In a day, the number of law schools accepting the GRE in lieu of the LSAT doubled. Monday, Georgetown and Northwestern law schools announced that they would begin to accept the GRE. Harvard and Arizona were already there, so that makes four law schools.
Well, not four schools quite yet. Georgetown’s change is effective immediately, but you’ll have to wait a cycle to apply to Northwestern with a GRE score.
This news isn’t terribly surprising. When Harvard (Harvard!) started accepting the GRE, it seemed only a matter of time before other schools would follow suit. LSAC’s decisions to start offering the LSAT six times a year and to remove the cap on LSAT administrations are likely consequences of the increased heat they’re feeling.
The law schools accepting the GRE are doing so under an ABA rule that allows law schools to substitute other tests for the LSAT provided that the tests in question effectively predict student scores, and the schools in question all claim to have done studies showing that the GRE’s predictive validity matches that of the LSAT. As someone who knows both tests, I’m surprised. The GRE is a very different test. But the numbers won’t lie.
It’s likely that other law schools will join the GRE club. It lets them attract more applicants, and the more applicants they can attract the better. The ABA could change its rules to close the door on the GRE but unless that happens, expect more and more schools to make similar announcements.
This must not be a happy time at LSAC headquarters. LSAC’s president pretty much just offered to add math to the LSAT if that’s what law schools really want. She’s also comparing prestigious law schools to lemmings. Desperate much? As discussed above, they’ve already added LSAT administrations. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of this precipitates a move to computerized LSAT testing in the near future, so that the LSAT might truly compete with the GRE on convenience (you can take the GRE pretty much any day).
But as a law school applicant, the LSAT is still the test for you, at least for now. You can apply to any law school with the LSAT versus four with the GRE. That’s a pretty stark comparison. In case you’re planning crazy schemes, be advised that if you take both tests, law schools will see your LSAT score and since that score will count toward their rankings if you attend, they’re probably going to consider the LSAT in making their decision. The only way to get law schools to admit you based on the GRE only is to take the GRE only, and for now that will limit your options severely.