How to Apply

All applicants must take the LSAT and register with the J.D. Credential Assembly Service (CAS) through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). You will need your registration "L number" to complete your application and to request an interview.

You must provide a copy of official college transcripts from each college and university you have attended to the CAS. The CAS report sent to law schools will include photocopies of your transcripts, your LSAT score(s), your LSAT writing sample, a transcript analysis, and other information helpful to readers of your application.

Application Requirements

  • Two Letters of Recommendation

    You must submit at least two letters of recommendation. Letters should be from members of the faculty of your undergraduate or graduate school, preferably faculty members who served as your advisers on research projects or who taught you in more than one course. If you have been recently employed full-time or serving in the military, you may submit letters from the persons best able to comment on your performance. If you have been out of school for several years, you may submit letters from employers if academic recommendations are not available. You must submit your letters through LSAC's Credential Assembly Service.

  • Required Statements

    All applicants must submit two statements, each limited to two pages and submitted as attachments to the application form. Additional optional statements are welcome. Full instructions are provided in the application materials.

    • Personal Statement: Please present yourself as a prospective law student by writing a personal statement. You may write about any topic that you feel will help readers of your application get a sense of you as a person and as a prospective law student, such as your motivation to pursue law; your personal and professional goals and interests; or your thoughts on engaging the intellectual, experiential, and professional resources and opportunities that law school and the legal profession offer.
    • Lived Experience Statement: The quality and vibrancy of the educational environment at Vanderbilt Law arise from enrolling a student body with a broad mix of individual backgrounds, experiences, skills, knowledge, and interests. Please tell us about any aspects of your background and experiences that you believe would contribute to the educational environment. 
  • Admission Interviews for J.D. Applicants

    We would like to know you better as a prospective student - and for you to learn more about Vanderbilt. That's why we offer admission interviews with Vanderbilt Law alumni as part of the application process, and why Vanderbilt Law alumni conduct interviews nationwide and in several foreign locations.

    Applicants to the J.D. class entering in fall may request an alumni interview by:

    1. Completing the admission interview section of the application for admission, and
    2. Submitting the application for admission no later than 11:59 PM, November 15, 2024.
  • Character and 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. With an eye toward these professional standards, the Vanderbilt application for admission asks specific questions concerning disciplinary actions in an academic setting, charges or convictions of crimes, and charges or findings of offenses (whether or not defined as crimes). Bar examiners may review your answers to these questions on your law school application when you apply for admission to the bar and your background records are checked.

  • International Students

    If you completed a bachelor's degree at an institution outside the United States (including its territories) and/or Canada, in addition to providing the materials listed above, you must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Duolingo English Test, unless the language of instruction at the foreign institution conferring your bachelor's degree is English. Please request that ETS send your TOEFL score directly to LSAC for inclusion with your CAS report, using code 0058.

    The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency test that can be taken online, on-demand, in under an hour. The test is taken via a computer with a camera and includes a proficiency score, video interview, and writing sample which are shared with Vanderbilt when you send your results. Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session.

  • Dual Degree Applications

    Vanderbilt Law School offers a range of dual-degree programs in conjunction with other graduate schools at Vanderbilt University. Prospective students must apply separately to and be admitted to each school independently, and financial aid is awarded and administered by each school separately. The exception is the Ph.D. in Law & Economics, which has a unified admission process and where students receive full fellowship support covering full tuition and stipend for both degrees.

    To learn more about the Dual Degree application and admissions process, click here.

  • Application for Law Scholars Merit Awards

    While all admitted applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships provided by the law school, consideration for the following merit awards requires submission of the Application for Law Scholars Merit Awards by January 10. The selection committee reviews candidates' Law Scholar applications along with their applications for admission. All admitted applicants who have submitted timely Law Scholar applications will be considered for all available Law Scholar Awards. Recipients are normally notified in February.

    Complete the Law Scholars Merit Awards form in your applicant portal by January 10. Please note that January 10 is a soft deadline with a seven to ten day grace period.

