PROVO, Utah (AP) — Brigham Young University’s law school is preparing for its first class where women make up more than half the student body.
The 52 percent female incoming class marks a significant milestone in the school’s history, Dean of Admissions Stacie Stewart told The Daily Herald newspaper in Provo. The female percentage of the 104-student class brings the law school in line with others across the country.
Women have typically made up about 30 to 40 percent of law school students, Stewart said.
Law schools nationwide have seen fewer applications over the last decade, but the number seems to be on the rise again, Stewart said. Applications to Brigham Young University’s law school have increased 6.7 percent this year, with a 20.7 percent increase in applications from women.
“This isn’t a situation where we just admitted more women to admit more women, because you still have to be qualified to be eligible for the program,” Stewart said.
The school’s increase of women applicants might be linked to missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the school.
Many female applicants have mentioned their experiences while serving on 18-month missions for the church, Stewart said. Many wrote that they were interested in pursuing law after realizing the injustices in the world, she said.
“The women who are coming to law school are aware and interested in being involved in the legal processes associated with immigration,” Stewart said.
An influx of women entered mission work after the church lowered the age requirements for women six years ago. The long hours and frequent rejection that missionaries experience can make applying to law school seem less intimidating, Stewart said.
“If you are working 60 hours a week and dealing with rejection, and dealing with people who don’t agree with you, maybe law school doesn’t scare you as much as it did coming out of undergrad,” Stewart said.