A handful of law schools will begin accepting GRE scores instead of LSAT scores, according to a recent Kaplan Test Prep survey.
The survey, which polled admissions officers at 207 law schools in the U.S., follows a February announcement from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law that the school would begin accepting either test. The admissions officers were polled by telephone in May, and 125 responded.
The Arizona Law School announcement cited a December 2015 study by Educational Testing Service which demonstrated that within their program, the GRE was a reliable predictor of students’ first-term law school grades. Additionally, Dean Marc Miller says they hope accepting the GRE will help them to reach qualified applicants from more diverse backgrounds.
EFFORT TO DRAW MORE DIVERSE APPLICANTS, BOOST NUMBERS
The Kaplan survey asked admissions officers at other schools what they thought motivated the change, and most agreed that schools might want to accept the GRE to attract a more diverse pool of applicants.
But many also suggested other reasons, like accepting the GRE to remedy dropping or stagnant application numbers, or perhaps to admit less qualified students without dropping in rank, as U.S. News & World Report does not factor the GRE scores of accepted students in their rankings.
Fourteen percent of schools included in the Kaplan survey will follow in Arizona’s footsteps, though the survey promised anonymity and the names of the school were not released. Fifty-six percent have no plans to accept the GRE and the remaining 30 percent reported that they are still unsure.
LOYALTY TO LSAT LINGERS
The survey also found that 70 percent of admissions officers still believe the LSAT is the “more appropriate test” for admissions.
“Right now, there doesn’t seem to be any great enthusiasm by law schools to adopt the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT, which isn’t too surprising considering that law schools tend to be judicious, wanting to see all evidence and research before making an important decision like this,” says Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep.
“What’s particularly interesting is that nearly a third of law schools say they are unsure if they will accept the GRE, as opposed to simply being against it, which suggests that the pro-GRE movement has room to grow.”
In the meantime, Thomas says, he advises pre-law students to take the LSAT, unless the only school they plan to apply to is the University of Arizona.