Several academic factors influence the admission decision: undergraduate grade point average (GPA), Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, a record of improvement in undergraduate study, graduate education, additional training, and continuing education. Honors, publications, and community service are also relevant.
SJCL attempts to discover students who show the capacity to succeed in law. The School’s broad policy includes consideration of community involvement, life experience, employment history and accomplishments, motivation, and maturity – factors which indicate the applicant will add a unique perspective to the student body.
The Law School prefers applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited college or university. In some instances, particularly outstanding individuals without a four-year degree will be considered for admission, provided other requirements are met. (See Special Students.)
Preparation for Law School
Because strong analytical and communication skills are vital to the practice of law, students are urged to incorporate writing, logic, philosophy, and research courses into their pre-law curriculum. Please contact the SJCL Director of Admissions for additional guidance.
Interviews with the Director of Student Services, Dean, and Director of Admissions can be scheduled to explore admission criteria, procedures, finances, and career options. Also, meetings can be arranged with current students or faculty who can share insight into the rewards and demands of law school.
Those holding a bachelor’s degree in any major from an approved college or university qualify for admission as a regular student. Individuals who hold a minimum of a two-year degree, or the equivalent, from an approved college or university, or who will complete such a degree prior to entering law school, also qualify as Regular Students. Under the rules of the California Committee of Bar Examiners (COBE), Regular Student status also may be achieved with 60 qualifying units of college credit.
Exceptional individuals who do not have these credentials may be eligible for admissions as “Special Students” at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee looks for a solid LSAT score (50th percentile or better), a GPA of 3.0 or above on college coursework completed, maturity, and a record of personal accomplishment. Individuals applying under the “Special Students” category must take three College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests. Upon completion of their first year, Special Students must pass the First-Year Law Student’s Examination (Baby Bar exam) administered by the COBE in order to proceed.
Students who are in good standing at either a state-accredited or ABA-accredited law school and are applying to SJCL for admission with advanced standing are considered transfer students. Transfer students are required to complete an application and submit official transcripts for all law school work. In addition, transfer students must provide a letter of good standing from the dean or registrar of the law school previously attended. The decision to admit a transfer student falls within the purview of the admissions committee.
Assessment Criteria for Transfer Credit
Upon admission to SJCL, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, in cooperation with the Director for Student Services, will review a transfer student’s academic record to determine (1) how much credit for the student’s prior law school course work will be accepted and applied toward the SJCL degree, and (2) what SJCL degree requirements must be completed by the student after his or her matriculation at SJCL.
To determine whether course credit will be granted the Associate Dean assesses the substantive content of each previously taken course to determine if it is substantially similar to the content and rigor of a comparable course required for the degree by SJCL. Additional information, such as course descriptions and syllabi from the transfer student’s current law school, may be requested in order to assist in the assessment of possible transfer credit.
Transfer credit is limited to a maximum of half the credit required for graduation. As such, no more than 43 units of transfer credit may be applied to the SJCL degree (“Unit Limit”). In addition, in no event will transfer credit be granted for any course in which the student received a grade below a “good standing” level or its equivalent.
If a transfer student believes that there exists a compelling reason upon which to base an appeal of the transfer credit determination or upon which to seek credit for units above the Unit Limit, he or she may appeal the determination via a petition to the Faculty Committee. The transfer student should include the rationale for the appeal and include course syllabi, outlines, or other supplemental material to be used for Faculty Committee Review.
Satisfactory Performance and Academic Standing after Admittance
Once admitted, in order for a transfer student to qualify for good academic standing at SJCL, the transfer student must achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least a 65 at the end of the first year in residence at SJCL. Only the cumulative grade point average for courses taken at SJCL will determine the transfer student’s academic status and good standing.
Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy As To Students
San Joaquin College of Law admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.