The Law School Admissions Council is reporting a 13.6% drop in applications to law school over last year at this time. The largest percentage change was a reduction of 17.3% is in the northeast region. Although the 2012 application cycle is not over yet, the LSAC notes that 91% of applicants had applied by March 30th last year.
Are prospective students turning away from the high cost of a legal education, or is it all of the news about uncertain job prospects that is behind this decline? On the bright side, is it possible that students are seeing light at the end of the recessionary tunnel and don't feel the need to "camp out" in law school to wait for the job market to turn around?
The LSAT Blog also notes a steep decline in LSAT exams administered, reporting a 25% decrease during the past two years.
Then there are questions about the overall quality of the applicant pool, raised by The Atlantic, which notes that "The wrong students have stopped applying....the smart kids got the memo. Law school is largely a losing game, and they're not going to play, even though they can probably count on a better hand than most. Meanwhile, the number of laggards applying has barely budged." Ouch. The largest drops have been experienced in the high score ranges, for example, a combined average 17.3% drop in applicants receiving scores from 150-180. Meanwhile, the group scoring below 140 on the entrance exam only saw a 4.3% decline.
Law School Admissions Council