January 30, 2003

Law Applications Rise

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During the bear economy and stagnant job market in the United States, enrolling in law school seems an ever more appealing option for recent college graduates. The popularity of law school is reflected in the dramatic increase in law school applications.

“Applications are up fifteen to twenty percent at Cornell,” said Richard Geiger, associate dean and dean of admissions of Cornell Law School.

Considering last year Cornell received 3,717 applications for admission to the law school and only enrolled 189 students in the first year class, the increase in applicants creates even stiffer competition for admission.

As to a reason for the increase, Geiger cited the lagging economy as one possibility.

“Both people who are no longer in the workforce and those coming out of college are facing a bad economy and see this as a good time to upgrade their credentials,” Geiger said.

Geiger explained that in addition to the growing number of applicants, the quality of applications is increasing.

“This trend of increasing applications began about three years ago and has resulted in an extremely strong applicant pool that continues to grow in strength.”

The massive volume of applications is cause for concern for many of those hoping for admission to law schools this year.

“More applicants makes it much more competitive,” Jennifer Kaminsky ’03 related. “Knowing that it will be even more difficult than ever to get into law school has made the whole process very stressful.”

While applicants may be on the edge of their seats waiting for the proverbial “thick or thin” envelope, law schools see the huge applicant pool as a positive change.

“The increase in applicants from all different backgrounds has given given us the luxury of factoring in every aspect of the application,” Geiger said.

A student’s academic record, Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores, letters of recommendation, extra-curricular activities, as well as job experience are some of the considerations law schools use to make their decisions.

“Taking the LSAT is really stressful,” explained Lauren Levin ’03. “It seems as though law schools put the most emphasis on your LSAT score.”

Geiger explained that the selection committee tries to take into account all aspects of the applicant to make their decision.

“As a result of the larger pool, we are being selective in all areas, not just academic,” Geiger noted. “The LSAT scores are always a important factor, but this change has not made them more important. “

Archived article by Leigh McMullan