What 19,900 students at 169 law schools have to say

Ava Chisling
November 13, 2017

Are law schools offering the same kinds of “perks” as they did years ago? Or perhaps with more competition, they’ve changed to attract the best students?

Law schools continue to be highly selective. Schools on our Top 10 ranking list “Toughest to Get Into” accepted only 18% of applicants and reported an average LSAT score of 170 (out of 180). An interesting change in law school admissions recently is the move for some schools toaccept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT. At the moment the list is relatively small, however we anticipate more schools moving to accept either test as entry into law school.

Academics and campus culture continue to be top priorities for students when it comes to choosing a school. And, in recent years, career outcomes and ROI have become just as important.

What are the top three reasons a student picks a law school today?

There are so many factors that go into this decision. We urge students to approach their application list with “best fit” in mind. For law school admissions, this can mean looking for a school that balances a great legal education with an equally great quality of life. Or perhaps you’re a student laser-focused on potential career prospects at a big law firm with a high first year associate pay — or you may be more interested in knowing which schools turn out the most federal clerkships. Our site can help guide you through those decisions.

What role do you think technology plays in education today?

Technology plays an increasingly important role within education at all levels, whether it’s K-12, college, or graduate school. The delivery system for quality education continues to improve via technology as we see more programs at all levels being delivered online. This is also true for legal education. One of our Best Law Schools, Washington University — School of Law, now offers online graduate law degrees. This trend seems likely to continue as high-quality colleges and universities start to make their offerings available online.

Based on the results of the 2018 The Princeton Review survey:

Among the Toughest Law Schools to get into: Northwestern, Duke, Yale, Harvard and Stanford.

Some of the Best Law Schools* include: Boston University, Baylor, Duke, Northwestern, Rutgers, Vanderbilt

*Based on institutional admission data, including LSAT scores, undergraduate GPAs, and acceptance rates for the most recently enrolled class. (source)

When it comes to the law school survey, tell me about some of the findings.

Our latest Best Law Schools project pulled on surveys from 19,900 law school students. Students told us about everything from academic offerings at their law school to career expectations, aspirations upon graduating, and what life was like at their school. Students also reported on why they chose to go to law school in the first place. The most selected answer among this cohort chose, in order:

  1. to continue their intellectual growth
  2. to increase my earning power
  3. to contribute to my ability to change society

Among the three least selected reasons why they chose law school were:

  1. to avoid looking for a job in a bad economy
  2. to find myself
  3. lack of a better thing to do

Tell me one or two important characteristics of a college that students often overlook when deciding where to apply.

Here’s what students often overlook: Don’t cross an expensive school you love off your list just because of the steep tuition. When financial aid enters the picture, those out-of-pocket costs may decrease dramatically making your education much more affordable. Great grades and test scores can help by making you eligible for more dollars in the form merit-based scholarships and grants. The bottom line is, you won’t know what your financial obligation will be until you are accepted and apply for financial aid.

When you speak to people at schools or at conferences, what is the most important lesson you want them to hear?

That there is not any one college or law school that is the best overall. Instead, there is a best school for you. Take a personal inventory of what really matters to you and what you want out of a law school. Even your “safety schools” should one ones that you would happily attend if your other choices don’t pan out.

If I gave you a magic wand and asked you to create today’s “perfect college,” what would it look like?

A “perfect college” can mean so many things to different applicants depending on their priorities, which is why we created our ranking lists to cover many topics prospective students might want to know to help them narrow their search. As for me? If I were applying to college or law school today, a great classroom experience with lots of lively discussion would top my list. I’d also be very thankful indeed that campus food has come so far in 20 years!

For 26 years, The Princeton Review has asked thousands of students what they think of their colleges. You will find more information about the recently released 2018 edition of The Best 382 Colleges here.

Ava Chisling

Ava is an award-winning lawyer and editor who counsels creative types, writes about pop culture/tech+law and sometimes creates ad campaigns. She is Quebec counsel for Momentum Law.