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The University of Chicago Law School: The Ultimate Guide

August 22, 2023


Reviewed by:

David Merson

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

Reviewed: 01/02/23

One of the T-14 law schools, the University of Chicago Law School is a top-ranked choice annually for thousands of law school hopefuls. Read on to learn how to get into the UChicago Law School! 

UChicago Law School is ranked No. 3 by U.S. News World and Report’s list of Best Law Schools. This ultimate guide will cover everything you need to know about getting into the University of Chicago Law School. Read on for programs, requirements, admission statistics, and more.

About UChicago Law School 

UChicago Law School has offered a comprehensive legal education to students for more than 100 years. 

UChicago Law’s mission is “to train well-rounded, critical, and socially conscious thinkers and doers. The cornerstones that provide the foundation for UChicago Law's educational mission are the life of the mind, participatory learning, interdisciplinary inquiry, and an education for generalists.” 

UChicago Law considers its defining factor to be enthusiasm for the “life of the mind:” that all ideas matter and should be discussed, and “that legal education should devote itself to learning for learning's sake.”

Programs Offered 

The University of Chicago Law School offers multiple law programs:

  • JD Program
  • LLM Program 
  • MLS Program 
  • JSD Program 
  • Various joint programs including the JD/MBA

Other joint degree programs for JD students offered include the JD/PhD, JD and AM degree in International Relations, Master of Public Policy with a JD, and a Master of Divinity degree with a JD.

University of Chicago Law School Requirements 

UChicago Law School requires applicants to complete the LSAC application to apply to the JD program. Applicants can choose to apply through Early Decision or Regular Decision. Here’s a table discussing the other University of Chicago Law School requirements:

UChicago Law Application Components

What GPA Do You Need for UChicago Law? 

There are no University of Chicago Law School GPA requirements, but you should strive for the highest undergraduate GPA possible for a competitive application. Class profile data of admitted UChicago Law students can help you determine the most competitive GPA: 

  • GPA 25th Percentile: 3.81
  • GPA Median: 3.91
  • GPA 75th Percentile: 3.98
  • GPA Range: 3.35 - 4.13

Based on these five data points, we can estimate the UChicago Law average GPA is approximately 3.83: however, it is likely higher since we don’t know the GPA of each incoming student. 

What LSAT Score Do I Need for the University of Chicago? 

While there are no score cutoffs, University of Chicago Law School LSAT scores of admitted students can help you determine how high your score should be to be competitive: 

  • LSAT 25th Percentile: 169
  • LSAT Median: 172
  • LSAT 75th Percentile: 175
  • LSAT Range:155-180

For a competitive application, you should aim for an LSAT score of 172 or higher. 

Chicago Law School GRE 

UChicago Law does not release GRE scores in its class profile data. However, the ETS’ online tool lets you predict LSAT scores based on GRE scores. For example, scoring 166 on each GRE section predicts your LSAT score could be 172.

The University of Chicago Law School Essays (Prompts, Tips & Examples)

The University of Chicago does not require any other admissions essays besides the personal statement unless you decide to include an optional diversity statement or addenda. Below we’ll explore the personal statement prompt, top tips, and examples to guide your writing. 

UChicago Law School Personal Statement

UChicago Law considers your personal statement an opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions committee. The directions for your personal statement are: 

“It should demonstrate your contribution to the Law School community beyond academics and should demonstrate your ability to communicate your thoughts effectively. The Admissions Committee often finds that a personal statement focusing on a unique personal attribute or experience is usually the most informative (as opposed to a restatement of your qualifications or resume).” 

If you’re wondering how to make your personal statement as impactful as possible, these tips can help. 

Consider What the Admissions Committee Is Seeking

There are two main elements the admissions committee is looking for in your personal statement: 

  1. Who you are. Are you a likable individual that’s likely to contribute to the campus community? Does your statement showcase your thoughtfulness and reflection on your experiences? Will faculty and peers enjoy working with you and learning from you? 
  2. Your writing and communication skills. Is your story’s delivery effective? Is the information presented logically, and is it concise and clear? Good communication and writing skills are imperative to your success in the legal field: the admissions committee wants to see your potential. 

