Getting Into the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Learn what it takes to get into the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

See Acceptance Rates, Average LSAT Scores, 

GPA & More

The University of Pennsylvania Law School Overview

When you think of the top law schools in the country, the University of Pennsylvania is probably not the first name to come to mind. However, the University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League institution with high-quality academics and legal study programs. In fact, the University of Pennsylvania Law School is one of the top legal institutions in the nation.

The University of Pennsylvania is just a few blocks away from Philadelphia’s historic city center. Established in 1850, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, sometimes referred to simply as “Penn Law,” (and now recently changed to “Carey Law”) is one of the oldest law schools in the country, and an integral part of Philadelphia’s history. Nowadays, Penn Law is an extremely competitive and prestigious institution, attracting the top legal minds from around the globe.

While the list of successful Penn Law graduates may not sound familiar to everyone, there are a number of alumni who have achieved great things in the field of law. For example, Earl G. Harrison graduated with an LLB from Penn Law in 1923 before creating a report on the plight of Jewish refugees for President Harry S. Truman. He went on to have an illustrious career at a Philadelphia law firm and even worked as the Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1945-1948. However, Harrison is just one of the hundreds of Penn Law graduates who have left a mark on U.S. law, politics, and legal research.

There’s a reason that Penn Law has produced so many successful legal experts. Academically, the University of Pennsylvania Law School offers students unrivaled excellence and degree flexibility. Though students at Penn Law can study a wide range of legal courses, the school specializes in a few particular subjects. Here are a few of Penn Law’s primary centers and institutions:

  • Center for Asian Law
  • Center for Technology, Innovation, & Competition
  • Institute for Law & Philosophy
  • Penn Program on Regulation
  • Center for Ethics & the Rule of Law
  • Criminal Law Research Group
  • Legal History Consortium
  • Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice
  • Center for Tax Law & Policy
  • Institute for Law & Economics
  • Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law 

Penn Law also has the honor of publishing the nation’s oldest law journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. In addition to this primary journal, students and faculty also publish the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law,  the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, and the East Asia Law Review. While some of these journals have been around for longer than others, the Penn Law Review has documented some of the most pivotal moments in American history and is one of the most cited legal journals in the world.

At Penn Law, prospective students can choose from a wide range of degree programs, including JD, LLM, LLCM, SJD, and ML. However, Penn Law’s Juris Doctor (JD) program puts strict requirements on applicants and is a fiercely competitive program. To learn more about the University of Pennsylvania Law School and its degree requirements, consult the Penn Law website.

The University of Pennsylvania Law School Rankings

School rankings are very important for prospective students in any discipline, but they are especially relevant for students of law. Law school rankings indicate the quality of education at each respective university. Additionally, rankings are often cited by employers and other academic institutions as a vital metric when evaluating a candidate’s eligibility.  Every year, dozens of independent organizations and news outlets use raw data to determine which schools currently sit at the top of the list.

While rankings vary somewhat based on which organization is doing the research and which metrics are given the most weight, the top 10 law schools in the country tend to be the same across the board. As of 2019, the University of Pennsylvania Law School generally falls between #6 and #8 on most lists, making it one of the best law schools in the nation.

The University of Pennsylvania Law School Admissions

What Is The University of Pennsylvania Law School Acceptance Rate?

Law school rankings also help determine how competitive a given law school will be for prospective students. In most cases, the higher a law school ranks, the harder it is to get accepted. However, a few other metrics, such as the “prestige” of the institution and type of academic programs offered can influence admissions rates as well.

Just like other law schools in the Ivy League, The University of Pennsylvania Law School admissions are extremely competitive. While the average national acceptance rate for law schools is around 45%, it is much more difficult to get accepted into Penn Law. As of 2019, the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s acceptance rate sits at 18.80%.  This is significantly lower than the national average, is even lower than many of the top law schools in the country, which have an average acceptance rate of 21.10%.

