How to Get Into Cornell Law School: The Complete Guide

If you’re thinking about Cornell Law School, you probably already know that the school is in the Ivy League. But what is Cornell Law School known for beyond that? Its excellent research facilities, for one; its small class sizes and faculty-to-student ratios, for another. Curious? Keep reading to find out more about Cornell’s legal programs and admissions!

Cornell University building

Cornell Law School By the Numbers: LSAT Scores, GPA, and Acceptance Rate

As a top-ranked law program, (the Cornell Law School ranking is #13 this year, according to the US News & World Report), Cornell is incredibly selective when it comes to admissions. Take a look:

CategoryAdmission Statistic
Acceptance Rate19%
LSAT Score (Median)168
LSAT Score (25th-75th percentile)164-169
GPA (Median)3.86
Class Size 177
Student/Faculty Ratio5.7:1

(Sources: Cornell Law School admissions website, US News & World Report)

What does this tell us about getting into Cornell? First of all, the acceptance rate is very low: 19%, taking less than one in five students. Furthermore, Cornell Law School LSAT 25th-7th percentile scores are 164-169, with a median score of 168: very high, and falling within a narrow range.

So if you’re considering applying to Cornell, it’s vital to get a top-notch application together. Here’s what you’ll need to show the admissions committee what you’ve got!

How to Get Into Cornell Law School

Like other American law schools, Cornell has strict eligibility requirements. Applicants will need to have their undergraduate degrees, as well as complete several application components. Here’s what those are.

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To apply to Cornell Law School, you will need:

  • A CAS file
  • Test scores
  • A completed LSAC application, including a personal statement (formatted correctly!) and resume
  • Two letters of recommendation (through LSAC)
  • Undergraduate transcripts (through LSAC)

(Source: Cornell Law School admissions website)

Not all of these elements are as simple as they look, so let’s go into a little more detail about a few of them.

Test Scores

It probably won’t come as any surprise that Cornell accepts the LSAT. However, they also accept both the GRE and GMAT. So if you’re considering applying, but your LSAT score isn’t within the Cornell range, you might think about taking a diagnostic version of one of the other tests to see if it might be a better fit for you. Check out our free GMAT diagnostic and GRE diagnostic to get started!

Personal Statement

Unlike some other graduate programs, Cornell Law School doesn’t set a topic for the personal statement. Instead, you have a recommended two pages to share information about yourself and your background that makes the case to the admissions department that you should be there. According to Cornell:

The statement is your opportunity to tell us about yourself; it may address your intellectual interests, significant accomplishments, obstacles overcome, personal or professional goals, educational achievements, or any way in which your perspective, viewpoint, or experiences will add to the richness of the educational environment of the Law School.

(Source: Cornell Law School admissions website)

What They’re Looking For

Cornell admissions officers are looking for self-starting, independent students who value a close-knit community and want to contribute to it. As the Law School website states:

The kinds of students who choose to study at a small law school nestled in the middle of the Finger Lakes are the kinds of people comfortable forging their own paths.

They characterize the student body as “vibrant and engaged” overall, as “frequent and meaningful interaction among students, faculty, and administrators” takes place.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to highlight both leadership and community experiences that you’ve had on your application.

Cornell Law also values a diverse student body. Out of the 177 students in the most recent class, 74 were students of color, according to the Law School’s facts and statistics. In the words of the admissions website:

Cornell Law School is among the nation’s most inclusive top law schools and has been since its founding. Our multidisciplinary approach to legal education plus our dynamic campus community makes for an environment where all students have the tools to excel.

Cornell Law Programs and Curriculum

To this point, we’ve focused primarily on the JD program at Cornell Law School. However, the school also boasts a variety of other programs, including:

  • LL.M. (General)
  • LL.M. (Tech)
  •  M.S.L.S. (master’s in legal studies
  • J.S.D.

If you do choose to attend the JD program, you’re in for a thorough and exciting educational experience. In addition to standard law school courses, students begin taking electives in the spring of their 1L year, helping them choose their later specialization.

During the second and third years of studies, Cornell law students take core courses and a variety of electives. This helps guide them to their third-year concentration in advocacy, business law and regulation, conflict resolution, general practice, public law, or technology and law.

Cornell’s courses are small, with a high faculty-to-student ratio of 5.7 to one. This close-knit environment is further emphasized by the small groups in seminars and research projects.

Outside of the classroom, students have the chance to gain experience with pro bono work and supervised real-world client experiences, building their skills as attorneys.

If you’re looking for an intimate law education that is at once broad and specialized, taking place in a supportive environment, Cornell Law School might be the place for you!

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  • Rachel Kapelke-Dale

    Rachel is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. As a test-prep instructor for more than five years in there different countries, Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her novel, THE BALLERINAS, is forthcoming in December 2021 from St. Martin's Press, while her memoir, GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND, co-written with Jessica Pan, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn't strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. Join her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

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