Conditional admissions programs are offered by many private, public and religiously affiliated law schools across the country. The programs are designed to help students who have shown potential in the application process, but don’t quite meet the testing and GPA admissions standards. Students demonstrate their potential by taking one course, such as criminal or property law, paired with a writing course. Once the program is completed, students are re-evaluated for admission to the incoming first-year class.
Private Law Schools
Whittier Law School in southern California limits its conditional admissions program to 50 students who have median test scores and GPAs, but have shown the desire and skills necessary to be successful in law school. Although there is no special way to apply to this program, students who suspect they may fall into median ranges are encouraged to provide a supplement to their application asking to be considered for this program. The Phoenix School of Law conditional admission program requires that students receive a 2.0 GPA or better in each class and a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or better in order to be considered for admission. Upon completion of the program, no course credit is awarded, but students will have gained the analytical skills needed to succeed in law school.
Public Law Schools
North Carolina Central University offers a conditional admissions program to students who show academic promise yet low test scores and to students who have had a significant time gap since their undergraduate years. This two-week program is designed to teach students how to prepare for law school classes and organize and outline legal material. The University of the District of Columbia School of Law offers students a comprehensive conditional admissions program that teaches study and time management skills to help students prepare for their first year. Courses are taught by full-time faculty to help simulate the rigors of law school.
Religiously Affiliated Law Schools
A three-week introductory program at St. Thomas University uses exams and lectures to introduce conditionally admitted students to the new way of learning they can expect in law school. Students pay a non-refundable fee for the program, but those who finish in the top five percent of the program’s class will receive a one-time lump-sum scholarship if they are admitted to the law school. Saint Louis University School of Law offers a conditional admissions program to 25 students per year. Program participants are given individualized attention as they cover challenging legal topics and are encouraged to form peer study groups to help them succeed.
Getting into law school is no easy undertaking and for students who are not admitted after attending a conditional admissions program, options are still available. For example, students can pursue a master's degree in legal studies or continue in the legal field by preparing for a career as a paralegal.
G.G. Cabell is a writer with experience in college admissions. She holds a B.A. in English from Washington University in St. Louis and a J.D. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.