Law-school applications drop at UK, nationally

By Katie Jo Cox

Law schools are receiving fewer applications, but admissions standards continue to rise, according to a nationwide survey of 190 law schools.

The survey, conducted by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, reported a drop of 7.4 percent in students applying to law school in 2006. The decline follows a decrease of 4.8 percent in 2005.

“Even though fewer students are applying, the caliber of applicants is getting higher every year,” said Steve Marietti, pre-law programs director for Kaplan.

Paralleling the national trend, applicants to UK’s College of Law were down last year but the median Law School Admissions Test score among applicants was a point higher, said Drusilla Bakert, associate dean for admissions in the College of Law. However, she said she wasn’t sure if the trend of fewer UK law school applicants would continue this year.

“Frankly, it’s too early in the process to say,” Bakert said. “But it’s always good to apply early because we make rolling offers that won’t be available to later applicants.”

Nationally, increases and decreases in the number of law-school applicants has been cyclical for the past few years, Marietti said. Kaplan has been conducting surveys for about 40 years, he said, and this seems to be just another dip in the cycle.

“What students need to understand is that the reduction we’re seeing now won’t last forever,” he said.

Since the number of applicants has dipped, Marietti said, students should take the opportunity to apply to fill one of the 46,000 spots in law schools across the country. Last year, 88,000 applied to law school, he said, and getting applications in early might help students gain an advantage over the competition.

“They may see an edge that they may not have seen before,” Marietti said. “Timing can be to the students’ benefit if they take advantage of it.”

Bakert cautioned that students shouldn’t depend on a slack in the competition when they apply for UK’s law school.

“The fact that applications may go down this year does not mean that we’re going to be any less competitive,” Bakert said. “Candidates still need to present their best foot forward.”

Preparing for the LSAT, the entrance exam for law-school admissions, is an important way for students to gain entrance to the law school of their choice, Marietti said.

“Students need to be overall aware of what’s ahead of them, but still take advantage of this dip in the cycle,” Marietti said.

UK’s College of Law is holding an open house Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. for students to find out more about how the application process works.