Application Review FAQ
How does the Admissions Committee evaluate applications for admission?
Applications are holistically reviewed by the Committee, a process that thoroughly considers each candidate’s intellectual and academic qualifications, performance on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and an examination of the personal qualities considered requisite to scholastic success, professional distinction, and public service.
Are there cutoff scores to apply to the Law School? What are the median undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores for Columbia Law School students?
There is no minimum undergraduate GPA or LSAT score in the consideration process for admission to Columbia Law School. For the 2012 entering class, the median undergraduate GPA was 3.71 and the median LSAT score was 172.
Although academic achievements and performance on the LSAT are clearly relevant to the selection process, we strongly emphasize that admission to the Law School is based on a variety of quantitative and qualitative factors contained in your application, not solely on either grades or test scores. Every complete application is read in full by at least two members of the Admissions Committee.
View the most recent Class Profile, including GPA and LSAT statistics.
Can I arrange for an interview with an admissions officer to discuss my candidacy?
Regrettably, because of the high volume of applicants from all over the U.S. and abroad, it is not logistically possible for personal interviews to be included as part of the selection process. As such, the admissions committee depends upon the insights provided by applicants' personal statements, addenda, and letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf.
The Office of Admissions does maintain a liberal open-door policy for prospective students and applicants who would like to speak with an admissions officer. No appointment is necessary, and you may speak with an officer on a call-in and/or walk-in basis during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.).
What undergraduate major(s) should I pursue?
Columbia Law School does not require or prefer any specific major or minor. A recent review of our entering class finds the following undergraduate majors substantially represented:
- 26% Political Science/Government
- 14% History
- 9% Literature/English
- 9% Economics
- 7% Social Sciences (other)
- 6% Science/Engineering/Mathematics
Other concentrations include, but are not limited to, anthropology, art history, finance/accounting/business, humanities, international relations, language studies, philosophy, policy studies, psychology, and religion.
From what undergraduate institutions do you generally accept students?
The admissions committee is dedicated to admitting and enrolling students from a true cross section of colleges and universities throughout the country and the world. In fact, there are approximately 200 undergraduate institutions currently represented in our J.D. program.
Regardless of institution(s) attended, the committee carefully considers:
- Rigor, breadth, and depth of curriculum
- Grade trends over time (upward or downward)
- Institutional grading trends (grade inflation)
- Special honors, awards, and fellowships
- Letters of recommendation
- Professional and extracurricular experiences
- Community service and political activity
How does the Committee view graduate work and/or professional experience?
Applicants who have earned advanced degrees or have significant work experience are certainly considered positively in the review process, and such achievements may enhance their candidacy for admission. Typically, about two-thirds of the entering class each year has either completed graduate work or has been employed full-time prior to entering Columbia Law School. The J.D. program does not require that applicants possess an advanced degree or professional work experience.
How is graduate school considered relative to undergraduate achievement?
Applicants' undergraduate performance is critically important and serves as a universal criterion for every law school applicant. However, as applicants progress in their post-college careers, graduate work will also be taken into consideration. It may not serve as a replacement, however, for undergraduate performance.
How heavily does LSAT performance factor into admissions decisions?
In reviewing applications to Columbia Law School, no weights or relative levels of importance are assigned to any one specific criterion for admission. Indeed, the Admissions Committee takes the entire application into consideration to arrive at a final admissions decision. While strong LSAT scores may certainly indicate strength in one's application, the Committee considers the academic record, along with the other personal and biographical information in the file, most carefully.
How are multiple LSAT scores viewed?
Even though the ABA requires that we report the highest LSAT score, the Committee considers the entire LSAT testing history when evaluating applications for admission.