Will the LSAT Become Optional for Some Students?

If you plan to practice law one day, you are probably very familiar with the LSAT, which is administered to students who are seeking admission to law school. The LSAT is well known for being difficult and stressful, so students are often advised to begin studying several months before their test date.

The LSAT is, in short, an unavoidable challenge. But change may soon be in the works. Recently, the American Bar Association announced that it would allow law schools to admit up to 10% of their incoming classes without an LSAT score. This means that some students may be accepted based solely on their admissions essays, GPAs, recommendation letters, and other aspects of their application packages.

This change is a positive one for students who struggle with test anxiety, as well as for students who cannot demonstrate their full potential on the LSAT alone. But perhaps you’re wondering why the American Bar Association has altered its policy. Why is the LSAT now optional for some students?   

Decreasing enrollment

In recent years, a decreasing number of students have applied to and enrolled in law school. Increasing the flexibility of law school admissions processes (i.e. making the LSAT optional) may help to encourage a greater number of students to apply to these programs. 

Still, at least 90% of students will continue to be admitted to law school on the basis of their LSAT scores. (Remember that the revision permits up to 10% of admitted students to omit the LSAT – not 10% exactly.) At this point, law schools can choose whether or not they will admit students without first reviewing their LSAT results, and some schools will likely decide to leave their application process unchanged. 

LSAT advantages

Though the LSAT is admittedly challenging, there are a number of reasons to take it anyway. For example, independent scholarships sometimes rely on this test score when awarding financial aid. If you find yourself struggling in your LSAT prep, you may consider seeking an LSAT tutor. An LSAT score will also allow you to pursue admission at any program that interests you, while students who do not complete the exam will be limited to only those schools that choose to admit 10% of their class without it. Most importantly, prospective students who opt against the LSAT may face increased competition for only a few spots. This may be able to help you grasp how the LSAT is scored.

In addition, studying for the LSAT can help to prepare you for the academic realities of law school. For instance, sitting for the LSAT can allow you to demonstrate to your prospective schools that you are prepared to work hard to achieve your educational goals – even in the face of an intense challenge. LSAT prep can also enable you to hone your analytical and logical thinking skills, as well as your close reading abilities. These free LSAT prep tools can help you in your studies.

Perhaps we are beginning to move toward new law school admissions practices, including a fully optional LSAT. Perhaps not. Ultimately, it is a wise idea to prepare for any admissions exam that you may face. And before you count on a school allowing you to apply LSAT-free, be sure to double-check the program’s specific admissions procedures.