The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern among first schools to allow GRE as law application exam

Ryan Wangman, Summer Managing Editor

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Beginning in the fall of 2018, the Pritzker School of Law will allow J.D. degree applicants to submit either the Graduate Record Examination or the Law School Admission Test for admission in 2019.

Northwestern joins the University of Arizona College of Law and Harvard Law in accepting the GRE as a valid admission test, according to the release. Georgetown Law also made a similar announcement Monday, according to Above the Law.

After “careful evaluation” of the GRE in conjunction with the Educational Testing Service — the organization that administers the test — results found that the GRE was a good predictor of first-year academic performance at the law school, according to a University news release.

Don Rebstock, associate dean of strategic initiatives at the School of Law, said the ETS applied various correlation studies to determine the validity of the GRE.

“The results came out really overwhelmingly positive,” Rebstock said. “(The GRE is) certainly as strong as, if not stronger, in terms of its predictability, or predictive possibilities than the LSAT.”

Rebstock said the GRE was a more accessible exam than the LSAT and that it had the possibility to increase the diversity of the class. A major difference between the two exams, he said, is that the GRE is taken on a computer and is offered many times throughout the year, whereas the LSAT is taken by hand on a limited number of specifically scheduled test dates.

Rebstock also said the switch to the GRE will allow for more students from science, technology, engineering and mathematics backgrounds to apply to law school without the extra hurdle of the LSAT. With the economy becoming more technology-driven, he said, the people who represent these companies need to have a stronger understanding of the underlying technology they are defending.

“By expanding to this test, it diversifies the pool in many ways,” Rebstock said. “Not just the STEM majors by any means.”

As for the effect of the decision on the overall number of applicants, Rebstock said he was unsure of the magnitude, but that he would be surprised if this decision resulted in a huge influx of applicants.

Email: ryanw@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ryanwangman

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