What’s Going On in the Admissions Process

With the New York LSAC Forum in the background and the October LSAT going off without any major hitches, law school admissions officers know that the end is in sight for travel season. They only have a few more heavy weeks of law fairs to go. Pretty soon, they’ll switch their gears fully towards reviewing applications. With that shift on the horizon, let’s take a moment to check in on some national trends.

Current Application Trends

LSAC began publishing their Current Volume Summary reports for the 2023–2024 admissions cycle on October 11th. These are data-rich resources that can give applicants and AdComms a great sense of the current state of affairs. And even though everyone acknowledges that it’s early in the admissions year, no one tells Steven Kornacki not to start doodling with his touch screens until 9 p.m. Eastern on Election Night! 

So let’s take a look and see if we can draw some early inferences!

LSAC allows you to look at data for both “applicants” and “applications.” The difference is subtle but important here—an “applicant” is an individual student who may submit multiple “applications.” Hold that thought for a minute!

LSAC allows you to look at both applicants and applications on any day from October 1 through the present. If you shift the timeline back to October 1, here’s what you see:

To use the technical term—yowzers! Although October 1 is very early in the admissions year, a 20% drop in applicants is still something to write home about.

But now let’s jump ahead to October 16:

We have a little bit of a story developing. Immediately, we can see that the gap in applicants has closed a lot—going from -20% to -6.1%, while the gap in raw numbers of applicants decreased from around 1,200 on October 1 to just about 550 on October 16. But the gap in applications is a bit different—the percentage decline has improved from -18.1% to -15.2% but the raw number has actually increased from around 5,000 to over 7,000. Put another way, the average applicant on October 16, 2022, had applied to a little over five schools. This year, that average number is closer to 4.5 schools. What gives?

My educated guess is that applicants were slow to enter the admissions year primarily because of the increased number of new supplemental statements in our post-SFFA world. It probably also didn’t help that the August and September LSATs were plagued by issues—a good amount of those test takers were likely waiting for their scores before they submitted their first app. But now that a little time has passed, more applicants have been able to get that initial round of new supplements completed and get the first app out the door.

But that gap in applications? It’s likely that that also goes back to the increased number of new supplements. Not only are students getting slowed down by the new required documents, they may also be deciding to simply apply to fewer schools. We’re going to keep an eye on this in the coming weeks. If that gap in applications remains stable (or grows!), that may affect how schools approach their target medians for this coming year.

But let’s also remember that there’s a potential wave of applications coming because of the increased number of October and November LSAT registrations:

It looks like it’s lining up to be an interesting winter.

Law Fairs and On-Campus Recruitment Events

AdComms wrapped up their single biggest recruitment event of the year—the New York LSAC Forum—on Saturday the 14th and then had a slightly easier week of travel the week of the 16th. Things switch gears for the week of the 23rd as they get tugged in a few different directions across the country!

October 23

- University of Colorado, Boulder Law Fair

October 24

- University of Utah Law Fair

- Bucknell University Grad and Professional School Fair

- Florida A&M University Law Day

- University of Detroit Mercy Law Day

- Philadelphia Law Fair

October 25

- Brigham Young University Law Fair

- Florida State University Grad and Law Fair

- University of Michigan Law Fair

- University of California, Davis Grad and Law Fair

October 26

- University of Southern California Law Fair

- University of Arizona Law Fair

October 27

- Arizona State University Law Fair 

October 28

- LSAC Los Angeles Forum

As always, be sure to check out LSAC’s Calendar of Events for the latest and most comprehensive information regarding law fairs.

And, as always, be sure to check out our page of law school-specific recruitment events. Given how many directions AdComms are being pulled in for physical travel, it’s a bit of a lighter week! Just one event of note:

- George Washington Law will be hosting an AMA on October 23.