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

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A recent survey showed that pre-law students focus too much on applying to top ranked law programs, and disregard the schools’ job placement after graduation, as well as tuition and cost. However, the latter qualities of law schools may actually be more important than national rankings.

Kaplan Test Prep says 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 marking ‘school ranking’ the greatest evaluator when applying for law schools.

Statistics show that a major change happened in priorities for law students during their three years of law school. Although some 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.

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

Kaplan’s survey has some students reconsidering how they will approach law school admissions.

“It certainly makes me look more into job placement and affordability. 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 some pre-law students this survey comes as no surprise at all and does little to change their plans as far as law schools for which they plan to apply.

“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,” he said.

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

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