How We Review Applications - School of Law (2023)

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Admissions Policy

Our admissions policy calls for the Committee on Admissions to employ a holistic approach, taking into account all information available about each applicant. No single factor is conclusive. The undergraduate academic record and admissions test scores are very important, and the committees decision is also influenced by other factors, including the strength of the applicants undergraduate curriculum, trends in grades, evidence of writing ability, information gained through the applicant's personal statement, "character and fitness" disclosures, work or life experience, military service, graduate study, residency, contributions to campus or community through service or leadership, the assessment of recommenders, and the applicant’s potential for contribution to a diverse educational environment.

When should I take the LSAT?
We encourage you to take the LSAT in the February, June, September/October, or December administrations the year before you expect to enroll. We will accept a score from the February or June LSAT in the same year in which you hope to enroll, but we will already have begun to fill places in the entering class by the time your LSAT score is received, which can affect your chances of admission.

Do you use the highest or average LSAT score?
The American Bar Association requires law schools to use the highest of multiple LSAT scores when reporting entering student credentials, so for that reason the highest score is typically the one used in making admissions decisions. The Admissions Committee will consider all information presented in the application for admission, however, including scores earned on all LSATs. For that reason, if there are significant differences between your scores on different administrations of the LSAT and you have any information to help explain the disparity— illness, poor testing conditions, or the like— you may wish to include it in an addendum to your application.

(Video) How Law School Applications Are Reviewed

Is there a minimum LSAT score that will be considered?
No. While undergraduate grades and LSAT scores are useful tools, no single factor is dispositive. No application is screened out or reviewed differently because of an LSAT score or GPA.

LSAT Writing is a proctored, on-demand writing exam that is administered online using secure proctoring software that is installed on your computer. LSAC developed LSAT Writing in response to feedback from test takers. The new approach has shortened the LSAT test day and provides more flexibility for you when taking the exam. Using LSAT Writing, you can complete the writing sample portion of the test at a convenient time and place of your choice. LSAT Writing uses the same decision-prompt structure that used in previous LSAT administrations. This structure is specifically designed to elicit the kind of argumentative writing that candidates will be expected to produce in law school. You will have 35 minutes to write an essay in response to the prompt that is presented to you. Complete information about LSAT writing is available on the LSAC website.

Transcripts of your prior academic work are submitted through LSAC's Credential Assembly Service. LSAC will send us electronic and paper copies of your transcripts, along with an analysis of grade trends across your entire academic career and statistical information about your school that allows us to compare your academic record with other students at your institution. Our Committee will consider not only your undergraduate GPA, but also trends in your grades, the difficulty of the coursework taken, the grading curve at your school, how recent the academic work is, and any external factors which may have affected your academic performance, such as family responsibilities, work obligations, or other individual circumstances. If you attended graduate school, the Committee will also consider academic performance in a graduate program, but those grades are not averaged into the undergraduate GPA calculated by LSAC.

(Video) Law School Admissions Officer on Reviewing Applications

Why is the undergraduate GPA on my CAS report different from the GPA on my transcript?
LSAC recalculates your cumulative undergraduate GPA according to a uniform set of rules that apply to all applicants. For instance, all academic work in taken into account, not just the work completed at the school where you receive your degree, so if you took summer school classes at another school or transferred to a different institution, grades earned at the other school will be included. In addition, LSAC assigns numerical values to letter grades that may be different from those assigned by your school, and it does not allow for grade substitutions if you retake a class. For a complete explanation of LSAC's transcript analysis process, see the LSAC website.

Far too many applicants underestimate the importance of the personal statement. It is your chance to tell us about yourself: What your most significant achievements have been; what has shaped you into the person you are today; what engages you intellectually; what are you passionate about; or what you hope to accomplish in your life. It may, but does not need to, address why you want to go to law school or to be a lawyer. Remember that the salient characteristic of a good personal statement is that it is personal. It is our chance to assess what qualities, viewpoint, or experiences you will bring to the law school classroom, which is, at its best, a lively discussion in which many different voices participate. Remember, too, that this is the primary way we assess your writing skills. In many cases, the personal statement is the make-or-break element in the application, and it is the one element over which you have complete control.

There is no specified length. Take the time to tell us what you think we need to know, but remember that economy of style is a strength in good writing!

