Common Application Mistakes

Name inconsistency

Sometimes applicants with several family names or nicknames use one name on the application and a different name on their LSAC registration. Applicants should always use the names which appear on their passports since those are the names which will be used in the visa application process. When applicants use different names it is difficult for those who process the applications to match materials and email messages submitted on behalf of one applicant. For the purposes of the application process, we ask all applicants to follow the name order convention used in most countries: first (given) name followed by last (family) name. 

Misunderstanding our English proficiency requirement

We publish in our materials our requirement that admitted applicants must have TOEFL combined scores of at least 104 and IELTS scores of at least 7.0 on each section of that examination. Some applicants assume that these are just guidelines and apply expecting they still have a chance to be admitted. That is a mistake. If these minimums are not met, applicants will be denied without further review of their applications.

TOEFL/IELTS test dates

Applicants are asked on our application to indicate the date they took or plan to take the TOEFL/IELTS examination. Our policy is to make an application complete, assuming all other required documents have been submitted, when we have received the scores for the language test listed on the application. Therefore, applicants who 1) decide not to take that test or 2) decide not to have that score submitted to us or 3) decide to take the test at a later date, should notify us so that their applications can be made complete with the appropriate language test scores.     

Once an application has been made complete, it is submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee for review and subsequent scores will not be added to the application after that.  Applicants who wish to take subsequent TOEFL or IELTS exams after their applications have been made complete may do so but they should wait to request reconsideration of their applications with new scores until after they have received an initial decision on the application AND have actual new scores that can be submitted to us.

Online application status check

Chicago does not use an online application status checker, although some candidates assume we do because other schools have such a system. When an application becomes available to us through LSAC, it will be acknowledged with an email message. The same thing will happen when an application becomes complete. These email messages are sent as soon as possible but applicants should understand that when application volume is particularly heavy, it may take several days or a  week to acknowledge receipt of applications or completion status. Once an application is complete, there will be no further status messages until the decision email is sent in February.

Failure to submit the electronic Basic Information Form (BIF)

Applicants must submit this form electronically before they submit their applications. Once they submit the BIF, they will see a confirmation page on their computers containing a BIF Code which they will enter on their Applications for Admission.

Failure to answer all questions on the application

Applicants should answer all yes/no questions on the application for admission. They should not leave those answer spaces blank. If there are spaces on the application which clearly do not apply to them (for example, Social Security Number or Middle Name) those spaces may be left blank.