Veritas Prep has just released the results of its 2011 Law School Applicant Survey! Part of the work we do in monitoring admissions trends is staying current on what applicants are thinking. This survey, now in its second year, is part of that ongoing effort.
Our new white paper — titled “Inside the Minds of Law School Applicants” (PDF link) — contains some very interesting insights! Nearly 150 current and prospective law school applicants participated in this year’s survey, representing a combination of both college graduates and current undergraduates. A breakout of select findings is below:
- There was a 13 percentage point decrease in the proportion of law school applicants who would still apply even if a significant number of law school graduates were unable to find jobs in their desired fields. Only 68 percent of respondents indicated they would still apply in such circumstances, compared to 81 percent in 2010. Also of interest, only 26 percent of respondents believe they will always be able to find a job if they have a JD, a nine percent decrease from last year’s results.
- Finding a job that allowed them to pay off their student loan debt (73%) supplanted last year’s top issue, which was finding an appealing long-term career path (68% of respondents as opposed to 79% of respondents in 2010).
- Although the number of respondents (21%) relying on grants and scholarships remained unchanged, the number expecting to finance their education through student loans grew substantially, from 38 percent in 2010 to 49 percent in 2011. Perhaps somewhat related to this increase was the fact that in 2011 only nine percent of respondents indicated parental support would help them finance the degree, as opposed to the 14 percent expecting parental support last year.
- Location continues to be the most important factor in selecting a law school (71% this year). Although prestige and ranking continue to be important considerations (64% in 2011), this year career placement rate displaced prestige and ranking as the number two consideration, with 67 percent of respondents considering it a high priority (versus last year’s 62%). Additionally, the affordability of a legal education has assumed a higher priority for respondents: 60 percent (versus last year’s 54%) cited it as a consideration in the law school selection process.