(Video) 9 Biggest Law School Application Resume Mistakes

The primary focus of any admissions committee will be on your potential as a law student. Letters from faculty members who have taught you in undergraduate or graduate school will typically be the most helpful. Letters should address your ability to analyze complex information, to form reasoned conclusions about it, and to present those conclusions effectively, in writing and orally. It can also be helpful to have their assessment of personal characteristics such as maturity, self-discipline, commitment, cooperativeness, and professionalism. If you have been away from school for a significant time, you may submit letters from others who can evaluate the same skills and qualities.

We ask that letters be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation service. This service is included in the LSAC/CAS registration subscription. Letters are copied and sent to the USC School of Law with the LSAC/CAS Report. Directions for submitting letters can be found on the LSAC website.


When can I expect to receive an admissions decision?

Decisions dates vary. We begin to review applications as soon as they are complete, typically in September of each year. In some cases, the Committee on Admissions reaches a decision very quickly, and the applicant is notified of the decision immediately. In other cases, the file may be held over for a second round of review, to give the Committee an opportunity to make a comparative evaluation of credentials later in the admissions process. Applicants are notified as soon as the Committee makes a decision. We encourage applicants to be patient during the review process. We do not make decisions based solely on numbers. Ours is a thorough, individualized, and holistic process of review by members of the admissions staff and Committee. We anticipate making decisions prior to April 1 on all application completed by March 1.

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You may be notified by postal mail, e-mail, or both. To protect your privacy, we normally will not release admissions decisions over the phone, nor will we discuss an application with anyone other than the applicant.

How do I accept my place in the entering class?

Once admitted, youwill receive detailed instructions and a time table to pay yourseat deposit. You will also be provided with your VIP ID and USC ID, which will allow you to pay your seat deposit electronically

May I defer enrollment?

Deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis. A deferral is appropriate for a student who wishes to commit to enrolling at USC, but in a future year. You must pay the $500 acceptance deposit by the deposit deadline; you may request a deferral at that time or at any time before the start of school. Students requesting a deferral must agree not to hold a place in another law school's entering class, and not to apply for admission to another law school, during the deferral year. To confirm your intention to enroll the following year, you will be asked to pay a second $500 deposit. Both deposits are nonrefundable and are applied to your first semester's tuition.


What is under review 2 law school? ›

UR1, UR2, etc: Under Review 1, Under Review 2, etc. These are application status indicators that some law schools use to update applicants on the progress of their application review.

What matters most in law school admissions? ›

There's really no way around it—your LSAT score, GPA, and the rigor of your undergraduate course work are basically the most important things law schools are looking for. Also keep in mind that your LSAT score and GPA can make a huge difference in the scholarships and grants you'll be eligible for.

How do you stand out in law application? ›

Show you've done your research and be personal about why you want to do law. Explain why you decided to study law. What made you decide to do this course for three or four years? It really stands out when people are personal about this and can give an interesting story about why they want to be a lawyer.”

How many essays do you need for law school application? ›

There are three different essays to consider when applying to law school. Most law schools require a personal statement. Others may allow a diversity statement and/or an addendum. Submit ALL statements that apply to you.

How long are law applications reviewed? ›

There is no fixed answer for how long it takes to hear back from law schools. Generally, admissions offices start reviewing applications around October and aim to make decisions within six weeks. So the earliest you may hear back is likely mid-November.

How long are law school applications reviewed? ›

In rare cases, some applicants may receive an answer within a few weeks, but the process typically takes 2–4 months. If your application is placed on hold or if you are placed on a wait list then it may take several additional months to receive a final decision.

How can I increase my chances of getting into law school? ›

Here are their top 10 tips:
  1. Choose a major that interests you. Many majors can give students a competitive edge in law school. ...
  2. Manage your time. ...
  3. Get used to scrutiny. ...
  4. Look for internships. ...
  5. Get involved outside of class. ...
  6. Write a strong personal statement. ...
  7. Keep up your GPA. ...
  8. Invest time in studying for the LSAT.
24 Mar 2021

What is a good GPA for law school? ›

What is a good GPA to get into law school? Only a very few law schools and colleges accept potential student candidates with an undergraduate GPA of 3.49 or lower. Most prestigious law schools require a GPA of 3.85 or higher.

What skills do law schools look for in applicants? ›

Law students must demonstrate a strong ability to read, write, speak, and listen. Often they must read large amounts of complex material and use the information to write persuasive documents; therefore, if you wish to succeed in law school, your ability to comprehend information and write about it is crucial.

