J.D. Frequently Asked Questions
Law School Preparation
Do I need to have a particular major or course of study to apply to Alabama?
The Law School does not require that you have a particular major to apply. However, one should choose a course of study in which he or she is interested and in which he or she does well. The admissions committee considers the demands of the undergraduate course of study when evaluating an application.
What does the admissions committee consider when reviewing a file for admission?
The LSAT and UGPA are two significant factors in the admissions process. The committee also carefully considers your personal statement and your letters of recommendation and/or evaluations. The committee will review your file for other factors such as unique work experience or community service; leadership roles; history of overcoming adversity; educational benefits associated with diverse backgrounds; travel experience; demonstrated concern for the disadvantaged; exceptional talents; career achievements; trends in academic program; writing abilities; graduate school performance; and other qualities from your background.
When should I take the LSAT?
The LSAT is given four times a year. The admissions committee recommends that you take the LSAT by September/October in the year preceding the year in which you wish to enroll in law school. The February test of the year in which you wish to enroll is accepted. Moreover, for Fall 2014, the admissions committee also will consider the June 2014 LSAT. The score must be no more than four years old at the time an applicant would begin law school. For LSAT dates, please review the LSAC website at www.lsac.org/.
Where do I take the LSAT?
The LSAT is given at test centers all over the United States and in Canada and other international locations. Please contact the LSAC at www.lsac.org or (215) 968-1001 for more information.
What is a competitive LSAT score?
The LSAT is significant in the admissions process. The median LSAT score for the class enrolling in the Fall of 2013 was 164.
Undergraduate Grade Point Average
May I apply before I receive a bachelor’s degree?
The Law School requires that an applicant have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution before enrolling at Alabama Law. You may apply before you receive the degree.
What is a competitive UGPA?
Your application is more competitive the closer your UGPA is to the median. The median UGPA for the class enrolling in the Fall of 2013 was 3.86. Although the cumulative GPA reviewed by the committee is from the undergraduate courses as determined by the CAS report, a graduate GPA may be a factor in the admissions process. An upward trend in undergraduate grades and a challenging course of study are two additional factors that the committee considers. If there were circumstances that impacted your UGPA, you may explain the circumstances to the committee in an application addendum or in your essay.
When does Alabama begin accepting applications?
The Law School generally begins accepting applications in September of each year.
Is there an application fee?
Yes, the fee is $40 and may be paid by check, money order, or credit card. Alabama Law honors fee waivers granted by LSAC. If LSAC has granted a fee waiver to you, we will waive the application fee. Please provide a copy of an e-mail or a letter granting the waiver.
In addition, as part of our continued commitment to public service, Alabama Law will waive the application fee of $40 for current or former Teach For America corps and AmeriCorps members and for current and former Peace Corps volunteers.
To receive a Teach For America, AmeriCorps, or Peace Corps waiver of your application fee, you must:
1) Print off the supplemental form, which is part of the electronic JD application, or attach a short cover letter to your application. If you submit the supplemental form, please sign this letter, write “TFA member,” “AmeriCorps member,” or “Peace Corps volunteer” on it, and mail it to our Admissions Office. If you attach a cover letter to your application, please indicate that you are a “TFA member,” “AmeriCorps member,” or “Peace Corps volunteer” in the letter.
2) Request that your Teach For America, AmeriCorps, or Peace Corps supervisor e-mail our office confirming your participation in Teach For America, AmeriCorps, or Peace Corps. The email should contain your name, dates of participation, and location of service. The email should be sent directly to the Admissions general e-mail account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May I apply before I take the LSAT?
Yes. However, the committee cannot review your application until your file, which includes your final LSAT score, is complete.
After I apply, may I retake the LSAT?
Yes. Please inform the Admissions Office staff if you are retaking the test.
After I apply, when should I expect a decision?
