Admissions Standards, Processes and Data

Admissions Standards, Processes and Data


Useful statistical information about admissions to the Law School's J.D. program is available as part of the Law School's 2019 ABA Standard 509 Report.  

Outcome-Based Admissions Process

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School uses an outcome-based admissions formula that calculates the probability of academic success and projects a law school grade point average, based on the combination of LSAT score and undergraduate grade point average. 

The relative weighting of LSAT and undergraduate grade point is derived through regression analysis of the past performance of 3,410 previous students who attended WMU-Cooley.  Click here for WMU-Cooley's 2016 study of its admissions requirements and academic success.  The methodology is the same as that employed by the Law School Admissions Council in the admissions formulas that LSAC calculates and provides to each school.  Our methodology incorporates overall results, not just those of the first year, as is the case with the LSAC calculation. Click here for a fuller technical description of the study WMU-Cooley conducted to develop its methodology here.

Updated academic success data can be found in the table below. 

WMU-Cooley uses no other factors in making this calculation

Regular admission is limited to applicants whose predicted WMU-Cooley grade point is 2.50 or higher and a 145 LSAT or higher. Those who fall below the regular admission threshold may be considered for acceptance, invited to participate in the Professional Exploration Program with credit hour restrictions, or may be denied admission. Applicants whose credentials fall below a 2.5 predicted grade point average and 145 LSAT will be reviewed for possible acceptance by considering course of study and grade point average, extracurricular activities, work experience, performance in other graduate or professional programs, relevant demonstrated skills, and obstacles overcome. Scholarship levels are set through the same process. Click here for more information about scholarships.

Below is the chart we use to guide admissions decisions.

Admissions Guideline Chart

The benchmarks used for admissions, including PEP, and scholarship eligibility, are subject to change based on periodic review and without notice. Benchmarks are subject to change

Character and fitness as an admissions factor.  

Admission can be denied or limited based on character and fitness disclosures made during and after the admissions process.  Click here for more information about character and fitness.

Although we now neither admit nor exclude anyone based solely on a high or low LSAT score, students with higher LSAT scores perform exceptionally well academically.  Click here for success rates of students admitted with high LSAT scores.  The Law School Admissions Council has issued six cautionary policies regarding the proper use of LSAT scores. Click here to see those policies.  The American Bar Association has provided similar guidance.  Click here to see the ABA guidance.

No admissions process, including ours, can predict law school success or failure for an individual applicant. 

The best that can be done is to predict the probability of success at a particular law school based on factors used in a school’s admissions decisions.  In our case, we use the regression study results based on previous performance of WMU-Cooley students.  Of course, that still leaves a line-drawing problem.  We have selected a minimum probability of law school success that is based on a reasonable probability for students with similar credentials.  While others reasonably may differ regarding where to draw that line, we have chosen to draw our line at a level that is consistent with the School’s well-established opportunity and access mission and demonstrates capability to succeed as shown by performance-based probability calculation.  Providing written notice to each accepted applicant of his or her probability of academic success allows each individual applicant to make an informed decision regarding the reasonableness of the risk of academic success or failure. 

Additional information about admissions can be found on the WMU-Cooley website. 

Click here for our admissions page.  


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Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School is an independent, private, non-profit educational institution affiliated with Western Michigan University. The affiliation between WMU and WMU-Cooley, which are legally and financially independent institutions, will end on or before November 5, 2023. As an independent institution, the Law School is solely responsible for its academic program. Accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. 

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