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Reasons Why Applications May Be Up Next Cycle

The 2020-2021 law school admissions cycle is still a long ways away, but experts are already predicting that admissions could be way up.

Mike Spivey, of Spivey Consulting, recently indicated three predictors of why next year’s cycle could be significantly up.

“It’s incredibly early — by far the earliest prediction we have made on a future cycle,” Spivey writes. “The further out you try to predict things, the less certain they become. We didn’t plan to parse the data yet; to be as precise as possible, the data started begging us to dig in.”


Spivey notes that application volume, historically, has been inversely correlated to economic health.

And with signs pointing towards a recession, Spivey says, that means one thing: applications will go up.

“Recessions historically, and logically, mean more people are incentivized to go to graduate schools,” Spivey writes. “When employers aren’t hiring, higher education is where many flock to build their credentials until the economy improves.”


Ever since Trump was elected President, experts have noted that applications to law school have increased due to the “Trump Bump,” a phenomenon where aspiring lawyers have flocked to law school as a reaction to Trump’s extreme policies.

And Spivey notes how data shows that bumps in law school applications generally tend to happen the year after an election.

But he also notes something interesting: more younger people are starting to vote.

“Both Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to vote than prior generations were at their age,” he writes. “The bump after the 2016 election was significant, and our friends at law schools in admissions noted the huge spike in personal statements involving politics and political ideologies. Next year could be loaded with politically active law school applicants, increasing the pool anywhere from fractionally to a very large amount.”


July’s LSAT saw a 50% cancellation rate, a number that surprised many law experts.

At Spivey Consulting, experts predicted a 20% cancellation rate.

“So what happened with that extra 30%?” Spivey writes. “We do not know yet, because as we have mentioned this is indeed a unique admissions cycle versus any former cycle with more LSAT administrations, the ‘freebie’ of July, and the growing prominence of non-LSAT applicants.”

Spivey notes that by early 2020, experts should have a good idea of whether or not July test-takers are indeed set on applying for the next admission cycle.

“We are going to keep looking and keep updating,” Spivey writes. “If next cycle sees a strong increase in applications, it could be the most difficult we have seen in years.”

Sources: Spivey Consulting, Market Watch, Tipping the Scales

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