More and more schools are taking advantage of the American Bar Association’s decision to allow law schools to admit up to 10 percent of an incoming class with no LSAT score. Of course, like nearly all good things in life, there is a catch to the rule. Students with no LSAT score must have scored at least at the 85th national percentile in the ACT, SAT, GRE or GMAT exams. Admitted students must also graduate in the to 10 percent of their class and have a GPA of at least 3.5 on a four point scale.
If students meet all of those standards, they can be accepted into the law school at the university they attended undergrad without going through the hassle taking the LSAT. Recently, Drake University School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law and the University of Iowa College of Law have all announced that they will be accepting students without LSAT scores.
James Gardner, interim dean at University of Buffalo—SUNY School of Law, told the U.S. News it has not made admission into the school any less competitive and the students without LSAT scores have to prove their ability to succeed in law school in other ways.
Iowa’s dean, Gail Agrawal shared similar sentiments saying, “They are not guaranteed admission, but must compete with the entire applicant pool for a place in the class.” Prof. Benjamin Spencer from the University of Virginia School of Law told U.S. News he does not expect a large number of new applicants—maybe just “10 or 20 more.”
Spencer does say the rule could help by diversifying law classes. The example he gives is students who have a unique background and strong undergraduate qualifications but low LSAT scores. Often schools will not admit students who otherwise qualify because of fear of lowering class average LSAT score.
Finally, some schools see this as a way to push back against law school rankings, which emphasize LSAT scores. After all, if the ABA is less concerned with LSAT scores, perhaps the ranking systems will give those scores less weight in ranking methodology.
Source: U.S. News
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