Collin: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Prelaw Success live event series. My name is Collin Takita. And I’m the director of prelaw learning here at LSAC. So today, if you’ve joined us before, welcome back. And if you’re here for the first time, I’m excited that you’ve joined us today. Because this series of live events brought to you by LawHub, and LSAC is dedicated specifically to you and to answering questions, critical questions that you have during critical points of your journey to law school, and the legal profession.
Now, today’s specifically is the second session dedicated to giving you an inside look at law school admission. Last week, we ran a very similar session in which we were joined by representatives from three different law schools who share their insights on this very topic and share some stories and some tips and best practices. Today, we’re joined by three different admission professionals from three different schools. And they have their own stories, their own perspectives, and their own insights to share with all of you all centered around that topic of an inside look at law school admission. So, this is one of those topics that is critical to you on your journey to law school, and we’re excited to cover it today. So, by the end of this session, we hope that you will have a better sense of what the expectations are of law school admission professionals. In addition, you will be able to recall what these three admission professionals are seeing in their incoming class so far, and where students stand with respect to the process and the work that they still have to do. In addition to all of that, today, we’ll be demonstrating a tool which kind of serves as a guideline for each of you here today, which we will be sharing with anyone who attended the live session at the end of the session. So, make sure you stick around for that which will be shared over the chat. So, following this session, we hope you’ll really use that tool or similar tools to kind of guide you along the rest of your journey through your application process and admission to law school and beyond. So, I’m joined today, as I mentioned, by three exceptional folks from three different law schools across the country, they’re going to introduce themselves in just a moment. But before I hand things over to Joseph to get us started, I would like to note that the Q&A function is open today. So, make sure you’re taking advantage of that Q&A. And you’re asking questions there throughout the session. Those questions will be answered throughout the session. But we will have a formal Q&A at the end as well. So, make sure you submit your questions early and often. And we’ll do our best to get to every single one of them. So, with that I’ve wrapped up my part of this show. I’m going to hand things over to Joseph to get us started with introductions and then the main event. So, thank you all and enjoy.
Joseph: Hello, everyone. Welcome. My name is Joseph Lindsay. I’m the Director of Admissions at Berkeley Law I use he/they pronouns and I greet you today from the ancestral homelands of the Chinua speaking Aloni people. This is a great opportunity for you and a little bit about myself if I can just introduce myself quickly. As you tell likely I’m native identify as native and let the next it’s important for me being here and serving as a resource to you because I hope that individuals that may also identify as Native American are considering applying to law school, we represent less than 1% of the applicant pool within law school admissions. And it’s important that we have a voice in representing our community. So, I’m honored to be here and I hope that you get some great questions answered and I will now move it to Isabel to introduce herself.
Isabel: Hello, everyone. My name is Isabel Moreno. I’m the director for admission and financial aid at the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law. My pronouns are she and her and I identify as a Latinx. More specifically Latina I certainly identify with as a cisgender, female and very much proud of also my Latinx or Latina roots.
They had asked us to also share kind of how we landed in this role. I’ve been in this role since 2016. Prior to law school, I actually and by law school, I mean being a student in law school and graduating from law school, which I graduated in 2016. I had had about a six-year professional life experience in various endeavors, including higher education. And so, when I was getting close to graduating from law school, this position was one of the positions I applied for and have been at the law school since then. But without further ado, I’ll pass it on to Chloe.
Chloe: Hi, everyone. Welcome. Glad you could join us. My name is Chloe Matthews. I use she/her pronouns. I am the Senior Associate Director of Admissions and diversity initiatives at Boston University School of Law. I’m also a 2012 BU Law alum. I practice for a bit. And now I’m back in the admissions office at the beginning of my seventh year here, so BU, you can’t get rid of me. When I was practicing, I was realizing that the law still looks a certain way. I didn’t have any lawyers in my family. I didn’t really even know anyways, when I was applying to law school, I didn’t know that you could ask questions. So, when the opportunity came to work for my law school, I thought that this was a really great opportunity to come back to admissions to let people know that there are people who are here in your corner and available to help you through this process. That’s why I like working in admissions. And that’s why I’m excited to participate in events like this. So, I will now let everyone know that there is a poll that’s going to be launched. So, if you want to take a look at the poll question, we use this just to get a gauge of who’s joining us. And where are you in your law school journey. So, everyone can take a minute to answer the poll. And then we will jump into the session.
I see Results coming in. It looks like so far, the majority of people are about 12 months before the getting law school. So that’s 65-64% our group here today so great, that’s really helpful to ask as we sort of answer questions and talk about the process to know where most people are.
Joseph: So it’s Collin mentioned beginning of this session that we’re going to kind of give you an inside look in the application process, what we’re looking for, specifically with our schools, for this incoming class, what goes on throughout the admissions process, what you can also expect if you’re applying within this cycle, or even moving forward next cycle as well, there is a tool before we get started that I at least want to share with you. And so, this is just a guideline, this is not anything that you need to do or required to do. But it is helpful in reviewing the schools that you’re looking at throughout your school selection process. So, I wanted to share that with you briefly real quick. For many of you, based on the results from the polls, this may not be as helpful within like 24 months or within 18 months before your one year. But these are at least provides you a timeline of when you should start looking at doing either registering for through LSAC’s Credential Assembly Services report, completing your FAFSA, etc, taking the LSAT, this also gives you space for being able to list each of the schools down that you’re thinking about applying to. And if anything, then you can always create more tabs. And as you narrow it down to when you finally do submit your application to that particular school. And then of course, there’ll be other pertinent information, you’ll want to be mindful of with that as well. But I did want to at least share this with you, we will hopefully then be able to jump into some of the conversation. So, I will open it up to my colleagues. And as some of the things that we should, you know, expect right now what should be happening are ongoing. So maybe we can start a conversation related to differences within the schools. Is there are you offering early decision within your application pool? Do you have rolling admissions? Do you even have a binding program at that school? And so, kind of just open it up to both of you? What about you, Chloe? What’s your process like?
