American Bar Association May OK LSAT Elimination for Law School

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The LSAT or the Law School Admission Test is an entrance exam required for admission to most law schools. Law schools consider a student’s LSAT score along with GPA, the Credential Assembly Service application, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. 

Generally, LSAT scores are weighted just as heavily, or even more heavily, than a student’s undergraduate GPA. But now, the American Bar Association (ABA) is considering removing the LSAT requirement for future law school applicants. 

The decision comes after the association concluded that getting rid of the LSAT allows for more flexibility over which tests accurately and fairly demonstrate ability.

“Eliminating the requirement of a ‘valid and reliable’ admission test also eliminates some of the challenges inherent in determining which tests are in fact valid and reliable for law school admissions,” the memorandum stated. 

Jennifer Pahre, a professor in Law, also cited equity as a key concern behind the recent movement. 

“There is uneven access to LSAT preparation programs across minority and disadvantaged groups,” Pahre said in a press release. “Students who have more financial resources have the ability to tap into a preparation methodology that can improve their scores and can find it easier to meet the fees required to take the test.” 

In 2017, Harvard Law School announced that it would no longer require LSAT scores for admission and would accept GRE scores as an alternative. Texas A&M University, Georgetown Law, Columbia Law School, Massachusetts School of Law, and Northwestern University are other institutions that also no longer require the LSAT. 

The ABA’s decision comes just months after colleges and universities alike decided to do away with standardized testing, such as the SAT. Currently, over three-quarters of colleges are not requiring the SAT or the ACT for admission this fall and more than 400 Ph.D. programs have dropped the GRE. 

In November 2021, the University of California (UC) reached a final decision to practice test-free admissions. And one year later, California State University (CSU) opted to remove all standardized testing requirement and replace it with a “multifactor admission score,” which allows colleges to consider 21 factors.

The factors would vary by campus and include work experience, leadership roles, extracurricular activities, and special status such as foster youth, first-generation, or military.

Additionally, 19 colleges and universities across the country currently do not require the GRE, including Johns Hopkins University, the University of Southern California (USC), the University of Scranton, and Boston University (BU), 

In August 2020, various Massachusetts Institutes of Technology (MIT) departments made GRE optional due to the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented most high schoolers from safely taking the exams.

But in March 2022, the institute announced that it will reinstate a testing requirement for fall 2023 admissions.

Despite mixed research, experts believe the move to get rid of standardized testing evens the playing field for all applicants regardless of ethnicity or background. The consensus points towards an increase in the diversity of the applicant pool and a boost in the overall number of applicants. 

Notably, many of the colleges and universities doing away with standardized testing are now turning towards holistic admissions. 

Holistic admissions create a more equitable system for evaluating potential students. Rather than placing the majority of the consideration on traditional academic factors, such as GPA and test scores, a holistic approach includes factors that are captured in a traditional admissions process.

One of the biggest advantages of holistic college admissions is that students' circumstances and situations are taken into consideration. 

And technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) brings visibility to students’ activities, a factor that schools may not otherwise see with the emphasis on standardized tests. 

AI can identify traits such as analytical thinking, organizational skills, conscientiousness, and other attributes that evoke a broader picture of an applicant. AI analysis can also identify students from disadvantaged backgrounds or students who would otherwise fall short of traditional admission standards but have traits that point to success.

StudentSelect.AI is an intelligence engine that delivers deep insights into applicant data that schools have already collected. This algorithm goes beyond GPA and test scores to gain deeper insights about applicants and helps schools make more informed admissions decisions. 

First, StudentSelect.AI partners with a university’s program to understand its available applicant data and admissions process. Next, experts customize a solution that best suit the program’s needs and goals. Lastly, the platform delivers insightful information about the university’s applicants to help it accelerate and improve its admission process.

Overall, StudentSelect. AI improves diversity and inclusion, accelerates admissions decisions, and uncovers applicants with real potential to find success as students.

As more colleges discard standardized testing requirements for incoming applicants, the American Bar Association considers removing the LSAT requirement for future law school applicants.

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