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Retaking the LSAT in December

September test scores are out.  Some of my clients do not feel that their scores are indicative of their true ability, and we’re discussing the pros/cons of retaking it on December 5th.  Check out my July 20th post "Thinking about retaking the LSAT?" where I address the topic.

What they are more concerned about, however, is whether the December administration will put them at a disadvantage because it is late in the admissions cycle.  I’ll address that today.

When law schools indicate a deadline date of February 1, March 1, March 15, etc., they understand that the December LSAT is a popular one, and they know that many qualified applicants will come out of that test.  Yes, spots will have already been filled, but spots are still open, too.

To get the competitive edge, you want to make sure that your application is in that first batch that are completed once the scores become available.  Let me explain.

Remember, you can apply to law school at any time.  You do not need to have taken the LSAT.  Your letters of recommendation and transcripts do not need to have been received by LSAC.  You can apply as soon as you’ve completed the application, and written your personal statement, addendum (if needed) and resume.  Once the Admissions Office receives this material, it will request your LSAT score, transcripts and letters of recommendation from LSAC. 

Here is the key…LSAC will send out this information to the law schools to which you applied only when all of the material – LSAT score, transripts and letters of recommendation – has been received.

If you choose to take the LSAT in December, your goal should be to submit your application beforehand or soon afterwards.  If you haven’t already done so, make sure to ask your recommenders to write your letters now.  And, submit the transcript request form to your registrar now if you haven’t yet done so.  You want to ensure that this material is received by LSAC as soon as possible.

A number of Admissions Offices close the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  Faculty are away on vacation.  It’s a very quiet time. By submitting your application before or soon after you take the test, you give the Admissions Office time to request your material from LSAC so that once your score becomes available, LSAC will mail out your packet, the Admissions Office will receive and file it, and your application will be considered complete and go to the Admissions Committee for review come the first of the year when everything picks up again. 

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  • tanvishut

    Thank you. I took the June LSAT and am retaking the LSAT in December. I was unclear as to how the admissions packet is comprised and wondered if I shouldn’t go ahead and complete the application. All my other materials are there – letters, transcripts…

    My concern is that they will see and only use the June LSAT and group my application in the pile of the “unwanted.” Assuming my Dec LSAT is better, how can I make certain they will consider my new score?

    • Joy Leff

      Yes, you should definitely go ahead and submit the application now. To ensure that the Admissions Committee postpones review of your application until receipt of the December score, you can do one of the following…

      1. In looking at one law school application online, I found a series of questions about the LSAT: On what date did you take the test, and what score did you receive? If you are registered for a future administration, indicate the test date. If you are retaking the test, do you wish for the Admissions Committee to hold off making a decision until receipt of the new score? If you come across such an application, you’ll answer all three questions.

      2. Another application may simply ask you to the list the dates on which you did take – or plan to take – the LSAT. You’ll list June 2009 and December 2009, and you should also mention that you wish for the Admissions Committee to hold off making a decision until the December LSAT is received.

      3. For an application that doesn’t include a question about the LSAT, you can either:

      –Contact the Admissions Office, ask to speak with an Admissions Officer, and inquire how you should indicate your request, OR

      –Write a very brief addendum that says something like: “I originally took the LSAT in June 2009 and am registered to retake the test in December 2009. I ask that you hold off reviewing my file until the new score is received.” Be sure to entitle the addendum “Addendum Regarding LSAT Scores”.

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