2021: Law school acceptance rates dropped by 34% at most prestigious schools

The National Jurist reports

More than half of ABA-accredited law schools lowered their acceptance rate by 10% or more this past year, according to new data released by the American Bar Association. The median acceptance rate for all law schools dropped by 10% from 45.3% to 40.8%. But the change was far more dramatic for the nation’s most prestigious schools.

The 15 law schools with acceptance rates below 15% dropped by 34.9% from an average of 17% to 11.1%.

Harvard Law School saw the greatest percent decline in its acceptance rate, dropping from 13% to 6.9%, for a 46.9% decline. Yale Law School recorded the lowest acceptance rate at just 4.1%. That was down from 7.4% from the year before.

It has been well reported that applications were up 26% this past admissions cycle, which allowed acceptance rates to drop. But individual school data only became available on Dec 14.

While most of the nation’s most prestigious law schools recorded the biggest changes in acceptance rates, some other schools made big changes.

University of Miami had the largest change in percentage points, dropping from 51.4% to 30.1%, for a 41.5% decline. Villanova Law School dropped its acceptance rate from 29.8% to 17.8% for a 40.2% decline.

Applications surged from 376,048 to 475,112. A number of factors were attributed to the increase in applications, with social unrest, the pandemic and our nation’s growing political divide — highlighted by a fiery presidential election — all being cited.

“Last year was a confusing, wicked cycle,” said Mike Spivey, founder of Spivey Consulting, a law school admissions consulting firm. On a scale with 10 being the highest, it was far and away a 10, he said.

Last year was unique in that it toughened the admissions process for every one, not just those seeking the golden ticket to top tier schools, he said. Many of those shut out of the nation’s best schools looked for less competitive options, which pushed down students trying to get into those schools. And so and so on …

“Everyone got squeezed,” he said.

Acceptance rate by school

Some schools opted to increase class sizes because of the influx of applicants. More than 40 schools increased their class sizes by 20% or more, with enrollment for all schools climbing by 8.5%.

That has been met with some criticism because it could mean more graduates will be hitting the job market in about three years from now.

And it appears law school admissions officers are concerned about that, according to a recent survey of these professionals done by the test prep company, Kaplan.

Indeed, 40% of admissions officers expressed concern that law schools 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.”

If the applicant trend remains strong, it means more qualified students will get dreaded bad news. According to the survey, 72% of the admissions officers say that they rejected more applicants with what they consider to be high LSAT than they did in the previous cycle.

Read more at    https://www.nationaljurist.com/prelaw/law-school-acceptance-rates-dropped-34-most-prestigious-schools