Admissions FAQ

1. Can I visit the law school before I apply?

We encourage prospective applicants to visit Whittier Law School. We offer:

  • Guided Tours, Individual Counseling, and Class Visits
    We would be happy to show you around the campus and have you meet with an Admissions Counselor. If your schedule allows, you may also be able to sit in on a first year law school class. To schedule, contact the Office of Admissions.
  • Preview Days
    We host Preview Days 3-4 times per year where you can meet faculty, current students, and staff and participate in a mock law class with our faculty. For more information, please visit this page.

2. What types of scholarships are available?

There are four types of scholarships available:

  • Merit scholarships for entering students that are funded by the Law School.
    You are automatically considered for a scholarship, and the scholarship is generally awarded at the time you are offered admission. Scholarship award amounts vary depending on your undergraduate GPA, LSAT score, and the date your application was considered complete. Applicants who meet the March 15 priority deadline will receive priority consideration for both admission and scholarship award decisions.
  • Dean’s Merit Scholarships for students in their second or third year of law school (and fourth year if part-time).
    Whittier Law School rewards continuing students who perform at a high level after their first year of legal study. Dean’s Merit scholarships will automatically be awarded after spring grades are finalized and class rankings have been established. The Dean’s Merit scholarship will be awarded as follows:

    Class RankScholarship for Next Academic Year
    Top 5% Full Tuition
    Top 10% 3/4 Tuition
    Top 15% 1/2 Tuition
    Top 20% 1/4 Tuition

  • Alumni Scholarships for 2L and 3L students
    A number of different scholarships are sponsored by our esteemed alumni. Students apply for these scholarships in the spring semester. For more information see the application. Please visit the financial aid webpage for more information.
  • Private and institutional scholarships.
    We encourage applicants to use search engines to locate the various private scholarships that may be suitable for them.

3. How can I get federal financial aid?
The first step is to fill out the FAFSA form through the federal government. To prevent any possible processing delays, you are encouraged to complete the FAFSA even before you receive an offer of admission. Once you are admitted, you must also complete Whittier Law School’s in-house Financial Aid form before your financial aid application will be considered complete.

4. Does it matter what my major was in undergrad?
The Law School does not recommend any particular major at the undergraduate level. We look at the curriculum of every applicant to assess your individual abilities and potential excellence in the areas of research and analytical writing skills. You should take courses where these skills will be developed.

5. When should I apply?
The Admissions Committee begins the evaluation process in October for the fall semester of the following calendar year. We do not adhere to a formal application deadline. However, you will receive priority if you apply by the March 15 priority deadline.

6. When should I take the LSAT?
Once you take the LSAT, the score is valid for five years. If you want to meet the priority admissions deadline of March 15, the latest LSAT test administration would be the February LSAT test. However, the Admissions Committee will consider the June LSAT test for an applicant intending to matriculate during that fall semester.

7. Does Whittier Law School offer an LSAT prep course?
The Law School does not offer assistance on preparing for the LSAT, or recommend any particular LSAT preparatory course. We do recommend that you take the free LSAT test included in the LSDAS bulletin under timed conditions. This will give yourself a diagnostic score so you may evaluate where you are in relation to other applicants and our median LSAT profile ranges.

8. How many times can I take the LSAT?
LSAC limits prospective applicants to a maximum of three LSAT administrations within a two- year period. This restriction cannot be waived by an individual law school.

9. Do you take the higher of two or more LSAT scores or do you average them?
The American Bar Association (ABA) requires all law schools to report the highest score of a matriculated student. However, the Law School will look at individual scores and the dates of each test to assess the reliability of each LSAT score and its combination.

10. Will canceling a LSAT score affect my application?
The Admissions Committee evaluates results from your LSAT score(s) when reviewing applications. The Admissions Committee generally does not consider unscored LSAT administrations caused by no-shows or cancellations unless there is an excessive pattern of registered exams and cancellations.

11. What are Whittier Law School’s median GPA and LSAT scores?

Entering Class in 2016 LSAT GPA
Upper 75th percentile 149 3.09
50th percentile 146 2.85
Lower 25th percentile 144 2.62

12. How many letters of recommendation do you require?
Whittier Law School requires that you submit two (2) letters of recommendation for your application. Although you are not limited to just two letters, your file will be considered complete once we receive at least two letters of recommendation.

