Login | December 08, 2019

Akron Law latest school to accept GRE scores

Legal News Reporter

Published: November 15, 2019

Students looking to apply to The University of Akron School of Law are now able to use their GRE or LSAT scores to do so.
Educators announced the change on Oct. 9, which took effect immediately, making Akron Law the first public law school in Ohio to accept the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) as an alternative to the LSAT (Law School Admission Test).
“From our perspective, we think the change will help to broaden and diversify our applicant pool over time,” said Akron Law Dean Christopher J. (C.J.) Peters. “Because the GRE has a math section and is commonly used in admission to graduate programs in the STEM fields, we believe applicants may be more plentiful from science, engineering and math areas,” said Peters. “And the GRE clearly measures skills that are important to law schools, such as verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing.
“The GRE is the standard test for most graduate programs and many students take it. By accepting the GRE, we hope to make law school a realistic alternative for students who may not want to go through the additional time and expense of taking the LSAT and might be less likely to consider law school as a result.”
Akron Law is far from the only school to add the GRE as an alternative admission test.
“As of today, at least 46 other law schools across the country have begun to accept the GRE in addition to the LSAT,” said Peters.
It all began in February 2016 when The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law became the first law school in the country to allow students to use the GRE or LSAT to apply. Since then, many others have followed suit, including Harvard Law School, Georgetown University Law Center and Columbia Law School.
“Akron Law is the first law school in the country with an annual tuition of under $25,000 for both in-state and out-of-state students to accept the GRE.”

In Ohio, the University of Dayton School of Law, a private institution, also allows students to use their GRE scores.
Peters said contrary to popular belief, the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which is responsible for accrediting law schools, does not specifically state that the LSAT is the only acceptable exam.

ABA accreditation Standard 503 says in part, “A law school shall require each applicant for admission as a first-year J.D. student to take a valid and reliable admission test to assist the school and the applicant in assessing the applicant’s capability of satisfactorily completing the school’s program of legal education.”
In addition according to Interpretation 503-1, “A law school that uses an admission test other than the Law School Admission Test sponsored by the Law School Admission Council shall demonstrate that such other test is a valid and reliable test to assist the school in assessing an applicant’s capability to satisfactorily complete the school’s program of legal education.”
“Some law schools, including schools with similar student bodies to Akron Law’s, have performed validity studies that suggest that the GRE is a valid and reliable admission test,” said Peters. “Also, the experience of law schools that have accepted the GRE for several years suggests no meaningful differences in performance between students who took the GRE and those who took the LSAT.
“Based on these factors, we are confident the ABA will continue to allow law schools to accept the GRE, provided we track the progress of our GRE students to ensure there are no serious issues.”
While Akron Law has not determined what the required GRE score will be, Peters said the median LSAT score for the 2019 entering class was a 153.
“We are working to identify what an equivalent score would be on the GRE,” said Peters.
Barbara Weinzierl, associate dean for administration and enrollment management at Akron Law said applicants should not assume that gaining admission will be easier because of the change in policy.
“Admission using a score from the GRE will be just as competitive and demanding as it is for those who apply using the LSAT,” said Weinzierl. “We will be looking for GRE scores that are above the national median, just as our median LSAT score is.
“We want to make sure that we are admitting people to law school that have the aptitude and ability to succeed,” she said. “The LSAT and GRE scores are but one component that will be used to determine whether a student is granted admission. We also look at undergraduate grades, life and work experience, the student’s personal statement and any letters of recommendation that the applicant submits.”
In the meantime, educators at Akron Law are encouraging 2020 spring, summer and fall-start applicants to take advantage of the GRE option.
“We think this new policy will continue Akron Law’s century-long history of making legal education more accessible to high-achieving non-traditional students,” said Peters.