Paul L. Caron

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Which Law Schools Are Most at Risk for Missing Their Fall 2012 Enrollment Target?

American Lawyer:  Do Not Trust Deans Bearing Versatile Juris Doctors, by Matt Leichter:

Using the data for full-time applications, acceptances, and matriculations contained in my previous article, I toyed with a new metric: the number of matriculants per 100 applications by law school, which I'll sometimes refer to as the "matriculant/application ratio." Higher ratios indicate the law school in question accepts applicants who are willing to attend, lower ratios indicate that either the law school rejects many applicants who would otherwise attend or accepts applicants who then choose not to attend. Charted against the acceptance rate, this is what the matriculant/application ratio has looked like on average between 2004 and 2010. One would think that the distribution would resemble a bell curve, with more selective schools accepting fewer applicants and accommodating schools accepting many applicants who ultimately choose not to matriculate, but the comparison is actually quite linear. However, recently it has become less so, as applicants are sending out more applications than in the past, which increases the number of acceptances law schools hand out and lowers their matriculant/application ratios.

Chart 1

The average matriculants per 100 applications over this period is 10.0, and the average deviation is 3.4. This means, for example, that the highest average scoring law schools like Liberty University (27.2) and Regent University (24.9) are really out there. ...

The thing we want to know is which law schools saw matriculant/application ratios increase while their acceptance rates also rose to prevent an enrollment shortfall. Taking the annualized rate of change between the two years for both statistics, we get the following chart:

Chart 2

To interpret this scatter/splatter plot, a majority of law schools (118) in this period saw a decline in their matriculant/applicant ratio, and in a time of increased matriculants and applications, this means most law schools did well, as we'd expect. So which law schools are way out there in the upper right? Going from right to left:

•    Valparaiso (+37 percent acceptance rate, +31 percent matriculation/application ratio)
•    Toledo (+29 percent, +15 percent)
•    Rutgers-Camden* (+28 percent, +34 percent)
•    Quinnipiac (+17 percent, +24 percent)
•    Appalachian (+16 percent, +5 percent)
•    Nebraska (+13 percent, +15 percent)
•    North Dakota (+11 percent, +11 percent)
•    Northern Illinois (+10 percent, +10 percent)
•    Liberty (+9 percent, +7 percent)
•    Western State (+9 percent, +14 percent)

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Isn't it amazing how the quality of analysis has skyrocketed once the ABA liberated school data?

But, of course, that is exactly why they kept it imprisoned for so long.

Dominoes are falling and a nationwide multi-decade conspiracy involving some of society's central institutions is about to be exposed.

Kinda hard to argue that law schools aren't institutions central to an "ordered society".

Posted by: cas127 | Jul 19, 2012 10:32:07 PM

What factors would cause matriculation rates to be greater than acceptance rates?

Posted by: Gerard O'Brien | Jul 19, 2012 9:40:09 AM

Interesting. It would also be interesting to see what schools outperform the statistics (after adjusting for rank). Is it schools with low tuition? Is it schools in major metropolitan areas? Or perhaps schools with something unique to offer (strong clinicals, religious mission, public interest mission)? Hopefully they can provide the other side of this coin in their analysis.

Posted by: anon | Jul 19, 2012 9:14:00 AM