A Comprehensive and Holistic Review

At Yale Law School, our goal is to enroll a talented, diverse, and engaged entering class each fall. Each application is comprehensively and holistically reviewed to ensure that we thoughtfully consider all of the information that you provide to us. No one factor is dispositive. Instead, the Admissions Committee carefully evaluates each component of every application, including your essays, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities and leadership, honors and awards, professional experiences, and background. We do not utilize a GPA or standardized test score cutoff of any kind in our review process.

Every year applicants from all backgrounds and with scores in all ranges are admitted to Yale Law School. The only guarantee you will not be admitted is if you do not apply, and we take seriously every application we receive.

NEW for the Yale Law School 2019-2020 Application

Yale Law School is pleased to announce that beginning with the Class of 2023, we will accept the Graduate Record Examinations General Test (GRE)—in addition to the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)—as part of our application for admission. We hope that this step will provide applicants with additional options and flexibility. Please see the section below on Standardized Tests for more details.

In addition, Yale Law School is also pleased to announce that we are providing applicants with additional guidance for the 250-word essay. This year we are asking applicants to explore an idea or issue from their academic, extracurricular, or professional work that is of particular interest to them in no more than 250 words. Please see the section below on Personal Statements and 250-Word Essays for more details.

Application Components

Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable $85 application fee.

The application fee is waived automatically for those applicants who have received an LSAC fee waiver. If you do not have an LSAC fee waiver and would like to request a need-based fee waiver, please request a fee waiver application online. Need-based fee waivers are generously granted, and parental information is not requested as part of the fee waiver application. We will notify you whether or not we decide to grant your waiver request. If your request is approved, you will be given a fee waiver code to enter during the submission process for your Yale Law School application.

Please note that neither the request for, nor the granting of, a need-based fee waiver has any bearing on admissions decisions. Yale Law School employs a need-blind admissions process, and encourages applicants from all socio-economic backgrounds to apply.

You must receive, or expect to receive by the summer of 2020, a bachelor's degree (or the equivalent) from an approved undergraduate institution in order to be eligible to apply. All offers of admission are contingent upon graduation.

You must submit to LSAC transcripts from each college or university you attended. Even if one school includes summary data regarding courses from another school on its transcript, an official transcript from each institution must be submitted. We suggest that you allow at least six weeks for a transcript to be processed by LSAC. For detailed instructions, please visit the LSAC transcript webpage.

Applicants are required to submit two essays: a personal statement and a 250-word essay. Faculty readers look to these two pieces of writing to obtain a nuanced picture of each applicant.

The personal statement should help us learn about the personal, professional, and academic qualities an applicant would bring to the Law School community. Applicants often submit the personal statement they have prepared for other law school applications.

The 250-word essay is an opportunity to explore an idea or issue from your academic, extracurricular, or professional work that is of particular interest to you. The idea or issue you choose does not have to be law-related; this is simply another opportunity for faculty readers to learn more about how you would engage in the Law School community.

You will have the opportunity to include optional addenda to your application if any are necessary for a full representation of your candidacy, for example: a diversity statement or explanations related to test scores or transcripts. It is not necessary to include any, and many applicants do not include addenda. 

Although Yale Law School does not require a diversity statement, many applicants submit diversity statements that help us learn more about them and how they would contribute to our community. Other applicants choose not to include diversity statements, especially if they have otherwise covered key aspects of their background and experiences in their application. One way to decide whether to include a diversity statement is to consider those aspects of your identity that are core to who you are, and make sure they are represented in your application.

Yale Law School requires at least two letters of recommendation. We strongly prefer letters from at least two professors with whom you have studied who can speak to your academic performance and who have had a chance to personally evaluate significant aspects of your academic work. Letters from employers, college deans, coaches, chaplains, colleagues, and others may be helpful, but are not preferred. If possible, they should not replace letters from two faculty recommenders.

Applicants who have been out of school for some time or who are otherwise unable to obtain two faculty recommendations may substitute letters from employers or others who know them well. These letters should address the qualities that academic recommendations typically address, for example: the applicant's ability to write and think critically, as well as their overall suitability for the study and practice of law.

All letters of recommendation must be transmitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service, which is included as part of your CAS subscription.

We will begin review of your application as soon as we have received two letters of recommendation. We will not hold your application in order to wait for additional letters. To ensure that all of your recommendations are available for consideration, please verify that they are on file with LSAC prior to applying to the Law School.

Beginning with the Class of 2023, Yale Law School will accept results from the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test. We do not have a preference for either standardized test.

If you choose to apply with the LSAT, you must take the LSAT no later than January 2020. LSAC automatically reports all LSAT scores from the past five years. The oldest LSAT score we will accept is June 2014. If you have taken the LSAT since June 2014, you do not have the option not to report your score(s) to the Law School—your score(s) will be included in the information that we receive in your CAS report from LSAC. Your LSAT score(s) will be a part of our holistic review of your application.

LSAC requires at least one LSAT writing sample—taken either at the time of the LSAT examination or via LSAT Writing—in order to generate your CAS report. Yale Law School requires only one writing sample. Applicants who take the LSAT more than once do not need to submit multiple writing samples. It may take up to three weeks for LSAC to process and report your LSAT Writing. Therefore, you must complete your LSAT Writing no later than January 25, 2020, in order for the results to be included in the review of your application.

If you choose to apply with the GRE General Test, we must receive your GRE score from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) by our application deadline. Because it may take up to 15 calendar days for ETS to transmit your score after you take the exam, you should take the GRE no later than February 1, 2020. Applicants who have taken the GRE can log into their ETS accounts and select Yale Law School as a recipient of GRE results using the school code 4542.

To maintain parity between our evaluation of LSAT and GRE results, applicants who apply using the GRE must submit all GRE scores from the past five years. When reporting your GRE scores to Yale Law School, please select the option to report your entire testing history. Selecting this option will report all of your GRE scores for the past five years. A failure to comply with this policy may result in the withdrawal of an offer of admission.

Yale Law School does not require a dean's certification form as part of the initial application. In the event an offer of admission is extended to you and you choose to accept that offer, you will be required to submit a dean's certification form from each college or university degree program in which you are, or have been, enrolled, regardless of whether a degree was awarded. The dean's certification form and a complete set of instructions will be included in the materials sent to admitted students.

All offers of admission are contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the dean's certification requirement. Discrepancies between an applicant's answers to the questions in the Character and Fitness section of the admission application and the information provided in dean's certification forms will be considered sufficient grounds for the revocation of an offer of admission.