Last week, I looked at the move by Harvard Law School to extend the application deadline. As another storm barrels across the country, let’s talk about how the overall law school admissions landscape is going to change in the upcoming year.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by predicting the decline in the number of law school applicants to continue. However, I do think that we’re getting close to it reaching a peak. While I don’t know if 2014 will be the year we see that number slow its meteoric rise, I do think there’s a good chance that the rate of decline will slow.
However, that still means there will be a decline. While the top law schools will still (mostly) hold on to their numbers, expect to see almost everyone drop a bit. Which won’t have much of an effect, since everyone’s doing it. It’s the new black.
But that’s behind the scenes. What does this mean for you, the law school applicant?
First, expect numbers to continue to play a dominating role in the law school application process. While work experience will, at some point, rebound as an important factor, the numbers will be preeminent. Students with average numbers (LSAT score and GPA) will start to see larger scholarships to lower-ranked schools; students with exceptional numbers will have their choice of a top law school or a full-ride to a very good school.
Second, law school admissions should be a little more predictable, and surprises should be good ones. If you have the numbers for a school (or, even, are just on the line, historically), you should get in. There have always been a few outliers to that rule, but I would expect them to become even rarer as schools struggle to keep their numbers up. This means you can save some money by applying to fewer law schools.
Finally, expect later law school admission deadlines. The sting has been taken out this year by the big-name law schools pushing it back thanks to Mother Nature. Next year, without tradition to stand in the way, I predict there will be later deadlines than before.
So, as with the past few years, 2014 is a good year to be a law school applicant. Good luck!