Kaplan Test Prep recently conducted a survey revealing 54 percent of law school admissions officers have reportedly cut the number of students to be offered admission for the 2013-2014 school year.
In addition to these cuts, there has been a decrease in law school applications overall — from 602,300 applicants in 2010 to 385,400 in 2013 nationwide. According to Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs for Kaplan Test Prep, the slash in admissions is reflective of the drop in applications, especially since applying to law school has been historically tied with the overall performance of the economy.
“It has been a good option to make people more marketable,” Thomas said. “So when the economy went bad in 2007 to 2008, more people rushed to law school with the hope of graduating in three years with a highly marketable degree.”
Recent economic recovery, however, has resulted in a drop in applicants to law schools across the country. With that drop has come fewer qualified law school candidates, fewer admitted law school students and lower admissions rates, Thomas said.
In light of this, educators, like pre-law advisor for the College of Letters and Science Miguel Morán-Lanier, are saying law schools will now have to compensate for the recent shift in the applicant pool.
“The challenge facing law schools now is how they are going to maintain their standards of admission with less applicants,” Morán-Lanier said.
According to Morán-Lanier, in order to apply to any American Bar Association-accredited law school, a prospective law student must pass the Law School Admissions Test with a satisfactory score, which varies depending on the school.
“You can get into law school with any undergraduate degree,” Morán-Lanier said. “Law schools look at students holistically, but LSAT scores and grade point average are very important to admissions.” Morán-Lanier continued to say that students, such as third year pre-law transfer Alejandro Diehl, who hopes to go to law school after graduation, are concerned about what the drop in acceptances means for them.
“It bothers me because I stand less of a chance of going to law school and getting something out of it,” Diehl said. “But I’m still going to try.”
Last year, 389 UCSB undergraduates applied to law school, as opposed to the 484 who applied during the 2009 to 2010 school year, according to data collected by Communications Manager for Kaplan Test Prep Russell Schaffer. Schaffer said other University of California campuses showed similar trends.
“No school has been immune to the drop,” he said.
A version of this article appeared on page 4 of Thursday October 17th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
[Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Thomas as Jay Thomas. The Kaplan Executive Director of Pre-Law Programs is, in fact, Jeff Thomas.]