J.D. Admissions

 

University of Houston Law Center - Law School Frequently Asked Questions


General Admissions Questions

Residency Questions

Financial Aid & Scholarship Questions

Notification of Status Questions

Foreign Student Questions

Transfer and Visiting Student Questions

Joint Degree Programs Questions


General Admissions Questions

Q: What do I need to apply?

A: You need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a current LSAT score, the current UH Law Center application, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a list of extracurricular activities and/or a resume. Applicants educated in the U.S. must also register with CAS.

Q: When is your deadline?

A: The regular decision deadline is May 15th for the part-time program and February 15th for the full-time program. The early decision deadline is November 15th for both programs. It is to your advantage to submit your application as early as possible. Transfer applications are accepted for the Fall and Spring. Deadlines for transfer and visiting students are one semester before the desired visit. For intended summer visits, the deadline is April 15th. For fall, the deadline is July 15th. For spring, the deadline is November 15th.

Q: Do you offer spring admission?

A: No. All entering 1L law students begin their enrollment in the fall semester.

Q: What undergraduate major should I pick?

A: We require that you have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. The exact major is NOT important. You should select a major that interests you because you are more likely to earn better grades in such a program. Additionally, we recommend that you take courses that will help you develop your writing skills. We have accepted people with degrees in journalism, theology, economics, marketing, nursing, and engineering, so obviously there is no prescribed program.

Q: When should I take the LSAT?

A: We recommend that applicants to the full-time program take the LSAT no later than the December administration. February LSAT scores will also be considered, and June scores will be considered on a space-available basis.

Applicants to the part-time program should take the LSAT no later than February, but June LSAT scores will be considered on a space-available basis.

Q: How long is my LSAT score valid?

A: LSAT scores are valid for five years.

Q: How does UHLC consider multiple LSAT scores?

A: We will consider your highest LSAT score as we review your application. However, all LSAT scores will be reported to us by CAS.

Q: Do I need to register with CAS?

A: Yes. All applicants to UHLC are required to register with the CAS; foreign educated applicants will submit their foreign transcripts to the LSAC JD Credential Evaluation Service for evaluation. For information on CAS go to http://www.lsac.org.

Q: When should I apply?

A: We will accept applications for 2014 admission beginning October 1. We utilize a modified rolling admissions process, reviewing applications based on the date files become complete.

Applicants should not submit their application until they have completed their personal statements, optional statements, and resumes. The content of these things is far more important than the date your application is submitted.

Q: What is the difference between early decision and regular decision?

A: Early decision applicants whose files become complete by December 15th should expect to receive a decision by the end of February. Regular decision applicants should expect to receive a decision by mid-May if applying to the full-time program, and by mid to late July if applying to the part-time program. The early decision option is not binding, and the only difference between the two options is the timing of the review of the application.

Q: What if my grades or LSAT are below the median?

A: We admit below the median. If you are within the range where we have admitted in the past, you have a competitive chance. Your personal statement, letters of recommendation, and resume will be very important.

Q: What is the lowest LSAT you will accept?

A: We do not have a set minimum. This year the lowest LSAT we accepted was in the mid 140's. The median was a 160. Accepted applicants with lower LSAT scores tend to have higher GPAs and strong personal statements, letters of recommendation, and work experience/evidence of leadership.

Q: What is the lowest GPA you will accept?

A: We do not have a set minimum GPA. Typically the lowest GPA we accepted was in the 2.50 range. The median was a 3.45. Accepted applicants with lower GPAs tend to have higher LSAT scores and strong personal statements, letters of recommendation, and work experience/evidence of leadership.

Q: Will you look at my graduate grades?

A: We will look at them as a subjective factor, but not as closely as the undergraduate grades. Not all applicants earn graduate degrees, so it is better for us to use the undergraduate GPA. Also, we have no context for considering and comparing graduate grades.

Q: Other than grades and LSAT, what do you look for?

A: Our admissions committee takes the personal statement very seriously. You should approach it as an opportunity to interview with the committee. You may write about your special skills, advanced degrees, work experiences, personal challenges you have overcome, and professionally related extracurricular activities. Make sure that you do not restate your resume. In a separate statement of no more than 1 page, you may want to explain any blemishes in your record. Also, remember to proofread your information very carefully!

Q: How long should the personal statement be?

A: It should be 3 pages double-spaced.

Q: Do you have provisional admissions?

A: No.

Q: I am older than your average student. Will my age work against me in the application process?

A: No. The University of Houston Law Center wants to have all kinds of people as part of its law school. As a non-traditional student, you can play up your experience and wisdom in your application.

Q: I have committed a crime. Can I take the bar?

A: If you have committed a felony, you must wait 5 years after you have served your sentence to register for the bar. Although you can register for the bar, this does not necessarily mean that you will be admitted to practice. If you have committed crimes less than a felony, there is no waiting period. Always feel free to contact the Board of Law Examiners. http://www.ble.state.tx.us/

Residency Questions

Q: How many out-of-state students do you accept?

A: As a state institution, our nonresident enrollment is limited to 35 percent of the student body.

Q: How tough is it to be accepted as an out-of-state student?

A: We do not consider residency as a factor in the application review process.

Q: How is residency determined?

