Frequently Asked Questions - J.D. Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions - J.D. Admissions

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Facts & Statistics

What is the size of the entering class?
We aim to enroll 300 first-year law students every fall.

What are your median LSAT and GPA and the 25%-75% ranges for the enrolled class?
For the class that entered in fall 2022, the median LSAT was 171 and the median GPA was 3.94. The 25%-75% LSAT range was 166-173.  The 25%-75% GPA range was 3.69-3.99. More

How many applicants apply? 
In the 2021-22 application year, we received more than 6,067 applications.

Where may I find more information about last year’s entering class?
Class of 2025 Profile

Is preference given to Virginia residents?
Although Virginia Law is not dependent upon the Commonwealth for its budget, we do give extra consideration to Virginia residents during the admissions process.

How is residency determined?
If you are claiming Virginia residency, which entitles you to a discount on tuition, you must submit an Application for Virginia In-State Educational Privileges when you apply for admission. For more information concerning Virginia residency status, go to: www.law.virginia.edu/residents

Please note the University, not the School of Law, makes residency determinations on the basis of guidelines mandated by the Commonwealth.

What percentage of the enrolled class matriculated via the Binding Expedited Decision Program?
We do not have a set number of spots for the Binding Expedited Decision Program. However, in some of the recent years, around 20 percent of the enrolled students were admitted through the program.

How much does it cost to attend? Tuition and Fees
  
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The Application Process

What are the basic requirements for admission?

To be eligible for consideration for admission to the J.D. program, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by August of the year you intend to enroll. To apply for admission, candidates should submit a completed application for admission; the $85 application fee; a transcript of undergraduate and any graduate work submitted through the Credential Assembly Service (CAS); a valid, reportable score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or the GRE General Test; and two letters of recommendation. All required materials must be in the file before it is referred to our Admissions Committee. See J.D. Application Instructions.

What factors are considered by the Admissions Committee?

Each year, many highly qualified candidates apply for the limited number of seats in the first-year class. We seek an entering class of students who embody the values of community, integrity, resilience and achievement. To that end, we consider not only intellectual aptitude and academic achievement, but also individual accomplishments, experiences and an applicant’s potential to succeed at Virginia. In addition to standardized test scores and undergraduate grades, we also look to factors such as the strength of an applicant's undergraduate or graduate curriculum, trends in grades, professionalism, the nature and quality of any work experience, significant achievements, obstacles overcome, military service and contributions through service and leadership.

Financial need is not a factor in the admissions decision. If you will be applying for any form of need-based scholarship or loan assistance, including Unsubsidized Student Loans, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), designating the University of Virginia as a recipient of your needs analysis report. See www.law.virginia.edu/financialaid for more information.  

Please note that our team manually processes each application and may experience delays during high-volume times. We appreciate your patience in this process. Throughout the application and admission process, applicants can expect that the UVA Law Admissions Office will adhere to LSAC’s Statement of Good Admissions Practices.

Do you offer an early decision option?

UVA Law offers a Binding Expedited Decision option in lieu of an early decision option. Candidates may submit a Binding Expedited Decision application at any point before March 1, 2023. For more information on this option click here.

When are the application deadlines?

The deadline to apply to UVA Law is 5 p.m. ET on March 1, 2023 under either the Regular Decision option or the Binding Expedited Decision option. Decisions will be released by April 14, 2023.

Do you accept applications after the March 1 deadline?

Late applications will be accepted and reviewed, but applicants are not guaranteed an admissions decision by a specific date or time. Please note that, given our rolling admission process and competitive application pool, submissions received after March 1 typically have a low likelihood of resulting in a favorable outcome.

How much is the application fee and how may I pay it?

The application fee is $85, which must be paid by credit card at the time you submit your application via LSAC.

How may I obtain an application fee waiver?

Applicants serving in an established public service commitment such as Teach for America, the Peace Corps, Americorps/VISTA, CityYear, a Truman Fellowship, or military service may have the application fee waived. If you received a waiver for the LSAT or CAS fees from the LSAC, you qualify for waivers from UVA Law. We are also happy to waive the application fee for candidates for whom the fee poses a financial hardship. E-mail us at admissions@law.virginia.edu for waivers.

We cannot under any circumstances refund fees already paid to LSAC.

When are applicants notified of admission decisions?

The admissions team makes every effort to notify applicants of their admissions decision within a reasonable timeframe. Release of decisions is subject to many factors, and delays in decisions do not necessarily reflect negatively on the applicant.

All regular decision applicants who submit by March 1 will be notified by April 14, 2023 at the latest. Binding Expedited Decision applicants will be notified of their decision no later than 21 business days after the application for admission is marked complete.

How will the Office of Admissions communicate decisions?

You can monitor the status of your application by using our online status checker. You will receive a username and password from the admissions office via email within one business day of submitting your application. All applicants offered admission will receive an official offer letter via regular mail. All other decisions will be communicated via email.

May I defer my enrollment?

Deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis. You may request to defer your admission after making all required acceptance deposits and confirming your intention to accept your place in the class. All deferral requests must be received by the second deposit deadline. Deferred applicants agree not to hold a place in another law school’s entering class, or to apply to other law schools during the deferral term. We will ask you to reconfirm your intention to enroll early the following year.

Merit-based assistance may also be deferred on a case-by-case basis.

Other need-based financial aid typically cannot be deferred to a subsequent year, since those awards require an updated needs analysis.

If I'm not admitted, can I reapply?

Yes! We welcome reapplications. 

Reapplicants are not at a disadvantage. However, we encourage candidates to update their materials and consider ways to strengthen their application.

What are your requirements for transfer students?
See our Transfer Students page for application information.

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Standardized Test Scores and Grade Point Averages

Where do I find out about CAS and the LSAT?
Find out more about both by going to www.lsac.org.

Where do I find more information about the GRE?
Find out more about the GRE General Test at www.ets.org/gre.

Where do I find more information about the GMAT?
Find out more about the GMAT at www.mba.com.

Does UVA Law prefer one standardized test over another?
No. We have no preference as to which test you choose to take.

Must I report all standardized test scores I have earned?

Because LSAC provides the CAS, all LSAT scores you have earned within the past five years will be reported to the Law School. Cancellations will also be noted. If you choose to submit GRE General Test and/or GMAT scores in lieu of or in addition to an LSAT score, we require you to submit all scores that you have earned on that test within the past five years. The admissions committee may consider all submitted scores.

I am applying with an LSAT score, and I finished the multiple-choice portion but have not yet completed the writing sample. Can I submit my application without it?
You can submit your application, but we do not consider the application to be “complete” without the writing portion of the LSAT. This means that we will not start reviewing your application until LSAC shares the writing sample with us.

Is there a minimum standardized test score or grade point average applicants must present?
No. We read every application carefully, and take all factors into account. At no point in our deliberations are numbers employed in a way that would trigger an automatic decision to offer or deny admission.

Is taking a standardized test in January, February or April too late?

In 2023, LSAC will offer the LSAT in January, February, and April. Only the January and February test scores will be considered as meeting the March 1, 2023 deadline as long as all other application materials are submitted and your file is otherwise complete.   

The GRE and GMAT are both offered on a regular basis.

Whether you take the LSAT, the GMAT or the GRE General Test, you should understand that we review applications on a rolling basis starting in September. We will have already made a substantial portion of our offers by the time January or February test scores are received. As a result, applying with test scores earned later in the cycle may reduce your chances for admission.

If, after submitting your application with an earlier standardized test score, you decide to retake the test (or decide to take another accepted standardized test), please send us a note to that effect and ask that we hold your file for consideration until those scores have arrived.

What if I am registered for a future standardized test?

If you are registered to take a future standardized test, you may submit the rest of your application so that it will be complete and ready for review as soon as LSAC, GMAC, or ETS reports your score to us.

If your application already includes at least one standardized test score, but you would like us to hold your application, please send your request to admissions@law.virginia.edu. Be sure to include your full name and LSAC number in the email. Please note, however, that the admissions committee may review any application as soon as it is complete.

New LSAT scores will automatically be added to your file. There is no need to inform our office of new LSAT scores.

What is your policy on multiple LSAT scores?

We give the most weight to the highest LSAT score. If you believe your LSAT score is not indicative of your potential, we encourage you to consider retaking the test. Please use your best judgment in retaking the test, as we do consider trends and the number of tests in our assessment of your true score. You may submit an addendum to your application if a significant and unanticipated factor such as illness or poor testing conditions negatively impacted your LSAT performance.

What is your policy on multiple GRE or GMAT scores?

If you choose to submit scores from the GRE and/or the GMAT, we require you to submit all valid, reportable scores from the last five years. In our discretion, we may evaluate your application using the high standardized test score(s) or an average thereof.

Do Admissions Committee members examine transcripts? Do they take into account such factors as a heavy work schedule, significant extracurricular activities, and changes in majors when evaluating grade point averages?
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 also consider trends in applicants’ grades, grading curves at that college or university, and the 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 viewed as a plus. 

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Letters of Recommendation

How many letters are required? May I submit more?

Two letters are required. We accept a maximum of four letters of recommendation.

Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendations?

Recommenders should evaluate your potential as a law student, so letters from faculty who can discuss your academic performance are particularly helpful and encouraged. If you have been out of school for several years or have significant work experience, you may include letters from employers or others who have worked closely with you. The strongest letters come from recommenders who know the applicant well and can speak directly to their qualifications. Personal recommendations are highly discouraged. 

How do I submit letters of recommendation?

All letters of recommendation should be sent via LSAC. Letters sent directly to the admissions office will not be considered as part of your file.

Do you accept letters of recommendation submitted after my file is complete?

You may submit up to four letters of recommendation total. Letters submitted after your file goes complete and which are assigned to UVA Law via LSAC will automatically be added to your file. You do not need to send them to us directly.

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Personal Statement and Optional Addenda

What should I include in my personal statement?

