JD Admissions Process
We know that applying to law school can be daunting, and the University of Michigan Law Admissions Office welcomes having the opportunity to demystify the application process whenever possible. Please reach out to us (by phone at 734.764.0537 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions, at any point; our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM, Eastern time. We are also happy to meet with applicants, alone or in small groups, to answer general questions about the Law School and the application process. (We do not, however, perform evaluative interviews). We offer student-led tours when classes are in session and maintain a list of classes that visitors are welcome to attend. We encourage applicants who plan to visit Ann Arbor to contact the Admissions Office for appointments (or register online).
You will be able to keep track of your application via our online status checker, but we will also inform you by email when (1) we have received your application (usually within 5 business days of submission to LSAC); (2) we begin processing your application (usually within 5-7 business days of our receiving it); and (3) we have made an admission decision. Please be sure to add us to your safe-senders list in your email program so that our emails to you do not get filtered into your spam folder.
Most applicants will receive a decision within 10 weeks of their application becoming complete, and we typically finish our initial admissions decisions by mid-April.
How do I apply?
Applicants can access and view our application for the 2023-2024 admissions season beginning in early August 2023, and can submit applications beginning Monday, August 28, 2023. Our regular-decision deadline will be Thursday, February 29, 2024, and filing of the application form alone is sufficient to meet that deadline. (See below for a discussion of our early-decision timeline.) Because we use a rolling admissions process (that is, we review applications in the order in which they are completed), we encourage applicants to submit their application form and all supporting documentation in advance of the deadline, if possible. Applicants who submit supporting materials after the February 29 deadline may be at a disadvantage.
We consider an applicant’s file complete once we have received the application for admission, the $75 application fee (or waiver), one letter of recommendation, a résumé, the personal statement, and an LSAC Law School Report, including an LSAT writing sample. More information about each of these elements is available below. Once an application is complete, we will begin our holistic review, in accordance with our admissions policy. You are responsible for ensuring that all materials reach us; we do not review incomplete applications.
Applicants use the LSAC FlexApp to apply. Despite our efforts to be as transparent as possible in these instructions and in the form itself, we think it’s inevitable that our questions on the FlexApp will occasionally create uncertainty for the applicant, so we provide an annotated version, with all the tips and tricks we can think of.
Also, please note: While providing your Social Security number on the application form is entirely optional, you must provide it to us in order to be processed for federal financial aid, including loans. Therefore, if you do not wish to include the number on your admissions application but do intend to submit the FAFSA, please contact our Financial Aid Office (734.764.5289 or email@example.com) to discuss.
For more information about applying as a transfer or visiting student in your 2L or 3L year, please visit our transfer admission page.
All applicants must register with the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service. We require all applicants to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), except for those already enrolled in a graduate program in another school at the University of Michigan; for those applicants, we will accept a GRE, GMAT, or MCAT score in lieu of an LSAT score. We recognize, further, that many University of Michigan graduate and professional programs do not require standardized test scores; while we consider standardized testing to be an informative aspect to the application process, we will waive this requirement for those applicants who enrolled in another University of Michigan program who do not have a graduate or professional test score.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT (or LSAT-Flex) is scheduled to be offered eight times between August 2023 and June 2024. We recommend that applicants take the test by January of the calendar year in which admission is sought. In other words, applicants to Michigan’s entering class of 2024 are best-served by taking the LSAT no later than January 2024. Applicants who submit scores from February 2024 or later may hinder their chances of admission because their applications will not be completed until after our deadline has passed. LSAT scores remain valid for five years, so during the 2023–2024 admissions season, applicants must submit a score from June 2018 or later.
Please note that as a general matter, we are not able to delay our application review in order to wait for an additional LSAT score. If you want to ensure that we do not make a decision on your application until we have received your latest score, you should wait to submit your application until about a week before the relevant score is due to be released.
LSAT takers will be able to complete LSAT Writing, a proctored, on-demand writing exam, on their own computers, at a time and place of their choosing, either shortly prior to or after the completion of the rest of the LSAT exam. Those who already have a writing sample on file from a previous exam do not need to submit additional samples, although they may do so if they wish. We consider an application complete once we have one LSAT Writing sample.
Registration with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
CAS registration directs LSAC to compile a number of LSAC Law School Reports to be sent, upon request, to the law schools to which you apply. Law School Reports include an undergraduate academic summary, all LSAT scores and writing samples, and copies of all transcripts submitted to CAS.
