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Law schools took hits on multiple fronts in the past year, including continued ire over student debt and employment prospects for graduates. And it seems the bad press has prompted prospective students to reconsider their law school aspirations.
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Experts say the fall 2013 applicant pool is on track to be the smallest in three decades, and even top-ranked law schools saw fewer applications in 2012.
Georgetown University Law Center, No. 14 in the 2014 Best Law Schools rankings, received 7,638 full-time applications for fall 2012, down from 9,413 in 2011 and 11,524 in 2010, according to data reported by the school in annual surveys by U.S. News.
Applications to Columbia University Law School (No. 4) also fell during that time period, though not as sharply. The school received 6,592 full-time applications for fall 2012, roughly 2,400 fewer than in 2010.
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Despite the decline, Georgetown Law – the second-largest program in the country with nearly 1,700 full-time students – continues to garner more applications than any other law school, and Columbia is among the 10 law schools that receive the most applications.
Those 10 schools averaged nearly 6,400 full-time applications for fall 2012, far outpacing the national average of close to 2,300, according to data provided by 194 ranked law schools in the most recent U.S. News survey.
Below are the 10 law schools that received the most full-time applications in 2012. Schools designated as Unranked were not eligible for this list. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
|School name (state)||Full-time applications (fall 2012)||U.S. News law school rank|
|Georgetown University (DC)||7,638||14|
|University of California--Berkeley||7,027||9|
|George Washington University (DC)||6,597||21|
|Columbia University (NY)||6,592||4|
|New York University||6,392||6|
|University of California--Los Angeles||6,117||17|
|University of Virginia||6,062||7|
|University of Pennsylvania||5,848||7|
|Fordham University (NY)||5,644||38|
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Law School Compass to find application data for every school, salary information 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 application data above are correct as of April 16, 2013.