasons for it in your Personal Statement.
If your LSAT score is low:
- If your cumulative GPA is high, you may be able to argue convincingly that your standardized test performance is not indicative of your abilities. If your ACT scores were also low, compare your predicted undergraduate performance based on your ACT score to your actual performance, as evidence of your ability to outperform your standardized test predictors.
- Search for law schools that offer conditional admission programs that provide applicants with an alternative path to admission by allowing them to demonstrate their potential for success in law school, despite a low LSAT score, through successful completion of a summer program or other form of alternative evaluation criteria