Our Decision Process
When reviewing applications for admission to the LLM we are assessing candidates in a variety of ways. You will often hear that this is a holistic approach, and it certainly is that. There is no one factor that is singularly determinative of admission, as we are looking to enroll a class that is diverse in myriad ways. However, it is important to keep in mind how we assess different elements of the application.
English Language Ability
A student that is unable to engage with their classmates verbally or write at a high level in English will not be able to succeed in our program. Therefore, the score on the TOEFL or IELTS is very important. While our minimum requirement is 104 on the TOEFL and 7.5 on the IELTS, the majority of our students have scores well in excess of these minimums.
As one would expect, we are looking for students that have shown a propensity for success in an academic environment. Ours is a very demanding program and we want to make sure that we are admitting students that will be successful here. Therefore, transcripts, academic honors, class rank information, and any other indicators of potential for academic success will be very important.
The majority of the students in our program come with at least some professional experience. Therefore, we highly value post-qualification experience. An average of 5 years is fairly typical in a given class. We find that students with professional experience provide a deeper level of discussion and debate in the classroom and better understand how to leverage the network and opportunities available to them during the program.
However, we do not require experience to apply to the program and every year we will have a small number of students that come with no or very little experience. In those instances where a candidate does not have experience, we will rely heavily on their prior academic performance in the review of their application.
The weight we give to recommendation letters varies from application to application and from letter to letter. Whether these letters are from academics or professionals is up to you. However, it is paramount that the recommender have overseen your work in some capacity and can provide insight into your ability to succeed in a rigorous academic program. The most useful letters come from people who are either familiar with UChicago or the demands of US law schools generally. Letters from UChicago grads are very useful, but do not guarantee admission.
These allow us to see how serious an applicant is about UChicago and pursuing an LLM in the United States. Has the applicant taken the time to research our program specifically? Do their goals align with the unique qualities of UChicago? Are they just recycling the same personal statement for multiple schools? However, there is one important thing to keep in mind. A poorly written statement can have a very negative effect on the overall application, but a really well written statement will not have the same positive value. That is to say, take your time, do your research, but don't stress out too much about the personal statement.
For information on application decision timing, please review the section Important Dates.