The personal statement is your opportunity to tell us about yourself. It should be authentic and provide information not otherwise included in your application. It may address your intellectual interests, significant accomplishments, obstacles overcome, personal or professional goals, educational achievements, or your motivation for wanting to attend law school. We want to see how your perspective, viewpoint, or experiences will add to the richness of our educational environment.

Do you put a word limit on the length of personal statements?

No, applicants should use their judgment to write an essay that is long enough to express that they think the admissions committee should know. Most personal statements are approximately two pages, double spaced. 

May I submit addenda with my personal statement?

UVA Law accepts optional addenda.

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Information for International or Foreign-Educated Students

How do I submit transcripts from a college or university outside the United States or Canada?

Transcripts of postsecondary work completed at a college or university outside the United States or Canada must be submitted through LSAC.

To use the JD CAS, log in to your online account and follow the instructions for registering for the service. Be sure to print and mail a Transcript Request Form for each institution attended.

Questions about the JD Credential Assembly Service can be directed to LSAC.

Do you require TOEFL from international students?

No, we do not require TOEFL scores from J.D. applicants. However, demonstrated fluency in English is critical consideration in evaluating applications. If you choose to submit a TOEFL score, you must contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and request that your TOEFL score be sent to LSAC. LSAC's TOEFL code for the J.D. CAS is 0058. Your score will be included in the Foreign Credential Evaluation document that will be included in your CAS report.

Questions about the JD Credential Assembly Service can be directed to LSAC at (215) 968-1001, or lsacinfo@lsac.org

Do you accept transfer applications from those holding an LL.M. from a U.S. university?

We only accept applications from students currently enrolled in the University of Virginia LL.M. program or who have graduated from the University of Virginia LL.M. program within the last five years.

Do you give credit for law courses taken in other countries?

No, we do not transfer credits from non-U.S. law schools. Foreign educated attorneys must complete the entire three-year J.D. program unless they have a qualifying LL.M. from the University of Virginia. The Law School has an LL.M. program that is open to lawyers with degrees from other countries. 

Is financial aid available for international students?

International students are fully eligible for merit-based scholarship assistance from the School of Law.

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Financial Aid

Is financial aid available?

Yes, nearly 80% of our students receive some sort of financial aid assistance, either through scholarship assistance from the School of Law, participation in federal direct student loan programs, through private educational loans, or from outside sources of scholarship assistance. 

For more information about the different types of financial aid and the aid application process, visit the Financial Aid website.

Are scholarships available?

Yes. All applicants accepted for admission are considered for merit-based scholarship assistance. Selection for merit-based scholarships is based on the same criteria evaluated in the admissions process. No separate application is required. More information about financial aid, including scholarships and need-based aid, can be found on the financial aid website or by contacting our Financial Aid team at financialaid@law.virginia.edu.

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Other Questions

Can you put me in touch with a current student?

Unless you are an admitted student, we are unable to share contact information for our current students. You are encouraged to visit the law school to a student-led tour or attend a student life panel.

Do you offer tours of the Law School?

Yes, we offer student-led tours, in addition to class drop-ins, Q&As and student life panels. Please refer to our visitor page for more information.

Do you offer admission interviews?

Select applicants will be invited to interview with a member of our admissions committee. All interviews are initiated by Admissions Office staff; applicants may not request an interview, virtually or in person. We do not offer individual admissions counseling. 

Does the School of Law offer concurrent or dual-degree programs?

We offer dual-degree programs in medicineaccountinggovernmentenvironmental scienceforeign affairshistoryphilosophypublic healthpublic policyurban and environmental planning and English. The Law School also includes a J.D.-Master's in Economic Law at Sciences Po in Paris, and several external collaborative programs. We also offer a J.D./M.B.A. [add link] in conjunction with the Darden School of Business. This program allows students to complete their dual degree in four years versus the five years that would be required if the degrees were earned sequentially. To participate in this program, you must be admitted by both the School of Law and the Darden School of Business.

Can I take UVA classes outside the Law School for credit toward my J.D.?

Yes, students may apply up to 12 credits toward their J.D. The credits must be pre-approved by the Law School Registrar and have direct relevance to the student’s intellectual development in the study of law.

What is the best pre-law curriculum? How does one prepare for law school?

We admit applicants from a wide variety of undergraduate schools and majors. We encourage undergraduate students to take the classes that most interest them, and to take advantage of any pre-law resources at their school.

In most cases, law courses that are offered at the undergraduate level are less analytical and less comprehensive than those you will encounter in law school, and while they may give you some familiarity with important cases or development of doctrine, they will not be a significant advantage in law school. Most admissions committee members would prefer that an applicant’s college coursework gave foundational understandings of history, economics, politics, science, and culture that will provide the context for a fuller understanding of the law and how it operates in our society.

Do you offer a part-time or night program?

No, we only offer full-time three-year program with a fall start.

Do you offer a paralegal program or online courses?
No.

Where may I find out more about student life, the University, and the Charlottesville area?
Living in Charlottesville, our online guide to Charlottesville and student life, is a valuable resource.

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