Chloe: Sure. So, I think one of the things that you definitely want to do as you are preparing to start preparing for law school, let’s think about the different options that schools are going to have. So, at BU we do have two binding programs, which are both early decision and then our regular processes, rolling admissions, and every admissions professional will tell you that really admissions, it’s certainly to your advantage to apply as early as possible and as early as you are ready. So, I think really mapping out that process is going to be incredibly helpful. I think in terms of early decision binding programs, you want to here’s a good bug for always asking questions. You want to make sure that if you’re going to sign a contract, committing to something that you are sure you know what you’re signing, so great opportunity to reach out to schools to ask questions about what the program entails. Lots of times, programs will have earlier deadlines specific requirements, oftentimes specific financial aid or scholarship packages that do or don’t come along with those programs. So, making sure that you are mapping out a schedule and asking any questions about the process.
Joseph: Isabel, so when it comes to let’s jump like up allocation fee waivers then since I kind of is brought in does answer some of mine, even for my school, but D? How is it? What’s the best way to get a fee waiver? Are there different ways in which you can obtain a fee waiver? Either through your school or elsewhere?
Isabel: Yes, for sure. Um, so that I think the best thing to always is always to ask and to contact the specific school because I think that, and I think our listeners were, or our audience will will find that, that a lot of this is going to be very school dependent. And so, for some schools, they were they have a formal process, you have to submit very specific information. Sometimes it’s need based. For some schools, they don’t even, like, have an actual application fee. And so, it’s best to know one is there a fee and to request information about what that process is for requesting a fee waiver if they have one? For us specifically, we don’t need to know all the details. We give out fee waivers like candy. And so literally, if for us simply, you know, a good comprise an email, first name, last name, if you have an L number perfect. And then can I have a fee waiver and that fee, we were will serve to essentially get rid of the application fee. So, I want to be very clear about that. Because it doesn’t get rid of your Credential Assembly Service report fee, or anything else associated with any other components of your application. And so this is why it’s so important that you ask specifically to other schools that you know, what’s your process? Do you have an application fee waiver? And you know, what is what is this actually covering for some schools, I will note that they they sometimes only provide a fee waiver if you’ve also qualified for the CAS fee waiver as well. So that’s something to keep in mind. I know that that’s not necessarily as common that schools are somewhat generous in giving these out. But just keep that in mind.
Chloe: At BU we do things just a little bit different. We do both need and service waivers through our office. And then we do select merit fee waivers through the candidate referral service, about 60. So, we always encourage everyone to keep their profile updated, because we do that as well. But just the plug on what Isabelle said, definitely asked, I know that it can often feel awkward to talk about money or to reach out to a school asking for something. But we are very accustomed to getting these emails and schools, you know, want to make their application as accessible as possible. So definitely don’t hesitate to ask me, I always want to be friendly and polite. But it is by no means considered rude in any way schools absolutely expect this. So always feel free to reach out to any school and ask what their process is.
Joseph: I might add as well that if you are registered through LSAC signing up for that candidate referral service, but using an email that you don’t have is your personal email, because and the main reason I say that is that you’re going to get if you sign up for the CRS, it’s called you’re going to schools are going to be able to pull that information and then send you randomly emails about their school to encourage you to apply and you likely have not heard of certain some other schools where they may not be on your radar. But they’ll also be very generous in that sense and giving fee waivers without you even requesting it. So that might be helpful as well in the process.
Isabel: So, we’re gonna move on to discussion about the LSAT. So, with our colleagues here closing Joseph, when should you take the LSAT? And also, can you can you apply and I would add would you encourage applicants to apply before they have their LSAT score, Joseph you want to start us off?
Joseph: Sure. So definitely you can apply before you have taken the LSAT exam. For us for example, what will happen is is that we will actually hold your file from being reviewed until the score is made available. It’s always to your advantage to make sure you still submit all of those necessary materials that are part of your application all of the narrative pieces that we would call it here like your personal statement and any other required items, but it will just sit in the queue until the score is made available. You can always of course apply once you’ve taken the LSAT and then that way that gives you time right now to prepare for the LSAT exam itself and then submit materials later. So, you really have options and both and then as far as when you should take it. You know the LSAT is good for five years. So I guess it just depends. What cycle are we applying into? You know, so I think that for me is just going to be, are you applying early in the process? Are you applying through an early binding decision program? Because many of these applications may have earlier deadlines for you to submit your application and have a standardized test on file. So, it will just depend. So, but I’m curious what Chloe would say.
Chloe: Yes, I think that’s great advice. You know, it depends on the lawyer, my answer is always going to be it depends. Scores are good for five years and newer score is better than a score from a few years ago. So, I think it’s really going to depend on your sort of schedule, even school is now a good time for you to add in studying, working full time, is it gonna be harder for you to do it that way? So just sort of laying out those options. Also say, I think the the right time to take the LSAT is when you’re ready. And I realized that that is not a concrete answer. But there are, it’s not an easy test. And schools certainly use that as part of their process. So, you want to be sure that you’re prepared. For most schools, they’re using the highest score, but schools will see all have your scores. So at least at BU we always encourage students, it’s totally fine if you take the test more than once, but we encourage you to take each test seriously, there are plenty of great ways to get free practice tests on LSAC’s website, there are a lot of great resources, as well as free prep options. So, take a look at those. But there are better ways to get a practice test than doing an actual LSAT administration. So just thinking about that, in terms of timing, I think will will be helpful as you’re starting the process. But again, enrolling admissions to your advantage to apply early. So, backing up the process from when you’re thinking about applying whether that be through a regular decision program, or one of the earlier programs, I think will benefit you.
