FAQs: The Application

We recommend reviewing this page before you begin the application process!

Where should I begin?
Before you begin the application process, we recommend that you set up an account with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). You will also need to register to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).

LSAC has also developed a campaign called DiscoverLaw.org, which provides information for racially and ethnically diverse students about career opportunities in the law. Applicants may be interested in the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity. ICLEO was established to assist Indiana minority, low income, or educationally disadvantaged college graduates in pursuing a law degree and a career in the Indiana legal community by providing a summer institute and fellowship award.

How do I apply?
Students interested in applying to Notre Dame Law School may choose one of two application options – the LSAC application or the NDLS application. Students may use either of those applications to apply via Early or Regular Decision.

What is the difference between the LSAC application and NDLS application?
The LSAC application can be accessed through the LSAC application website. It has an application fee of $75. It will be available on Sept. 1, 2017, and will close on March 15, 2018, for the Class of 2021. The NDLS application will be available directly on NDLS’s Admissions webpage. There is no fee associated with the NDLS application found on NDLS’s Admissions webpage. It will also be available Sept. 1.

The NDLS application is designed to provide an alternative way for students to apply to the Law School. Please note that the Law School will waive the application fee of those students who apply via the NDLS application. While the NDLS application may be especially useful for applicants who have not yet begun the LSAC application process for other schools, all applicants are welcome to use either method. When considering how to apply, please know that both applications ask the same questions and will be given the same consideration by the Admissions Committee.

What is early decision? How do I apply early decision?
Early Decision is a binding process designed for applications who have researched their law school options and have determined that NDLS is their top choice.

Students may find more information about Early Decision here.

What is the ideal time frame to apply to Notre Dame Law School?
You should apply in the admission cycle prior to the year in which you hope to enroll. The Admissions Committee has a rolling process for both admissions and scholarship. As such, prospective students are encouraged to apply as early in the admissions cycle as possible.

What is the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS)?
The Law School (and nearly all ABA-approved law schools) requires applicants to register with CAS for transcript and letter of recommendation processing. Applicants must submit all transcripts and letters of recommendation through CAS for review by the NDLS Admissions Committee. We require a copy of your CAS Law School Report to complete your application. Please visit the CAS website for more information about this service. Although the Law School may provide you with a fee waiver for your LSAC application or you may choose to apply via the NDLS application, NDLS is not able to waive any CAS-related fees.

Is there a minimum LSAT or GPA requirement for admission?
No. The Admissions Committee reads every application utilizing a holistic approach. The non-quantitative aspects of each application are extremely important, and there are no numeric cut-offs. Please see our 2017 class profile for LSAT and GPA medians.

May I apply before I take the LSAT?
Yes. You may submit your application before taking the LSAT exam. However, the Admissions Office will mark your application as incomplete until the LSAT score is received. Once your LSAT exam score is released, the Admissions Office will mark your application as complete and continue processing it for review by the Admissions Committee.

Can I take the LSAT after submitting my application?
Yes. If you have a prior LSAT score but are registered for an upcoming LSAT exam at the time you submit your application, by default, the Admissions Office will mark your application incomplete and will wait to complete your file when the new exam score is released. Students with a prior LSAT score desiring their application be reviewed prior to the release of an upcoming LSAT exam must specifically request that the NDLS Admissions Office process their application without the upcoming LSAT score – please email our office at bulletin@nd.edu.

If you have a prior LSAT score and register for another LSAT after you submit your application, you must contact the Admissions Office to let us know of your plans.

How important is each component of the application?
NDLS does not use an index for evaluating applicants and the Admissions Committee does not assign a quantitative value to any component of the application. The Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach in reviewing each part of the application.

How many applications does NDLS receive?
From 2013 through 2017, we received roughly 2,500 applications per year.

Does NDLS grant fee waivers?
Yes. Applicants may request a need-based or service-based fee waiver through our website. Service-based fee waivers are for applicants with one or more years of service in the U.S. Military, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Alliance of Catholic Education, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Teach for America, or a similar organization.