For every US and Canadian undergraduate institution you have attended, you must request the transcripts be sent directly to LSAC. CAS will summarize the transcripts and send a summary report, along with copies of all transcripts, to each law school to which you apply. (Please note: If you receive additional grades after applying, you should submit your updated transcript to LSAC, which will in turn send us an updated report.) If you attended an international undergraduate institution, you should arrange to have your transcript mailed to LSAC, Box 2000-M, 662 Penn Street, Newtown, PA 18940-0993. A Foreign Credential Evaluation will be completed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), and will be incorporated into your Law School Report. Please be aware that there can be significant delays in processing international transcript requests. If you completed international work through a study abroad, consortium, or exchange program sponsored by a US or Canadian institution, and the credits for that work are clearly indicated as such on the home campus transcript, you do not need to provide copies of the international transcript.
Finally, if you have undertaken graduate work, you must request that your graduate institution(s) send official graduate school transcript(s) directly to LSAC.
All applications for admission must be accompanied either by a $75 application fee or by a fee waiver. The application fee may be paid for with a credit card via LSAC. If you cannot use a credit card, you may instead mail us a check drawn on a US bank, made payable to the University of Michigan. We cannot accept cash.
We offer several types of application fee waivers. We waive the application fees of candidates who meet any of the following criteria:
- US military members and veterans
- Corps members and alumni of City Year, AmeriCorps, and Teach for America
- Applicants who demonstrate serious financial hardship (including, but not limited to, any candidate who receives an LSAC Fee Waiver)
To request a fee waiver based on any of these criteria, please complete this form. If your request is granted, we will email you a fee waiver coupon number that can be entered on the payment page at the time you transmit your application through LSAC. Please be assured that requesting a fee waiver has no bearing on our admissions decisions; the application reviewers will not have that information available to them. We employ a need-blind admissions process and welcome and encourage applicants from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
We also give application fee waivers through LSAC's Candidate Referral Service, based on candidates’ LSATs and UGPAs. We send letters and emails to recipients to make them aware they've been selected, and the waiver will appear automatically in LSAC’s application checkout. To be considered for a CRS waiver, you must have an active CRS account indicating your intended enrollment year, as well as both an LSAT score and a self-reported or LSAC-calculated UGPA.
Letters of Recommendation
Although Michigan requires only one letter of recommendation, we encourage you to submit three. Typically, the most helpful recommendations are from undergraduate or graduate faculty, but letters from employers, particularly for candidates with significant work experience, can provide extremely informative input as well. Recommendations from coaches, volunteer supervisors, or others who know you well and have had the opportunity to assess your abilities and contributions may also be worthwhile additions. Personal recommendations, from family friends or others, are generally not helpful.
Letters of recommendation are most informative when they discuss the extent and nature of the recommender’s acquaintance with the applicant and comment candidly on as many of the following subjects as possible: the applicant’s intellectual and scholarship abilities, capacity for original thought, ability to analyze and critically assess information, quality of oral and written expression, growth potential, achievements, and personality, including interactions with peers and with the recommender.
We prefer to receive letters of recommendation via the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service. Each letter of recommendation should be accompanied by the LSAC form declaring the applicant’s intent regarding access to the letter.
Written Submissions: Personal Statement, Optional Essays, and Addenda
The University of Michigan Law School has long understood that enrolling students with a broad range of perspectives and experiences generates a vibrant culture of comprehensive debate and discussion. Written submissions are an extremely helpful tool for evaluating potential contributions to our community. Please note that for all written submissions, we expect that the work is the applicant’s own, meaning that the ideas and expressions originated with the applicant, and that the applicant wrote all drafts and the final product. Applicants ought not use ChatGPT or other artificial intelligence tools as part of their drafting process. Applicants may, however, ask pre-law advisors, mentors, friends, or others for basic proofreading assistance and general feedback and critiques.
For ease of reading, please use double-spacing and at least an 11-point font.
As you prepare to write your personal statement, please keep the following in mind. First, we do not have a fixed checklist of particular attributes we seek in our students, and you will have the best insights into what is most important for us to know. Second, there is no set convention for communicating the information you choose to share. A successful essay might involve writing directly about expansive themes such as your goals or philosophy or background or identity, or very differently, might be a vignette that reveals something significant about you. Your personal statement gives us an opportunity to get a sense of your voice, perspective, and experiences, as well as your writing ability, and there is no particular formula to follow. Applicants have in the past elaborated on their significant life experiences; meaningful intellectual interests and extracurricular activities; factors inspiring them to obtain a legal education or to pursue particular career goals; significant obstacles met and overcome; special talents or skills; issues of identity, such as gender, sex, race, or ethnicity; particular political, philosophical, or religious beliefs; socioeconomic challenges; atypical backgrounds, educational paths, employment histories, or prior careers; or experiences and perspectives relating to discrimination, disadvantage, or disability. Any of these subjects, and many more, could be an appropriate basis for communicating authentic and genuine information about yourself that will aid us in reaching a thoughtful decision. In other words, think broadly about what you might wish to convey and how you might best convey it.
