Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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J.D. Admissions FAQ

Application Process

Application Components

About Penn State Law

Application process 

What is the application period?

Penn State Law’s fall 2018 application will open on September 1, 2017. The regular application closes on March 31, 2018, and the early decision application closes on December 1, 2017.

When will I receive a decision?

Decisions are made in a rolling basis throughout our application period. Decisions are typically rendered within 4 to 8 weeks of the completion of your completed application. See our application requirements for a list of required application components. 

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. 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 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 four times each year in February, June, October, and December. 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.  Accordingly, June test takers typically must apply for admission in the year after taking the LSAT score, as our application will be closed for the following fall once scores become available. More information is available at LSAC.org.

How long are my LSAT scores acceptable?

Penn State Law will accept LSAT scores from the previous three years, counting backward from the June test prior to the applicant's intended year of enrollment. For example, if an applicant is planning to enroll in August 2016, the oldest acceptable LSAT score would be from June 2013.

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 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.

I heard that Penn State Law cut tuition for in-state residents. Is that true?

The Commonwealth Scholars Program is currently being reviewed and may be renewed for Pennsylvania residents who enroll as 1Ls in 2018. 

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.

When pursuing a joint degree, students must complete their first year of law study before beginning any joint degree coursework. Students will typically complete the core requirements of their joint degree during their second year of study, and electives in their third and fourth years. Applicants who have undertaken graduate student in a joint program prior to entering law school cannot have graduate school credits transferred to their law degree.

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.