Columbia Law School Requirements
Columbia Law School requires applicants to submit applications through LSAC to apply to the J.D. program for Early or Regular Decision. These are the Columbia Law School requirements you must fulfill to complete your application:
Columbia Law GPA: Requirements
While there is no GPA requirement, examining class profile data can help you compare your academic performance to admitted students:
- 25th percentile GPA: 3.75
- Median GPA: 3.84
- 75th percentile GPA: 3.92
Given this data, it’s difficult to determine the Columbia Law School average GPA. However, we can assume that the Columbia Law average GPA likely ranges from 3.8 to 4.0.
Columbia Law School LSAT Score Requirement
There is no requirement for Columbia Law LSAT scores. However, this doesn’t mean that your Columbia Law School LSAT score isn’t crucial to your application’s success. Admitted students typically submit impressive LSAT scores:
- 25th percentile score: 172
- Median LSAT score: 174
- 75th percentile score: 176
Based on this information, it's challenging to determine what the Columbia Law average LSAT score is. However, an LSAT score at or above 174 should put you in good standing.
Columbia Law School GRE
Columbia Law also accepts GRE scores, though class profile data doesn’t reflect GRE score data from admitted students. Based on Columbia Law students’ impressive LSAT scores, we can safely assume that achieving high GRE scores is imperative.
Using the ETS online tool to predict LSAT scores based on GRE results, achieving 168 on each GRE section would equate to 174 on the LSAT.
The University of Columbia Law School Essays (Prompts, Tips & Examples)
Writing great essays is key to getting into Columbia Law. We'll outline Columbia Law's personal statement, and optional statement prompts with tips.
Columbia Law School Personal Statement
There isn’t a prompt for Columbia Law’s personal statement. The only advice that Columbia provides is that your personal statement should be two pages long, double-spaced, and "a clear and concise example of your best writing. It should also be free from spelling and grammatical errors."
So, what do you do with such an open-ended requirement? These tips will help you organize your thoughts to write a creative, compelling personal statement.
Understand the Purpose of the Personal Statement
Although you don't have much to go off of, understanding the Columbia personal statement can help direct your writing. In essence, you want to provide something more profound than your GPA and test scores: what can you write about to add another layer of depth and intrigue to your application?
According to a handout provided by the Columbia School for Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), your law school personal statement should provide insight on:
- What kind of person you are
- How you think and organize your thinking
- What type of student you’ll be if admitted
SEAS emphasizes that no matter what topic(s) you choose to share, the ultimate goal of your personal statement is to capture your essence.
Ask Yourself Useful Questions to Brainstorm
The Columbia School of General Studies suggests prospective law students should ask themselves deep, personal questions to begin brainstorming. Some questions you can ask yourself include:
- How has your background shaped and influenced you?
- What would make you a good fit for Columbia Law?
- When did you first discover your passion for law, and what steps have you taken to explore your interest? What did these experiences teach you?
- What are you most passionate about? Why are you passionate about it?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
- What specific hardships have you faced? How did you overcome them, and how did the situation help you grow?
- What qualities do you possess (i.e., compassion, integrity, a strong sense of justice) that make you believe you'd be a great lawyer?
Your answers to these questions may point you toward the perfect personal statement topic: remember, Columbia’s non-prompt is just about as open-ended as it gets, so you have a lot of freedom.
Tell Your Story Using Strong Imagery and Examples
"Show, don't tell" is something you've probably heard a lot regarding writing advice, but it's excellent advice to follow. Any anecdotes you use to tell your story should be vibrant and compelling. While you don't have to pull out a thesaurus to write your statement, this is your opportunity to show off your effective communication and writing skills.
When you share an anecdote, ensure you're reflective and demonstrate how it's shaped you or your personality. It's one thing to say, "I have a strong sense of justice," and it's another to describe how you advocated for local residents being wrongfully evicted in your community.
