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Application Materials and Deadlines for the JD Program

How can I apply?

What supporting materials need to be submitted with my application?

  • A complete application
  • Law School report from LSAC (with transcripts, LSAT scores, and two letters of recommendation)
  • Personal statement
  • Resume
  • Diversity essay (optional)
  • Two completed LSAC evaluations (optional)
  • Completed dean's certification form (if required) - please see the application instructions for details
  • Application fee ($80)

What are your application deadlines?

Juris Doctor (J.D.) Deadlines

  • Binding Early Decision Round I: November 1, 2014 application due and by November 15, 2014 all application materials received by Cornell Law School (for a decision no later than January 1, 2015)
  • Binding Early Decision Round II: January 4, 2015 application due and by January 15, 2015 all application materials received by Cornell Law School (for a decision no later than March 1, 2015)
  • Regular Decision: February 1 (all application materials due, decision usually by no later than mid-to-late April)
  • Transfer Deadline: July 15 (all application materials due)

Please see the Admission and Preparation section of our website to learn more about our Binding Early Decision application process.

When should I apply?

We accept applications for first-year admission as soon as our application becomes available August 15, although we will not begin reviewing applications until late October.

Due to our rolling admissions process for our regular decision process, it is to your benefit to apply as early in the season as you comfortably are able. If you are applying for our regular decision admission program we recommend applying in November.


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LSAT and Grade Point Medians

When should I take the LSAT?

We advise students to sit for the LSAT only once they are prepared and ready for the test.

You should be aware that taking the June or Fall exams will allow you to apply to our Early Action Decision program. Also, if a problem arises during the June or Fall administration of the exam, you would have time to retake the LSAT and still meet our February 1 application deadline.

Do you accept the February LSAT for admission?

Yes; however, your application will be considered late and admission will be on a space available basis.

How does the Admissions Committee view a canceled LSAT score?

A single canceled score has no impact on the evaluation of an application but please feel free to explain the circumstances surrounding your cancellation.

What is the oldest LSAT score you will accept in order to apply for the Fall 2015 semester?

  • We accept LSAT scores that are four years old.
  • Applicants applying to enroll in Fall 2015 must have taken the LSAT on or after June 2011.

What is the median LSAT score?

The median LSAT score for the 2014 entering class was 167 and the median undergraduate GPA was 3.68.

If I got a low score the first time, should I retake the LSAT?

The decision to retake the LSAT is a complex and personal one. Factors we think an applicant should consider are:

  • Did your score significantly differ from your practice tests?
  • Can you identify something in particular that might have negatively affected your score the first time (you didn’t prepare; you were sick; there was a marching band outside the exam site; et cetera)?
  • Will I be able to increase my score by more than 3 points?

Depending on your answers, you should think about retaking the test. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) has data that supports the view it is likely that a second score will not be a substantial improvement. Most people who retake the LSAT do not score higher than 1 to 2 points.

If I take the LSAT more than once, will you take the highest score or the average of the scores?

In general, Cornell Law’s policy is to take the higher score if it is at least 3 points higher than a prior score, but the Admissions Committee invites applicants to submit an addendum to their application explaining the different LSAT scores and why we should take the higher score.

Must I register with the Credential Assembly Service?

  • You must register for Credential Assembly Service and have all undergraduate and graduate transcripts sent to LSAC.
  • When we receive and process your application, we will request your Law School report from LSAC.
  • The Law School report includes your LSAT scores, copies of your academic transcripts, LSAT writing sample, a summary of undergraduate grades, and letters of recommendation.

Where do I find out about

Credential Assembly Service and the LSAT?

Find out more about both by going to LSAC.

How important is the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)?

The Admission Committee looks at a number of factors when making admissions decisions. Certainly, academic potential as measured by the LSAT and GPA play an important role in the admissions process.

We use more than numbers to evaluate our candidates. We also consider extracurricular and community activities, life experience, work background, and recommendations.

We subscribe to Cornell’s long-standing tradition of affirmative action and members of traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are encouraged to discuss their status where they think it relevant.

Is there a GPA or LSAT cut off?

No, there is no minimum GPA or LSAT.

Do Admissions Committee members examine transcripts?

Admission Committee members review every transcript and take into consideration factors that may have had an impact on an applicant’s grade point average. We strongly consider:

  • Trends in applicants’ grades
  • Grading curves at that college or university
  • Rigor of the courses undertaken

Do you take into account grades received in graduate school?

While grades received in graduate studies are not counted as part of your grade point average, we do review graduate school transcripts and take note of grades received. A strong graduate school record is generally viewed as a plus.

How does the Committee view pass/fail grades on transcripts?

The Committee considers the circumstances, including whether such courses were required or optional, how many and in which subjects pass/fails were earned, etc. Please include any narratives or course evaluations of these courses with your transcripts and applications if they are available.

How should I submit foreign transcripts?

If all undergraduate work was completed at institutions outside the United States (including its territories) and/or Canada, we require that your foreign transcripts be submitted through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service.

