Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

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duckmoney
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Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby duckmoney » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:18 pm

So since the total number of applications are down this year, what is it mean -especially at the top schools? Will medians have to go down from last year's absurd levels, and will schools be generally less competitive? Or is it just as difficult as ever to get into / get money from the T-14?

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StillHerexxx
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby StillHerexxx » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:24 pm

It means 2012 is coming and we are all going to die.

drummerboy
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby drummerboy » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:54 pm

yikes

theLSATnemesis
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby theLSATnemesis » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:57 pm

Double rainbow?

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robotclubmember
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby robotclubmember » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:07 pm

all the way across the sky

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Rock-N-Roll
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:12 pm

I'm interested in this too. First off, is there legit data that shows that applications are actually down? Or rather are people mostly speculating?

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hndls022
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby hndls022 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:13 pm

Deleted
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cinephile
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby cinephile » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:16 pm

I don't know that the medians will change. It could just be that some people who might've applied to T3/T4 schools previously have heard the all the stories that have come out recently (like in the NYT) about how law graduates are struggling to find work and have decided that going to a lower ranked school isn't worth the risk, especially since even students at higher ranked schools are having trouble finding legal jobs.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby TatteredDignity » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:16 pm

hndls022 wrote:
duckmoney wrote:So since the total number of applications are down this year, what is it mean -especially at the top schools? Will medians have to go down from last year's absurd levels, and will schools be generally less competitive? Or is it just as difficult as ever to get into / get money from the T-14?




It means less fewer people are applying to law school.


FTFY. Being smarmy looks cooler when you do it correctly.

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robotclubmember
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby robotclubmember » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:31 pm

cinephile wrote:I don't know that the medians will change. It could just be that some people who might've applied to T3/T4 schools previously have heard the all the stories that have come out recently (like in the NYT) about how law graduates are struggling to find work and have decided that going to a lower ranked school isn't worth the risk, especially since even students at higher ranked schools are having trouble finding legal jobs.


Dec LSAT takes is down 22% YOY. Percentile distribution is normal. That means 22% less 170+'s. This suggests fewer applications to T14's (or, fewer qualified applicants anyway). A number of inferences could be made. The most likely is just that there are less applicants across the board. If anything, I'd expect the smarter people to be the ones who understand the risks and are staying away the most.

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androstan
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby androstan » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:21 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
cinephile wrote:I don't know that the medians will change. It could just be that some people who might've applied to T3/T4 schools previously have heard the all the stories that have come out recently (like in the NYT) about how law graduates are struggling to find work and have decided that going to a lower ranked school isn't worth the risk, especially since even students at higher ranked schools are having trouble finding legal jobs.


Dec LSAT takes is down 22% YOY. Percentile distribution is normal. That means 22% less 170+'s. This suggests fewer applications to T14's (or, fewer qualified applicants anyway). A number of inferences could be made. The most likely is just that there are less applicants across the board. If anything, I'd expect the smarter people to be the ones who understand the risks and are staying away the most.


The smartest people are probably getting into HYS, which are still good deals. The rest of the top schools are usually solid deals given a reasonable scholarship and/or IBR/LRAP etc. Those with the worst judgment are probably not going to heed the warnings and will go wherever they can get in anyway . Maybe it's the 20-100ish law schools that will see the biggest decrease in applicants?

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NorCalBruin
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby NorCalBruin » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:00 pm

Well, the number of applicants (so far) is down about 12.5% this year. If this trend continues throughout the cycle, we will end up with about 76,563 applicants total (87.5% * 87,500--the total number of applicants last year). That would mean that this cycle has the FEWEST number of applicants since Fall 2001. However, we will still almost certainly have the second HIGHEST number of LSAT takers ever (we would need another 20%+ drop in the number of February takers to hit third highest, but we definitely would not hit fourth highest or below).

To simplify: we have an unusually low (but not unprecedented) number of applicants, but an unusually high (but not unprecedented) number of LSATs taken. This probably also means that there are still a lot of "retakers" out there.

