Law program rankings aren’t always the ‘golden ticket’


The focus of pre-law students has turned to applying to top ranked law programs, and instead of looking at the schools’ job placement after graduation, as well as tuition and cost. A recent survey shows that job placement and tuition may actually be more important than national rankings.

A Kaplan Test Prep study said that 32 percent of students who took an LSAT survey marked the category of ‘school ranking’ as the most important factor when choosing a law school to attend. In contrast, Kaplan reports only 17 percent of recent law school graduates marked ‘school ranking’ as the greatest evaluator when applying for law schools.

Statistics for the survey show that a major change happened in priorities of law students during their three years of law school. Although some students had originally stated school rankings as most important, nearly half of recent graduates say that factors such as tuition and job placement became a higher priority for them than a school’s ranking.

“(law students) need to think about all of the factors that go into place to get them into a successful career,” said Jeff  Thomas, director of pre-law programs at Kaplan Test Prep. “Law school rankings do not directly correlate with job statistics or salary rankings,”

For Madison Daines, a political science major, this survey has her reconsidering her approach to law school admissions.

“It certainly makes me look more into job placement and affordability,” Daines said. “I think that survey makes me want to look closer at job placement and how well a school has done at giving their grad students jobs,” said Madison Daines, a political science major.

For Bradley Rebeiro, a political science major, this survey comes as no surprise at all and does little to change his plans as far as which law schools to apply for.

“The advice I got from a lawyer I worked with was if you don’t get into a top 10 school then go the most cost efficient school but if you’re going to the number one or number two school in the nation then hands down you’re going to get a job coming right out of school,” said Bradley Rebeiro, a political science major.

Thomas, however, still differs with students who have this perception.

“Just because a student gets into a high ranked law program, doesn’t necessarily mean it gives them the golden ticket to getting a job.”

According to the Law School Admission Council, the most recently recorded year (2010-2011), showed 584 BYU students applied to law school making BYU the tenth largest supplier of law school applicants in the country.

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