Getting Into American University Washington College of Law

American University Washington College of Law Overview

The American University Washington College of Law is a private law school that’s a part of American University in Washington, D.C. Washington College of Law (WCL) offers several specialty programs and ranks number 77 on the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Law Schools” list. The university has just over 1,600 students, with the majority enrolled in the JD program.

One notable fact about WCL is that it’s the first college of law to be founded by women. WCL also had the first female dean and the first all-woman graduating class. When the college was founded in 1896, the founders’ goal was to create the first co-educational law school that allowed women to be applicants. The first male student was enrolled in 1897, officially making the school co-educational.

During its first few decades of operation, the school moved to several locations around Washington, D.C. In 1949, the school merged with American University. It wasn’t until 2012, however, that WCL was moved onto the current Tenley Campus.

Being located in the nation’s capital, WCL is in the heart of where laws are made. This kind of exposure and opportunity benefits students looking to get involved in the Supreme Court or other public organizations.

WCL has a large international program both inbound and outbound. Many foreign attorneys come to WCL to learn about the practice of law in the United States.

The university has been driven by the civil rights movement and strives to be the most diverse campus in the U.S. The two strongest programs focus on International Commercial Arbitration and Humanitarian Law.

The school consistently produces a wide range of journals, publications, essays, and lectures on a variety of legal topics. Students who attend WCL have full access to this information. These resources, combined with changes to the curriculum, have helped students overcome recent struggles with BAR pass rates.

One major bonus of attending WCL is the easy entry into the world of law. WCL has a wide selection of class options. Since the student body is quite small, students have direct access to professors and other faculty to get a more personalized experience. The university has a vast alumni network, and alumni are known for aiding students in sharpening their skills and gaining realistic expectations about their future careers as legal professionals.

The courses are challenging, and the hours are long. Fortunately, the school comes equipped with a top-notch roster of professors. WCL believes that challenging course material is what shapes the best lawyers.

When you attend WCL, you’ll learn a lot about humanitarianism, so if this is your field of interest, it’s worth your effort to apply. Having direct access to Washington, D.C., also enhances your law school experience – because you have direct access to where the laws in this country are made.

Most WCL professors are deeply involved in nonprofit and government organizations. As a student, you’ll be able to network with people directly involved in the D.C. community.

American University Washington College of Law Rankings

When looking to apply to law school, you should review the rankings of each university that interests you. The rankings give you a big-picture view of the overall quality of the school, programs, and faculty. Plus, rankings will give you an idea of employment opportunities that will await you after graduation. When a school has higher rankings, top-notch law firms tend to see its graduates more favorably.

Here is a breakdown of the American University Washington College of Law Rankings:

  • Number 75 in the world, Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  • Number 77, S News & World Report
  • Number 2 in Clinical Training, S News & World Report
  • Number 5 in Advocacy, S News & World Report
  • Number 8 in Intellectual Property, S News & World Report
  • Number 8 in Part-Time Law, S News & World Report
  • Number 9 in International Law, S News & World Report
  • Number 15 in Healthcare Law, S News & World Report

American University Washington College of Law Admissions

What is the American University Washington College of Law acceptance rate?

Without a doubt, a school with a high ranking is going to have a lower acceptance rate. That’s because the highest-ranking law schools are more attractive to applicants. The schools receive far more applications than they can accept, therefore only a small percentage of students get in.

Take prestigious schools such as Harvard Law (15.6%) and Stanford (9%), for example. These schools are synonymous with success. That means they attract highly qualified students from all over the world. So, their acceptance rates are much lower than the national average (45%). In simple terms, the more prestigious the school, the lower the rate of acceptance.

American University Washington College of Law’s acceptance rate hovers around 48%. It’s a top-quality school with an acceptance rate that is higher than the median. This makes getting into WCL far less competitive than getting into other schools in the country, yet WCL still can offer a wide range of valuable programs. Of course, to ensure you can be accepted into WCL, you’ll need to score well on the LSAT.

