LSAC Letter Involving Possible COVID-19 implications and changes
Sent March 21, 2020
Dear Mike -
Thanks for the excellent talk Friday. It was great to talk to you about things we are doing – and things we can do going forward – to help law school candidates navigate the COVID-19 crisis. This crisis underscores how vital it is that we keep expanding and diversifying the legal profession and advancing law and justice. Does the world need another lawyer right now? It sure does. As leaders in so many fields, lawyers will play a vital role in helping us to address and then recover from this crisis.
I know you are in touch with many candidates, so I thought you might appreciate an update on some of the things LSAC is doing to support our schools and candidates at this time. To the extent it’s helpful, you can feel free to share any of this with folks in your network.
We are thinking about candidates in three broad groups – those who have already applied, those who still want to apply for fall 2020, and those who may want to apply for fall 2021 or beyond. Each of these groups has different but overlapping needs and concerns, so here’s a quick summary of what we are doing or planning to do to help each one.
- Candidates who have already applied for fall 2020. At this time in the admission cycle we typically have about 85% of our final applicant volume. Thus, many candidates have already applied and are moving through the enrollment cycle as schools make admission decisions. We are hosting webinars for all admission personnel to help them continue to stay in touch with their candidates when in-person recruitment activities (e.g., admitted student days) are not possible. We will also soon be launching a series for candidates that provides updates and an opportunity for Q&A about navigating the enrollment process amid this crisis. We expect to have an announcement next week of our first webinar for candidates.
- Candidates who still want to apply for fall 2020. There is still time for candidates to apply for fall 2020 admission at many schools. We encourage candidates to check the admission deadlines for each school of interest because schools may have adjusted deadlines in light of the crisis. Each school sets its own deadlines, but we know that the admission teams are eager to help support candidates at this difficult time. A recent informal survey found that more than 60 percent of schools had already extended their application deadlines, either for all applicants or on a case-by-case basis. We are hopeful that more schools that are still accepting applications will also do so and plan to create a resource page that would enable candidates to see, in one place, all current deadlines. We strongly encourage candidates interested in fall 2020 admission to stay the course; our member schools are eager to hear from and support candidates.
As you know, the COVID-19 situation necessitated the cancellation of the March LSAT. The April test will only proceed if the public health situation allows, and we have promised a decision on the April administration no later than April 10 (we will make that call as soon as possible, so schools and candidates have the ability to plan). Even if April cannot proceed as planned, we are going to do everything we can to make sure that candidates can continue their enrollment journeys. We are working aggressively to create the following options:
(a) One option could be to test in smaller groups that meet public health guidelines in those locations that permit test centers to be open.
(b) Another option could be a secure remotely proctored solution for the multiple-choice portion of the test (LSAT Writing is already done remotely) so that candidates can test without traveling.
(c) Depending on how the COVID-19 situation unfolds, we are definitely hoping to add a test administration in the late spring.
(d) Finally, we are strongly considering offering March and April test registrants who are applying to law school for fall 2020 admission and who have cancelled an LSAT score the opportunity to view their previously cancelled score and decide whether to resurrect it for their fall application. We are working out the mechanics of this option now.
We will keep candidates informed of all options and what steps they need to take.
- Candidates for future years, 2021 and beyond. We are also focused on candidates for future admission years as well. Many pipeline-building programs will be disrupted this spring and summer because of the COVID-19 crisis. LSAC will be working with schools and candidates to find alternative ways to conduct pipeline-building activities and will also continue our national and global work focused on educating the public about the importance of building a strong legal profession. We are concerned for how this crisis might negatively impact the diversity of our profession and so will be working hard to advance our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our outreach and work. We will be reminding candidates of our fee waiver program and that, once approved, the waiver is good for two years. The webinars we will host about the law school enrollment journey will help candidates planning to apply in the future as well.
We know this is a deeply unsettling time for everyone, and it can be especially unsettling for someone who is trying to invest in their future by applying to law school. We want candidates to know that wherever they are in their law school journey that we are here for them and eager to help.
Thanks again for your partnership and for helping build the future of justice. I would welcome your thoughts and feedback on any of this, or additional ideas you have for supporting candidates during this time.
Above all, I hope everyone stays safe and well!
Kellye Y. Testy (she)
President and CEO
Law School Admission Council
I should note it was a very helpful conversation and Kellye listened to ideas I wanted to express on behalf of applicants. Thing are very fluid now but I know they are listening and I expect some more creative ideas. -Mike