Whittier Law School requires that your letters be submitted through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service that serves all member schools. This service is included in your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) subscription. Your letters will be copied and sent to us along with your CAS Report, or as received with any update. Be sure to fill out and give each reference a letter of recommendation form, found on the LSAC website at

13. Who should write my letters of recommendation?
We prefer that your letters come from college professors who can attest to your ability to enter a competitive graduate program. If you have work experience or are applying to law school with a gap between your college coursework and your law school application, the Admissions Committee generally expects to see recommendation letters related to your work history. Ultimately, you should choose references who can best discuss your skills and aptitude as they relate to your ability to perform in law school.

14. Will using professional references instead of academic references impact my application?
The Admissions Committee will evaluate the quality and relationship of each reference. The Admissions Committee will not penalize an application that contains no academic references.

15. Do you have an early admission program?
Whittier Law School does not have an early admission program. However, you are encouraged to apply before March 15 for priority consideration.

16. What does a “wait list” decision mean? How long do I have to wait?
If you have been on put the wait list, this generally means the Admissions Committee considers you a probable candidate for admission, but for a variety of reasons, cannot offer you a spot in the fall class at that specific time. The Admissions Committee will continue to evaluate the rest of the applicants in the pool and will review wait-listed applicants after the initial review of the entire applicant pool. Typically, second reviews will begin in late spring and/or early summer. Although most wait-listed applicants will learn their final decision prior to orientation week, it is possible for you to receive a decision as late as the first day of Orientation. You are encouraged to check the status of your application online at any time. Click here to check your application status online.

17. What steps should I take after being wait listed?
The Office of Admissions conducts interviews for interested wait-listed applicants. The interview allows us to learn more about your background and personal story, and also gives us an opportunity to better assess your communication skills, motivation, maturity, and potential contribution to the Law School. Interviews require about 20 minutes, and can be conducted either in person, or via Skype or FaceTime. Contact the Office of Admissions to schedule an interview. We also recommend submitting a Statement of Continued Interest indicating your continued commitment to pursuing admission at Whittier Law School.

18. Can I defer admissions?
The Law School does not generally offer deferred admissions. Exceptions are given only to uncontrollable events such as life-threatening medical emergencies, military activation, etc. If you believe your situation warrants a deferral, please contact the Admissions Office.

19. What is your bar pass rate?
83% of our graduates within the last five years ultimately pass the bar. For first-time test takers, the July 2014 California bar pass rate was 43%. For more information on bar results, refer to the California Bar website.

20. Does the school offer high-speed Internet access?
The Law School is equipped with Internet access. All classrooms and the law library have access to wireless Internet. Public facilities such as the library and cafeteria also have Ethernet jacks in convenient locations. All entering students are required to have a laptop. All students must ensure that their laptops are equipped with the appropriate equipment to access the Internet including a wireless card or Ethernet card as well as up-to-date virus protection software.

21. What is the difference between an ABA accredited law school and a state accredited law school?
An ABA accredited law school, such as Whittier Law School is a law school that the American Bar Association has approved. Graduates of an ABA accredited law school are eligible to sit for any state bar in the country.

A state accredited law school is a law school that the state bar has approved. Graduates of a state accredited law school can generally only sit for the state bar in the state where the school resides.

22. What is the difference between your school and a provisionally accredited ABA school?
Whittier Law School has been fully accredited by the American Bar Association since 1978. All fully accredited law schools are evaluated every seven years to ensure they are operating in full compliance with ABA standards. Provisionally approved ABA law schools are operating in substantial compliance with the ABA standards, and are on track to come into full compliance within three years. For further details about accreditation, visit the ABA website at

23. If I have attended a non-ABA law school, can I transfer to Whittier Law School with my credits?
Whittier only accepts transfer students in good standing from other ABA-accredited law schools. If you have attended a non-ABA law school and apply to Whittier Law School, your application will be considered as a first year application, not a transfer application. No academic advanced standing will be given.

24. How long do the Full-Time Program and Part-Time program take?
The Full-Time Program is a three-year course of study and ordinarily consists of 12 – 16 units per semester. The Part-Time Program is a four-year course of study (plus two summers) and ordinarily consists of 8-11 units per semester.

Each student must acquire 87 units for graduation if the student matriculated before Fall 2014, or 89 units if the student matriculated in Fall 2014 or afterward.

25. Do you have a Spring Admissions program?
No. The law school starts classes in the fall term only, generally in the month of August.