Isabel: Yeah, and the only thing I’ll add to that is, in part of the reason I was asking about motivates like, would we motivate you to apply without your LSAT score, I would say that that that would depend on ultimately what your score is, and whether once you receive your score, you feel like you may have to submit additional information such as an agenda, offering additional narrative in context surrounding that particular score. If you for instance, don’t feel like that may be your strong glue to your strongest reflection on your application. And so that that is one thing, we we actually highly encourage our applicants to make sure that they know everything about their application before they submit it. We we in our process will actually process an application for review. As soon as we have everything that’s including if you have a future dated exam on file, we’re just not going to wait for that particular score to come unless you request you make an affirmative request to our office. And at that point will your application for our process will remain in an incomplete status until that future dated score comes in. And so just keep in mind that if you think that you might not necessarily know where you fall on test day and where your score might come in that perhaps it might not be the best thing for you to necessarily submit your application before or ahead of receiving that score unless perhaps maybe you’re running up against the timeline and and you’re really eager to meet that particular deadline.
Chloe: When I’ll just add one last thing before we switch to the next topic. at BU we recommend that January is the latest LSAT that you take. If you’re planning on enrolling in that coming Fall, many schools will have an answer for that question. So again, plug for asking questions, definitely feel free to reach out schools may be able to advise you individually on their own cycle and when the best time or when it turns to be too late. So again, definitely feel free to reach out to schools with those types of questions. So, shifting a little bit. Our next topic will be about how long it takes for LSAC to process transcripts, letters recommendation and how that process works. Joseph do you want to start us off?
Joseph: So, I’m going to take Isabella’s thing because we were lifted. So, we know it takes two weeks from when it’s received through LSAC. Isabel and we’re having fun about that. But I think honestly, for me, in this case, when to process honestly, I think you want to do your due diligence and make sure you start submitting those materials as quickly as possible. And some of this I think it’s just easy to contact your institution electronically and then they’ll transmitted to LSAC. And so that way if that information is going to be already stored on file, for any of you that earned your degree abroad from a foreign institution, of course, then that means it’s gonna, it’ll be a little bit more of a lengthier process, but you want to make sure you submit it to LSAC. So that those transcripts are going to be translated and submitted to the school in a timely manner. You don’t want to give there to be a delay. And when the application is still pending, the deadline for your application is approaching and we’re still waiting for those materials to be processed through LSAC. What letters of recommendation? You know that the question then becomes, does the school require it? Is it optional to how many letters recommendation have to be on file, so definitely give yourself time to make sure that you’re already starting to figure out who will be those individuals that will write those letters of recommendation on your behalf? And rather than thinking about like, how long does it take, maybe the question should be about what is my timeline, which I want to make sure that these are on file, and communicating with those recommenders that, hey, I’m going to be applying in this cycle, I want to make sure my application is submitted by the end of December, can you know, I work with you to make sure that those letters of recommendation are at least received by the beginning of December to allow time for LSAC to go ahead and process those letters of recommendation, make sure that you’re communicating with all of those necessary people to make sure that everything’s on file. Don’t miss anything as well.
Isabel: No, I wouldn’t say I would just add that I think it’s important to also consider that the law schools themselves have their internal internal processing time. And so, while you know there is this potential timeline that that LSCC has to process those documents for you, we have our internal process, where we’re verifying that we do indeed have all the elements of your application to process for review. And sometimes, there are things that are missing. And so, I would encourage you, as our colleague Chloe has been encouraging you to do, which is to contact the schools, and not be shy about it, you know, that’s what we’re there for. That’s what we’re there we have we like in our school, have a specific person that will is just dedicated to processing applications, and making sure that we have all of the elements if there’s anything that we’re missing, we’re surely going to contact you to make sure that those pieces are submitted, and hopefully, you know, within the sufficient amount of time to the deadlines.
Joseph: So, I think as I’ve already touched upon this, when someone has a future LSAT, they still go ahead and process unless you contact the school. Um, so I kind of curious with you all with regards to when you start reviewing, what is your application process really look like at the school and then whether or not like me, as a candidate can still follow up with you while the application has yet to have a final decision. At our school, for example, we’ve already started reviewing files. We’re happily having files. And it’s nice because it’s a new cycle. So, we’ve haven’t had to read since March, I believe. So, we have a little bit of time now we’re like, Oh, great. So excited to look at applications again. And so, you know, when the file goes through this process, then it’s assigned and then decisions will get rendered. But I want to, I’m curious to hear what your processes are at your school. So clearly, what what does it look like there?
Chloe: Sure. So, we have also started reviewing applications. There, we have an admissions committee, it includes the members of our admissions office, as well, as faculty members, we won’t start giving decisions for a bit, usually, around Thanksgiving, where, you know, working real hard, we don’t have a specific timeframe for returning decisions. Sometimes students ask, you know, is it how many weeks from when I submit, but certainly I get rolling admissions, the earlier you apply the URL you’re likely to hear back. So, we certainly encourage you to do that. And we don’t review in a specific order. So sometimes I think students are worried that if they submit their application, and then submit their LSAT scores where they wait to submit their application until they have their own SAT scores, they’re going to get bumped out of their order in the cube. That’s not how we do things. Again, certainly the earlier you apply, the earlier you’re likely to be reviewed and secure back, but you don’t have to worry about that piece. And then I think that one thing I always encourage students to do is just, you know, sort of be up on dates and deadlines and emails, you know, oftentimes something that I see happening is an application will be incomplete. And we always send an email if we don’t have all the application materials that are required. And then six or seven weeks later, someone will email and say, hey, I haven’t gotten the decision yet. So, you just want to make sure that you are following up on things, keeping things as up to date, and communicating with schools if you do have questions.
