Attend a Conditional Program or Re-Apply to Law School?

Law School Expert Blog

Law school conditional programs can be great opportunities for those who otherwise would not be admitted to law school. By participating in a shortened law school program (either via Internet or on campus) and achieving a certain GPA, an applicant can be admitted to the J.D. program for that fall. Generally, you do not apply separately for this program. A school reviews your application and sends you a letter saying you are not admitted but invited to participate in their summer conditional program (or AAMPLE program). (Here is a list of law schools offering conditional acceptance programs)

However, there are drawbacks:

(1) A small percentage of people are usually admitted through these programs; (At Charlotte Law, only 20-50% are successful in any given year, Florida Coastal’s is between 20 and 54 percent, and Nova’s AAMPLE program success rate ranges between 11 percent and 62 percent, depending on whether people complete the online or in person program.)

(2) They cost money ($3200 at Florida Coastal); and

(3) If you don’t make it through and you’re reapplying next year, you may need to report your attendance (and failure to make it through) on some law school applications.

Anyone who would like to share their experiences with a conditional acceptance program is welcome to leave comments here!

34 Responses

  1. Hi Ann,

    Sorry this is irrelevant to the above posting but wasn’t sure where else to post this question.

    My question is about how GPA is reported to the law schools. Are they rounded, say, to the nearest hundredths? Are they rounded up or donw if so?

    My GPA is 3.94 as of now, and if I take two classes and get A’s, then it becomes 3.945 but if I take four and get four A’s, then it becomes, I believe, 3.95.

    But if the GPA’s are rounded to the nearest hundredths, two situations will yield the same GPA’s and it wouldn’t mean much for me to take that many classes when I can spend that time for the LSAT.

    It’s fine if you are not sure or if it depends on schools. I attend top 10 college (private) as they appear on US news rankings.

    Thank you very much!

    1. Jen, your GPA will show as a 3.94 but PLEASE don’t take extra classes just for this reason. The LSAT is much more important than having a 3.95 versus a 3.94. Seriously. It makes no difference to your application whatsoever which way this rounds. There are some things worth worrying about and this isn’t one of them, even for the very top law schools in the country. You will need extra time for the LSAT more than you will need that hundredth of a point.

    1. Ellen, you usually can’t apply. You have to apply for admission and see if the school selects you. But you can email the school and express interest in the conditional program.

  2. Hi Ann,

    I have been waitlisted to my #1 choice which is Valparaiso. I was denied admission to FL Coastal but accepted to the AAMPLE program (I opted for the campus version rather than online). I have sent in my LOCI to Valpo, but I have also paid the seat deposit & 1st tuition payment for the AAMPLE program @ FL. I thought this was a smart idea being that Valpo is not a guarantee and I don’t doubt that I could pass the classes for AAMPLE. Valpo isn’t picking off the list until April and AAMPLE begins early May. AAMPLE has a semi-decent refund policy. I figure even if I start the program, but recieve a call for Valpo, I can drop the program and focus on my acceptance to my top choice. My fear is that I don’t recieve that call until mid-late of the program or that I never recieve that call at all. Any advice/help/opinions that you could give me on my situatin would be very helpful and appreciated.


    1. SunDay, I think you’re doing this the right way by keeping your options open. Work as hard as you can with AAMPLE and keep letting Valpo know you would absolutely attend.

    2. SunDay,

      I would like to hear an update on your story. Did you go with the AAMPLE program or did Valpo call you? I believe I am going to find myself in the same situations and it would be refreshing to hear that you can walk out alive.

      Keegan J.

  3. Dear Ann, thanks for the helpful posts.
    i am a Chinese student currently studying in Japan. the situation i am facing is that i might not be fully prepared for June LSAT. i know the best would be to take the Oct one but by that time i will be in China. and in China, there will be no LSAT offered in Oct.
    if i want to take that one, i will have to fly to HK or Japan which means i have to prepare a month for visa application…
    do you think i should bother to that or i should just take the December LSAT? because i am worried if this will affect my opportunities to be admitted in a rolling system.

    1. Rachel, it sounds like December is the best choice for you. Lots of people get into great law schools with December LSAT scores. You’ll be in the best shape if you start getting all of your materials ready this summer, then spend the fall studying for the LSAT.