A: If you have lived in Texas all your life but left to attend school outside Texas, you are probably a Texas resident. If you have moved here and have been gainfully employed in Texas for one year prior to the start of classes, you are probably a Texas resident. If you moved here to attend school or you have not worked full-time for one year, you are probably not a Texas resident. If you have a more detailed question, contact our office. Your application will be reviewed with the eye toward residency determinations, and you will be notified of any changes in your residency status. If you want to appeal your residency status, complete the residency questionnaire at http://www.uh.edu/admissions/apply/admissions-forms/

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: www.thecb.state.tx.us

Financial Aid & Scholarship Questions

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?

A: You can complete the FAFSA after January 1st. That gets the process started. The University of Houston will not make a decision on your financial aid until you have been admitted into a degree program. We will automatically mail you any additional information that you need to apply. You can complete the FAFSA online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. You should not wait until you have been admitted to complete the FAFSA.

Q: How do I apply for scholarships?

A: Each entering full-time student is automatically considered for a scholarship. There is no separate application. All applications are reviewed with an eye toward granting a Dean's Scholarship, renewable based on performance for the three years you are here. You can find additional information at www.law.uh.edu/financialaid/scholarships.asp.

Letters of Recommendation Questions

Q: Are letters of recommendation required?

A: At least two letters of recommendation are required, and you may submit up to three. Remember, it is more important to get a letter of recommendation from someone who knows you, your character, and intellect, than it is to get a letter from someone with a "high profile." We would rather hear from your professors, clients, or employers than from an attorney, judge or political officeholder who does not know you well.

Q: How and where should letters of recommendation be addressed?

A: They may be addressed to the members of the Admissions Committee. Letters must be submitted using the CAS letter of recommendation service. Go to http://www.lsac.org/ for more information.

Q: Should the letters be sent to you directly?

A: No. We require that you use the CAS recommendation service. We will not confirm receipt for letters sent directly to our office.

Notification of Status Questions

Q: Will my file be reviewed before it is complete?

A: No. We do not look at the file until a CAS report has been received. It is imperative that you comply with all of LSAC's requirements so that they can send out the CAS report without delay.

Q: What if my address changes?

A: It is incumbent upon the applicant to notify us of address changes.

Q: When will I be notified?

A: Decisions are made on a rolling basis, and all decisions will be made by mid-May. We understand that some schools may notify you, and therefore require a deposit from you, earlier than that. You will need to decide whether to play it safe and put down a deposit on a school you may not attend. We cannot act more quickly on your application because you heard from another school first.

Q: If I am not accepted during the early decision process, will my application be held and reviewed for regular decision?

A: Because the same review process is utilized for both early and regular decision applications, we will not hold early decision applications for re-review in the regular decision process.

Q: My application has been waitlisted. When will I receive a final decision? May I submit additional information? Is the waitlist ranked?

A: The Admissions Committee will begin to review applicants on the waitlist after all decisions have been mailed, generally in late May to mid-June. The waitlist is not ranked. Candidates on the waitlist will receive a second full-file review by the Committee, so candidates are encouraged to submit additional new information, such as updated resumes and statements of interest. No set number of seats in the entering class are reserved for candidates on the waitlist, and decisions to admit candidates from the waitlist are made on a space available basis.

Q: If I am accepted as a part-time student, can I switch to full-time at some point in the program?

A: After you complete your first-year curriculum as either a full- or part-time student, you may petition the Associate Dean for Student Affairs to be reclassified. These requests are granted on a space-available basis.

Q: What is your policy on deferment?

A: These are done on a case-by-case basis. If you feel your situation is compelling, you should submit a written request for deferment to the Assistant Dean for Admissions and outline your reason(s) for seeking a deferment. We will notify you of the decision by email. If you are granted a deferment you will be required to sign a pledge not to seek or hold deferment elsewhere, or to apply to another law school while on deferment.

Foreign Student Questions

Q: I am an attorney in another country. Do I have to get a J.D. to take the Texas bar?

A: If you are not licensed in your country, you must definitely get a J.D; however, after your first year of law school, you may be able to receive 30 hours of credit for your prior law school work.

If you have practiced in your country for 5 years of the last preceding 7 years; from a common law country; or have an LL.M., then you may be able to take the bar. Contact the Board of Law Examiners to confirm the rules (512) 463-1621 or http://www.ble.state.tx.us/

Transfer and Visiting Student Questions

Q: How difficult is it to transfer to the Law Center?

A: It is competitive.  Decisions are based primarily on first-year grades and class rank. We also consider the competitiveness of your law school, whether you would have been admitted here had you applied for your 1L year, your reasons for seeking transfer admission, and the other elements of your application.

Q: Can I take classes at the Law Center if I am not a student there?

A: If you are a student in good standing at an ABA-accredited law school, you may apply to visit. You must have permission from your home law school to enroll in classes at the Law Center. Law students approved to visit at the Law Center will register for classes after priority enrollment for current UHLC students, so you should have several alternate courses in mind in case you are unable to enroll in your first choices. Additionally, visiting law students generally may not enroll in clinical legal education courses or litigation skills classes.

Q: Can I audit a class?

A: Attorneys licensed in Texas may audit a class. Please contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at 713.743.2182 for more information.

Joint Degree Programs Questions

Q: What joint degrees do you offer?

A: We offer a J.D./M.B.A. with UH; a J.D./M.P.H. with the UT Health Science Center; a J.D./M.A. in History with UH, a J.D./M.S.W. in Social Work with UH, a J.D./ M.D. with Baylor College of Medicine, and a J.D./Ph.D. in Medical Humanities with the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Q: How do I get into a joint degree program?

A: For all of the joint degree programs, you need to apply to both our program and theirs and be accepted by both.