Those of you who sat for the October LSAT administration have now received your score and while some of you are likely very happy with your result, some of you are not. So, what to do?
First and foremost, at W&L Law, we do not use an admissions formula, and applicants are not ranked by any numerical index. While a candidate’s LSAT and GPA are important components of our decision, our application review process extends well beyond the numbers. We consider undergraduate grades and transcripts, LSAT scores, recommendations, significant employment or post-graduate educational experience, extracurricular activities, special skills and talents, community service involvement and the personal statement, to name a few factors weighed when considering an applicant’s potential for success at our law school.
Even still, some of you may be considering re-taking the LSAT. Below are the answers to a number of questions students taking a later LSAT administration often have.
Should I re-take the LSAT?
To be perfectly honest, only you can answer this question. However, your answer should be an informed one. Choosing to sit for a subsequent LSAT administration largely depends upon a number of factors and variables that really only you know. Did you really study and prepare? How did you feel on test day? Was your performance consistent with your practice tests? These are just a few of the many questions you need to ask yourself before deciding to retake the LSAT.
But what if you studied hard for the October LSAT and your score was still lower than you had hoped? What’s an applicant to do? The next question you have to ask is how much lower was your actual LSAT score than your practice test scores? Furthermore, how reliable are your practice test scores? These are two important questions you must answer before deciding to register for a subsequent LSAT.
As you might know, LSAT scores are presented in a score band. This band represents a range of scores that has a certain probability (68%) of containing your actual proficiency level. The standard of error for a given band is three points in either direction. Consequently, if you took the test and scored a 150, your score could have been a 153 or it could have been a 147. In light of this scoring reality, if your practice tests were not more than three points higher than your actual performance, your score is more than likely an accurate reflection of your potential. However, if your practice scores were considerably higher (more than three points) than your actual test scores, you may want to consider sitting for an additional administration. However, this decision is entirely your own.
Which LSAT should I take? December? February?
If you elect to retake the LSAT, we strongly recommend you sit for the December test administration. Scores are not reported from the February administration until very late in our application cycle – while some seats typically remain available, we have extended many offers and the competition for the remaining spots can be exceptionally keen. Click here to read our earlier blog post on why it matters when you apply.
If I choose to take the December LSAT, should I go ahead and begin sending in my application materials?
Yes. I repeat: Yes. If you choose to take the December LSAT, we encourage you to submit an application now, and begin sending along the various constituent parts of your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report (transcripts, letters of recommendation) to LSAC. By doing this, your file will be complete (and therefore eligible for review) much sooner than if you wait until you receive your results to begin the application process.
But I took the October LSAT. If I apply, how can I make sure my application is not reviewed before my new LSAT score is available?
If you’ve previously taken the LSAT, do not worry that we might somehow review your (technically complete) file before we receive your new LSAT score. Simply provide us, on your application, the date of your future LSAT administration, and we’ll hold your file for review until we receive scores from that test.
If you’ve previously applied and plan to sit for a later LSAT administration and, consequently, would like us to hold your file for review, please just send an email requesting such action to LawAdm@wlu.edu, and we will make sure a hold is placed on your file.
If my file is not complete until late December, won’t I be really far behind?
No. We make admissions decisions on a rolling basis, and we offer no early action program. Each year, we wait until we have a critical mass of applications to begin our review process (so that we might have some perspective on the kinds of applications we’re seeing in a given cycle), and this year we will mail out our first admissions decisions in mid-November and will continue making decisions over the subsequent months. In fact, we receive a number of applications after the first of the year, and typically make most of our admissions decisions in January and February. Consequently, if your file is complete by the end of December, you will still be in a competitive position for consideration at W&L Law.
But what if I elect to sit for the February LSAT. Won’t I be really, really far behind?
Maybe. If you elect to sit for the February LSAT, please, please, please go ahead and submit the other parts of your application. This way, your file will be complete (and therefore eligible for review) as soon as February LSAT scores are released (traditionally, late February). If you proceed in this fashion, your file will likely be complete by late February, and at our school, we guarantee all applicants whose files are complete prior to March 1 a decision by no later than late March/early April.
However, if you wait until February scores are released to begin the application process, your file will likely not be complete until after March 1, and, therefore, after our “decision-by” deadline. We have no application deadline at W&L Law and accept applications throughout the year. However, for those files that go complete after March 1, we do not guarantee a decision by a particular date. As a result, if you take the February LSAT and your file is complete after March 1, you will likely have to wait until late April or May (or later) for a decision. As this example attests, if you’re taking the February LSAT (or even applying later in the admissions cycle), a few days can make a big difference.
But if I take the February LSAT, can I still receive an offer of admission at W&L Law?
Maybe. The answer to this question really depends upon how our admissions cycle develops, and every year is different. As previously noted, the February administration is rather late in our admissions cycle. By February, while some seats typically remain available, we have extended a number of offers, and the competition for the remaining seats in our incoming class can be exceptionally keen. Nevertheless, even at this late hour, it is still possible to receive an offer of admission, but the odds are certainly more favorable earlier in the admissions cycle.
How will the Admissions Committee look at my multiple LSAT scores?
In accordance with our policy of reviewing all the materials submitted with an application, we look at each of your LSAT scores as we consider your candidacy. Absent a compelling reason that persuades us otherwise, we place the greatest weight on your highest score because statistical analysis indicates that a student’s highest score is the best predictor of his/her success at W&L Law. In accordance with American Bar Association guidelines, the median LSAT score for an entering class is calculated using matriculants’ highest LSAT score.
What if I change my mind and choose not to sit for the December or February LSAT? Or decide to sit for another administration?
If you change your mind and decide not to sit for the test after all, or decide to sit for a later test administration, simply contact us so that we can either remove the “hold” on your file or change the date on which we’ll check for a new score.
Have other questions? Please feel free to send us an email at LawAdm@wlu.edu.