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. Applicants who plan to visit Ann Arbor are encouraged to contact our office for appointments (or register online).
We encourage you to keep track of your application via our online status checker, but we will also inform you by email when (1) your application has been received (usually within 5 business days of submission to LSAC); (2) we begin processing your application (within 5-7 business days of our receiving it); and (3) we have made an admission decision. 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?
Our application for the 2021-2022 admissions season will become available to access via the LSAC in early August 2021, and applications can be submitted beginning Monday, August 30, 2021. Our regular-decision deadline will be Monday, February 28, 2022, 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), however, 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 28 deadline may be at a disadvantage.
We consider an applicant’s file complete once the Admissions Office has 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.
Applicants use the LSAC FlexApp to apply. We offer a couple of resources that may be useful for completing it. First, 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 raise questions for the applicants—so we provide an annotated version, with all the tips and tricks we can think of. Second, after you submit the LSAC FlexApp, we download all that information into a completely different (more aesthetically pleasing and paper-saving) format, and use that for our review. We invite you to take a peek at the reader’s-eye view of our application PDF.
Finally, 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 the Office of Financial Aid.
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 or department at the University of Michigan; for those applicants, we will accept a GRE, GMAT, or MCAT score in lieu of an LSAT score.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT (or LSAT-Flex) is scheduled to be offered eight times between August 2021 and June 2022. 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 2022 are best-served by taking the LSAT no later than January 2022. Applicants who submit scores from February 2022 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 2021–2022 admissions season, applicants must submit a score from June 2016 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 expected to be released. LSAT takers will be able to complete LSAT Writing, a proctored, on-demand writing exam administered through a candidate’s own computer, at a time and place of their choosing, either shortly prior to or after the completion of the rest of the LSAT exam. Applicants who already have a writing sample on file from a previous exam are not required to submit additional samples, although they may do so if they wish. We will consider your 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. Transcripts Applicants must submit transcripts to CAS from every undergraduate college or university they have attended. These transcripts must be requested by the applicant and sent directly from all US and Canadian undergraduate institutions to LSAC. CAS will summarize the transcripts and send a summary report, as well as 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.) For international undergraduate work, transcripts from international institutions should be 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 U.S. 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. Applicants who have undertaken graduate work must also provide official graduate school transcripts. These transcripts must be sent directly from the graduate institution to CAS.
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 U.S. 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:
- U.S. 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 socio-economic 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/LSAT-Flex score and a self-reported or LSAC-calculated UGPA.
Letters of Recommendation
Although Michigan requires only one letter of recommendation, applicants are encouraged 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 review 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 helpful 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 may, however, ask family members, friends, pre-law advisors, 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 identify, or very differently, might be a vignette that reveals something significant about you. Thus, there is no formula for a successful personal statement, and different individuals will find different topics to be well-suited to them. Applicants have, for example, 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 important 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. To that end, we provide nine directed prompts on a variety of topics, which are set out below. If you think writing on any of the topics suggested would help us get a better sense of you, we encourage you to consider submitting your responses to one or two (but no more). Each essay should be between one and two pages, and should include the number of the prompt you are addressing at the top of the essay. For ease of reading, please use double-spacing and at least an 11-point font.
- Essay One: Say more about your interest in the University of Michigan Law School. What do you believe Michigan has to offer to you and you to Michigan? How do you think getting your JD from Michigan might affect your future career and life?
- Essay Two: Describe a failure or setback in your life. How did you overcome it? What, if anything, would you do differently if confronted with this situation again?
- Essay Three: Describe an experience that speaks to the problems and possibilities of diversity in an educational or work setting. As a lawyer, what measures might you take to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion?
- 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 group that you are or have been a part of and how you contribute(d) to it.
- Essay Six: Describe your educational experiences so far. What kinds of learning environments, teaching methods, student cultures, and/or evaluation processes lead you to thrive, or contrariwise, thwart your success?
- Essay Seven: How might your perspectives and experiences enrich the quality and breadth of the intellectual life of our community or enhance the legal profession?
- 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, 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." 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 may 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 to ensure access to 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)
What do your readers see once I've submitted my application?
Once you’ve applied, we download your Flex App answers into a different format; take a peek at the reader’s eye view:
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.