LSAT or GRE – Which Is More Important?
Twenty law schools now accept the GRE, including Harvard, Georgetown, and Columbia among among top-ranked programs. But experts say the LSAT still matters a great deal.
Julie Ketover, a contributor at U.S. News, recently discussed in a Q&A how applicants can make the most of their funds and bolster their candidacy for law school.
The Switch To The GRE
Law schools accepting the GRE have cited the exam as a reliable indicator of students’ first-year law school grades.
For Harvard Law, the decision to accept the GRE was designed to expand access to legal education. Since the GRE is administered more frequently and in more locations than the LSAT, it opens the doors of legal education to a wider applicant pool.
In an interview with The Economist, Mike Spivey, CEO of Spivey Consulting Group, says Harvard Law’s decision to accept the GRE is a smart move for the law school.
“Harvard Law has opened up a conduit to a very small subset of people who otherwise might not be applying there, particularly people already in graduate school,” Spivey tells The Economist.
The LSAT is Still Valuable – Both for Applicants and Law Schools
While the GRE is growing in popularity, current admissions standards among ABA-accredited law schools require that “no more than 10% of an entering class may be admitted without LSAT scores, and those students must meet specific academic requirements, be undergraduates at same institution as the law school, and/or be pursuing a dual degree in another discipline,” according to The Princeton Review.
Spivey says that the GRE may potentially be less important in an application, since law schools only report the LSAT scores of their applicants to US News & World Report, which publishes annual law school rankings.
“If you have a GPA of 3.87 or higher and you apply to Harvard with the GRE, it allows the school to count the GPA and factors other than the test score higher since they will not be reporting the GRE score,” Spivey tells The Economist.
Ketover says that while law schools are accepting the GRE, the LSAT still matters – a lot.
“While many schools now accept the GRE, many still do not, and the reality is that the LSAT still matters a great deal,” she writes.
Ketover advises applicants to examine the weak areas in their application and allocate funds to improve upon those areas.
“If you notice a big gap between where you are and where you’d like to be, engage a tutor or, at the very least, take a rigorous test-preparation course to support you to bridge that gap,” Ketover writes.
Sources: U.S. News, The Princeton Review, The Economist