TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Initial Fall 2018 Enrollment Projections Reflect Increases In Applicant Volume And Strength

Applicant Pool Projection – 61,000 to 63,000

With the first release of this admission cycle’s Current Volume Summary from the LSAC, we have the opportunity to compare the current applicant cycle data with that in prior years.

The good news reported by LSAC and posted here on TaxProf Blog by Paul Caron yesterday is that applicant volume is 15,083, up over 14% compared to this point in the cycle last year. The Current Volume Summary states that at this point in the cycle last year, applicants represented roughly 24% of the final applicant pool. (In past years, the applicant volume in the first Current Volume Summary has averaged roughly one-quarter of the total applicant volume for the given admissions cycle.) This means that, at the moment, as shown in the chart below, we can anticipate a total applicant pool for the year in a range from 61,000 to perhaps 63,000, depending upon exactly how things unfold over the coming months. Given that this is only the first of several data points, there remains a large margin of error. By mid-January, after a few more current volume reports, and with a larger percentage of the applicants accounted for, one can have a little more confidence in the estimate for total applicant volume.

A total applicant pool of 61,000-63,000 would be the largest applicant volume since the 2011-2012 admissions cycle, which saw a total applicant pool of roughly 67,900. (Note that due to changes in LSAC reporting on total applicant pool starting in 2016, the comparisons with prior years are not exactly apples to apples.)

Comparison of Applicant Volume Between Initial Current Volume Summary and Total Applicant Pool for 2014-15 Cycle to 2017-18 Cycle (Estimated)

Admissions Cycle

Initial Current Volume Summary Total (Date)

Final Applicant Count for Cycle

% of Total Applicant Count for Cycle

2014-2015

11,415 (11/28/2014)

54,500

21%

2015-2016

13,881 (11/25/2015)

56,500

25%

2016-2017

14,892 (12/2/2016)

56,500

26%

2017-2018

15,083 (11/24/2017)

61,000-63,000 (EST.)

24-25% (EST.)

Improvement in Strength of Applicant Pool (and Matriculants)

The really good news, however, is buried in the details of the Current Volume Report. From 2010 to 2016, while the overall applicant volume declined from roughly 87,900 to roughly 56,500, the “composition” of the entering class profile also has shifted, with a smaller percentage of applicants/matriculants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher. As shown in the chart below, the percentage of applicants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher fell from 29.7% to roughly 25% between 2010 and 2016 while the percentage of matriculants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher fell from 38.3% to roughly 32% over the same period.

Percentage of Applicants and Matriculants with a High LSAT Score of 160 or Higher from 2010-2016

Admissions Cycle

Total Apps.

Apps. at 160 and Higher

% of Apps. at 160 or Higher

Total Matrics.

Matrics. as % of Apps.

Matrics. at 160 and Higher

Matrics. at 160 or Higher as Percentage of Apps. at 160 or Higher

% of Matrics. at 160 or Higher

2009-10

87900

26076

29.7%

52500

59.7%

20143

77.2%

38.3%

2010-11

78500

22376

28.5%

48700

62%

17630

78.8%

36.2%

2011-12

67900

18410

26.7%

44500

65.5%

14852

80.7%

33.4%

2012-13

59400

15409

25.9%

39700

66.8%

12596

81.7%

31.7%

2013-14

55700

14850

26.7%

37900

68%

12199

82.1%

32.2%

2014-15

54500

13503

24.8%

37100

68.1%

11248

83.3%

30.3%

2015-16

56500

14274

25.3%

37100

65.7%

11807

82.7%

31.8%

The initial Current Volume Summary for this cycle shows a significant increase in the number of applicants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher compared to the three most recent cycles. This likely will translate into a significant increase in the total pool of applicants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher and a corresponding increase in the number (and percentage) of matriculants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher. The pool of applicants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher may be more than 2000 larger than in the 2016-17 admissions cycle and the number of matriculants also may increase by nearly 2000.

Estimates of Total Applicants and Matriculants with a High LSAT of 160 or Higher for the 2017-18 Admissions Cycle (with Comparisons for 2014-15 through 2016-17)

Year

Number of Applicants with LSAT of 160 or Higher in Initial Current Volume Summary

Final Number of Applicants with LSAT of 160 or Higher

% of Final Number in Initial Current Volume Summary

Number of Matriculants with LSAT of 160 or Higher

Matriculants with LSAT of 160 or Higher as Percentage of Applicants with LSAT of 160 or Higher

2014-2015

5,095

13,503

37.7%

11248

83.3%

2015-2016

5,374

14,274

37.6%

11807

82.7%

2016-2017

5,404

13,613

39.7%

11,298 (EST.)

83% (EST.)

2017-2018

6,029

15,865 (EST.)

38% (EST.)

13,167(EST.)

83% (EST.)

If the percentage applicants who become matriculants remains around 66% for the current admissions cycle (roughly the same as in the 2015-16 cycle), the entering class in fall 2018 would be roughly 40,000 first-year students. If the number of matriculants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher is slightly more than 13,000, then the percentage of matriculants with a high LSAT of 160 or higher will rebound to nearly 32.5%, the highest percentage in five years.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/12/initial-enrollment-projections-for-fall-2018-reflect-an-increase-in-applicant-pool-and-in-strength-o.html

Jerry Organ, Legal Education | Permalink

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