  4. I am seeing law school admissions. I have a 3.6 GPA and a 137 LSAT. The only conditional programs in my area (GA) are online. Do you recommend online programs, also I have two felony convictions. Will this hender my acceptance?

  5. After 20 plus years of work-experience at top corporations, international experience, graduate education at a Top 20 University, rigurous continuing education courses, work as Board of Director for a Non-Profit Organization, work as a Government and Industry Affairs Professional, working relationships with Federal, State and Local Officials, and a number of attempts to gain admission into law school (from 1994 to present)… I have successfully concluded that NONE OF IT MATTERS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A GOOD LSAT SCORE!

    I am so angry that schools tout that they read your essays, weigh you background and credentials, letters of recommendation and personal statements…only to confirm through a number of back channel discussions with Law School Admissions Counselors, that ITS ALL A NUMBERS GAME FOR LAW SCHOOLS! Its all about what school can say they have students with the best LSAT Scores, many of whom may not even make the best legal professionals!

    It is really sad because there are a number of highly talented individuals who are denied access, simply because they may not score well on standardized exams. Many of those people are actually rock stars within there respective fields. So NO there is NOT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD when it comes to Law School Admissions! WHAT A HUGE (LEGAL< PROFESSIONAL AND POLITICAL) PARADOX! Where is the justice, ethical framework and source of equality for willing and clearly able students?

    I will say that after 20 plus years of seeking admissions into Law School, that I actually do have a seat in a 2012 Fall Class this year; however, I am still greatly disturb by the current system. I hope that Law Schools, Law School Admissions Counselors, and Legal Professionals will do what is right and ethical to correct the problem? Isn't our legal system designed to create equality? I would love to hear your thoughts?

    Kind regards,


  6. The AAMPLE program is…..  tough. A lot of reading, a lot of problems.
    In the end, (if you do everything your told) it’s going to be worth it.
    I actually went to Jacksonville, FL for 6 weeks and participated in class session. I learn better in class verses online. Both, the online and in class sessions are amazingly similar.  The professors were nice, knew what they were talking about. There are NO office hours for the AAMPLE students… because they want to make sure the online students have the same advantages as the classroom students. You can ask questions in class but that’s it. There are NO quizes (non- graded) nor exams, ONLY your final exam- which is done online.

    I know its a huge investment.. but if you pass the program your money is refunded. So, work hard and good luck!

    Email me if you have any questions: Glad to help anyone interested in this program.

  7. I have a question. I have been invited to participate in the AAMPLE programs at New York law school. They said they will send me a packet in the mail with information. Well I received an empty open letter nothing inside. From what I gathered online its reserved for first 20 students that accept it and ALL are granted admission if they maintain a 2.5. My question is this should I worry or care? I’ve already been accepted to New England law and Florida coastal with a half ride scholarship. And I’m still waiting for 15 other decisions.

    1. Hi Christopher,
      You should call NYLS and tell them there was a mistake with the mailing and you need the information.
      Wait and see where else you get in since there are still a lot of decisions you are waiting for.

  8. Hi
    Can someone give me their opinions regarding AAMPLE at Florida Coast and others? Is anyone currently enrolled or have been in the recent past? Thanks

  9. AAMPLE ® = Masochistically brutal!! Essentially, two, fifteen-week, second-year-law courses crammed into a half dozen weeks.

    Warning: Only attempt AAMPLE ® if prepared to devote fifteen hours per day, seven days per week, for the duration. Don’t even think about outside work, or “a life,” while enrolled.

    My experience with AAMPLE ®? As an observer of daughter’s recent commitment.

    Daughter’s background? A baccalaureate degree in business 15 years ago (3.65 GPA); employed as a senior executive with a publicly-traded company; took “a shot” at the LSAT without studying and did poorly – Duh!

    Professorial advice? In lieu of AAMPLE ®, with decent GPA and sub-standard LSAT score, consider enrolling in a “Kaplan” (or Kaplan-type) in-class, LSAT prep-course (not an on-line course), then retake LSAT.

