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Application Questions

Questions about timing

When can I apply?

Applications are accepted beginning in after September 1 of each year. View our admission deadlines for the current cycle.

When are the application deadlines?

LLM and LLCM applications are due by December 15. LLM and LLCM candidates may apply for early notification, which requires that we receive their complete applications no later than November 15. You should submit your applications as soon as you can because we review applications on a rolling basis.

SJD applications are due by March 15.

View our admission deadlines for the current cycle.

When can I expect to hear a decision?

If you application is complete by November 15, you will hear from us by February 1. At that time you will be accepted, rejected, or held over to the regular application pool. Otherwise, you will hear from us on a rolling basis. We expect to notify all applicants by mid March. If you have an offer from another law school that requires that you respond by a specific time that is imminent, we encourage you to let us know. Please note students placed on the wait-list may not have a final decision until June.

If you are an SJD applicant, you will be notified in May.

View our admission deadlines for the current cycle.

What if I have submitted all my materials to LSAC by the deadline, but the application is forwarded to Penn Law after the deadline?

We will consider all applications that are submitted in a timely manner to LSAC. Please note, in order to be considered for early notification, we must receive all of your materials from LSAC by November 15. Please plan accordingly. We do recognize that some delays are not within your control and work hard to notify all applicants a notification as early as possible.

View our admission deadlines for the current cycle.

Can I apply for an extension of the Early Notification deadline?

No, extensions of the Early Notification deadline will not be granted. All applications completed after November 15 will be considered in the regular application pool.

Can I apply for an extension of the standard application deadline?

Yes, if you require an extension of our standard application deadline, please fill out the application deadline extension form.

Please note however, that applications are reviewed only upon completion and as applicants are admitted on a rolling basis, even if your request for an extension is granted, the later an application is completed, the greater the disadvantage to the applicant. Moreover, all applications received after December 15 require a $100 application fee (regular application fee and $25 late fee.)

LSAC and Application Fees

Do I need to use LSAC to apply to Penn Law?

Yes. We ask all applicants to use LSAC.

  • LLM and LLCM students apply via the LLM portal
  • SJD students apply via the SJD portal.

Do I have to use LSAC’s Transcript Authentication Service?

No. If you choose not to use the Authentication Service, you must submit an English language translation of your transcript when you submit your documents to LSAC.

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Will Penn Law waive the requirement to use LSAC for application submission?

Yes, but we only waive this requirement on a very limited basis. If you are granted a LSAC waiver, you must:

  • pay a higher application fee  of $155 ($80 application fee plus $75 processing fee),
  • submit all supporting materials in a single mailing; and
  • apply for standard notification. (early notification is not available with this option)

If you are still are interested in a waiver of the LSAC requirement, please fill out an application for a LSAC wavier. If your waiver is granted, you will be provided with further instructions.

What are your application fees?

The LLM and LLCM application fee is $80. Applications received after December 15 require a $100 fee (application fee plus $20 late fee.) The SJD application fee is $150.

Can I apply for a waiver of the application fee for the LLM or LLCM?

Yes, Penn Law will sometimes grant waivers of our $80 application fee for the LLM/LLCM. We cannot grant waivers of any fees charged by LSAC. You can submit a request to be considered for a fee waiver using our online form. Please note we can only consider your application for a fee waiver if you can provide information on how you intend to finance your LLM or LLCM.

Can I apply for a waiver of the SJD application fee?

No, we cannot waive the SJD application fees due to the high degree of administrative cost in processing these applications.

Application Questions Regarding Supporting Materials

What should I include in my resume?

Your résumé should highlight your relevant educational and professional background, skills (e.g. language facility), and interests. Although we do not have a page limit, one or two pages are usually sufficient. 

Application Questions – Letters of Recommendation

Where do I direct letters of recommendation?

You should direct all recommendations to LSAC.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

Two. We require two letters and accept up to four. Please note that if your file is otherwise complete, we will review your application once we have received two letters on your behalf. Additional letters do not necessarily strengthen your application.

Who should I ask to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?

Recommenders should have personal experience instructing and/or evaluating your performance. Typically, recommenders are law professors or legal employers. Alternatively, letters from academic instructors outside of the field of law, from non-legal employers, or from others with a personal knowledge of your intellectual and other strengths are acceptable.

What form should recommenders use?

Penn Law specific recommender forms are available on the LSAC application website. There is one for academic references and one for professional references. Please encourage your recommender to use the appropriate form.  You may also use the generic form that LSAC provides. Although we find our form and the LSAC form to be very helpful in evaluating applicants, we will accept letters submitted without an accompanying form.

Application Questions – Transcripts

Where do I direct my transcripts?

You should direct all transcripts to LSAC.

Do I need to use LSAC’s Transcript Authentication Service?

No. But if you don’t use the service, you must provide official English translations of all of your transcripts when you submit your documents to LSAC.

Which transcripts should I send?

You must submit transcripts from any and all post-secondary degree programs, whether or not you completed the program. This includes transcripts from exchange programs.

Can I provide background information regarding my transcripts?

If there is an issue concerning your transcripts that you would like to address regarding your academic record, you may do so in an addendum to your personal statement.

Can I apply for a waiver of the TOEFL/IELTs test?

Yes, if you do not have a TOEFL/IELTS score from the last two years.

If you have taken the TOEFL/IELTS in the past two years and feel that your score is not an accurate reflection of your English language ability, simply explain that in an addendum to your personal statement. You may also consider submitting a letter of recommendation that discusses your English language abilities.

Kindly note that Penn Law will not grant admission conditioned upon a future TOEFL/IELTS test score, but you can indicate that you plan to take the test again in your application. Fill out our online TOEFL waiver form.

Please only submit waiver requests after September 1 of each year.

I am a native English speaker, do I need to apply for a waiver of the TOEFL/IELTs test?

Yes! All applicants must either submit a TOEFL/IELTs test score or seek a waiver, regardless of the applicants’ background (being a native English speaker is an excellent basis for seeking a TOEFL waiver). Fill out our online TOEFL waiver form.

When can I apply for waiver of the TOEFL/IELTs test?

You can apply for a waiver after September 1.

Will Penn Law grant admission conditioned upon a future TOEFL/IELTS test score?

No.

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Application Question - Personal Statement

What should I include in my personal statement and is there a page limit?

Your personal statement should be no more than two typed pages and should address your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree at Penn Law. Your essay may describe how Penn Law would complement earlier studies or prepare you for future professional work; your interest in a particular legal field and its application to existing issues in your country or the world; or more broadly how your study here would serve other goals or interests. We expect you to use professional and readable font and spacing.

You may also address issues in your application as a brief addendum to your personal statement. For example, if you do not believe your TOEFL score is representative of your English language, you received a grade that you do not believe is representative of your academic abilities, or you wish to explain a gap in your work or academic career.

Application Questions – status and reactivation

Have My Supporting Materials Been Received?

Any inquiries regarding supporting materials should be directed to LSAC.

I applied in the past, can I reactivate my application?

You will need to submit a new application and application fee via LSAC, but you may make a request to use previously supplied supporting materials to complete your current application. You can only do this with materials submitted for the prior application cycle. Materials submitted more than a year ago cannot be reactivated.

Please link here for the form  if you have applied to Penn Law within the last year and would like to use previously supplied materials to complete your current application.

Requests for reactivation will only be taken until January 15.

How do I correct or update my application?

If you need to update your application, please email gradadmissions@law.upenn.edu with the updated information. If you require that a document be replaced or added, please attach a PDF version of the document that is 2MB or less to the email. The title of the document should have your name and LSAC number.

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