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September 27, 2011
Applications Are Down At Law Schools - Does It Matter?
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting on the drop in law school applicants nationally and at law schools located in Minneapolis. The latest statistics from the Law School Admissions Council shows an 18.7% drop in LSATs administered in June of 2011 compared to the numbers from 2010. There were 32,973 test takers then with 26,812 test takers for this year. This continues the trend of dropping numbers of test takers that began in October 2010. The number of law school applicants dropped by 9.9% with 78,900 applicants for seats in the fall 2011 class compared to 87,500 applicants for Fall 2010. In contrast, the Fall 2010 number was up 1900 applications from 2009.
Are law schools hurting because of this? I don’t think so, at least from an admissions standpoint. The Star Tribune states that 3,500 people applied to be students for this fall’s class at the University of Minnesota, up from the 2,700 who applied in 2006. The latest figures from the Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools shows a class size of 752 with the first year class seats at 259. That’s more than 10 applicants per seat. If the national figures show a dent in applications, they do not seem to breach the school’s comfort level for assembling a quality student body. Don’t cry for me, Minnesota.
Nor has the downward trend in applications stopped other law schools from popping up. Belmont College in Tennessee opened its College of Law for business this fall. The incoming class is 130, 30 more than the school predicted. The average LSAT is 154 compared to the predicted 152. The law school at Belmont College is in Nashville and competes for students with the Nashville School of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School.
It’s easy to make the connection that the bad publicity on the lack of jobs, the lower salaries for the law jobs that do exist, and, of course, the crushing average debt a law graduate carries is giving people second thoughts about applying to law school. The trend will have to carry a lot further before law schools start getting worried. [MG]
Of course, those law schools that are trying to keep their LSATs up for the US News rankings are hurting. If they admit students with lower scores, their rankings go down.
Posted by: Jim Milles | Sep 27, 2011 2:26:04 PM