No LSAT, No Problem: University of Arizona’s Law School Begins Accepting GRE
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has long been the seemingly make-it-or-break-it test that prospective law school students take. For years, it’s been a simple rule: if you want to go to law school, you take the LSAT. But the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law is breaking away from that mold–the school is accepting students who submit the Graduate Records Examinations (GRE) as well.
Arizona made its announcement about the GRE in February, and immediately saw backlash. The Law School Admission Council, which is in charge of the LSAT test, allegedly considering ousting Arizona from its membership–although the Council now states that its actions in regards to Arizona were “misinterpreted.” In addition to administering the LSAT, the Council offers a number of other admissions-related services, so it’s not really a membership that Arizona would have wanted to lose. The Council did decide to let Arizona retain its membership. Other law schools backed Arizona’s attempt to break from the norm–approximately 150 deans signed a letter supporting Arizona’s “effort to broaden its applicant pool.”
So why does Arizona want to let in applicants that don’t take the LSAT? There are a few reasons, including the fact that the American Bar Association (ABA) has never been clear that the LSAT is the only test that prospective law school students should or can take. According to Carrie Jung of NPR:
The American Bar Association says law schools must require a standardized test that’s valid and reliably predicts student performance, ‘but it doesn’t say that standardized test must be the LSAT,’ says Marc Miller, the Arizona law school dean.
Arizona commissioned a study which came to the conclusion that the GRE is a reliable way to measure applicants. And Arizona’s administration makes some good points about the accessibility benefits of the GRE–there are a lot more opportunities to take the GRE than the LSAT, and Arizona is hoping that increased accessibility leads to more a diverse pool of applicants.
Arizona’s admissions website now clearly states that submitting a GRE score instead of an LSAT score is allowed, and while it’s the first school to make this move, there may be others following suit. According to NPR, the University of Hawaii and Wake Forest are also considering opening admissions to GRE-takers as well.