Is The GRE Improving Diversity?

Law schools are increasingly accepting the GRE in hopes of reaching a wider applicant base. Question is, how exactly is the GRE improving diversity in the law school world?

LSAT vs. GRE

For one, the LSAT and GRE differ in what exactly they test for.

“The LSAT is unique in that it is really a wholly skills-based test,” Glen Stohr, an LSAT test prep instructor with Kaplan, tells WBUR. “It is logic, reading and reasoning that you’re applying to the questions.”

On the other hand, the GRE includes quantitative reasoning sections that test for math skills, according to US News.

And whereas the LSAT is only offered six times per year, the GRE is offered year-round. On top of that, the GRE can be retaken once every 21 days up to five times a year, according to US News.

When it comes to logistics of the exam, the GRE is more accessible for students.

“Accepting the GRE is part of a larger strategy here in our office to be constantly innovating and thinking about ways to make a Harvard Law School education more accessible to any applicant,” Kristi Jobson, the assistant dean for admissions at Harvard Law tells WBUR.

OPENING THE DOORS

When the University of Arizona Law School became the first law school to accept the GRE in 2016, it was a controversial decision.

Many critics said the decision was a front to increase revenue and attract more candidates. Since then, over two-dozen law schools have followed in the University of Arizona’s footsteps.

And many have reported positive results from the decision to switch to the GRE.

According to Marc L. Miller, dean of University of Arizona’s Law School, the first year of the GRE saw 35 applications with a GRE score. From that class, the law school matriculated 12 students. In 2018, the number of applications grew to 70 with 18 matriculations.

“We had demand right from the beginning,” Miller tells WBUR.

At Harvard Law, officials report positive results as well. In the two years since opening its doors to the GRE, the law school has seen an increase in international applicants with more significant work experience and an increase in applicants from underrepresented racial minority groups.

“It seems to be working for us,” Jobson, the assistant admissions dean, tells WBUR.

Sources: WBUR, US News, Princeton Review