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The law school applicant pool shrank by almost 20 percent over the last year, but those who are applying aren't taking any chances. Prospective students vying for a slot in the fall 2013 cohort applied to an average of seven schools each, according to data released earlier this month by the Law School Admission Council.
[Get the lowdown on law school admissions.]
But when acceptance letters start rolling in, students need to whittle their lists down to one, and some law schools fare better than others. Yale Law School's yield—the percentage of accepted students who opt to enroll—continues to tick upward at a time when many law schools are seeing theirs drop.
Almost 83 percent of students accepted to Yale for the 2012-2013 school year chose to enroll, more than 3 times the national yield average of 25.2 percent, according to full-time and part-time admissions data reported by 190 ranked law schools in an annual U.S. News survey (yield is not a factor in the law school rankings methodology). That average fell from 28 percent in 2011-2012.
Yale's popularity is not surprising. The school claimed the No. 1 spot in this year's Best Law Schools rankings. Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School, which tied for second in the rankings, also boasted higher-than-average yields for 2012-2013.
But top-ranked law schools were not the only ones that enrolled high percentages of admitted students. North Carolina Central University, Liberty University, and Southern University Law Center are among the bottom quarter of all law schools and therefore listed as Rank Not Published (RNP). U.S. News calculates a rank for all RNP institutions, but does not publish them. Despite their low ranks, each of these three schools achieved yields high enough to place them alongside top-ranked programs on the list of most popular law schools.
Below are the 10 ranked law schools with the highest yield rates. Unranked law schools, which do not submit enough data for U.S. News to calculate a rank, were not considered for this report.
|Law school (name) (state)||Students accepted||Students enrolled||Yield||U.S. News law school rank|
|Yale University (CT)||245||203||82.9%||1|
|Brigham Young University (Clark) (UT)||218||140||64.2%||44|
|Harvard University (MA)||865||555||64.2%||2|
|University of Nevada—Las Vegas||260||139||53.5%||68|
|University of New Mexico||233||114||48.9%||64|
|North Carolina Central University||514||248||48.2%||RNP|
|Southern University Law Center (LA)||564||268||47.5%||RNP|
|Stanford University (CA)||384||180||46.9%||2|
|Liberty University (VA)||183||83||45.4%||RNP|
|University of Hawaii—Manoa (Richardson)||225||102||45.3%||80|
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Law School Compass to find data on admissions requirements, enrollment statistics, and much more.
U.S. News surveyed 200 fully ABA accredited law schools for our 2012 survey of law programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Law Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The enrollment data above are correct as of March 19, 2013.