The Admissions program at Columbia Law School is designed to identify and select a student body of diverse backgrounds and interests that shares a discernible commitment to excellence - individuals who have demonstrated unusual promise for distinguished performance at the Law School and, subsequently, for high service to the legal profession and the community.
In evaluating the applications of nearly 8,000 men and women who seek admission to the Law School each year, we place primary emphasis on demonstrated qualities and proven skills we regard as necessary for academic success and intellectual engagement at Columbia.
We also value highly personal strengths that we believe predict professional distinction and public service. We endeavor to identify how and to what extent candidates have forged their values and achieved their goals -- how they have actually chosen to commit their time, energies, and talents, and how they have made use of their opportunities. Applicants are evaluated, therefore, not only on their potential but by their demonstrated motivation, self-discipline, and industry. Our Admissions Committee weighs carefully the elements of the application, which speak to the candidate's background, interests, and goals, and which evidence sound character and judgment.
This approach to selection yields each year an entering J.D. class (of approximately 380 students) with especially strong prospects for academic success, for educating one another, for challenging our faculty, and for enhancing life and learning at Columbia Law School -- learning that goes forward in our classes, seminars, clinics, internships, workshops, journals, conferences, brown bag luncheon discussions, and countless hours of engaging conversation.
Our student body is international in character and origin and truly diverse by standards of training, experience, and perspective. Members of recent classes have come from virtually every state in this country and from many foreign countries. They represent almost 200 undergraduate colleges and universities located across the United States and abroad and reflect the broad range of economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds found in America.
Typically, two-thirds of Columbia's entering class has spent some years after college fulfilling professional and/or family responsibilities. And usually about 15 percent of our entering students will have earned at least one graduate or professional degree before studying law at Columbia. Our Law School has been strengthened by the maturity and experiential enrichment that older students bring to their classmates and faculty.
We have been strengthened too by significant growth in the number of women and minority students. During this past decade, more women and people of color have chosen to study law at Columbia than at any other time in the School's history. Currently, women comprise about 45 percent of our student body. Approximately 33 percent is of American Indian, Asian, African-American, or Hispanic background - one of the very largest minority student populations among America's leading law schools.