Law School Application Components

Academic Transcripts

Contact  the Office of the University Registrar to request a transcript from the University of Pennsylvania.

Applicants must send all official academic transcripts to LSAC.  If an applicant has attend another undergraduate or graduate institution where coursework completed has generated an official transcript, he or she must request an official transcript from that institution.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is digital test designed to measure your ability to reason and think analytically, and aids law schools in their evaluation of applicants. The exam consists of five 35-minute sections (one of which is experimental) and a 30-minute writing exercise. The four scored sections include three different types of questions: Reading Comprehension (1 part), Analytical Reasoning (1 part) and Logical Reasoning (2 parts). The scoring scale range is between 120-180.

The LSAT is offered approximately 9 times each year.  You should register 2-3 months in advance.  Test scores are valid for 5 years.  Basic cost of the LSAT is $200.  Applicants may apply for a fee waiver via the LSAC website.

  • When to take the exam:  We recommend taking the LSAT by October and applying by early November of your chosen application cycle because law schools follow a rolling admissions process.

  • Where to register:  Go to to register for the LSAT.

  • How to prepare: LSAC (Law School Admission Council) provides some free LSAT materials via KHAN Academy to get you started in your preparation.  While Career Services does not endorse LSAT prep courses, some applicants find the structure of a LSAT prep course to be helpful.

Letters of Recommendation

Most law schools will require two letters of recommendation. Many show a strong preference for academic references for applicants, unless you are more than five years out of college. Many schools may accept up to four letters of recommendation, but more letters is not always better. Since the preferred number and type of letters of recommendation to submit will vary from applicant to applicant, if you are unsure, please feel free to discuss this with your pre-law advisor.

All law schools will accept letters of recommendation from the LSAC’s Letter of Recommendation (LOR) Service. Through this service, your letter writers only needs to send their letters to LSAC, rather than sending them to every individual law school. It is your responsibility to keep track of the status of your letters of recommendation.

Once your letters of recommendation arrive at LSAC, you will be asked to direct your letters on file to individual law schools through the LOR Service.  You will make that determination based on each law school’s required number of letters, or the applicant’s desire to target certain letters to certain law schools.

Personal Statements, Diversity Statements & Addenda

Personal statements should provide a reader with a sense of who you are beyond your test scores and transcript, and demonstrate that you have a distinct voice to contribute to the incoming class. In the same way that each individual is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing an effective personal statement. Your content will be driven by your life experiences, your perspective, and the reasons you chose to apply to law school. Remember, however, that you typically will not interview with an admissions committee before receiving a decision on your candidacy. You should, therefore, aim to provide the reader with a window into who you are as a person through your personal statement.

Consult any of the following for more information regarding essays:

Law School Resume

Your resume is one the several components that ultimately comprise your applications to law school. Law school admissions committees are very interested in how you spend your time and energy outside of class, so it is essential that you create a strong, accurate, and flattering portrayal of yourself on your resume.

How to Convert a Job Resume to a Law School Resume

Consult this blog post for tips on converting your job resume to a law school resume that highlights your qualifications.

Law School Resume Samples

Dean’s Certification Letter

Some law schools require a Dean’s Certification Letter  from each of your undergraduate and graduate institutions where you are/were a full-time student. This is not always the case, so please read individual law school’s admissions materials carefully to determine if this is necessary, particularly when answering application questions regarding your record of disciplinary action at Penn. Each of Penn’s colleges maintains a different process for requesting a Dean’s Certification Letter, so follow the link below for your school for instructions on how to request this document. It is also a good idea to call the Dean’s Office directly to confirm this process.

In all cases, this Dean’s Certification Letter will take the place of individual law school forms, as Penn as an institution does not complete these forms.

Note: If you attended any undergraduate (or graduate) institution other than Penn, you will likely need a separate Dean’s Certification Letter to submit to law schools. Please check with that institution’s pre-law advisor and/or Dean’s Office for the correct procedural information.