Do Your Research
Knowing how to get into Columbia Law starts with research. Most law school applicants tailor their personal statements to each law school they apply to.
While the primary purpose of your statement is for the admissions committee to learn more about you as a person, it doesn't hurt to subtly show that you've done your research and have concrete reasons for choosing Columbia Law. Ensure you research the curriculum, opportunities, and other Columbia-specific offerings.
Which of Columbia’s offerings excite you and why?
Keep Your Tone Professional and Be Careful With Sensitive Issues
While you don't want to take yourself way too seriously, your tone should be conversational yet professional. In keeping a professional tone, you should also navigate sensitive topics with grace.
For example, you don't want to write about anything too graphic or events that paint you negatively. Also, keep any controversial content out of your statement: there's no guarantee the admissions committee members have the same opinions as you.
Other Tips to Ace the Columbia Personal Statement
Other short tips to ensure you produce the best statement possible include:
- Don’t try to cover too much ground: you only have two pages!
- Don’t rehash your resume.
- Write clearly and concisely (writing in the active voice helps).
- Don’t add quotes or cliches.
- You can be creative but avoid thinking too far out of the box.
- Proofread your work: you'll be doing much of that before getting to the final draft.
Columbia Law School Supplemental Essays
The prompt for the optional Columbia Law School supplemental essays is:
“Applicants, if they wish, may submit brief supplemental statements that will provide useful information to the Admissions Committee in evaluating the application. The Committee especially welcomes addenda that allow it to understand the contribution your personal background would add to the Columbia Law School community.”
If you plan to write an additional essay, consider these tips.
Determine If You Should Write A Supplemental Essay
If you have gaps in your application, like a lower GPA, test scores, or anything else you think requires an explanation, it's in your best interest to add addenda. On the other hand, if you want to discuss your identity and experiences (that aren't otherwise stated in your application), you should consider writing about them.
Keep Your Essay to the Point
These essays don't need to be very long, so you should keep your writing concise. If you're writing about academic performance, don't linger on your mistakes but on how you overcame them and grew.
If you're writing a diversity statement, show how your background will directly contribute to the Columbia class.
Reflect on Your Experiences
Reflecting on your experiences and their impact helps direct your story and keeps your writing clear. Think about your most transformative moments and what you’ve learned from them, how they impacted you, and how they propelled you along the path to law.
Columbia Law School Personal Statement Example
Examining Columbia Law School personal statement examples can help show you what you should aim for in your writing and even how you can improve: check out this personal statement example excerpt and our feedback on why it was good.
Columbia Law Personal Statement Example
“It was 1992 when my father started suffering from severe alcoholism and depression for then-unclear reasons. Throughout much of my early teen years, I couldn’t understand why he had to be so depressed. It seemed to me that he had just about everything one could wish for: a well-paying white collar job (though he eventually quit), a comfortable house, a car and a good family. My lack of understanding soon turned into feelings of frustration and growing hatred.
It wasn’t until 1999, after almost eight years of living with these feelings, that my father finally revealed to me what had made him so depressed. He said that at some point in his life, it had hit him that what he had been doing for the last twenty years had yielded nothing meaningful…
After that day of revelation, my hatred toward my father gave way to feelings of sympathy. I no longer saw my father as a burden on my family, but as someone who struggled against the weight of his own disappointments. But it wasn’t long before another feeling began to weigh heavily on my mind—fear. I feared that my life might be wasted too, that I would feel empty like my father if I failed to do something meaningful. That fear and sense of urgency drove me to search for a meaning in my own life.
My family immigrated to the United States from Korea in 2000 with hopes that my father would bounce back with a brand new start. In America, I saw that a lot of students participated in activities such as political campaigns and volunteering to change society. It was something that I had not seen in Korea, where everyone is expected to “fit in” and conform to social norms. I admired this passion of American students, and longed to be a part of it. After all, to me, they seemed to be doing something meaningful.