Isabel: Yes, so for our process, we too have begun the review process. But we also have an early decision program. And so, ours, ours is binding. And it also comes with a guaranteed financial aid award upon admission. And so those are the applications that we inherently will go through first, in part because that has actually our deadline is this Friday, and we guarantee having a decision by November 18 of this this cycle, those two dates change from year to year, depending on when the most appropriate and you heard Chloe talk about this when the the last outset for that particular deadline is is appropriate. And so last year, it just so happened that the October LSAT qualified or fell under our timeline so that we can take those students we could take those applicants into consideration in our early decision process. Whereas this year, when the October exam is being or was administered, it didn’t fall within our timelines into this would be another prime example of why keeping apprised of the processes year to year is so important for those of you who are not necessarily an application cycle this year. And so that has early decision, as you heard a very specific date by when we would learn about admission and then beginning November 1, which is just coming up. That is when we begin reviewing our regular decision applications it to would be our rolling admission process. And we have two deadlines associated with that one January 15, the second in March 10, which is our final deadline. And January 15 guarantees first term Meriden Entrance Scholarship consideration outside of the early decision process. And then March 10, is just what it sounds like, which is our final deadline. Like Chloe and BU our process, we actually take to considerations in our rolling admission process in terms of when we’re going to have decisions made. But just generally speaking, it would take six to eight weeks starting November 1 in so this is important because we’ll always have folks who apply on the very first day we open applications, but we don’t actually begin the six to eight week countdown until November 1 And then moving forward for all other applicants. But the two considerations that really take I would say priority in terms of how we’re reviewing or rolling applicants or applications would be both performance on both LSAT and undergraduate GPA. We’re very transparent about that, as well as the timing of your application.
Chloe: I think one thing I will just add is that oftentimes, students ask if they can follow up on their application and what that process might look like. Especially because I completely understand it can often feel like a waiting game, particularly if you apply very early and schools don’t start releasing decisions until November December. So, the short answer is yes. You can always reach out you can always ask questions, the longer answer is, of course, it depends, right? It’s going to depend on what we’re going to be able to tell you. Because we don’t have a specific timeline, it can often be difficult for us to give you, hopefully the kind of specific information that you’d really want to hear from us. But you know, if you haven’t heard back, certainly reach out. And we’ll absolutely tell you, you know, if there’s anything putting a hold on your application or holding up the review process, we’re probably not going to be able to give you a specific decision, you know, timeline in that way, but you can always reach out. And certainly, you know, it’s as if your schools have different processes chime in. But in general, you know, both schools are always happy to answer questions, but may not be able to share as detailed information as you might be looking for.
Isabel: Sure, I mean, what I could save for with that is that for us, you know that it’s going to be a 60-week process if you’re applying under our regular decision program. The reason that is is because you get an automated message once your application is complete, and it’s basically going to be processed into we act under the presumption that as active participants in your application process, you’re reviewing the information that you’re receiving from the schools. And I would add that if if you’re going to contact not just our school, but if you’re going to contact our admission offices post your application submission, you probably want to kind of be intentional about that process. So, what am I asking? What am I asking for? Right and what’s the purpose behind my call or my contacting them? And so, I would just kind of take that into consideration in in your thought process of of contacting admission schools. But like Chloe said, we’re always happy to answer your questions. One thing about our process is we’re not going to give you an answer over the phone, like, say, for instance, if I already know what the decision is, but the communication hasn’t gone out, I’m not just gonna say, hey, do Save and Close, you’ve both been admitted, congratulations, because that is not the process that we follow. Our standard practice is that you will receive your communication via electronic mail in terms of a formal decision.
Isabel: All right. So let’s, with that being said, you know, there’s basically essentially a handful of decisions that are usually rendered when reviewing an application, right, I imagine and to some employee, please chime in here, but I imagine they’re in the vicinity of admitted waitlisted and denied for someone who has been waitlisted. You know, I’ve been whitelisted. What can I anticipate, from your particular process of what that means for me?
Joseph: I suppose I’ll jump in then. Okay. So, let’s say I’m waitlisted. At Berkeley, one of the things is, is that there’s a, there’s a two-step process in this in the sense that, we’ll notify you that you have been wait listed, and that we will be ranking the waitlist at a later date, which typically occurs in May, you have like I would have the ability to say thank you and withdraw my application, because I may be have admitted been admitted to Isabel school, and I’m excited and I’m joining. And or I’m gonna just hold out. At that point, it also goes back to following up on the application, because as a waitlist person, there may be things that I can still supplement my application with new updated information. For example, I had been evaluated on a standardized test, but then I retook a test at a later date, and that score significantly is higher, I can then let them know, hey, I have a new LSAT score, or other standardized tests, and can I provide an agenda related to it, maybe I haven’t completed my undergraduate program or other graduate program. And so, the grades are made available or the degrees conferred. And so, I’ve now sent that material to LSAC. And that has been hopefully transmitted. And so, I’m making sure that they’re made aware of it as well, or any new updates to the resume, or even maybe I’m supplementing by adding an additional letter of recommendation, all of these things we will accept, that way is added to your file. And at the point, then when we do rank and notify you of the ranking of the outset of your waitlist status, then, you know, like those things will be added to your application, because we will read reread those files, again, for consideration for admission. And at that point, at any time, you know, I would have the ability to withdraw myself if I’m no longer remain interested in this whole.
