With the overall number of applicants to accredited law schools down 34 percent from their peak in 2010, schools are doing whatever they can to keep attendance up and stay financially sustainable. The National Law Journal is reporting that “at least 25 schools” will be accepting scores from the recently administered June 10th LSAT for fall admissions. This bucks the usual trend of February’s test being the last opportunity for students hoping to enroll in the fall.
Last year, Stetson University College of Law drew criticism for accepting June LSAT scores, with many calling the decision an act of desperation. This year, more schools have followed suit, including The University of Alabama School of Law (ranked #21 by U.S. News & World Report) and University of North Carolina School of Law (ranked #31).
With an increasing number of schools accepting June test scores for fall admissions, Kaplan’s annual survey will try to get a better handle on how many law schools have relaxed their admissions process when they poll law school admissions officials next year.
This most recent administration of the LSAT saw 5 percent fewer people taking the test than last year, and although it did mark a slightly lower drop than the previous four administrations, law school applications don’t show signs of increasing any time soon.
According to the director of pre-law programs for Kaplan Test Prep, Jeff Thomas, “students are much more introspective about the decision to apply and go to law school.”
When it comes to the acceptance of June LSAT scores Thomas says, “This is a relatively new phenomenon. This is the first year I have heard of schools explicitly stating as a policy that they would consider June LSAT scores.” He goes on to suggest a bleak economic impact, saying, “Accepting June LSAT scores means that schools haven’t filled their classes and they don’t have revenue up the level they wanted or think they need. That means they won’t be giving out many merit-based scholarships.”
As a result, students hoping to secure financial aid might be best served to wait another year before applying to law school. And, as far as law schools relaxing admission standards, we’ll see if more institutions continue to follow suit in an attempt to secure applications from an increasingly small pool of potential students.