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by Vault Education Editors | October 06, 2009

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The George Washington University Law School dropped eight spots--from 20th to 28th--in this year's U.S. News & World Report law school ranking. In response, they did what any other top law school would do: They figured out why the drop occurred and they corrected for it.

Senior Associate Dean Greg Maggs told the GW Hatchet that the fall happened because "U.S. News, for the first time, without giving us any notice, said they wanted to count full-time and part-time students mixed together...both our GPA and our LSAT [scores] fell substantially from previous years." The law school found a disparity between their part-time and full-time students' average scores, and decided to accept fewer students in the evening program to bring up the part-time scores. Dean Maggs notes that this reduction in the part-time student body will also improve the school's student-to-faculty ratio--another important piece of the rankings puzzle.

While this isn't Clemson University-level gaming of the ranking, GW Law School is still making a significant change in its program because of the publication. Says The Wall Street Journal, "You can rail against it, poke holes in its methodologies, but the one thing you can't do is ignore the U.S. News rankings."

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