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Common Components for Law School Application

Before you apply to law schools, you want to understand what materials are typically required and should be prepared. In fact, most ABA-accredited law schools require common items to their applicants.

Common Law School Application Components

The following 7 components are commonly required from law schools. Note that the details varies by each school, so you need to check teh school's admission page that you want to apply.
  • Completed Application and LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report
  • Transcripts including Bachelor's Degree at least
  • LSAT Scores and/or Alternatives
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • Application Fees

LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report

In general, all law school applicants are required to register with Credential Assembly Service (CAS), which simplifies the law school application process for both candidates and law schools. The CAS subscription fee is $195 and the fee per CAS report is $45 currently.
You can complete you application on the CAS system. In application process, you will need to submit following items:
  • All transcripts for all credits earned in pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree
  • Letters of recommendation
  • LSAT scores and LSAT writing samples
  • Other documents required for individual aw school
After submitting all documents, you can create your CAS report. You need to purchase a CAS report for each law school that you are applying. After transcript summarization, letter of recommendation processing, and other application processing, they will send the report to your school.
We note that transcripts or other document may need to send to school directly too. Check on school's admission page or contact to admission office to ensure it. In addition, for scholarships, residency for tuition purposes determination, or for other reason, some schools require a supplemental application. You should be noticed it after completing application.

BS Degree and Transcripts

Law schools require official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work. The graduate degrees are optional, but BS degree from a regionally accredited college or university is a mandatory item. Applicants need to submit the official transcripts to LSAC in application process.
The transcripts may need to send to school directly too, so ensure it at school's admission page or contact to admission office. If your transcript is not final and in-progress at the time of submission to LSAC, you may need to send the final version to school directly.

LSAT Scores and/or Alternatives

Pursuant to ABA Standard 503, all applicants to the J.D. program must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). In general, LSAT scores from the past five years are valid to submit, because CAS report includes that all scores (with cancellation and absences) from within prior five years. Officially, 12 most recent results will be reported to the school.
The policy for LSAT score consideration varies by schools. Some schools take highest scores for the admission decision and others have priority on most recent scores.
As an alternative of LSAT scores, number of law schools accept GRE, LSAT-FLEX, GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), and/or DAT (Dental Admission Test). Since some law schools require the LSAT scores as mandatory and accept other scores optionally, so you need to ensure it.
The ABA has granted law schools permission to admit a certain percentage of applicants without (LSAT) scores. Still most law schools require it, but students who meet the qualifications below may qualify for the LSAT waiver:
  • Recent graduate of the undergraduate program from the school that you are applying
  • Scored in the 85th or 90th percentile on the ACT or SAT exam
  • Ranked in the top of undergraduate class or maintain high GPA through academic work
  • Have not taken the LSAT

Letters of Recommendation

The letters of recommendation is an important part of your application along with LSAT and GPA. In general, law schools require letters of recommendation from your professors, academic professionals, and boss or colleagues who you worked with. Although letters from colleagues and non-academic professionals are accepted, letters from academic professors are mostly preferred by law schools. LSAT states: The most effective letters of recommendation are written by professors or work supervisors who know you well enough to describe your academic, personal, or professional achievements and potential with candor, detail, and objectivity. Letters that compare you to your academic peers are often the most useful.
Two(2) or three(3) letters are most common, but the number of letters varies by schools. Some schools require exactly one(1) or two(2) letters and others limit the number the three (3) or four (4).
You can submit the letters of recommendation in application process through LSAC, known as LSAC Letters of Recommendation (LOR) service. You may waive your right to access letters of recommendation, but are not required. The waiver of right of access can be done through LOR service.

Personal Statement

The personal statement provides an opportunity to present applicants' background, skills, ideas, and qualifications to the law school admissions committee. There are no specific topics to write, but it should help the admission committee learn about the personal, professional, and/or academic qualities of applicants.
The length of the statement or essay is usually limited by pages, words, and format. For examples:
  • Four (4) double-spaced pages and should be in a font no smaller than 12 pt - Levin College of Law at UF
  • Two (2) pages using a minimum of 11-point font, 1-inch margins, and double spacing - Harvard Law School
  • A 250 words essay - Yale Law School
  • Two (2) or Three (3) double-spaced pages - Nebraska College of Law
After completing the essay, you can upload it attachment section to submit in LSAC application process.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae

More than 100 law schools require a professional resume or curriculum vitae(CV). In general, it includes, but not limited to
  • Educational history
  • Honors and awards
  • Community activities
  • Publications
  • Work history
  • Military service
  • Outside interests
  • Volunteer experiences
  • Time spent devoted to other endeavors
The length of a resume or CV is limited to two (2) or three (3) pages with specific format depending on school's admission policy.

Application Fees

In law school admission process, the application fee is required by many Law school. The amount is usually less than $100 and should be paid directly to each school. Most schools have need-based fee-waiver program, so you can check your eligibility and request a fee waiver. In addition, number of schools waive the fee for whom apply earlier than priority deadline.
Currently, about 100 law schools require the application fees, 15 schools waive it, and 70 schools do not require the application fee.

Optional Components

Besides the common components, there are several optional components to apply law schools. You may need to check admission polices of law schools that you are applying, because some schools require them as mandatory.

Diversity Statement

It is optional, but many applicants submit the diversity statement to present how they would contribute to our community. The topics include, but not limited, life experiences, socioeconomic background, ethnicity and race, gender and other attributes, multi-cultural learning.
Like personal statement, there is a length limit by schools, two (2) or three (3) pages in general.

Addenda, Optional Essay of Interest

If you have any special and unique topic to discuss, then you can attach the optional addenda. The topics are not limited, but an explanation related Test Scores, GPA, or transcript is the most common topic. You can also describe teh character and fitness disclosures, or disadvantages on a personal history of educational or socioeconomic.

Character and fitness questions

Character and fitness questions ask for full disclosure regarding your past and current record of conduct. It asks these questions because they are a major component in admission to the bar.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score

TOEFL score may be required to all international students who foreign-educated students. If an international applicants earned BS degree from a college in United States or countries where English is an official language, then the TOEFL score could be waived.
The test taken in past two years is typically valid and at least score of 600 on paper-based test or 100 on internet-based test is assumed acceptable.

Why Statement

Several schools require the "Why" Statement. It asks to applicants why you choose to apply to us. The following schools require:
  • Why UF Law? - Levin College of Law at UF
  • Why UCI Law? - UC Irvine Law School
  • Why W&M Law? - William & Mary Law School
  • Why Oregon? - University of Oregon School of Law

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