Pre-Law Beginning the Application Process–LSAC
The Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
In order to centralize and standardize objective application information (GPAs and LSAT scores), ABA-approved law schools require applicants to subscribe to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The CAS organizes and analyzes applicant information in a way that allows law schools to compare academic records from undergraduate schools that use different grading systems.
First, create a free online account at www.lsac.org. Then, register for the CAS online. It is not necessary to register for the LSAT and the CAS at the same time. The CAS subscription continues for five years. Once your LSAT score is available, the CAS prepares a Master Law School Report that will be requested by law schools upon receipt of your application, which includes:
- A year-by-year grade and credit summary
- Copies of all transcripts
- Your GPA for each academic year, your degree GPA, and your cumulative GPA reflecting work at other institutions you have attended
- A description of your overall grade distribution
- The mean LSAT score and GPA of students at your undergraduate school who have subscribed to the CAS and your percentile graduation rank among those students
- Up to 12 LSAT scores, including cancellations and absences
- An average LSAT score, if you have more than one score on file
- Copies of your LSAT writing sample
The Credential Assembly Service report may also include an applicant index described in the previous section. LSAT scores are reported by LSAC for approximately five years following test administrations. Some law schools, however, will require that a score be obtained within a few years prior to applying; information about requirements is available in law school catalogs.
The $185 fee for the CAS includes access to electronic applications for nearly all ABA-approved and participating law schools. Completing application forms is a fairly straightforward process. Schools will be seeking basic information about you, including your academic background, extracurricular activities, and employment history. Many schools will also ask for the names of your recommenders, the date(s) on which you took (or plan to take) the LSAT, your intention to apply for financial aid, and any criminal convictions on your record. You may be asked to list other schools to which you are applying; responding to this question and/or indicating an interest in financial aid will not affect your chances for admission. Be truthful and forthright as you complete the applications. It is a good idea to enclose a resume with your application, but do not use it as a substitute for responding to questions on the applications.
Applications typically become available in the CAS in mid-September. This is an ideal time to start the application process. The CAS makes it easy for you to work on your applications and save them, but not submit them. The end of November is the best time to submit your final applications.
In addition to the completed application, law schools require that the following application materials also be submitted: