Associate Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid
Cornell Law School
Monica Ingram earned her BA magna cum laude at Grambling State University and received her JD from The University of Texas School of Law. She has served on various boards including the Law School Admission Council, St. James Episcopal School Board, the Austin Children’s Shelter and American Corporate Partners (ACP). She currently serves as a member of two of Cornell University’s hearing boards that address Campus Code and Title IX misconduct.
What are your best tips for asking for an application fee waiver?
We offer both merit and need-based application fee waivers. Applicants interested in merit waivers should register with LSAC's Candidate Referral Service (CRS). We do not issue merit waivers independently, but through CRS. Applicants interested in a need-based waiver may apply through our website.
The deadline to apply for a need-based waiver is February 1. Additional information may be found in the Admission and Preparation section of our Admission site.
Honestly, what is “yield protection” and does it really exist?
Yield Protection is considered selective admission based upon the likelihood of enrollment, often referred to as "YP". The practice suggests that candidates who are otherwise qualified from the candidates' perspective are denied because they are unlikely to attend.
I do not believe YP exists in the same manner that candidates do. Law Schools emphasize holistic admission; YP presumes that it is fiction. Law Schools, including Cornell Law, consider a number of factors in the admission process.
One of many factors we gauge is the strength of interest in our program. Our application is designed to provide applicants with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their strong interest in addition to their diagnostic performance and academic record.
Understanding that all schools may have different procedures, but generally, if an applicant doesn’t get accepted to a school when they applied ED, do they automatically get rolled over to regular decision or is it possible that you can be rejected directly from ED?
Early Decision practices vary significantly among law schools. At Cornell, an ED applicant is not automatically rolled over into the general admission pool. Most ED applicants are given a final decision.
Applicants whom we wish to consider in light of the general applicant pool are placed on reserve. Reserve is Cornell Law's equivalent of the waitlist. Accordingly, some ED applicants may be offered admission earlier than other reserved candidates.
Understanding that all schools may have different procedures, but generally, what is the latest you would recommend a student taking the LSAT if they wanted to apply to law school during a given admissions cycle?
With the launch of LSAC's digital LSAT, the number of test administrations has increased from four times per year to nine administrations per year. As a result, my recommendation will look a little different than prior year recommendations.
I recommend you take the LSAT at least 30 days prior to the absolute latest deadline you wish to apply. If you want the option of taking it multiple times before applying, I encourage you to take the LSAT no later than the September/October test administration.
Will K-JDs need to submit to LSAC another copy of their transcript after the fall semester and/or spring semester of their senior year? And, be honest, how much does a POST-admission GPA really matter to an admissions committee?
Yes, JDs need to submit another copy of their transcript if they did not submit a final official transcript during the application process. There are a number of good reasons to submit a transcript post-admission: Admission Committees want a full picture of your academic record.
The GPA reported to the ABA is your final GPA, not necessarily the one calculated in your application initially. Secondly, an improved GPA may improve merit scholarship opportunities.
The Law School Application
In your view, what is the biggest impact that can be had by hiring a law school admissions consultant?
Admission Consultants are not created equally; as in any service industry, some are much better than others. That being said, I know some excellent ones. My general reticence in recommending a consultant is that most applicants do not need a consultant.
All the information one needs to craft a competitive application is generally available online, in-person at law fairs and LSAC Forums. The additional information an applicant might want is readily available and my colleagues and I provide the information for free.
However, there are some applicants who may benefit from professional advice more than others. Busy nontraditional applicants, working professionals, who literally don't have the time to research effectively or candidates with serious or significant character and fitness infractions may benefit from professional guidance.
When reviewing an applicant's file, where do you typically start and what part do you tend to spend the most time (and why)?
I usually start with the CAS Report and its demographic information. But, I enjoy and spend the most time on the personal statement, toggling back and forth between the resume and transcript as I look deeper into what the personal statement reveals about the candidate.
Aside from typos, or naming the wrong law school, what are the other two biggest mistakes that far too many students make in their personal statements?
The biggest mistakes I see are when applicants personal statements read as if they "phoned it in".