The number of test takers who took the LSAT this February represented a 4.4% increase compared with the figures from last year. That means there were nearly 1000 more students (859 to be exact) who took the test this February than last February--a break from the downward trend of the past few years. So, why the increase? Several colleagues and I were discussing a number of possible contributing factors.
Considering the decline in the number of law school applicants over the past few years, students may feel that they generally have a better chance at admission than they might have in the past. Given the fact that most law schools consider an applicant's highest LSAT score (rather than the applicant's average), there is a greater incentive to take the test again for the sake of admission to a better school.
Another potential contributor: schools have been slower to send out rejections than they were in the past, providing applicants with an incentive to try to improve their chances with a higher LSAT score. Many applicants who may have been rejected in past years have instead been waitlisted, and of course the higher the LSAT score, the greater the chance of getting off the waitlist.
As the applicant pool has decreased and law schools have had to compete over a smaller number of strong applicants, many schools have stepped up their merit-based financial aid offers in an effort to attract candidates with higher scores. This means that even those who already had competitive LSAT scores had an extra incentive to take the test again and further improve their position.
Why do you think the number of LSAT takers increased? Do you think the trend will continue? Let us know!