Jan 24, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Thinking of going to law school but not excited about studying for the LSAT? We’ve got good news for you: There’s a good chance your top law school may accept the GRE instead. Here’s a closer look at the trend dubbed the “GRE creep,” as recently reported by Above the Law.

Moving in a New Direction

Already, more than dozen law schools -- including several top-tier programs  -- have announced that applicants can apply with their GRE scores instead of the LSAT.

Not only that, but more are expected to get onboard with the change soon. In fact, according to survey results announced last fall from Kaplan Test Prep, 25 percent of 128 law school respondents said they plan to start accepting the GRE, as well. Other schools are conditionally allowing certain students -- including those pre-enrolled in their graduate schools and joint degree students --  to bypass the LSAT.

Schools cited a range of reasons for moving to the GRE, including that it’s becoming the norm, that it increases accessibility by allowing students to take the test further along in the process, and that it opens the door to a broader range of options -- many of whom plan to pursue nontraditional careers for which the GRE is a better fit.

And then there’s the Harvard factor. Contends Above the Law, “As one might imagine, when such a prominent school [as Harvard] made the move, it opened the floodgates for others to follow…It’s officially open season on the LSAT.”

But Not So Fast….

Which begs the question: Why are other schools resisting the trend? A lack of research indicating the GRE’s effectiveness in law school performance and the absence of an ABA ruling on the issue are among the reasons.

Furthermore, if you’re applying to law school this year, you may also be out of luck. Continues Thomas, “Most applicants will still have to take the LSAT as only three law schools accept the GRE this year.  And even if you rock the GRE, but bomb the LSAT, law schools will see your LSAT score. You can’t only send the score you want to the schools you want. You will not be able to withhold your LSAT score. That means that while a high GRE score could mitigate against a weaker LSAT score, it will not be overlooked entirely. Plan on taking the LSAT.”









Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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