Application Components

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.

The below application components were updated as of August 2023.

Application Components

Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable $85 application fee, which will not be credited to tuition in the event of admission. 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 of your Yale Law School application fee, please request a fee waiver using our online application. Need-based fee waivers are generously granted, and parental information is not requested as part of the fee waiver application. 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 2024 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, including all schools you attended for graduate or professional study. Even if one school includes summary data regarding courses from another school on its transcript, an official transcript from each institution must be submitted. Yale Law School strongly encourages applicants to submit transcripts, through LSAC, reflecting all coursework completed through the time of application and further encourages applicants to submit updated transcripts as additional coursework is completed. 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.

In light of the circumstances posed by COVID-19, Yale Law School recognizes that transcripts may reflect mandatory or optional pass/fail or credit/no credit grades. These grades will not be viewed negatively by the Admissions Office and the Law School will maintain a holistic review process for all applications.

Applicants must submit a personal statement that helps us learn about the personal, professional, and/or academic qualities they would bring to the Law School community and the legal profession. Applicants often submit the personal statement they have prepared for other law school applications.

Personal statements should be approximately two double-spaced pages.

The Law School is a vibrant intellectual community where students are expected to engage academically with faculty and fellow students. In no more than 250 words, applicants must write about an idea or issue from their academic, extracurricular, or professional work that is of particular interest to them. The idea or issue you choose does not have to be law-related; this is an opportunity for readers to learn more about how you would engage intellectually in the Law School community.

Applicants may choose to submit an essay in response to one of the four questions below, each related to a value that is central to the Law School community. This is an opportunity to provide readers with relevant information that may not be found elsewhere in your application. If you choose to answer one of these questions, your essay should focus on your relevant personal, professional, and/or academic experiences and not on specific reasons why you wish to attend Yale Law School.

The optional essay should be approximately one page double-spaced. The prompts for the optional essay are as follows:

  • Option 1: The Law School has a strong tradition of public service and encourages its students to contribute to the community in a wide variety of ways. Describe a community that has been particularly meaningful to you. Discuss what you have gained from being a part of this community and what you have contributed to this community.
  • Option 2: The Law School encourages its students and alumni to be leaders, innovators, and changemakers across many different sectors. Describe one of your most important accomplishments and explain why it is important to you. Discuss how you demonstrated leadership, helped innovate, and/or drove change as part of that accomplishment.
  • Option 3: The Law School values determination and resilience and recognizes that these traits are critical to success at the Law School and in the legal profession. Describe a significant challenge, disappointment, or setback that you have faced. Discuss how you approached this experience and what you learned from it.
  • Option 4: In order to succeed at the Law School and in the legal profession, you must be able to have discussions across difference and be open to changing your mind. Describe a time when you changed your mind on an important topic after discussing it with a person with whom you disagreed or learning additional information. Discuss what you learned from this experience.

Applicants may submit addenda to their application if any are necessary for a full representation of their candidacy. These addenda may include, for example, explanations related to transcripts or test scores, including a history of under-performance on standardized tests. It is not necessary to include any addenda, and many applicants do not include any.

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.

A tip sheet for your recommenders can be found here.

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.

Applicants are required to submit a statement of activities to help us understand what you did during your undergraduate education and after graduation (if applicable). 

The college activities section asks three questions: 1) what you did during those terms when you were not in school, including summers and any other terms off (e.g., employment, internships, or study abroad); 2) what you did during the terms while you were also taking classes (e.g., extracurricular activities, employment, or internships); and 3) a catch-all question where you may briefly describe any other activities that you consider relevant (e.g., a significant thesis or capstone project, or significant personal or familial responsibilities). While you may choose to do this in a variety of formats, we ask that you do so in a structured manner such as a list or chart.

If it has been more than three months since you attended college, you must also describe what you have been doing since graduation in any format you choose. You should include graduate or professional education, paid or unpaid employment, as well as any other activities that you consider relevant. You may respond in a narrative format if you have only one or two activities. If you have more than a few activities, we ask that you format your response in a structured manner such as a list or chart.

The activities in these sections should be listed in order of their relative importance to you. For each activity, you must provide a brief description, state the approximate start and end dates, estimate the weekly hourly commitment, and note whether the activity was paid or unpaid. Please note that we anticipate significant duplication between these sections and your résumé. These sections should be brief, and, in general, applicants should answer the college activities questions in no more than 1–2 pages and the post-college activities question in no more than one page. 

Yale Law School accepts results from the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test. Additionally, the Law School accepts results from the LSAT-Flex and the GRE General Test at Home. We do not have a preference among these standardized tests. However, you may submit score(s) from one standardized test only. If you have a reportable LSAT score, you may not submit a GRE score for consideration.

If you choose to apply with the LSAT, you must take the LSAT no later than January 2024. LSAC automatically reports all LSAT scores from the past five years. The oldest LSAT score we will accept is June 2018. If you have taken the LSAT since June 2018, you do not have the option to not 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.

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 LSAT 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 should complete your LSAT Writing no later than January 25, 2024 to ensure we receive it by Yale Law School’s application deadline.

If you choose to apply using the GRE General Test, we must receive your GRE scores from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) by our application deadline, February 15, 2024. Because it may take up to 15 calendar days for ETS to transmit your scores once you complete the exam, you should take the GRE no later than February 1, 2024. 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. Additionally, please ensure that the GRE score report submitted with your application is generated on or after the date you submit your Yale Law School application. A failure to comply with these policies may prevent the review of your application or result in the withdrawal of an offer of admission.

Yale Law School does not require submission of a dean's certification form(s) 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 provided 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.

Yale Law School will continue piloting an interview program it began in the 2022-2023 application cycle. A small number of applicants will be selected for interviews as part of the evaluation process. If you are selected for an interview, the Admissions Office will contact you with additional information. Your application will not be disadvantaged if you are not selected for an interview.