Application Requirements

Apply for Fall 2020
Our priority application deadline for first-year applicants has been extended to June 1.

Deadlines for transfer, visiting and dual-degree applicants may vary.

Requirements for JD All Applicants

Education

All law school applicants are required to have completed or expect to complete a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year university or college by the time law school classes begin in August. Accepted applicants must furnish official final transcripts indicating receipt of a baccalaureate degree, as well as completion of any work in progress when the application was filed. If admitted, an official transcript showing the conferral of the baccalaureate degree must be mailed directly from the college or university to the Office of Admissions prior to the start of the fall term. Alternatively, official transcripts sent to LSAC to be included in your JD CAS report can be used to fulfill this requirement as long as the transcript is dated 2016 or later and notes the degree conferral date.

Personal Statement

The admissions committee requires that each applicant submit a personal statement to supplement the application form. The statement is used by the committee as both a source of additional information and as a writing sample, but is not a substitute for the application.

The statement should focus on your interest in and motivation and preparation for the study of law. The committee is interested in your personal experiences, background, and accomplishments. Factors that are helpful to the committee include co-curricular activities, areas of interest, past or present employment, and college academic honors. Personal statements tend to average 2 to 4 pages in length; however, there is no page limitation to the personal statement.

The personal statement should be typewritten, double spaced, and included with your application. Your resume may be attached to the statement. Please write your name on the top of each page. Number and staple pages together. If applying electronically, be sure to attach your statement electronically.

Two Letters of Recommendation

The admissions committee requires two letters of recommendation in support of your application. An optional third letter may be submitted, but no more than three letters of recommendation will be considered for one application. Although the committee will accept recommendation letters from any two individuals designated by the applicant, the committee suggests:

  • From Faculty or Administrator
    If possible, have the two recommendations completed by college faculty members (or administrators) with whom you have studied. If you have been away from college for a considerable time, you may wish to substitute other individuals, including supervisors and business colleagues, with whom you have had more recent contact.
  • Individuals with opportunity to observe your potential
    Choose individuals who have had substantial and recent opportunity to observe your professional and/or academic potential. Recommendations from people who have not had such opportunity are of little assistance to the committee.
  • For all applicants except transfers
    USF requires that your letters of recommendation be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service, which serves all member schools. This service is included in your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) subscription. Your recommendations will be copied by the service and sent to us along with your CAS Report.
  • For transfer applicants
    Your letters of recommendation may be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service, which serves all member schools. This service is included in your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) subscription. Your recommendations will be copied by the service and sent to us along with your CAS Report. Letters may also be sent directly to the USF School of Law Admissions Office.

All applicants except transfers and visiting applicants
Your CAS Report will not be released to USF until two letters of recommendation have been received by LSAC.

Be sure to follow all directions for submitting letters of recommendation as described on the LSAC web site. It is important that you fill out and give each person submitting a recommendation a letter of recommendation form. Forms can be obtained online at the LSAC Website.

LSAC Evaluations
Please note that the Law School does NOT require an LSAC evaluation. You are welcome to submit one optional evaluation. The evaluation should come from a person who has NOT written a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Evaluations should be completed by college faculty members (or administrators) with whom you have studied. If you have been away from college for a considerable time, you may wish to substitute other individuals, including supervisors and business colleagues, with whom you have had more recent contact.

Credential Assembly Service (CAS)

All first-time first-year applicants must register for the Credential Assembly Service report. Information about CAS is available online at the LSAC Website.

Transcripts of all college work, both undergraduate and graduate, should be sent directly to LSAC. LSAC analyzes your undergraduate college transcripts and forwards a report to each law school you designate, along with your letters of recommendation. LSAC will not release your CAS report to USF until two letters of recommendation have been received by LSAC. The committee may not consider an application if the CAS report indicates that transcripts are missing (does not apply to transfer applicants).

If you are accepted for admission, you must submit directly to the USF School of Law official transcripts showing the award of the baccalaureate degree and any graduate degrees earned. The official transcript must be sent by the degree-granting institution(s).

Alternatively, official transcripts sent to LSAC to be included in your JD CAS report can be used to fulfill this requirement as long as the transcript is dated 2016 or later and notes the degree conferral date.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Applicants must take the LSAT and have their score(s) reported to the USF School of Law in a CAS Report. LSAT scores are valid for five years. Any LSAT taken prior to June 2015 is considered invalid for application review. USF will utilize the highest LSAT in the review process if multiple LSAT scores are presented by the applicant..

The LSAT is currently administered seven times a year. Early scheduling is strongly recommended and you are advised to take the LSAT no later than the January 2020 test date. Applicants may take the February, March and April 2020 test; these applicants may not be given maximum consideration due to the lateness of test results. LSAC has recently collaborated with the Khan Academy to provide free online LSAT test prep materials.

LSAT Writing Sample

Applicants are required to submit an LSAT Writing sample. The LSAT Writing exercise is a proctored, on-demand writing exam that is administered online using secure proctoring software that is installed on the candidate's own computer. The writing exam is designed to elicit the kind of argumentative writing that candidates will be expected to produce in law school. Candidates will still be given 35 minutes to write an essay in response to the prompt with which they are presented.

