Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Pre-Law Students Put Heavy Emphasis on U.S. News & World Report’s Rankings, but Most Law School Admissions Officers Want Them Gone

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Press Contacts: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
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New York, NY (March 15, 2016) – With U.S. News & World Report set to announce its annual law school rankings at 12:01 am on Wednesday, March 16, both aspiring law school students and anxious law school deans will be clicking the refresh button on the rankings page into the wee hours of the morning. But the two audiences have different motivators, as Kaplan Test Prep surveys find a wide gap between how law schools and their future students feel about the rankings and the role they play in the admissions process.

According to a Kaplan survey of over 1,000 pre-law students, 73% say U.S. News & World Report’s law school rankings will be an important factor in their decision of where to apply and enroll.* But most law school admissions officers think rankings should play a less important role.  A separate Kaplan survey of 120 law schools across the United States shows that only 40% think U.S. News & World Report’s rankings should be an important factor in future applicants’ decision making processes.** In fact, over half (52%) of admissions officers agree with the statement, “I think it would be in everyone’s interests – prospective students, current students, alumni and school administrators – if there were no rankings lists at all.” In contrast, only 31% of pre-law students share the view that the rankings should be done away with.

“The U.S. News & World Report rankings have long been a part of the law school admissions process and can be helpful for aspiring attorneys as an aggregate source of data around job placement statistics, student population, academic life, and other areas of interest. But one thing we’ve acutely observed is that the actual rank ordering is often more important to law school administrators and their alumni than it should be for applicants,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “We do understand why the rankings remain so important to students though, as there’s a strong correlation between a school’s ranking and starting salary. That matters a great deal to those eager to pay off their student loans. But there are so many more important factors that should go into choosing the right law school. For law schools, rankings matter because they know a high position not only attracts the strongest applicants, but also because it’s a powerful tool in securing alumni donations.  Conversely, when a law school’s place in the rankings drop, law school administrators’ jobs can be in jeopardy. Unfortunately, that’s the dark side to it.”

To speak with a Kaplan Test Prep expert on how prospective law school students can best use the rankings as part of the admissions process, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

*From an e-survey conducted between October 2015 and February 2016 of 1,029 pre-law students who took a Kaplan LSAT® course. The LSAT is a trademark of the Law School Admission Council, which is not affiliated with this survey or Kaplan Test Prep.

**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.

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 offers new economy skills training (NEST) programs and resources designed to provide training in skills that are in high demand in today’s job market and prepare participants for hire.

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