The GRE is a standardized test offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It measures a student’s preparedness for graduate school. Since 2017, law colleges have been accepting the GRE as an alternative to Law School Admission Test. This move came after the idea proved successful with the pioneer, The University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. Apart from the GRE test being effective in the admission of law students, colleges accepting GRE as an admission option see it as an opportunity for more students to take up the course. Many universities of law in the United States and abroad are now accepting the GRE.
Studies conducted by ETS proved the validity of the GRE for law school admissions. The Educational Testing Service made a follow-up on the progress of 21 students admitted to law schools based on the GRE and concluded that the GRE was just as effective as the LSAT. The findings saw many Universities of Law in the US embrace the GRE test for admissions. Even though the result is the same, GRE and LSAT are completely different in terms of the content, the format used, and availability.
The choice between GRE and LSAT
Students should choose one of these tests but not both. It is never wise to take the GRE as a fallback upon failing the LSAT. Law school’s competitiveness is based on the LSAT scores of their applicants, and each law school is obliged to report the highest scores they receive from their applicants. For this reason, once you present both results, the college admissions will give more weight to the LSAT and decline your application.
Law schools accept multiple LSAT scores. Unfortunately, if you have a high score on the GRE and a low on the LSAT, that might affect their LSAT median and overall rankings. All in all, the GRE is acceptable for law school admissions, and there is no reason as to why you wouldn’t give it the priority. Administered tests are available online, which you can re-evaluate yourself before arriving at the final decision and taking the administered test.
Different law schools evaluate GRE scores differently
While the LSAT has been an administration tool for quite a while, aspiring law students can research the admission scores of various colleges and judge their chances of acceptance. Unlike LSAT, where all universities base admissions on the overall score, GRE is still new, and universities have different criteria for admission. The ETS provides a tool for converting the GRE score into LSAT equivalents. However, most universities will judge the LSAT score based on percentiles in admitting students. For instance, a GRE score in the 90th percentile is equivalent to the same percentile in the LSAT (a score of 165).
Whereas some universities base their selection on the overall score, others will emphasize more on some sections covered in the GRE test, including quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing.
Seek guidance from the law school of choice
It is always best to seek clarification from the University you aspire to join regarding their GRE admissions criteria. This is because the GRE admissions are still new, and the information may not be available online. The admissions policies are also bound to change from one year to the other as colleges try to establish an equilibrium. Consulting with the institution will shed more light on your likelihood of acceptance, which will help you in planning and decision making.