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Admissions FAQ

1. When should I apply?

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis and applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. The Admissions Office accepts applications in October prior to the start of the Fall term and recommends that applicants apply by the February 1 deadline to receive priority consideration for scholarship and admission decisions.

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2. When should I take the LSAT?

Applicants can take the LSAT at any time as long as it is within five years of the intended matriculating semester. For example, if an applicant intends to enroll for the Fall 2013 term, the LSAT score must be no older than August 2008. If an applicant wants to meet the priority admissions decision deadline of March 15, the latest LSAT test administration would be the February LSAT test. That being said, the Admissions Committee will consider the June LSAT test for an applicant intending to matriculate during that Fall semester.

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3. Does Whittier Law School offer an LSAT prep course?

The Law School does not offer assistance on preparing for the LSAT nor does it recommend any particular LSAT preparatory course. We do recommend that you take the free LSAT test included in the LSDAS bulletin and do so under timed conditions to give yourself a diagnostic score so you may evaluate where you are in relation to other applicants and our median LSAT profile ranges.

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4. How many times can I take the LSAT?

LSAC will limit prospective applicants to a maximum of three LSAT administrations within a three year period. If an applicant wishes to exceed the maximum, an applicant must enlist a law school to vouch for the applicant and request LSAC to waive the restriction. For further information, contact LSAC.

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5. 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. The Law School will look at individual scores and assess the reliability of each LSAT score and its combination.

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6. Will canceling a LSAT score affect my application?

The Admissions Committee evaluates results from an applicant’s LSAT score(s) when reviewing applications. The Admissions Committee does not consider unscored LSAT administrations caused by no-shows or cancellations by applicants.

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7. What is the median GPA and LSAT?

Class of 2013 LSAT SCORES and GPAs

All Programs: LSAT/GPA

75% 152/3.26
50% 149/2.95
25% 145/2.61

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8. How many letters of recommendation do you require?

Two letters of recommendation (LOR) are required. For most applicants applying right out of an undergraduate program, the Admissions Committee expects to see both LOR’s be from a professor from their undergraduate program. For applicants who have work experience or who are applying to law school with a gap between their undergraduate work and their law school application, the Admissions Committee expects to see LOR’s from the applicant’s work history.

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9. Who should I list as my references?

The Law School prefers academic references attesting to an applicant’s academic abilities. However, references are not limited to academic references. Applicants may opt for professional references in lieu of academic references. Ultimately, applicants should choose references who can discuss the applicant’s skills and aptitude as it relates to performance in law school.

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10. 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.

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11. Does it matter what my major was in undergrad?

The Law School does not recommend any particular major at the undergraduate level. The Law School will look at the curriculum of every applicant to assess abilities and potential excellence in the areas of research and analytical writing skills relevant to the study of law. Applicants should take courses where these skills will be developed.

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12. 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 an applicant has not committed an offense that is so egregious that it would prevent the applicant 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 the questions. It is better to err on the side of disclosure. In many incidences, a particular act itself does not bar admission but the non-disclosure of an incident could result in the revocation of an offer of admission. A false answer of “no” can have very serious repercussions. The applicant is required to review all academic transcripts and their criminal record prior to 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.

“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.”

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 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 such, 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.

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13. Do you have an early admission program?

There are no early admission programs. You are encouraged to apply prior to February 1 as that is the priority deadline for scholarship awarding purposes.

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14. Do you offer conditional admit programs?

In years past the law school has conducted a conditional admit program named “Hochner”. This program is usually limited to about fifty applicants who have median LSAT scores and median GPA’s well below our 25th percentile but through their applications, have displayed the desire and skill sets needed to be successful. Applicants who successfully meet the requirements of this month long course of study are then offered a seat in the Fall class. No special application is required for this program and applicants interested in being selected by the Admissions Committee for this unique program are encouraged to supply a separate electronic addendum with their application.

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15. What does a Wait List decision mean? How long do I have to wait?
Applicants who receive a decision of Wait List were determined by the Admissions Committee as a probable candidate for admission. The Admissions Committee will continue to evaluate the rest of the applicant pool and will review Wait List applicants after the initial review of the entire applicant pool. Typically, second reviews will begin late spring and/or early summer. Wait List applicants can anticipate a decision up until the first day of Orientation.

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16. What steps should I take after being Wait Listed?

The Office of Admissions is now conducting interviews for Wait Listed applicants. The interview will allow us to learn more about your background and personal story, and will also give us an opportunity to better assess your communication skills, motivation, maturity, and contribution to the Law School as a student and member of our alumni community. Interviews will 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. Additionally, the office of Admissions recommends submitting a Statement of Continued Interest indicating your continued commitment to pursuing admission at Whittier.

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17. Can I defer admissions?

The Law School does not offer deferred admissions. Exceptions are given only to uncontrollable events such as life threatening medical emergencies, military activation, etc.

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18. What is your bar pass rate?