So, over the time, and you know, you’re welcome to follow up with us and ask those questions. But for us, our waitlist is a little different in that we will rank I’m not sure how is it at your school Chloe.
Chloe: So, we don’t like rank, our waitlist, applicants are welcome to encourage to stay on our waitlist for as long as it’s financially and emotionally feasible for them. You know, I think it’s always good to check with other schools, you know, sometimes there are requirements to join the waitlist to go off other ones or you know, that sort of process. So always make sure you check but for us, you’re welcome to stay on as long as you’d like and continue on with other choice plants. Since the waitlist isn’t ranked one of the things that is particularly important all the things that Joseph said about supplementing information is great. And we welcome that. And we’ll certainly accept any additional information, whether that be test scores, or resumes or anything like that. But letting us know that you are interested is really helpful to us. So, when we do make waitlist offers, we certainly want to make them to people who want to come to be right, it makes it makes our job easier and helps us find the people who are really interested. So, you know, letting us know, you know, are we your first choice? Would you drop everything and run to Boston if we give you a phone call, so but sharing that information is genuinely really helpful for us. And oftentimes, we always try and be as transparent as possible with our process. Oftentimes we are not because we don’t want to be but just because we’re not sure what the process is going to entail. So, we’ll you know, throughout the summer, reach out with updates when and if we have them and certainly we want students to respond to us and let us know that their interested or, you know, also let us know that they’re not interested in, we’ll take them off the waitlist, and then we can, you know, consider other applicants who are still interested in. So just keeping schools updated on that level of interest can be really useful throughout the process
Isabel: Can either be speak to how long as someone can be on their waitlist in terms of the application process? Ooh, that’s a tough one. Right? It depends. I mean, honestly, up until maybe the first day of instruction, I mean, I hope not. But possibly. It I think that’s the thing where it just depends with the school.
Chloe: Since that last official day of our waitlist is the first day of classes, we really hope to not be, you know, doing any weightless movement on that, on that day, or even in the several weeks before that day. But again, every cycle is different, so that the timing of the process will differ. And that can be another useful thing, to share in a letter of continued interest or an update to a school as if you are already, you know, living in Berkeley, and on the first day of classes you would write here, I’ll show up, that could be really useful information, you know, we would certainly want to know things like that, if you, if there are specific dates, when you’ll have to withdraw, or you’ll have to make other decisions, we certainly encourage you to share those again, we can’t guarantee that we’ll ever be able to make a decision by a certain point. But it really does help us, and you know, people say there were their first choice, but they have to know by August 15, we certainly try and be respectful of any information like that, that we have. So, all of those things can can be helpful.
Isabel: Thank you. Yeah, and just to offer just a little bit more insight, I just kind of want to explain what our process is like for someone who’s on the waitlist, we actually do invite anyone who’s on the waitlist and opportunity to interview it as part of our process. And so we’ll go through an interview, those have now been shifted to just virtual or remote in this capacity or by phone. And so that gives you an opportunity to kind of fill in some gaps in the application where, you know, those those potential gaps might have landed an applicant in the waitlist process. And for us in terms of timeline, just to kind of give you a little bit more insight. So, you know, what you’re doing when you’re on the wait list is quite verbatim what the name entails, which is you’re waiting on essentially, those who have been admitted to render a decision about whether or not they’re going to join our class, I realized that this is a pretty broad generalization, but you can kind of think about, think about it in that fashion. And so, for us, we can, you know, have an applicant who applied September 1, and they will, perhaps maybe be on the waitlist all the way throughout the summer, for one reason or another. We don’t rank our applicants who have been wait listed in, we actually, essentially a lot of our decision on the waitlist will hinge on, essentially who has made a decision to enroll in our program. And so that will influence part of our decision-making process as we begin to offer admission to those who have been wait listed. But we will be we will stop our offers of admission to the waitlist candidates at minimum two weeks before we begin school. And part of the reason that is is because our students begin on an academic program before they start school. And so it would interfere if we admitted any leader it would actually interfere and disadvantage. Those leader admits in that process.
Collin: All right, excellent. Well, thank you. I think that wraps up the meat of the program. And now we’re ready to switch over to Q&A. Right. Do any of the three of you have any last comments on that topic? Before we switch over? And answer some of these questions just came flooding in. Great, awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So, thank you, to those of you who are still with us today. There are a lot of you here. And as a result, there are a lot of questions that we have to make our way through in the next 20 minutes or so. So, we’ll do our best to answer as many of your questions as possible. But please, feel, you know, rest assured that even if we don’t answer your question, it’s not because it’s a bad question. We just didn’t have time to get to it. So, if you have questions that weren’t answered, or you feel like you need a better explanation, please feel free to email us after the fact at ambassadors@LSAC.org or at lawhubevents@LSAC.org. And then we can pass along those questions to any of our three panelists today, as well as answered them from you know, from the LSAC perspective, as well. So again, we’ll do our best to answer all of them. We’ll get started now, so go in kind of an order in which they were received. I’m gonna start off with one which happens to be a nice general question for you. And that is, what do admission professionals look for you in law school applications, that’s the typical one you get hit with every time. So, to the best of your ability, give a quick summary of what from your school’s you know, perspective, what do you typically see? And what do you what are you hoping for? In some of your immigrant applicants? I guess I’ll start with you, Isabel, just because you’re on my screen in the top left there, and then I’ll work our way around.
