Tipping the Scales

Cornell Law Apps Drop 27% Since 2011

by Jeff Schmitt on

Cornell Law School

Cornell Law School

Applications to Cornell University’s Law School, one of the best and most prestigious JD programs in the U.S., plunged 27% in the past three years from 2011 to 2013, according to The Cornell Daily Sun.

According to school figures, applications fell from 5,556 in 2011 to 4,054 in 2013. This slump coincides with a plunge in law school applications nationwide.

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC), which administers the LSAT, had previously issued figures showing that applications plunged 36% from 2010-2013, from 602,300 applicants to 385,400. These figures also coincide with a 45% drop in students taking the LSAT since 2009.

Despite the application decline, Cornell Law has continued to maintain its status at one of the best schools in the nation.. According to recent figures from U.S. News and World Report, Cornell Law ranks #13 among American law schools, with an enrollment of 596 full-time students. Their acceptance rate remains under 30%, with a 76.1% placement rate for students after nine months of graduation. Graduates also average a median starting salary of $160,000 in the private sector and $62,467 in the public sector.

And that optimism has carried over to administrators and students. Jane Levy, senior associate director and prelaw advisor at Cornell Career Services, believes fewer applicants is a boon to would-be students. “With such a significant decline in the applicant pool, applicants seem to be faring somewhat better in the admissions process and in receiving scholarships.”

Drew Singer, a 2L, also sees a silver lining in hard times. “…Students are beginning to realize that law school is too hard, too expensive, and potentially too unrewarding to endeavor if they do not really love the law. I think in the future, this culling of all but those who really love the law will strengthen law school classes and ultimately the profession.”

Singer also isn’t intimidated by the prospect of competing with other graduates for fewer jobs. “If anyone in this market is getting jobs, it is the people at the very top schools…As perceptions change and the recovery gains more steam, I think legal employers will certainly look to hire more young, bright minds.”

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