Alabama has a rolling admissions policy, which means that applications are considered continuously throughout the admissions season. Applications are initially reviewed in roughly the order in which they are completed. Some applications receive an immediate decision; others are held for further review by the admissions committee. We make our decisions as quickly as possible, but the time necessary varies from case to case. There may be applications that are completed in the Fall that do not receive a final decision until late in the admissions cycle. We evaluate each application thoroughly, considering the entirety of the application. This holistic approach, coupled with our rolling admissions process, allows us to ensure that each application receives attention. It also allows us to make careful comparisons between applications completed at different times. There is no application deadline for Fall 2014. However, the committee begins admitting applicants before December and seats are filled as the season progresses.
By the end of May, the admissions committee typically will make final decisions and create a wait list. If an applicant has questions about the status of his or her application, he or she should feel free to contact the Admissions Office.
May I reapply if I was denied admission in the previous year?
Of course, you may reapply. You will need to complete a new application and submit an application fee. You also will need to make certain that your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) file is updated and complete and that you submit any new coursework to the service. You should consider submitting new essays and recommendations. The committee, however, will consider any material from a file from the previous year. It is recommended that you improve your application in some manner and not submit the same material as you did for the year you were denied admission.
Is an essay required on the application?
The Law School requires one essay on the application. The essay should be a two-page personal statement. This essay might describe why you want to go to law school or the University of Alabama School of Law in particular. Or, it might describe how your experiences will enrich the class. You are encouraged to describe any adversity you have overcome. The personal statement should provide insight that the Committee may not otherwise glean from your resume and transcripts. This essay is your writing sample for the committee, and the committee will consider your writing style and form, including grammar.
Is a resume required?
Yes. Please submit a resume that includes at least your last three positions of full-time employment, including summer employment.
How many letters of recommendation are required?
Alabama requires one letter of recommendation and/or LSAC evaluation. The admissions committee requests that at least one letter go through CAS. The best letters or evaluations are specific and describe your abilities and accomplishments. The committee often considers letters or evaluations from undergraduate professors to be most useful. An academic letter of recommendation particularly would be helpful if your GPA is significantly below the median.
Are interviews required?
The admissions committee does not interview candidates for admission. However, the committee may call or contact you if there is a problem with or questions about information in your application. As a prospective student interested in studying law at Alabama, you should feel free to visit the law school and ask questions from an Admissions staff member.
If I am an international student applying for the J.D. Program, is a TOEFL score required?
A TOEFL score is required if English is not your primary language.
If I attended an undergraduate school outside the United States, am I required to register for the CAS?
Yes, you must use the JD Credential Assembly Service (JD CAS) through the LSAC. Your transcripts and TOEFL score must be sent to the JD CAS.
Is Alabama residency considered in admissions and may I change my residency status after my first year of law school?
As the State’s only public law school, Alabama residency is one of many factors in admissions. Thus, it is useful for nonresidents in particular to describe their ties to the State and/or their interest in the University of Alabama School of Law.
It is possible to obtain Alabama residency after your first year. Please review the residency guidelines at http://registrar.ua.edu/residency.html. Residency petitions should be mailed to the Law School Admissions Office, Box 870382, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.
How may I be considered for scholarships?
Applicants applying as incoming first-year students are considered automatically for scholarships. If you are awarded a scholarship, you are notified by the Admissions Office.
How do I apply for financial aid (loans)?
To be considered for loans, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after January 1 as possible. The form may be completed online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. More information can be found at www.financialaid.ua.edu. Law students with questions may also contact Betsy Escher, Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid at (205) 348-1123 or email@example.com.
Does Alabama Law require a seat deposit?
Alabama Law requires admitted students to pay a one-time non-refundable seat deposit. If you enroll at Alabama, the deposit amount will be applied toward your tuition in the fall. Seat deposits may be mailed to the Law School Admissions Office or paid online at myBama.ua.edu.
Are professors accessible to students?
The professors at The University of Alabama School of Law are accessible and enjoy working with students. Our students feel comfortable approaching professors with questions. Our low student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1 shows our commitment to a student-centered education.
What if I have additional questions?
Please contact the Law School Admissions Office with questions. Our mailing address is Box 870382, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. Our physical address is 101 Paul Bryant Drive East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. The Admissions phone number is (205)348-5440 and the e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.