Concerned about the economy? Apply to law school. That is the advice many hopeful Hoyas are following as they look beyond graduation.

The Georgetown University Law Center has seen a dramatic 11 percent rise in applications this year, compared to a 2 percent rise nationally. While the economic crisis is hurting almost every other sector, recessions in general tend to cause an increase in applications to law schools and graduate programs.

“In normal times, recessions mean applications to graduate and law schools increase. College seniors have trouble finding jobs and people in their twenties have trouble getting promoted, so it’s an alternative option,” said Andrew Cornblatt, the associate vice president of graduate admissions and enrollment.

Last year, Georgetown Law received 10,500 applications, while this year it received 11,700 applications, according to Cornblatt. Georgetown Law does not yet have current figures for how many students it has accepted and how many will enroll because they are on a rolling admissions system, and will therefore not be finished admitting students until the summer.

Despite the increased number of applications, Georgetown Law is only looking to fill spaces for 450 day students and 125 evening students, which are the same numbers as last year, Cornblatt said.

The economic collapse also creates a significant worry about the financial costs of law school. According to Cornblatt, Georgetown Law will work to accommodate the extra financial needs of students to make it feasible for them to attend Georgetown.

The admissions office this year pushed back the application deadline from Feb. 1 to March 2 in order to accommodate the disruption in financial and employment situations caused by the recession. On Feb. 1 alone, the original application deadline, Georgetown Law received 1,000 applications, which indicated to the school that people were unsure of their future plans. Georgetown received an additional 500 to 600 applications during the month that the deadline was extended.

“Extending the deadline was a service to those people whose lives were being changed that if they wanted to apply suddenly, we wanted admissions to be as flexible as possible,” Cornblatt said.

However, the recession did not affect this year’s admissions as much as it likely will next year’s. Most people take the LSATs in June or October of the year they apply to law school and therefore most had made their decisions to apply prior to the onset of the recession in September and October of last year. However, said Cornblatt, the Law Center is expecting a smaller increase in applications for next year than they saw this year.

“This year has been terrific. We are so strong this year that we will probably see an increase next year – but not an 11 percent increase,” said Cornblatt.

Georgetown Law’s application increase for this year beat out those of several other top schools including Yale Law School and Duke University School of Law, which saw only 8 and 4 percent increases, respectively.

Cornblatt explained that the increases at Georgetown, as opposed to other law schools, can be partially attributed to the quality of education that Georgetown offers, as well as to the new political administration, which has made D.C. such a desirable place to live.

“Georgetown is a terrific law school. People are choosing Georgetown because of its quality of education. In addition, many people that are a part of this new administration went to Georgetown and so you are hearing its name a lot. With the change of administration and the shift of power to D.C. in the financial sector and all areas, D.C. has become a much more interesting place [both to] live and to study law,” Cornblatt said.

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