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How to Get Into UPenn Law

May 13, 2024


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 01/17/23

As one of the nation’s T-14 law schools, the University of Pennsylvania Law School is a popular addition to any law school list. Read on to learn how to get into UPenn Law! 

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ranks No. 6 out of the country’s best law schools. If you plan to apply to UPenn Law, we'll outline programs, requirements, essay advice, and more to maximize your chances of acceptance.

How to get into Upenn law

Programs Offered 

UPenn Law offers a JD program and five graduate law programs, excluding joint degrees. Graduate law programs offered are the following: 

  • LLM Degree Program 
  • Wharton Business and Law Certificate for LLMs 
  • SJD - Doctor of the Science of Law 
  • LLCM - Master in Comparative Law 
  • ML - Master in Law 

UPenn Law has one of the most diverse joint program offerings out of T-14 law schools. There are more than 30 options to tailor your law studies and receive a truly interdisciplinary education. Some options include: 

  • JD/MBA 
  • JD/MBE Bioethics 
  • JD/MA or MS Criminology
  • JD/MCIT Computing & Information Technology
  • JD/MD Doctor of Medicine
  • JD/MSE Engineering

To find out which of the UPenn JD programs best suits your needs, contact an experienced admissions advisor.

UPenn Law School Requirements 

Carey Law School requires JD applicants to submit applications through LSAC for consideration. These are the standard UPenn Law requirements you should know about:

UPenn Law application components
UPenn Law Admissions Requirements

Penn Law GPA

Penn Law states, "We do not have numerical 'cut-offs' in the application process nor do we employ the use of an admissions index." While there are no GPA requirements for admission, past class profile data can help you determine what a competitive GPA for UPenn Law looks like

  • 25th percentile: GPA: 3.56
  • Median GPA: 3.90
  • 75th percentile: GPA: 3.96

This data makes determining the Penn Law average GPA difficult. However, we can assume that your GPA should be close to 3.9 or higher for your best chance of admission. 

UPenn Law LSAT: Requirements and Averages 

While there is no UPenn Law LSAT score requirement, you should strive for the best score possible for a better chance at getting into UPenn Law. Penn released LSAT data from its incoming class: 

  • 25th percentile LSAT: 167
  • Median LSAT: 171 
  • 75th percentile LSAT: 173

It's difficult to determine the UPenn Law average LSAT score based only on this information. However, it would be best if you strived for an LSAT score of at least 171 to be a more competitive applicant. 

Penn Law GRE

While Penn Law accepts GRE scores, no information was released on how many students submit them, averages, or percentiles. However, it's also in your best interest to score as high as possible on the GRE.

Take our interactive quiz below to find out how likely you are to get into Penn Law!

Penn Law School Essays (Prompts & Tips) 

Besides an interview, your personal statements and optional essays are your only chance to speak directly to the admissions committee and show why you’re the perfect fit for UPenn Law. 

UPenn Law Personal Statement

Knowing how to get into UPenn Law starts with understanding the personal statement. The prompt for the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School is: 

“The purpose of this personal statement is to provide you with an opportunity to submit information that you deem important to your candidacy. You may wish to describe aspects of your background and interests—intellectual, personal and/or professional—and how you will uniquely contribute to the Penn Carey Law community and/or the legal profession.” 

UPenn Law also asks applicants to be aware of the suggested length of two pages for their writing. Your essay should be double-spaced and marked as "Personal Statement," and include your name and LSAC number on every page. 

Penn Law Personal Statement Tips 

The personal statement prompt for UPenn Law is relatively open-ended, leaving some applicants wondering where to begin. Our top tips for crafting an excellent UPenn Law essay can help you write a captivating narrative sure to garner the attention it deserves. 

Brainstorm Topics 

Many topics can make an excellent personal statement; however, the perfect personal statement topic for you is something only you can judge. Thinking broadly about your experiences can help you narrow your options and determine the most impactful narrative direction. 

