Law School Enrollment Plummets

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First-year law school enrollment is down 11% this year

The American Bar Association reports that first-year law school enrollment dropped 11% this year, down 5,000 students to 39,675. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, this is the lowest first-enrollment has been since 1977 (when enrollment was 29,676 – just one student higher).

Here are some additional stats from the WSJ article:

• This is the third year of law school enrollment decline; in 2010, enrollment hit an all-time high with more than 52,000 students beginning law school.
• One of the biggest enrollment jumps occurred in 2002 with an increase in enrollment of 7.48%.
• About two-thirds of the 202 ABA accredited U.S. law schools reported enrollment declines this year. At 81 schools, the decline exceeded 10%.
• Not all law school news is negative, though – 27 law schools this year increased their first-year class enrollment by 10% or more.

With the decreased demand in law school comes a decrease in competition; so ask yourself – is now the time to apply? Good question. Don’t answer solely based on the decline in application volume and law school enrollment. You also need to look at cost and job opportunity.

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Best B-Schools for Entrepreneurs

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There’s also prize money involved – about $200,000 to split among the 30 winners of the New Venture Challenge at Chicago Both.

A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses the difficult mission of finding the right b-school for entrepreneurs. It lists the different rankings sites and the variety of results they offer for top entrepreneur-focused b-school programs: Businessweek puts Stanford at the top of the list; Entrepreneur magazine gives top marks to Michigan Ross; and Poets & Quants gives Harvard Business School the #1 spot.

The article also points out how different schools showcase their entrepreneurial strengths in different ways: Stanford touts the most startups per student as well as its access to investors; HBS highlights that its student ventures attracted the most funding; and Booth measures its start-up success by the number of ventures purchased or merged. Other programs emphasize their efforts to mix with other school departments, like Penn with its entrepreneur and engineering/computer science programs and CMU Tepper with its business/computer science co-led Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Focus on Chicago Booth

In the last year, at least eight Chicago Booth student ventures acquired or merged, in part due to the school’s New Venture Challenge – a program in which students present business plans (about 100 total) from which investors choose the top 30. The selected students then enroll in a course that helps them prepare their plans for investor pitches. There’s also prize money involved – about $200,000 to split among the 30 winners.

Check out our recent podcast interview for the lowdown on •	A law degree as a path to the business world   •	When to get an MBA and a JD •	Advice for anyone considering a degree in law or business and more!

WSJ Law Blog Offers Most Recent Law Applicant Stats

Check out our recent podcast episode, "Business, Law, and Beyond."

Number of LSAT test takers is down, and that’s a good thing.

Highlights of the Wall Street Journal article, “Number of LSAT Test Takers Is Down 45% Since 2009,” include:

• The number of LSAT exams administered in October 2013 (33,673 exams) is 11% lower than in October 2012 (37,780 exams). This is the lowest test taker volume since 1998.

• The total number of LSAT test takers in June and October is down 38% from four years ago when test taker volume peaked. The number of test takers in October alone is down 45% compared to the 2009 high.

• The number of law school applicants dropped 12.3% compared to last year, and application volume dropped 17.9% this year.

My Take

This is good news.

There used to be a naïve belief that a legal degree was a “good thing to have.” That’s true if it’s also an inexpensive thing to have, which a law degree is not.

When the legal job market initially tanked, applicants were still applying to law school in droves. Apparently that madness has ended. These LSAT stats indicate that those serious about the law and using their legal education professionally are taking the LSAT and that far fewer applicants are defaulting to law from the social sciences and humanities than did so a few years ago.

People committed to a career that requires a legal degree and promises an income in excess of the cost of a legal education are the ones who should be taking the LSAT. And there are simply fewer people who believe they fit that description today than there were five years ago. Plus, more people today recognize both the high cost and the more limited opportunity associated with a J.D. than in years past.

They should have recognized it five years ago. The good news is that more do so today.

MBA Internship-to-Job Rate Rises as Employers Increasingly Pick from Summer Talent

MBA Internship-to-Job Rate is Up

69% of summer interns seeking full-time employment received job offers.

While the internship-to-job funnel has long existed in the banking and consulting industries, a Wall Street Journal article reports that more industries are filling full-time positions with their former MBA interns. And they’re not just increasing their internship-to-job rates, but some have started their hiring a year before the position start date, offering full-time positions to future MBAs while they’re still in their internship positions.

The result: Students have begun scrambling for top internship positions almost as soon as they begin their b-school studies. As the stakes rise and employers begin to rely on an internship as a sort of interview, the pressure builds to secure that coveted internship that may turn into a long-term position two or more years down the line.

Here are some stats from the WSJ article, and then a nice graphic that they posted:

• 40% of Darden’s class of 2012 accepted full-time job offers from their summer employers. In 2010 that percentage was only 25%.
• 31% of Columbia’s 2012 class accepted full-time positions from their summer internship employers. In 2010, less 20% of graduates made the internship-to-job jump.
• At Caesars Entertainment Corp., five out of six full-time MBA hires took full-time positions this year.
• 69% of summer interns seeking full-time employment received job offers.
• Each year Bain & Co. hires 400 full-time MBAs; 40% of them are former interns.
• 5 out of 18 interns at Enova have returned this year for full-time positions.

The Intern Advantage

Implications for MBA Applicants

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. And again: You need to have a clear goal when you apply to business school, certainly when you arrive at business school. The critical internship search starts within weeks of the start of classes. To make the most of your MBA investment, arrive with direction and focus so that you will know where to expend time and energy. If you see something while there that looks better than your original goal, go for it. But don’t arrive at b-school thinking you will have time to figure out what you want to do not only while you are there, but with the rest of your life. You won’t. Do that homework before classes start.

When You Receive College Rejection Letters

Don’t allow the colleges’ admission decisions to define you.

Don’t allow the colleges’ admission decisions to define you.

Accepted’s college admissions expert, Whitney Bruce, responds to Suzy Lee Weiss’s Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me.”

When I work with high achieving students, as I presume Suzy Lee Weiss to be, we talk about failure. To the straight-A, student leader, it’s often a foreign concept in 11th grade. Such students have worked hard and been justly rewarded for their intelligence and their efforts. When I worked in college admissions, I used to visit Taylor Allderdice High School; the school has many such motivated and talented students.

For these students, March can indeed be the cruelest month. The low acceptance rates to many of the most selective colleges are staggering. As a counselor, I’m finding it harder and harder to identify great colleges for my students who have everything going for them, but as Ms. Weiss essentially admits, don’t walk on water. They’ve excelled in the classroom and made a difference in their community. But in the age of increasing applications, there are simply too many of them, capable of succeeding on these highly sought after campuses for most to receive an offer of admission.

As awful as it seems, when faced with fewer options than one might hope, especially in comparison to peers, it’s important to put the disappointment behind you. For a day or two, cry, groan, and complain to your parents about what might have been. Then look to the future.

The college you choose to attend this month will become your home for the next four years and an affiliation for a lifetime. Six months ago, this college received your application because you, the student, felt like it was a good fit. It still is. Embrace your college choices, order the sweatshirt, and be proud of all you have accomplished in high school.

Don’t allow the colleges’ admission decisions to define you. Define yourself.