University of Hawai?i at Manoa

09/15/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/15/2017 18:16

UH Law School will accept GRE general test for admission in one-year pilot program

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

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On Admitted Students Day, incoming class members tour the UH Law School.

The University of Hawai'i Law School has decided to accept the most widely used graduate school exam as an alternative to the LSAT for its law school admission process on a one-year trial basis. The UH William S. Richardson School of Law admissions process begins October 1 for enrollment in both the day and evening programs for Fall 2018.

The Law School faculty's decision to pilot the GRE® General Test followed the Law School's role as one of the first three law schools to have completed a validation study of the GRE® test in collaboration with Educational Testing Service. The 2016 Richardson data showed that GRE® scores were a better predictor of first-year law school grades than were undergraduate grades.

The Richardson pilot program analysis also noted that previous research had already shown that the GRE® General Test was a valid and reliable measure to predict academic performance in law school.

Richardson Law joins four other law schools across the country in now accepting the GRE® General Test. In the order of their decisions to accept the GRE® scores, the other law schools now joined by Richardson are the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law; Harvard Law School; Georgetown University Law Center; and Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law.

The Richardson decision noted that accepting the GRE® General Test is likely to expand access to legal education for many students who are already considering graduate school and have taken the GRE® test, but may not have the time or funds to take the LSAT.

Acting Dean Melody K. MacKenzie noted that she views this pilot program as an important first step in making the Law School more accessible to a wider range of excellent candidates.

'We are confident that there are graduate students and faculty and staff members on our campus who would succeed in law school, but may not have the time to prepare for another expensive entrance exam,' said MacKenzie. 'We recognize that potential law school applicants may also be considering other nonlegal graduate and professional programs that require or recommend the GRE® General Test. We'd like to make it easier for them to see themselves at Richardson in this coming year.'

The GRE® General Test is a computer-delivered test that is offered year round at more than 1,000 test centers in more than 160 countries.The GRE® test assesses three major areas: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing, and is used by most graduate schools in the United States as a proven measure of applicants' readiness for graduate-level work. It is taken by more than half a million people annually.

The 2015 study was spearheaded by the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, joined by North Carolina's Wake Forest University School of Law and UH's Richardson Law School. Hawai'i study participants included 81 current and former Hawai'i law students, who were almost entirely graduates in 2014, 2015 and 2016. All of the students agreed to share their data in a de-identified form.

The debate over using the GRE® test for law school entrance has intensified over the last few years with schools seeing its use as a way to diversify their applicant pool and to offer greater opportunities for law school entrance. Thousands of graduate and business schools worldwide accept GRE® scores for admission to their programs.

According to an anonymous 2016 Kaplan Test Prep survey of 125 law schools, at least 14 percent were on board in agreement with this potential change while another 30 percent were undecided. Fifty-six percent said they would not be adopting the GRE® test as an optional entrance examination.

Law School Acting Admissions Director Loreto Coloma Jr. notes that applicants may apply to Richardson for Fall 2018 admission with either an LSAT or a GRE® General Test score. But all those who take the LSAT must submit their LSAT scores.

'If you've taken an LSAT within the last five years, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) will report it to us - regardless of whether you've taken the GRE® General Test,' said Coloma. 'If you submit a GRE® and an LSAT score, we will consider both scores. If you have multiple scores for one or both exams, we will consider the highest score on each test.'

For more information about applying to Richardson, please see https://www.law.hawaii.edu/jd-admissions

Here is a link to the Richardson study on the website:

https://www.law.hawaii.edu/files/content/UH-Law-GRE-Study.pdf