Review Process and Timeline

Admissions Dates 2017-18
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First-year applications become available on September 1 of each year. The deadline to apply is February 1 of the following year.

The Review Process
We encourage you to complete and submit your application as early as possible. You are responsible for ensuring that your completed application reaches our office by the February 1 deadline. The deadline for the early decision program is November 12. We do not accept late applications.

Files are reviewed as they become complete. You may refer to the Faculty Policy Governing Admissions for information about the criteria used for reviewing applications. An overview of some of the main admission factors that we consider follows:

Grade Point Average
When evaluating your GPA we will consider your overall undergraduate academic record. This will include the age of the grades, exceptionally high grades, the difficulty of coursework, time commitments while attending college, grading patterns at the school attended, and grade trends or discrepancies. Graduate work will be considered a “plus factor.”

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
When evaluating your LSAT score we will consider whether similar tests may have under-predicted your academic performance in the past. For example, if you document that you earned exceptionally high undergraduate grades but had a low SAT or ACT score, then this may be taken into account in evaluating your potential to succeed in law school. You must document your test-taking history by including a copy of your SAT or ACT scores with your application.

Personal Statement and Resume
A personal statement and resume are required of all applicants. The statement can be up to four double-spaced pages. There is no required topic for the statement. It is your opportunity to describe the subjective qualities that you will bring to the study of law at Berkeley.

The resume may be of any length. Please account for any periods of time that may be missing on your resume.  See more information here.

Letters of Recommendation
We suggest that you provide recommendations academic sources who are familiar with your classroom performance and who are able to assess your potential for the study of law. These may be from either professors or teaching assistants. If you have been away from academia, then a recommendation from a work supervisor or colleague may be substituted. We reserve the right to review your application without recommendations if waiting for them will hinder your admission chances.

If you apply as a transfer student we require recommendations from two law professors with whom you have studied.

Sign the waiver form provided in our application if you wish to waive your access to any of your recommendations. No weight is given to whether or not you waive your access when evaluating your recommendations.

Optional Socioeconomic Questionnaire
If you have experienced disadvantages that adversely affected your performance in the past, and if you have successfully overcome such disadvantages, then this information will be considered when assessing your potential to contribute to the educational process and to the legal profession. To this end, you are invited to complete the optional socioeconomic questionnaire included on the application form.  If you complete the questionnaire the information will be used to augment the other factors considered during the evaluation process.

Other Factors
Although substantial weight is given to the undergraduate GPA and LSAT score, many other factors are considered.  However, race, religion, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and national origin are not used as admission criteria. No weight is given to your political or ideological views, how you intend to use your legal education, nor to your need for financial aid during law school.

Application Status Notification
We will take no action until your application is complete. Applications are considered complete when the following items are received and processed: An application form, an application fee (or fee waiver), a CAS transcript summary, an LSAT score (the most recent one reported on your application), a resume, and a personal statement. Completion of your file may require additional action on your part, such as payment for sending a CAS report.

Once your file is complete, you will receive an email to confirm that your application is under review and instructions on how to access an online status checker to monitor your application’s progress and disposition.

Due to the large number of applications we receive, some time may elapse between your submitting an application, receipt of notification that it is under review, and a final decision. Until you receive notice that your file is under review, you should assume that it is incomplete and that no action is being taken.

If you have questions, contact us at admissions@law.berkeley.edu rather than calling the office. Inquiries other than those prompted by a special concern only delay the processing of applications.

Administrative Review
Once an application file is complete, it is evaluated on the basis of the admissions criteria by the Dean of Admissions. He admits a certain number of applicants who, under the governing criteria and on the basis of his experience, would have a high likelihood of admission if referred to the Admissions Committee. Similarly, applicants who would have a high likelihood of being denied if referred to the Committee are denied by the Dean of Admissions.

Committee Review
The remaining applicants are given more extended consideration by the Admissions Committee, which is composed of faculty and students.

The student role is consultative and the faculty members’ decisions are final. Only students who are members of the Admissions Committee are permitted to read files. You may indicate on the application form whether or not you consent to have your file read by a student member of the Committee. In the evaluation of your application, no weight is given to whether or not you consent to student review. In every case complete confidentiality of all materials is maintained.

As a result of the Committee’s consideration, some applicants are admitted, some are placed on a waiting list, and the remaining applicants are denied admission. The total number admitted is that which experience has indicated will fill the places available in the entering class. If the number of admitted students who accept an offer of admission falls below the number necessary to fill the class, then the waiting list is used to fill the remaining places.

Decision Notification
Decision notifications are sent to applicants as decisions are made. For the majority of applicants this is usually by mid-March. An admitted applicant has several weeks to respond to the offer, but in no case is an applicant required to respond before April 1. Note that the early decision process operates on a different timeline as explained on a different page within our website.

Acceptance/Seat Deposit
Berkeley Law School does not require a deposit to hold a place in our class. Instead, we rely on the honesty and integrity of each admitted student to provide a candid response about accepting our offer of admission. We believe this policy describes the essence of being a lawyer. 

Reconsideration
Once an applicant has been denied admission the decision is final. There is no reconsideration. Exceptions are made only in unusual cases in which an error for which the applicant was not responsible, and which the applicant promptly brought to the law school’s attention, may have affected the decision. Because files are considered on a comparative basis, reconsideration would lay open the possibility of unfairly granting attention to individual applicants. It is therefore avoided.

Deferment of Admission
Students are expected to enroll for the year for which they have been admitted. However, a number of deferments are available each year, and these may be granted at the discretion of the Dean of Admissions. Some reasons a deferment might be granted include admission to a concurrent degree program, serious illness in the family, award of a fellowship, or some other extraordinary opportunity. Deferments usually are not available after mid-July.

Contacting Applicants
Our concern for confidentiality precludes discussion of individual files with anyone other than the applicant. If you expect to be unavailable at any point during the review process, please appoint someone to act on your behalf and inform the Admissions Office via email of the appointee’s name and contact information.