Professors and deans hypothesized this spring that upheaval in Washington – and particularly President Trump’s “Muslim travel ban” and the highly publicized response of lawyers who ran to airports to help those affected – would cause more people to think about law school. The June LSAT, widely regarded as the first of the 2018 admissions cycle, offered the first real test of the “Trump Bump.”
The number of people who took the LSAT in June rose nearly 20% over last year. This is the largest percentage increase for any individual LSAT administration since September 2009.
The Law School Admissions Council administered the LSAT in February, after Trump took office, but this did not offer students much time to sign up and study for the entrance exam. Most law school admissions officers said that they would be looking at the June and fall LSATs to assess any potential applicant surge. Any increase in the number of applicants would be welcomed, since the number of applicants for the 2016/17 academic year was almost 36% less than the 2010 applicant pool.
Kellye Testy, Council President, said this week that Trump could very well be a factor in June’s significant rise in LSAT takers.
“I think people are starting to understand again the necessity for the rule of law,” Testy said. “Our current political climate has demonstrated that.”
However, it’s still too early to tell if the increase in June LSAT takers will translate into more people actually applying to law school or is it the beginning of a trend. June was the first LSAT administration since the Council announced that students can take the exam as many times as they want. Prior to this, the Council only allowed people to take the test up to three times during a two-year period. It’s possible that some of the increase could be attributed to those who previously may have waited to take the test later, but now see there are no negative consequences to taking it earlier and more often.
According to the Council, 4,555 more people took the test in June 2017 than in June 2016.
This “Trump Bump” doesn’t seem to be coming in time for the upcoming school year. The Council reported that the total number of law school applicants for the fall is down half a percent from the preceding year.
See this Law.com article for more details.
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