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. The optional materials listed below will also be accepted. For explanations and instructions related to various application components, click on the expandable headings at the bottom of the page.

Required Materials

  • Application for Admission
  • Personal Statement
  • Resumé
  • Official CAS Report containing:
    • Complete undergraduate transcript(s) (all transcripts for all credits earned in pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree)
    • LSAT score(s)
    • LSAT writing sample(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.
    • NOTE: 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.
  • 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

  • Optional Statements (see below for prompts)
  • Graduate Records Exam (GRE) Score
  • Addenda to address areas of the application for which the applicant believes additional context would be helpful for the admissions committee

Bar Admission Requirements - Character and Fitness and Other Qualifications

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.

Additional Information for Certain Application Components

  1. 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, unless otherwise indicated by the instructions included on the application itself. Although online applications are preferred, applicants who wish to fill out a paper application may request a copy by contacting the Admissions Office.

    • J.D. Program Applicants. Regardless of which of our J.D. programs is desired, applicants complete the same application form. The first question on the application form asks applicants to indicate their program preferences.
    • J.D./M.B.A. Applicants. Applicants to the concurrent-degree program with The Drucker School of Management complete a specific concurrent-degree application and also have the opportunity to indicate their desired Southwestern J.D. program on the form.
  2. 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. The subject matter of the statement is up to the applicant, but applicant's should keep in mind that the reviewer will be focused on determining their potential to be a successful law student and graduate of Southwestern.

    The thoughts and words contained in the personal statement must be the applicant's own and no one else should assist in its creation beyond basic proofreading or critiquing. The personal statement should be two to three pages in length, typed, and double-spaced. When applying electronically, applicants must submit the personal statement as an electronic attachment to the application form.

  3. Resumé

    Resumés give the applicant the opportunity to highlight experiences and skills that the applicant may not have had time and space to address in other application materials. Most resumés should be no longer than one or one and a half pages, unless the applicant’s educational or work experience is quite extensive. In general, experiences preceding undergraduate school should not be included. CV-type resumés are discouraged.

  4. 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. Letters of recommendation must be sent via this service.

  5. Optional Statements

    Applicants may submit optional statements addressing one or both of the following prompts:

    1. Tell us more about your interest in Southwestern. What makes our school a good fit for you given your academic or professional interests, and our offerings, learning environment, and community?
    2. Southwestern values the uniqueness of each applicant and believes that a diverse and inclusive campus environment enriches the study of law. Therefore, applicants may submit a statement addressing their distinctive background and personal experiences to provide a more robust picture of their personal and academic strengths.

    These statements should not be a reiteration of information or insights already addressed in the Personal Statement, and each should be no more than two pages in length, typed, and double-spaced.

  6. Graduate Records Exam (GRE) Score (optional)

    Applicants can submit official Graduate Records Exam (GRE) score(s) in addition to their LSAT score(s). Please note that the GRE score cannot be used in lieu of or in place of an LSAT score.

    Applicants choosing to submit their GRE score(s) should answer the relevant questions on the application form and then submit via the Educational Testing Service (ETS) an official report of all valid and reportable GRE results for the last five years, including any new results received after the application is initially submitted to Southwestern.* Applicants may not choose which results to share. Official score reports must come directly from ETS to Southwestern. Self-reported scores or copies of score reports that are not accompanied by an official score report cannot be considered.

    In the review process, special weight is not given to GRE scores. Rather, they are used as additional data points in conducting a holistic review of the application. Competitive GRE scores are those that are comparable in percentile to Southwestern’s median LSAT score or higher. Just as with the LSAT, we will accept an addendum to address discrepancies between multiple GRE scores. Note that we will not pause review on an otherwise complete application in order to wait for an official GRE score report or GRE addendum.

    Southwestern's GRE Designated Institution (DI) code for ETS reporting purposes is 3933.

    *This GRE reporting requirement parallels the requirement that five years of LSAT scores be disclosed on the application. Failure to report all GRE scores may result in the following: withdrawal of your application, the rescission of an admission offer, cancellation of your enrollment and/or Southwestern’s referral of you to the Law School Admissions Council for misconduct in the application cycle. Please visit for more information on misconduct reporting.

  7. LSAT Addendum (optional)

    If you have taken the LSAT or LSAT-Flex on more than one occasion, you may wish to submit an LSAT addendum to address changes in your method of LSAT preparation, conditions during your exam(s), or any other factors that may have affected your performance. While this addendum is optional, for those who have experienced a change in score of +/- 10 points, it is strongly recommended that you submit this addendum. If you have only taken the exam once but would still like to address your score, you may also submit an addendum.