3 Law School Admissions Trends To Expect This Cycle
Spoiler alert: It’s an applicants market. As Shawn O’Connor, admissions consultant, opines in his most recent U.S. News column, supply and demand is one of the most basic and real concepts in an economy. When the supply of a product or service decreases and the demand remains the same, the value of that product or service increases (and vice versa).
As O’Connor points out, there’s a pertinent analogy here. Law school admissions offices have a product. That product is admission to their school. The past few years have seen applications for that product decrease significantly. Still, many admissions offices are going to fill the same amount of seats they’ve always tried to fill. Simply put, the demand is low for the product so the product is less valuable.
As a result, some market trends are emerging, says O’Connor, and they’re all good for law school applicants. First, gaining admissions to law school is more attainable. According to O’Connor, many law schools have seen their class median GPAs and LSAT scores decrease. But there’s a catch to this: Competition remains fierce at the top. The very best law schools continue to be in high demand—maybe more so than ever—because of the dicey job market. Expect it to be easier to get into law school but don’t expect it to be any easier at the very best schools.
Next, O’Connor says it’s less important to apply early. In fact, it might be better to apply later. Some schools still haven’t adjusted to the lower GPAs and LSATs and have found themselves scrambling to fill spots in the spring. In one instance, O’Connor says his staff had a client aiming to get into his dream school, Fordham Law. Most years, his GPA and LSAT would have made Fordham a reach school. And he missed the spring deadline. The client called the admissions office to see if they’d consider his late application and they said yes. He was later admitted into the school.
Finally, merit-based scholarship money is more available. Not only that, but according to O’Connor, schools are more likely to negotiate scholarship offers after admittance. O’Connor had a client last year who was offered merit-based scholarships at the University of Southern California and the University of California-Los Angeles. By sharing with each school what the other offered her, she was able to increase her scholarship from USC by a whopping $30,000.
If these trends hold true, law school applications could possibly show an uptick this year simply because the product is losing value, creating an exception applicant market.
Source: U.S. News