By: Dov Teitlebaum | News  | 

Cardozo Enrollment Down Nearly 300 Students Since 2010

Fall 2017 enrollment for the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, YU’s law school, decreased by nearly 300 students since the fall of 2010, marking a decline of over 26 percent. Although enrollment for fall 2017 saw an increase from fall 2016 of 26 students, or 3.24 percent, enrollment at Cardozo has been on a decline since 2010.

As reported by The Commentator in December, Cardozo recently decided to accept the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as an alternative to the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) for those applying for the 2018-2019 academic year. The decision was made on a one year trial basis, explained David Martinidez, the Dean of Admissions at Cardozo.

The move to accept the GRE can be seen as possibly countering the recent downward trend in law school applicants across the country. Cardozo was the 14th law school in the country to allow the GRE in addition to the LSAT, joining schools like Harvard, Columbia, and Georgetown as pioneers in this new approach.

Martinidez emphasized the benefits that the GRE inclusion would have in the development of many emerging fields, specifically those relating to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Martinidez cited professors at the university with backgrounds in STEM, namely Felix Wu, a doctor in computer science and the director of the university’s Data Law Initiative, and Aaron Wright, the founder of Cardozo’s tech startup clinic and the university’s resident expert on blockchain technology and the law.

Martinidez stated that as these fields in law become more prominent, the school has become “very interested in increasing the diversity of students who have these sorts of backgrounds in our applicant pool.” He stated, “ultimately,” this decision was “more about whether or not there is a greater pipeline for GRE test takers for students with STEM backgrounds.”

However, some still believe that students who wish to apply to law school should stick with the LSAT. Dina Chelst, a pre-law advisor at for Yeshiva University undergraduate students, said that a student “can take the GRE in place of the LSAT only if he/she is willing to forgo access to the other 185+ law schools.” She stated that many students dedicated to going to law school would likely still be taking the LSAT.

For STEM majors deciding between law school and graduate school in a STEM field, the acceptance of the GRE for law school admission comes with the advantage of only needing to focus on one test instead of two. The GRE is generally required for STEM majors who plan on going to graduate school in STEM-related fields.

A student at Cardozo offered his opinion on Cardozo’s recent move to accept the GRE in addition to the LSAT. He said, “people who may not even be committed to going [to law school] will apply anyways just to see if they can get in.”

Many students at Cardozo believe this change will create an influx of additional students, many of whom meet the criterion for admission. They explained that as more students hear about being able to take the GRE as opposed to the LSAT, more students will apply and the admission rate will decrease.

The American Bar Association (ABA) has yet to issue an official statement regarding law schools accepting the GRE. However according to the ABA’s Current Standard 503, which covers the admission policy, the bar requires a “valid and reliable test” in the admission process, a category that, according to many prominent law schools, includes the GRE.

Some Cardozo students disagree with the intended benefits of the GRE. One student stated that “the standardized testing is the problem.”

However, Martinidez explained that Cardozo takes a “holistic” approach when it comes to admissions. He stated that students are not admitted based on “one or two sets of criteria,” such as a standardized test score, but rather on the entire application as a whole.