December 20, 2010
2011 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Which Students Study the Most (and Least)?I previously blogged the lists of the Top 10 law schools in eleven categories posted on Princeton Review's web site in connection with its publication of the 2011 edition of Best 172 Law Schools (with the University of Cincinnati College of Law again on the cover). The rankings are the result of Princeton Review's survey of 18,000 students at the 172 law schools, along with school statistics provided by administrators.
I have extracted from the individual profiles of the 172 law schools all of the available data to rank the schools in six categories. I will report each day on one of the ranking categories.
Hours of Study Per Day. From our student survey. The average number of hours students at the school report studying each day.
Here are the law schools where students study the most and the least per day:
Dist. of Columbia
N. Carolina Central
Seventeen schools did not report this data to the Princeton Review: Albany, Appalachian, Charleston, CUNY, Florida International, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Phoenix, Rutgers-Camden, South Texas, St. Thomas (Minneapolis), SUNY-Buffalo, Touro, UNLV, and Yale.
Unfortunately, the Princeton Review did not release the response rate per school, so it is impossible to determine how the rankings are affected by each school's representation among the respondents.
For prior years' rankings, see:
- 2010 Princeton Review Study Hours Rankings
- 2009 Princeton Review Study Hours Rankings
- 2008 Princeton Review Study Hours Rankings
- 2007 Princeton Review Study Hours Rankings
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Can you explain the relevance of study hours?
I would assume a higher number of hours means a better prepared student body, which will improve classroom instruction, since the Socratic method largely relies on students teaching the class. But, maybe the higher number indicates the student body is relatively slow, and has a hard time comprehending the material. Or, a poor choice of case books, as a better edited book will more easily focus students on the relevant facts and arguments.
A higher number of hours spent studying may indicate that the students are stressed and feel a strong sense of competition. Or, it might mean that they enjoy each other's company, and thus form more study groups and have a lot of mixed study-socialization. Or, it could mean that the professors are particularly inspiring, and the students want to study. Or, it could just mean there's no bars or attractive undergrads around.
Posted by: bl1y | Dec 21, 2010 12:40:57 PM
I also wonder how students would treat hours spent on things like Law Review, Moot Court, and clinical work. As a third-year law student myself, I suspect I would interpret a question asking about "hours of study" as asking only about the amount of time spent preparing for my academic classes, and thus my rate would have been quite low this past semester, since I had a lot of credits coming from my journal and clinic.
Posted by: Patrick | Dec 21, 2010 6:10:47 PM
As a Baylor lawyer, I can say there are probably two main reasons why we study so much in a day: 1. our classes are only nine weeks; and 2. we have small classes. When you take 4 sets of finals a year and the top 10% of your class is only 10 people, it puts on the pressure to learn it all and learn it fast.
Based on our bar results, I would think it erroneous to assume that long hours means slow and dumb students. Plus, most of us are pretty honest with ourselves. If we spent 8 hours in the library, and 4 of those hours were spent talking and checking facebook, most of us would say we only got 4 hours of work done.
Posted by: A.B. | Dec 21, 2010 11:15:07 PM
I never said that a high number of hours spent studying means the students aren't smart. This is what is indicated by the word "maybe." It's simply one plausible factor that goes in to the number of hours spent studying. Obviously students have different professors, and different levels of intelligence, and different study habits. A lot goes in to the number of hours you study, which I think makes it a very poor thing to rank law schools on. However, it is interesting to look at if you want to consider what your quality of life will be like in law school.
Baylor's high number of hours spent studying means that it's bar passage rate is a poor indicator of how smart the students are.
Columbia and NYU both ranked in the bottom 25 schools for hours spent studying, but in the top 25 for bar passage rates.
If Baylor students spend twice as much time studying as Columbia students, and get a 2% higher bar passage rate, this doesn't mean that Baylor students are smarter. It could very well be that if they studied only as much as the Columbia students, their bar passage rate would be many points lower.
Posted by: bl1y | Dec 22, 2010 2:10:01 PM