The Law School Admissions Test
For undergraduates and alumni/ae, the law school application process begins with taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The test is administered four times a year. Applicants should take the LSAT only after they have adequately prepared for the exam. Ideally, the LSAT should be taken only once! Law schools typically average multiple test scores. Furthermore, applicants are encouraged to register months in advance for the LSAT to increase their chances of being assigned their first choice test site.
Registration information is available through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). LSAC offers LSAT fee waivers and accommodated testing for eligible registrants. The Office of Pre-professional Advising also has copies of the fee waiver packets and The LSAT & LSDAS Registration and Information Book which explains the process for applying for a fee waiver or accommodated testing. Applicants may also meet with a staff member in the Office of Pre-professional Advising to discuss specific issues.
The Law Schools Admissions Council describes the LSAT as "a half-day standardized test required for admission to all 200 law schools that are members of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). It provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants." Ideally, students and alumni/ae should take the LSAT by June, prior to their application year. An October test date is acceptable, but this precludes students from completing their applications for Early Decision and Early Access at some schools. The December test date is too late for some schools and often puts the applicant at a disadvantage as most schools have rolling admissions. Students should prepare for the test's content but should place particular emphasis on preparing for the test's format. LSAT prep courses may be helpful but are often times unnecessary and expensive. The Law School Admissions Council sells an array of test prep materials; additionally, an extensive selection of test preparation booklets is available commercially.
Below is a list of commercial LSAT preparation companies in the New York City area for those who decide to enroll in a LSAT prep course. The Office of Pre-professional Advising does not endorse any of these companies.
- Binary Solution (discount given to Columbia students and alummi)
- Princeton Review
Many of the test companies offer scholarships for applicants with financial need. Inquire with each company.
Applicants who become ill or lose their concentration during the exam may cancel their scores at the test site or within nine calendar days via written request to LSAC. For more information, please refer to the LSAT & LSDAS Registration and Information Book. Applicants who are considering canceling their test score may consult with an advisor in the Office of Pre-professional Advising.