LSATs, GPAs, Class Sizes: Latest Declining Numbers and Your Apps

By William Peacock, Esq. on October 14, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's now general knowledge that law school applications are down. Demand has fallen as the expected return on investment has decreased (drastically). How is that demand vacum affecting schools?

As you might expect, admissions numbers are dropping a bit, even at some of the top fifteen schools. Class sizes are shrinking somewhat as well, but not at all schools. And for applicants with good numbers, you may be able to capitalize by applying to the right schools.

The 2016 LSAT, GPA, Class Size Numbers

The 2016 numbers are in, and compiled into a massive Google Spreadsheet, courtesy of the fine folks of the Top Law Schools forum.

How are things looking? Once you get past Harvard and Yale, admissions numbers are down across the board, even in the top 15.

As for class sizes, it's a mixed bag. Many have referred to this as the Sophie's Choice of law school admissions: either increase class sizes (and decrease admissions standards) to keep revenues high or slash class sizes and keep high admissions standards (preserving ranking, but slashing revenue).

For example, George Washington University increased its class size 20.85 percent, but lost two points off of its LSAT median. Washington and Lee was the big cutter, shrinking its class by 40.96 percent, but its LSAT numbers remained the same, a rare feat outside of the top two schools.

Overall, for the data available at this point, at the top fifty schools, the class shrinkage was only 0.64 percent, with the LSAT median dropping a little more than a point.

What Does This Mean for Applicants?

It's good news! And bad news!

With big class size swings, and gradually decreasing admissions standards, predicting admission is more complicated than ever. One might posit that increased class sizes at some schools mean you'll have a better shot at getting in. Or, that the schools with decreasing admissions numbers might be more desperate (and more generous with scholarships).

If you are applying this fall, we'll tell you the same thing we told you last month: apply early, apply often, or if your numbers are bad, don't apply at all. Gather a number of offers and try to negotiate a scholarship -- paying full sticker with today's job market is a fool's errand.

Have any questions about applying to law school? Join the discussion with our over-lawyered staff on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.

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