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J.D. Admissions FAQ

Application Process

Application Components

About Penn State Law

Admission to Penn State Law with GRE

Accelerated Bachelor's/J.D. Program

Application process 

What is the application period?

Penn State Law’s fall 2020 application will open on September 1, 2019. The regular application deadline will be March 31, 2020, and the early decision application closes on December 1, 2019.

Can I apply for Early Decision?

Yes. Applicants can complete the Penn State Law early decision application before December 1. The Early Decision program is a binding program designed for applicants who are certain that Penn State Law is their first-choice law school. If admitted via Early Decision, applicants must pay a seat deposit confirming their intention to enroll at Penn State Law in the fall, immediately withdraw all pending law school applications, and certify that they will not initiate any new applications to other law schools. Failure to comply with these terms could result in the revocation of an offer of admission, or submission to the LSAC Committee on Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admissions Process.

 

Can I get a fee waiver?

Yes! To get a fee waiver, simply email us at admissions@pennstatelaw.psu.edu. The subject line should be "Fee Waiver" and the body of the email should include your full name, LSAC number, and undergraduate school.

Can I visit the law school?

Yes, we would love to have you visit! You can schedule your visit for any time, Monday - Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the school year, and 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. during the summer. You can schedule a visit online or by emailing us at admissions@pennstatelaw.psu.edu. All visitors are welcome to sit in on a class (if available) and tour the law school building with an admissions representative.

How can I check on my application status?
Available information regarding an applicant's status can be found using our online Status Checker. After an application is submitted, applicants will receive an email with an ID and password for the status checker.

Does Penn State Law grant interviews?

Evaluative interviews are available by invitation only. However, we are happy to answer your questions. Visiting applicants may request an appointment with Admissions counselor, or applicants may directly contact our office with questions at admissions@pennstatelaw.psu.edu or 814.867.1251.

Do I have to register for the LSAC Credential Assembly Service?

Yes. All applicants must apply to Penn State Law via our application hosted by LSAC. In addition, each applicant must submit to LSAC transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. And, all letters of recommendation must be submitted via the LSAC letter of recommendation service.

How can I be considered for scholarships?

All applicants are automatically considered for scholarships. If you are awarded a scholarship, you will be notified immediately upon your notification of your admission. In the recent past, roughly 80% to 90% of our incoming students have received scholarships. Scholarship awards generally range from $5,000 per year to full-tuition.

What is your scholarship renewal policy?

Scholarships are renewed so long as the recipient remains in good standing at the law school. Academic requirements for good academic standing are available in our online student handbook.

Application Components

When should I take the LSAT?

The LSAT is administered multiple times per year. Applicants should take the LSAT at the time of year when they will have sufficient time to prepare for the test. Penn State Law's application closes in March, and LSAT scores typically are available one month after the administration of the test. More information is available at LSAC.org.

How long are my LSAT scores acceptable?

Penn State Law will accept LSAT scores from the previous five years.

Should I take the LSAT again?

If you have taken the LSAT and are unhappy with your score, you may wish to take it again. However, only one score is required. If you take the test more than once, Penn State Law will receive all your scores. While we consider the highest LSAT score, we will take note of other scores. If there is a significant discrepancy in scores, we recommend applicants address the change in an addendum.

Will you consider a future LSAT score?

Yes. Applicants planning to take a future LSAT must indicate such on their application. If your application was denied or waitlisted prior to the receipt of a new LSAT score, you may request a re-review of your application by emailing us at admissions@pennstatelaw.psu.edu.

How long should my personal statement be?

Your personal statement should be two pages, double spaced.

What should my personal statement say?

Your personal statement provides you with the opportunity to tell the Admissions Committee about yourself. Consider writing about why you want to attend law school and your plans for your career looking forward. Many applicants tell us about a significant event in their lives, or a difficult circumstance they overcame. Remember that form is as important as substance, and to proofread your final product carefully.

What if I have more to say than I can fit into two pages?

Penn State Law provides space for two addenda to the application. Students may choose to use these addenda to write a diversity statement, explain gaps or outliers in their academic record, describe their specific interest in Penn State Law, or provide additional information not requested elsewhere in the application.

How many letters of recommendation does Penn State Law require?

Penn State Law requires at least two letters of recommendation.

From whom should I request letters of recommendation?

Applicants should request letters of recommendation from academic or professional contacts. Applicants who will complete or have completed their undergraduate education within two years of their application date should provide at least one letter from an undergraduate faculty instructor. Other acceptable recommenders include internship or externship supervisors, employers, and college or university administrators who supervised the applicant in extracurricular activities.

Penn State Law will not accept letters of recommendation from family members or friends. Letters of recommendation from family, friends, or acquaintances who are members of the legal profession but who have not worked with the applicant in an academic or professional capacity are specifically discouraged.

Do I have to submit a TOEFL score?

