Levin College of Law saw applications double from 2015 to 2016, and a national study said this is due to the presidential election.
Kaplan Test Prep, a student testing service, conducted a nationwide survey in December 2017 and February that went out to more than 500 students applying to law school. It found that 32 percent said the election impacted their decision to apply, said Jeff Thomas, an executive director of pre-law programs at Kaplan.
He said there was speculation about why this number increased in the past year because in the five years prior, there was a decline in LSAT test takers. Consequently, Kaplan decided to survey students who have went through their preparation services about why they applied to law school.
“If the passion is there, it’s a great time to apply to law school,” Thomas said.
Elizabeth Lear, the associate dean for strategic initiatives at Levin College of Law, said she noticed a massive increase in the law school applications since the election.
Lear said since the election, the school saw an increase of more than 1,000 applications. She said 1,359 students applied in 2015 and 2,703 applied in 2016. The number stayed around the same in 2017 at 2,875 applications.
“Applications have gone up in the last two years,” Lear said. “I have seen passion among our students since the election.”
Marina Bahmad, a 20-year-old UF telecommunication junior, said she had thoughts of applying to law school before the election. But when President Donald Trump won and implemented his restrictive immigration policies, it reaffirmed her decision to apply.
Bahmad said she was born and raised in Brazil. She moved to the U.S. when she was 11 years old and didn’t become a citizen until February. She wants to be able to help other immigrants by going to law school and study immigration law.
“Immigration is a soft spot for me,” Bahmad said. “There are people that need help who don’t have the money, especially if you are an immigrant.”