How to Get Into Yale Law School: The Definitive Guide in 2024
How do you get into Yale Law School?
Because of how competitive the admissions process is, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But today, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to get accepted to Yale.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
How hard is it to get into Yale Law School?
Yale Law is the second-best law school in the country.
But with a 6.9% acceptance rate, it’s also the number one hardest law school to get into.
According to the admissions office, of the 4,471 people who applied to be part of the incoming class of 2026, just 201 matriculated.
That’s why you need the right law school admissions strategy, even if you have high LSAT and GPA scores.
But before we dive into that, let’s talk about the programs available at Yale Law.
What programs does Yale Law School offer?
With a 5 to 1 student-to-teacher ratio, nearly 200 programs, and approximately 350 research assistant opportunities, Yale Law’s degree programs are revered as some of the best in the world.
There are six degree programs available:
- Juris Doctor (JD)
- Master of Laws (LL.M.)
- Doctor of the Science Law (J.S.D.)
- Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Ph.D.)
- Joint Degree
Today, we’ll focus on how to get into the JD program.
So, what do you need to get into Yale Law? Read on to find out.
What qualifications do you need to get into Yale Law School?
With such a small class size, who stands out from the crowd enough to get into Yale Law School?
Let’s talk about it.
Who gets into Yale Law School?
Let’s take a look at the profile of the class of 2026:
- 51% are female
- 57% are students of color
- 18% are first-generation college students
- 31% are first-generation professionals, meaning that they are the first in their families to attend a graduate or professional school program
- 7% are veterans or service members
- The average age is 25
Admitted students represent 87 undergraduate institutions, 37 states, and 12 countries.
Because of how important real-world experience can be for a JD student, it’s also important to consider how long ago the class of 2026 graduated college.
- 12% enrolled directly after college
- 37% were one to two years out
- 29% were three to four years out
- 22% had been out of college for five years or longer
What GPA do you need for Yale Law School?
The most recent GPA scores for Yale Law are:
- 75th percentile: 4.00
- 50th percentile: 3.96
- 25th percentile: 3.89
The average GPA for admitted students is 3.96, but the numbers really do vary. A high GPA at Yale Law is 4.27, and a low GPA is 3.25.
What LSAT score do you need for Yale Law School?
The most recent LSAT scores for Yale Law are:
- 75th percentile: 177
- 50th percentile: 175
- 25th percentile: 172
The highest LSAT score among the accepted students at Yale Law is 180, but don’t be discouraged – the lowest was 158!
So, even if you don’t have an LSAT score or GPA as high as what you’re seeing here, you can get in even with lower scores.
How do you get into Yale Law with a lower GPA or LSAT scores?
The truth is, your acceptance into Yale Law School isn’t entirely dependent on high GPA or LSAT scores.
If you take another look at the score ranges I just pointed out, you’ll see that the lowest GPA accepted into Yale Law was 3.25, nearly a whole point below the average GPA (3.96). The lowest LSAT score was 158, almost 20 points lower than the average score of 175.
As long as your scores are within the average range, you can still be accepted. To the Yale Law admissions officers, what really matters in a student is how well-rounded they are.
The school even says, “There is no cut-off for grade point averages or test scores and no single part of an application is determinative. We seek students with a record of academic excellence, professional distinction, and exceptional accomplishments who are eager to immerse themselves in our community. We look for people who will contribute meaningfully to the Law School, both inside and outside the classroom.”
The kind of application you submit does.
Read on to find out how to create the kind of application that gets the attention of Yale Law’s admission office.
How do you apply to Yale Law?
Along with your Yale Law application, you’ll need to submit the following:
- LSAC transcripts from each college or university you attended, including all schools you attended for graduate or professional study
- Standardized test scores (LSAT, GRE, LSAT-Flex, or GRE General Test At Home)
- One personal statement
- One 250-word essay about an idea or issue that’s interesting to you (while it doesn’t need to be law-related, the topic should relate to your academic, extracurricular, or professional experiences)
- Two letters of recommendation
- Statement of activities
- Essay in response to one of five questions (optional)
- Addendum (optional)
Yale Law School applications open on September 1st, and you can submit yours starting October 1st. All applications and materials must be submitted by February 15th.
It’s important to note that applications will be reviewed in the order they are completed, so if you need more time, take it! In terms of being admitted, there’s no advantage or disadvantage to submitting early.
By “completed,” I mean that it won’t be ready for review until the admissions team receives your materials, CAS report, test scores, and letters of recommendation.
I also want to point out that Yale Law started an interview program during the 2022-2023 application cycle and will continue it. Only a few applicants are invited to interview, so if you’re not selected that doesn’t actually harm your application.
You can learn more about the application deadlines, requirements, and materials on the admissions website.
So, how do you make sure your submitted materials are going to be as impactful as possible? Read on to find out.
Write a personal statement
Whether you have excellent scores or not, it’s critical that your application stands out to the admissions office.
That’s where your personal statement comes in – especially if you don’t get to meet an admissions officer face-to-face in an interview.
You don’t want your statement to read as a cover letter; your resume already offers a lot of that information.
But how do you write one that stands out and makes your application worthy of an acceptance letter?
The most important thing to remember is that you need to tell a cohesive story rather than one that spans several themes, interests, and ideas.
Doing so is what will make it clear that you have a strong sense of self, know where your interests lie, and why you want to attend law school, so choose your topic carefully.
But while the story needs to be cohesive, it should have a broad theme.
That might sound like conflicting advice, but being able to speak to a few related experiences and how they helped you decide to pursue law will make your story effective.
Finally, write a statement that shows that you’re a critical thinker by using your experiences to make your point and show how they’ve changed you.
Remember, regardless of your story, it should be concise, as Yale Law wants personal statements that are just two double-spaced pages.
To learn about writing a great personal statement, grab this free guide:
Get letters of recommendation
As I mentioned earlier, Yale Law requires two letters of recommendation.
These letters are an especially valuable tool in the application process because they show you have what it takes to be a successful law school student.
But how do you choose who to ask for one?
I always tell my clients that because they know you as a student, letters from professors are more valuable than those from professional or personal connections.
But if it’s been a few years since you’ve been in college, colleagues or employers would be an option.
Whatever you do, don’t get your friends or family to write a recommendation unless you’ve worked for them.
And don’t go for notoriety over substance. After all, Yale wants to get to know you rather than your connection.
Write a law school resume
A well-written law school resume is the single most underrated application element.
But it’s not the kind of resume you’d submit to a job. It’s far broader and is one of the best places to illustrate your education, experience, and things like community involvement.
A thorough resume will also highlight your:
- Skill or interests
As you draft it, make sure you’ve organized it in a way that supports your application theme.
There you have it! Your step-by-step guide to getting into Yale Law School.
Remember, even at Yale, where the acceptance rate is just 6.9%, it’s about more than just your LSAT score and GPA.
You just have to know what to highlight – and how.
And I can teach you! I’ve helped each of my clients get into their top ten schools and get scholarships.
If you want that same sort of support, you can sign up for my law school consulting services here.