  • Application fee

    $70 (non-refundable). You must apply online and pay the application fee with a credit or debit card. If you have received a need-based fee waiver through LSAC or a VLS fee waiver, your Vanderbilt application fee will be automatically waived when you apply online.

J.D. Application Fee Waiver Requests

  • CRS Fee Waivers

    CRS fee waivers are granted through the LSAC Candidate Referral Service (CRS) searches, and when participating in CRS, your information may become available to us. We will notify you by email if a LSAC CRS fee waiver has been granted, and your electronic application fee will be waived automatically when applying. If you are not participating in CRS, send your LSAC Account number, Academic Summary Report and LSAT Score status page to for merit-based consideration.

  • Need-Based Fee Waivers

    Need-based fee waivers granted by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) results in Vanderbilt automatically approving an electronic application fee waiver. When requesting a need-based fee waiver directly to Vanderbilt, please provide your LSAC account number, a letter explaining your financial situation, and include documentation to demonstrate your need. Documentation may include current financial aid award notices from your educational institution or income tax records.

  • Service-Based Fee Waivers

    Service-based fee waiver requests should be forwarded to the Admissions Office at Please include your LSAC account number and proof of service participation.

  • Event-Based Fee Waiver

    Vanderbilt Law Admissions offers fee waivers for prospective students who attend certain events during the admissions cycle.

    • Prospective students who check-in with our representative at the VLS table at in-person LSAC forums and have not already applied to Vanderbilt will have their Vanderbilt application fees waived for the 2023-2024 admission cycle.
    • Prospective students who check-in with our representative at the VLS table at in-person or virtual law school fairs and have not already applied to Vanderbilt will have their Vanderbilt application fees waived for the 2023-2024 admission cycle.
    • Prospective students who attend a Virtual Vanderbilt Law JD Information Session and have not already applied to Vanderbilt will have their Vanderbilt application fees waived for the 2023-2024 admission cycle.


We evaluate each application thoroughly and holistically, reflecting our belief that the quality of the educational environment at Vanderbilt Law School benefits from considering a range of information far broader than your GPA and LSAT score.

We use a rolling selection process in which we consider applications roughly in the order received. Note that, while we make decisions on individual applications as quickly as possible, the time required varies from case to case, which ensures that each application receives the individual attention it deserves and allows us to make careful comparisons of applications received at different times.

  • Recruitment

    The student organization, “Ambassadors at Vanderbilt Law School,” is dedicated to the recruitment of future students, and its volunteer membership fully reflects the diversity of the Vanderbilt Law School student body. The Ambassadors’ substantial involvement with our on-campus Admitted Students Programs and direct outreach to admitted students is a vital component of our continuing efforts to enroll a diverse student body each admission cycle.

    Our on-campus Admitted Student Programs each include diversity events that may include panels with current students and alums, Q&A sessions, and gatherings with current J.D. students. The Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Bass Berry & Sims PLC has spoken in the past. Representatives from various student organizations help to organize and attend.

    In recruiting new students, we consistently attend targeted law student recruiting events including:

    • National Black Pre-Law Fair

    • Latino Justice PRLDEF Law Day

    • Morehouse College Pre-Law Fair

    • Tuskegee University Law Fair

    • AUCC Graduate and Professional School Fair, Clark Atlanta University

    • Individual campus visits to HBCUs

    • LSAC Forums from coast to coast, which are well-attended by minority students, particularly those who are college graduates in the work force. Prospective law students find such consortium events to be an efficient and productive means of exploring their law school options, and VLS consistently attracts a diverse student population through our participation.

    • Virtual events for prospective students that feature members of the Law School Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council and leaders of various student identity organizations.

  • Outreach

    We regularly sponsor on-campus group visits for minority students from area/ regional high schools, colleges, and pipeline organizations.

    • We have hosted Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization iLead Law and Leadership Conference for High School Students
    • We annually partner with The Nashville Bar Association’s Diversity Committee High School Intern Program to host a Lunch and Learn that includes a Q&A. (around 15 attendees each year)
    • We have hosted diverse groups including Summer Work Experience in Law (SWEL), The CAP and GOWN Project, and Oakwood University and provided tours and info sessions. These groups range from 20-50 students.
    • Admissions officers make presentations to Vanderbilt’s National Black Law Students Association chapter (undergraduate students) and to similar groups on college campuses across the nation.