Nonetheless, I spent the first two years of college studying business, merely to meet people’s strong expectations for me to be financially successful…
It was only my junior year in college, when I came across two philosophy classes titled Contemporary Moral Problems and Global Justice, that I finally found direction in my search for meaning in my life…When I found myself fervently arguing for one method of global distribution over the other, and voluntarily visiting a professor’s office pursuing further questions, I wondered: “Where has this passion been hiding? What have I been doing all these years?”
Studying philosophy has guided me to find my own answer to the question, “What is a meaningful life?” I have realized that I am thirsty for intellectually stimulating experiences, and that I truly enjoy exploring possibilities for making positive changes in people’s lives. I have also realized, more importantly, that there is lots of work to be done in the world—work that sometimes involves facing the dark side of reality, but that somebody has to step up and do.
When I read articles in Korean newspapers about horrific living conditions of North Korean refugees, or Korean “comfort women” going through legal battles against the Japanese government, I read them from a different perspective now. Instead of simply expressing pity, I look at the situations critically and think about what it would take to solve those issues. The fact that I have a genuine understanding of the language and social conditions of Korea and other parts of Asia convinces me that I can contribute to solving these problems more than others.
Philosophy is fun, but I don’t intend to spend the rest of my life discussing abstract ideas. I want to be able to produce tangible influences through my work, witness how these influences cause progress in people’s lives, and find meaning in my life through experiences. Ideas alone cannot achieve this. But with the law, it is possible. I see the law as a powerful framework through which philosophical ideas can be manifested and applied in the real world to address different problems. At Columbia, I hope to confront the problems of human rights violations and global redistributive justice that I learned from Contemporary Moral Problems and Global Justice classes, utilizing the practical power of the law. I am confident that Columbia’s unique Human Rights Internship Program and Human Rights Clinic will help me fulfill my desire to do more practical work on contemporary issues and build connections with international NGOs that will push my career forward in public international law…”
Why This Personal Statement Worked
The beginning of this statement is candid about how the author felt, even if it wasn't pleasant. It helped drive the narrative to the author's exposure to American culture, college Philosophy courses, and discovering their passions and capacity to change perspectives.
The author does an excellent job of showing how their background could help them contribute to problems more than others that don’t share their experiences and culture (this author wouldn’t have to write a diversity statement because of this).
The transition into how their ideals and passions translate to a law career and how Columbia’s specific offerings can help explore those passions is well-written.
The only thing to be careful with when writing a personal statement that references another person is to ensure the focus stays on you. We think this writer managed to do that for the most part, but be careful not to remove yourself from the spotlight, particularly in introductions and conclusions.
Columbia Law School Stats (Admissions Statistics)
A snapshot of the Columbia Law School class profile can tell you more about the school’s commitment to a diverse student body and your chances of acceptance. The recent entering class profile shows the following breakdown for ethnicity, gender, age, and of students:
Most admitted students (31%) are from the mid-Atlantic region, followed by the South (20%) and West (19%).
Columbia Law School Acceptance Rate
Although the Columbia Law acceptance rate reflects the school’s selectivity, it’s crucial to not get too hung up on statistics. In a recent admissions cycle, Columbia Law received 9,645 and admitted 1,092 students.
The Columbia University Law School acceptance rate is 11.3%.
How Hard Is It to Get into Columbia Law School?
Getting into Columbia Law School is relatively difficult: approximately 1 out of every 10 applicants is accepted. Columbia Law also made the U.S. News World and Report’s list of top 10 hardest law schools to get into.
Due to the school’s reputation, resources, and ranking, getting accepted at Columbia is no easy task. However, you can always boost your chances of admission with a well-polished application.
How to Get Into Columbia Law School FAQs
If you still have questions about how to get into Columbia Law, check out these FAQs!
1. What GPA Do You Need for Columbia Law School?
While no GPA will guarantee your admission, you should strive for a GPA above the median 3.84 to be viewed as a more competitive applicant.