In addition, the Admissions Office uses the Candidate Referral Service (CRS) to identity and grant merit-based fee waivers. To be eligible you must participate in CRS, indicate via LSAC that you intend to enroll for the upcoming academic year, have at least one LSAT score on file, and have your academic transcripts on file. Our CRS searches are updated on a monthly basis.

The Law School Admissions Council offers need-based fee waivers to those with extreme financial need. This waiver grants the applicant two free LSATs, registration to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), four CAS Reports, and an LSAT preparation book. Candidates can find further information about this waiver here. NDLS will grant an application fee waiver to any applicant who has received a need-based fee waiver from LSAC.

What is NDLS’ language requirement for international applicants?
NDLS welcomes applications from citizens of other countries with sufficient English language proficiency as demonstrated by an English language proficiency exam. NDLS prefers that international applicants whose first language is not English take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), but will also accept International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. Non-native English speakers who have been awarded a post-secondary degree (BA, MA, MBA, PhD, etc.) from a U.S. university are exempted from this requirement.

Applicants must attain a minimum score of 100 points on the internet-based TOEFL (Internet based or iBT) with minimum scores of 25 in each section, or at least 600 points on the paper-based TOEFL (Paper based or PBT) with minimum scores of 60 in each section. Students taking the IELTS must achieve an overall band score of 7.5 or higher. Scores must be no more than 2 years old from the date of the beginning of your studies at NDLS (which begin in August each year). The University of Notre Dame institution code is 1841.

If you have an extraordinary ability with the English language (e.g., work as a translator) you may request a waiver by emailing lawadmit@nd.edu.

What if I need to update my application?
The NDLS Admissions Committee strongly prefers that you submit all necessary information with your initial application. If it becomes necessary to update your application, email your updated information to the Admissions Office at lawyer@nd.edu. If you are sending an updated transcript or an additional letter of recommendation, you must send them through LSAC/CAS unless otherwise directed by a member of the NDLS Admissions staff.

What are some common mistakes you see on applications?
One of the most common mistakes we see is not following instructions. Each law school to which a student applies will have slightly different requirements with respect to the personal statement, letters of recommendation, and/or additional statements. We strongly recommend students carefully review and adapt to the requirements of each application they are submitting. Similarly, it is also quite common for us to see incomplete applications.

We recommend using the name of a specific law school sparingly. All too often law schools receive materials with the name of another law school within the materials because the applicant neglected to change/remove the name.

I am the child of a Notre Dame or NDLS alum – does that give me any special preference?
NDLS is happy to receive applications from the children of Notre Dame alumni (from both its undergraduate and graduate programs). However, there is no preference given in our evaluation to legacy applicants nor is there a set number of seats in the incoming class reserved for these applicants.

I applied to Notre Dame for undergrad and either was not accepted or chose not to attend. Does that negatively impact my application?
Standing alone, the fact that an applicant may have applied and been either accepted or denied to any other educational program at Notre Dame, whether undergraduate or post-graduate, will not impact NDLS’s admissions decision.

What process does the Admissions Committee use to review applications?
The Admissions Office utilizes a rolling admissions process. Once an application is complete, it is assigned to the Admissions Committee for review.

Who is on the Admissions Committee?
Our admissions committee is composed of admissions counselors, the Director of Admissions, and several faculty members.

When will I receive a decision on my application?
In general, admissions decisions are made within 6-8 weeks of an application becoming complete (i.e., we have received and processed all of your application materials). Applicants who apply in September/October may have a longer wait because members of the Admissions Committee are traveling to recruitment events during that period. We typically provide initial decisions by early-to-mid December.

Early Decision applicants are given priority review and will be notified of both admission and scholarship status (if admitted) by the end of the December.

Please note that the date on which you applied and our application volume at any given time will impact the timeliness of your decision. We do provide applicants an answer as soon as it is feasible.

How may I check the status of my application?
The best way to check the status of your application is by going to the link provided to you through correspondence from the Admissions Office. Shortly after we have received your application you will receive an email that will contain a User ID and password, and the link to your individual status checker. Visit the status check website to learn more about the on-screen messages and date changes you see.

How will NDLS notify me about their decision?
Admitted students are notified by a combination of email and letter communication.