Jack Boger, dean of the UNC School of Law, said such a decline in numbers is not only happening at UNC, but also nationwide.
“Our law school’s applications are pretty much following the pattern of every other law school around the country,” States said.
“There are fewer applicants, fewer people taking LSAT, and a lot of people just decide they want to do something else besides law school.”
He said the decline in the number of applicants leveled off this year.
According to the Law School Admission Council, the number of national applicants in the last 10 years peaked in 2004 — over 100,000 applied to law school. This past fall, 59,400 people applied.
“The job market certainly has something to do with it,” States said.
“People think it’s much more difficult to find employment with a law degree than it used to be.”
Tuition increases have also forced many students to take on debt to attend law school. States said some students are wary of taking out loans when they might face a gloomy job market.
“Most schools are so expensive,” said senior Tara Gore, who is attending UNC’s School of Law this fall. “People come out of undergraduate, and they are just in so much debt piling on law school, which makes it worse.”
Boger said the decline in applicants affects the pool of students.
“There are fewer people applying from the very top — those people with highest GPA and LSAT scores — fewer people applying in the middle and fewer people applying in the bottom.”
Boger said the law school has added more than $1 million for scholarships in the last few years.
Gore said UNC professors and current students were helpful during the application process.
She said they reached out to her to answer her questions, and the law school offered her a generous scholarship.
“As an applicant, I think they are doing a great job.”