A: Visit the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to register and submit your electronic application
A: Applications are reviewed in order of completion by our Admissions Committee, but applicants may not be notified in that order. We recommend submitting your application as early as possible.
All applicants are required to take one of the following approved standardized tests:
A: We recommend that you sit for the LSAT only once you are well prepared.
Taking the June, July, September, or November exam will allow you to apply under one of our early decision options. For regular decision, taking the exam in June, July, or September will allow you time to retake it in November or January and still meet our March 1 application deadline.
A: A single canceled score has no impact on the evaluation of an application but please feel free to explain the circumstances surrounding your cancellation.
A: The median LSAT score for the 2019 entering class was 168 and the median undergraduate GPA was 3.81.
A: The decision to retake the LSAT is a complex and personal one. Factors we think an applicant should consider are:
Depending on your answers, you should think about retaking the test. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) has data that supports the view that likely, a second score will not be a substantial improvement. Most people who retake the LSAT do not score more than one to two points higher.
A: In general, Cornell Law’s policy is to take the higher score if it is at least three 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.
We will not hold an application from review for a future exam. The LSAT score(s) in your CAS report when it is released to us will be the only score(s) considered during the initial review of your file.
A: We will obtain your score(s) from the appropriate reporting agency and include them with your file. Our school code for GRE score reporting is 2456, and for GMAT score reporting is 5JW-8V-77. You should request that all available scores be released to us.
SAT/ACT scores for three-plus-three program applicants will be obtained from the university by our office.
Note: Binding Early Decision applicants admitted without an LSAT score who subsequently take the LSAT will be subject to admission reconsideration. In the event admission is rescinded, any seat deposits paid will be refunded.
A: Find out more about both by going to LSAC.
A: The Admission Committee looks at several factors when making admissions decisions. Certainly, academic potential as measured by the LSAT and GPA plays an important role in the admissions process. However, 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.
A: No, there is no minimum GPA or LSAT.
A: 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:
A: 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.
A: 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.
A: 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 post-secondary work outside the U.S. (including its territories) or Canada, you must use this service for transcript evaluation and authentication 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.
The exception to this policy is 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 authentication and evaluation 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 215-968-1393 or LSAC’s help page.
A: No, the TOEFL is not required for J.D. applicants.
A: 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.
A: The length of your personal statement is up to you, but keep in mind that our Admissions Committee reviews thousands of applications. Two pages is the suggested length.
A: 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 Law School.
The personal statement should give the Admissions Committee any information you believe relevant to the admissions decision that is not captured elsewhere in the application.
A: Yes. We now require that a resume be submitted with your application. A resume is an excellent way to present your working experience and extracurricular involvement.
A: No, a Dean’s Certification is not a required element at the time of application. However, all admitted students must have a completed Dean’s Certification Form submitted to the Admissions Office by July 1st. The form is required from all degree-granting institutions. Failure to submit a completed Dean’s Certification by the July 1 deadline may 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.
A: You should ask 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 are currently an undergraduate or if you graduated less than two years ago, we prefer that the letters be from faculty members who taught you.
If you graduated more than two years ago, you may ask an employer or other individual who knows your academic abilities to submit the letters.
Please remember that we are interested primarily in the recommender’s judgment about your academic abilities and potential for success in the legal profession.
A: No, all letters must be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service that allows you to send letters to the schools you apply to. This service is included with your Credential Assembly Service subscription; just designate which letters you want to be sent only to Cornell Law School.
Letters submitted through the LSAC Service are copied and sent to us as part of your CAS report. Updated reports are sent weekly if additional letters are received after your initial CAS report has been sent.
A: Cornell’s binding early decision application process is for anyone who knows for sure that Cornell Law School is the school they most want to attend. To apply through the binding early decision process, you must submit a complete application by November 1 for Round I, and by January 8 for Round II.
You will be notified of your decision no later than December 31 for Round I, and February 28 for Round II.
A: We apply the same admission standards during our early decision and regular decision processes. However, we will view it as a positive aspect of your application that you have committed to attend if you are admitted.
A: Yes, but your file needs to be complete with test scores by November 1 for Round I, and January 8 for Round II.
