Law Students

Most Pre-Law Students Would Take LSAT No Matter What, Study Finds
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Summary: A study by Kaplan Test Prep found that students would take the LSAT even if law schools did not require it.

Kaplan Test Prep conducted a survey to determine the attitude pre-law students have regarding the Law School Admissions Test. The results are surprising given the trend away from requiring the test for law school admissions in lieu of the alternative Graduate Records Exam.

  
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The survey asked over 350 potential law students if they would take the LSAT if the test was not required by law schools for admission. Of those students, 73 percent indicated they would still take the test in order to gain a competitive edge over those that didn’t, according to a press release from Kaplan Test Prep.

Kaplan Test Prep

The timing of these results are interesting given the direction the American Bar Association is moving towards regarding application requirements. The ABA, the law school accrediting body, is meeting in Chicago next month to discuss the future of admissions testing for law schools. They will decide whether to require a “valid and reliable” exam or not require one at all and let each law school decide which is best for their school.

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Kaplan Test Prep executive director of pre-law programs Jeff Thomas said, “There’s some strategic thinking going on among these pre-law students. In an admissions process that’s becoming increasingly rigorous because of a recent surge in applicants, aspiring attorneys will continue to look for every competitive advantage possible. For generations, that competitive advantage has been a high LSAT score.”

Three students commented on the importance of the LSAT to law school standards:



  • “The LSAT is a very challenging test that students need to work hard to study for. I feel like it ‘weeds out’ the people who will not make it in law school. I believe that (not requiring a test) will result in more students not graduating or dropping out.”
  • “Without the LSAT being so important I probably wouldn’t have gotten into a great law school. But because of the LSAT, I can show merit without needing to be able to afford a fancy school. In my opinion, test like the LSAT really level the playing field for students like me.”
  • “Many of the skills developed for the LSAT are vital to your future success as a potential lawyer… (abolishing the requirement) might lower the overall quality of the legal profession. Attempting to lower the standards can be detrimental.”

Thomas added, “While we won’t know the future of admissions testing in law school for another few weeks, we think that even if the requirement is abolished, law schools will stick with some sort of test for a few reasons. First and importantly, the ABA is cautioning that should a law school choose not to require a standardized test and then find themselves admitting students incapable of graduating, the school would risk being out of compliance with ABA rules and losing their accreditation. Second, law schools find a standardized test helpful in that it’s the common yardstick they use to measure applicants who come from colleges of varying competitiveness. An ‘A’ at an Ivy League school, for example, is not the same as an ‘A’ at a lower ranked, less well-known school. Third, test scores are important factors in law school rankings calculations, which are heavily relied upon by students in deciding where to attend. Schools will continue to prefer high scores in as much as they boost their place in the rankings.”

Do you think law schools should require some type of standardized test? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the move towards the GRE instead of the LSAT on law school admission applications, read these articles:

Photo: flickr.com

Source: Kaplan Test Prep



 

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