Law School makes way for largest incoming class

By Gus Bode

More qualified students this fall, school officials say

A 20 percent increase in applications to the SIUC School of Law – the largest in the school’s history – attracted a more academically qualified class compared to last year.

More than 150 applicants made the cut to become first-year students, which speaks a lot about their qualifications, said Mike Ruiz, assistant dean for the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.


“What makes this year particularly unique is that it was a very difficult year to get into law school and this particular class, their scores are significantly higher than even this last year’s,” he said.

The 75th percentile of this year’s first class has an average 3.60 grade point average, ten points higher than the previous year’s. The 50th percentile has an average of 3.33, a 13- point increase.

“The Law School’s applications were up about 20 percent … that’s why this year’s class has much higher class because of that,” Ruiz said. “For instance, everyone who was on the wait list last year eventually was given admission. This year we didn’t take anyone from the wait list.”

Ruiz said the weak economy could be the reason for more students pursuing a graduate education in law. He also credits the school’s efforts, which include scholarships, recruitment materials, student recruiters and the faculty’s time and efforts in making calls to prospective applicants.

The 152 new full-time students entering this year exceeded the school’s target goal of 150.

And meeting the target aids long term planning, Ruiz said.

“Beating the target goals enables us to basically plan for the next three years better, and that’s how we set our targets,” Ruiz said. “Here, we’re just trying to keep 360 students at all times.”


Bob Nier, a second year law student, said the incoming class should expect challenges and new experiences at the school.

“The school does a first-class job,” Nier said. “They challenge us and let us expand and grow and push us to learn things we’ve never learned before.”

Ruiz said the projections for the number of applications next year are even higher and recommends interested undergraduates to keep their grades up and apply early.

“We had people who were denied because of the timing and not because of their actual credentials and that’s always unfortunate,” he said.

Reporter Jane Huh can be reached at [email protected]