All foreign educated applicants (anyone who earned their undergraduate degree at an institution outside of the U.S.) must provide a copy of their TOEFL score report, which can be attached to your application.

Students whose undergraduate degrees were granted in a foreign country where the primary language is English and where the primary language of instruction was English do not need to provide a TOEFL score report.

Applicants who wish to request a TOEFL waiver may do so by emailing us at admissions@pennstatelaw.psu.edu. Applicants requesting a TOEFL waiver should describe, in detail, their experience with English language in an educational, professional, or personal context. Each request will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee and waivers will be granted on a case-by-case basis. 

About Penn State Law

I understand Penn State has two law schools. Can my admission be transferred from one to the other?

No. Penn State Law in University Park is one of two law schools operated by Penn State University, the other being Dickinson Law in Carlisle, PA. Although both law schools are part of Penn State University, each law school is wholly independent of the other.

Do you have a part time or evening program?

No. Penn State Law's J.D. program is a three-year, full-time program for students in residence at our campus in University Park, Pa, on the largest campus of Penn State.

I went to Penn State as an undergraduate and heard that Penn State Law discourages applications from Penn State alumni. Is that true?

Definitely not! Penn State Law welcomes applications from Penn State graduates from all campuses and degree programs, and we encourage you to visit us.

In addition, Penn State Law offers admitted applicants who have or will have a Penn State degree when they begin their first year of law school the Blue & White Alumni Grant, which provides $20,000 toward tuition per year of J.D. study. 

Does Penn State Law offer in-state tuition?

No, but Pennsylvania residents admitted prior to our deadline will automatically receive our Commonwealth Scholars Grant, which provides $20,000 toward tuition per year of J.D. study. 

Are Pennsylvania residents or Penn State students/alumni given priority in admissions decisions?

No. Although we welcome and encourage applications from Pennsylvania residents and Penn State students and alumni, those applicants do not have an advantage over out-of-state applicants or those from other colleges and universities.

How many students will be in my section?

Typically 1L sections have fewer than fifty students, not including students from our comparative LL.M. program who may enroll in 1L classes. LL.M. students are graduates of a law school or law practitioners from foreign countries, and are not graded with the J.D. first year students.

How large is the faculty?

Penn State Law has 51 full-time faculty members.

How do Joint Degrees work?

Penn State Law students can enroll in a joint degree program in a variety of disciplines. Applicants may apply concurrently to the Law School and joint degree program, or they may apply for the joint degree program after beginning their 1L year. Some joint degree programs will waive a GRE in place of an LSAT score, but applicants should check with the joint degree program for specific admissions requirements.

Can I take classes elsewhere in the University as part of my law school coursework?

Yes! Penn State Law students can take 12 credits in graduate-level coursework after completing their first year of law study and count those credits toward their law degree.

Can I get football tickets?

Yes! Students admitted to and planning to enroll at Penn State Law (after paying a first seat deposit) can enter the graduate student lottery for season tickets for Nittany Lions football, which usually takes place in June.

Admission to Penn State Law with GRE

Can I apply with a GRE score?

Yes, Penn State Law now accepts the GRE for all J.D. program applicants. Your GRE score must be no older than five years.

How can I submit my GRE score?

Penn State Law will accept scores that are up to five years old. We will accept score reports directly from Education Testing Services (ETS). Please indicate “Penn State Law” as a recipient of your test scores. Our school code is 4418. Applicants must also submit a complete e-application through LSAC and an LSAC CAS report, event if not applying with an LSAT score.

If I am applying with the GRE, can I choose which scores to send or must I send all scores?

Penn State Law requires that applicants applying with the GRE submit all scores from the previous five years.

If I already have an LSAT score, can I apply with a GRE?

Yes, but your LSAT score will also be included in your CAS report.

If I have both an LSAT and GRE, will you consider only one?

No. Admissions will consider all the information included in your application.

If I am currently a student in a master’s program at Penn State can I apply for a joint J.D./graduate degree?

Yes, if you are in your first year of your master’s program. You will have to coordinate with your graduate program to request a one-year deferral to complete your required first year J.D. curriculum.

Can I do the J.D. and master’s degree at the same time?

Yes, if you are in a two-year master’s program, you can expect to spend four years earning both degrees. You cannot, however, take courses in any other program during your first year of law studies.

Am I eligible for a scholarship to Penn State Law?

Yes, all applicants are automatically considered for scholarships. Your law school scholarship will apply to the three years of study in which the majority of your credits come from Penn State Law in University Park.

Are World Campus graduate program students eligible for this program?

Students should talk with their advisors regarding particular circumstances to determine eligibility. For context, distance learning credits, including online courses, cannot represent more than one-third of a student’s credits toward a J.D. (which requires 88 credits). First-year law courses must be taken in residence at Penn State Law in University Park.

What if I have not yet been accepted to a Penn State graduate program?

