The June LSAT and Waitlists

Registration for the June 2019 LSAT closed yesterday. Most people who are signed up for that LSAT administration are going to be using it to apply in the 2019-2020 cycle. But as law school applicants become increasingly savvy to the importance of LSAT scores in admissions, many applicants are re-taking the test in June to improve their chances of getting off a waitlist. Last year alone an additional 7% of June LSAT takers were retaking the test over historical averages—many presumably in hopes of getting off a waitlist.  

By the time they've signed up for a June retake, most applicants will have put a deposit down at a school. Naturally this tactic comes with questions from applicants concerned about the implications for their existing options.

First, applicants often ask: can a school I've deposited at see that I am registered for an LSAT administration? The answer is yes. Law schools have the ability to run reports showing them who among their deposited admits are signed up for a new LSAT. How quickly they notice will depend on the school and whether they're regularly pulling the reports or not; however, if they want to find out it won't take them long at all. Now that June registration has closed, savvy admissions departments will be pulling the final data for their admitted class.

This leads to a lot of panic among applicants concerned about the reaction in admissions departments. We've seen questions ranging from "Will they ask me about my retake?" all the way to "Will they revoke my admissions/scholarship offer?" The answer to the first is, maybe. It will depend on the school. Some will want to reach out and find out what your plans are with the June LSAT; some will just note in their records that you're retaking. The answer to the second is absolutely not. No law school will revoke either your admission or scholarship offer if they find out you're signed up for the June (or any other) LSAT administration.

There are several reasons for this. The first is that admissions departments are filled with normal, empathetic people who know that this process is tough and stressful. They understand that applicants need to take action on their own behalf to improve their profile and maximize their chances for an ideal outcome. The LSAT is the most obvious and common way to do that.

The second reason is PR. Can you imagine the backlash against a school that dropped someone for retaking the LSAT? Law schools hate negative publicity, and that sort of story would be pasted on the front page of Above the Law and other sites within the day. The resulting phone call from the Dean of the law school to the head of admissions would be... unpleasant.

The final reason is a technical one. All law schools agree to abide by LSAC Rules of Good Conduct, which you can read in full here. The relevant section is below:

"Law schools should [...] allow applicants to freely accept a new offer from a law school even though a scholarship has been accepted, a deposit has been paid, or a commitment has been made to another school."

What does this mean? Well, applicants have the right to accept new offers of admission. A school you've deposited at can't require you to withdraw from either waitlists or schools from which you have not received a final decision. In the spirit of this rule, law schools at which you've deposited shouldn't be taking any action that would impede your ability to receive a favorable final decision from a waitlist. As an example, it would be like a school forbidding you from sending in a Letter of Continued Interest to your waitlist schools in which you mention a recent promotion at work. Telling you you can't take the LSAT again—and threatening consequences if you do—would be equally obstructive.

Still want some reassurance? In over 100 years of experience working in law school admissions, no one at Spivey Consulting has ever seen a single instance of an offer being rescinded simply for retaking the LSAT. If a school asks why you're retaking, be honest and tell them! A polite, honest response won't be held against you.

Now a bit of advice to anyone retaking in June for waitlist purposes: let the schools at which you're waitlisted know! A quick email giving them a heads up that you're registered to retake in June could be the difference between an early waitlist release and having your application re-reviewed with your new score. The number one consideration for schools when pulling from the waitlist are LSAT and GPA, so let them know you might be able to help them on the LSAT front!

Waitlists are stressful enough as is. We hope this helps take a bit of worry off everyone's shoulders! Want some more waitlist advice? Here's a blog compiling all our waitlist tips and tricks.

Written by Justin Kane and Mike Spivey