Michigan State Law School Personal Statement

Application Timeframe and Requirements

The Admissions Committee encourages candidates for the Juris Doctor program to apply for admission at the earliest possible date after October 1. Candidates who wish to receive full consideration for scholarship aid are advised to apply for admission no later than February 1. However, applications for admission may be submitted as late as April 30.

Applications for admission are reviewed on a “rolling-admissions” basis beginning in early November and continuing through late spring. Applications generally are reviewed according to the date they are complete with all supporting materials. Admission to Michigan State University College of Law is granted for the fall term only for both the full-time and part-time programs.

In order for the MSU Law Admissions Committee to review an application, a candidate must:

  • possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university prior to enrollment;
  • register for and take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and subscribe to the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC);
  • provide an official transcript to LSAC of each undergraduate college attended;
  • arrange for the College of Law to receive two letters of recommendation written by individuals who are able to offer insightful comments regarding the applicant’s potential for success in law school and/or the applicant’s suitability for the practice of law (letters of recommendation should be submitted through LSAC’s Letter of Recommendation Service);
  • submit an application fee of $60 (if an applicant is unable, for financial reasons, to provide this fee, a request for a fee waiver may be directed to the College of Law Office of Admissions: admiss@law.msu.edu);
  • submit a resume of up to two pages; and,
  • submit a personal statement of up to three pages (refer to section below).

Personal Statement
The personal statement is an important aspect of the application for admission as it provides the Admission Committee with insights regarding the applicant’s background and goals. The personal statement should not exceed three pages and may address any topic. For candidates who are unsure of what topics might be addressed in the personal statement, the following list of questions may be instructive:

  • In what ways have your life experiences prepared you to succeed in law school?
  • What motivates you to pursue a legal education? What personal or professional goals have you established for yourself?
  • Are there particular reasons you have for applying to Michigan State University College of Law?
  • In what ways have you encountered instances of adversity and how might such experiences contribute to your effectiveness as an attorney?
  • In what ways might you contribute to a better understanding of diversity within the MSU Law student body and to the legal profession?

International Applicants

The Admissions Committee values the personal and professional experiences that citizens from other countries bring to the study of law. Recent first-year classes at MSU Law include as many as two dozen international students drawn from around the world.

In evaluating an application from a non-U.S. citizen for the JD program, the Admissions Committee relies upon the same holistic approach used for U.S. residents. However, for applicants whose first language is not English and those who have not earned a baccalaureate or graduate degree from a U.S. educational institution, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required.*

An international applicant whose postsecondary work was completed outside of the U.S. is required to use the LSAC JD Credential Assembly Service. By participating in the JD Credential Assembly Service, the applicant's transcripts will be evaluated by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and MSU Law will be provided a copy of this as part of the Law School Data Assembly Service report. (Questions about the JD Credential Assembly Service can be directed to LSAC at 215.968.1001, or LSACINFO@LSAC.org.)

International students attending Michigan State will need to obtain an I-20 Immigration Form in order to pass through customs. All students seeking F-1 Immigration Forms should contact the Admissions Office soon after finalizing their MSU Law enrollment plans.

Applicants with Disabilities

It is the policy and practice of Michigan State University College of Law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements regarding students and applicants with disabilities. Under these laws, no qualified individual with a disability will be denied access to or participation in services, programs and activities of Michigan State University College of Law. Students requesting accommodation should contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Dual BA-JD 3+3 Degree Programs

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*Applicants must attain a minimum score of 250 on the computer-based TOEFL with minimum scores of 25 in each of the three sections (listening, structure/writing, and reading), at least 100 points on the internet-based TOEFL (IBT) with minimum scores of 25 in each section, or at least 600 points on the paper-based TOEFL with minimum scores of 60 in each section. Scores must be less than four years old. The TOEFL score may be sent to LSAC (LSAC's TOEFL code for the JD Credential Assembly Service is 0058).

What are the minimum requirements to apply to MSU Law?

To apply to MSU Law, you must have earned your bachelor’s degree (degree must come from a nationally or regionally accredited institution, or from an international institution where the degree has been determined to be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. by LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS)) prior to beginning classes at MSU Law and have a valid LSAT score on file with LSAC. In addition, MSU Law requires you to submit a personal statement (up to three pages), your resume, and a minimum of two letters of recommendation.

Does MSU Law have an early decision program?

MSU Law does not have an early decision, or other binding decision, program. MSU Law does begin reviewing applications at the beginning of November and operates on a rolling decision basis. Our admissions staff does recommend submitting your application early in order to maximize your chances for admission and possible scholarship awards.

When does MSU Law make admissions decisions?

MSU Law functions on a rolling admissions basis. Thus, offers of admission are extended to applicants from November to April of each year. In the past, some offers of admission are made as late as July or August.  

I was placed on the waitlist, now what?

MSU Law will periodically place applicants on the wait list. With substantially more applications than spots available in each entering class, the wait list allows students to be allocated spots in the incoming class as they become available. Unfortunately, there is no set timeline for review of the waitlist, nor a guarantee that students will receive a spot in the incoming class after being placed on the waitlist. Traditionally, waitlist decisions have been made as early as May and as late as August. If there is any change on your waitlist status, we will contact you as soon as possible to allow you to prepare for the fall semester.

Where do MSU Law students come from?

MSU Law is proud to have students from across the country and world. While roughly 50% of the fall 2017 incoming class is from Michigan, the class also includes students from 31 states and 5 countries, as well as 137 undergraduate institutions. More information about the fall 2017 incoming class can be found in our class profile.

When can I start courses at MSU Law?

MSU Law requires all J.D. students to begin classes during the fall semester. At this time, we do not offer a summer early start program nor allow spring enrollment.

Does MSU Law offer scholarships?

MSU Law offers a wide variety of scholarships for students. As part of the application for admission, all applicants are considered for scholarship opportunities. Our scholarships opportunities include the potential for full tuition scholarships. More information about our scholarships can be found on our scholarship page.

How does MSU Law view my undergraduate record if I started with a weak freshman year?

While your overall GPA is important, the application review process is focused on examining your complete undergraduate record. Improvement in your academic performance will be viewed positively. If exceptional circumstances had a negative impact on your undergraduate performance, you are invited to submit a brief addendum in which you offer an explanation to the Admissions Committee.

I’m worried that my LSAT isn’t good enough for admission, what should I do?

There is no minimum LSAT that is required for acceptance, and there is no LSAT score that guarantees acceptance. The MSU Law Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach to file review—all aspects of your application receive attention. We want to see “evidence” of your potential for success in law school, and your LSAT score is just one primary form of such evidence. If you are not satisfied with your initial LSAT score, we encourage you to consider taking the test a second time. You can also demonstrate your potential in law school through your past academic record, and even skills developed through past work experience.

How will my graduate degree impact my application to MSU Law?

Your graduate-level academic record can provide MSU Law with additional insight into your academic potential during law school. Strong performance in your graduate studies can make you a better candidate for admissions. It is important to note that your graduate school GPA will not be factored into your overall undergraduate GPA, but will be considered separately in the application review process.

Does MSU Law accept transfer applications?

Yes, MSU Law does accept transfer applications. To be eligible to submit a transfer application, an applicant must have completed a minimum of 18 credits of law school course work. If admitted, MSU Law could grant a maximum of 43 credit hours for courses completed at other law schools when a grade of "C" or higher is earned. Admission decisions for transfer applicants are made on a rolling basis, typically within four weeks after your application file is complete. The application for transfer admission as well as additional information about the process can be found here. 

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