October 09, 2007
BYU is "Most Competitive"
Posted by Gordon Smith

According to the Princeton Review (Best 170 Law Schools and Best 290 Business Schools), BYU has the most competitive law school and business school students in the US. "Most competitive" in this survey is not a measure of the selectivity of admissions. According to a local story about the rankings, the ranking for law schools was based on four questions: "the average hour of sleep a student gets each night, the hours a student studies outside class, the hours a student believes classmates study outside class and the degree of competitiveness among students at the school."

Hmm. That doesn't seem like a good thing, but BYU is spinning it. According to BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins, "This goes hand in hand with the rankings we've seen recently where they've done so well. It speaks to the rigor of both programs."

My guess is that it has more to do with the percentage of the students who are married and have children. Having been here only a couple of months, I don't have a deep knowledge of the norms of the students, but I have the impression that BYU's law students are much more occupied with family and Church than my students elsewhere.

By the way, if you are interested in my anecdote, one of the seven law schools I have been associated with (as a student, tenured professor, or visitor) stands apart from all of the rest for competition in the classroom: Vanderbilt. Hands down the most competitive law school I have seen up close.

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