America’s political climate is fueling applications to law schools, a new survey by Kaplan Test Prep finds.
Kaplan surveyed more than 100 law schools across the US. The survey found that 84% of admissions officers believe the current political climate was a significant factor in this past admissions cycle’s increase of 3.3% in law school applications. In 2018, 87% of admissions officers reported that the political climate was the reason behind the nearly nine percent increase in applications – one of the first significant increases in the wake of the Great Recession.
“Since 2017, we’ve seen increases in both LSAT takers and law school applications, which has fueled speculation about how much impact the political climate is having on the law school admissions landscape,” Jeff Thomas, executive director of admissions programs, Kaplan Test Prep, says. “At Kaplan, we thought it would be worth securing hard data on the issue and tracking this for subsequent cycles. We now have an answer: the impact remains significant and appears to have staying power,” “As law school admissions officers point out, caring about politics alone is not a strong enough reason to attend law school. Your career in law will outlive any particular presidency. A term in the House lasts two years, law school lasts three years, and a presidency can be as short as four years, but your career will last decades. That’s why we continue to advise pre-law students to think carefully about why they are applying and what they plan to do with their degree in the long term.”
POLITICS CAN CHANGE QUICKLY
While many applicants are using politics as a driving factor behind pursuing their law degrees, experts say that shouldn’t be the only reason why one should attend law school.
“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.”