As more law schools follow University of Arizona Law in accepting the GRE as an admissions test, news outlets are producing continuing coverage.
See excerpts below from recent national stories.
New York Times
“Law Schools Debate a Contentious Testing Alternative”
April 5, 2018
When Garett A. Holm began his first day of law school in Tucson he wasn’t especially concerned that people would ask his age, which was 41.
But he was braced for the possibility that someone might ask which admissions test he had taken — the traditional one law schools have used for more than half a century, or the test taken by students applying to almost all other graduate programs.
The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, in Tucson, where Mr. Holm is a student, was a leader in moving beyond the LSAT requirement. In 2016, the school said it would allow applicants to present results of the GRE, which is taken around the world by about six times more students than the 126,000 or so who take the LSAT annually.
Test scores are combined with other measures, including grade-point average, to admit students for the three-year juris doctoral degree.
Nearly 20 law schools, including Harvard’s, have embraced the GRE as an alternative. More than 150 law school deans, including those from many elite schools that had no shortage of applicants, vigorously backed Arizona’s effort two years ago to introduce the alternative.
Arizona has admitted students with academic backgrounds in disciplines like math, engineering and science who had not typically considered law school as an educational path.
Many are older than their early to mid-20s, which was once a more traditional age to enter law school, and already have graduate degrees and skills from previous careers.
“A number of them are people in mid-careers, with families, looking for a career change,” said Marc L. Miller, the school’s dean. “Half or more are making a career shift, from disciplines like accounting or careers in the military,” he said, adding, “We have a Ph.D. chemist, a geneticist and a doctoral student in rhetoric.”
Read the full New York Times article.
The Economist Group
“Why are law schools accepting the GRE?”
March 28, 2018
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has a reputation as a grueling rite of passage, requiring months of preparation to earn a competitive score. For decades, the LSAT has been the only admissions test accepted by U.S. law schools and an unavoidable hurdle for aspiring law students.
But the LSAT’s long-standing monopoly may be in decline.
The first institution to break with tradition was the University of Arizona. In 2016, the university announced the results of a study comparing the grades of current Arizona Law students with their LSAT and GRE scores. The study concluded that the GRE is as valid and reliable a predictor of law school success as the LSAT.
Harvard Law School followed suit, conducting its own study and becoming the second law school to accept the GRE. Now, 16 law schools have announced that they will allow applicants to submit the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT. The number continues to climb.
Law schools are particularly eager to attract STEM students because of the growing need for technical expertise in the legal field.
Peter McFadden, a first-year law student at the University of Arizona, was one of those applicants. McFadden decided to apply to law school during the final year of his PhD program in organic chemistry.
“I loved the science, but was interested in careers that would allow me to keep up on the science without committing to a life in the lab,” he explains.
After working with patent attorneys to protect his own graduate research, he developed an interest in patent law.
For a busy graduate student like McFadden, the time commitment required to prepare for the LSAT seemed “prohibitively high.” But his GRE score, which he had earned while applying to PhD programs four years earlier, was accepted by the University of Arizona’s law school.
McFadden is the type of student that Marc Miller, dean of the University of Arizona College of Law, is referring to when he predicts that every law school across the country will eventually accept the GRE.
“I don’t understand why anyone would say, ‘yes, you have your 4.0 [GPA], your PhD, your Nobel Prize—those are very impressive, but unless you take a test we say you have to take, we won’t even talk to you.’ I don’t see any school putting themselves in that position,” Miller says.
Read the full Economist article.