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Law School Applications Are Up …

…but the sky isn’t falling.

At the risk of sounding like I’m trying too hard to relate to the youth of America, I’ve been playing a lot of battle royale video games lately. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this new gaming craze, a battle royale is basically the same concept as the hunger games — a number of players are dropped onto an enclosed space, which shrinks over time, and they attempt to survive until all the other players are eliminated.

At the further risk of overusing a tired analogy, a battle royale game is particularly applicable when it comes to the world of law school applications in one key respect — the more players in the game, the worse your odds of success. In battle royale games, you face off against 100 opponents. I’d probably win a lot more matches if that number was 10 and, conversely, I’d probably lose a lot more (if that’s possible) if the number was 200. Similarly, if you’re 1 out of 100 qualified applicants with an LSAT/GPA combo within a school’s desired range, you’re more likely to receive an offer than if you’re 1 out of 200.

Over the last few years, we’ve noted that LSAT takers and applications have been on the rise. We’ve analyzed the various reasons for the rise in applications, from political ideology to a rebounding job market, and we’ve discussed the ways in which the increasing number of applicants might impact your chances of success in applying to schools. The key takeaway all along is largely that — while the sky isn’t falling — an increasing applicant pool makes it more difficult to get offers of admission as a result of the increased competition and the greater number of students with strong scores.

Spivey Consulting released some early data about applicants in this admissions cycle. Looks the number of applicants are up again this year, but less so than they were around this point last year. As a result, it looks like this cycle is going to continue the trend of increasing competitiveness, especially for those students scoring above a 165 on the LSAT, where some of the sharpest increases are evidenced. However, this is probably not going to make it monumentally more difficult to apply to law school, and it doesn’t look we’re destined to continue seeing the same level of increases forever. With that said, for those students looking to secure an offer of admission from a top school, it is important to make sure you get your applications in early — hopefully before the holidays — to best situate yourself for success.

Furthermore, it’s also probably worth noting that last year, the early data showed a sharper increase over the previous year than the later data did. So, the results we’re seeing here could also level off and mitigate some of the anxiety you might be feeling about the larger applicant pool and the increase in higher scores. Only time will tell.

All in all, the early data is consistent with expectations. Further increases in applicants were predictable, as was the slight slowdown in the overall increase. The admissions market is getting more competitive, so use it as extra motivation to get those applications in early! May the odds be ever in your favor.