Kaplan Test Prep Survey: The GRE® Tries to Break the LSAT’s® Lock on Law School Admissions, but Most Admissions Officers Are Cool to It

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Press Contacts: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
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New York, NY (June 6, 2016) – A majority (56 percent) of law schools have no plans to adopt the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law’s controversial new policy allowing applicants to submit GRE scores instead of LSAT scores, according to a recently conducted Kaplan Test Prep survey of admissions officers at 125 law schools across the United States.* Just 14 percent say it’s something they plan to adopt, while 56 percent say it’s something they don’t plan to do. The remaining 30 percent say they are unsure. The University of Arizona’s law school announced their decision to begin accepting the GRE earlier this year after conducting research with Educational Testing Service, the GRE’s administrator. The validity of this research is now being evaluated by the American Bar Association, the organization that accredits the nation’s 200 plus law schools.

“Right now, there doesn’t seem to be any great enthusiasm by law schools to adopt the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT, which isn’t too surprising considering that law schools tend to be judicious, wanting to see all evidence and research before making an important decision like this,” says Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “What’s particularly interesting is that nearly a third of law schools say they are unsure if they will accept the GRE, as opposed to simply being against it, which suggests that the pro-GRE movement has room to grow. We’ll be watching developments closely so that pre-law students have the most accurate and up-to-date information to make good decisions.”

In a recent interview that Marc L. Miller, the dean of the University of Arizona’s law school, gave to Bloomberg Law, he stated the reason behind the admissions change was to find “a greater number of high-quality applicants with the widest range of life, educational, and professional backgrounds.” Results from Kaplan’s survey support this view. Eight in 10 admissions officers say that law schools that accept the GRE might do so because they “want a more diverse pool of applicants and students.” But admissions officers say there are other, less altruistic reasons law schools may allow applicants to submit GRE scores. Eighty-four percent say law schools that adopt the GRE may do so because they are “concerned about filling seats because of dropping/stagnant application numbers.” And 70 percent say it could be because U.S. News & World Report doesn’t yet factor GRE scores of accepted students into their rankings — this would allow law schools to admit potentially less qualified students without immediate consequences.

The survey also found that while 70% say the LSAT is the “more appropriate test” for admissions, 53% law schools don’t want the American Bar Association to explicitly mandate that law schools can only accept the LSAT; 38% would favor this, while 9% are uncertain.

“The fact that most admissions officers don’t want the ABA to prohibit schools from accepting the GRE implies that they are in favor of letting law schools experiment in new ways to help revitalize the legal education landscape,” said Thomas. “For now, our advice for pre-law students is to take the LSAT, unless the only law school you plan to apply to is the University of Arizona’s. Quick adoption of the GRE by many other law schools, especially top tier ones,  seems unlikely right now.”

To speak with a Kaplan Test Prep law school admissions expert about the survey, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

*125 of the 207 American Bar Association-accredited law schools were polled by telephone in May 2016. Included among the 125 are 15 of the top 25 law schools, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

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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 100 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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