Kaplan Bar Review Survey: Law School Graduates Want Law Schools to Raise Their Admissions Standards

Also: Most Law School Grads Feel Underwaterin Debt; Split on Online Learning

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

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

New York, NY (April 12, 2017) — Law schools might want to reconsider who they let in…according to their own alumni. A new Kaplan Bar Review survey of nearly 350 recent law school graduates shows that almost two-thirds (64 percent) think law schools should raise their academic standards—which would include higher LSAT® scores and GPAs—when deciding who gets in*.

These results come at a time of both introspection and infighting among law schools about who’s to blame for the low bar passage rates for some state bar-specific exams and the lowest Multistate Bar Examination scores in recorded history. In recent years, many law schools have begun to admit students with lower LSAT scores and GPAs than they previously had because of the multiyear slump in applications. In addition, to boost application numbers and diversify the pool of prospective students, a handful of law schools now allow applicants to submit scores from the GRE®— the exam traditionally used for graduate schools and more recently business schools— instead of the LSAT, though the jury is still out on what the results may be.

“There’s a certain irony to our survey results,” says Tammi Rice, vice president, Kaplan Bar Review. “On one hand, law school graduates recognize that perhaps getting into law school has become easier than in previous years, but on the other hand, though they may not realize it, these lower academic standards might have played a role in why they got in. With the number of LSAT administrations on the upswing this cycle, some law schools may have more applicants to choose from, which means they might become more selective. This is a trend we plan to continue watching.”

The survey also found that among law school graduates who carry student debt, 42 percent described the amount as “manageable,” but 58 percent described it as “unmanageable.” Exactly 50 percent of law school graduates say they are satisfied with the amount of financial aid their alma mater provided them, while the other half of law school graduates say they are not satisfied.

Additionally, Kaplan Bar Review found that recent law school graduates are split on the issue of increasing the number of distance (online) credit hours that law schools be allowed to offer, currently capped at 15. Of those surveyed, 50 percent think the American Bar Association, the organization that accredits the nation’s more than 200 law schools, should “significantly increase” the number of credit hours, while 50 percent are against it. In 2014, the ABA upped the permitted number from 12 hours to 15 hours. Schools that are out of compliance with the ABA on this rule, or any, might risk losing their accreditation.

“Student debt continues to understandably be a concern for law school students. We encourage all students and prospective students to be as thoughtful as possible when thinking about how to finance their legal education. For instance, consider tuition, and anticipated starting salary at the law school you plan to attend or are currently attending. Those numbers are publicly available and aspiring attorneys should do this important research,” added Rice.

For a short video illustrating the results of the survey, click here.

To schedule an interview about Kaplan Bar Review’s survey results, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

*Kaplan Bar Review conducted the survey via email in February 2017. It includes responses from 346 law school graduates from the class of 2016.

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

About Kaplan Bar Review

Kaplan Bar Review (www.kaplanbarreview.com) provides full-service bar review programs in 51 jurisdictions (all 50 states and Washington, DC). Additionally, Kaplan Bar Review offers supplemental preparation for the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).

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