In the last 5 years there has been a significant decline in the number of applications that law schools have received, this trend has not hit upper tier schools as much. With the decline in applications, individual students are given greater leverage in obtaining discounts on tuition. Below are trends for the last 5-years on law school applications, offers, and acceptance rates using data from the American Bar Association. All data is for the full time program.
Note, the Law School Admissions Council tracks the number of applicants for law school at the end of every year. For 2015 there were 54,500 applicants compared to 2011’s 78,500. On average, each student who applied to law school in 2011 submitted 6.8 applications, versus 2015, which declined to 6.2 applications.
This means that students are being more selective in the number of law schools that they apply to.
Effect of Lower Applications on T14 Schools
T14 schools will always receive the highest number of applicants compared to non-T14 schools due to their status as top law schools in the nation. This disparity can really be seen in the chart on the right, which shows the current T14 schools against the remainder of the 203 ABA accredited schools. Between 2011 and 2015, T14 accounted for 16%-20% of all applications.
Below is the difference between 2011 and 2014:
- T14 Schools in 2011 received 81,569 applications, which was reduced to 64,712 in 2015 (a decrease of 21%
- The remainder of schools in 2011 received 427,990, which declined to 257,859 in 2015 (a decrease of 40%)
If you are looking for the acceptance rates for each school, you can find it here, along with trends for each of the three categories (Applications, Offers, Acceptance).
Law School Applications
The consistent trend has been that in recent years the number of applicants have significantly decreased. Since 2011, the average number of applications has declined by 37%, or roughly 187,000 applications. While some believe this drop in applications is due to law school not being a valuable investment, it could also be a result of students being more selective in which law school to apply to.
- Since 2011 law firm ABA accreditation applications have dropped from 509,553 to 322,607, a decrease of 36%
Law School Offers
While the number of offers declined by 34,620, this is a much smaller decrease than is being seen by the number of applications. This means that schools are competing for a much smaller pool of prospective students.
- Since 2011 when law schools made offers to 176,743 students, offers have declined by 19.6% to 141,853
- In 2011, the average law school provided offers to 34.69% to prospective students, in 2015 it was 43.97%
If you are thinking of attending law school, now is potentially a good opportunity to ask for scholarships and discounts off tuition costs. To see scholarship information for individual law schools, check out the scholarship tracker.
Applicants who Became Law School Students
The decline in offers, is similar to the number of students who accepted offers..
- In 2015 32,805 applicants became students. This is a decrease of 21% from 2011, when the number of applicants who accepted offers were 41,539.
If you want to see the detail behind each law school for last year, including which school was the hardest to get into, check out the Law School Acceptance Rates.