You may apply to both programs concurrently. If you are accepted to both, you will need to provide a copy of an acceptance letter from your Penn State graduate program to Penn State Law in University Park prior to matriculating at the law school. Most students begin their studies in the Penn State Law J.D. program, and then begin their Penn State graduate coursework the following year. If you do that, you will also need to provide Penn State Law with proof of registration in the graduate program prior to the start of your second year of law school. 

If I am in a graduate program at a Commonwealth Campus, am I eligible?

Yes, we welcome applicants from any Penn State campus offering graduate degrees (Erie, Great Valley, Harrisburg, Hershey, and University Park). All first-year law courses must be completed at Penn State Law in University Park. Students will have to plan accordingly to ensure they can complete their remaining credits if courses are being taken at two different campuses. 

Accelerated Bachelor's/J.D. Program

Why would I pursue an accelerated J.D. program?

In addition to getting the law school admissions process started early, students who complete this program can save time and money by making a careful academic plan that may shorten the time to complete both degrees by up to a year.

Who is eligible for the accelerated J.D. program?

Penn State undergraduates enrolled full time in any major at any Penn State campus.

Will I complete both degrees in six years?

It depends. The length of time to complete the Accelerated Bachelor’s/J.D. Program will depend on the number of credits required by your undergraduate program and the number of law school credits your undergraduate program will accept. Penn State Law will accept up to 12 credits in graduate or upper level undergraduate courses in other disciplines. With careful academic planning, you may shorten the time to complete both degrees by as much as one year. 

Do I have to take an LSAT?

No. Penn State Law also accepts the GRE for J.D. admissions.

In addition, Penn State undergraduates who have an SAT or ACT score in the 85th percentile (across all sections) and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher across six semesters of undergraduate work may apply with only an SAT or ACT score. The six-semester requirement may make it difficult to apply for the Accelerated Bachelor’s/J.D. Program with an SAT or ACT score; however, students in programs that typically require more than four years to graduate who plan to apply through the Accelerated Bachelor’s/J.D. Program may be able to take advantage of this option.

All applicants must apply through LSAC and submit a Credential Assembly Service report.

When do I need to decide whether to apply for the accelerated program?

All interested students are encouraged to work with the Penn State Law admissions team and their academic program advisors as early as possible to discuss a possible plan for the accelerated program. Points of discussion should include:

  • How many law school credits will my undergraduate program accept?    
  • From which law school courses will my undergraduate program accept credits?
  • If I will have unfinished undergraduate requirements that I cannot substitute with law school classes when I begin law school, how will I complete them?
  • Which required undergraduate courses in my major will Penn State Law accept in the 12 credits that count toward the J.D.?

Is there a special application?

No. You can apply through our regular or J.D. Early Decision applications, following the instructions above.  All applicants must apply via our LSAC application, even if they are not submitting an LSAT score.

When should I get my IAP?

If you are admitted to Penn State Law, before law school begins, you will need to submit an Individualized Academic Plan which you will develop with your advisor with assistance from Penn State Law. Your IAP should address the following:

  • the PSL courses and credits your undergraduate program will accept;
  • any non-PSL courses or credits you must successfully complete to meet your undergraduate program degree requirements;
  • which non-PSL courses will be accepted by PSL toward the J.D. degree; and
  • a timeline of when you will take any required non-PSL courses to meet the graduation requirements of your undergraduate program. 

You will also need to provide your law school transcripts to your undergraduate program advisor until you have completed all undergraduate requirements and are conferred with your undergraduate degree.

If I am not accepted, can I apply again later?

Yes. Applicants not admitted via the Accelerated Bachelor’s/J.D. Program may re-apply for admission in a subsequent admissions cycle.

Can I get financial assistance for law school?

Yes. Penn State Law’s Blue and White Alumni Grant is offered to all applicants admitted through this program by April 1 of their application year. The Grant provides $20,000 off tuition for each year of J.D. study. All applicants are also automatically considered for additional scholarships which can be stacked with the Grant to reach full tuition.

All scholarships and grants are automatically renewed in full for each year of J.D. study so long as the student is in good standing, which requires a 2.0 cumulative and semester GPA. Renewal is not based on law school class rank. Scholarships and grants are offered for three years. If additional semesters are required to complete undergraduate work or to take on a joint J.D./graduate degree, Penn State Law tuition and funding will apply during the academic years in which majority of your credits come from the law school.

Can I also do a joint J.D./Master’s if I am in the Accelerated Bachelor’s/J.D. Program?

Yes! Once you have earned your bachelor’s degree, you can apply for graduate programs at Penn State. The extent to which you may count classes from your graduate program toward your J.D. (thereby shortening the time to complete a J.D. and graduate degree) will depend on how many, if any, of PSL’s elective credits you use to complete your undergraduate degree requirements.

You would have to apply separately for any additional master’s program through The Graduate School.