Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Over 30 Percent of Pre-Law Students Say the Results of the 2016 Election Impacted Their Decision to Apply to Law School

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

New York, NY (February 22, 2018) — The results of a new Kaplan Test Prep nationwide survey of over 500 pre-law students reveal a potential reason why the number of law school applications and LSATs® administered are up by double digits compared to last year: politics*. Nearly one third of pre-law students surveyed (32 percent) say the results of the 2016 election impacted their decision to become lawyers.

Aspiring lawyers who said the historic election did have an effect on their decision to apply to law school shared the following anecdotes:

  • “The election gave me a litmus test for how divided our country will be for the next few years and how I want to remedy that. The country needs level headed leaders and through law school, I believe that I can become one of them.”
  • “I work with refugees and new government policies have directly impacted and impeded my ability to do my job. I am interested in a law degree in order to have a new way to fight for human rights and defend those in need.”
  • “I decided to go to law school BECAUSE of the 2016 election. Somebody has to hold these politicians accountable, and it’s clearly not anyone in office right now. Also, if Hillary isn’t gonna be the first female president, then it’s going to be me.”

Others were already planning to apply to law school pre-2016, but said the election was a solidifying reason and that politics is still on their minds:

  • “I had already planned to attend law school previous to the 2016 election. President Trump’s support of the separation of powers, and his administration’s commitment to the rule of law have only further inspired me to pursue a career in the field of law.”
  • “I wanted to be a lawyer and attend law school before the 2016 election, but the results solidified to me why it was so important to gain a legal education. Prior to that election, I had never considered being a politician; however, I am now considering pursuing a career in politics after my legal education.”
  • “Although I’ve always had an interest in pursuing a legal education, I felt motivated to actually start the process. This was due to the strong desire to be part of the change, instead of waiting for changes to occur.”

“We’ve seen significant jumps in both LSAT takers and law school applications over the past admissions cycle, which has fueled speculation about how much impact, if any, the 2016 election and subsequent political climate has had on this year’s law school admissions landscape. We now have an answer: It’s significant. The bump is real,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “It’s important to note that law school has long been at the epicenter of politics, with 38 percent of House members and 55 percent of senators holding law degrees. While there are many good reasons for attending law school, our advice remains constant: Be introspective about your reasons for applying, and understand exactly how a law degree is necessary to achieve your career goals.”

But while these aspiring attorneys were open to sharing their political opinions freely in a survey, most don’t feel comfortable sharing them with their name attached to it on law school application. Just 28 percent say they are likely to discuss their political views in their law school admissions personal statements.

“Whether you’re a resister, persister, or somewhere in between, spouting your political opinions with no larger goal may alienate admissions officers who don’t agree with you or who think you didn’t use your personal statement wisely. It can show poor judgement,” added Thomas. “Only focus on politics if you can do a good job of weaving together your personal narrative and career ambitions. For instance, if you want to go into immigration law, talk about your canvassing job for an advocacy group. Otherwise, be compelling in your statements, but in a less risky way.”

For a one-minute video on Kaplan’s survey results, visit here.

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

*Based on the results of a Kaplan Test Prep e-survey conducted in December 2017 and February 2018 of 537 pre-law students who took a Kaplan LSAT course.

LSAT® is a registered trademark of Law School Admission Council, Inc. which was not affiliated with this survey.

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 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.

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