Isabel: Sure, happy to share. And and I think one of the things here is to kind of take a step back, because I feel like we’re always getting this question every single day, I probably feel this question about five times a day, if not more. And I always talk when I’m speaking with prospective applicants, remind them that you need to stay take a step back. You’re the one controlling the narrative. And you really need to consider what do I want the admission committee to glean from my application, once they’re done reviewing that application? Right, of course, you know, there, it’s not as if we’re necessarily going the line item by line item, checking things off, things like that. It’s not that strict and rigid. There’s a lot of if those of us who have holistic review processes, you know, this is where there’s a lot of value in your personal statement and any narrative pieces in your application. It is not this necessarily exclusive to the LSAT and GPA I always tell folks that if it was, if that was the case, you know, our jobs would have be easy. All we have to do is run a report and literally say admit, deny waitlist, based off of exclusively those those items. But remember that you are a human being you are there are a lot of qualities about you. There’s only one you there’s only one is Isabel, Joseph and Chloe. And we, even if perhaps we have some overlap in our experiences have very different lives in and it is incumbent upon us to make sure that we are informing the admissions committee of the items we want to make sure they glean from our applications. But Joseph and Chloe, you’re welcome to chime in.
Chloe: I’ll give some very broad categories of things that we’re looking at as well as exactly right, there is no checklist of factors that we’re running through each application, schools are going to, you know, use that holistic review process was just going to mean that there’s no one piece of the application that’s ever going to be exclusively determinative of admission or also a child or waitlist. But some general things that we are looking at, I’m looking at when we review applications are certainly strong academics, obviously LSAT, GPA, be a piece of that. But you know, GPA is put into context, right, we get off your transcripts actually look to see what what classes you were taking, I look for rigor is challenging upper-level coursework and improvement from your first year to your last year. So, your cumulative GPA will certainly end up being a single member, right. That’s how that works. But it’s a number in context. And so strong academics are really important. We look for strong writing, we look for engagement and involvement. We look forward diversity of experience in all forms. And we look for people to be thoughtful about the process, we want to know that you’ve thought about why law school is the right next step for you, and whatever your goals are, and not just, you know, what happens to come next. So again, those are not a checklist of things. Those are broad, broad sweeps of things that we are all looking at and forward in your view. And I think, exactly as Isabelle said, you want to think about what you want to share and what you want to highlight and really polish those pieces of your application so that you’re able to communicate that information to admissions committees.
Joseph: Yeah, I agree. I think that, you know, one part of your application is we’re trying to determine if you can do the work. And that’s reflected in your academic record in your standardized test. But what we don’t know about you is what will else will you contribute? Beyond being able that you’re capable and smart and will do well, in law school. We want to know, like, are you someone we need and or want at the law school, and those are pieces we don’t know, just from your academic record, or your standardized test. That’s all of those narrative pieces. And so, we will see at times someone who’s extremely great in one and then meh in the other way, we’re like, yeah, like they can do the work, but to is someone that’s going to be great at the school and will contribute. So, you have to really think about the entirety of your application. And and what we’re looking for.
Collin: This next question, I think, falls into the same general category of the it depends, kind of, you know, bucket of questions, but it kind of goes from the big picture topic we were just discussing of, what are you looking for, kind of to a more finite detail, one finite piece of the application this question the student asks, for someone who has a low GPA when applying to law school, what should we focus on to make up for what could be considered a GPA which is lacking?
I guess maybe we’ll start with you, Joseph, since you just wrapped up that last question.
Joseph: Sure, I love it depends. First of all, that’s like my favorite word. And I always apologize over and over when it’s a lawyer cliche, isn’t it? Like, it depends and like, okay, so the things are with your academic record. And I think Chloe said Great is the fact that when we’re looking at just that part of it, what we don’t know from the GPA is how old is it? First of all, what degree did you earn the rigor of that program that was mentioned? Is it a low GPA? Because it was maybe a STEM major, you know? Or what are other factors that are taking place that we don’t know about? So, because that likely is already there set in stone, you know, you still have other aspects of your file. And so, this is the best time when you contact Isabel or Chloe or me and ask, what is your review process? What is holistic mean, at your school? Because then you understand, like, what we’re actually looking for in the application, does the school allow for you to provide an agenda related to standardized testing, or academic record and provide explanation and be very to the point and concise when you’re responding to that in the agenda itself. And then also, if you’ve already completed all of these pieces, you know, again, think about all of the other narrative pieces of your application, you have a personal statement, you have, you know, your resume, which can showcase the strength and what you’ve done from when you first started undergrad up until present day, you have any letters of recommendation, all of those can still just as much have a strong impact on an admissions committee. If you’re using those to your advantage, and you’re being thoughtful about, you know, what are the things that you are addressing, because some schools may not have a prompt to a personal statement. And then you know, so like making sure you’re using your own voice, you’re bringing us into your space, and you’re owning that space, so they can having a point to this as well. But I think those are things in which whether someone is splitter has a low GPA is above the median, or even at medians, like those are things you still want to think about. Because for us we’re looking at, you can do the work. But then the other part is what we’re also trying to glean from the application.
Collin: Isabel, Chloe, anything you’d like to add to that? Or did Joseph do a great job? Wrapping that one up?
Joseph: I’ll get there. Oh, come on. Yeah.
Collin: To making you do all the work here. That’s not fair. That’s okay. I’ll start with one of them for the next one here. So, the next question comes in, this is actually a great one. There’s a lot of debate about the importance of the LSAT writing. And we’d like to hear your perspective on the importance of the LSAT writing and any tips for prepping be kind.
Maybe, Chloe, I’ll start with you.
