Admission Policies and Procedures
Admission to the college is based upon a careful evaluation of each individual's application file. Although the Admissions Committee, composed of faculty, students, and administrators, relies heavily on the undergraduate grade point average and the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score to determine the applicant's academic potential, other non-quantitative factors believed to be relevant to success in law school are considered. These factors include the quality of the applicant's previous education, trend of academic performance, participation in community service or significant extracurricular activities, employment experience, graduate work, and thoughtful letters of recommendation.
The educational philosophy of the college reflects a belief that a quality legal education is enhanced by having a heterogeneous student body. The committee, therefore also considers race, cultural background, unique personal circumstances, and age. The college encourages applications from persons who wish to return to school after an interruption for family responsibilities and from individuals considering a career change. To be considered for admission, a candidate must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university by the date of anticipated enrollment. A notice of acceptance may be issued before the undergraduate degree has been obtained, but such acceptance is conditional upon the applicant's receipt of the degree.
Enrollment Options for JD Program
The College of Law offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree through two enrollment options (1) our full-time day program, and (2) our Flexible Time program. First-year students who enter the College through either option may enroll only during the fall semester which begins in August each year. The first-year class is limited to approximately 120 students. The admission application process should be started in the fall of the year prior to that in which admission is sought. Applicants should submit their credentials by March 15 to ensure priority consideration. Applications received after that date will be considered, but only to the extent that space is available.
Preparation for Law School
While a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university is required prior to enrolling in the College of Law, no specific major or particular course is prescribed. The college follows the statement of the Association of American Law Schools, which describes those capacities to be developed in preparing for law study but recognizes that they may be acquired through different pre-law courses. The basic skills and insights that should be developed are comprehension and expression in words, critical understanding of the human institutions and values with which the law deals, and creative power in thinking. For admission purposes, the undergraduate major is less important than the quality of instruction and the level of academic achievement attained. The student preparing for law should take courses sufficiently difficult to assist in the development of the rigorous intellectual discipline essential to law school success. Although political science is the traditional pre-law major, English, history, economics, business, science, and philosophy are also common choices. In developing the skills of a lawyer, the student should place special emphasis on oral and written communication skills. In general, the student should obtain the best available education that develops analytic ability and broadens general knowledge. For additional information, prospective law students should consult the current ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, which is prepared by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and the American Bar Association (ABA). The Official Guide includes material on pre-law preparation and applying to law schools, together with helpful descriptions of most American law schools.
Diversity in the Admissions Process
The College of Law has long held that a diverse and heterogeneous student body leads to stimulating and exciting classroom discussion. To achieve this goal, the College of Law seeks to attract students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, including students of color, students who have been educationally and economically disadvantaged, students who may be from particularly urban or rural backgrounds, and students from a wide and varied intellectual background. By maintaining and enhancing diversity in the student body, all students have the opportunity to learn from several different perspectives and, in the long run, improve their own capabilities as attorneys and upholders of the law. The best manner in which to discuss one's uniqueness and diversity with the Admissions Committee is through a well-written personal statement or through the diversity section of the application.
Notification of Admission Decisions
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis by the Admissions Committee starting in December when sufficient applications are complete to start the review process. The Admissions Committee continues to evaluate application files until late spring. Every applicant will receive a decision letter (accept, wait list, deny) within four to six weeks of being notified that the applicant's file is complete. A waiting list is established to fill any openings that may occur during the spring and summer. We do not rank applicants on the wait list, and the size of the list varies each year. Decisions on wait listed applicants will begin in late Spring and can continue through August.
Upon receiving notice of acceptance, the applicant is required to make an acceptance deposit of $250 by the date listed in the letter of acceptance. Payment of the deposit when due assures the applicant of a place in the class and is considered as evidence of good faith that he or she will register. If the student notifies the College of Law by May 15 in writing that he/she does not plan to enroll at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, $125 of the $250 acceptance deposit will be refunded.
Before a student can begin classes, the College of Law must receive two final official transcripts from every college or university he/she has attended. The transcripts which indicate the receipt of the bachelor's degree must indicate that the degree was conferred before the date of matriculation into the college (one copy of each transcript is kept permanently for the college's record, the other is made available to the bar examination authority of your choice). All transcripts must be mailed directly to the College of Law by the registrar of the issuing institution.
Outside Work During School Year
Although some students find it necessary to work to finance their legal educations, the national and state accrediting agencies impose a maximum on the number of hours a student enrolled in a three-year program can work. Outside work during the first year of law school is strongly discouraged by the faculty in view of the unique educational experience of the first year and the time demands imposed upon it.
Deferred Acceptance Policy
An applicant who has submitted the required $250 acceptance deposit may request a deferred acceptance to the following year. All deferral requests should be made in writing as soon as possible after acceptance. If the deferment is granted, the student is assured of a place in the next year's entering class. A second acceptance deposit of $250 will be required the following year by April 1. The deposits will be credited to the student's account upon entrance into the College of Law. If the student fails to enroll, both deposits are forfeited.
Pending LSAT Scores:
No application will be considered without a valid LSAT score. If an applicant has registered to re-take the LSAT at a date subsequent to receipt of their application, a decision may be reserved until the pending score has been reported. If an applicant desires to proceed with the formal review process prior to the availability of a pending LSAT score, he or she must submit a written request to the Office of Admissions directly.
Binding Early Decision Applications:
The College of Law offers an Early Decision Program whereby an applicant agrees to withdraw all other law school applications if admitted to the College of Law. Because this is a binding agreement, no applicant may choose to participate in an Early Decision Program at another law school while remaining under consideration as an Early Decision candidate at the College of Law. An applicant may choose to apply through the regular admissions process at the College of Law while participating in a Binding Early Decision Program at another law school. In such cases, the application will be placed on hold until the applicant notifies the Office of Admission that they have been released from the Binding Early Decision Program elsewhere.