A: If you would like to withdraw your application from early decision (for example, you decide that you will not be able to make the commitment needed to attend Cornell Law School if admitted), simply send us an email request as soon as possible.
A: Applicants will be admitted, denied, or placed on our non-binding reserve list.
A: You will be required to pay the full $1,000 nonrefundable deposit within five business days of acceptance.
A: No, the binding process requires that you pay the deposit and commit to Cornell regardless of financial aid notification. However, if you apply, you will be considered for financial aid during the normal course of our financial aid application process.
Note: Binding early decision applicants admitted without an LSAT score who subsequently take the LSAT will be subject to admission reconsideration. In the event admission is rescinded, any seat deposits paid will be refunded.
A: We usually receive around 4,000 applications and seat a class of approximately 200 in the first-year class.
A: Interviews are at the request of our Admissions Committee only.
A: We grant fee waivers for participants in Teach for America, AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and Military veterans upon request. Additionally, if you are registered with LSAC’s Candidate Referral Service (CRS) and are selected to receive a fee waiver based on our selection criteria, we will notify you via email. It is worth noting that CRS fee waivers are processed shortly after the release of each LSAT exam’s scores. Further, if you are granted a need-based fee waiver through LSAC, our application fee will automatically be waived when you apply to Cornell Law. If your need-based fee waiver request is denied by LSAC, you may complete and submit our need-based fee waiver form.
A: Cornell Law School accepts transfer applications from students who have completed one year of study at a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools.
In 2018, Cornell Law initiated an early admission transfer program that grants conditional transfer admission based on one semester of grades. Transfer admission is finalized after receipt of the full first year’s grades are received in the spring.
A: At Cornell Law, student success is critical to our mission and one component of that success is as smooth a transition as possible to our community. We want our incoming transfer students to maximize their ability to participate in our student journal selection and employment opportunities. Our regular transfer process necessitates receipt of an official transcript that includes all first-year grades. The majority of our transfer applicants do not receive final grades until after our journal competition has concluded. Additionally, 90 percent of our transfer students miss the deadline to participate in our August Job Fair (AJF) or successive On-Campus Interviews (OCI). Early transfer acceptance allows transfer students to receive career counseling by our Career Service professionals before the deadline for either AJF or OCI submission and in time to participate in our Journal Write-On competition.
A: We usually accept five to fifteen transfer students in the second-year class.
A: Our Admissions Committee is interested primarily in your academic performance at your current law school, as well as in your reasons for wanting to transfer. Accepted transfer students are almost always in the top 10 to 20 percent of their first-year class.
A: A complete transfer application consists of the following:
A: As a transfer student, Cornell Law School may grant you up to 32 hours of advanced standing toward the J.D. degree. Transfer students may be awarded less than 32 hours of advanced standing, depending upon the correspondence between first-year courses at Cornell and those of your current law school.
Note: If you hold an LL.M. degree, you are not eligible to apply as a transfer applicant, but you may apply for our regular decision J.D. program. If you are admitted, you may petition for advanced standing.
A: Our Financial Aid Office normally does not award institutional scholarship assistance to transfer students. Transfer students are eligible for loan assistance during their attendance at Cornell.
A: We receive around 75 applications each year for fall transfer. To be competitive, students should be in the top 10 percent of their class.
A: Yes, the Career Services Office will do its best to accommodate transfer students’ participation in the Fall Recruitment Program if timing permits.
A: Due to the timing of the summer writing competition, transfer students are not able to be a member of a journal.
A: Our application is available in mid-March and the deadline is August 1.
A: Yes, students currently enrolled in a law school that is a member of the Association of American Law Schools may apply to be a visiting student at Cornell Law School. If you will be applying as a visiting student, please email the Admissions Office for detailed instructions.
A: No, visiting students may not apply to transfer.
A: Visiting students are charged the same tuition and fees that Cornell Law School charges its J.D. students.
A: Visiting students are not eligible to participate in fall recruitment activities but with a letter from their home law school they can obtain access to certain career services resources at Cornell Law School.
A: Applicants who are denied admission may re-apply to Cornell Law School in a subsequent year. The Admissions Committee will review your entire application but will also focus on any significant changes since your prior application.
