Tonight, most UCSB students will be out partying, but for that small group of students who will be taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) Saturday morning, this is the last opportunity to study — and pray.
On Oct. 1, Santa Barbara’s aspiring law school students will take the LSAT. The test, which is offered four times a year by the Law School Admission Council, will be held at six test centers within a half-hour radius of UCSB Saturday, said Britt Johnson, the pre-law academic advisor for the College of Letters and Science.
Between 450 and 500 UCSB students and alumni take the $115 test every year, with an average score of 155 — five points higher than the national average of 150 — said Don Lubach, a counselor at Counseling and Career Services.
Law school is a very popular aspiration for UCSB students, Lubach said. He said he thinks students at UCSB are well suited to the rigors of the LSAT, law school, and legal careers.
“Interest in law school remains very high,” Lubach said. “I attribute this to the fact that many UCSB students come from law families and students are wickedly articulate, both of which are strengths for law school.”
UCSB alumnus Michael Bellomo, who wrote a book titled, “LSAT Exam Cram,” is currently working as a corporate counsel for the consulting company, ARES Corp. He said he thinks it is easier to get into law school now because the nation’s economy is in good health.
“It’s a good time to apply to law school,” Bellomo said. “When the economy is good, applications are low because everyone goes and gets a job. Whereas when the economy is bad, more people apply to graduate schools because there is lower availability in the job market.”
Despite the favorable conditions for law school applicants, Johnson said many UCSB students will wait a few years before applying to law school.
“Many students decide to take a year or two off before taking the LSAT and applying for law school,” Johnson said. “Often, this is because of monetary issues, or because they are burnt out from school, or because they have travel plans, which they know they won’t be able to fulfill once they begin law school. However, this does not mean that you would be at a disadvantage if you were to apply straight out of your undergraduate work.”
Bellomo said the LSAT, which measures logic and reasoning skills, requires students to work carefully but quickly, since each section must be completed within a prescribed amount of time.
“[The LSAT] is a cross between a marathon and a sprint,” Bellomo said.
The test is very competitive, Bellomo said, but he said he thinks UCSB students will do well as long as they are well prepared.
Kaplan, Princeton Review and Test Master offer the three most popular preparatory classes, Lubach said. The classes are expensive, he said, costing from $1,200 to $1,300 for a two-month course. Lubach said he recommends that students study on their own for the test, since most of the information provided in the costly courses can be obtained from test preparation books.
UCSB’s Counseling and Career Services has a wide variety of LSAT prep books in the law section of its library, Lubach said. He said it also has information about how students can get law-related internships in the Santa Barbara area.
“We help students get internships locally at places like the legal defense court, Channel Counties Legal Services [Association] or clerking at one of the many law offices in the area,” Lubach said.
Registration for the upcoming test is closed, and the next available test date is Dec. 3, 2005. More information about the LSAT is available at www.lsac.org.