Suffolk University Law School now accepts either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the LSAT in its admissions process. Dozens of law schools across the country already accept the GRE, and media reports indicate that many others are considering doing the same.
The move is part of a larger effort across legal academia to make it easier for students with diverse educational backgrounds — including international students and those with graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) — to apply to law school.
The GRE is administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS) and has been used for decades by an array of graduate schools. In 2017, ETS conducted a national study of 21 law schools (including Suffolk Law) to determine the validity and reliability of the GRE as a law school admissions test. The study was formally published on June 18, 2018, and concluded that the GRE is a valid and reliable predictor of law school success. The study also found that the GRE predicts law school performance just as well as the LSAT.
Suffolk Law’s Dean Andrew Perlman said that, after reviewing the results of the ETS study and conducting its own assessment, the school saw several advantages to making the GRE an option for prospective students, such as those who already have graduate degrees. Six percent of Suffolk Law’s entering class in 2018 had PhDs, and Suffolk Law’s accelerated JD program has been a draw for students who have other graduate degrees. Many of these students have GRE scores, and Dean Perlman explained that “asking them to prepare for and take the LSAT when they already have a GRE score is an unnecessary additional expense and commitment of time.”
The computer version of the GRE is also offered on an almost daily basis throughout the country and the world, whereas the LSAT is offered much less frequently and in fewer locations. This flexibility is helpful to students, especially international students. Dean Perlman said, “We want to make it convenient and inexpensive for a more diverse group of accomplished students to apply to law school. Our acceptance of the GRE should help.”