What are the 3 most important skills that you think a lawyer needs? ›

From the 38 participants, the top five skills necessary to be an effective lawyer are:
  • Communication.
  • Listening.
  • Writing.
  • Negotiation.
  • Time Management.
8 Feb 2012

What is a good weakness to say in a law interview? ›

“Don't be afraid to discuss a genuine weakness that you have overcome or that you're working to overcome. … You could talk about how difficult it was to adjust to law school at first, especially the volume of reading and other work.

What are the 5 most important qualities for a lawyer according to you? ›

5 qualities you need to become a great lawyer
  • Communication: Strong reading, writing, and verbal communication skills are critical to the study and practice of law. ...
  • Research: ...
  • Attention to detail: ...
  • Teamwork: ...
  • Time management:
22 Feb 2022

How do you get top marks in law essay? ›

However, following these steps will put you in the correct direction towards top marks.
  1. Start in Advance. Obvious but important. ...
  2. Read, Understand and Deconstruct the Question. ...
  3. Research. ...
  4. Write a Plan. ...
  5. Write a Good Essay Introduction. ...
  6. Include a Thesis. ...
  7. Include Counter-Arguments in Their Best Light. ...
  8. Write a Good Conclusion.
18 Feb 2020

What is a good amount of law schools to apply to? ›

How Many Law Schools Should I Apply To? Your best bet is to apply to a minimum of two reach schools, two match schools, and three safeties. A reach is a law school whose students' average LSAT and GPA scores are higher than yours.

How many references do you need for law school application? ›

Most law programs require two or three reference letters for admission, although they may accept more than just three. While references from faculty members are ideal, law schools may seriously consider nonacademic references as well, especially if applicants have been out of school for several years.

How do law schools notify acceptance? ›

Most (but not all) law schools will send an e-mail with a link to an online status checker. This allows you to monitor the progress of your application as it moves from “complete” to “in review,” and finally, when a decision has been made. This tool can be a blessing or a curse.

What do I do if I get rejected from law school? ›

How To Handle Law School Admission Rejection
  1. Take a break. Take a mental break from law school admissions for a day or two to just process the decision. ...
  2. Exercise. ...
  3. Re-evaluate your reasoning. ...
  4. Reassess your options. ...
  5. Consider waiting another year. ...
  6. Option to transfer.

What happens after an application is reviewed? ›

The direct manager reviews the resumes

At this stage, the recruiting team will often share the strongest applicants with the hiring team for review. The hiring team will then go through the process of manually reviewing candidates and creating a shortlist for the recruiters to have an initial interview.

Do law schools send rejection emails? ›

But yeah generally you'll get an email from the school saying your application has been decided and to check the status on their website. Otherwise you'll get a letter in the mail stating a rejection or a package in the mail stating an acceptance.

How long does it take admissions to review an application? ›

It can take a few weeks to a few months to hear back for a college admissions decision, depending on the type of application you submitted. Early applicants — such as early decision or early action — will generally hear back in December while regular decision applicants will receive their admission decision in April.

What does application under review mean law school? ›

For applicants submitting an LSAT score, please remember to complete the LSAT Writing test if you have not already done so. Your file will not be marked as complete until you have done so. "Application in Review": This means your application is under review by a member of the Admissions Committee.

What percentage of law school applicants are accepted? ›

The median acceptance rate for all law schools in the US sits at 40.8%, which is already a fairly competitive rate. The top 15 law schools in the US, with acceptance rates below 15%, are even more selective. Their median acceptance rate sits at 11.1%.

How do I follow up on law school application? ›

Keep your letter brief, do not press to be admitted off the waitlist or for information about when final decisions will be made, and aim to send the letter within a few weeks of being notified you've been wait-listed. You can send more than one letter, but only in the event of new information to share.

Why do you get waitlisted for law school? ›

A law school that perceives an applicant to be qualified but likely to decline admission in favor of a different school may put the applicant on a waitlist. Based on whether the applicant withdraws or persists, the law school can save face and appear more selective.

What is the lowest GPA for law school? ›

What is the lowest GPA for law school? The lowest GPA for law school would be below 3.0. While you might get acceptance on the basis of other factors, any GPA below 3.0 is considered very low.

