The Long and Winding Road:
(Of course it's a song!)
|If you live in an expensive part of the country, you might have your best luck by going the third route, since LSAC tends to use Federal Poverty Guidelines, which are not adjusted for regional differences.|
If you're requesting a fee waiver from LSAC, you can register online, but if you're requesting it from a law school admissions officer, you cannot. You must download paper forms from Law Services, complete them, then send them with the fee waiver request. After it is approved, you can complete other info online. But make sure to add two extra weeks for snail mail processing.
Sadly, a large number of economically disadvantaged applicants aren't poor enough for an LSAC fee waiver. I can't get LSAC to use more liberal fee waiver guidelines, so I did the next-best thing: I found law schools that let at least some people apply for free without an LSAC fee waiver. Click here for a list of schools where you might negotiate a free application.
But Note that a fee waiver or " free" application only waived the law school's portion of the costs. You still have to pay the fee for LSAC to process your transcripts and recommendations, which is $16 per school in 2011.
If you have any type of disability you may be entitled to special testing conditions. People with reading disabilities are often entitled to readers or transcribers; in addition, you may be given extra time. People with any physical disability may be entitled to extra time, either for the test itself or for breaks. People in wheelchairs are often accommodated in private rooms, and extra break time is given to allow the test-taker to use rest rooms and soda machines.
If you want accommodations for a learning disability, you'll need time, paperwork, and money. All the documentation for learning disabilities must be done within three years of your LSAT date, so any tests done when you began college won't count.
|Requesting accommodation is such a complicated process that LSAC has written a whole section and produced a video demo. You can find them here. The process can take so long that you would be best served by beginning the process six months to a year before registering for the LSAT.|
If you take the test under special circumstances, Law Services will notify the law schools receiving your score. They will not provide the reason why this was done unless you authorize them to do so. In general, I believe that it helps to include a statement outlining the reason you needed special circumstances and what accommodations were made. It helps the admissions committee evaluate your score, and (should they accept you) gives them time to begin planning to meet your needs once you enroll.
We've received a number of calls from people with learning disabilities who had Law Services deny their requests for testing accommodation -- extra time, special materials, etc. -- because the applicant didn't include sufficient documentation. Then, when the applicant gets the documentation to them, the deadline has passed, and Law Services denies the request.
Law Services is very conservative in handing out LSAT accommodations. Exceptions happen once in a blue moon. So if you're expecting to get accommodations of any sort for your LSAT start way, way in advance to find out what documentation and testing they require.
Once you've completed the difficult process of acquiring these special services, the process of registering for the LSAT is painless. You tell the system which LSAT you want to take and where, and it provides you with a list of available test centers.
It's a good idea to either visit the centers or look for info about them on one of the chat boards. Lighting, desk style, vending machines and rest rooms can all make a difference in your comfort and performance on test day.