Thursday, April 9, 2015
Derek Muller (Pepperdine), The Wrong Sort of Law School Applicants, Visualized:
There's good news and bad news for law schools. The good news is that total law school applicants appear to be reaching the bottom. After projections last year that the worst may be yet to come, it appears that the Class of 2018 will have only slightly fewer applicants than the Class of 2017. Current projections are about a 2.8-point drop in applicants, and that gap may narrow if recent trends of late applicants continue. ...
But the bad news is  the quality of the applicants. In short, the wrong sort of applicants are applying. ...
The only places that have seen an increase in applicants are those scoring a 144 or lower. Applicants scoring a 145 to 149 are largely flat. In contrast, applicants with a high score of 165 or higher are down double-digits, with the steepest decline among the most elite applicants. ... [See chart here.]
So the first level of data tells us some good news for law schools--applicants are not down as much as one might have feared, and the bottom may be approaching. But the second level of data tells us some bad news--applicant quality has worsened, in such a way that law schools are still confronted with as difficult a choice as if they had simply experienced an overall drop in applicants. How schools react remains to be seen.