On the national stage, law schools saw a 3 percent boost in first-year student enrollment—the first gain since 2010—but Texas saw a more modest gain of just 1 percent, which is 2,220 students.
However small, an enrollment uptick is welcome news since law schools for years have tightened their budgets after the Great Recession wrecked the legal job market and dissuaded prospective students from choosing the law school route.
Texas A&M School of Law in Fort Worth saw the largest bump of 32 percent, and four other schools also grew their enrollment. On the other side, five schools saw declining enrollment, headed by St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, with an 18 percent drop.
Enrollment data comes from the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the nation’s law school accrediting body. How do Texas’ law schools compare? Each is listed below in alphabetic order.
Baylor University School of Law in Waco received 2,531 applications in 2018, which was virtually the same as 2017. The school extended 988 offers—4 percent less than the previous year. Yet Baylor still enrolled 172 first-year law students in 2018, which is a 3 percent increase compared with 2017. It upped the academic credentials of its incoming class. The LSAT scores of the 2018 class ranged from 157 to 161, which compares with 155 to 160 in 2017. Undergraduate GPAs also increased from 3.28 to 3.70 in 2017, to 3.31 to 3.76 in 2018.
The University of Houston Law Center saw 2,596 applications in 2018, which is 6 percent less than 2017—the largest application drop of all Texas law schools. Houston gave 858 offers, or the third largest decrease among schools in the state. The school improved LSAT scores in some percentiles, but not others. However, it did increase academic credentials across the board for undergraduate GPA: the range in 2017 was 3.32 to 3.69, and it rose in 2018 to 3.35 to 3.75.
South Texas College of Law Houston received 1,378 applications in 2018, which is just 1 percent fewer than 2017. It extended 774 offers, a decrease of 17 percent, which is the largest decrease in offers compared with other Texas law schools. South Texas’s total enrollment dropped by 6 percent, landing at 341 first-year law students in 2018. LSAT scores increased across all percentiles, ranging from 148 to 154 in 2018, which compares to 146 with 153 in 2017. When it came to undergraduate GPAs the school’s numbers ranged from 2.84 to 3.36 in 2018, which compares with 2.80 to 3.35 in 2017.
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas attracted 1,727 applications in 2018, a 7 percent increased compared with 2017. The school sent out 815 offers, or 15 percent more than the previous year. Yet first-year enrollment declined by 1 percent, landing at 205 in 2018. The academic credentials of incoming students rose somewhat: LSAT scores ranged from 154 to 163 in 2017, and it was 155 to 163 in 2018, while undergraduate GPAs ranged from 3.43 to 3.80 in 2018, compared with 3.36 to 3.79 in 2017.
St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio received 1,318 applications in 2018, a 2 percent drop. It extended 736 offers, 13 percent fewer than 2017. The size of St. Mary’s incoming class in 2018 was 238 students, an 18 percent decrease, which is the largest drop among all Texas law schools. The 2018 first-year students had LSAT scores ranging from 148 to 154, which compares with148 to 153 in 2017. The 2018 class’s undergraduate GPAs ranged from 2.89 to 3.48, an improvement compared to 2017’s range of 2.76 to 3.39.
Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth garnered 2,078 applications in 2018, a 12 percent bump compared with 2017. The school sent out 628 offers, or 24 percent higher than 2017. First-year enrollment increased to 182 students, a whopping 32 percent higher than the previous year—making A&M have the largest increase in first-year enrollment in the entire state. The academic credentials of its students improved year-over-year. LSAT scores didn’t change much—in 2018 the range was 155 to 158, which compares with 154 to 159 in 2017. But undergraduate GPAs did increase: the range was 3.27 to 3.70 in 2018, which compares to 3.22 to 3.60 in 2017.
The University of Texas School of Law in Austin attracted the most applications in the state—5,580, which is 24 percent more than 2017. Texas sent offers to 1,169 students, just 5 percent more than the previous year. Yet it still increased first-year enrollment to 377 students, a 22 percent gain—the third largest enrollment increase compared with other Texas law schools. There were some changes in academic credentials, but nothing major. The LSAT range in 2018 was 160 to 168, compared with 161 to 168 in 2017. Undergraduate GPAs in 2018 ranged from 3.47 to 3.88 in 2018, which is up from 3.49 to 3.84 in 2017.
Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston saw 1,406 applications in 2018, which is 5 percent higher than 2017. It extended significantly fewer offers in 2018, just 498, a 25 percent less than 2017 drop. There was also a drop in enrollment: 217 first-year students in 2018—that’s 15 percent fewer than 2017—which is the second largest enrollment decrease among Texas law schools. However, credentials improved: The 2018 LSAT scores ranged from 143 to 147, which compares with 141 to 146 in 2017. The GPAs ranged from 2.73 to 3.37 in 2018, compared with 2.71 to 3.31 in 2017.
Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock attracted 1,150 applications in 2018, which is just 1 percent more than 2017. It decreased its number of offers to 506, which is 3 percent fewer. Yet enrollment climbed by 8 percent, to 150 first-year students in 2018. LSAT scores changed slightly, ranging from 152 to 157 for 2018 students, which compares with 154 to 156 in 2017. As for undergrad GPAs, the range was 3.18 to 3.64 in 2018, compared with 3.03 to 3.64 in the previous year.
University of North Texas Dallas College of Law saw 905 applications in 2018, which is a whopping 100 percent increase from the 452 applications that came in during 2017. The school significantly increased its offers to 359—that’s 88 percent more than the previous year. The incoming class in 2018 boasted 132 students, which is 31 percent more than 2017, making North Texas have the second-largest enrollment boom among Texas law schools. Credentials improved: The 2018 class’s LSAT scores ranged from 148 to 153, which is higher than the range of 147 to 151 in 2017. Undergraduate GPAs ranged from 2.68 to 3.32, better than the 2017 range of 2.66 to 3.19.