Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Majority of Law Schools Predict Application Bump in Current Cycle, But They Also Predict at Least One Law School Will Shut Down

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Press Contact: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538 Twitter: @KapTestNews@KaplanLSATPrep

New York, NY (September 22, 2015) — According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2015 survey of admissions officers at 120 law schools across the United States*, the vast majority of law school admissions officers predict that they are going to see something they haven’t seen in many years: an increase in applications. Nearly nine in 10 (88%) are confident that their law school will see a spike for the 2015-2016 application cycle, compared to the previous cycle. This level of optimism represents a dramatic reversal of opinion from Kaplan’s 2014 survey when only 46% expressed confidence that their law school would see an increase in applications over the previous cycle.  That spike that nearly half predicted didn’t come to fruition. In fact, the 2014 entering law school class was the smallest one in 40 years.

But current data from the Law School Admission Council, the organization that writes the LSAT®, shows that admissions officers might be onto something. For three consecutive administrations of the LSAT — December 2014, February 2015, and June 2015 — the number of LSAT takers increased, compared to the previous year. This is a pattern not seen since the 2009-2010 cycle, during the Great Recession.

Kaplan’s survey also found that just 35% of law schools cut the number of seats for their 2015 class of first-year students, much lower than the 54% who reported doing so for the 2014 class of 1Ls.

“Something feels different about this application cycle to law school admissions officers, and those sentiments are backed up by some key data points regarding the number of LSAT takers,” says Jeff Thomas, director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “The job market continues to be competitive for new law school graduates, which no doubt weighs heavily on the minds of prospective applicants, so any turnaround will likely be slow to build.”

“We are hearing from students who have put off applying to law school for a few years, so applicants are a bit older and seem to have fully investigated the pros and cons of law school and legal careers,” said Stephen Brown, assistant dean of enrollment at Fordham University School of Law, commenting on an application trend he sees.

It’s not all good news though. Law school admissions officers say the past few years of slumping applications are taking its toll — 87% predict at least one law school will close its doors over the next few years due to financial insolvability.  

For more information about Kaplan’s law school admissions officers survey, contact russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

* For the 2015 survey, 120 of the 205 American Bar Association-accredited law schools were polled by telephone between August and September 2015. Included among the 120 are 17 of the top 30 law schools, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

LSAT® is a registered trademark of the Law School Admission Council, which neither sponsors nor endorses this product.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) 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 as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses.  Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services. Additionally, Kaplan operates new economy skills training (NEST) bootcamps designed to provide immersive training in skills that are in high demand in today’s job market and prepare participants for hire.

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