Can I be a lawyer with a 3.0 GPA? ›

Every individual applying to school for a law degree must have a 3.0 or higher GPA (grade point average). However, the top-rank law schools in the United States require a GPA median of 3.9 or higher, followed by second-tier and third-tier law schools that require 3.8 and 3.7 GPAs, respectively.

Is a 3.5 GPA low for law school? ›

Law schools generally require that you have specified minimum collegiate GPA and LSAT scores to qualify for admission. Harvard, Yale, and the other top five-ranked law schools require that you have a GPA of at least 3.50 and an LSAT score of 170.

What factors are important in selecting a law school? ›

Everything You Need to Consider in a Law School
  • Location. Location is arguably the single most important factor in choosing a law school. ...
  • Admitted Student Profile. ...
  • Cost and Financial Aid. ...
  • Academic Programs. ...
  • Faculty. ...
  • Size. ...
  • Student Culture. ...
  • Career Support and Job Placements.

Which GPA do law schools look at? ›

[Get tips on applying to law school with a low GPA.] Dear Grade Point Analysis: Initial evaluation of your application will be based on your cumulative GPA and LSAT score. Thus, your 3.3 GPA – or 3.5 if you improve it – will be what admissions committees consider.

What skills do lawyers depend on? ›

Lawyer's Skills
  • oral and written communication.
  • advocacy.
  • interviewing.
  • drafting.
  • negotiating.
  • problem solving,
  • managing work and time, and.
  • resilience.

What are 5 responsibilities of a lawyer? ›

  • Advise and represent clients in courts, before government agencies, and in private legal matters.
  • Communicate with their clients, colleagues, judges, and others involved in the case.
  • Conduct research and analysis of legal problems.
  • Interpret laws, rulings, and regulations for individuals and businesses.
8 Sept 2022

What are the weaknesses of a lawyer? ›

11 drawbacks of being a lawyer
  • High-stress situations. When you're in this profession, it's important to meet deadlines and the demands of your clients. ...
  • Long hours. ...
  • Expensive education. ...
  • Not as many client opportunities. ...
  • Client's aren't spending as much. ...
  • Threat of outsourced legal work. ...
  • Negative stigma. ...
  • Difficult clients.

What personality makes a good lawyer? ›

Trustworthiness, listening skills, emotional awareness, diplomacy, and other human relations capabilities are the coin of the realm for successful corporate lawyers. (Again, excellent judgment and management skills are taken as a given for these positions.)

What is your strength best answer? ›

When answering, mention what your top strengths are, provide examples on how you've used them in the past, and finally, describe the results you've gotten. Be super specific with your answers. Don't just say “I'm good at X” - really dive deep and give the interviewer a comprehensive answer.

What are your 5 Weaknesses? ›

Examples of Weaknesses.

Shyness. Lack of knowledge of particular software. Public speaking. Taking criticism.

How do I ace a law school interview? ›

How to prepare for a law school interview
  1. Learn about the school. Research everything you can about the law school. ...
  2. Practice answers to common questions. ...
  3. Think of questions to ask. ...
  4. Practice speaking and nonverbal communication. ...
  5. Do a mock interview. ...
  6. Print a copy of your resume. ...
  7. Plan to follow-up afterward.

What is the most important skill in law? ›

Communication. Strong oral and written communication skills are crucial and without them you'll struggle to carry out the duties of a solicitor effectively. Excellent listening ability is also important when working with clients, as you need to be able to build relationships and engender confidence.

What is the salary like for a lawyer? ›

The average lawyer salary in South Africa is R 720 006 per year or R 369 per hour. Entry-level positions start at R 265 500 per year, while most experienced workers make up to R 7 200 000 per year.

Why do you want to be a lawyer best answer? ›

Many students choose law because they want to help people, groups, organizations, or companies solve challenging problems and manage their legal issues. Here are some other reasons students choose to study law. Lawyers are in demand, and their jobs will not likely disappear anytime soon.

Is a 2.1 law degree good? ›

The majority of law firms look for candidates with a 2:1 degree grade or above – although it is not unheard of for some firms to accept candidates with a 2:2 degree grade. Most candidates with a 3rd will find it very difficult to reach the interview stage unless they have mitigating circumstances.

How many people get a first in law? ›

Approximately 10% of law students will complete their studies as the proud owner of a first-class degree, which makes it statistically the hardest degree to get top grades in.