For more information into our admissions process, see some frequently asked questions below or email the law school's admissions team.

  • J.D. Degree Requirements

    Each candidate for the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) must:

    • Pursue full-time (enrolled for a minimum of 10 credit hours each semester) resident study at Vanderbilt Law School for a period of six semesters (or, in the case of students requiring more than six semesters, the equivalent).
    • Complete, with a grade point average of 2.0 or above, 88 semester hours of credit:
      • No more than 5 credit hours may be earned by participating in credit-bearing extracurricular activities;
      • At least 65 credit hours must be earned in regular Law School classes. (Students must complete at least 66 graded hours to be eligible for Order of the Coif);
      • Earn a passing grade in all required courses, which includes all first-year courses, Constitutional Law I, Professional Responsibility, a professional skills requirement, and a substantive research paper;
      • It is the student's sole responsibility to plan a schedule that ensures the completion of 88 semester hours and all other requirements for the J.D. degree.
    • Pay all financial obligations due to Vanderbilt University.
    • Be of good moral character, according to the standards of personal and professional integrity traditionally associated with the profession of law.
      • The law faculty may remove a student from the J.D. program at any time for failure to meet the standard of good moral character required for the degree, or impose sanctions other than suspension or expulsion.
    • Receive the favorable recommendation of the faculty for the degree.
  • J.D. Research Requirement

    All Vanderbilt Law School students are required to complete a substantial research paper to obtain the J.D. degree. Most students will satisfy this requirement by enrolling in and completing a course designated as a 3-credit seminar.

    If you have a special reason to pursue a topic outside the scope of the seminars offered during your tenure at Vanderbilt, you may also satisfy the requirement by completing a supervised research project.

    Whether you write your paper for a seminar or as the culmination of a supervised research project, it must meet the following requirements:

    • Present a fair, accurate description of the factual setting that gives rise to the issue you choose to address
    • Provide an adequate explanation of existing law and doctrine, and develop a normative thesis that analyzes current doctrine
    • Presents a reasoned view of how policy should respond to the presented issue
    • Be well-researched with all sources cited properly in Blue Book form or similar convention
    • Make appropriate use of relevant literature, including both primary sources and secondary literature.

    Rigid rules about the length of the papers are not warranted, but substantial research papers will normally be at least 30 to 40 pages in length.

    Ask the faculty member teaching your seminar or directing your significant research project about available competitions, awards and prizes. Students may enter their research papers in competitions at the law school as well as national competitions that offer recognition and/or a financial award for achievement. If your chosen area of research is a subject areas for which a prize is awarded, your planning for the year ahead should include entering the competition. The deadline for papers to be considered for awards and prizes is typically the last day of spring semester classes.

  • Who can participate in an admission interview?

    We encourage applicants to participate in an admission interview with a Vanderbilt Law School alum. An interview gives the Admissions Office more information about you when we review your application including communication and interpersonal skills and your goals and interests. Alumni interviews are also opportunities for you to meet with a lawyer to hear about their individual Vanderbilt Law School experience and legal career. If you have specific or admissions-related questions, we encourage you to contact our office at

  • How do I request an interview?

    Submit your completed application for admission by November 15, 11:59 PM, indicating your interview request in the admission interview section.

  • What will my interviewer know about me before we meet?

    We ask you to send your resume to your interviewer in advance of your meeting to help form a basis for the conversation. The Admissions Office does not forward any of your application materials to your alumni interviewer. The Admissions Office will share admission decisions with alumni interviewers.

  • My application is complete. Will participating in an interview cause a delay in my admissions decision?


  • What will my interviewer ask me?

    The questions will be about you - your experiences, your goals, and your interest in the legal profession. Many questions will be about experiences you have listed on your resume. You do not need any legal expertise or education to answer your interviewer's questions.

Have Questions?

Contact the Admissions Office at 615-322-6452 or