Law School to Accept GRE in Fall 2018

The pilot program aims to expand pathways to legal education.

As part of its ongoing commitment to preparing students to be leaders in the legal profession, as well as other fields such as science, technology, public policy, and business, Columbia Law School will accept Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores in addition to LSAT scores from applicants to the three-year J.D. program beginning on a trial basis in fall 2018.

The GRE will allow an even broader pool of candidates to apply to Columbia Law School. The GRE is offered frequently in hundreds of locations around the world and is accepted by a wide range of graduate and professional degree programs. This option could be particularly attractive to those whose academic or professional pursuits—such as engineering and the life sciences—have historically not been aligned with the study of law. Encouraging such individuals to pursue a law degree reinforces Columbia’s commitment to fostering an interdisciplinary approach to legal studies.  

“The world has become increasingly interconnected and it is part of our mission to prepare students to address the challenges brought on by change,” said Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “To that end, we are devoted more than ever to assembling classes that comprise the broadest possible array of talents, skills, interests, experiences, and backgrounds.”  

In compliance with American Bar Association standards, the Law School authorized a validity study that used anonymized data to evaluate the GRE performance of current and past Columbia Law School students. The study concluded that the GRE is comparable to the LSAT in predicting success in the first year of law school at Columbia.

The decision to accept the GRE will also reduce the cost of applying for individuals who would otherwise be required to prepare and sit for an additional test. This is in keeping with the Law School’s drive to make a Columbia Law School education even more accessible for all qualified students, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Accepting the GRE will not change the Law School’s core philosophy of holistic admissions; applicants will continue to be reviewed on the basis of myriad factors, including academic record, caliber of writing, recommendation letters, individual characteristics (such as leadership qualities, experience, and demonstrated interest), and, when possible, interviews.

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Posted on October 17, 2017