Chloe: Sure. So, I certainly read the CV writing sample, I am not reading it with the same eye that I read, you know, the, the written portions of your application that you’ve had time to review and polish. But, you know, I want to see that you can write complete sentences and read a prompt and respond to it in an appropriate manner. Now that the test is done online, and all those samples are tight, one, great people have terrible handwriting. And it was really challenging to read those samples before, but people used to do things like draw little pictures or write this little notes. And I mean, you sometimes that’s fun, you know, breaks up the reading. But really, I’m looking to see that you made an effort and took it seriously. You know, I’m not reviewing that. The I know, did you answer this correctly? What is the, you know, is this the best piece of writing I’ve ever read? You know, we just want to see that you have done the sample in an appropriate way. And it’s sort of just the next step is we’re reviewing the CAS report. Yes, this is here. Yes, you’ve done it. Great.
Collin: Excellent. Isabel?
Isabel: Oh, yeah. I mean, sure. Yeah. So I would just add that, you know, if for us, it’s, it’s important to review it in the context of how do you perform them, there’s kind of circumstances and the relevance to law school would be that you’re going to be under time circumstances when you’re submitting with particularly for your doctrinal classes, it is not uncommon, where that particular class your your single grade is going to be your law school, you know, the final exam, and that will usually be timed. You will also have, you know, looking down the line, also, the bar exam, which is also trying to and so this is your opportunity to showcase your thought process under Quick circumstances and your ability to be very thoughtful in that process, and so do we take it under review? Absolutely. To we want to make sure that you took it seriously right. I think that in our overall process. We’re not just concerned about whether or not you can do the job. We’re also interested in knowing Will you do the job? And so, you know, high performance is not necessarily indicative of someone’s willingness to actually do the work.
Collin: Okay, thank you. We’ll skip you on this one. Joseph, I’ll go to you for the next one, which is this student studied abroad. For undergrad for undergrad and postgrad. I would like to know whether the Credential Assembly Service is what they should use for their transcripts and certificates.
Joseph: So, if they’ve earned their transcript abroad, I definitely that LSAC is going to be the where you’re still going to be submitting your transcripts to, I believe they work with ACRO. If I’m not mistaken, I always get my acronyms mixed up after a while. And so, then what you will do is make sure that those transcripts are sent. And this is where timing is important, giving yourself enough time to make sure that those transcripts are sent. And unfortunately, those are typically sent by regular mail, which then is going to maybe delay the process. So, give yourself plenty of time. The other thing I’ve learned in the past, and I feel bad for candidates in the past is sometimes, you know, they’re not sure if their home institution is able to send it properly or in a timely manner. And so, they happen to be in within that country, they get it, it’s still sealed, will they take it. And I’ve seen it where in the past, they’ve been told know that they have to have that transcript sent from the institution directly to like LSAC, to make sure that it’s been received properly. So, make sure you give yourself the timing of that. And then honestly, it’s going to depend because what we’re talking about right now is related to the JD program, and also could be applicable to LLM students that are wanting to earn an advanced degree and are foreign educated. But then there are some schools that offer like a master’s in Legal Studies, like they call it MSL or MLS. And so, they may have a different process. And so, you generally want to work with the schools that you’re looking at.
Collin: Fantastic, thank you. So, for we have about six minutes left, and that’s hardly enough time to answer all these questions. So, I’m gonna go rapid fire around the circle here ask each of you one question, and we’ll kind of try to get through as many as we can. So, we’ll start with you, Chloe, what’s the difference between a personal statement and diversity statement?
Chloe: So, it depends. Many schools, you do this having lots of personal statement is the one required piece of the application. That’s the written portion. Some schools will have a prompt other schools will have a big blank space where you can upload any information that you’d like to share with the committee. at BU, for example, we do have a prompt, it’s really broad. It’s why law school, but we are sort of looking for a specific answer to that question. Some schools will feel the same way we really want you to focus their responses on why you’re interested in law school, by their law school, other schools, again, wide open for you to write in whatever you like. Diversity statements really focus on what you can add to a school’s community, anything that you want to share about yourself, your background, ways in which your perspective might not be the perspective of others coming into the class. And so schools are always looking to, you know, diversify their income classes. And I mean that incredibly broadly right, where you’re from your background, your work experience, your interests, your talents, your skills. So all of those things are the type of thing that you can share. In the first PSA and an optional essay schools will call them different things. But it’s really an opportunity for you to provide as much additional information as you can to share with the community.
Collin: Excellent. Isabel, next one is for you. If you apply early decision, do you have to accept an offer was made?
Isabel: Yeah, I would think is you’ve heard it would depend, I am guessing on the schools because I have actually spoken to some schools where their early decision program is not binding. Ours is binding. And so, when you submit your application, you also heard Chloe talked about this. When you submit our early decision application, you’re actually also submitting a contractual agreement guaranteeing us that you’re going to be enrolling in our program. You’re also committing to withdrawing any applications from any other schools, you’re also agreeing to abstaining from submitting any additional applications and withdrawn returning from any weightless status. And so early decision from from even my conversations with colleagues means something different depending on where you’re applying. And so this would be a great opportunity to reach out to the incident individual institutions to get a very specific understanding of what their process entail.
Collin: Joseph, next one is for you. What are schools typically looking for in a gap?
Joseph: Oh, man. So, I guess am I gonna start with a it depends.
Collin: You have 30 seconds or less go?