26. What kind of academic support is available to 1Ls to help them succeed in law school?

Our Academic Support Program (ASP) offers resources and guidance to our new law students even before school begins. The week before registration, ASP hosts “Jump Start,” an intensive two-day program that provides specific information about what to expect and how to succeed in your first-year classes. Jump Start covers skills in reading, case briefing, time management, and classroom performance. Then, throughout your first semester, ASP offers workshops timed to provide students with useful strategies for outlining, exam preparation, and exam performance. In addition, our ASP professors are available every day, Monday through Friday, to meet with students in individual conferences. ASP will address specific concerns, provide feedback on outlines, classroom work, and practice exams, or work with students over time to improve their performance.

27. How much is tuition?
For the Fall 2015-16 academic year, Full-Time Tuition (12-15 units flat rate) is $43,970 (excluding $400 GAF fee) and Part-Time tuition (8-10 units flat rate) is $29,314 (excluding $400 GAF fee).

28. What housing options are available?
Whittier Law School does not have on campus housing. However, the Office of Admissions offers referral assistance to students seeking housing. There are many housing options available to students in nearby cities including Costa Mesa, Tustin, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Garden Grove and Santa Ana. Learn more about housing.

29. Can I work during my first year of law school?
For students in the Full-Time program, the ABA requires that no student work for more than 20 hours per week. Students who need to work in excess of 20 hours per week are required to pursue their studies in the Part-Time program. As an internal policy, the law school generally recommends that students avoid working during their first year of law school. View Employment Policy.

30. Is it easier to get accepted into the Part-Time program versus the Full-Time program?
The Law School does not distinguish the academic selectivity for either program and evaluates all applicants equally. Competitiveness for each program varies from year to year and is dependent on the applicant pool.

31. Can I transfer from the Part-Time program to the Full-Time program?
Many students start out in one program and decide they would like to be in another program. Students who are interested in transferring from Part-Time to Full-Time or vice versa need to complete a written petition with the Assistant Dean for Student and Alumni Relations. Once the petition is approved, the program change is made. In addition, students may opt to reduce or increase course loads in any given semester upon approval from the Assistant Dean for Student and Alumni Relations.

32. What are starting salaries for WLS graduates?
Please see our 2014 Employment Information as reported to NALP for salary data.

33. Does the Admissions Office negotiate scholarship offers for incoming students?
Yes. While the law school has a limited scholarship fund, if you have a competitive offer from a similarly situated law school (similar medians regarding LSAT and UGPA), you are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions to see if additional funds may be offered. Please note: in order to negotiate a particular scholarship, you will need to either fax or scan and email the competitive scholarship offer to the Office of Admissions. Oral offers of scholarship are not considered. Whittier Law School reserves the right to contact any law school to verify the scholarship offer from any applicant. Such negotiations fall within the definition and purview of LSAC’s Misconduct and Irregularities policies, so it is important that each applicant negotiate honestly in that process.

34. What is the Admissions Committee seeking in a personal statement?
Your personal statement should tell us something about you that is not usually already in another part of the application. The personal statement is an opportunity for you to tell us who you are, why you want to go to law school, why Whittier Law School would be a good fit for you, what you plan to do with your law degree, etc. The personal statement must be written by you. It should be well organized, without any spelling or grammatical errors, and approximately 2-3 pages in length.

35. Does Whittier have an academic curve?
As typical with the curriculum at most law schools, Whittier Law School adheres to an academic curve for grading. The majority of classes are graded on an academic curve.

36. What constitutes Good Academic Standing?
Students at the law school are required to achieve and maintain good academic standing. To be in good academic standing, all students (both full-time and part-time) must have a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of at least 2.50 at the end of the second semester and each subsequent semester, including summer. Students who transfer to the law school after one year at another ABA approved law school have only one semester to reach the requisite 2.50 CGPA and will not be placed on academic notice prior to disqualification.

37. Does Whittier have a mandatory disqualification rate?
There is no rule or policy requiring the law school to disqualify a specified number or percentage of students each year. While it is true that the first year curriculum adheres to an academic grading curve requiring faculty to give a fixed number of A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s, and some students will ultimately be academically disqualified for failure to maintain a satisfactory GPA, it is possible for every student to maintain an overall GPA at or above 2.50 and remain in good academic standing.

