Getting into law school this admissions cycle might be harder than it’s been in years.
Kaplan conducted its annual survey of 120 law schools and found that 88 percent are confident that their number of applicants will increase this year. In 2014, only 46 percent thought they would see a spike, and later saw the smallest pool of applicants in 40 years.
The Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Penn Law School, Renee Post, said the survey results are “encouraging.” She said Penn Law has been watching numbers of LSAT takers, and that they saw an increase in test takers this past October. According to the Kaplan report, the number of test takers jumped in December 2014, February 2015 and June 2015 as well.
“The predictors are positive so far,” Post said, adding that the number of applicants will not be certain until applications close late this spring.
Post said the biggest factor dragging down law school applicant numbers nationally in the past few years has been the aftershock of the 2008 recession. She added that Penn Law applications have stayed pretty consistent despite national numbers taking a hit.
“Penn has fared that storm very well,” she said.
College senior Brooke Rogers is applying to law school this year and said she didn’t know about the Kaplan survey.
“I’ve always been under the impression that it’s been competitive no matter what,” she said.
Rogers said the pre-law advisors at Penn told her to apply to at least 14 different schools, but not because of the jump in applicants. She said their recommendations weren’t different from those made in previous years and attributed the high number of recommended applications to factors that have stayed constant like the uniform nature of personal statements.
“Personal statements are pretty generic,” she said. “You have to somehow convey all these things in two pages double-spaced.”
She added that the number of schools a student chooses to apply to is also personal — it depends on factors such as the applicant’s LSAT scores and GPA.
Rogers currently plans to apply to 18 schools, but she said the number might go down. Most of them are in and around D.C. because she said she is interested in criminal law, litigation or working for the army or the U.S. Department of State. But Rogers will only have to pay application fees for about four or five of the schools because certain schools have free applications to try to encourage more people to apply.
“Because not as many people are applying they’ve waived a lot of the fees ... if I get it in before a certain time,” she said.