2. What Are My Chances of Getting into Columbia Law School?
Based solely on the Columbia Law acceptance rate, you have approximately a 1 in 10 chance of admission. However, you can boost your chances by putting enough time and effort into your application!
3. What Are the Requirements to Get into Columbia Law School?
The basic requirements to get into Columbia Law are a completed LSAC application, transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters, and a personal statement.
4. Can I get into Columbia Law School with a 3.0 GPA?
Considering the 25th percentile GPA of admitted students is 3.75, it’s not likely that a 3.0 will be enough for Columbia Law unless you have a stellar application and explanation for your lower GPA.
5. What LSAT Score Do You Need for Columbia Law?
You should aim for an LSAT score of 174 or higher to be a more competitive Columbia Law applicant.
6. What Is the Columbia Law Early Decision Acceptance Rate?
Columbia doesn't release data on its Early Decision acceptance rate. However, there are advantages to applying through Early Decision: U.S. News states law schools may be more lenient with students with lower GPA or test scores who apply through Early Decision (meaning you may have a higher chance of admission).
How hard is it to get into Columbia Law School? ›
Columbia law school is consistently ranked among the top law schools in the United States, so it is not surprising to find out that the competition to get in is quite fierce. Last year, the law school's acceptance rate into the JD program was 11.3%.What is the lowest LSAT for Columbia law? ›
LSAT: There is no minimum LSAT score in the consideration process for admission to Columbia Law School. For the 2021 entering class, the median LSAT score was 174.Can I get into Columbia law with a 3.7 GPA? ›
To be a competitive applicant at Columbia Law School, you are probably going to need an LSAT score in the 172+ range and an undergraduate GPA in the 3.7+ range.What was Obama's LSAT score? ›
The easiest to predict, by far, is President Barack Obama's score, mostly because we have some data. Based on admissions records, we can deduce — somewhat reliably — that Barry-O scored between the 94th-98th percentile on his LSAT. Using today's grading system, that'd place him somewhere around a 170.Is NYU law better than Columbia? ›
NYU Law and Columbia Law are both considered highly competitive, much like each university's undergraduate programs. However, Columbia University's Law School is ranked slightly above NYU's on the US News & World Report list. Columbia Law School also has a slightly lower acceptance rate than NYU's Law School.Is a 148 LSAT score bad? ›
Typical LSAT score ranges include: 120-147 Low. 148-156 Mid. 157-164 High.Is a 155 LSAT bad? ›
First off, if you're in this score range, you're already officially above the mean (and above median, though we can't speak to mode – sorry stats fans). Within this score range, you're besting 64-78 percent of your peers, putting you solidly within the top half of test takers!What law schools can I get into with a 149 LSAT score? ›
|School Name||75th LSAT||50th LSAT|
|Florida A&M University||150||147|
|Florida Coastal School of Law||152||149|
|Florida International University||159||158|
The average age of law students is 25 or younger. Only 20% of law students are 30 or older. While only a small percentage of law students are above the age of 40, there have been several successful older graduates.Is Columbia law worth it? ›
Columbia University is ranked No. 4 (tie) in Best Law Schools. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.
Is Harvard or Columbia better for law? ›
Harvard University tied with Columbia University for fourth place in U.S. News & World Report's 2023 ranking of best law schools. The rankings knock the Cambridge law school out of U.S. News' top three this year — Yale and Stanford retained the top two spots, followed by the University of Chicago.Is GPA or LSAT more important? ›
While LSAT is the most important factor, GPA is still significant. When you get down into schools lower in the rankings (outside the top 10 schools), numbers alone become an even better predictor of how likely you are to get into a specific school. LSAT is still the more important number than GPA.What percentile is a 162 on the LSAT? ›
In a clip from the show, Kim revealed to sisters Khloé and Kourtney that she failed the important test. In order to pass, Kim needed a score of 560. She scored 474.What did Elle Woods get on her LSAT? ›
As you probably know, the LSAT is scored from 120 to 180. Elle Woods was able to raise her score from a 143 to a 179 just by diligently preparing.Has anyone ever aced the LSAT? ›
Getting an LSAT score of 180 or a “perfect score” is extremely rare. According to data published by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), from 2006-2009 of all LSATs administered, approximately 144,000 per year, only 0.1% received a 180.Which Ivy League is best for law? ›
As the best law school in the nation, Yale is an Ivy League school that has gained an impressive reputation for itself in the legal world. This law school is best known for constitutional law, in which it ranks number one, and commercial and international law, where it ranks number four.