Now, here's where math turns into conjecture (aka My Awesome Theory): I think that the reduced number of applicants is critical--far more critical than a fluctuation up or down in the number of test administrations. LSAC has shown that people who retake the LSAT usually only increase their score by 1-3 points, depending on which score bracket they started in. Obviously, there are a lot of anecdotal stories of massive point jumps, and people that start out with a 130 can more easily jump ten points than people that start out with a 160, but that aside, your average Joe typically goes from a 151 to a 153, or something like that. That means that, even if the number of LSATs administered was way up (say 50%), as long as the number of total applicants stayed the same, there would not to be a massive increase in the number of people with good scores. (There would be a significant increase, just not nearly as significant of an increase as there would be if there was an increase in the number of applicants). In other words, the inability of your average test taker to drastically improve their score makes the number of tests administered/all those retakes less relevant. On the other hand, the number of applicants drastically affects the number of good scores available to admissions officers. It probably correlates fairly directly. In other words, if the number of applicants increased or decreased by 50%, you would likely see a 50% increase or decrease in the number of people who got 145's, 160's, 180's etc, respectively.

So what does that mean? Well, it's hard to say. Maybe only the people with poor LSAT scores decided not to apply to law school. Maybe only tier 3 and tier 4 schools see a massive drop off in the number of applicants. But that said, there are still less applicants (1/8th less) than last year, and that's going to affect the top schools too.

My Prediction:

1.) Top schools will keep their medians, maybe sacrificing a few .00 points GPA to keep their LSAT median.
2.) Schools will probably be slightly more friendly to splitters, who they can use to keep their medians.
3.) Schools will have slower cycles. In other words, they will take longer to admit and reject students as they wait for applicants to withdraw and to see what their total number of applicants will be.
4.) Schools will make a more active use of their waitlist.
5.) Schools will be less likely to waitlist or reject applicants who have bad softs but meet their numbers. In other words, "beggers can't be choosers" for top schools this year.
6.) Some schools, especially top ones, may be more generous with scholarships in order to grab high number candidates.

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DreamsInDigital
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby DreamsInDigital » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:33 pm

As a splitter, i like the way you think norcal

javancho
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby javancho » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:53 pm

NorCalBruin - I like your theory a lot. I think schools will try to do all they can to maintain their LSAT median, including sacrificing GPA and admitting more splitters.

I think the distribution of applicants is going to be the same, just like every year. I do, however, believe the actual drop in applicants will be higher than 12.5%. I am gonna predict 20% down vs 2010 when it's all said and done. And that would be UNPRECEDENTED.

I am saying that because the 12.5% drop in applicants was YTD as of early December 2009, and later on we learned that the number of first-time LSAT takers for December was -22% vs 2010, suggesting a deeper drop in the number of application coming. I also think that the NYTimes article that was published in January had an impact in prospective applicants, but we can't yet see that data, at least from LSAC. But if you see the more up-to-date LSAC.org website traffic (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/lsac.org#), it seems that there is a big difference after early December, and not so much before.

In addition, I have been checking the number of applicants from each school at lawschoolnumbers.com, and it seems that this year the numbers of applicants is really low vs other years for most schools. It could that a lot of people this year don't feel like sharing their data, but I believe that the lawschoolnumbers.com drop in applicants is reflective of what is going on in the real world.

I guess we just have to wait and see.
Last edited by javancho on Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

gens1tb
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby gens1tb » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:07 pm

StillHerexxx wrote:It means 2012 is coming and we are all going to die.


That means my student loan debt will be discharged, right?

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helloperson
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby helloperson » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:01 am

DreamsInDigital wrote:As a splitter, i like the way you think norcal



I concur. May my softs tiebreak the suddenly within reach tide in my favor!

adonai
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby adonai » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:18 am

NorCalBruin wrote:
My Prediction:

1.) Top schools will keep their medians, maybe sacrificing a few .00 points GPA to keep their LSAT median.
2.) Schools will probably be slightly more friendly to splitters, who they can use to keep their medians.
3.) Schools will have slower cycles. In other words, they will take longer to admit and reject students as they wait for applicants to withdraw and to see what their total number of applicants will be.
4.) Schools will make a more active use of their waitlist.
5.) Schools will be less likely to waitlist or reject applicants who have bad softs but meet their numbers. In other words, "beggers can't be choosers" for top schools this year.
6.) Some schools, especially top ones, may be more generous with scholarships in order to grab high number candidates.