The University of Pennsylvania’s Career Services suggests reflecting on these topics before writing a law school personal statement: 

  • Relevant, Major Learning Experiences: What experiences have taught you something that shaped who you are today? Did the experience shift your perspective, give you new tools, or did it help you hone a critical skill? 
  • Leadership Experiences: When have you assumed a leadership role? What motivated you? What did you gain from the experience? What was the impact on others and your community? 
  • Overcoming Adversity: You can discuss a hardship you’ve had to overcome, how you overcame it, and how you grew from the experience. 
  • Personal Growth: Although the three other topics can undoubtedly touch on personal growth, this relates more to your capacity to reflect and understand how you changed or how you now see yourself or the world around you. 

Don’t Linger Too Far in the Past 

While there’s no rule explicitly stating you can’t reference an event in your distant past, the best personal statements focus on the recent past or present. Admissions committees want to get to know the adult you. 

Keep a Common Thread In Your Narrative

Your narrative should be cohesive, logical, and easy for your reader to follow. Truly stellar personal statements make great use of a thematic thread: it’s a strategic way to keep your narrative together, even if you write about seemingly disparate experiences. 

For example, the conclusion of your essay can reference or “tie up” loose ends to something you wrote about in your introduction or earlier in the essay. Writing with a common thread can help leave the reader satisfied and bring your story full circle. 

Consider Your Qualities and How Your Experiences Show Them

You want to subtly show the admissions committees you possess the qualities of a great lawyer. For example, you don't want to write, "I have a great sense of community spirit!" Instead, write about something you did that shows your community spirit. 

Identify which qualities are most prominent (whether it's honesty, compassion, diligence, or something else) and match them to your experiences. Just try not to tackle too many of them in one essay. 

Don’t Be Focused or Too Broad 

Remember, you have only two pages to convey your story. The personal statement's length doesn't allow you to tell your life's story; however, you should also be careful not to let all your writing be consumed by describing the event in great detail. Finding the right depth is challenging but imperative. 

Other Things to Keep In Mind

Other tips to keep in mind while you’re writing your personal statement include: 

  • Don’t consider your personal statement a more detailed rewrite of your resume. 
  • Keep your tone professional yet not too stiff – avoid slang. 
  • Don’t use legalese or Latin words in your statement. 
  • Proofread your essay: you'll do this many times before your work is finished. 

UPenn Law Optional Essays 

UPenn Law offers four optional essays for applicants to share new information with the admissions committee. You may answer more than one prompt if you choose to. These are the most recent prompts: 

  1. “Describe how your background or experiences will enhance the diversity of the Penn Carey Law community (e.g., based on your culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ideology, age, socioeconomic status, academic background, employment, or personal experience). 
  2. These are the core strengths that make Penn Carey Law the best place to receive a rigorous and engaging legal education: genuine integration with associated disciplines; transformative, forward-looking faculty scholarship; highly-regarded experiential learning through urban clinics and our pro bono pledge; innovative, hands-on global engagement; and a manifest commitment to professional development and collegiality. These qualities define Penn Carey Law. What defines you? How do your goals and values match Penn Carey Law’s core strengths?
  3. Describe a time when, as a member of a team, you particularly excelled or were especially frustrated. What was your role within that team? What was the outcome? 
  4. If you do not think that your academic record or standardized test scores accurately reflect your ability to succeed in law school, please tell us why.”

Penn Law Optional Essay Tips 

If you want to write one of these Penn Law essays, these tips can help you write meaningful responses. 

Be Concise 

Your optional essays should not be the same length as your personal statement. Try to limit your response to about one page: you'll need to keep your writing concise to achieve this.

Don’t Rewrite Anything Explained In Your Application

If you already wrote about how your goals and values match Penn's core strengths in your personal statement, you should not choose to write that essay. If you want to write one of these, ensure you haven't already touched upon the same content elsewhere in your application. 

Be Straightforward

You don't have enough space to dance around your narrative. If you're writing one of these essays, ensure your main idea is clear and that you get to it quickly. 

