Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Law Schools Cutting Part-Time Programs

As Brian Leiter says, this was certainly predictable. As Leiter points out here, at least one law school, dismayed with its recent US News & World Report ranking, has decided to cut back its evening program by limiting admissions. The school is George Washington and their blog post is here. By admitting fewer evening students George Washington apparently hopes to regain its former #20 ranking. Since the new USN&WR rankings (which factored in part-time students separately) were unveiled, George Washington slipped to #28.

Three things to notice:

1. As a group evening students have traditionally had lower GPAs and LSATs than day students. By having higher admissions standards for part-time students it is at least theoretically possible to maintain (or regain) a higher ranking.

2. Having evening students with higher GPAs and LSATs also has the side benefit of maintaining a higher part-time program ranking. Now that USN&WR ranks the part-time programs separately I suppose there will be a race to the top in that catagory.

3. It is somewhat disingenuous for the GW administration to claim that the change in the way the rankings were compiled was "unannounced." USN&WR telegraphed that change long ago for anyone who was willing to pay attention.

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