Over the 14 years since I have graduated from law school and worked in the law school admission world, things have changed. In the last 2 to 3 years, I have seen significant advantages for law school applicants who are knowledgeable, savvy, and who have seriously considered their decision to go to law school.
Law schools have responded to the significant downturn in the applicant pool, and deserving applicants are reaping the rewards. In this article for Pre-Law Magazine, I explain 7 recent trends in law school admissions: 6 of them benefit law school hopefuls, and 1 hurts them. Here’s the overview, but check out Pre-Law for the full analysis:
1. Applications are down
Each trend has changed for the same reason: application numbers are down. In the two previous years, applications are down 38 percent. This works in applicants’ favor; I have seen people get into schools who would have never been competitive previously. This doesn’t mean unqualified applicants are being admitted to top law schools, but it means that the chances of a good applicant are better.
2. Less emphasis on rolling admissions
Law schools are filling their classes more slowly, so there is no problem with taking or retaking the LSAT in December and applying in January.
3. More interviews
More law schools are incorporating interviews into the application process. These are great for law schools to gauge interest, but they are great for applicants because they provide another opportunity to show your sincere interest.
4. Waiting lists: not what they used to be
Being placed on a waiting list is not a rejection. It’s an invitation to make it clear you are sincerely interested in attending and update the information in your application. Schools are admitting a large part of their classes from the waiting lists.
5. More scholarships
Even many public schools are finding ways to reduce their tuitions. Law school applicants should be concerned about the debts they will carry, and scholarships are enticing. Schools are also more open to scholarship negotiation, when it is done carefully.
6. Recruiting through deposit season
Schools tend to get nervous around July, and the admissions cycle is not over until you actually start school. You may be offered scholarships or be admitted off the waitlist up until the beginning of Orientation.
7. Overly involved parents
This is the only trend that has not been directly benefitting applicants. You are applying to a school for professionals, so you need to appear professional. Bringing your parent to a tour, forum, or recruiting event is bad form.