Law school jumps six spots in national ranking after shrinking class size

Updated: March 22, 2018 at 4:04 p.m.

After dropping in the national rankings last year, the law school shot up six spots this week.

GW Law School claimed the No. 24 spot, climbing six spots from the previous year, in the U.S. News and World Report rankings released Tuesday. To stop the slide in rankings in recent years, officials implemented several measures to improve the school’s national standing.

The law school was nationally ranked No. 30 in a six-way tie last year, down five spots from the previous year. GW’s law school is now tied for the No. 24 spot with the University of Notre Dame.

In December, GW Law School Dean Blake Morant announced that officials deliberately shrunk the incoming 2017 class size by around 9 percent to ensure higher average GPA and standardized test scores. Morant said dropping enrollment by about 250 students was necessary to keep the school competitive and stop the school’s decline in rankings.

Since the school is dependent on tuition revenue to fund much of its budget, taking on a smaller class meant freezing hiring and cutting some non-essential programs. In 2014, the law school and other graduate programs experienced a decrease in enrollment, which led to budget cuts for the University.

Applications to the law school jumped up by 9 percent in last year’s admissions cycle as the school received the second-largest number of applications nationwide, which faculty and experts attributed to the school’s decision to waive its application fee coupled with President Donald Trump’s administration sparking an increased interest in law.

The law school has sought to become more accessible in recent years as law schools across the country have struggled to fight a declining interest from applicants. Last admissions cycle, the school dropped its application fee for first-time applicants. Officials have also implemented several new diversity measures at the school.

The school announced in December it would start accepting the Graduate Record Exam in addition to the LSAT for applicants entering the school in fall 2018.

In 2013, the law school dropped out of the top 20 schools in the nation for the first time since 2010. They haven’t reclaimed a ranking in the top 20 since, but were ranked at No. 20 in the country in 2015.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that GW’s law school is now in a three-way-tie for the No. 24 spot. It is only tied with one other university. We regret this error.

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