Annual variations are important, but they are often dictated by forces outside of an individual student’s or school’s control. For example, the University of Pennsylvania Law School (and any other law school) can only accommodate a certain number of students. In 2019, Penn Law made offers to 953 of the 5,069 applicants. However, the acceptance rate would likely be much higher (as a percentage of the total) if there were fewer applicants in a given year. 

In any case, there are still a number of standard metrics based on students’ abilities that help determine a school’s acceptance rate. Undergraduate GPA and LSAT score are perhaps the two most important metrics, though various other aspects of each application are also considered. In 2019, the average undergraduate GPA among accepted Penn Law applicants was 3.89. This average is comparable with many other top law schools, like Harvard (3.86) or Yale (3.93). 

There was less variation among the average LSAT scores between schools. This year, the average LSAT score for incoming students at Penn Law was 169. Both Harvard and Yale had similar average scores among their incoming students (173).  You can find more statistics on Penn Law’s admissions for the class of 2023 in the table below:

Applications Offers Matriculated
Class of 2023 5,069 953 (18.80%) 238 (4.70%)
25% Median 75%
GPA 3.52 3.89 3.95
LSAT 163 169 170

The University of Pennsylvania Law School LSAT Percentiles

75th percentile 170
50th percentile 169
25th percentile 163

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2019 Entering Class Profile

Number of Students 754
LSAT Score 169
Undergraduate GPA 3.89
% Women 45.10%
%  Students of Color 6.8%
% Enrolled Directly After College 28%

What Is The Tuition For the University of Pennsylvania Law School?

In-State Resident Non-Resident
Full Time $58,918 $58,918
Part-Time N/A N/A

What Are The Living Expenses At the University of Pennsylvania Law School

On-Campus $23,312
Off-Campus $23,312

What Are The Housing Options At the University of Pennsylvania Law School

On-Campus Yes
Off-Campus Yes

BAR Passage Rates At the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Reporting 70.6%
First Time Takers 275
University of Pennsylvania Average 98.5%
Pennsylvania State Average 79.1%
National Average 54%

Application Deadlines

When will the University of Pennsylvania Law School application materials be available?

Application materials are available at any time via the Penn Law website. You can also check the status of a pending application right here.

When does the University of Pennsylvania Law School begin accepting applications?

Penn Law begins accepting applications for standard notification on September 1st. The deadline to submit your application for the upcoming fall semester is March 1st. 

How are applications to the University of Pennsylvania Law School submitted?

The University of Pennsylvania Law School applications are submitted electronically via the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) application. As with most other law schools, prospective Penn Law students must follow a 9-step process in order to submit their application online. The application process is outlined on the LSAC website.

Does the University of Pennsylvania Law School have an “early admission” or an “early decision” process?

Yes, Penn Law offers two “rounds” of early decision notifications. The first early decision window begins on September 1st and ends on November 15th. The second window ends on January 7th.

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

Application Fee $80
Early Decision Round 1 Deadline November 15th
Early Decision Round 2 Deadline January 7th
Regular Decision Deadline March 1st

Does the University of Pennsylvania Law School grant interviews?

While there are some Merit Scholarship Programs for which students can request in-person interviews, the Admissions Committee does not grant interviews to Penn Law applicants.

Employment After the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Median Salary Private Sector $160,000
Median Salary Public Sector $54,000

As one of the top law schools in the nation, Penn Law has produced thousands of successful graduates. Many Penn Law alumni go on to become politicians, judges, entrepreneurs, and successful trial lawyers. While not every graduate at the University of Pennsylvania Law School will work in law, the vast majority do. In any case, let’s look at a few of the most recent job statistics for the University of Pennsylvania Law School:

  • Employment Status – As of 2018, over 99% of Penn Law alumni found employment after graduation.
  • Job Sector – The vast majority of Penn Law students go on to work in the private sector. Approximately 75% of graduates work at a law firm, 20% work in the public sector, and the remainder work for businesses,  academia, or are self-employed.
  • Salary – Law firm employees report the highest salaries by far, followed by business employees, and then the public sector (government) employees. Salaries for Penn Law students range from $45,000-$180,000.

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