Following up on my previous posts (links below): Wall Street Journal, Law Schools Say: Please Come, No LSAT Required:
This year, you can get into a top law school without taking the LSAT.
Some of the nation’s law schools — including at Harvard and Georgetown — are letting applicants take the Graduate Record Examination instead of the Law School Admission Test. The schools say they are changing in part to attract students from a wider variety of backgrounds, particularly with science, engineering and math experience.
Both tests, of course, are tough, but the LSAT holds a particular place as a grueling rite of passage. The GRE relies more on knowledge that can be memorized, as college-entrance tests do, than the skills-based LSAT that test-prep instructors say is like learning how to play a sport or instrument.
The legal industry is notoriously slow to change. Some lawyers predict the broadening acceptance of the GRE, which is used for admission to a range of programs — from masters’ in engineering and Ph.D.s in philosophy to M. B. A.s — will lead to law students who aren’t committed. Others say schools are accepting the test to game closely-followed law-school rankings that take average LSAT scores into consideration, or to keep tuition income flowing.
“I remain deeply cynical and skeptical of the whole thing,” said Sarah Zearfoss, dean of admissions at University of Michigan Law School, which requires the LSAT. “You can ruin someone’s life by admitting them if they’re not qualified.” ...
At least 14 law schools of the nation’s roughly 200 offer applicants the option of using GRE scores instead of the LSAT, or plan to do so next year. They include BYU Law School, Columbia Law School, George Washington University Law School, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and Texas A&M University School of Law. A few others accept the test for limited purposes, such as for applicants to dual degrees. ...
The most vocal dissenter so far has been the Law School Admission Council, the nonprofit organization that administers the traditional law-school exam.
“The LSAT is designed for legal education,” said Kellye Testy, LSAC’s president and a former law-school dean. “It actually is marked to the kinds of skills students need to succeed.”
Ms. Testy said that she is fine with limited use of the GRE, but that substituting it completely for the LSAT would be troubling. She said that is in part because any significant drop in LSAC’s $60 million annual revenue, which comes largely from testing fees, could impact programs the organization funds to help keep a diverse student population entering the legal profession.
The American Bar Association’s accrediting arm is considering no longer requiring any admissions test at all. A final decision won’t be made until mid-next year at the earliest.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Is Wake Forest Law School's Offer To Pay Students To Take The GRE A U.S. News Rankings Ploy? (Jan. 30, 2016)
- Christine Hurt (BYU), Could The GRE Replace The LSAT? (Feb. 6, 2016)
- Arizona Is First Law School To Admit Students Based On GRE Instead Of LSAT (Feb. 11, 2016)
- WSJ: Law Schools Replace LSAT With GRE To Goose Enrollment (Feb. 23, 2016)
- The First Two Law Schools to Drop the LSAT Could Be Just the Beginning (Feb. 25, 2016)
- The Empire Strikes Back: LSAC Threatens To Expel University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions (May 1, 2016)
- 148 Deans Demand LSAC Rescind Threat To Expel University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions (May 5, 2016)
- The Antitrust Implications Of LSAC's Threatened Expulsion Of University Of Arizona Over Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions (May 8, 2016)
- LSAC Backs Down (For Now) On Threat To Expel University Of Arizona For Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions (May 9, 2016)
- Poll: Majority Of Law Schools Are Not Racing To Follow Arizona In Replacing LSAT With GRE (June 6, 2016)
- Taylor: The GRE Is No Law School Diversity Tool (June 16, 2016)
- University Of Arizona Is 'Preying On Low-Information Prospective Law Students' (June 21, 2016)
- Rick Bales (Dean, Ohio Northern),75% Of Law School Deans Support Arizona's Use Of GRE As Substitute For LSAT, Not Its Use Of 'Misleading Employment Stats' (June 23, 2016)
- The Empire Strikes Back, Part II: LSAC Stops Certifying Matriculant Admissions Data In Response To Law Schools' Use Of GRE (Aug. 4, 2016)
- LSAC Rescinds Threat (For One Year) To Stop Certifying Matriculant Admissions Data In Response To Law Schools' Use Of GRE (Sept. 25, 2016)
- Proposed ABA Accreditation Rule Sets Process To Determine Validity Of GRE, Other LSAT Alternatives In Law School Admissions (Feb. 15, 2017)
- Khan Academy Offers Free LSAT Prep; Is Free Bar Exam Prep Next? (Mar. 3, 2017)
- Harvard Is Second Law School To Admit 1Ls Based On GRE Rather Than LSAT (Mar. 9, 2017)
- NY Times, Will Dropping The LSAT Requirement Create More Miserable Lawyers? (Mar. 19, 2017)
- Bill Henderson (Indiana), U.S. News Eliminates The Rankings Advantage Of The GRE, But Harvard Has Started A 'Quant' Arms Race For Diverse Students Who Will Thrive In A Transformed, Tech-Driven, Disrupted Legal Profession (Apr. 11, 2017)
- LSAC Moves Toward Digital LSAT (Ten Years After MCAT), Says It Was Not Due To Growing Use Of GRE In Law School Admissions (Apr. 20, 2017)
- Harvard Law School, The GRE, And Moneyball (Apr. 26, 2017)
- Facing Competition From GRE, LSAC Allows Applicants To Take LSAT An Unlimited Number Of Times (May 20, 2017)
- Chicago Law Schools Consider Accepting GRE As Test Alternative To LSAT (May 31, 2017)
- Northwestern Is Third Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions, Finds It Is Just As Accurate As LSAT In Predicting 1L Grades (Aug. 7, 2017)
- Georgetown Is Fourth Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions, Finds It Is Just As Accurate As LSAT In Predicting 1L Grades; LSAC Disagrees, Says 'The Rest Of The Top 14 Will Go Like Lemmings Off The Cliff' (Aug. 8, 2017)
- The GRE Is Shaking Up Law School Admissions (Aug. 9, 2017)
- More On Using The GRE In Law School Admissions (Aug. 11, 2017)
- Do We Really Want To Make It Easier To Go To Law School? (Aug. 17, 2017)
- 25% Of Law Schools Plan To Accept The GRE (Sept. 19, 2017)
- Washington University Is Sixth Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions (Oct. 4, 2017)
- Columbia Is Seventh Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions (Oct. 17, 2017)
- Arizona Deans: It's Time To Rethink The Law School Entrance Exam Monopoly (Oct. 26, 2017)
- ETS Releases Study Establishing Validity Of GRE In Predicting Law School Success, Using Data On 1L Grades From 21 Law Schools (Nov. 1, 2017)
- Texas A&M Is Ninth Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions (Nov. 16, 2017)
- Wake Forest Is Tenth Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions (Nov. 16, 2017)
- BYU Is Eleventh Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions (Nov. 21, 2017)
- Can The GRE Cure What Ails Law Schools? (Nov. 30, 2017)