Frequently Asked Questions
My undergraduate record for my freshman year was very weak. How will this be viewed?
Many students struggle to find their stride as undergraduates. While the overall GPA is an important factor, the review process is focused on examining the complete undergraduate record. Keep in mind that we view performance as a proxy for academic success at MSU Law. To that end, we usually are forgiving when a student has a weak start but does well in subsequent years. If exceptional circumstances had a negative impact on your undergraduate performance, you are invited to submit a brief supplemental statement in which you offer an explanation to the Admissions Committee.
I have struggled to achieve an LSAT score that reflects my potential for success. Is there anything I can do to overcome this potential weakness in my application?
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. Of course, you also can demonstrate your aptitude for law school through your past academic record, and even skills developed through past work experience.
If you are not satisfied with your initial LSAT score, we encourage you to take the test a second time. Additional preparation (and perhaps a different approach to preparation) could well result in a score increase.
I completed my undergraduate degree more than five years ago. How will this be viewed by the Admissions Committee?
Nontraditional law students commonly bring a depth of experience, diversity, and motivation to the law school experience—factors that Admission Committee members value. When the Admissions Committee reviews an application of someone whose undergraduate record is less current, we tend to discount the importance of grades earned and instead give attention to skills and accomplishments relating to work and life experience. If you’re a nontraditional applicant, do your best to ensure that your resume and personal statement provide the Admissions Committee with insights into your post-graduation experiences.
I have a graduate degree. How will the committee weigh this when reviewing my file?
Your graduate-level academic record can provide the committee with additional information about your potential for academic excellence in law school. Strong performance in your graduate studies can make you a better candidate for admissions. The amount of time that has lapsed between your undergraduate and graduate studies will impact how much emphasis the Admissions Committee gives to your performance in graduate studies.
I had to work 30 hours per week while I was in college, so my grades do not reflect my full potential. Will this be considered?
Yes. Make sure your situation is reflected in either your personal statement or an addendum, and use your resume to reflect the number of hours worked and any significant accomplishments in your work. You should also consider using your employer as a supplemental recommender.
Personal circumstances affected my performance as an undergraduate. Should I write an addendum describing this?
Yes. If you have an explanation for a period of poor academic performance, you should outline your situation in a clear, concise addendum to the Admissions Committee. Some examples of valid personal circumstances include a family crisis, health issues, a documented injury or illness, or financial hardship.
Will applying to the Law College’s part-time program put me in a better position for admission, if my LSAT and UGPA are less competitive?
There’s no competitive advantage to applying for the part-time program. Admissions criteria for part-time students are the same as those of full-time students at MSU Law.