Harvard Law School just dropped the LSAT as an admissions requirement

Harvard University Law School Library Langdell Hall CampusVia FlickrApplicants to Harvard Law School can take another test to be considered for admission.

Harvard Law School announced Wednesday that it will accept the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in a pilot program for students applying to its class of 2018.

The move is a major divergence from the norm in law school admissions, and is part of a larger strategy to expand access to legal education and to diminish the financial burden, according to Harvard.

“Harvard Law School is continually working to eliminate barriers as we search for the most talented candidates for law and leadership,” HLS Dean Martha Minow said. “For many students, preparing for and taking both the GRE and the LSAT is unaffordable. All students benefit when we can diversify our community in terms of academic background, country of origin, and financial circumstances.”

Other law schools have recently made similar decisions. Last year, the University of Arizona School of Law became the first school to allow students to replace LSAT scores with those from the GRE, and two others have since followed.

But much of the discussion that followed the previous decisions centered on dropping the LSAT requirement as a strategy to buoy sagging student enrollments at law schools.

Harvard, arguably the most prominent law school name alongside Yale Law School, has been fairly immune to declining application numbers that’s common elsewhere.

Its pilot program to drop the LSAT requirement instead seems to follow similar changes at the University meant to decrease some of the financial burden and provide more options during the application process, like conducting interviews remotely via computers and removing certain financial deposit requirements.

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