79% of our graduates ultimately pass the bar. For first-time test takers, the July 2012 California bar pass rate was 70.2%, and the July 2013 California bar pass rate was 65%. For more information on bar results, refer to the California Bar website.

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19. How can I get financial aid?

The first step in procuring financial aid is to fill out the FAFSA form from the federal government. Applicants are encouraged to fill out the form prior to receiving an admissions decision. In addition, the financial aid form within the applications form must be submitted to the Admissions Office.

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20. What types of scholarships are available?

There are three types of scholarships available: 1. Institutional scholarships are funded by the Law School and scholarship awards are usually given at time of admission offer. Scholarship award amounts vary depending on an admitted applicant’s academic and professional resume. 2. Merit for continuing. 3. Private scholarships and institutional scholarships. Private scholarships are non-profit entities funding various students in their studies. The Law School is not aware of all of the private scholarships available and recommends applicants to use search engines to locate these opportunities.

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21. How can I visit the school? Do you offer tours?

Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the campus. The campus is open to the public and personal tours can be requested by contacting the Admissions Office. In addition, if time permits, you may also be able to sit in on a first year course of study.

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22. 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 located at convenient locations. Starting in Fall of 2011, all entering students will be 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.

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23. What is the difference between an ABA accredited law school and a state accredited law school?

A state accredited law school is a law school that the state bar has approved as an educational institution where its facilities and curriculum have met the minimum educational requirements for the state bar. Graduates of a state accredited law school can only sit for the state bar where the school resides. An ABA accredited law school is a law school that the ABA has approved as an educational institution where its facilities and curriculum have met the minimum national standards for all state bars. Graduates of an ABA accredited law school are eligible to sit for any state bar in the country.

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24. What is the difference between your school and a provisionally accredited ABA school?

Provisionally approved ABA law schools are those determined to be operating in substantial compliance with each of the ABA Standards and with a reliable plan for coming into full compliance within three years. These schools are reviewed annually during the period of provisional approval. Fully approved law schools are those who have been determined to be operating in full compliance with the ABA Standards. All fully accredited law schools are evaluated every seven years. Whittier Law School has been a fully accredited ABA law school since 1978. For further details about accreditation, visit the ABA website at http://www.abanet.org.

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25. If I have attended a non-ABA law school, can I transfer to Whittier Law School with my credits?

The Law School will only accept transfer students from another ABA-accredited law school. 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.

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26. Do you have a Part-Time program?

The Law School offers a Part-Time Day program. The Part-Time Day program is a four year JD program where classes are primarily scheduled mid-day. First-year courses for the Part-Time program are generally scheduled three days per week.

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27. Do you have a Spring Admissions program?

No. The law school starts classes in the fall term only.

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28. Does Whittier have an academic curve?

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

• View Grading Policy (PDF)

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29. What kind of academic programs are available to 1L’s to ease them into law school?

During your first year of study, you will be enrolled in our Academic Success Program (ASP). This program offers individual feedback and training. This program typically meets one day a week and will provide you with many skills necessary to be successful including: how to write a case brief, how to take class notes, how to find and complete practice law school exams, etc. In addition, the ASP office also has a tremendous amount of study aids available for student use as well as individual second year student mentors available to answer your questions from 9:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. most days.

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30. How much is tuition?

Tuition for the Fall 2013-14 academic year is $41,460 for the Full-Time program and $27,640 per year for the Part-Time program.

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31. What kind of housing options are available?

Whittier Law School does not have on campus housing. However, the Office of Student Advising and Career Counseling offers assistance in housing. There are many housing options available to students in Costa Mesa, Tustin, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Garden Grove and Santa Ana.

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32. 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.

View Employment Policy

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33. 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.

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34. 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 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.

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35. What is the median starting salary for a WLS graduate?

$50,000 for full-time, long-term jobs (as reported to NALP in 2012).
The median salary is $49,000 for the private sector and $64, 588 for the public sector.

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36. Does the Admissions Office negotiate scholarship offers?

Yes. The law school has a limited fund for incoming scholarships. If you have a competitive offer from a similarly situated law school (similar median 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 scholarship offer you would like to negotiate. 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.

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37. What is the Admissions Committee looking for in a personal statement?

The Admissions Committee is looking for a personal statement that tells us something about the applicant that generally is not already in another part of the application. The personal statement is an opportunity for the applicant to tell us who they are, why they want to go to law school, why Whittier Law School would be a good fit for them, what they plan on doing with their law degree, etc. The personal statement must be written by you, it is expected to be well organized, without any spelling or grammatical errors and approximately 2-3 pages in length.

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38. I applied to a number of schools and have decided to go to law school in a different state, how do I withdraw my application from Whittier and free up a spot for another deserving student?

You can withdraw your application by completing our online Withdrawal Form. Once we receive the form, we will confirm that your application has been withdrawn.

39. 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, a student (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.

40. 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.