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Important Things to Know About Changing Law School Admission Trends

Law school admission has always been competitive, but a lot has changed in recent years, largely from the pandemic. Here's what to know about these shifts.

Law school admission is difficult—there’s no doubt about that. The whole process can be overwhelming and stressful but ultimately worth it for those who love law. But the coronavirus pandemic has radically changed the landscape of law admission for future students. If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed by recent changes to the LSAT—the official exam for law school admission—and other shifting trends, you’re not alone. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of these changes as well as what you need to know going into the law school admission process.

The pandemic’s effect on law school admission

In 2021, there was an exponential increase in the number of law school applicants in the US. Economic uncertainty led to a heightened interest in law, which resulted in more qualified candidates making their way to law school. A more competitive atmosphere led to higher-than-average LSAT scores for competing applicants. According to LSAC.org, there was a 35% increase in the number of applicants with scores in the 85th percentile or higher.

Changes to the LSAT

One of the biggest changes for law school applicants is the LSAT, which is no longer taken in a testing center. Instead, it’s administered online through your computer. Now, you can take the exam in the comfort of your own home or any other location that works best for you.

In response to the effects of the pandemic, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) also decided to replace their standard five-section test with the new three-part LSAT-Flex test. Although the LSAT-Flex exam is much shorter than the original LSAT, the LSAC states this isn’t the reason for a dramatic increase in average test scores. Instead, they cite the preparedness of test takers. The pandemic left of us with more free time on our hands. Many law school hopefuls wisely chose to use this time to prepare themselves for their upcoming exams, resulting in higher-than-average test scores.

Related: When Is the Best Time to Apply to Law School?

Current law school admission trends

As of February 2022, admission representatives have noted a sharp decline in the number of law school applications, resulting in a less competitive cycle. But seeing as 2021 was one of the most competitive years ever, it’s likely admission will still be more competitive in upcoming years than it was pre-pandemic. Last cycle’s record-breaking year will continue to impact the competitiveness of this cycle. Law schools will be under pressure to make more admits to keep up with last year’s larger class sizes.

These factors all contribute to some competitive run-off from last year’s admission cycle amid a less competitive admission atmosphere in general. But the good news is that if you’re a strong applicant with a high LSAT score and an impressive GPA, chances are high that law schools will make room for you in their programs. It’s anticipated that law schools will be offering more prospective students these newly available slots on their waitlist.

Related: Quick Advice for Future Law Students, From Law Students

Increasing your chances of admission

So, how can you make your law school applications stand out during another competitive admission cycle? Here are a few tips to help increase your chances of being admitted to law school.

Prepare for the LSAT

Your LSAT score is one of the most important factors that can make or break your law school application. According to LSAC.org, the top-scoring students who took the June 2020 LSAT spent an average of 252 hours studying for the exam. This equates to about three hours per day every day for three months straight. If you want to make sure you nail the LSAT and get into the law school of your dreams, do yourself a favor and get back to studying!

Apply to multiple schools

One of the best ways to increase your chances of being admitted to law school is to apply to multiple institutions. This might seem like a no-brainer, but plenty of people overlook the importance of sending applications to a wide range of schools. To boost your chances of success, it’s a good idea to apply to eight to 10 different law schools. You should select three highly competitive schools a bit above your LSAT scores and GPA, three realistic options that fall in line with your scores, and three safe options with acceptance averages below your scores. Using this as a guideline, you’ll boost your chances of being accepted by one or more institutions, and you might even land an appealing scholarship!

Polish your application essay

Another important factor that can make your law school application stand out is taking the time to craft the best possible admission essay or personal statement. Reflecting on your life experiences is a great way to help admission committees get to know you better. Make sure your essays feature what it is that makes you unique as an individual. When it comes to writing a solid application essay, you should use language that’s vivid and descriptive to ensure you captivate your audience. 

Related: 9 Personal Statement Tips for Law School Applicants

The law school admission process is a long and arduous one, but it’s worth it. By taking the time to prepare for the LSAT and keeping up with current admission trends, you’ll ensure you’re well prepared for the application cycle and more likely to gain admission to a top school. No matter what happens along your journey to law school, stay motivated and remember your end goal.

Ready to find the law school of your dreams? Use our Graduate School Search tool to discover the best-fit program for you. 

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About Chloe Niel

Chloe Niel is an experienced educator who teaches at NYC LSAT Tutor, an organization that provides tutoring for the LSAT exam and law school admission process.

 

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