Application Forms and Fees
Applications to all ABA-accredited law schools are available through the LSAC’s online application service. Candidates must create a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) account through the LSAC website for the collection and processing of transcripts, letters of recommendation, LSAT score reports, and other application associated documents. Most law schools require applications and payment of application fees to be processed through the candidate’s online account as well.
There are presently 206 ABA-accredited law schools in the United States. With so many schools to consider, the following resource provides a helpful framework for the candidate to follow when choosing where to apply: Charting A Law School Course/A Strategy for Successful Application Choices. This article is one of many guides to assist prospective students in making application choices. A number of other helpful sources and guides are listed in the Application Services & Law School Guides as well as the Resources areas of this website.
LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
Applicants take the LSAT, a half-day standardized test, during one of four test administrations offered annually by the Law School Admission Council. Scores, which range from 120 to 180, are used by most law schools as a common measurement of potential for success in law school. Read more about the LSAT here: About the LSAT Preparing for the LSAT Additional information about the LSAT and LSAT preparation services is provided in the Resources area of this website. Perhaps the best source of preparation material, formerly administered official LSATs and multiple guides to the LSAT are available for purchase from major book sellers. Follow this link for descriptions of LSAC’s LSAT Prep Tools.
Applicants submit undergraduate transcripts to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), which converts grades to a cumulative grade point average using a set of consistent values. The GPA offers admissions committees another numerical basis for comparing applicants.
To obtain an official transcript for your LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) account, submit a request to the Boston University Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s Office offers several ways for you to request your official transcript.
You must have a separate transcript sent to LSAC directly from each undergraduate and graduate institution you have attended in the United States, its territories, its associated states, or Canada. LSAC’s guidelines for the submission of foreign study transcripts are outlined on the LSAC website.
Full details for the transcript request process and what transcripts are required by the system can be found in the Requesting Transcripts section of the LSAC website.
Letters of Recommendation
Most law schools require applicants to submit (2-4) letters of recommendation from professors or employers to gain a different perspective on the applicant’s academic strength and personal qualities. Admissions officers find most helpful specific examples of applicants’ motivation and intellectual curiosity, an assessment of communication skills, and a comparison with peers. The Letter of Recommendation collection and processing is included as part of LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service.
For more information on Letters of Recommendation: Letters of Recommendation
Personal Statements, Other Essays, Addenda
Applicants submit a personal statement as part of the application process for almost all law schools. Admissions committees look for a concise, detailed, well-written statement revealing the applicant’s individuality. They want to learn from the statement who the applicant is and what makes him/her qualified to study at their law schools. Keep in mind that, since the most law schools do not conduct applicant interviews, your personal statement will serve as the only way a law school will get to know who you are as a person.
The articles contained in this PDF may be helpful as you begin the writing process: The Essay and the Personal Statement-Tips
Include a résumé in your application materials that demonstrates your skills and abilities relevant to the study of law and how you will contribute to the diversity and strength of the class. Showcase your undergraduate curricular and extracurricular activities, internships, part-time and full-time work experience.
Dean's Letter of Recommendation/Dean's Certification
Several ABA-Approved law schools require the Dean’s Letter of Recommendation (also called the Dean’s Certification, College Questionnaire, or College Certification) as part of the J.D. application process. There are also some law schools that require a Dean’s Certification for transfer candidates and/or entering transfer students. Even those law schools that do not require the Dean’s Letter may still take it into consideration as a part of your application package. Though the primary purpose of this requirement in each case is disciplinary clearance (academic and judicial), the Dean’s Letter can also be a way to provide the law schools with other information about your background and experience. Some Dean’s Certification forms include questions about academic performance, leadership, motivation and character. The Pre-Professional Advising Office offers a letter-writing service for the Dean’s Letter of Recommendation. The Dean’s Letter of Recommendation is a comprehensive letter based on your transcripts, disciplinary record, and information you supply in the Pre-Law Registration Packet.
Dean’s Letter Registration Packets become available each spring in advance of the fall application season. For more information on this process or to request a Dean’s Letter Registration Packet, contact the Pre-Professional Advising Office.
Financial Aid Forms
Applying for law school financial aid is a separate process from applying for admission to law school. Do not wait until you receive a decision on your application to apply for financial aid! Most law schools offer grants and scholarships on a rolling basis. For optimal consideration, complete your financial aid application as early as possible.
Law schools will require you to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This application allows you to be considered for federal loans. Some law schools will additionally require an institutional financial aid form for full consideration of all forms of aid available from the law school. Make sure you are clear as to the requirements of each school’s application.