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three law students sitting at a table with their laptops

From left, Kevin Wrabley, William Morrison and Melissa Miles.

Five students are the first to enter the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa without taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

A two-year change in admissions policy allows prospective students to apply with scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test as an alternative to the LSAT. UH law school faculty approved a one-year pilot program a year ago, and have extended it for another year.

Of the 116 first-year students accepted to the UH law school this fall, five submitted GRE test scores as part of the selective admissions process.

Kevin Wrabley, a paralegal and former middle school teacher, said he might not have applied to UH law school at all if he had been required to take the LSAT.

“Having the GRE alternative definitely made a difference in my decision to apply immediately,” said Wrabley. “As a working husband and father, my time was limited, and the GRE fit my needs a lot better in terms of how often it’s offered.”

The LSAT is offered six times a year, while the GRE General Test can be taken almost weekly.

The law school faculty approved the pilot study to expand access to legal education for students who were already considering graduate school and who have taken the GRE, but may not have the time or resources to also take the LSAT.

Professor Hazel Beh sees this as a particular strength. “We have been able to attract very high-caliber graduate school students with rich backgrounds in STEM and social sciences by accepting the GRE,” said Beh. “These applicants may have been reluctant to take the LSAT, as preparation for yet another entrance exam may distract them from important work they are already doing in other graduate programs.”

The law school’s decision to accept the GRE General Test came after its own validation study in collaboration with Educational Testing Service. Data gathered in 2015 and 2016 showed that GRE scores were a better predictor of first-year law school grades than undergraduate grades.

The UH law school is now accepting applications for the 2019 fall semester.

For the full story, see the law school website.

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