If you completed any postsecond­ary work outside the U.S. (including its territories) or Canada, you must use this service for transcript evaluation and authenication of your foreign transcripts. This service is included in the Credential Assembly Service subscription fee. A Foreign Credential Evaluation will be completed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), and will be incorporated into your Law School report.

Exception: If you com­pleted the foreign work through a study-abroad, consortium, or exchange program sponsored by a U.S. or Canadian institution, and the work is clearly indicated as such on the home campus transcript.

To use the Credential Assembly Service, log in to your online account with LSAC and follow the instructions to regis­ter for the service. To use the authenication and evalaution feature, you must register for the Credential Assembly Service and you must request that the appropriate documents (e.g. mark sheets, academic records, diplomas degree certifications, transcription) be sent directly to LSAC from the institution(s) you attended. Remember you must print out a Transcript Request Form and send it promptly to each institution that possesses a transcript for you. Foreign transcripts usually require more time to process than U.S. transcripts.

Questions about the Credential Assembly Service can be directed to LSAC at 215-968-1001 or LSAC's help page.

Is a TOEFL score required for the JD program?

We do not require TOEFL scores for the JD application.

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Personal Statement

What should I write about in my personal statement?

The topic of the personal statement is up to you. We suggest that you approach the personal statement as your opportunity to present personal information about yourself that you would discuss during an interview. Your statement will be evaluated for both content and construction, so write about something interesting and write about it well.

What length should my personal statement be?

We ask that you limit your statement to two pages, double spaced, using a font size that is comfortable to read (not less than 11 point).

What sort of information do you like to see in a personal statement?

Include with your application a personal statement that will give the Admissions Committee any information you believe relevant to the admissions decision that is not elicited elsewhere in the application.

The statement is your opportunity to tell us about yourself; it may address your intellectual interests, significant accomplishments, obstacles overcome, personal or professional goals, educational achievements, or any way in which your perspective, viewpoint, or experiences will add to the richness of the educational environment of the School of Law.

Should I include a resume?

Yes. We now require that a resume be submitted with your application.  A resume is an excellent way to present an applicant’s working and extracurricular involvement.

Does Cornell Law require a Dean's Certification with the application?

A Dean's Certification is not required as part of your application for admission unless you answered "yes" to the disciplinary question on the application. If you answered "yes" to this question, please submit the Dean's Certification to an official from the institution where the infraction occurred or is pending and has access to your disciplinary records. The Dean's Certification must be sent directly to Cornell Law School. You cannot submit the Dean's Certification through the Law School report service.

All admitted students must submit a completed Dean's Certification Form to the Admissions Office by the deadline of July 1, 2015 from all degree-granting institutions and from where a disciplinary infraction occurred. Failure to submit a completed Dean's Certification by the July 1 deadline can constitute grounds for an admitted student to lose their place in the first year class. More information about this form will be provided upon admission.

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Letters of Recommendation

Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendations?

You should give faculty recommendation forms to two faculty members who can provide detailed comments about your academic abilities compared with those of other students who are applying to law schools. If you’re currently an undergraduate or you've graduated but have only been out of school for two years or less, we prefer the forms be completed by faculty members who have taught you.

If you’ve graduated and been out of school for several years (two years or more), you can ask an employer or other individual who knows your academic abilities to fill out the faculty recommendation forms.

Please bear in mind, however, that we’re interested primarily in the recommender’s judgment about your academic abilities and potential for success in the legal profession. Prelaw-committee composite letters or letters submitted separately from our form are acceptable.

How many letters are required?

  • At least two letters of recommendation should be submitted.
  • Applicants may submit more, but often additional letters of recommendation are repetitious and add little value to an applicant’s file.

Can I have those writing letters of recommendations send them directly to you?

We strongly encourage you to submit letters through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service which allows you to send letters to the schools to which you apply. This service is included with your Credential Assembly Service subscription. If your recommender has a special relationship with Cornell Law School, you can still use the Letter of Recommendation Service; just designate which letters you want sent only to Cornell Law School.

Please note, if you submit your letters of recommendation via the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service, your recommenders do not need to use or complete the Cornell Law School Letter of Recommendation forms.

Letters submitted through the LSAC Service are copied and sent to us along with your LSAT/Law School report. Updated reports are sent weekly if letters are received after your initial Law School report has been sent.

To use this service

  • Follow the instructions in the current LSAT/Credential Assembly Service Registration and Information Book
  • Fill out and give each recommender a letter of recommendation form from the LSAT/Credential Assembly Service Registration and Information Book

Letters also may be sent directly to us and should come directly from the recommender.

If your college or university maintains a credentials service or a central file of letters of recommendation, those letters may be sent to the School of Law using the same process as for letters sent directly by the recommender.

What is your policy about the new LSAC Evaluation Service?

Evaluators can use this online tool to rate specific non-cognitive factors that will help law schools assess applicants. The Evaluation Service includes ratings of 30 individual attributes and skills in 6 categories. The evaluations are an adjunct to LSAC’s current letter of recommendation service and will function in a similar way, except that the Evaluation Service is entirely online. The use of the Evaluation Service is completely optional. If you choose to utilize the evaluation service, we will accept a maximum of two evaluations.

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