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UB Law will now accept GRE scores in student applications

For the first time, applicants to the University of Baltimore School of Law will have the option of submitting the GRE instead of the LSAT in their applications.

Jeff Zavrotny, assistant dean for admissions at UB Law, said the faculty voted to make the change last month following a year of research by the school to see if scores on the Graduate Record Examination were a reliable indicator of student success.

The school hopes that allowing the GRE to be submitted instead of the LSAT — the Law School Admission Test — will attract students with more diverse academic and ethnic backgrounds, Zavrotny said.

“More people take the GRE and it’s not just enrollment, but it’s a different type of student,” Zavrotny said. “Engineers are taking it … and more science-oriented people.”

The school anticipates that the “vast majority” of students will still submit the LSAT in their applications to the law school, Zavrotny said, adding that any applicants who have taken the LSAT will be required to include their score in their application.

Zavrotny said that students from diverse backgrounds typically score lower on the LSAT than they do on the GRE, meaning that accepting the GRE could lead to a more diverse student body.

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law does not accept the GRE as a substitute for the LSAT, but Dean Donald Tobin said the idea was “under consideration” by the faculty.

According to the American Bar Association, law schools that seek to use a test other than the LSAT must demonstrate that it is a “valid and reliable” way of assessing an applicant’s ability to “satisfactorily complete” the school’s program.

Over the past year, Zavrotny said, he and others at the law school have reviewed national studies that found the GRE was a reliable indicator of first-year student success. The school’s faculty did not oppose the change in policy, Zavrotny said.

However, if a law school shows a noticeable decline in bar passage rates or an increase in student attrition, the ABA can step in to ask the school to demonstrate that the other tests it is accepting are reliable.

“If asked, a law school must be able to demonstrate that they are complying (with the requirements),” said Barry Currier, managing director for ABA legal education and accreditation.

Currier added that the ABA currently does not maintain a list of schools that accept tests other than the LSAT.

Although several U.S. law schools now accept the GRE, 99.6% of students entering law school in 2018 used the LSAT in their application, according to the Law School Admission Council.

A spokesperson for the Law School Admission Council said that people who apply to law school and submit scores for a test other than the LSAT often have already taken the exam to get into graduate school and simply want to use the same score instead of sitting for an additional examination.

UB Law’s Zavrotny said that after a couple years of accepting the GRE the school would evaluate its decision.

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