Many law schools require a school official to submit certification letters on behalf of applicants. These documents generally contain information about the disciplinary records of students. Although a less-than-perfect disciplinary record does not necessarily result in rejection from law schools, it is imperative for applicants to honestly report any and all disciplinary matters, regardless of their magnitude. In all likelihood, attempts to conceal disciplinary records would eliminate students' chances of admission.
The dean's certification also comments on an applicant's academic record, highlights any special strengths, and describes any extenuating circumstances an applicant might have experienced. Information about significant extracurricular involvement, insofar as it known about by the Office of Preprofessional Advising, will also be included. Applicants must fill out the online registration form to begin this process.
The dean's certification is not a recommendation. Unlike recommendation letters, which are sent through LSDAS, the dean's certification is always sent directly from the Office of Preprofessional Advising directly to individual law schools.
Applicants do NOT need to submit individual school dean certification forms when applying as they all accept the form sent by the Office of Pre-professional Advising.
Applicants who have had academic difficulties, have a disciplinary record, or have taken time off should inform an advisor in the Office of Preprofessional Advising when they register. An advisor will discuss the incident/circumstances prior to writing the dean's certification. Notification in advance will prevent delays in writing the dean's certification. Furthermore, the advisors in the Office of Pre-professional Advising will assist applicants in writing an "addendum" to submit with their applications if there are situations that need further explanation.
Staff in the Office of Preprofessional Advising will write the dean's certification for all applicants. The person writing the dean's certification does not need to know or meet with the applicant.
The Office of Preprofessional Advising needs at least three weeks advance notice to send out a Dean's Certification Form. They are written in the order received from applicants. If schools request the name of the person writing the dean's certification, list the Office of Preprofessional Advising.
Applicants who transferred to Columbia must also have the previous school(s) submit a Dean's Certification to the law schools