More law schools plan to accept GRE scores, but there's still hesitation, survey finds
In its 2017 survey of law school admissions offices, Kaplan Test Prep found that there’s a sharp increase in those planning to accept Graduate Records Examination scores from applicants.
According to answers to a survey of 128 law schools released Monday, 25 percent indicated that they plan to implement the GRE in admissions. In 2016, only 14 percent of the schools surveyed planned to add the GRE as an admissions test option along with the Law School Admissions Test.
Several law schools, including the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, Harvard Law School, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and Georgetown Law School–the largest in the nation–currently accept or are planning to accept GRE scores in admissions.
The standard regarding entrance tests for ABA-accredited law schools is under consideration by the council of the organization’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The proposed revision to Standard 503 calls for the council to establish a process that determines reliability and validity of other tests besides the LSAT. That’s a change from the current version, which directs law schools using alternate admissions tests to demonstrate that the exams are valid and reliable. The council is expected to discuss the issue in November, according to a memo (PDF) from Barry Currier, the the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education.
Among the 45 percent of respondents who recently reported to Kaplan that they had no plans to add accept GRE scores in admissions, many said they were not convinced that the test was as predictive of first-year grades as the LSAT, according to the press release. Respondents also said that they will not accept the GRE unless the council adopts the proposed standards revision.
In Kaplan’s 2016 survey, 56 percent of the law schools reported that they had no plans to accept the GRE in admissions.
Thirty percent of respondents in the 2017 survey said they were unsure about accepting GRE scores. That figure was unchanged from 2016.
“Our survey finds the clearest sign yet that there is a shift toward greater GRE acceptance among law schools, but there’s still much uncertainty since one ruling from the American Bar Association could put an end to the practice,” Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs at New Jersey-based Kaplan Test Prep, said in a press release. The business offers test preparation for the GRE and the LSAT.