Law school-bound Georgetown undergraduates who dread the thought of taking another standardized test may be able to put their fears to rest.
According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, the American Bar Association is currently looking at a proposal to make the oft-dreaded Law School Admission Test optional. If passed, this proposal would alter the system of law school admissions that has been in place since the first administration of the LSAT in 1948.
Many students, however, feel that while the LSAT may have its flaws, there is currently no better option to replace the role of the test in comparing the qualifications of students from different schools and backgrounds.
Avni Mehta (SFS ’11), who took the LSAT in October 2010, said that the test is the closest measure to unbiased assessment for law school candidates.
“While I agree that the LSAT often discriminates against some students and that it may not be a fair assessment of a person’s worth or talent, it is certainly the only measure we currently have to gage a student’s ability to succeed in law school,” Mehta said in an email. “Until a new, unbiased form of testing can be put into place, there is currently no better way to gauge a student’s ability to perform in such a demanding profession.”
Mehta said that she does not feel that the test is an easy one by any means; however, she does believe it is possible to prepare for it and to increase one’s chances of a high score.
“It is meant to be a test of one’s skill set and ability to think logically,” Mehta said in an email. “That being said, there are ways to improve your chances of doing well, i.e., taking a course … [however] the cost of a course is not in everybody’s budget, which tends to skew results in favor of those who can afford a course, who have time to study for two to three months and/or who simply have raw talent.”
Mehta also expressed concern that students who are not good test-takers may underperform on the LSAT despite solid logical skills.
Evan Monod (COL ’14), who is considering a career as an attorney, believes that the cost of the test itself, test preparation and the long hours of studying serve as a deterrent to students who might otherwise enter the legal profession.
“I would definitely support making it optional because I think it would increase the number of kids able to go to a good law school and participate in a profession that we desperately need bright people in,” Monod said.
The LSAT is intended to help law schools evaluate their applicants on a nationally standardized scale, according to the website of the Law School Admission Council, the group responsible for the administration of the LSAT.
According to an article in The National Law Journal, a number of the members on the committee reviewing the LSAT believe the current provision requiring law school applicants to take an admission test should be dropped. Despite the potential change, many law schools may still require their applicants to submit LSAT scores even if the Bar Association does not require it, just as some undergraduate universities are test-optional while others are not.