Students divided on merit of LSAT requirements in law school admissions

Maven Navarro and Jacob Ritondo

The American Bar Association voted in November to eliminate its Law School Admissions Test requirement for admission to law schools. Starting in the fall of 2025, it will be up to the individual school whether or not they will require the LSAT for admissions. University of Alabama students were divided on the value of the LSAT for law school admissions.  

The LSAT has been the main test for law school admissions since 1948. It tests skills such as reading comprehension, reasoning and writing. Studies show that undergraduate GPA is weak in predicting success in law school, while the LSAT is a more accurate predictor in not only law school performance, but also Bar Exam scores.  

In 2022, the incoming 1L class at UA Law has a median LSAT score of 165, higher than the national average LSAT score of 152. 

The Crimson White reached out to The University of Alabama School of Law on Jan. 19, Jan. 23 and Jan. 24 asking if the University would be keeping its current LSAT requirement, but received no response.   

“I think [the LSAT] is a great benchmark for student performance and your ability to adapt,” said Jackson Carter, a junior majoring in public relations who plans to attend law school. “We all know the LSAT isn’t necessarily testing things you do every day, but it’s testing your ability to learn new information and apply it to a specific set of circumstances.”  

It is recommended that students spend between 250 to 300 hours studying for the LSAT to achieve a baseline score of a 150. 

“I spent quite a few months preparing for it and I spent a few thousand dollars going to do one of that online LSAT prep areas that you do online practice tests and you do classes through them to help study for the LSAT,” said Paige Sheridan, a 2L law student at the University. “It is kind of like the SAT or ACT where it is a really weird arbitrary test that you’ve never taken before.” 

The SAT and the ACT were made optional for admissions to the University starting Fall 2021. If students did submit these scores, they were eligible to receive automatic scholarships, which is what some say should be done with the LSAT. 

Because of the amount of money and prep put into these prep classes, a student said that dropping the LSAT requirement could be a good thing for those who were at a financial disadvantage.  

“Standardized tests disadvantaged people who do not have the means to be able to study for them,” said Brina Harden, a junior majoring in English and political science. “At the same time, I can see how it would be helpful to have a standardized test, like the LSAT, because GPA can vary from school to school, and recommendations can be subjective.”  

Another student, Abigail Shields, a sophomore majoring in sociology and economics, had a different idea for LSAT scores. 

“Instead of using the LSAT score to be a requirement for admission, it should be used to gain scholarships,” Shields said.  

According to the Law School Admissions Council, adding an LSAT score as opposed to just going off of GPA improved grade prediction by 57%. Despite those numbers, Harden said she thinks the LSAT isn’t a good indicator. 

“The LSAC has come out with data that shows there is a pretty good correlation sometimes, but when you look at the numbers, it isn’t really that good of a correlation,” Harden said. “I don’t necessarily think it is a good determinant. It just kind of helps the admissions committee distinguish people.”  

Other students see the exam as a necessary evil. “I studied for the LSAT a lot,” said Seth Self, a senior majoring in public relations. “I have already been accepted at Alabama, so I know what that process is like. It’s not the most fun thing, but I understand why they do it.”