Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions Survey: Nearly 90% of Law School Admissions Officers Have Received a Negative Letter of Recommendation About an Applicant – a Potential Application Killer

Also in Survey: Myth Buster! 84% of Law Schools Say Graduates of Their Affiliated Undergraduate Institution Have No Advantage Over Applicants Who Are Not

Available for Interview: Law School Admissions Expert

According to a recent Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions survey of admissions officers at 145 ABA-approved law schools, 87% have received a negative letter of recommendation about an applicant. (Graphic: Business Wire)

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NEW YORK--()--Aspiring lawyers need to be more careful about who they call as their own character witnesses for their law school recommendations. According to a new Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions survey* of admissions officers at 145 law schools across the United States, 87% say they have received a negative letter of recommendation about an applicant. According to the survey, 15% report that a poor letter of recommendation is actually the biggest application killer.

“While your LSAT score and GPA are by far the most important factors in your application, letters of recommendation do factor in, and what these results show us is that students need to be much more self-aware about who they choose to advocate for them in their applications,” said Howard Bell, executive director, pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.

Kaplan’s research reveals that the issue isn’t limited to aspiring lawyers – in a similar survey of medical school admissions officers, the exact same percentage report having received negative letters of recommendation about medical school applicants.

Bell notes, “First rule: Do no harm. Only ask for recommendations from people who like you personally and think highly of you. If you sense ambivalence‚ don’t try to talk them into it. You only want to ask someone who is enthusiastic about you and supportive of your aspirations. A negative word from someone you think respects you may call your judgment skills into question with admissions officers and that could potentially keep you out of law school, despite of an otherwise stellar application.”

The Kaplan survey also debunks a common myth among law school applicants that having attended the undergraduate institution affiliated with the law school provides an edge – 84% of admissions officers say those who claim the undergraduate school as their alma mater have no advantage in the admissions process over applicants who do not.

Also in the Kaplan survey:

  • Law School Applications Continue to Climb: 56% predict an increase in applications this year, while only 6% predict a decrease – 25% predict application numbers to remain flat, while 13% were not sure.
  • The Key to Admissions: 64% of admissions officers report that an applicant’s LSAT score is the most important admissions factor; GPA placed second with 23%.
  • It’s the Economy, Applicant!: 75% say the lagging effects of the recession are responsible for the recent and predicted application increases.
  • High LSAT Score = Financial Aid: 73% of admissions officers testify that a strong LSAT score “very much” helps an applicant receive merit-based aid.
  • Don’t Perjure Yourself: 73% say they’ve discovered claims on an applicant’s application to be exaggerated or untrue. That won’t help your case!

For more information or to discuss these results with a Kaplan law school admissions expert, please contact Russell Schaffer at: 212.453.7538 or russell.schaffer@kaplan.com.

*The survey was conducted by phone in July and August 2010 as part of Kaplan’s annual survey of admissions officers at American Bar Association-accredited law schools. Kaplan also conducts surveys of admissions officers at colleges, business schools, graduate schools and medical schools. Results from those surveys will be released soon.

About Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions

Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions (www.kaptest.com), a division of Kaplan, Inc., is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings and a complete array of books, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as English language and professional licensing exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO)

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6420455&lang=en

Contacts

Press:
Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
Russell Schaffer, 212-453-7538
russell.schaffer@kaplan.com

Release Summary

A new Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions survey of admissions officers at 145 law schools across the United States reports that 87% have received a negative letter of recommendation about an applicant.

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Contacts

Press:
Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
Russell Schaffer, 212-453-7538
russell.schaffer@kaplan.com