What are conditional admission programs for law school? Most law school applicants are familiar with these three terms: acceptance, rejection, and waitlist; however, some students may be deferred to a law school’s conditional admission program in lieu of such a clear-cut response to their applications. Conditional admission programs, also known as “pre-enrollment” or “performance based admission” programs, are designed to introduce students to the rigor and coursework of law school, and, upon successful completion of a law schools’ pre-enrollment program, a student may earn an acceptance to attend that law school—only a percentage of students successfully completing conditional admission programs receive acceptance offers.

“Does a conditional admission program make sense for me?” It depends on how strong of an applicant you are. If improving your application strength is feasible, then probably not; however, if improvement isn’t an option and you’d like to fulfill your law school dreams—trying to earn an acceptance to an A.B.A.-approved law school through deferment to a conditional admission program may be your best bet. The main drawbacks of conditional admission programs are: they’re only offered at select law schools (15 in count), they cost money, and there’s no guarantee that successful completion will result in an admission to study law. Furthermore, should a student decide to reapply to law schools following completion of a pre-enrollment program, they’ll likely be required to disclose that information. With that said, it can make sense for a prospective law student to apply to law schools offering these programs if that student believes that their chances of admission to an A.B.A.-approved law school are slim-to-none otherwise.

Law School Admission Requirements

The good news is, there aren’t many requirements in order to be admitted to law school, and the law school admissions process is fairly simple. The main requirement for admission into a J.D. program is successful completion of a Bachelor’s degree; however, there are no requirements pertaining to the subject matter of the Bachelor’s degree earned, and applicants from all fields are welcome to study law. The second requirement is completion of an undergraduate admission exam; students strictly considering law school, and not other types of graduate programs, are generally better off taking the LSAT. Although some schools accept the GRE (and their number continues to grow), it’s impossible to predict how an admissions committee will review an application with a GRE compared to an application with an LSAT—the data aren’t there yet. After these two requirements are satisfied, a student is ready to create a CAS account for application completion!

Law Schools with Spring Admissions

Law School AdmissionsThere are several law schools that accept spring admission, and one might think of this as a potential “head-start”; however, before you view law school as a “race”, or matter requiring urgent completion, you should consider the potential drawbacks. First off, there aren’t many A.B.A.-approved law schools that have spring admission, so students using a “spring-start” variable as a strict criterion will be severely limiting their prospective options. Second of all, schools that offer spring admission generally aren’t at the top of the rankings list; in fact, Baylor is the highest ranked law school to offer spring admission, and it sits at a USNWR rank of 48; Cardozo, the second highest rank on the list, currently sits at a USNWR rank of 52.

Furthermore, while no prospective law student should ever attend a law school from which they wouldn’t be happy graduating, law schools offering spring admission can be problematic to transfer out of; in most cases, students will have to sit-out of learning for an entire semester (after completing their 1L studies in the winter) in order to matriculate into a transfer school in the fall.

Law School Admission Rates

Predicting law school admission rates can be tricky to say the least; however, some schools use what’s known as a “law school admissions index” in order to identify qualified applicants for potential admission, and to provide students with data concerning their probability of earning an acceptance. Note, an admissions index is specific to the school implementing its use; not all law schools use an admissions index to admit students, and concerning the schools that utilize an index in the admissions process, it’s impossible to determine how much weight each element in any application is given. The LSAC admission index is the best tool to predict admission probability, and probabilities are based on a student’s GPA and LSAT score, and how that student’s law school admissions numbers compare to numbers from previous cycles—remember, these two factors are only part of an applicant’s file, and probabilities based on statistics should be interpreted and relied upon with caution!