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UT Austin School of Law releases new admissions criteria for 1998

The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Law announced today (Nov. 11) a new admissions policy and process that will consider a broader set of criteria and pursue a broader set of goals in assessing applicants for admission.

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AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Law announced today (Nov. 11) a new admissions policy and process that will consider a broader set of criteria and pursue a broader set of goals in assessing applicants for admission.

Under the new policy, which will affect applicants for the class entering law school in the fall of 1998, the law school will continue to review each application and assess candidates’ academic qualifications. As in recent years, that assessment will include the candidate’s performance on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and the undergraduate grade point average (GPA), as well as non-quantitative indicators of academic promise that are revealed by a review of the full file. But the new policy adds several goals in addition to the identification of academic promise.

Among academically promising candidates, the law school will consider, for example, candidates’ demonstrated commitment to public service, leadership, or other qualities that are valuable to the legal profession, as well as additional qualities that are valuable in the law school classroom and community, such as distinct experiences that are not otherwise well-represented in the student body. Finally, the admissions process will seek to identify academically qualified candidates from underserved regions of the state and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Applications for enrollment for the fall of 1998 will include writing an additional essay about personal challenges or disadvantages faced in their lifetime.

There will be no specific formula or weighting criteria in the evaluation of files. As in the past, each applicant’s file will be judged as a whole in comparison with the files of other applicants.

The process for this next year also will be different. For 1998, a significant number of faculty will be involved in reading and assessing individual files of candidates who, on the basis of the above criteria, present a closer case. In recent years the admissions process had been highly centralized and done primarily by admissions staff.

In addition, for some significant number of those candidates, the law school will offer interviews. Michael Sharlot, dean of the UT School of Law, explained: “We want to identify a substantial number of applicants whose files present a particularly strong case on non-traditional criteria, and offer those applicants an interview as part of our selection process. We will arrange for the interviews to be conducted, as most appropriate, by alumni, current students, faculty or staff.”

For additional information, contact Associate Dean Cynthia Estlund (512) 471-0156 or Associate Dean Gerald Torres, (512) 471-2680.