And the LSAC’s three-year applicant volume comparison is out of the starting gate! It finds 14,892 law-school applicants as of week 49 of this year, a 5.1 percent drop from last year, when 28 percent of all applicants had applied at least once. As of now, it appears that there will be 53,186 applicants by the fall; there were 56,126 in August 2016.
The first reported week of applicant activity can be volatile. Last year at week 48, the projected number of final applicants was 55,524, which was about 1 percent off. I would not make any serious bets on where it will go, but perhaps there will be another applicant decline this year. The New York Times published another withering article on legal education in 2016, but the number of LSAT takers ticked up in September/October. Early in the cycle last year, applicant counts were up from the prior year.
Applications have fallen 1.7 percent compared to week 49 of 2015, so applications per applicant are higher now, 5.49 versus 5.3. This measure tends to rise during the year.
Last year I focused on two issues that are still relevant: One, the distribution of applications to law schools, and two, the extent to which applicants backload their applications later in the cycle. The distribution question will have to wait until the ABA releases its Standard 509 data, but many law schools could still be living in a law-school crunch despite the flat number of applicants. The second point is not something I can evaluate this year because the LSAC started reporting all applicants rather than just fall applicants as of 2016.
That’s all. Peace.
Past reporting on this topic:
- Week 48: More Than 55,500 Applicants Projected for 2016 (December, 4, 2015)
- Fewer Than 50,000 Applicants Predicted for 2015 (December 5, 2014)
- Week 49: 51,300 Applicants Projected for 2014 (December 11, 2013)