JD Admissions Policies & 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.
Students admitted under the 3+3 program with the University of Cincinnati’s College of Arts and Sciences will receive their bachelor’s degree after completing the first year of law school. In lieu of the final, official University of Cincinnati transcript, a signed College of Arts and Sciences 3+3 certificate must be on file with the College of Law Admissions Office before the first day of classes.
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.
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.
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.
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 one of two non-refundable acceptance deposits of $250 by the dates listed in the letter of acceptance. Payment of the deposit when due assures the applicant a place in the class and is considered as evidence of good faith that he or she will register.
Students should not be employed in excess of what is compatible with a full-time commitment to the study of law. To that end, the Faculty of the College of Law strongly recommends that first-year law students not engage in any employment during the academic year, other than over breaks of one week or more, in order to have sufficient time to focus on the rigors of the first-year curriculum. The Faculty further recommends that second and third-year law students not be employed for more than twenty hours per week during the academic year.
An applicant who has submitted both required $250 acceptance deposits 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 third acceptance deposit of $250 will be required the following year by April 15. The deposits will be credited to the student's account upon entrance into the College of Law. If the student fails to enroll, all deposits are forfeited.
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.