The LSAT writing sample should be taken as soon as you take the LSAT exam. The Law School only requires one writing sample. If you retake the LSAT exam and already have a writing sample on file with LSAC, you do not need to re-take the writing sample.

When you register to take the LSAT, it will include both the multiple-choice portion of the LSAT and LSAT Writing. Candidates who wish to retake LSAT Writing can do so for $15 per writing sample.

Candidates only need one writing sample posted to their account for a law school report to be released to USF. You may retake the LSAT Writing sample up to three times total per testing year, and no more than five times within five years, with the deadline for the April 2020 test being the last time one can register for standalone LSAT Writing sample. More information on the LSAC Writing sample is available online at: LSAT Writing FAQ

Application Fee

A $60.00 application fee, payable to the University of San Francisco, must be submitted with your application. If you are applying electronically, you must pay the application fee online using a valid credit card.

The application fee is not refundable. In the event that you are subsequently admitted, the fee will not be applied toward your tuition. Furthermore, if you decide to withdraw your application before a final decision is made, your application fee will not be refunded.

For all applicants except transfer and visiting applicants: The required application fee may be waived for an applicant whose financial situation makes it a severe hardship to pay. Applicants requesting a waiver of this fee must submit a brief statement to the Law School Admissions Office explaining your financial situation. Information should include your current monthly income, assets and monthly expenditures. Approval of a fee waiver must be obtained prior to submitting an Application for Admission. Fee waiver requests may be sent via email to lawadmissions@usfca.edu. Please allow five business days for fee waiver requests to be processed.

Applicants granted an LSAC fee waiver will have their USF School of Law application fee automatically waived. Applicants who apply electronically to USF via LSAC will be allowed to transmit their application electronically as long as their LSAC fee waiver is for the current 2019-2020 application year.

Disclosures: Character and Fitness

All applicants are required to complete the disclosure questions in the Character and Fitness section of the Application. USF requires applicants to disclose any issues related to academic probation, suspension, disqualification (particularly from a previous law school). In addition all applicants must disclose any felony or misdemeanor conviction, or pending adjudication including a DUI (or any alcohol or drug-related offense). This includes any conviction that may have been dropped or expunged. Information should include the date of each incident, full explanation of the incident, including the name of the charge, and the final disposition of each charge. Please note that USF School of law requires that applicants previously disqualified from a prior ABA law school are required to wait at least two years before applying to USF and must only apply as a new first-year law student.

In addition, all applicants are required to notify the School of Law if any changes to the information included in their Application for Admission occur after the application has been submitted. In particular, all applicants must immediately notify the Director of Admissions if any new academic probation, suspension, disqualification issues arise, or if any new conviction of any felony or misdemeanor takes place after submitting the application.

Conviction is any of the following:

  • a plea of guilty or nolo contendere
  • a verdict or finding of guilt regardless of whether sentence is imposed by the court. The Bar Examiners will receive reports of any such convictions from law enforcement agencies.

Newly admitted applicants are required to immediately submit a detailed written description of new disclosures to the Law School's Admissions Office if an incident occurs AFTER an offer of admission is made and to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Academic Services if an incident occurs AFTER classes begin. Information disclosed after an applicant has been offered admission will automatically result in a re-evaluation of the applicant's file.

Failure to disclose any changes to your application or any of the Character & Fitness information noted above, may result in revocation of your admission decision, dismissal from school, revocation of any degree awarded by USF School of Law, denial of admission to the Bar, and referral to the LSAC Subcommittee on Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process.

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Diversity Statement or Essay (Optional)

In addition to the required personal statement, applicants may submit an optional diversity statement or essay that is separate from the required personal statement. An applicant may describe any factors that illustrate how he or she may add to the diversity of the law school and enrich the educational environment for all students as well as the legal profession.

For example, an applicant may want to address issues or experiences related to race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious affiliation, ideology, or socio-economic disadvantage.

In addition, an applicant may want to discuss atypical career aspirations, employment background, educational history, special talents or skills, or primary or secondary languages other than English.

Additional Requirements

See additional requirements and specific application deadlines for:

Application Review Process

The admissions committee will not review an application until the law school has received all required documentation. Applicants are encouraged to submit all supporting documents, including recommendations and appraisal forms, as soon as possible. Applicants are considered in the order that completed applications are submitted; because the admissions committee uses a rolling admission system and typically begins the review process in October, applicants whose files are completed late in the application cycle may jeopardize their chances for admission.

Application Materials

All materials and correspondence relating to admission or your Law School application should be directed to the School of Law Office of Admissions. Once submitted, all materials become the property of the School of Law and will not be returned or copied. Please keep a copy of your application and any supporting documents for your records.

Status Checks

Upon receipt of your application, the Law School Admissions Office will provide a login and password that will allow you to check the status of your application on-line. You will be notified by email once your application is received by USF and also when your application file becomes complete. All official decision notices will be sent via email.

Check Your Status