Admissions Trends to Watch in 2013

2013 Trends

Trends for 2013

2012 has been an exciting year. Experimentation in applications including interviews and essays has marked the most recent admissions cycle. In addition, the recession, growing concern about rising tuition and student debt, and the promise of MOOCs is shaking the world of higher education.  But let’s leave the 35,000 foot view of last year and gaze into the crystal ball for next year.

Trends for 2013

  1. Increased use of MMI in medical school admissions will continue.
  2. For law school, an increasingly practical approach to legal education with more opportunities for externships, internships, and coursework related to legal practice.
  3. More new one-year specialized masters programs like UM’s Masters in Entrepreneurship or Rochester Simon’s menu of one-year specialized masters programs as well more accelerated MBA programs or expansion of existing ones, like those at Kellogg, Columbia, and Cornell. These shorter programs, as well as part-time programs and one-year programs abroad, will present increasing competition to the traditional full-time, two-year U.S. MBA programs.
  4. More experimentation with the MBA interview.  I predict more group interviews, as was introduced by INSEAD and Wharton in the last two years. I also predict continued experimentation with essays and attempts to find alternatives to essays, probably using media other than the written word.
  5. Continued growth of Asian MBA programs as continuing economic contraction in Europe, increasingly restrictive visa policies there, and the relatively strong Asian economy encourage Asian business schools’ growth and competitiveness.

How did I do in 2012?

So that’s what I foresee for this year, but how did last year’s predictions stack up?  How cloudy was my crystal ball. Well I predicted:

  1. Interview experimentation, specifically more use of team interviews for business school. On the money!  😀
  2. “The trend towards more openness with data (in law school admissions) will spill over to MBA programs.” Not sure here. I think so, but can’t point to anything specific.
  3. “Expect more focus on realistic, well-reasoned goals in all areas of graduate admissions.” Again, I think this is true, but I can’t point to any specific evidence. Jan. 3 2013 News Flash (Edit): I now have some evidence. Today’s Wall Street Journal article M.B.A. Pop Quiz: Are You Employable? reports on increasing number of business schools that are have career services weigh in on admissions decisions.
  4. Increased Flexibility in B-School Curricula.” I expected more schools to move toward the Chicago Booth, UCLA and Wharton models where general requirements can be taken later in one’s b-school career.  Frankly, I haven’t seen this development.

And what did I miss entirely? The shrinking of the MBA application. There have been fewer essays almost across the board.

So my crystal ball definitely had some inaccurate refraction last year. Let’s see how I do in 2013.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

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8 NY Law Schools Report Lower Bar Pass Rates

Bar Pass Rate Decreases at 8 NY Schools

Lower Bar Pass Rates in NY

In 2011, eight of New York’s 15 law schools posted improved bar pass rates compared with the year before. According to a New York Law Journal article, this year, eight of these 15 schools reported lower rates.

The most dramatic plunge was reported by New York Law School which experienced a 70% pass rate in July. Last year the school’s pass rate was 80%. This drop pushed New York Law to last place ranking among NY’s law schools, following Touro Law Center (#14 this year and #9 last year) by a full percentage point. This year, Touro experienced the second largest percentage decline, from 83% last year to 74% this year.

New York Law has established a “task force” called “Foundations for Success,” an 11-member committee that will prepare students better for the bar exam (including individualized coaching), as well as provide counseling support.

City University of New York School of Law increased its pass rate from 67% to 83.5%, bringing its ranking up to 7th place. Last year the school ranked last of the 15 schools.

Other New York law schools that experienced pass rate increases include Fordham University School of Law, Albany Law School, the Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University, and Pace Law School. Columbia and Cornell Law Schools remained the same from last year.

Click on the chart below for more info.

Bar Pass Rates





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Law School Enrollment Down From 2010

Law School Enrollment Declines

“149 law schools decreased in enrollment.”

The American Bar Association reported that law school enrollment has dropped 9% from 2011 and 15% from 2010.

According to a National Jurist article, some law schools had planned to reduce enrollment, but the ABA report confirms that even those that expected a drop, experienced a more severe drop than planned or expected, some by more than 10%.

Final findings show 149 law schools decreased in enrollment and 48 increased. Four schools increased enrollment by more than 10%.

A more extensive report is expected in the spring.

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Law Schools Cut 2012 Class Size

Law Schools Cut Back

“More cuts may be on the way…”

According to a Kaplan Test Prep press release last week, more than half of the 123 law schools that responded to a recent Kaplan survey cut the size of their 2012 entering classes. The press release reports:

51% of law schools have cut the size of the entering class; 63% said the reason was the contraction of the job market in the legal industry. And more cuts may be on the way; of the law schools that have not cut the size of their entering classes, 28% say they will likely do so for the current application cycle.

The survey also addressed changes in law school curricula. On this, the press release notes:

68% of law schools have already revamped their curriculum to make their students more “practice ready”; 5% say they’ve decided to so, but haven’t implemented the changes yet; 9% say they are considering making curriculum changes; and 18% say they have no plans to make curriculum changes.

And one more important point: 47% of law schools increased their financial aid packages.

For more information, please see the Kaplan press release and the Wall Street Journal article, “More Law Schools Cut Class Sizes.”

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