More than half of ABA-accredited law schools accept the GRE for admissions

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Dive Brief:

  • A total of 100 American Bar Association-accredited law schools now accept the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, for admissions. 
  • This represents more than half of the 199 law schools the ABA accredits, according to ETS, the company that administers the GRE. 
  • ETS presented the changes in the admissions landscape as a milestone for the GRE. Those will help bolster diversity among law school applicants, the company said, echoing a common argument among those who want entrance exam requirements loosened.

Dive Insight:

For many years, the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, was the exclusive exam ABA-accredited law schools relied on when reviewing students’ applications. 

The LSAT still is deeply ingrained in law school admissions culture, but in the last several years, a growing number of institutions have introduced more flexibility to the process. 

In 2016, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law became the first ABA-recognized school to accept the GRE. 

At the time, the Law School Admission Council, or LSAC, the nonprofit that controls the LSAT, threatened to expel the law school from its membership. But LSAC eventually backed off from its position, and the following year, Harvard Law School became the next institution to allow GRE scores. 

The ABA has since started formally allowing its law schools to use the GRE instead of the LSAT. And it’s currently mulling whether to abandon admissions test mandates altogether, which would permit its law schools to make submission of any entrance exam scores optional. 

The test-optional proposal has drawn mixed reactions, including criticism from law school officials who sit on the LSAC trustee board. 

Proponents of the plan argue test-optional law school admissions could help diversify applicant pools in part by attracting candidates from nontraditional backgrounds. 

Law schools’ moves to allow the GRE show they are seeking a larger and more diverse swath of applicants, Alberto Acereda, associate vice president of global higher education at ETS, said in a statement.

“Over the past several years, the GRE test has helped law schools to identify and admit increasingly diverse candidates, helping to bolster the law field of the future,” Acereda said. “We look forward to continued growth as we work alongside key members of the legal education community to serve them in new and different ways.”

The 100th law school to allow the GRE was the Drake University Law School, in Iowa. Here’s a full list of the ABA law schools that have greenlit the GRE.

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