Registering for the LSAT

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You need a copy of Law Services' free Information Book, which has the necessary registration form bound in it. Prelaw advisers receive a shipment of these books each year, in late February or March. They will either have copies on hand to give you or know where on campus they can be found. College testing centers, continuing education centers, graduate school offices, and placement services all often have copies available. Or you can contact Law Services directly. The easiest way is to call their automated service number, (215) 968-1001. The Information Book contains a lot of useful general information about the test and the application process. You should read it carefully. It is one of the most thorough and carefully written instruction manuals I've ever seen. (I've suggested elsewhere that Japanese electronics companies should hire Law Services to write the instruction booklets that come with stereos and VCRs.) As a result, you'll probably find the registration form easy to fill out. Although Law Services periodically sends prelaw advisers booklets with suggested answers to student questions about the form, I find that I get very few such questions. Here are some of the tricky parts:

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  • Personal identification number. Law Services wants you to pick a four-digit personal identification number. It will be your password, and you will need it whenever you communicate with them. What-ever number you pick, write it down! If you leave this line blank, Law Services will assign you a number; it will be sent along with your LSAT admission ticket.

  •  Ethnic description. If you are an African-American, a Hispanic, or a member of another minority traditionally discriminated against, you ought not to hesitate to identify yourself as such. Because "protected category" law students are much in demand, being a minority is much more likely to help than to hinder your application.
  • Mailing address. Law Services will send your score to this address, so be sure that you will still be living there six weeks after you take the test. If you have any uncertainty, put down your parents' address or some other truly permanent location. If you don't get your score-if, for example, a spiteful ex-lover destroys the report-there is a procedure for obtaining a replacement. But it takes time.
  • Permanent address. If you're a traditional student, this will probably be your parents' address. Law schools may use this address to determine whether you are eligible for in-state tuition benefits or for certain financial aid programs.
  • Test center code. You must choose where you will take the test. The form has spaces for first and second choices. A list of test sites and their code numbers is found elsewhere in the Information Book. If you're a traditional student, you should take the test on your own familiar campus. Your second choice can be the site closest to your parents' home or some other familiar location. If these options are not available, the best strategy is to pick locations easily reachable from wherever you are living. You want to avoid a long and exhausting commute before you take the long and exhausting exam.
  • Release of information. If you check this box, Law Services will make your score available to the prelaw adviser at your home institution. Since you want to work closely with your prelaw adviser throughout the application process, you should check the box. This is especially important if you attend a large, impersonal university where the prelaw adviser may not know you. If you're a nontraditional student and you check the box, Law Services will report your score to the prelaw adviser of the college from which you graduated. As I mentioned earlier, that prelaw adviser will probably be willing to help you, at least to the extent of answering specific questions, on a time-available basis.
  • LSDAS. You can sign up for the Law School Data Assembly Service on the same form that you use to register for the LSAT. You should do so if you plan to apply to law school within twelve months of the date that you take the test. You don't need to do anything more than register at this time and list all the undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools you've attended. Eventually, you'll have to send the LSDAS transcripts from each of these colleges, which they will summarize and forward to the law schools you apply to. I'll explain how this works in chapter 8. You can save a few dollars if you register for the LSDAS at the same time that you sign up for the LSAT.
  • Publicatioris. You can also use the registration form to order a copy of the Official Guide To Law Schools, if you don't already have one. (1*11 have more to say about it in the next chapter.) And if you plan to study for the test on your own, you can order Law Services' own test-prep material. Law Services also publishes Financing Your Law School Education, an extremely useful guide to financial aid, and The Right Law School For You, a guide to the admissions process.
  • Fees. The application process is not cheap. If nothing else, you can try to avoid the late registration fee (currently $40) and the fee for changing your test site after you've chosen one. If money is a major problem, read the section in the Information Book about fee waivers. The process of applying for a waiver is tedious and requires documentation. But Law Services will usually honor a legitimate request from a conscientious administrator.
  • Special arrangements. Law Services will make special arrangements for Saturday Sabbath observers, left-handed test-takers, and persons with handicaps. Details are in the Information Book. If you're handicapped, don't be afraid to ask for special consideration. For now, plan to allow extra time to register for and take the LSAT. You'll want to discuss your application with the law schools you plan to apply to before you register. And you'll need to allow extra time for the paperwork you'll need to make Law Services aware of your special needs. If you have any questions, you can call Law Services at (215) 968-1001.
Once you've mailed off the registration form, put the Information Book in a safe place. You'll need the information about the test (and the sample questions) when you prepare for it, and you'll need the various preprinted forms when you apply to law schools.

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Within four weeks of your registration, Law Services will send you an admission ticket. Check it carefully. Make sure that your name is spelled the same way on the ticket as on your identification cards and that all the descriptive and test center information is accurate. People have been excluded from the test because information on their tickets was incorrect. Note particularly that Law Services may have changed the location of the test center. If you find errors or have any questions, call Law Services at (215) 968-1001. You should also call if you don't receive your ticket "within four weeks, or by the Monday prior to the test date."

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