When applying to a law school, be sure to look beyond the acceptance rate. Yes, a high-ranking law school will deliver a valuable degree. But make sure the school offers the right programs for your career goals. Otherwise, you may not fit in as well or get the same value as you would at another institution.

Keep your eye on application requirements such as regular and early decision deadlines to increase your chances of being accepted to American University Washington College of Law. Missing these deadlines will significantly lower your chances of acceptance. Occasionally, fewer slots may be available for admission. That is why we sometimes see slight drops in an acceptance rate. Stay vigilant, and make sure your credentials are updated before you apply.

Applications Offers Matriculated
Class of 2024 4605 2727 (59.22%) 421 (9.1%)
25% Median 75%
GPA 2.96 3.29 3.48
LSAT 152 155 158


Applications Acceptance Rate Matriculated
Class of 2023  5266 N/A  387 (7.3%)
25% Median 75%
GPA 3.24 3.51 3.63
LSAT 154 159 161

American University Washington Law School LSAT Percentiles

75th Percentile 158
50th Percentile 155
25th Percentile 152

2022 Entering Class Profile

Number of Students 409
LSAT Scores 161
Undergraduate GPA 3.56
% Women 64%
% Students of Color 44.9%

What Is The Tuition For American University Washington College of Law?

In-State Resident Non-Resident
Full-Time $51,002 $51,002
Part-Time $35,776 $37,776

What Are The Living Expenses At American University Washington College of Law?

On-Campus $23,460
Off-Campus $23,460

What Are The Housing Options At American University Washington College of Law?

On-Campus Yes
Off-Campus Yes

Bar Passage Rates At American University Washington College of Law

Reporting 78.8%
First-Time Takers 382
American University Washington College of Law Average 74.8%
State Average 76.6%
National Average 79.64%

Application Deadlines

When will American University Washington College of Law materials be available?

Information about applications is readily available year-round on the university’s website.

When does American University Washington College of Law begin accepting applications?

WCL starts accepting applications on September 1.

How are applications to American University Washington College of Law submitted?

You must submit your application online via the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).

Does American University Washington College of Law have an “early admission” or “early decision” process?

WCL does accept early admissions, with a special early admissions period ending November 15.

How much is the application fee, and when is the deadline?

Application Fee $70
Early Decision Deadline November 15
Regular Deadline January 31

Does American University Washington College of Law grant interviews?

Interviews aren’t granted. You can book an appointment with an admissions counselor on campus.

Employment After American University Washington College of Law

Median Salary Private Sector $100,000
Median Salary Public Sector $56,000

WCL is a great college for students who wish to focus their careers on humanitarian issues and civil service. The diverse student body welcomes many international students, and WCL also has the largest study abroad program compared to any other law school in the nation.

Most graduates find employment within 10 months after graduating. About 26% of graduates end up working for law firms, and 43% find jobs in Washington, D.C. That’s no surprise – because there are over 200 supervised faculty clinics available to students. The university also has 661 simulation courses that give students hands-on experience in the legal world.

The relationships you will build at WCL will last a lifetime. You’ll be up close and personal with industry experts and top-notch professors. The alumni network will indulge you in the D.C. legal community, which will help open doors to future employment opportunities. There’s no other place in the country with a bigger legal realm than Washington, D.C., so being right in the center is a huge benefit for WCL students and graduates.

Another notable aspect of this law school is that it offers part-time enrollment. This is great for students who work a full-time job but still want to pursue their education. Not many universities of this stature offer part-time enrollment.

WCL has a reputation for curating the nation’s most passionate legal professionals. If you’re someone passionate about civil rights and social programs, this is the right school for you. You’ll find that many of the faculty have direct connections to nonprofit organizations, leaders of social programs, and community activists.

Though WCL may not be as competitive to get into as other schools in Washington, D.C., you’ll still need to work hard. The course material is tough, and the classes are large. However, professors make an effort to ensure every student has the materials they need to progress. That’s because your success reflects on everyone’s success at WCL.