Mar 10, 2017 09:59 AM EST
Harvard Law School Changes Admissions Process, Makes LSAT Optional
Harvard Law School has switched up its admissions process. This time, it no longer requires the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) for admission.
For decades, the LSAT has always been a test to determine whether a student is capable of learning the law. This fall, though, Harvard Law School will be allowing applicants to submit their scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the LSAT, The Washington Post reported.
This major change is said to be part of the university's efforts to expand access. School officials believe that this could make it easier and less expensive for students to apply.
The announcement was made this week. This came before the American Bar Association has considered changing its standards to allow tests other than the LSAT.
The University of Arizona College of Law was the first law school in the country to allow applicants to submit GRE scores instead of LSAT scores last year. Harvard's decision would play a significant role in upending the admissions process for legal education.
Bill Henderson, a professor at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University at Bloomington, described it as "a very big deal" and a "wise move." He noted that Harvard and Yale were the institutions that initially used LSAT scores to gauge a student's capabilities to learn law.
This was because, during the postwar years, there were several applicants who wanted to study law. Today, however, the volume of applicants has dropped.
According to Fox News, officials at Harvard approved the change after it completed an anonymized, statistical study. It found that the GRE is also a valid predictor of first-year grades.
Schools have continued to change their processes to make sure that students apply with them. Some, who also made LSAT scores optional, were criticized as only trying to expand their consumer base. However, Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency, said that Harvard will not face the same backlash.
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