Useful statistical information about admissions to the Law School's J.D. program is available as part of the Law School's 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 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.
WMU-Cooley uses no other factors in making this calculation.
Unrestricted admission is limited to applicants whose predicted WMU-Cooley grade point is 2.50 or higher. Students within the 2.24-2.49 group are admitted as part-time students with a maximum load of 12 credit hours. After being admitted, each student in this group is counseled regarding a credit-hour plan for the first two semesters of enrollment, which may be limited to 9 credits by the Admissions Committee. Those within the 2.10 to 2.23 group are considered individually for selection to participate in the Professional Exploration Program, which in turn may lead to admission with a 9 credit-hour maximum. 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.
|Predicted Law School GPA||2009-2016 Academic Success Rate||2012-2016 Academic Success Rate||Admission Action|
|3.50 or Higher||99%||100%||Unrestricted Acceptance|
|3.00 to 3.49||97%||98%||Unrestricted Acceptance|
|2.50 to 2.99||88%||87%||Unrestricted Acceptance|
|2.24 to 2.49||82%||80%||9-12 Credit Hour Limit*|
|2.10 to 2.23||68%||65%||Consideration for Professional Exploration Program|
|Less Than 2.10||---||---||Admission Denied|
Benchmarks are subject to change.
The benchmarks used for admissions, including PEP, and scholarship eligibility, are subject to change based on periodic review and without notice.
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.
Students with a predicted WMU-Cooley grade point between 2.10 and 2.23 are eligible to be considered for the School’s Professional Exploration Program, known as PEP.
The file of each applicant who falls within this predicted grade point range is considered by the Admissions Committee, and those whose file demonstrates potential for success are invited to attend the week-long Professional Exploration Program. At the time the PEP invitation is offered, each invitee is informed of the applicable probability of success range for students admitted to the school. Participants in PEP are tested and evaluated, and about half are selected for admission to the law school. Click here for a description of the PEP program.
Because the School has operated with an access and opportunity mission since its founding over forty years ago, the School does not seek the “best” class, meaning the highest LSAT scores and grade point averages.
Rather, we offer a chance to succeed to every student who meets the 2.24 predicted grade point average standard or who is selected based on PEP performance. Every individual admitted to the School receives written notice of both the predicted grade point average and percentage of success based on the performance of students previously admitted with similar credentials.
Applicants with high profiles are most welcome and receive substantial scholarship support.
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.