Law Schools

This law school will accept the GRE from applicants; will others follow?

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Would-be lawyers applying to the University of Arizona College of Law have an alternative to the Law School Admission Test.

The school has announced it will accept either the Graduate Record Examination or the LSAT, report the National Law Journal (sub. req.), the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

The decision relies on a study finding that performance on the GRE reliably predicted 1L grades for University of Arizona law students. Nearly 100 current and recent graduates of the law school took the GRE in November; the results were compared with their first-year grades.

The University of Arizona College of Law is the first to accept either test, but other law schools may follow suit. The Wake Forest University School of Law and the University of Hawaii School of Law are both studying how well the GRE measures law school success.

The University of Arizona College of Law is forwarding the GRE study results to the ABA. Its law school accreditation standards require law schools to use a “valid and reliable admission test” in admissions.

Law dean Marc Miller told the National Law Journal that the GRE offers several advantages for applicants. It is administered year-round (compared to four times a year for the LSAT), and scores are available immediately (compared to about three weeks after the exam for the LSAT).

The University of Arizona will also benefit, Miller said, because it could make the school appealing to those who want to pursue joint degrees without investing time to prepare for the LSAT. He also said the test is often taken during students’ junior year of college, giving them more time to consider applying to the school.

Jeff Thomas, executive director of prelaw programs at Kaplan Test Prep, suggested another benefit in a Wall Street Journal interview. “The GRE is regarded as the easier test,” he said.

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