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Archive for Wednesday, August 7, 2002

KU law admissions likely to be squeezed

August 7, 2002

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Steve McAllister, dean of the Kansas University School of Law, has a predicament.

More students want to study law at KU, but McAllister wants smaller class sizes. That means more competition for fewer spots.

"KU Law School may be pretty darn hard to get into next year," he said.

McAllister said the slowdown in the economy helped lead to record application numbers at the law school. The school had about 1,100 applications for the upcoming school year, compared to 841 last year and 715 in 2000.

Class sizes have ranged from 150 to 220 in the last 15 years. McAllister said the school could handle about 500 students at any one time.

The incoming first-year class will have about 200 students, McAllister said. The school typically makes offers to about 400 students to get enough students for a typical class, because others accept offers from other law schools.

Because this year's class would be larger than usual, McAllister said the law school might accept only 140 students for fall 2003.

McAllister said he would like an average class size of 150 to 170 students. Having smaller classes means more individual attention for students, he said. It improves the incoming GPA and LSAT score averages for the school.

"In the long run, it's one of the big considerations in U.S. News and World Report (rankings)," he said. "And if you have stronger students, you have stronger graduates. They go out there and help your reputation."

McAllister also noted that this fall's class has a high percentage of minorities, about 20 percent. Typically, 10 to 15 percent of classes are minorities.

"We're proud of that one," he said. "That's a pretty striking number for Kansas."

About 9 percent of the entire KU student body is comprised of minorities. McAllister said law school recruiters used scholarship funds to target minorities.

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