Law Schools

More law school applicants with high LSAT scores are getting rejected, admissions officers say

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Law school admissions officers are becoming choosier amid a surge in law school applicants. In a survey by educational services company Kaplan, 72% of law school admissions officers said they rejected more applicants with what they consider to be high scores on the Law School Admission Test than they did in the previous cycle.

“A strong LSAT score, which previously almost always guaranteed you a ticket to a top law school, isn’t enough anymore,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director of legal programs at Kaplan, in a Nov. 8 press release. “What this all means is that now you need an extra strong score and extra strong law school application overall.”

The number of law school applicants increased nearly 13% in the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, the largest year-over-year percentage increase in applicants in nearly 20 years, according to figures released this summer and reported on by Reuters. At least six law schools have reported three-point increases in their median LSAT scores for incoming first-year classes, while another 42 schools have reported two-point increases.

Law school admissions officers don’t expect the interest in law schools to wane. Forty-five percent expected the number of applicants to stay at last cycle’s high levels, while 33% expected an increase in applicants, according to the press release.

The results are from Kaplan’s survey of admissions officers at 90 ABA-accredited law schools, including 16 of the top 25, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Other survey findings include:

• Forty percent of admissions officers expressed concern that law schools across the nation accepted too many students. “We have to be careful not to fall back into old admission practices that could potentially lead to an over-saturated legal employment market,” one respondent commented.

• Fifty-five percent of admissions officers said students who enroll in 2022 will receive less scholarship money than in the prior year, while 38% said scholarship levels will stay the same.

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