Kaplan Survey: Law Schools Predict the 2021-2022 Admissions Cycle to Be Another Hyper Competitive One

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

Press Contact: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 917.822.8190
Twitter: @KaplanEdNews

New York, NY (November 8, 2021) ⁠— The 2020-2021 law school admissions cycle saw the largest year-over-year number of applicants in nearly 20 years and law school admissions officers predict this trend likely won’t reverse itself this current cycle, finds a new Kaplan survey*. Of the admissions officers at 90 American Bar Association-accredited law schools that Kaplan surveyed, 78 percent predict that the number of applicants will either stay at last cycle’s elevated volume (45 percent) or increase (33 percent.) Only 22 percent of law schools believe there will be a decrease in applicants. Admissions officers shared the following anecdotes about why they believe we’re in for another year of high applicant volume:

- “I suspect we’ll see some carryover from the students who applied late last cycle and didn’t receive admissions offers because rosters were full.”

- “If the pandemic and the new variants are brought under control, then we will see a leveling off of application volume to law school. If not, we will continue to see an increase in people interested in law school, especially in the areas of public policy, constitutional law and healthcare law.”

- “Test taker registration shows the possibility of yet another increase.”

Just how competitive did the application surge make the admissions process last year and what does that foretell about this cycle?

Sometimes Great Isn’t Good Enough: According to the survey, 72 percent say that they rejected more applicants with what they consider to be high LSAT® scores than they did in the previous cycle. 

Buyer’s Remorse: 40 percent of admissions officers expressed concern that law schools nationwide accepted too many students. One respondent said, “We have to be careful not to fall back into old admission practices that could potentially lead to an over-saturated legal employment market.” This was a major problem during The Great Recession, which officially occurred between 2007 and 2009, but whose effects were felt for years after

The Fight for Funds is Intense: Compared to applicants who enrolled in fall 2021, 55 percent of law schools say applicants enrolling in 2022 will receive less scholarship money; 38 percent say the level will stay the same, while only 7 percent say it will increase.

“A struggling economy and general societal malaise often lead to a surge in law school applicants, but COVID’s impact on the admissions landscape is unprecedented and will be felt for years. With such high interest, it is not a buyer’s market. A strong LSAT score, which previously almost always guaranteed you a ticket to a top law school, isn’t enough anymore. What this all means is that now you need an extra strong score and extra strong law school application overall,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director of legal programs, Kaplan. “Applicants should also keep in mind that competition for merit-based scholarships remains fierce, as funds are limited to only the highest performing prospective students. We encourage everyone who wants to become a lawyer to continue on this career trajectory, but they should prepare accordingly for a more rigorous admissions process.”  

For more information or to schedule an interview with a law school admissions expert, contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 917.822.8190. 

*Based on the results of a Kaplan e-survey conducted between August 2021 and September 2021 of 90 American Bar Association-accredited law schools. Among the 90 law schools surveyed are 16 of the top 25, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

LSAT® is a registered trademark of the Law School Admission Council, Inc. which does not review or endorse specific test preparation materials or services.

About Kaplan

Kaplan is a global educational services company that provides individuals, universities, and businesses with a diverse array of services, including higher and professional education, test preparation, language training, corporate and leadership training, student recruitment, online enablement and other university support services. With operations in nearly 30 countries, Kaplan serves nearly 1.1 million students each year and has partnerships with 2,000-plus universities, colleges, schools/school districts and more than 4,000 businesses globally. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). For more information, please visit www.kaplan.com.   

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