Choose Your Topic Wisely

UChicago Law School leaves the personal statement prompt intentionally broad because they believe you are the best judge on what story to tell. Whatever topic you choose, make it relevant, personal, and unique to you (what have you been through that makes you, you?) 

Possible topics include but certainly aren’t limited to: 

  • A particular element about your background
  • A quality or trait you believe defines you 
  • An experience that changed your perspective, actions, or was an overall transformative event 
  • Your interests, your passions, and other things that motivate you 

UChicago Law emphasizes not to stress about choosing a unique topic and urges applicants to be authentically themselves.

Don’t Put All the Focus on Why You Want to Go to Law School 

While most law school personal statements should discuss your motivation for wanting to go to law school, you don’t need to mention it if you don’t want to. UChicago really wants to learn about you as a person: in a few words, “We request a personal statement; it is not a statement of purpose.” 

Be Concise: Don’t Cover Too Much Information

While there is no enforced word/page limit, your personal statement should range between two and four pages. While this means you need to be concise, you should also try not to cram your life’s story into one essay. 

You don’t want your essay to come across as haphazard from too many anecdotes, so choose the ones that matter most. 

Keep You As the Center of Attention 

Even if another person, situation, legal issue, place, or story about another person impacted you, don’t lose focus on who this personal statement is about: you. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will make your writing more impactful and fulfill its purpose. 

Avoid Legalese and Extensive Discussions of Law 

You want to make your writing straightforward without using legalese or jargon. It’s also unnecessary to discuss law, the type of law you want to practice or discuss your past legal experience: your legal experience is not a factor in the decision process! 

Other Common Pitfalls to Avoid

UChicago Law also provides advice on what else to avoid in your personal statements, including: 

  • Rehashing your resume or listing your qualifications 
  • Uploading a resume riddled with errors or tracked changes
  • Latin phrases 
  • Saying you’ll be an awesome lawyer because you love to argue 
  • Name-dropping places or people unless they’re central to your story 

Steer clear of these red flags for a better personal statement!

U of Chicago Law School Personal Statement Examples 

These UChicago Law personal statement example excerpts can help you formulate your own perfect admissions essay. 

UChicago Law Personal Statement Example #1

“As I tumble through the air, time seems to slow. I have fallen hard many times before, but even before I hit the ground I can tell this fall is different. I complete one and a half back flips and slam shoulders-first into the slope…I do not yet know that the impact has broken my neck.

I grew up only a short drive from some of New Zealand’s best ski resorts, but my family could never afford ski vacations. My first opportunity to try snowboarding came on a trip with my university flatmate. With expectations shaped purely by the media, I left for the trip assuming snowboarding was a sport for adrenaline junkies, troublemakers, and delinquents. Much to my surprise, I instead found that it provided me with a sense of peace that defied these preconceptions.

Anxiety had been a constant companion throughout much of my childhood. I had not always been this way, but years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of my stepfather had taken their toll. My once carefree demeanor had changed, leaving me fearful, panicky, and timid…Snowboarding became a vehicle for regaining the confidence and self-worth that had been taken from me through the injustice of abuse. Even as I began to ride competitively in boardercross racing and halfpipe, launching myself into the air over sixty-foot jumps, the sense of peace I gained during my first day on a snowboard stayed with me. It did, at least, until that April afternoon.

As I lay in a hospital bed a few hours after my accident, an overwhelming sense of fear replaced any confidence that snowboarding had instilled in me. I faced the prospect of a lengthy and complicated surgery, with no certainty about the outcome… Two days later, surgeons worked for seven hours to rebuild my neck. I awoke to learn that I had escaped any serious nerve damage. However, I would need to be immobilized by a brace twenty-four hours a day, and for over three months, before I could even contemplate rehabilitation.

Those months passed slowly. When I was finally able to start the process of rehabilitation, I made recovery my full-time job. I quickly learned that pain was to become the central reality of that year. The first day I could walk to my mailbox marked a significant achievement…Only twelve months after my injury, he cleared me to make a few careful runs on an easy, groomed slope. While I made it through those first few runs safely, they left me shaking with fear.