To re-apply for admission, in addition to the electronic application, you should submit new versions of the following:
A: Applicants who wish to stay active and available for further consideration will be re-reviewed again before we make additional offers. The reserve list is not ranked and will remain active until the end of summer.
A: The number of candidates who are placed on the reserve list and are ultimately offered admission varies from year to year. Factors that may affect this are:
We realize that some applicants are not in a position to stay active on reserve, but remaining active for as long as possible increases the likelihood of admission.
A: No, we only have a full-time day program.
A: No, Cornell Law only offers fall enrollment.
A: No, the enrollment deposit is nonrefundable. Cornell Law School has two enrollment deposits, April 15 and May 15.
A: An enrollment deposit extension may be requested for the second deposit only, which is nonrefundable. Extension requests will be considered on an individual basis and must be submitted in writing addressed to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid. Failure to submit a timely enrollment deposit, and in the absence of the Admission Office’s written confirmation of an enrollment deposit extension, may result in your offer being rescinded and seat canceled.
A: Deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis.
The Admissions Committee will generally grant an admitted applicant a one-year deferral if it is requested in writing before the second deposit deadline (mid-May), and if the following are submitted by their respective deadlines:
The deadline for the following items is the beginning of February. An email with the exact date will be sent in November:
One-year deferral requests received after our mid-May deadline, if granted, will include a binding commitment to enroll at Cornell Law School after your deferral period.
Please note that financial aid awards are not deferred, and you will need to re-apply for financial aid for the year you intend to enroll.
A: The Admissions Committee will consider requests for two-year deferrals. These deferrals are only granted for compelling two-year commitments, such as:
Please contact the Admissions Office by email to request a deferral.
A: There is no particular major or curriculum that is required for admission to law school. An entering class typically represents forty or forty-five different majors. The majors most commonly found in our entering class are political science, history, economics, English, psychology, and philosophy. Some atypical majors that we think provide particularly good training for law school are computer science, mathematics, classics, and physics. Typically ten percent of the entering class has majored in a “hard” science.
Pursuing a particular major simply because you think it will give you an advantage in the law school admissions process is an exercise in futility. You are less likely to perform well in a major that doesn’t engage you. We recommend, therefore, that you study subjects that are challenging and interesting to you and that you follow your academic passion.
Because we seek curricula that are both broad and deep, we also recommend that you take challenging courses in your chosen core field and that you branch out and test yourself in areas outside your comfort zone. Classes that give you experience with the close reading of texts, detailed analysis, logical reasoning, and extensive writing are always helpful.
A: As with majors, we have no preconceived list of “best extracurricular activities.” You should pursue the areas that interest you. Although in general, we like to see some evidence of involvement and engagement in something outside of academic studies, we have no particular preference for the type of activity.
We advise students to focus their interests and work to obtain a leadership role in whatever activities they pursue. We are looking for the quality of your extracurricular activity, not the sheer quantity of your memberships in clubs or groups.
In preparing your application, keep in mind that it is helpful if you give us some sense of the nature and extent of your involvement; if the name of a group or organization is a little mysterious to the uninitiated, it might be helpful to describe briefly the mission or purpose.
A: It is always best to answer questions concerning your disciplinary record fully and openly, and to provide a detailed explanation.
Complete accuracy is required in all statements made on any portion of the application. To ensure that decisions are based on factual information, we audit some applications at random each year. Also, you are required to update us about any changes that take place after the submission of your application. Inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading statements, or failure to update, can result in withdrawal of admission offers, honor code proceedings, dismissal from Cornell Law School, rescission or cancellation of any degrees you may have received from Cornell Law School or other disciplinary sanctions.
Note: In some states, you must register with the Board of Bar Examiners before beginning the study of law. Make sure you check the requirements in the state(s) where you want to practice. All applicants are advised that there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar. Before your matriculation at Cornell Law School, you are encouraged to determine what those bar admission requirements are in the state(s) in which you intend to practice.
A: Yes, each application is thoroughly reviewed, and all of the components of your application will be considered. We do not make any decisions based solely on numerical scores.
A: The first-year class is divided into six sections of approximately 32 students.
During the fall semester, you will have one class that will only include your section of 32 students. Your legal research and writing class will also be taught in a class of 32 students. Please visit here for more information about the first year at Cornell Law.
