Law Students

Survey Finds 2016 Election Impacted Students’ Decisions to Go to Law School
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Donald Trump

Summary: The Trump Effect on law schools is real. 

The number of law school applications has increased recently, and a new survey from Kaplan Test Prep stated that the results of the 2016 Presidential Election was one of the main reasons why.


Referred to as the Trump Effect, the sudden spike of law school applications is inspired by President Donald Trump’s 2016 win, either from Democrats who want to fight him or Republicans who want to support him.

Kaplan Test Prep released a study on Thursday that revealed 32% of pre-law students said that the results of the 2016 election impacted their decision to become lawyers. The company surveyed 500 pre-law students nationwide.

“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,” one respondent stated.

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Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs of Kaplan Test Prep, said that their study answers the question of if the 2016 election fueled the spike of law school applications.

“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 Thomas. “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.”

It’s noted that the majority of respondents in the Kaplan Test Prep survey said that they are uncomfortable sharing their political affiliations publicly.

“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 judgment,” Thomas said. “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.”

What do you think of the Trump Effect? Let us know in the comments below.


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