The landscape of law school admission is dramatically changing, thanks especially to the recent Supreme Court decision overturning affirmative action in educational settings. This has – and will have – a significant impact on all law school applicants. Here are the top 5 impacts on law school applicants:
- It will be harder to get a “diversity” or “URM” boost from applications. Simply checking a box as belonging to a historically marginalized group will not add to your application.
- Law schools are offering more essay topics. This is a chance to share obstacles overcome or diverse perspectives you offer that might otherwise not be known to law school – especially without boxes to check. However, this also means a lot more work for each application, so give yourself more time to complete applications than you might’ve expected.
- Law schools are increasingly relying on a form of interview. This might include online recorded interview interfaces (such as Kira), the opportunity to submit a short video response, and/or zoom or phone interviews.
- Expect to wait longer for admission decisions. With more materials to review, applicants can expect it will take longer for law schools to make decisions.
- There will be waiting lists galore as schools review how their classes are balanced and wait for applications that will come in later (due to lack of a December 2023 LSAT and people relying on the January 2024 LSAT exam.
Not all the news is bad for applicants however. Here are two ways the changes are going to benefit law school applicants:
- Less reliance on rolling admissions. It’s going to be perfectly fine, for almost all law schools outside of the top 10 or so, to apply with a January LSAT score.
- More opportunity to share different aspects of who you are through additional essays and to shine during an interview.
As you consider whether to apply this year or wait until next year, based on the unpredictability of this year’s cycle, here are two things to consider:
- You can apply this year and – if you’re unhappy with the results – reapply the following year. Yes, even to the same schools. Although you would update your materials, you’re at no disadvantage as a re-applicant.
- If you haven’t had time to prepare adequately for your standardized test (LSAT or GRE) and you would like your final year of grades to count in your application, you would be smart to wait and apply in the following cycle. This would also give you a chance to see how the numbers shake out at different schools in the post affirmative action landscape.