The J.D. Application File

Southwestern requires the following materials in order to review an applicant's application for admission. An application file will not be considered complete, and cannot be reviewed, until all required materials are received.

Required Materials

  • Application for Admission
  • Personal Statement
  • Official CAS Report containing:
    • Complete undergraduate transcript(s) (all transcripts for all credits earned in pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree)
    • LSAT score(s)
    • Letter(s) of Recommendation (up to three)
  • Application Fee

Additional Requirements

  • Character and Fitness Disclosure(s)
    • Applicants who respond affirmatively to any of the questions in the Character and Fitness section of the application must provide a detailed statement as described on the application.
  • Previous Law School Attendance
    • Applicants who have previously attended any law school must provide a letter of standing, official transcript, and enrollment verification form from each previously-attended law school.
  • Applicants from Foreign Institutions
    • Applicants who have earned an undergraduate degree from an academic institution outside the United States or Canada must have their transcripts evaluated by a credential evaluation service.
    • Southwestern does not require the TOEFL exam for J.D. admission consideration.
  • Additional requirements for SCALE 2-Year J.D. Applicants
  • Additional requirements for Concurrent-Degree Applicants

Optional Materials

  • In addition to the required materials, applicants may choose to submit an Optional Essay, Résumé, and/or a Diversity Statement.

Application for Admission

The official Application for Admission to Southwestern may be completed in electronic form through LSAC. Any additional documentation not submitted electronically with the application may be sent to the Admissions Office via email, fax, or mail. Although online applications are preferred, applicants who wish to fill out a paper application may request a copy by contacting the Admissions Office.

Applicants to the Day, Evening, PLEAS, and SCALE programs complete the same application and indicate their desired program on the form. Applicants to the concurrent-degree program with The Drucker School of Management fill out a specific concurrent-degree application and indicate their desired Southwestern program on the form.

Personal Statement

Southwestern does not provide a specific prompt or question for applicants to address when preparing their personal statement. An applicant's personal statement may address, but is not limited to addressing, issues such as interests, motivation toward law, personal qualities, academic experience, social background, or other topics not presented on the application form. Applicants to the PLEAS program who have child- or elder-care responsibilities may wish to share why this program would be particularly beneficial for them, but they are not required to do so.

The personal statement should be two to three pages in length, typed, and double-spaced. When applying electronically, applicants may submit the personal statement as an electronic attachment to the application form.

Essay (Optional)

In addition to the personal statement, applicants may choose to write one optional essay. The essay should be no more than two pages in length, typed, and double-spaced. The optional essay must address one of the following prompts:

  • Discuss an ethical dilemma you have encountered, either personally or professionally, and explain how you resolved the situation.
  • Discuss a risk that has led to significant change, either positive or negative, in any aspect of your life.
  • Discuss the life experiences or relationships that contributed to your development as an individual, and provide specific examples of how this relates to your goal of becoming an attorney.

Diversity Statement (Optional)

Southwestern values the uniqueness of each applicant and believes that an inclusive campus environment enriches the study of law. Therefore, applicants may submit a statement addressing their diverse background and personal experiences in order to provide a more robust picture of their personal and academic strengths. The Diversity Statement should not be a reiteration of information or insights already addressed in the Personal Statement, and should be no more than two pages in length, typed, and double-spaced. If you choose to include a Diversity Statement with your application, please indicate so in the Diversity section of the application form.

Letters of Recommendation

At least one letter of recommendation must be submitted on behalf of the applicant, but Southwestern will accept up to three letters should the applicant desire to submit additional recommendations. Southwestern prefers that letters of recommendation be from college professors who can provide a candid assessment of the applicant's potential to successfully complete a competitive professional degree program. For applicants who have been out of school for some time, letters from employers are acceptable, but should focus on addressing the applicant's strengths and abilities as they relate to potential success in a law school environment.

The CAS subscription includes a Letter of Recommendation Service. Copies of letters submitted via the Letter of Recommendation Service will be sent to Southwestern along with the applicant's CAS report.

Applicants who choose to have letters of recommendation submitted directly to Southwestern must ensure that the letters are signed and sent by the recommender. All correspondence concerning an applicant's file should include the applicant's full name and LSAC account number.