The Impact of Scholarship Programs on the Culture of Law School
Journal of Legal Education, November 2011
23 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2009 Last revised: 14 Dec 2012
Date Written: December 31, 2009
Law schools use scholarship programs to attract a variety of students, but many times such programs are driven by a desire to generate the “best” possible class profile based on LSAT and GPA, given that these factors play a significant role in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. This article documents the two types of scholarship programs widely in use among law schools in the United States – competitive renewal programs (in use at over 75% of law schools for which information was available) and non-competitive renewal programs (in use at fewer than 25% of the law schools for which information was available). It demonstrates why a competitive renewal program may be attractive (in terms of generating an entering class with a better LSAT and GPA profile), but also discusses some of the ways in which this type of program may have pernicious impacts on the learning community within the law school – the culture of the law school. It also makes recommendations for greater transparency and clarity when law schools make scholarship offers so that potential students can make better informed judgments regarding the investment they will be making when they choose a law school.
Keywords: Legal Education, Law Schools, Law School Admissions, Law School Admissions Test, Law School Rankings
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