LSAC tweeted last Friday that, if you combine the June and July 2018 LSAT sign-ups, there’s a 36% increase in test takers over the June 2017 exam. Which is pretty wild, especially since June 2017 saw a 20% increase over the previous year. These increases could be fairly alarming to current LSAT students, in that they might signal a particularly competitive admissions cycle.
But let’s pump the brakes on any panicking.
There are a few reasons the numbers have jumped that may not be indicative substantially more applicants for this admissions cycle. First, timing is everything. A June LSAT test date doesn’t give much time between the end of a college semester and the date of the exam. A lot of students use the summer to study, when they don’t have to worry about other academic endeavors. A July test date, however, allows students to begin studying after finals and have the time they need to perform well on the exam. Thus, it is safe to assume that a lot of the students who signed up for the July date this year would likely have signed up for the September date last year, instead of the June date. I think this is a likely explanation for the increase this year.
Second, now that the cap has been removed on the number of times you can take the LSAT, there’s a strong possibility that many of the students are simply retaking the exam and would have applied anyway. Thus, the number of applicants may not be as much larger as the numbers seem to indicate.
All in all, the applicant numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. It is no surprise that the number of people taking the LSAT has been on the rise lately, and the admissions cycles may end up being more competitive than in years past, but it is nothing worth getting worried about at this point.