Since then, I have again found joy in riding, but no amount of determination will allow me to ride the way I had before…My experiences showed me the transformative power of courage and self-confidence and taught me to build these qualities in others. At the Aspen Skiing Company, I develop and implement teaching curricula for more than two hundred snowboard instructors. My goal is for my fellow coaches to recognize that snowboarding can offer much more than just a diversion. It has the potential to have a profound and inspiring impact on their students’ lives.

In the ample time my recovery allowed for reflection, I found solace in the fact that the abuse in my childhood fostered in me not bitterness, but an enduring dedication to fairness and justice. As a college student, this dedication led me to seek out classes in ethics and morality. As a manager and leader, I strive to display both courage and enduring fairness. My interest in the legal profession stems from my belief that laws represent the concrete expressions of justice and fairness in our society.

After discovering the salvation it held for me, I believed that I was reliant on snowboarding. Yet, being forced to face the grueling process of rehabilitation without it allowed me to take the final step to recovery from the trauma of my childhood. I realized I am much stronger and more resilient than I had previously believed. I realized that courage is not something that snowboarding gave me but something that has always been within me. These realizations have prepared me to broaden the scope of my dedication to justice. Secure in the knowledge that the courage and determination I have shown will help shape my future success, I am now ready to take on this new challenge: the study and practice of law.”

Why This Personal Statement Works

This personal statement is so unique that it wouldn’t have worked for anyone else: that’s what UChicago Law wants out of your writing. Through the author’s story, we see his resilience, courage, leadership skills, and his capacity for reflection. 

The beginning of the story is attention-grabbing: we automatically want to keep reading to see what happens next. Although seemingly different themes, the author’s physical and emotional recovery intertwine for a deeply personal account of trauma and healing. 

Although he didn’t have to mention the law connection, the author’s last paragraph weaves this challenge in without overwhelming the narrative or overshadowing his experiences. 

UChicago Law Personal Statement #2 

“I fell in love for the first time when I was four. That was the year my mother signed me up for piano lessons. I can still remember touching those bright, ivory keys with reverence, feeling happy and excited that soon I would be playing those tinkling, familiar melodies (which my mother played every day on our boombox) myself.

To my rather naïve surprise, however, instead of setting the score for Für Elise on the piano stand before me, my piano teacher handed me a set of Beginner’s Books…After I had mastered the note of “C,” she promised, I could move on to “D.”

It took a few years of theory and repetition before I was presented with my very first full-length classical piece: a sonatina by Muzio Clementi. I practiced the new piece daily, diligently following the written directives of the composer. I hit each staccato note crisply and played each crescendo and every decrescendo dutifully. I performed the piece triumphantly for my teacher and lifted my hands with a flourish as I finished. Instead of clapping, however, my teacher gave me a serious look and took both my hands in hers. “Music,” she said sincerely, “is not just technique. It’s not just fingers or memorization. It comes from the heart.”

That was how I discovered passion.

Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn: the arcs and passages of intricate notes are lines of genius printed on paper, but ultimately, it is the musician who coaxes them to life…I poured my happiness and my angst into the keys, loving every minute of it. I pictured things, events, and people (some real, some entirely imagined— but all intensely personal) in my mind as I played, and the feelings and melodies flowed easily: frustration into Beethoven’s Sonata Pathétique, wistfulness into Chopin’s nocturnes and waltzes, and sheer joy into Schubert. Practice was no longer a chore; it was a privilege and a delight.

In high school, I began playing the piano for church services. The music director gave me a binder full of 1-2-3 sheet music, in which melodies are written as numbers instead of as notes on a music staff…I rarely played a song the same way twice; the beauty of improvisation, of songwriting, is that it is as much “feeling” as it is logic and theory. Different occasions and different moods yielded different results: sometimes, “Listen Quietly” was clean and beautiful in its simplicity; other times, it became elaborate and nearly classical in its passages. The basic melody and musical key, however, remained the same, even as the embellishments changed. The foundation of good improvisation and songwriting is simple: understanding the musical key in which a song is played—knowing the scale, the chords, the harmonies, and how well (or unwell) they work together—is essential…

Although my formal music education ended when I entered college, the lessons I have learned over the years have remained close and relevant to my life. I have acquired a lifestyle of discipline and internalized the drive for self-improvement. I have gained an appreciation for the complexities and the subtleties of interpretation. I understand the importance of having both a sound foundation and a dedication to constant study. I understand that to possess a passion and personal interest in something, to think for myself is just as important.”