A: Yes, there are both formal and informal academic support programs. During the first year, students have the opportunity to work with an academic support counselor as well as upper-class students. Also, students have the opportunity to be assigned a faculty and/or a student mentor.
Cornell Law is a small legal community, so there are many opportunities for informal academic support. Students can easily interact with their classmates and faculty.
A: Yes. One of the cornerstones of the Cornell Law faculty is their accessibility to students.
A: As the largest and most academically diverse Ivy League University, Cornell offers a robust number of joint degree programs. We currently offer the following joint degree programs:
A: You use our law school application and the application for each respective program.
Each program within the joint degree has separate admission procedures and separate applications. You must be admitted to both programs separately before you can enter the joint degree.
A: The requirements vary for each respective degree program.
A: Yes. Cornell Law students enjoy a number of cutting-edge clinical programs including:
A: No. After your first year, you may tailor your class schedule to align with your interests and career goals. We offer the following concentrations:
A: Cornell Law students may apply to spend a semester abroad during the spring semester of their second year of law school, or during the fall semester of their third year. Cornell Law School currently has study abroad agreements with twelve partner schools. It is also possible for a student to design an individual “term away” at a foreign law faculty.
A: Cornell Law has a robust job placement rate and our students secure top positions across the entire country. The employment statistics for recent classes can be found here.[link to stats]
A: Cornell Law has a deep commitment to helping students work for the public interest. The assistant dean for public service, Akua Akyea, dedicates her time to offering students a wealth of information about how to successfully pursue public interest employment.
Our Public Interest Low Income Protection Plan (see above) is one of the most supportive loan-forgiveness programs in the nation. Cornell Law established this loan repayment assistance program for graduates who prefer employment in low-income public interest or public sector jobs to more lucrative private law practice positions. Qualifying graduates apply only a certain percentage of their annual income to repay the law school educational loans. The difference in the loan is covered by a grant issued by Cornell Law School during each year a graduate is in the program.
Students who wish to work with public interest organizations during the summer may be eligible for Public Interest Fellowship grants. The grants are made possible through a combination of creative fundraising activities organized by the Student Public Interest Law Union and funds from the law school. By combining these summer Public Interest Fellowships and work-study funding, full-time grants of $4,000 are awarded to students.
See more Cornell Law facts and statistics.
A: Over the years, Ithaca has received numerous accolades. Most recently, Ithaca was named one of Kiplinger’s top ten smart towns. Ithaca has also been heralded as the “most enlightened city” by the national magazine Utne Reader. In many ways, Ithaca is the quintessential college town because when both Cornell University and Ithaca College are in session, there are 25,000 students in Ithaca, which has a population of approximately 30,000 non-student residents.
Ithaca is a student-focused community where many businesses and services cater to the student market. Other national magazines have described the City of Ithaca in the following issues:
For more information about Ithaca, visit the Student Life section of this website or:
A: Ithaca enjoys a colorful spring, a summer of sun and warm weather, and a crisp fall with vibrant foliage. However, the most picturesque season in Ithaca is winter. Most law students live close to campus, so making it to class rarely becomes an issue.
A: You are welcome to visit when it is convenient for you, but we encourage you to visit while classes are in session and when one of our student ambassadors is available. Access our tour portal and provide us with the information we will need to help you plan your visit. We also have a self-guided tour of the Law School if visiting during the academic year is not possible. These brochures are located in the Admissions and Financial Aid Office.
A: Guided walking tours of campus are offered throughout the year — learn more at the university’s tours page.
A: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
(The Admissions and Financial Aid Office closes from 12–1 p.m. each day for lunch)
A: There are a plethora of student organizations at Cornell Law.
A: Approximately 68 percent of the first-year class spent one or more years off before enrolling in Law School.
A: The age of our incoming students this year ranged from 20 to 33 years old, with the average age being about 26 years old.
A: Campus Life at Cornell University maintains information about all on-campus housing. The following are helpful links about housing in Ithaca:
Other helpful links to find housing in Ithaca are listed below:
A: Parking permits are available for purchase on a space-available basis. Please visit the transportation office for the price, location, and other important details, or see transportation parking details here.