Application Checklist


Register for the Credential Assembly Service

The School of Law participates in the Credential Assembly Services (CAS). All applicants must register with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) and register for the CAS to apply.

Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

All applicants must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) administered by the LSAC. It is recommended to complete the LSAT no later than February of the year in which you wish to apply. USD Law will accept scores from the June LSAT for the same year but the application must be submitted by July 1.

Submit Letters of Recommendation

The School of Law requires a minimum of a two letters of recommendation. At least one recommendation must be from an academic source such as a professor who can comment on your critical thinking, writing skills and potential for success in law school. The preferred method of submission is through LSAC.

Submit Transcripts

An official copy of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be submitted to LSAC for a transcript analysis. Additionally, any applicant who accepts admissions to USD Law will be required to submit an official transcript showing the conferred Bachelor’s degree.

Compose a Personal Statement

The personal statement is required of all applicants and is submitted as an addendum with the application through the CAS. A personal statement may contain but is not limited to the following topics:

  • What has led to your interest in law school?
  • What would you describe as your most significant accomplishment?
  • What would make you a successful law student?
  • What do you want to do with a law degree?
  • How would you contribute to the law school community and legal profession?
  • Describe any life experiences that have shaped you as an individual or led to your interest in law school.
  • Describe challenges you’ve encountered and how you have overcome them.

A personal statement for USD Law should be approximately 1-2 pages.

Character & Fitness

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.

Important Dates

Application Deadline: USD Law has a rolling application deadline and will accept applications as late as July 1 for the coming fall semester. Applicants should note the recommended dates for best consideration.

  • Sept 1 – Application for admission for the following fall is open.
  • January 1 – Early application date.
  • January 1 – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is available. (FAFSA)
  • March 15 – Recommended date by which to apply.
  • April 1 – First deposit due (Those admitted later in the admission cycle will be provided a reasonable date by which to submit the first deposit and secure their seat).
  • July 1 – Last date to apply for the current incoming class.
  • July 1 – Second deposit deadline. (Those admitted later in the admission cycle will be provided a reasonable date by which to submit the seat deposits).
  • Aug 8-11 – Mandatory orientation week.
  • Aug – First day of law classes.

More Information About Applying

The timing of your application may make a difference. The School of Law has a rolling admissions deadline. Although the final deadline is not until March 15, we recommend that you submit your application as soon early possible. You may submit an application even if you have not yet taken the LSAT. Historically, the Admissions Committee begins reviewing completed application files by December.

Please keep in mind that your application file is considered complete only after we have received all of the following:

  • Application
  • $35 application fee
  • Official CAS report (with transcripts and LSAT scores)
  • Résumé
  • Letters of recommendation.

It may take a few days to process your application after we receive it.

Graduate Work: The Admissions Committee does take graduate work into account. Please note that the GPA that we will consider will be your undergraduate GPA. However, the committee does review graduate transcripts and weighs those courses and grades in the comprehensive review.

Selection Process

All files are reviewed by our Admissions Committee. The committee reviews each application for admission based on LSAT, undergraduate GPA and other academic work, professional experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement, writing skills, community activities and any other information contained within the application.

Accepting an Offer of Admission

If you wish to accept the offer and hold your seat in the class, you must submit a $100 nonrefundable deposit by the date set forth in your offer letter. Applicants accepted into the fall class must pay a second nonrefundable deposit of $200 by July 1. These payments are credited toward tuition and fees for those who enroll.


Under extraordinary circumstances, we may grant a request to defer. The request must be in writing, and must include the reasons for the request. Approvals to defer are left to the discretion of the Admissions Committee Chairperson and the Director of Admissions. If granted, an applicant can defer for one year only. After the one year expires, the applicant must reapply to the School of Law through the regular admissions process. Requests to defer should be sent to USD School of Law, Office of Admissions, 414 E Clark St., Vermillion, S.D. 57069 or via email to