Difficulty of Upcoming Cycle

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Difficulty of Upcoming Cycle

Post by helmholtzwatson » Wed Jun 09, 2021 3:18 pm

As an expected applicant for the upcoming cycle, this is something I have been wondering about. Spivey (an admissions consulting firm) recently did a great blog (https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/thoug ... 021-cycle/) highlighting the wackiness of this cycle and some of the implications for the next cycle. To summarize, here are a few key takeaways:

Data from this cycle
- Applications are up this cycle. As of June 4, 2021, there are 10,205 more (17.6% increase) applicants than there were at the same point last year.
- More importantly, there has been a 38.1% uptick in 160+ applicants compared to this time last year. According to Spivey, that is enough to fill every seat in the Fall 2020 classes of the top 115 schools!
- As a result of this influx of higher scores, most schools targeted a +1 LSAT bump for this current cycle, but many have gone for +2 or even +3. GPA increases are also likely.
- Not everyone will see uniform gains. Schools who issued lots of decisions quickly or didn’t believe LSAT scores would be sustained so high likely won’t have increases. You can expect these types of schools to be the ones who are overenrolled.

Implications for next cycle
- Due to overenrollment, many schools are seeking deferrals from admitted students, reducing space in their upcoming class.
- Due to the competitive nature of this cycle, the number of re-applicants will likely be up, some with very high LSAT scores.
- Schools will likely move much more slowly making admissions decisions, so as to avoid over enrollment issues.
- With more people applying and a greater number of high LSAT scores, schools might become more selective with merit aid.

Overall, the data appears to show a few truths:
1. Tons of people applied this cycle.
2. The distribution of LSAT scores became skewed left with a measurable increase in high scores.
3. Admissions departments were unsure of how to react to this, many gunned for increases in their medians. Others did not.

So what does this mean for us upcoming cycle applicants? Well, it’s hard to say with precision. It seems likely many schools will see at least a point or two jump in their LSAT median and an increase in their GPA median. But will this be sustainable? It’s very likely this year’s medians for schools could be artificially inflated due to the LSAT-flex. Still, Spivey seems to think this cycle could have long-lasting effects.

Understandably, it is somewhat frightening to read these data and predictions. But it’s important to remember none of it conclusively indicates how difficult things will be next cycle. COVID really threw a wrench in this cycle, but to act like this portends gloom and doom for the future is a knee-jerk reaction. I believe if you continue to work hard, good things will happen!

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