Law Schools

Is lower number of law school applicants a COVID-19 glitch? LSAT schedule changes could be to blame

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Applicants to ABA-accredited law schools are below the number reported at this time last year, but it’s unclear whether that will translate to lower enrollment because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants to ABA-accredited law schools are down 2.5% from the same point last year, Law.com reports, citing data from the Law School Admission Council. At this time last year, schools had received 95% of applications to attend school in the fall.

But the numbers don’t necessarily portend lower enrollment because of changes in the administration of the Law School Admission Test, Law.com explains. In-person LSATs for March and April were canceled. Then the council offered a remote version of the LSAT called LSAT-Flex in May and scheduled a second online exam for July. There could be a surge of applications after the scores are released for the LSAT-Flex on Friday.

Kellye Testy, president of the LSAC, told Law.com that COVID-19 “shifted the timeline down.” Many law schools have extended application deadlines, she said.

“Right now, we’re 2.5% off last year,” she said. “I personally think it’s amazing that it’s only 2.5% given all the disruption.”

Testy also said she has heard from many applicants who decided to go to law school this year after canceled job offers and internships.

Even though applicants are down, their LSAT test scores are better. The number of applicants with scores in the highest band, between 175 and 180, is up nearly 7% over last year. The number with scores between 170 and 174 is up 1%, and the number with scores between 165 and 169 is up more than 6%.

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