Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Aspiring Law School Students Place Rankings Above All Else

Also: Pre-Law Students Think Their Facebook Page Content
Would Help Their Law School Admissions Chances

Available for Interview: Law School Admissions Expert

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO)

Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Carina Wong, carina.wong@kaplan.com, 212.453.7571

New York, NY (November 16, 2010) – In deciding where to apply, pre-law students consider a law school’s place in the rankings more important than affordability, geographic location, its academic program – and even more important than its job placement statistics. That is what 1,383 aspiring lawyers who took the October LSAT told Kaplan Test Prep in its latest student survey, when asked “What is most important to you when picking a law school to apply to?” According to the results, 30% say that a law school’s ranking is the most critical factor, followed by geographic location at 24%; academic programming at 19%; and affordability at 12%. Only 8% of respondents consider a law school’s job placement statistics to be the most important factor. In a related question asking, “How important a factor is a law school’s ranking in determining where you will apply?” 86% say ranking is “very important” or “somewhat important” in their application decision-making.

“Our survey shows that pre-law students are heavily influenced about where to apply to law school based on rankings, likely because of the perceived benefits that come with graduating from a top-ranked program,” said Howard Bell, executive director, pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “Though generally speaking the higher a law school places in the rankings, the more earnings potential a graduate has, rankings don’t show you the entire landscape. In fact, many law schools themselves don’t think the rankings process is generally fair. Ultimately, pre-law students should enroll in the JD program that best fits their personal needs and professional goals.”

This past summer, Kaplan co-sponsored a live online event called “Inside the Law School Rankings,” with U.S. News & World Report, which gave students a more in-depth look at the rankings process. To view a recording of the event, visit www.kaptest.com/lawschoolseries.

Other results from Kaplan’s survey:

  • A Self-Assured Group: 62% of pre-law students report that if a law school admissions officer had full access to their current Facebook page that it would actually improve their chances of getting in. Also, in a separate Kaplan survey of pre-law students conducted earlier this year, 52% reported that they were “very confident” in finding a job in the legal field after graduating law school and passing the bar, but only 16% said they were “very confident” that the majority of their fellow aspiring lawyers would be as successful in that endeavor.
  • But Few Are Actually Fans: Only 4% say that they are Facebook fans of at least one law school, although most law schools have Facebook pages which they use for recruiting purposes.
  • A Recent Decision: 36% say they only decided to apply to law school within the past year; 8% of respondents say that even though they took the LSAT, they still may not end up applying at all.

For more information about Kaplan’s most recent survey of pre-law students, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com), a division of Kaplan, Inc., is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings and a complete array of books, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as English language and professional licensing exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.

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