Joseph: Okay, it depends. And then 30 seconds. All right. So, I honestly, just it does depend, mainly because of the fact that, you know, we have a number of students at our school that in years past, we had only about 16% of our incoming class come straight out of undergrad. And so, the remainder of our students did some form of break. But how do you define that, you know, the gap year or gap, however long could have been because they did. In more advanced degree, they did a fellowship, they actually worked on their military, they, there’s a number of things. And so what is it look like, it’s just really, you know, then these are things that you’re hopefully going to be applying to your application. So maybe your resume is going to show more work experience more or lived experience if you have to be a caretaker, which I’ve seen in the past for someone. And so that’s part of their application, or they’re going to have their education expand, because they’ve now gone into a advanced program of earning a masters or a PhD. So, like, it really just depends. We’re always going to be around, I mean, I don’t know about me, you know, like, but the law schools will be, you know, depending on when you do apply, I’m planning on being here, but I’m just saying, you know, in general law schools will be here. So, the thing is, is applying in the urine term that you’re ready. So, in, you take a gap year, great. Mainly, I say that because you’re about to enter a profession that begins day one of your legal career. And so, you know, you’re starting all over the networking opportunities, and you just go from beginning to the end of your third-year law study, and then all of a sudden, you know, you’re studying for the bar, or and then at that point, working. So, like, there, it makes sense why some people are taking a gap. We see it more and more often now. But I think it just depends. What is it you plan on doing in so I, usually when we get asked that question, I flip it right back? Well, what is it you’re thinking you want to do?
Collin: Thank you, Joseph, that might end up being your last question. So that was a good a good answer. Chloe. Next one is for you. And you got lucky here.
Do you need to pay for CAS for every school you apply to or just one time and it will be sent out to everyone?
Joseph: Oh, she got the easy one?
Collin: I know. I know. Sorry.
Chloe: So, the fee structure is going to be different for every school, you know, with CAS waivers possible fee waivers. I will stay brief. So, we can squeeze it a few more questions here. But on LSA C’s website is the full breakdown of what each cost entails and what you’ll have to pay for each separate thing. If you have any questions about levers for the CAS or the fee or anything like that. Certainly, one LSAT is always there to answer questions. But again, schools individually can help you navigate the process. LFCC is probably the best first place to go for these things. And again, their website is full of information that’s going to have the breakdown of everything that you can expect. But schools are also there to help.
Collin: Absolutely. And to echo UCLA, we just said, if you do have questions which weren’t answered specifically around the cost of law school, the cost of applications, please feel free to email us at ambassadors@LSAC.org or at lawhubevents@LSAC.org, or visit law hub for those resources. Law school transparency has great resources for you as well, which is all part of our law hub ecosystem. So, make sure you reach out to us for more answers there. Last question, Isabel. And feel free to kick this to an email if you don’t have time to answer it. But that is a number of people have asked this is January too late to take the LSAT, if you’d like to start in the fall of 23.
Isabel: Again, we need to look at the deadlines for each individual school. I know you we keep harping on this. But if nothing, I hope you’re taking away that it is very important that you connect with the schools where you’re intending to apply. become very familiar with those deadlines, Joseph shared a great tool for you to be able to track that information. But I can tell you in our process, our deadline is March 10. The last exam that will dictate or administration will accept for our admission process is going to be the February exam. So, you would still be in line for January. One consideration I would just add here is that you’ve heard at various points in our conversation and discussion today that the timing of your application also plays a role in your likelihood of admission. And so, while it is not late to necessarily for our process, take it in January, you would be closer to I would say the the latter half of our admission process. And so, by this point with us being a holistic review school, we’re are already making admission decisions and so less seats are available and less funding is likely available if we’ve begun the scholarship process. And so that’s just one final consideration I would offer in response to that question. Thank you
Collin: Isabel, and thank you, Joseph and Chloe as well for your insight over the last hour and your quick responses to my questions here at the end from the students. I appreciate the time you spent today explaining all of these concepts to the students and answering some of the questions they have. I will say that there were a number of questions we didn’t get to. We had a lot of people join us today. And a lot of questions came in as a result. So, if we didn’t get a chance to ask you answer your question, I do apologize. But we do want to answer them as soon as possible. So make sure if you have questions, still you send them over to us at ambassadors@LSAC.org, where law hub events@LSAC.org. And we will answer those questions. I’ll pass them along to our three panelists as necessary, or we’ll answer them internally and get those answers to as soon as possible. So, thank you all for joining us today, I do hope you got a lot out of listening to the three of these three experts talk about what they do every single day, they live and breathe this stuff. So, what they’ve said, is pretty good to listen to. And I hope you took lots and lots of notes. So, I also want to hope our excuse me, I also want to remind everyone that the tool that they demonstrated at the beginning has just been shared in the chat. So, for everyone who joined the live session today, you get access to that tool, feel free to use it to the extent that’s comfortable for you is just an example of something you can use going forward. But we do hope that following the discussion today, you have a good sense of how to use that tool to support you and your journey. We also hope that at a high level, you know what admission professionals are looking for what their expectations are of applicants for the incoming class. And moreover, you have a good sense of what they’re seeing thus far, and where student where you stand with respect to the process and the work you still have to do. So, I want to encourage everyone who’s on this call one last thing to join us tomorrow for another exciting session. This is a cool one tomorrow. We’re putting an optimist on trial legal profession optimist on trial. And we’re asking this person some hard questions about the legal profession. And we’ll see some of his responses, how he feels about the legal profession and some of the things that people maybe say aren’t so great about it. I think we’ll have a lot of great insight to share with you and maybe you’ll leave with a good understanding of the positives of the legal profession, even in the face of some of the negative claims that are being made. So, make sure you join us tomorrow you can register for that at law hub with your law health account. I do look forward to seeing you all thank you. Have a great day. Bye bye now.