While we do not impose a page or word limit for the personal statement, we value clear and concise writing; most personal statements are between two and four pages. For ease of reading, please use double-spacing and at least an 11-point font.
Supplemental essays allow you an opportunity to provide us with relevant information that you were not able to include elsewhere in your application materials. If you think writing on any of the topics suggested would help us get a better sense of who you are, we encourage you to consider submitting your responses to one or two (but no more) of the following topics. Each essay should be between one and two pages. For ease of reading, please use double-spacing and at least an 11-point font. Please be sure to include the number of the prompt you are addressing at the top of your essay.
- Essay One: Say more about your interest in the University of Michigan Law School. Why might Michigan be a good fit for you culturally, academically, or professionally?
- Essay Two: Describe a challenge, failure, or setback you have faced and overcome, whether long-term and systemic (e.g., socioeconomic, health, or complex family circumstances) or short-term and discrete (e.g., a workplace scenario or a particularly demanding course). How did you confront it? What, if anything, might you do differently?
- Essay Three: How has the world you came from positively shaped who you are today?
- Essay Four: Describe a quality or skill you have and discuss how you expect it will help you in your legal career.
- Essay Five: Tell us about a time in the recent past when you changed your mind about something significant.
- Essay Six: We seek students who are encouraging, kind, and collaborative, even when it is not convenient or easy. Describe a recent experience where you exhibited these characteristics.
- Essay Seven: One of the goals of our admissions process is to enroll students who will enrich the quality and breadth of the intellectual life of our law school community, as well as to expand and diversify the identities of people in the legal profession. How might your experiences and perspectives contribute to our admissions goals?
- Essay Eight: Think of someone who knows you, but doesn't know you well (i.e., not a family member or a close friend). How would they describe you? Would their description be accurate? Why or why not?
- Essay Nine: If you could have dinner with any prominent person, living or dead, who would it be and why? What would you discuss?
If there is any information in your application you wish to clarify—for example, particular grades; a history of standardized testing that under-predicts your academic performance; gaps in employment—you may submit that information in the Attachments section of the LSAC FlexApp under "Addendum." Please note that if you answer either of our conduct questions in the affirmative, you must submit a supplemental statement providing complete details. You may submit as many addenda as you need.
We offer a binding Early Decision program for applicants who have considered and investigated their law school options carefully and are confident that the University of Michigan Law School is their clear first choice, regardless of financial considerations.
Applicants with Disabilities
Michigan Law does not discriminate against applicants with disabilities. We are committed to admitting people from all segments of society. Applicants who wish to should feel welcome to provide information about their disabilities—whether physical disabilities, learning disabilities, or other conditions—in the personal statement or an optional essay, or in a separate addendum. Any information an applicant chooses to provide will be used to help us understand the applicant’s achievements and put them in context, as one of many factors we consider in evaluating the application. We reach out to every applicant who is admitted, regardless of whether they have disclosed a disability during the admissions process, to ensure that we provide appropriate accommodations for the Law School’s academic programs as well as examinations.
What materials do I need to include?
- Completed application form
- Letter(s) of recommendation (one required, three recommended)
- Personal statement
- Valid LSAT score
- LSAC CAS registration
- Application fee ($75) or waiver
- Up to two additional essays (from among nine topics)
- Addenda (as needed)
If you have other questions, please look through our JD Admissions FAQs. We spend time every year making sure we answer your questions as thoroughly as possible. You can also check out A2Z, Dean Z’s advice forum. If you still have questions, we would welcome the chance to talk to you.
What financial aid is available?
A Michigan Law education is an investment in your future, and our dedicated counselors in the Office of Financial Aid will work with you throughout the application process and your time on campus to identify the resources that will help you achieve your goals.
What scholarships are available?
Michigan Law offers considerable financial support to our students and graduates, with more than $5 million in grants going to each incoming class. Entering 1L JD candidates may qualify for merit scholarships (either outright, or, if no outright award is offered, made in competition with awards from other schools) and need-based grants. (About 75 to 80 percent of our students receive Stafford and Grad PLUS loans.)
We provide guaranteed summer funding to all 1Ls, regardless of job sector, and to 2Ls working in government and public interest, along with a variety of post-graduate fellowships for those entering these fields.
Our Loan Repayment Assistance Program is second to none, providing generous support for graduates pursuing modest-paying law-related positions. Financial Aid counselors will work with you as you approach graduation and after you begin your career in order to identify the loan repayment options that will serve you best.