Why apply to Iowa Law?

Iowa Law is an ideal place to study law: small enough that your professors will know you well, yet large enough to be nationally renowned and a launchpad for opportunity. We have a reputation for producing lawyers who are highly skilled and successful—and who display an exemplary level of professionalism.  With an Iowa Law degree, you’ll be more than an advocate or attorney: you’ll be a trusted counselor at law for your clients, your colleagues, and your community.

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Standards of Admission

Iowa Law reads every application for admission in its entirety to determine an applicant’s suitability for admission. Two criteria of primary importance are the Cumulative Undergraduate Grade Point Average, and performance on the standardized test (most commonly the LSAT). Iowa Law recognizes that these numbers do not always accurately reflect an applicant’s potential. Iowa Law assesses an applicant’s ability to succeed in the study of law, to develop skills as a leader, and to enrich the learning experience of fellow students by using a “numbers-plus” practice to evaluate an applicant’s suitability for admission.  Grades and test scores are not disregarded; they are considered along with other non-quantifiable factors that provide a complete picture of an applicant’s overall potential for the study and practice of law.

Additional factors that the Enrollment Management Committee may take into consideration include:  special academic or professional abilities not reflected in the undergraduate GPA; factors affecting academic performance; extracurricular activities; school-year work commitments; post-baccalaureate academic success, including graduate study; public service commitments; law-related employment experience; leadership experience; overcoming adversity; and any other relevant information concerning potential for law study brought to the attention of the Enrollment Management Committee that relates to either qualifications or academic potential. 

Iowa Law admissions works on a rolling admissions process, which means that applications are reviewed and considered throughout the year. Early applications are encouraged and can be submitted as early as September 1. Application review begins in November and generally decisions are completed three to six weeks after an application has been received. It is not uncommon for some applications to remain under review for more than six weeks or for applicants to be placed on a waitlist in the late spring and throughout the summer.

Note to international applicants regarding current U.S. work eligibility requirement:

  • All applicants must be currently authorized to work in the U.S. OR be a current member of a U.S. state bar association.
  • Student visas such as F-1 and J-1 do not meet the work eligibility requirement.
  • Exceptions to the work eligibility requirement are rarely made. Those wishing to have an application reviewed who do not meet this requirement must include an addendum to their application providing relevant details.

Application Process for JD Applicants

The College of Law participates in the Credential Assembly Services (CAS) and requires its prospective students to register for this service through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). LSAC exists to serve both the law schools and the candidates for admission.

Applicants to The College of Law are required to take a standardized test for admission consideration.  The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the examination that most applicants take.  It is also the test that is preferred by the Enrollment Management Committee.  This test is offered at numerous times during the year and is sponsored by LSAC.  The LSAT should be taken no later than February of the year for which the applicant is seeking admission and enrollment.  Scores which are older than five years are not accepted.  Applications to take the LSAT may be accessed at LSAC.  The submission of the LSAT allows the applicant to be considered for both admission and scholarship support.

Applicants who are strong undergraduate students at the University of Iowa undergraduate program may apply to The College of Law by way of the Kinnick Law Program.  Kinnick applicants are allowed to take the GRE, GMAT, ACT or SAT in lieu of the LSAT.  However, applicants who choose to take these examinations, instead of the LSAT, will have more limited access to scholarship assistance.

The College of Law allows applicants who are not participating in the Kinnick Law Program to apply with a GRE score.  However, applicants who choose to take the GRE instead of the LSAT will have more limited access to scholarship assistance and possibly may not be eligible for any scholarship assistance.

The College of Law requires applicants to submit at least two letters of recommendation. Recommendations from professors or others who can comment on your critical thinking, writing skills, and potential for success in law school are particularly welcome. The College participates in the letter of recommendation service offered by LSAC as part of the CAS subscription.

For the CAS report, applicants are responsible for submitting an official transcript to LSAC from each college or university they have attended. In addition, every applicant who accepts admission to Iowa Law must file official transcripts showing conferral of a degree with the University's Office of Admissions.

The submission of a Personal Statement is required for all applicants to Iowa Law.  The Personal Statement is used by the Enrollment Management Committee to assess why the applicant needs a law degree.  The Personal Statement may also be used by the applicant to describe strengths in an application that may not be shown by way of a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, a Cumulative Undergraduate Grade Point Average (CUGPA) or Letters of Recommendation.  The Personal Statement may be used to describe significant experiences in the applicant’s background, and how those experiences, be they educational, professional, personal or while participating in activities, have shaped the applicant’s decision to pursue a law degree.

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Apply online through your LSAC.org account.

Important Dates

  • September 1: applications for admission open for the following fall
  • October 1: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens for the next academic year
  • November: recommended last LSAT test for best scholarship opportunities
  • January: recommended last LSAT test for admission
  • January 15: recommended last application submission date for scholarship opportunities
  • April 1: $250 first deposit deadline for students accepted before March 15
  • May 1: application deadline
  • June 1: $250 second deposit deadline
  • Mid-August: mandatory orientation program for new students (Dates listed on the Academic Calendar)
  • Late August: opening of classes (Dates listed on the Academic Calendar)

Frequently Asked Questions

The timing of your application may make a difference. The College of Law has a rolling admissions process. Although the final deadline is not until May 1, we recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. You may submit an application even if you have not yet taken the LSAT. Historically, the Admissions Committee  begins reviewing completed application files by December.

We encourage you to submit your application no later than January 15 for the following reasons:

-- There is still room in entering class

-- It allows time to resolve logistical issues

-- Gives you more time to consider your options

-- Scholarship money will likely be available

Please keep in mind that your application file is considered complete only after we have received all of the following: your application, your official CAS report (with transcripts and LSAT scores), résumé and your letters of recommendation. It may take a few days to process your application after we receive it.

In an effort to make the JD application process as easy as possible, we have waived the application fee this year for the three-year program.

The Admissions Committee does take graduate work into account. Please note that the GPA that we will consider will be your undergraduate GPA. However, the committee does review graduate transcripts and weighs those courses and grades in the comprehensive review.

Previous graduate work will not count towards credits that lead to earning a JD. Graduate credits are only applicable to students in the Advanced Standing JD Program who have already earned their law degree from another country.

All files are reviewed by our Admissions Committee. A percentage  of the first-year class is admitted primarily on the basis of the LSAT and GPA. The rest of the class is admitted on the basis of criteria in addition to those numbers in accord with our "numbers-plus" admissions policy.

If you wish to accept the offer and hold your place in the class, you must submit a $250 nonrefundable deposit  by the date set forth in your offer letter. Applicants accepted into the Fall class must pay a second non-refundable deposit of $150 by June 1. These payments are credited toward tuition and fees for those who enroll.

Under extraordinary circumstances, we may grant a request to defer. The request must be in writing, and must include the reasons for the request. Approvals to defer are left to the discretion of the Admissions Committee Chairperson and the Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management, and are granted under only extreme circumstances. If granted, an applicant can defer for one year only. Requests to defer should be sent to the Admissions Office.

English requirements can be found here