My prediction:
1) All law schools will still fill their classes easily and still have some left over on the waitlist.
2) The drop in applicants will not be enough to significantly improve anyone's chances of getting into a school if they don't have the numbers.
3) In other words: Everything remains nearly the same, if not the same. I kind of see it akin to the current employment environment--unemployment went down nearly 1% over the past two months but it is still hard as hell to find a job and no one's situation looks any brighter. I guess it all depends on how many of those 10,000+ applicants lost were T14 caliber students or T4/non-ABA credentialed students. If most of that applicant pool is part of the latter, top schools will be left relatively unscathed.

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helloperson
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby helloperson » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:23 am

adonai wrote:
NorCalBruin wrote:
My Prediction:

1.) Top schools will keep their medians, maybe sacrificing a few .00 points GPA to keep their LSAT median.
2.) Schools will probably be slightly more friendly to splitters, who they can use to keep their medians.
3.) Schools will have slower cycles. In other words, they will take longer to admit and reject students as they wait for applicants to withdraw and to see what their total number of applicants will be.
4.) Schools will make a more active use of their waitlist.
5.) Schools will be less likely to waitlist or reject applicants who have bad softs but meet their numbers. In other words, "beggers can't be choosers" for top schools this year.
6.) Some schools, especially top ones, may be more generous with scholarships in order to grab high number candidates.

My prediction:
1) All law schools will still fill their classes easily and still have some left over on the waitlist.
2) The drop in applicants will not be enough to significantly improve anyone's chances of getting into a school if they don't have the numbers.
3) In other words: Everything remains nearly the same, if not the same. I kind of see it akin to the current employment environment--unemployment went down nearly 1% over the past two months but it is still hard as hell to find a job and no one's situation looks any brighter. I guess it all depends on how many of those 10,000+ applicants lost were T14 caliber students or T4/non-ABA credentialed students.


A 3.5+ in Philosophy and a 170+ LSAT score aren't really good for anything except getting you into more school, so those applicant numbers are probably untouched compared to the 2.8+ Philosophy GPA and 150+ LSAT score that aren't really good for getting you into more school or getting you a job. In the former case law school is likely to pay off financially. In the latter case prospects are equally terrible everywhere, with the difference being 3 years of law school debt.

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NorCalBruin
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby NorCalBruin » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:50 pm

More statistically questionable conjecture (but interesting nonetheless):

Using LSN, I've listed the number of pages of applicants for schools ranked 1-20. The leftmost number is this cycle (so far), the middle number is last cycle ('09-'10), and the rightmost number is two years ago ('08-'09). Now we know that applications will continue to trickle in. We also know that LSN is self-selecting, riddled with errors, and arguably statistically unsound. That said, I still think this evidence is telling. For example, at this time last year, less than 1/4th of a page of people (who listed their "sent" on LSN) had yet to send in their application to NYU. This year, NYU still needs almost 4 more pages of applicants to become even with last year. While it's possible there will be a late surge, I can't foresee NYU (and many other schools) matching the applicant pool from last year or the year before (at least not on LSN).

The average number of pages of applicants per school is down 37.2% from last year, and 40.6% from two years ago. This could be a gross exaggeration of what's happening in reality, but it's still interesting.

1 - Yale - 2, 4, 4
2 - Harvard - 4, 8, 8
3 - Stanford - 3, 5, 5
4 - Columbia - 5, 9, 10
5 - Chicago - 4, 7, 7
6 - NYU - 5, 9, 9
7 - Berkeley - 5, 8, 9
7 - Penn - 4, 7, 8
9 - Michigan - 5, 8, 7
10 - Virginia - 7, 11, 11
11 - Duke - 6, 9, 9
11 - Northwestern - 3, 4, 7
13 - Cornell - 5, 8, 6
14 - Georgetown - 7, 11, 13
15 - UCLA - 5, 8, 9
15 - Texas - 4, 6, 6
17 - Vanderbilt - 4, 6, 7
18 - USC - 4, 6, 6
19 - WUSTL - 4, 6, 5
20 - GW - 5, 7, 9
21 - Illinois - 4, 5, 5
22 - Emory - 3, 4, 5

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girlonfire
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby girlonfire » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:55 pm

gens1tb wrote:
StillHerexxx wrote:It means 2012 is coming and we are all going to die.


