Want to know how to get into UPenn Law School? We can help! The University of Pennsylvania law school has consistently been ranked as a top law school, alongside other Ivy League Schools like Yale law school. Thousands of students apply to this prestigious law program every year, but very few get admission. If you want to be one of those few who get admitted, you need to know its admissions requirements, statistics, selection factors, etc. That is precisely what we go over in this blog so that you can maximize your chances of getting into UPenn law school.  


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Law School’s mission

“The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School's inclusive, welcoming community works collaboratively toward one common goal: to lead the future of law.”

Available Programs & JD curriculum

The University of Pennsylvania Carey law school (also known as UPenn law, Penn law, or Penn Carey Law) offers multiple law degrees, including the Juris Doctorate (which is the one we will be focusing on), An LLM or Master of Law program, a Doctor of Juridical Science, and several others. The school also offers joint degrees across a range of academic fields, including the JD/MBA which is offered in conjunction with the Wharton School of business; a JD/MBE in Bioethics, which is especially appealing for students who are interested in pursuing patent or intellectual property law; and a JD/MSSP for those who are more interested in Social Policy.

One of the many things that make UPenn law stand out, is that it believes that the lawyers of tomorrow need to also be experts in business, communications, health, technology, international studies, social work, education, and other emergent fields. For this reason, the University of Pennsylvania law school gives students the opportunity to enrich their legal education by allowing them to take graduate-level courses at one of their sister schools, as well as joint degrees or certificates of study.

When people talk about law school, they are usually referring to the JD program, as it is the first degree one needs in order to practice law. At UPenn law, the JD program is designed to teach students how to be critical thinkers and ethical, responsible lawyers. UPenn law School JD students are required to complete 86 credits during six semesters in the law school residence, complete one course in professional responsibility, six credits of experiential learning, and one scholarly research and writing project.

Additionally, each student has to fulfill a Pro Bono Requirement. This requirement is one of the things that make a legal education at UPenn special. It aims to promote an ethic of service in students while giving them another opportunity to develop professional skills. Students have to complete 70 hours of self-initiated pro bono legal work to fulfill this requirement. Students can sign up for placements identified by the Toll Public Interest Center, design their own placement and seek approval from the Assistant Dean, or participate in one of the 26 student-run pro bono groups.

Tuition and Financial aid

The cost of attending law school at UPenn is pretty similar to other ivies like Harvard law school. Tuition for one academic year in the JD program is currently $65,392, but this is not the only expense that students have to think about. Students also have to pay for the school's required fees, books, supplies, room, and board, etc. UPenn estimates that students need a total of $97,330 for one academic year.

UPenn law offers several financial aid options to help make their legal education more accessible to students. All students who apply to the University of Pennsylvania law school are considered for a merit scholarship. The school uses a holistic approach when choosing merit scholars. This means that they look at all the application components submitted and assess applicants' academic achievements, leadership abilities and potential, service, and professional or life experiences.

Check out this video if you want to find out how to make your law school application stand out:

Furthermore, students can apply for one of the many scholarship programs and grants offered by UPenn law. They can also apply to external scholarship programs to maximize financial support. If you're not sure how to find external scholarships, we recommend investing in law school admissions consulting or the services of an international student advisor if you are an international student. These advisors can help you find and apply to the different scholarship programs that you may be eligible for.

Admissions Statistics

UPenn law school's acceptance rate is about 3.6%. The school reports that 8409 students applied for admission last year, and only 309 of them are currently enrolled in UPenn's entering class. This alone tells us that UPenn law is a highly selective school. We also see it in the fact that most of the students in this entering class have impressive academic backgrounds. This class's median LSAT score and GPA are 171 and 3.90, respectively.

UPenn has one of the most diverse classes in the Ivy League schools when it comes to demographics. 55% of the class is comprised of women, 18% of the class members identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community, 48% identify as people of color, and 31% of these students are first-generation professionals. Furthermore, several countries from all over the globe are represented in the class, as well as 153 different undergraduate universities. It is also worth mentioning that 22% of the students in the entering class come from a STEM background.



Admission & Selection factors

Eligibility

To be eligible to enroll in the JD program at UPenn law school, all applicants must hold a bachelor's degree. All applicants are also required to take an approved standardized test.

Check out this infographic for a quick summary of what we're going to cover below:

Application components

Let’s take a look at the different application components that you’ll need to prepare and that the admissions board will use to assess your readiness and fit for their program:

Application Fee: All applicants have to pay a non-refundable fee of $80. You must pay the application fee by debit or credit card when you submit your application through LSAC.

Application Form:  All applicants have to fill out the online application form. It is imperative that you provide complete information for each question on the form to avoid any delays or complications. You may attach additional pages as an attachment (such as a law school addendum) to elaborate on, complete, or explain a particular piece of information.

 In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. The application form for UPenn law will ask a few questions about this. They keep a copy of these forms for at least three years, and for students who matriculate, they send a copy of this form to the Committee on Character and Fitness of the state where they will seek admission to the bar. In other words, if you intend to become a practicing lawyer in the US, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in the state(s) in which you intend to practice, and keep them in mind as you fill out the application form.

Standardized test scores: Every applicant must take an approved standardized test. UPenn accepts the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test, or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). You will have to register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) through LSAC and arrange for an official test score report to be released to UPenn Law. LSAC will then send a report with all LSAT scores from the past five years. Similarly, those who choose to submit a GRE or GMAT Test score instead of the LSAT must report all valid test scores from the previous five years. UPenn law does not have a "cut-off" score for any of these tests, but you need to remember that you are applying to a highly competitive school. You should aim to get a score that matches or exceeds the median LSAT score of the entering class. 