What is the fastest way to memorize a law? ›

5 Simple and Effective Memorization Techniques for Law Students
  1. Record Notes to Listen to Later. You can do this one of two ways. ...
  2. Use Flashcards or Another Form of Self Testing. ...
  3. Use a Mnemonic. ...
  4. Be able to explain the concept you're trying to memorize. ...
  5. Create a mind map.
3 Apr 2017

What matters the most in law school applications? ›

There's really no way around it—your LSAT score, GPA, and the rigor of your undergraduate course work are basically the most important things law schools are looking for. Also keep in mind that your LSAT score and GPA can make a huge difference in the scholarships and grants you'll be eligible for.

What is the most important part of a law school application? ›

Your GPA and LSAT score are really important

Your undergraduate GPA and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score will be two of the most important components of your law school application.

Do law schools check references? ›

Law schools are looking for specific evidence that the applicant will succeed in school, in practice, or both. The better a recommender knows an applicant, the more likely it is they'll be able to provide that crucial anecdote that clearly demonstrates the applicant's suitability for law school.

Can you get into law school without references? ›

Letters of recommendation are required for almost every law school application and are a very important part of the application process. Usually grades and LSAT scores factor in most heavily; however, your letters of recommendation could be the deciding factor in the admission process.

Is 4 letters of recommendation too much for law school? ›

Schools vary on the number of letters of recommendation they require, so make sure to check each school's requirements in LSAC. Typically, two-four letters are required, meaning schools most commonly require two letters but will accept up to four.

What does under review mean law school? ›

For applicants submitting an LSAT score, please remember to complete the LSAT Writing test if you have not already done so. Your file will not be marked as complete until you have done so. "Application in Review": This means your application is under review by a member of the Admissions Committee.

What does it mean when your application is under secondary review? ›

Under Secondary Review means you will be called for an interview. The initial review is to determine if you are qualified for the position you are applying for by reviewing your resume and any assessments you might have taken for the position.

Does under review mean accepted? ›

Answer: For most journals, the status "under review" is used to indicate that the paper has cleared the editorial check and has been sent for external review.

Does under review mean denied? ›

“application pending” and “under further review” mean the card issuer hasn't approved or denied your application yet. The issuer is still reviewing your application so that it can make a decision.

What happens when your application is in review? ›

"Under review" is part of a workflow, because there is a position you are being reviewed for. It means that your resume is in line, waiting for review for a specific open position. It also could mean that a recruiter has forwarded your resume to a hiring manager.

What does application in review mean? ›

“Under Review” means that your application has been received and is in the screening process. Q4.

What does it mean pending review application? ›

Pending Review status means your application is waiting to be reviewed by your institution.

How long does application secondary review take? ›

Once you've submitted your application for the AB 60 secondary review process, the DMV Investigations Division (INV) will review your documents. They may schedule an interview with you. The DMV has said that secondary review can take up to 90 days , and for some applicants it has taken even longer, so be patient.

What does it mean when application is under consideration? ›

"Application under consideration" usually means they are reviewing your information to see if you would be a good candidate for the job.

What does admission status mean? ›


How long does it take to get under review? ›

In general, peer review can take anywhere between a few weeks to even 6 months. However, if the status does not change even after two months, you can perhaps send a polite inquiry to the Editor requesting a status update.

What does review approval mean? ›

Review and approve means to assess the recommended action, analyze and deliberate as to the outcome and arrive at a conclusion, which may or may not be consistent with the recommendation offered.

What is the status after under review? ›

Let me explain this! If the status shows "Under review," then your paper is sent to the peers to evaluate the article. Or the associate editor must have sent the manuscript to a team of new or other potential peer reviewers.

What is under review process? ›

When the status of your manuscript changes to under review, this means that it has passed the initial editorial checks. The journal has confirmed that you've uploaded and submitted the correct documents and that the content of your paper is relevant to your journal.

What is the 5 24 rule? ›

What is the 5/24 rule? Many card issuers have criteria for who can qualify for new accounts, but Chase is perhaps the most strict. Chase's 5/24 rule means that you can't be approved for most Chase cards if you've opened five or more personal credit cards (from any card issuer) within the past 24 months.

What does review process mean? ›

The review process is the procedure where reporting manager or team leader evaluates employees' accomplishments and progress towards the objective and goals. It happens by comparing achievements with preset expectations and providing feedback to the employees about the same.


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