Why This is a Good Personal Statement

You may be thinking, “This personal statement has absolutely no relation to law or law school!” You’d be partially correct: remember, UChicago Law allows applicants to write about anything they want that uncovers their personality. This student chose music, and that’s okay. 

However, her story shows where she learned about passion, putting her own spin on something that already exists, discipline, and her drive for self-improvement: all qualities that lawyers should embody. 

Beyond that, her narrative is thoughtful and shows her understanding and skills grow over time. Overall, this narrative focuses directly on the amazing qualities she possesses that would be an asset in a law career.

UChicago Law Admissions Statistics

A snapshot of the University of Chicago Law School class profile can tell you more about class diversity. UChicago released the following data on all 622 JD students: 

UChicago Class Profile Data

UChicago Class Profile Data

University of Chicago Law School Acceptance Rate 

The UChicago Law acceptance rate can help you gauge your chances of acceptance and the competition you’re up against. However, remember to try not to get too hung up on the numbers: they’re only a quantitative measure of applications received and accepted, and don’t account for their quality. 

In a recent admissions cycle, the University of Chicago Law acceptance rate was 17.9%. 

How Hard Is It to Get Into UChicago Law School? 

Considering that UChicago Law made it on U.S. News World and Report’s top 10 list of hardest law schools to get into, it’s safe to assume it’s relatively hard to get in. Based only on statistics, you do have a better chance of getting into UChicago compared to some T-14 schools such as Yale and Stanford. 

Although UChicago Law’s acceptance rate is relatively low, you can increase your chances of acceptance by demonstrating academic excellence and submitting a perfect application.

University of Chicago Law Admissions Timeline & Application Process

Since UChicago Law offers Early and Regular Decision pathways, there are many important dates you should know as you navigate the application process. Please note that these dates are estimates: UChicago Law can change them slightly each admissions cycle.

UChicago Law Application Timeline

The University of Chicago Law School FAQs

If you still have questions about getting into UChicago Law, check out these FAQs. 

1. Is the University of Chicago a Good School for Law?

Yes, UChicago Law is the third-best law school in the country, making it an excellent institution to further your legal knowledge and career. 

2. Is It Hard to Get Into the Chicago Law School? 

Yes, it’s relatively hard to get into UChicago Law School considering the 17.9% acceptance rate. However, a perfected application can help boost your chances: try not to get too hung up on statistics. 

3. What GPA Do I Need to Get Into the University of Chicago Law School? 

There is no exact GPA you need for UChicago Law, but you should strive for an undergraduate GPA of 3.91 or higher to be considered a more competitive applicant.

4. What Is a Good LSAT Score for the University of Chicago Law School? 

Anything above the median LSAT score of admitted students would be a great LSAT score for UChicago. A great goal would be a score between 172 and 180. 

5. How Many Students Does UChicago Law Admit? 

Approximately 185-195 JD students are admitted each year, and there are approximately 600 JD students at UChicago Law in total. 

6. What Does UChicago Law Look for? 

UChicago Law seeks students “who are intellectually curious, lively, collegial, and rigorous in their academic approach.” The school wants students who are serious about their education without taking themselves too seriously. A well-rounded background with various talents, experiences, and accomplishments helps.

Unlock Your Potential At UChicago Law

The University of Chicago Law School is an excellent choice to further your law education and career. Although UChicago Law is relatively selective, you can boost your chances of admission through a high GPA, stellar test scores, and a perfect personal statement. 

With the tips and information in this guide, you can make the most out of your UChicago Law application and give yourself a higher chance of acceptance!

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