Kaplan Issues Statement on the American Bar Association’s Recommendation on the Future of Standardized Tests in the Law School Admissions Process

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 (May 9, 2022) – The following statement about the ABA’s recent recommendation to end the standardized test requirement for law school admissions comes from Jeff Thomas, Kaplan’s executive director of legal programs:

“For a number of years, through application ups and downs, law schools have been looking for a game changer to increase or at least stabilize the number of applicants, and dropping the standardized test requirement may be the imperfect solution many are looking for. It’s important to note that if this American Bar Association committee recommendation comes to pass, something that almost happened in 2018, but ultimately sputtered, it would not eliminate standardized tests from the admissions process. Rather, it would allow individual law schools to decide what’s best for their own programs. At Kaplan, we don’t believe most law schools would decide en masse to drop the requirement. In fact, we think that many, if not most law schools would still require applicants to submit test scores, for a few major reasons:

“First and importantly, should a law school choose not to require a standardized test, it would eliminate a screening tool that could potentially result in the admission of more students who don’t graduate and/or fail the bar exam, which would put these schools at risk of losing their ABA accreditation. In that sense, standardized tests can act as quality control or ‘prepared to succeed’ mechanisms.

“Secondly, law schools find standardized tests helpful in serving as a common yardstick to measure prospective students who come from colleges of varying competitiveness. An ‘A’ at a top ranked school, for example, is not the same as an ‘A’ at a lower ranked school. Undergrads at lower ranked colleges often look to the LSAT® as a way to show admissions officers that they can perform just as well as any Ivy Leaguer, or even better.

“Finally, test scores are important factors in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, which students actively consult in deciding where to attend, and which alumni and administrators take seriously. 

“The key takeaway is that major changes to admissions policies do not happen overnight. Applicants applying to law school for the Fall of 2023 should still consider the LSAT, a central component of their admissions strategy, as it’s the only test accepted at every ABA-accredited law school. Applicants applying to start in 2024 or beyond may have other viable admissions strategies. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out for schools first.

“We’ll be tracking this issue closely over the next few months as we conduct our annual admissions officers survey, speaking with law schools directly about what their individual plans may be.”

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, and student recruitment, online enablement and other university support services. With operations in 28 countries, Kaplan serves more than 1 million students each year and has partnerships with 1,000-plus universities, colleges, and 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 http://www.kaplan.com.