Letters of recommendation: Penn Carey Law requires that you submit at least two recommendation letters through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service, which is included with your Credential Assembly Service registration. UPenn law school allows students to submit up to four different letters, but they consider the application complete once they have two letters on file. So, if you want to submit more than two letters of recommendation, make sure that your chosen writers all submit their letters in a timely fashion.

The school prefers academic references, but if you are a non-traditional applicant and have been out of school for several years and obtaining academic references could prove difficult, professional references are sufficient. Either way, you should request letters of recommendation from individuals who have worked with you closely or evaluated your work in some capacity. They should know you well enough to comment on your intellectual ability and skills using concrete examples. You can give them pointers to make sure they talk about your strengths and the skills that UPenn law school values, like your analytical and written communication skills, for example.

Personal Statement: UPenn law requires that all applicants submit a law school personal statement. It needs to be two pages, double-spaced, and it should include your name and LSAC account number on both pages. Although the school doesn't give an exact prompt for this personal statement, they do clearly describe what they hope to learn from your statement. The instructions state the following: "This personal statement aims to provide you with an opportunity to submit the information that you deem important to your candidacy. You may wish to describe aspects of your background and interests—intellectual, personal and/or professional—and how you will uniquely contribute to the Penn Carey Law community and/or the legal profession."

As you write your law school personal statement, you should keep that in mind. Essentially, the instruction is asking you to answer the 'tell me about yourself' and 'how will you contribute to your campus community' questions in a two-page essay. If you're not sure where to start, we recommend reaching out to an essay advisor, as they can help you brainstorm, write, edit and polish your essay to make sure it is up to par.

Need some help with your personal statement? This video has great tips:

Optional essays: Furthermore, UPenn gives applicants the option of submitting Optional law school essays. These optional essays allow you to provide the admissions committee with additional relevant information that could not be included in your personal statement or other application components. We recommend taking advantage of this opportunity to strengthen your application. For your optional essay, you are required to answer one of the prompts below. You may notice that they sound a lot like specific types of essays. For example, the first prompt is basically describing a law school diversity statement. Your essay should be limited to one double-spaced page, and it should also include your name and LSAC account number on each page.

  1. Describe how your background or experiences will enhance the diversity of the Penn Carey Law community (e.g., based on your culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ideology, age, socioeconomic status, academic background, employment, or personal experience). 
  2. These are the core strengths that make Penn Carey Law the best place to receive a rigorous and engaging legal education: genuine integration with associated disciplines; transformative, forward-looking faculty scholarship; highly regarded experiential learning through urban clinics and our pro bono pledge; innovative, hands-on global engagement; and a manifest commitment to professional development and collegiality. These qualities define Penn Carey Law. What defines you? How do your goals and values match Penn Carey Law’s core strengths? 
  3. Describe a time when, as a member of a team, you particularly excelled or were especially frustrated. What was your role within that team? What was the outcome?
  4. If you do not think that your academic record or standardized test scores accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, please tell us why. 

The application process

UPenn law applicants must register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to submit an electronic application. The JD program is only offered on a full-time basis starting in the fall, so there is only one intake during the year. That said, students do have a few different options when it comes to the application process.

They can either apply through Early Decision or Regular Decision. The Early Decision option allows students to submit their applications early and therefore get a response from the admissions committee earlier than other students. In exchange for this early decision, applicants have to enter a binding agreement with UPenn law school saying that if admitted, they will enroll at the school and withdraw any pending applications to other law schools. There are two Early Decision rounds, one in the fall and the other early in the winter. The exact submission dates change from year to year, so make sure you verify the school's website for the most up-to-date information. Currently, these are the deadlines you need to keep in mind:

Round 1 timeline:

Round 2 timeline:

Applicants for whom UPenn law school is not the first choice can apply using the Regular Decision process. This is the standard admissions process that most schools use. Applicants have until March 1st to submit their applications, and responses are sent out on a rolling basis. Because UPenn law school uses a rolling admissions process, you should aim to get your application to the admissions committee as early as possible.

Contact information

Website: https://www.law.upenn.edu/

Email: mailto:[email protected]

Mailing address: 3501 Sansom Street

Philadelphia, PA

19104-6204

FAQs

1. How hard is it to get into UPenn law school?

UPenn has an acceptance rate of 3.6% which means that it is a highly selective school. You need to submit a competitive application if you want to get into UPenn law school. 

2. Does UPenn law school admit international students?

Yes, international students are welcome at UPenn law school. The admissions process for international students is pretty similar to the one we described above.

3. How expensive is UPenn law school?

UPenn law school estimates that students need a total of $97,330 to cover tuition fees, supplies, and living expenses for one academic year.

4. Does UPenn law school offer financial aid?

Yes, it does. The University offers several scholarships and grants that most of the current students are benefiting from in various ways.

5. Is UPenn an ivy league school?

Yes. The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is a private ivy league institution, it has no affiliation with Pennsylvania State (Penn State) University which is a state university. 

6. How can I strengthen my application to UPenn law?

You can improve your application by taking the time to research the school and working with a law school admissions consultant to create a competitive application. 

7. What GPA do you need to get into UPenn law school?

There is no minimum GPA required for admission to UPenn law, but we recommend looking at the entering’s class average GPA and aiming for that same grade or higher. 

8. Can I get into UPenn law school with a low LSAT score?

It is possible to get into UPenn with a low LSAT score as the school does not have a minimum required score for the LSAT. That said, your academic potential is very important to UPenn, so you will need to compensate for it with an impressive GPA and well-crafted application components. 

Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up-to-date information. You are responsible for your own results. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting 


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