Evidence: The Trump Bump is Real
There’s finally evidence that Trump Bump is real for law schools.
Kaplan Test Prep’s 2018 Law School Admissions Officers Survey found an overwhelming 87% of admissions officers report that the current political climate in the US was a “significant factor” in the recent bump in law school applications.
“We’ve seen significant jumps in both LSAT takers and law school applications over the past admissions cycle, which has fueled speculation about how much impact, if any, the 2016 election and subsequent political climate has had on this year’s law school admissions landscape. We now have an answer: It’s significant. The bump is real,” Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs of Kaplan Test Prep, tells the National Jurist.
Politics Is Good For Business
The survey included 121 law schools.
Among the 87% who reported the current political climate as a “significant factor” in application increases, 30% also described it as a “very significant” factor.
In a separate coinciding survey of pre-law students, 45% say that the current political climate impacted their decision to apply law school. That’s up from 32% who reported the same reason last year.
52% of pre-law students say they plan to use their law degree to advocate for political or public policy issues they are passionate about. Additionally, it’s important to note that politics isn’t just influencing why students are choosing to pursue law degrees, but where. 46% of pre-law students say attending a law school where students share similar political or social belief is an important factor to where they decide to attend.
“Throughout 2017 and into 2018, there were significant increases in both LSAT® takers and law school applications over the previous admissions cycle, which has fueled speculation about how much impact the political climate had on the law school admissions landscape. We now have an answer: according to both law schools and aspiring lawyers it’s meaningful. Politics is good for business,” Thomas says.
Admissions Officers Warn Against Politics
Many admissions officers surveyed by Kaplan warned against applicants solely applying to law school due to politics.
““Be careful about that, because the current political climate will change. Instead of worrying about that, focus more on the problems that you want to solve,” one admissions officer says. “Be specific about the problems in society or the corporate world or whatever you want to solve, and think about how best to do that.”
Thomas says applicants should look deeper when deciding why they want to pursue a law degree.
“As law school admissions officers point out, caring about politics alone is generally not a strong enough reason to attend law school, as politics changes quickly,” Thomas says. “We continue to advise pre-law students to be introspective about their reasons for applying and future-looking about what they plan to do with a JD in the long term.”