38. Why do you ask to disclose academic disciplinary actions and/or charged convictions within your application?
The Law School asks those questions to make sure that you have not committed an offense that is so egregious that it would prevent you from ever passing the Moral Character Examination required to practice law in California and most other jurisdictions. When submitting your law school application, carefully and fully answer all questions. It is better to err on the side of disclosure. Many times, a particular act itself does not bar admission, but the non-disclosure of an incident could result your offer of admission being revoked. A false answer of “no” can have very serious repercussions. You are required to review all academic transcripts and your criminal record before answering any questions pertaining to those subjects. Whittier Law School abides by the rules and regulations provided by the Law School Admission Counsel (LSAC) regarding the reporting of Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process.

The Policy states:
“Misconduct or Irregularity is the submission, as part of the law school admission process, including but not limited to regular, transfer, LLM, and visiting applications, of any information that is false, inconsistent or misleading, or the omissions of information that may result in a false or misleading conclusion, or the violation of any law or regulation involving the law school admission process, including violations of LSAT test center regulations. Intent is not an element of a finding of misconduct or irregularity.”

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

As mentioned above, at some point prior to graduating, a student will need to complete the Moral Character Application. During this process, the Moral Character Examination personnel may review all documentation regarding your admission to the bar including law school applications. It is highly recommended that you begin keeping a file with any documentation that supplements your law school application. If you do this, you will be able to provide copies of the same documents for the Moral Character Application. Any discrepancy between your law school application and your Moral Character Application may delay and or prevent your admittance to the bar even if you have passed the Bar Examination. If you have any questions at all, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Admission for clarification.

39. Is the TOEFL exam required?

All classroom instruction is conducted in English. Students must be able to read, write and discuss complex technical materials in class, and therefore must demonstrate adequate English language proficiency.

Foreign-educated applicants must take the TOEFL exam and submit the scores to LSAC unless you are a resident of an English-speaking country, or you were educated or employed at an institution where English is the primary language. We do not accept IELTS scores in place of TOEFL scores.

When taking the examination, indicate School Code No. 4028 to ensure that your score is sent to Whittier Law School. All applicants must submit their valid TOEFL scores through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service.

40. What is the minimum TOEFL score required?

  • 590 on the paper-based test; or
  • 243 on the computer-based test; or
  • 96 on the Internet-based test.

Your application will still be reviewed even if your TOEFL score does not meet the minimum requirements and outstanding applicants with a slightly lower test score may still be considered. If you take the TOEFL test multiple times, we will consider all valid TOEFL scores, but your most recent scores are more heavily weighted.

41. Does Whittier offer Tuition Insurance?
In the event of a medical withdrawal, the non-refunded portion of tuition can be a financial hardship to many students. We offer Tuition Refund Insurance to help protect your education investment. Tuition Refund Insurance is an optional program that refunds your tuition, fees, and room/board charges, up to the policy limits, if you are unable to complete the semester due to a medical reason such as illness, accident, or mental health issue. For more information please go to

42. Am I eligible for health insurance coverage?
All incoming students are eligible to enroll in a new health insurance plan within 60 days of a “qualifying life event.” Qualifying life events are generally defined as:

  • Loss of coverage (due to job loss, job change, losing coverage from your parent’s health plan etc.; not due to nonpayment)
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Permanent move to a new coverage area
  • Birth or adoption of a child

As a reminder, the Financial Aid Office allocates a portion of your student loan cost-of-living expenses for the cost of health insurance. It is in your financial interest to shop around for a plan that meets your health needs and fits your financial budget.

We encourage you to research health insurance options. The following websites can help you start your research:

43. In which fields do Whittier Law Alumni work?
The short answer is that our Alumni work in a variety of fields. Recent graduate careers have been in the fields of business/transactional law, civil trial, criminal law, environmental law, family law/children’s rights, entertainment law, government law, intellectual property law, international law, labor and employment law, public interest law, and tax law. The Office of Career and Professional Development (CPD) will provide you information on practice areas and also connect you with alumni during your time in school. You will be exposed to a variety of fields in the classroom and also through the CPD’s innovative programming, including Whittier Careers in the Law, where alumni come back to the law school and staff practice area tables in over 20 disciplines and explain their career paths. Our CPD is known for being knowledgeable, helpful and responsive.

Among a host of other disciplines, we have graduates who work in government, public service, family law, corporate law, intellectual property, civil defense, taxation, criminal law, special education, child advocacy, corporate counsel, and a host of alternative business industry positions.

We encourage you to take a look at the ABA statistics we post on the Whittier Law School website. As a prospective student we hope to provide you with enough information for you to make a reasonable and informed decision. Please contact us with any questions.