Test Coaching and Admissions Counseling Services Put Black Students at an Extreme Disadvantage When Applying to Law School

As we have reported in recent issues of the JBHE Weekly Bulletin, results on the Law School Admission Test have become increasingly important in admissions decisions at many of the nation’s law schools. This is so because the mean score on the test achieved by students admitted to a particular school impacts the law school’s rating in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings. This is of particular importance to blacks because the mean score achieved by black students who take the LSAT is below the mean score for entering students at all predominantly white law schools in the United States.

As is the case with the SAT for undergraduates, black students are often placed at a disadvantage in taking the LSAT because white students are more able to afford sophisticated test coaching classes. For example, the Kaplan Extreme LSAT test coaching class costs $1,449. Black students, who are far more likely than white students to come from low-income families, are less likely to have access to such training.

In addition to test coaching, the latest trend is the use of law school admissions counselors to help a student with his or her application and the writing of application essays. Admissions counseling to law and other professional schools has become big business. There are now 1,500 members of the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals. These admissions counselors charge up to $300 per hour, a rate out of reach for most black applicants to law school.