Taking a Look Inside the Minds of Law School Applicants

Here’s some insight into what today’s law school applicants are thinking about.  Veritas Prep, a leading law school admissions consulting provider, released the results of its annual “Inside the Minds of Law School Applicants” research report, and not surprisingly, it seems the plight of new lawyers in the challenging legal job market is weighing more heavily on prospective and current applicants.

Among the findings, the study from Veritas Prep noted a 13 percent decrease in law school applicants who would still apply even if a significant number of law school graduates were unable to find jobs in their desired fields. Only 68 percent of respondents indicated they would still apply in such circumstances, compared to 81 percent in 2010. Also of interest, only 26 percent of respondents believe they will always be able to find a job if they have a JD, a nine percent decrease from last year’s results.

The survey, conducted in June and July of 2011, was distributed to those currently applying or considering applying to law school including Veritas Prep’s law school admissions consulting clients and subscribers of preLaw Magazine and Law School Podcaster. Nearly 150 current and prospective law school applicants participated in the survey, representing a combination of both college graduates and current undergraduates. A breakout of select findings is below:

Professional Aspirations and Concerns

•  Finding a job that allowed them to pay off their student loan debt (73%) supplanted last year’s top issue, which was finding an appealing long-term career path (68% of respondents as opposed to 79% of respondents in 2010).

Law School Financing

•  Although the number of respondents (21%) relying on grants and scholarships remained unchanged, the number expecting to finance their education through student loans grew substantially, from 38 percent in 2010 to 49 percent in 2011. Perhaps somewhat related to this increase was the fact that in 2011 only nine percent of respondents indicated parental support would help them finance the degree, as opposed to the 14 percent expecting parental support last year.

Law School Research and Selection

•  Location continues to be the most important factor in selecting a law school (71% this year, 69% in 2010). Although prestige and ranking continue to be important considerations (64% in 2011, 63% in 2010), this year career placement rate displaced prestige and ranking as the number two consideration, with 67 percent of respondents considering it a high priority (versus last year’s 62%). Additionally, the affordability of a legal education has assumed a higher priority for respondents: 60 percent (versus last year’s 54%) cited it as a consideration in the law school selection process.

Veritas Prep’s law school admissions consulting services ensure that Veritas Prep clients are successfully poised for admission to their select law schools.  Learn more about Veritas Prep and how they help applicants gain admission to the world’s most competitive schools.