How to Get In: UCLA School of Law

What can you do to set yourself apart in your application? Admissions officials have the answers.

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—Unique Programs: Our Critical Race Studies Program is one of the few in the nation and our faculty are the founders and leaders of contemporary scholarship in this field. Our Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Public Policy is the only think tank of its kind dedicated to the field of sexual orientation and public policy. In addition, the School has innovative programs in Public Interest Law & Policy, Business Law & Policy, Entertainment & Media Law & Policy, Environmental Law & Climate Change, Law & Philosophy, and in empirical legal research.

6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?

The content of the recommendation is more important than the source. A recommender should be familiar enough to substantively comment on an applicant's suitability to study law in a rigorous academic environment, specifically focusing on the competencies and attributes salient to this endeavor (e.g., writing ability, critical thinking, problem-solving, intellectual curiosity, work ethic, character, etc.). Letters from public figures aren't as useful if they are not substantiated by keen knowledge of the applicant.

7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?

Unlike many other law schools, the admission process at UCLA Law does not operate on a strictly rolling system. Although earlier application submissions are encouraged, an earlier decision is not guaranteed. This is partially due to the large volume of applications we receive (close to 9,000 in the current cycle), as well as the complex nature of our review process. We advise applicants that most decisions will be communicated between the months of January and April.

8. Which firms/organizations recruit heavily from your school? Which ones hire the highest percentage of your graduates?

UCLA School of Law graduates are in high demand among employers from all major sectors of the country. Approximately half of our graduating students work at large law firms in California and across the country, with the next largest percentage working as judicial law clerks. There are a number of students who go on to work at federal and state government agencies, public interest organizations, businesses, and small and mid-size law firms. California, New York, and Washington, D.C., represent the largest employment markets for our students.

9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?

Preparing a half-hearted application; taking the LSAT without proper/sufficient preparation and citing that as a reason for not performing well; failing to address gaps in one's educational/professional history, or other issues that may be unclear in the application. It's usually better to err on the side of providing more information versus less.

10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?

While most students who apply to top-tier law schools are highly academically successful, UCLA Law's students, in addition to being superior academic leaders, combine that with a dedication to making an impact—not only within the field of law, but in our local, national and worldwide communities. Also, UCLA students value diversity of experience and thought— a core value of our mission, and reflected and shared by our faculty and students.