    Wishing you the best of luck,

    John XXXXXXX, Ph.D., C.P.A
    P.S. I have no affiliation with Kaplan.

  10. Your suggestion is interesting, ” only attempt AAMPLE if prepared to devote fifteen hours per day, seven days per week”.

    Isn’t this somewhat the time needed for law student seeking top grades? Multiple hours each day, each week and studying long hours into their legal professions is required, regardless!!!

    Know it and accept serious lawyers, especially those without experience, MUST WORK smart!!!

    But good luck to all!

  11. Can someone provide their opinion to the AAMPLE program at Charlotte Law? Has anyone participated in the program before? Please help!

    1. Hi Steve,

      I’ve been accepted to Charlotte’s AAMPLE program as well! Just pray and do your best, we’ll get through it. What I have learned about these online forums is that people’s comments can negatively affect your outlook. Do what you feel in your heart is best for you.

      1. How did you do in Charlotte’s AAMPLE program? I am accepted and I begin next Monday with Charlotte’s AAMPLE also, do you have any advice or tips to stay on track etc.? I’ve never done an online class where it’s a virtual classroom so I am kind of nervous about that aspect.

        1. Raylie,
          Were you ever accepted? If so, was the final exam pretty hard. How many questions were on the final? How is law school coming along now that you’re in it. Just want your opinion.

  12. Nova’s AAMPLE Program in a joke. It is designed to make money for the school. I was accepted into the program in 2003. I was enrolled online. $3,500 later I was not accepted due to a 2.0 gpa. A 2.5 gpa is required. Well, my mother knew the University’s dean at that time. She contacted the dean and I was granted a meeting. In that meeting it was disclosed that my final exam could be reviewed by other professors and rescored because the exam is subjective. However, if admitted due to the rescoring then rest assured that I would be labeled and strategically failed out of the law school. Which means I would not get into another law school’s program.
    So, I did not force the issue although I knew it was unfair. Why and how?

    Well at that time Nova had enrolled 1,000 students (online and on campus) into the AAMPLE Program. If the 1,000 enrolled, no more than 2% were accepted. That year, Nova had not only received 100% committment from the regular acceptance letters extended but also committments from their overflow (those students extended offers to off-set the % of regular offers that will not confirm acceptance). So to not appear like a total rip-off, no more than 20 students out of 1,000 were accepted from the AAMPLE Program. Essentially, the majority of the students (myself included) never had a shot. And Nova made tons of money (remember 1,000 * $3,500 per student). It was not until after that I learned that schools offered conditional programs either at no cost or next to nothing. So please be careful when looking at such programs. It is a money-maker for many of these schools.

  13. Hi, I wish to get some advice on my decision. I recently was accepted to charleston school of law in South Carolina and I was invited to widener Delaware law school to their conditional program. I live in the NJ area and I plan to work around there. Should I go to charleston in South Carolina even tho it is in a different region ? Or try the conditional program at widener. Widener offers plenty of internships from the area of NJ NY PA and I am sure I will have more opportunities for a job in my area.

  14. I get accepted into St Thomas university conditional program which is for a month but i am unsure if i should go because one i just started a new job and i don’t want to go not get accepted and now i have to tell future law schools i was not accepted and jobless…i would rather study again for the LSAT and reapply next year stronger and better than before. I plan on taking a paralegal course so at least i can work as a paralegal until law school starts. I just want to do what’s best for me because Howard law is my first choice that’s is where my heart is at

    1. Hi Shawana,
      Did you accept the conditional program or re-take the LSAT. If you went through with the program, can you please tell me how was it? I am on the same boat and wanted to hear your input.

      Thank you,

  15. Hi Ann,

    I am from Miami and have been accepted to Florida A&M, Ave Maria and Barry. My first choice St. Thomas has accepted me into a conditional program. My GPA is 2.97 and my highest LSAT score is a 149. I have taken the test over 6 times, I really don’t want to take the test again. Would you recommend I accept one of the offers I received or give the conditional program a try and hope for the best. Even though the other acceptance are guaranteed

    1. Maria, this is so tough. You have to see how many people make it through the program at St. Thomas. But you also have to look at fail-out rates and bar pass rates at FAMU and Barry, and the financial investment you’re making in this effort.

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