Tier 1 schools include: Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, UChicago, Caltech, Columbia, Brown, Northwestern, The University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Duke, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and Rice.Which is better Columbia or Cornell? ›
While still remaining the 17th best university in the nation, Cornell has now surpassed Columbia University, which saw a significant drop this year in rank, falling from No.
How rare is a 180 on the LSAT? ›
With the LSAT, the percentile for a 180 is 99.97%. Thus, in numerical terms, if you have a 180, then in a room of 10,000 people you have one of the three highest scores. With roughly 100,000 LSATs administered in the past year, that would suggest that about 30 people received a perfect score.Is the LSAT harder than the MCAT? ›
While the LSAT relies less on extensive background knowledge than the MCAT, the lengthy, complex reading material can be challenging for some test-takers. Conversely, the MCAT has a simple, straightforward structure but requires in-depth comprehension of complex medical and scientific principles.How rare is a 170 LSAT? ›
170 score: Scoring a 170 on the LSAT is almost always considered a good score — that means you are in the 2-3% of test-takers. Still, it won't guarantee you admission at a top law school. Other parts of your application are still a factor.Will a 180 LSAT get you in anywhere? ›
Whelp, you can apply to pretty much anywhere with confidence. Scoring in this range makes you extremely competitive for a variety of great law schools.What LSAT score do I need for a full scholarship? ›
You can also improve your LSAT scores to increase your odds of getting a scholarship. Students with an LSAT score close to 170 have a great chance of earning a scholarship for law school. Some other ways to increase the odds of getting a scholarship for law school are listed below.Should I cancel a 150 LSAT score? ›
When You Should Cancel Your LSAT Score. If you can point to a specific interference during the lead up to the exam or the exam itself, then you might have reason to cancel your LSAT score. Here are some good reasons for canceling your score: You were sick and battling the flu or other illness during the exam.Is 146 a bad LSAT score? ›
Law School Enrollment.
|High Risk||147-149||33 - 40.3|
|Very High Risk||145-146||26.1 - 29.5|
|Extreme Risk||120-144||≤ 22.9|
The LSAT is scored between 120 and 180, with 153 being the average score.Is 158 a bad LSAT score? ›
Law School Enrollment.
|Minimal Risk||156-180||≥ 67.4|
|Low Risk||153-155||55.6 - 63.9|
|Modest Risk||150-152||44.3 - 52.5|
Harris Buller is one of the youngest lawyers who graduated from law school at the age of 22. Buller took his bachelor's degree in history at USC and graduated when he was only 15 years old.
What is the easiest year in law school? ›
Most law students find their second year easier than their first. By the second year, you know what to expect and you know you're capable of rising to the various challenges. Unfortunately, while most law students find their second year easier, they also find it busier.Who is the oldest law student? ›
Ask Alex #3: Finances. John VanBuskirk was the oldest law school graduate in 2018, completing his degree at the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law at the age of 71.Can you get a full ride to Columbia Law? ›
No. Because our financial aid funds are limited, applicants who will require financial assistance to attend Columbia Law School should also seek assistance from other sources. Awards are generally in the form of partial waivers of tuition and, in some cases, loans. Full waivers of tuition are almost never granted.Is Stanford or Columbia Law better? ›
Columbia Law School is currently recognized as the fourth best law school in the US, trailing only Yale, Stanford, and Harvard (and tied with the University of Chicago).Which year of law school is the hardest? ›
Since law school is only three years, your first-year grades have a big impact on your overall GPA. Further, the first-year GPA often means the most because your first year is graded on a strict curve. So, it's usually harder to do well in your first year than it is to do well in your second and third years.Is Columbia the hardest Ivy to get into? ›
Top 10 Hardest Colleges to Get Into.
