What To Know About This Year’s Competitive Admissions Cycle

With the number of law school applications up nearly 13% for this fall, law schools across the nation are overenrolled.

Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach and contributor at US News, recently broke down the important essentials and implications of this competitive application cycle.


This year, many law schools exceeded their capacities for students. Overbooked schools, such as Columbia Law School and Duke University School of Law, are asking accepted admits to defer their enrollment by offering them anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000.

For those who do choose to defer their enrollment, experts stress spending your deferral year by adding a job, volunteer work, or additional education to your resume.

“Rather than asking the question, why would I not want to enroll this fall (online classes, economy, etc.), ask yourself the question: what do I gain by enrolling a year from now?,” Mike Spivey, founder of Spivey Consulting, writes.


Given that many law schools will enroll more students than usual this year, Kuris says there will be more competition for incoming law students.

“On the one hand, law schools may have more students than usual, which will mean increased competition for jobs, clerkships and other opportunities,” Kuris writes. “On the other hand, the legal sector is generally in good shape economically, and new social justice initiatives may increase opportunities in public interest law.”


Experts say that it’s still too early to tell what this application surge will mean for the coming year.

“In the past, application surges due to economic and political events like recessions and protests tended to fade quickly,” Kuris writes. “Applications may decrease as the economy recovers and new jobs open up. Plus, the competitiveness of the prior cycle may scare off potential applicants.”

Rather than get hung up on the odds for getting accepted, Kuris recommends that applicants focus on aspects that they can control.

“Since law school applications are rolling, it is ideal to apply early in the season, like September or October,” she writes. “If LSAT scores are a concern, develop a consistent, multi-month study plan and anticipate retaking the test if needed.”

Sources: US News, Reuters, NY Times, Spivey Consulting

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