Write the First or Last Essay If It Applies to You 

Although these are optional, you should take advantage of the space if either prompt applies to you. The first prompt asks for a diversity essay: law schools value diverse applicants from all backgrounds, so sharing yours is in your best interest if you didn't speak about your identity at length in your statement.

The last prompt is also necessary if you have any gaps in your academic performance or test scores. Leaving these gaps unexplained can hinder your application.

UPenn Law School Stats (Admission Statistics)

The UPenn Law School class profile can tell you more about the school’s commitment to a diverse class. Some highlights from recent data include: 

  • Women: 55%
  • Students of Color: 48% 
  • LGBTQ+ Students: 18% 
  • Matriculants Out of College for At Least One Year: 77% 
  • Students Holding Advanced Degrees: 11% 
  • Average Age: 24 
  • First-Generation College Students: 14% 
  • First-Generation Professional School Students: 31% 

UPenn Law Acceptance Rate

Data shows that UPenn Law received 8,383 applications and accepted 787 students. As a result, the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s acceptance rate is 9.39% 

Is UPenn Law Hard to Get Into? 

UPenn’s acceptance rate falls way below the national average for more than 190 law schools (44%) and is on U.S. News' list of 10 hardest law schools to get into. A single-digit acceptance rate at any school means admission is competitive: overall, it's hard to get into UPenn Law.

University of Pennsylvania Law School Application Deadline & Process 

There are three rounds for admission at UPenn Law: Early Decision Round 1 and 2 and Regular Decision. No matter when you decide to apply, you'll submit applications through LSAC and send transcripts and scores through CAS. 

Below is a breakdown of all the dates/deadlines you should know about for each decision pathway: 

Early Decision Round 1

UPenn early decision dates

Early Decision Round 2

UPenn early decision 2 dates

Regular Decision

UPenn regular decision dates

UPenn Law Financial Aid: What You Need to Know

Upenn tuition and application fee

Including living expenses, tuition, and other fees, UPenn Law estimates the cost of attendance for one year at approximately $101,000. However, UPenn Law states that it offers “one of the most comprehensive financial aid programs in the country.”

Besides seeking loans or need-based grants, Carey Law School offers numerous scholarship programs, including: 

  • Levy Scholars Program
  • The Robert and Jane Toll Public Interest Scholars Program
  • Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Scholarship
  • Silverman-Rodin Scholars
  • The Earl R. Franklin and Barbara Corwin Franklin Endowed Merit Scholarship
  • Owen J. Roberts Scholarship
  • Dean’s Scholarship
  • CTIC Scholars Program
  • Teach For America Scholarship
  • The Potamkin Scholarship in Honor of A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.

UPenn Law considers the financial situation of each student for financial aid eligibility.

UPenn Law FAQs 

If you still have questions about how to get into UPenn Law, check out these FAQs! 

1. What GPA Do I Need for UPenn Law?

While there are no GPA cut-offs, achieving a GPA at or above the median 3.9 can make you a more competitive applicant. 

2. What LSAT Score Do I Need for UPenn Law?

There are no UPenn Law LSAT score cut-offs, but you should strive for a score at or above 171 (the median) for your best chance of acceptance. 

3. Is UPenn Law Hard to Get Into?

Compared to other schools, UPenn Law is hard to get into. Its 9.39% acceptance rate means that less than 1 in 10 applicants are accepted: you'll need to produce a stellar application. 

4. Does UPenn Have a Law School?

Yes, and it’s sometimes referred to as Penn Law or Penn Carey Law. 

5. Is UPenn a Good School for Law? 

Penn Law is ranked as the six-best law school in the nation. As a member of the T-14 law schools, UPenn is a great school to pursue your law education. 

6. Does UPenn Law Have Rolling Admissions? 

Yes, the school has rolling admissions for Regular Decision applicants. You can receive your admissions decision anytime between December in mid-May.

UPenn Law: A Summary 

Getting into UPenn Law requires excellent test scores and GPAs, but there's much more to your application. Remember to take extra care crafting your personal statements and deciding which optional essays you should write. 

With care, time, and dedication, you can craft a stellar application and take one step closer to attending the law school of your dreams. Good luck!

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