|School||Location||Acceptance Rate (Class of 2026)|
|1. Harvard||Cambridge, MA||3.19%|
|2. Columbia||New York, NY||3.73%|
|USNWR Rank||Law School||Median LSAT|
|1||Yale Law School||173|
|2||Harvard Law School||173|
|3||Stanford Law School||171|
|4||Columbia University Law School||171|
Contrary to popular belief, the LSAT does not measure intelligence. Therefore, the test does not render those with higher scores smarter than those with lower scores. The LSAT is one of many factors relied upon by law schools to predict a person's chances of first-year success.What is a good LSAT score without studying? ›
The LSAT is scored on a 120-180 scale.
From our independent research, we've found that students who take the LSAT without studying achieve scores between 145 and 153.
Can a high LSAT compensate for low GPA? ›
A strong LSAT score can compensate for a low GPA, so it is well worth the investment of time and effort it takes to do well. Many competitive law schools screen applicants using a weighted index of their grades and LSAT scores, so extra points on the LSAT may effectively boost your GPA.What is a 75% on the LSAT? ›
Estimated Score Conversions.
|Raw score*||Scaled Score||Est. Percentile**|
To achieve a score of 170 requires a test taker to correctly answer 90 out of 101 questions.Is 157 a bad LSAT score? ›
If we were to speak about a good LSAT score in very broad terms, 157 or above would be a reasonable place to start. Anything above 160 is not a bad LSAT score.Is 129 a bad LSAT score? ›
Current LSAT Percentiles.
|Overall LSAT Percentiles (2016-2019)|
Scoring a 175 means you missed 5 questions on the test, which can be the equivalent of an entire logic game. Scoring a 170 means you missed 10 or 11 questions, which is nearly half of an entire section. The point of all this is that there is room to make mistakes.Will a 170 LSAT get you in anywhere? ›
An LSAT score of 170 pretty much guarantees you're getting into law school. You've outscored 98% of all other LSAT test takers, so you're automatically elevated as a desirable applicant. With this score, you're not just “getting in” to “any” law school; you have the potential to be admitted to a top-tier law school.How prestigious is Columbia law? ›
U.S. News & World Report consistently places Columbia Law among the top law schools (for both academic reputation and national standing), and currently ranks Columbia Law 4th (tied with Harvard Law). For 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranks Columbia Law No. 1 for Business/Corporate Law and No.Is Columbia Law School better than Harvard? ›
Columbia Law School is currently recognized as the fourth best law school in the US, trailing only Yale, Stanford, and Harvard (and tied with the University of Chicago).Is it worth going to Columbia Law School? ›
Columbia University is ranked No. 4 (tie) in Best Law Schools. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.
What is the number 1 University in the world for law? ›
For law students considering the two schools, which are ranked second (Stanford) and fifth (Columbia) in U.S. News & World Report's 2020 Best Law Schools, they acknowledge the high costs as an investment in a prestigious legal education, Chapman said.What is special about Columbia Law School? ›
Columbia Law School is renowned for the intellectual rigor of its curriculum and the groundbreaking scholarship of its faculty.How many people drop out of law school? ›
Law School Dropout Rates.
|Law School||1L Dropout Rate %|
|Capital University Law School||23.27%|
|Liberty University School of Law||20.55%|
|Class of 2021||Class of 2020|
|100% reported||100% reported|
95.5% of this school's 2018 graduates were employed and reported a salary. We know that at least 71.7% of this school's 2018 graduates made $190,000 or more.