Admissions and Tutition

CDTA welcomes students with two or four year degrees. Affordable tuition $12,000 per year (all–inclusive: Textbooks, writing course, software and baby bar preparation course)

Our record of success shows 12 out of 13 of our first class and 7 out of 10 of our second class passed the First-Year Law Students’ Exam!  The California Desert Trial Academy College of Law first-time takers of the FYLSX rate is ABOVE the overall average for all registered, unaccredited law schools.

In order to begin your CDTA course of study you must:

  • Be a least 18 years old or older
  • Complete at least two years undergraduate college work, obtain 60 approved and acceptable credits, obtain an AA degree from a California Community College, or pass certain equivalency tests. Collegeboard CLEP

  • Complete at least two years undergraduate college work, obtain 60 approved and acceptable credits, obtain an AA degree from a California Community College, or pass certain equivalency tests

  • Achieve an appropriate LSAT score

  • Complete an initial admissions application

  • And, if qualified, complete a comprehensive CDTA admissions application

While CDTA does not require a pre-law course of study, we encourage and coach our prospective students to develop relevant skills that will prepare them for success at CDTA and ultimately as practicing lawyers.

Critical thinking skills, logical, clear and concise writing skills, effective reading skills, and persuasive presentation skills will all be beneficial in your future success as a legal advocate.

The pass rate of students who have taken the California First-Year Law Students’ Examination and the California Bar Examination is reported here and posted on the California State Bar of California website:




To be admitted to the California Desert Trial Academy College of Law, a prospective student must be at least 18 years old.  The applicant must have completed two years of undergraduate college work. The two years or sixty (60) undergraduate units must be in courses acceptable to the State Bar, typically an Associate of Arts degree serves as acceptable.  Only those applicants who reasonably appear to be qualified to study law and reasonably appear to be likely to succeed in that study will be admitted.  Adequate and appropriate screening procedures will be used to ensure persons clearly lacking in ability or educational background are not admitted or allowed to continue as students.  The applicant must understand that to be admitted to the practice of law in California, the applicant must be prepared to spend four years studying the law and pass the First-Year Law Students’ Examination.  Finally, the applicant must understand that he or she must have a positive “moral character” to be admitted to the practice of law in California.

A prospective student must complete the application for admission to CDTA.  That application will include a recitation of prior education and employment; copies of prior educational institution transcripts; a statement and explanation of any prior law school attendance; any criminal history which could bar the ultimate admission to the practice of law, information specific to one’s financial ability to pay the expense of the four year program of education; a personal letter outlining one’s interests and goals in attending our law school; letters of reference and a current LSAT score.

Each applicant will be interviewed prior to the final decision to admit as a student.  That interview will look at the candidate’s maturity, true interest in achieving a law degree and being admitted to the practice of law, and demonstrated skills to fulfill the academic requirements.  Those demonstrated skills could be shown with previous experience in speech and debate, prior coursework in logical thinking, practical experience that would translate into the ability to handle the rigors of law school.

An application may be obtained by contacting the Registrar.  There is a checklist that accompanies the application which must be followed by each applicant.

The checklist includes:

  • Personal Interview
  • Application for Admission
  • Enrollment Contract
  • Application Fee
  • Disclosure Statement
  • LSAT Score
  • Personal Statement
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Transcripts

CDTA may award transfer credit if:

  1. The applicant has passed the First-Year Law Students’ Examination or was exempt while attending an accredited law school and had been advanced to the second year by that accredited law school;
  2. Transfer credit typically will be approved but is not mandated, for whole courses completed not more than twenty-seven (27) months prior to beginning study at CDTA.  If a student had passed the First-Year Law Students’ Examination and more than twenty-seven (27) months have passed the Dean of Students may waive the twenty-seven (27) months upon good cause shown for the delay in resuming law school.  That exception and explanation will be placed in the student’s file;
  3. If an applicant was disqualified for academic reasons at a prior law school, credit will only be granted for courses where the applicant received a grade above passing;
  4. If an applicant was in good standing at the prior law school, credit will be granted for all passing grades;
  5. For all applicants who have passed the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, credit will be given for Torts, Contracts and Criminal Law even if those grades at the prior law school were not above passing;
  6. CDTA will not approve credit for a course completed at a prior law school in excess of the number of units CDTA would award for the course with the same number of classroom or participatory hours;
  7. CDTA will seek to be satisfied that the subject matter of, the quality of the applicant’s performance in, the courses for which credit is allowed, were substantially the same as that of like courses and grades at CDTA.

We are looking for students who are honest, demonstrate integrity and present evidence of one’s ability and interest in completing the requirements of law school.

In the event that CDTA must create a waiting list, an applicant placed on the waiting list will be notified between September 1 and September 10 of any given year that the school can admit the student for the Fall term.

Frequently Asked Questions