July 25 — Spread the Word!

Thank heavens the weather forecast was wrong; predictions of upper nineties turned into an actuality of high eighties, which was still blistering for this Seattleite, but my years in Philly and Durham had tempered me.

Forum attendance was delightfully low. "Delightful" because the top admissions officers in attendance gave me and my clients all the time we wanted. In fact, we were able to gather all our client data and have an hour left over for gossip.

And it's a good thing we did. The word on the street is that next year is going to be an admissions disaster — bad for them, good for you. Attendance in Chicago was down over 30% from last year, and last year's Chicago crowd was down over 30% from the year before.

Part of this may be caused by the change in Forum schedules — July isn't the best time to catch students in town, and whenever an event is scheduled differently from previous years, we tend to get disoriented. If they were to hold Christmas on December 15th, only 40% of the usual celebrants would make it. (CAUTION: this goes into the category of Barack Obama's birth video. I made it up. It's supposed to be funny. There is no data on the subject, to the best of my knowledge.) But June LSAT volume was also down.

The 18% LSAT decrease — from 33,000 to 27,000 — doesn't bother me as much as it seems to be upsetting the admissions officers. First, it only brings us back to 2007 levels. 1986 and 1997 had far fewer test-takers, according to posted LSAC data. Also, with the expected decline in the number of retakes (see LSAC Procedures and Issues here), I anticipated fewer test-takers. My entirely unsubstantiated guess is that the actual decline may be more like 10%, which was this year's national average. Notwithstanding, admissions officers are biting their nails.

So expect the class of 2012 to be offered a free toaster with every application and a free upgrade to first class when you fly in to matriculate. (More humor, folks, but the message is clear: we have switched from a seller's market to a buyer's.)

I also collected some data about applicant volumes at individual schools and who's still going to their wait list, but not enough to post anything newsworthy. If I know the data's going to affect you, I'll let you know.

Look for more news before August 15th, when I fly down to San Francisco for some LSAT tutoring.

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