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Top Law Schools Unable to Attract Enough Students
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University of Michigan

Summary: Students with the required LSAT scores for top-tier schools have dropped by nearly half, leaving those schools with very few options to fill even smaller class sizes.

The housing crisis of 2008 put many on edge. When the director of admissions at the University of Michigan, Sarah Zearfoss, received advice from a friend two years after the housing crisis, she knew she had to take it. The job market was suffering, especially for lawyers, so she knew the advice would help: shrink the school.

  
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As Zearfoss explained, “The single best thing we could do to help our students is to make the class size smaller.” Michigan Law is one of the top ranked law schools, but they decided to cut their incoming first-year class in 2011. They have since cut their size by 26 percent. This is a smart move for the school, considering that the school has received 20 percent fewer applications.

See How the Law School Enrollment Crisis Affects Harvard for more information.

This is a similar trend for other law schools ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News. Application rates have dropped by an average 18 percent. Top-tier schools have responded by opening their doors a little wider, admitting an average of 7 percent more in 2015 than in 2011. This is because they know the students most in demand will be receiving more offers from schools so more rejections to law schools will also happen.

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These top law schools are unwilling to drop admission standards just to fill spots, as it would risk their ranking as a top school. There were 12,177 students with the highest test scores of 165 and above out of 180 applying for law schools in 2010. In 2015, that number was only at 6,667.

See Law Schools Hopeful that Enrollment Will Increase for more information.



Law schools have responded by creating incentives such as more financial aid or lower tuition costs as a way to attract the students most in demand.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-26/the-best-law-schools-are-attracting-fewer-students

Photo: wikipedia.org



 

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