That means my student loan debt will be discharged, right?


This is good news. I've been counting on the zombie apocalypse so i don't have to figure out how to repay 150K with mediocre job prospects...

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thelaststraw05
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby thelaststraw05 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:01 pm

I am trying not to get my hopes up, but I do see myself thinking...

"If applicants are down, then MAYBE there will be fewer top applicants. If everyone who can go to a top 3 school DOES, that leaves more top 6 goodness for the rest of us."

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dpk711
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby dpk711 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:06 pm

NorCalBruin wrote:More statistically questionable conjecture (but interesting nonetheless):

Using LSN, I've listed the number of pages of applicants for schools ranked 1-20. The leftmost number is this cycle (so far), the middle number is last cycle ('09-'10), and the rightmost number is two years ago ('08-'09). Now we know that applications will continue to trickle in. We also know that LSN is self-selecting, riddled with errors, and arguably statistically unsound. That said, I still think this evidence is telling. For example, at this time last year, less than 1/4th of a page of people (who listed their "sent" on LSN) had yet to send in their application to NYU. This year, NYU still needs almost 4 more pages of applicants to become even with last year. While it's possible there will be a late surge, I can't foresee NYU (and many other schools) matching the applicant pool from last year or the year before (at least not on LSN).

The average number of pages of applicants per school is down 37.2% from last year, and 40.6% from two years ago. This could be a gross exaggeration of what's happening in reality, but it's still interesting.

1 - Yale - 2, 4, 4
2 - Harvard - 4, 8, 8
3 - Stanford - 3, 5, 5
4 - Columbia - 5, 9, 10
5 - Chicago - 4, 7, 7
6 - NYU - 5, 9, 9
7 - Berkeley - 5, 8, 9
7 - Penn - 4, 7, 8
9 - Michigan - 5, 8, 7
10 - Virginia - 7, 11, 11
11 - Duke - 6, 9, 9
11 - Northwestern - 3, 4, 7
13 - Cornell - 5, 8, 6
14 - Georgetown - 7, 11, 13
15 - UCLA - 5, 8, 9
15 - Texas - 4, 6, 6
17 - Vanderbilt - 4, 6, 7
18 - USC - 4, 6, 6
19 - WUSTL - 4, 6, 5
20 - GW - 5, 7, 9
21 - Illinois - 4, 5, 5
22 - Emory - 3, 4, 5


Interesting, but we do have to take into account that many LSNers only update their information after the cycle is over.

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robotclubmember
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:38 pm

Very true about LSN. But, don't most users at least create the account and list where they intend to apply or are pending? I'm sure there are some that really don't create an account or list any data until the very end but really, I doubt that accounts for much. And it's already mid-Feb basically. All the other statistics match what LSN suggests. Applications are down.

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dpk711
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby dpk711 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:56 pm

robotclubmember wrote:Very true about LSN. But, don't most users at least create the account and list where they intend to apply or are pending? I'm sure there are some that really don't create an account or list any data until the very end but really, I doubt that accounts for much. And it's already mid-Feb basically. All the other statistics match what LSN suggests. Applications are down.


I do think applications are slightly down this year, but I also know that a significant number of LSNers only report themselves after their cycle is over.

JeremyPaul
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Re: Law School apps are down... what does it mean?

Postby JeremyPaul » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:21 pm

Has anyone tried to estimate the level of self-selection bias on LSN by comparing the LSN stats with the U.S. News/ABA stats? It would take a little time, but it seems pretty straightforward to compare the LSAT and GPA percentiles of the T14 on LSN for the past few years with the percentiles reported in U.S. News. My assumption is that the stats are significantly higher on LSN since it's populated with the more neurotic OCD types among us... :)




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