Rankings don’t matter?
Try telling that to any student choosing a law school.
In a survey published today (April 29) by Kaplan Test Prep of pre-law students, 84% of respondents agreed that rankings played an important role in helping them decide where to go to law school.
Prospective students rated academic quality (99%), bar passage rates (95%), and job placement results (94%) as the key factors that should be weighed in law school rankings. The survey was conducted by Kaplan in February of this year.
MORE THAN HALF OF RESPONDENTS EXPECT TO GO INTO HOCK FOR $50K OR MORE TO PAY FOR THEIR JD
The Kaplan survey also found that 55% of respondents expected to bear at least $50,000 of debt to finance their law school education, with 17% anticipating a debt load of $100,000 or more.
The critical sway that rankings hold over applicants didn’t surprise Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs at Kaplan Test Prep. Talk to any law student and most will eventually admit that where a law school placed in the rankings was one of the biggest reasons they enrolled in a particular JD program.
Thomas warns students to dig deeper into the data to find the right academic and cultural fit. “We tell students that the rankings can serve as good aggregate sources of data around job placement stats, academic life and other considerations, but ultimately each law school applicant should enroll in a JD program that is the best overall ‘fit’ for the individual’s professional, financial, and lifestyle goals and needs.”
This is the most recent survey from Kaplan Test Prep. Kaplan also has found that pre-law students wanted a sense of purpose, practical experience, and lower tuition and law school admissions officers expected to cut class sizes in 2014.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to tune in on Tuesday, April 29, at 8 PM ET for a special edition of Kaplan’s live, online talk show about legal issues, which will feature the release of Above the Law’s 2014 law school rankings. To attend, click here.
For additional insights, check out the following articles:
U.S. News’ 2015 Law School Rankings
Law Schools Where Grads Get Jobs
Which Schools Lead in Law School Debt