It is time for our annual forecasting into the upcoming cycle -- which means it is time to start thinking in macro-level terms about what is going on with the applicant pool and with schools. But first, a look into our last year's predictions:
Notably, we said applications would be up, especially at the top bandwidths, and that you would be favored to get your applications in early, if possible.
Holy smokes, we were right on these! It's a Summer Solstice miracle. But we share not because of this (okay: we kinda share because of this), but ALSO because last year's data reflects on this year's pool. There are times that what happened last year will mirror this year, and others where it the reverse trends will happen. What are these times, you say? Let's dig in.
1. Applications will be up again
We will start with the bad news (for applicants...if you are a law school reading this, good news for you. Also, did you know we consult for law schools?). Early data suggests that applications will be up for the second year in a row—indeed June LSAT test-takers were up. What is our prediction? We think applications will be up about 1-5%. BUT....
2. Applications in the 165 + LSAT range will be stable
This wasn't the case for this cycle, where you saw some dramatic percentage increases in LSAT scores 165+. And, for the first time ever, we were given the +/- increases for each individual score (see: http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/2015-16-law-school-admissions-cycle-data-as-of-6-24/ , as of 6/24/16) Word on the street is that many schools loved these score by score breakdowns, and thus they are likely here to stay.
For a variety of reasons, however, these scores at the top tend to ebb and flow year by year. So even with the likely increase in applications, we think scores 165 and above will be stable when it is all said and done.
3 Applications in the LSAT range 150-164 will be up
Again, not so good if you fall into this range. And we do expect that scores 150-160 will be up, possibly way up. If you are in this range, GET YOUR APPLICATIONS IN EARLY...BUT...RETAKE if you think you can score higher. Retake with higher score > get applications in early. I should tweet that. (Edit update: tweeted)
For below 150, again more stability is our best guess. But, there is also growing belief that schools with medians below 150 are facing ABA pressure, particularly involving bar passage rates. So schools in that range may be looking at reducing class size to increase their LSAT.
4. Admissions offices looking at employability factors
With the job market still in recovery and schools facing pressure to improve employment statistics, the factors that will make you attractive to an employer have increasingly become more important. This is unlikely to change. The use of interviews in the admissions process will continue to expand with an eye towards exploring a candidate’s employability. Work experience or other factors that indicate maturity and job readiness will become increasingly important to the application process. More schools are asking different questions on interviews as well, and thus the days of preparing for a limited set of questions are drawing to a close. There are still three dominant questions categories:
Tell us about what you have done
Tell us about what you want to do
Tell us about us
But know why they ask each and have a strategy in mind for any possible question.
5. Little patience for impatience
Finally, and importantly, with an increase in applications, or even a stabilization of applications, schools will more readily have an ability to outright deny high scorers who are overly anxious, obsessive toward them, entitled, and neurotic. Sadly, this behavior has been trending upward. And we hear numerous stories from law schools about such behavior. Some are scary. On a personal level, I recently received a follow-up email 2 minutes after receiving the original email. The follow-up basically said "still waiting for your response." That would be an auto-deny at so many law schools. This is a tough process, for certain, and anxiety is the norm for all of us when things are important to us. If you are feeling anxious about this process, don't let it hurt you when you represent yourself to schools. Perhaps this article is a good starting point:
That is it, from us. We wish you a wonderful cycle filled with happy admits and hefty scholarships. If we can help, please reach out to us via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at http://www.spiveyconsulting.com/ to learn more about what we do.