It is about time more schools did this. Imagine you are graduating with your bachelors, half broke, want to go for a master's degree or Law School but not sure which and now faced with having to study and pay for the GRE and the LSAT. Great move here and heaven knows we need more universities following suit now.
Harvard Law School will allow applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination test as part of a pilot program that could potentially challenge the Law School Admissions Test’s longstanding, national dominance over law-school admissions.
The law school announced Wednesday that applicants seeking to join its entering class of fall 2018 could take either the GRE or the LSAT. Administration officials said they would decide later whether to make the LSAT permanently optional.
Harvard said the move is intended to expand and diversify its applicant pool, making it a more attractive option for international students and those also pursuing graduate degrees outside of law.
The LSAT is taken on paper and given four times a year. The GRE, which is run by the nonprofit Educational Testing Service and used by most graduate schools, is computerized, can be taken year-round, and is offered in more than 150 countries.
Harvard officials approved the change after quietly completing an anonymized, statistical study that the school says determined the GRE to be “an equally valid predictor” of first-year grades.
It is the second major accredited law school to reconsider the LSAT as legal education’s testing gatekeeper. University of Arizona College of Law last year introduced a similar policy after conducting its own study, which drew similar conclusions about the GRE’s reliability as a predictor of academic performance.
The push away from the LSAT comes at a time of uncertainty for the legal-education sector. Demand for legal degrees, which fell after the recession, remains stagnant. Tens of thousands of fewer students are enrolled at law schools compared with a decade ago.
“For many students, preparing for and taking both the GRE and the LSAT is unaffordable,” said Harvard’s dean, Prof. Martha Minow, who is stepping down this year.
“All students benefit when we can diversify our community in terms of academic background, country of origin, and financial circumstances,” she said.
The American Bar Association requires law schools to study the potential impact of allowing the GRE as an entrance exam before changing their admissions requirements. The association, which regulates law schools, is considering developing a more centralized process for assessing the reliability of non-LSAT standardized tests.
The LSAT is controlled by Newtown, Pa.-based Law School Admission Council Inc., which has resisted efforts to make its test optional.
A spokeswoman for LSAC said Harvard has the right to change its policy under current standards set by the ABA, but declined to comment further on Harvard’s new policy.
WALL STREET JOURNALHarvard Law School to Allow Applicants to Take GRE