Contrary to popular belief, GW undergraduates have the statistical upper hand when applying to the University’s Law School.
Of the undergraduate schools of students that applied to the law program for the 2004-05 academic year, GW had an acceptance rate of 21 percent, compared to 16 percent for other schools.
Despite its higher acceptance rate, GW is not the top feeder to its law school. Last year, GW was the sixth largest contributor to the program, falling behind schools such as the University of Pennsylvania and nearby University of Maryland.
“I’ve been hearing complaints from GW students for about 30 years now,” said Robert Stanek, associate dean for admissions and financial aid, in reference to the myth that it is harder for a GW undergraduate to take classes in Stockton Hall. “They have not been convinced as of yet.”
While some GW students believe it is more difficult to stick around for law school, Henry Almond, a first-year GW law student who graduated from the businesses school in 2003, does not understand the suspicions.
“There is a little case-by-case irregularity, but no overreaching pattern, and I think the whole issue is really non-existent,” Almond wrote in an e-mail. “It is in the school’s interest to accept the most deserving kids, and I don’t think they would have any reason or any willingness to bend the rules either way regardless of the buff-ness or the blueness of an individual applicant.”
Stanek said that while it is statistically easier for an undergraduate to stay in Foggy Bottom for law school, admission standards are the same for GW and non-GW students.
“We’re looking at their undergraduate academic record, we’re looking at LSAT scores and we’re looking at personal statements and letters of recommendation,” he said.
Regardless, Stanek said there are various advantages that GW undergraduates have over the competition.
“I think the undergrads have another advantage because we’re familiar with the difficulty of the undergrad programs, and that sometimes can benefit a candidate,” he said. “That’s not always true about the programs at other universities across the country.”
Some other law schools around the country said their undergraduate students do not have a greater statistical chance of gaining admittance into their programs. Officials at Boston University’s law school, where GW is the second largest undergraduate school represented, said undergraduates there have no statistical advantage.
“It’s not easier or harder,” said Erika Annatone, associate director of admissions at the BU School of Law. “We treat all our applicants the same.”
Stanek emphasized that all applicants to GW’s Law School are considered on the same criteria.
Senior Peter Feldman, who will start taking law classes next year, said he is not surprised that different programs have different acceptance rates.
“I feel like there’s got to be some advantage to going to GW undergrad,” he said. “But admissions is also such an individualized process, which makes it difficult to extrapolate any trends or make generalizations.”