As we march onward to October and law school admissions officers continue to travel yet avoid the classic “living on the road” tropes exemplified by classic rock musicians from time immemorial, we are starting to get some signs of movement for this admissions cycle and will begin getting additional information next week. For AdComms and law school applicants, this is a bit like seeing the first shoots pop up in springtime … but in autumn instead. So let’s take a quick minute to check in on some national data before we take a look at the recruitment calendar for the coming week.
First Wave of Decisions
The first top schools to issue decisions each year tend to be the University of Virginia and Washington University in St. Louis. Per Reddit and their respective profiles on lawschooldata, both schools are upholding their traditions—bully for them! While seeing this kind of news can inspire equal parts excitement and FOMO, we encourage applicants not to let the emotional roller coaster get the best of them too much. As we can see via their small sample size on lawschooldata, WashU is prioritizing students with at least one stat over their most recently published medians:
Put simply, it’s pretty easy to review the applications of students who so drastically clear your statistical goals for the coming year. The greater challenge comes in establishing the middle of your “application bell curve.” For example, WashU can feel pretty certain about admitting students with 174+ LSATs and/or 4.0 GPAs because it would be highly unlikely for them to regret those decisions at a later time. But what about at a 172 or 173, given that WashU was clearly targeting a 173 last year? Their team is going to need more time—and more applications—to arrive before they can start to make a call on where to draw their LSAT line for the year.
UVA follows a similar strategy with their decisions but tends not to be as aggressive with admitting early applicants. So while it’s exciting to see some news out there, both schools will be making rather “conversative” decisions about whom they admit for the time being.
Where Are the Other Schools?
Seeing the initial wave of decisions come out from places like WashU and UVA typically leads to a follow-up question—why don’t other schools also start issuing decisions in September? Like you just read, it can be easy to review high-stat students … so why not just admit them? For most schools, it’s a combination of staff time and recruitment strategy.
Regarding staff time, admissions offices are busy with recruitment travel and programming right now. It can be challenging to train and coordinate your admissions committee if half of them are attending law fairs on any particular day! Meanwhile, admissions officers are also devoting a significant amount of time to their annual reports that law schools must submit to the American Bar Association in early October. Since these reports serve as the basis for both the ABA 509 reports and U.S. News rankings, admissions staffs have to work hard to ensure that data is complete and accurate. And lastly—and as we just established—there’s a lot to be said for not making offers of admission until you have a firm sense for the latest trends in the applicant pool.
Regarding recruitment strategy, it’s just not as simple as “admitting” people. AdComms have to make sure that their admitted student websites are up to date, that they have publications ready to send to the admitted students, and that their swag is ready to rock and roll (Admittens don’t just appear out of nowhere!). This takes time and it can be difficult to update these resources for one admissions cycle until the previous admissions cycle is complete. To put matters a different way—it’s nice to be the first school to admit a student, but it’s better to make sure that you made the best enrollment pitch possible to the admitted student.
Upcoming—LSAC App Numbers
A big moment for Law School Admissions Stats Fans is coming next week—LSAC will begin updating their Current Volume Summary reports for the admissions cycle. Woo! It’s like the moment on Election Day when the polls close and pundits start to sift through the data to get a sense of what may be happening in certain states. In this case, we’ll get our first glimpse into how the changes schools have made to their applications in a post-SFFA world have affected app submissions. Our conservative guess is that applications will initially be down a touch. This is simply due to more schools requiring more supplemental statements. But we expect that applications will likely be static this year due to the consistency in LSAT test takers from the 2021–22 admissions cycle to the 2022–23 cycle. You can check out that information here—be sure to click on “Historical Data” on the side tab.
But even with these caveats, a useful tea leaf to examine in the initial app numbers will be the breakdown of apps submitted by LSAT score bands. Will we continue to see an inordinate amount of 170+ scores? If so, it’s likely that the T14 will keep their medians steady and the rest of the admissions pecking order will fall into line. But what if we see a drop in those highest test bands? That could be a sign that schools will have to set their targets lower and the pecking order could be a little more fluid than usual.
Law Fairs and On-Campus Recruitment Events After a week mostly spent checking out the first round of foliage while traveling to law fairs in Upstate New York, AdComms hit one of their busier weeks of the year with the recruitment path splitting between the Southeast and the Midwest.
- University of Georgia Law Fair
- University of Tennessee Law Fair
- University of Minnesota Law Fair
- A Day of Rest!
- University of Wisconsin Law Fair
- University of Kentucky Law Fair
- University of South Carolina / Furman University Law Fair
- Transylvania State University Law Fair
- University of Illinois Law Fair
- Morehouse College Law Fair
- Indiana University Law Day
- Atlanta LSAC Forum
Trivia tidbits for those who made it this far in the update!
1) The Atlanta Forum is specifically held on a Friday rather than a Saturday due to the hold that SEC football has on the Southeast.
2) Transylvania University is named after one of the many proto-colonies that arose in the early United States and was home to one of the more daring rare books library heists in modern times.
But we digress!
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. Highlights for the coming week include:
- Yale Law will host an online open house on October 2 and their next Admissions Office Hours on October 6.
- Harvard Law will have an Admissions Q&A session on October 5.