• Ben Olson

Ep. 268: The Most Competitive Admissions Cycle Ever with Ann Levine

This year has seen major changes to the LSAT—namely through the LSAT Flex. It’s a shorter test with just three sections that you can take from the comfort of your home (or hotel) and a completely separate writing section. So how are these changes affecting the 2020 law school admissions cycle? The guys sit down with law school admissions expert Ann Levine to talk about how this cycle may be the most competitive ever.

As always, if you like the show and you want to get more from the Thinking LSAT community, check out the links below. You can connect with other folks studying for the LSAT, and get more useful resources from Nathan and Ben.

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Important Dates

11.07.2020 – Break out the long sleeves, it’s the November LSAT-Flex testing week

12.02.2020 – It’s the last day to register for the January LSAT

01.06.2021 – It’s the last day to register for the February LSAT

01.16.2021 – Bundle up and hunker down! It’s the January LSAT

02.20.2021 – Hearts-for-eyes for days—it’s the February LSAT

Fee Waiver Announcement:

If you’ve got an LSAT Fee Waiver, let us know! Send us a copy of the letter granting you a fee waiver and we’ll give you some extra support via the LSAT Demon. The LSAT Demon is available to students who have fee waivers for just $30. That will give you access to four months of the best online LSAT prep platform you could hope for.

3:52 – Ann Levine on The Most Competitive Admissions Cycle Ever

Lots of folks are turning out to take the LSAT Flex. And because the test offers pretty favorable conditions, people are getting pretty competitive scores, which means that this year’s applicant pool is…pretty competitive. In fact, law school admissions expert Ann Levine thinks this may be the most competitive cycle ever. The guys talk to Ann about how the LSAT Flex is affecting 1L hopefuls and they discuss the big question: should you even apply this year, or wait it out?

21:57 – Low-Ranking, High-Scholarship, vs. High-Ranking, No Scholarship

Ann stays on to answer a few admissions questions, and the first one is from Deeba. Deeba just nabbed a 75% scholarship (or discount code) from the first school they heard back from (whooo!). But they haven’t heard from any of the other 20 schools they applied to. Even though Deeba’s got a green light from the school, it’s not high ranking. Deeba asks if it’s worthwhile to go to a school for low or no cost even if it’s not well ranked. Ann suggests that Deeba is just in the early part of the cycle at this point and that more admissions letters are sure to roll in, which means Deeba will have some (hopefully) fun decisions to make. The crew weighs in about Deeba’s current sitch.

26:24 – Letters of Rec Waiting Game

Anon is bummed. They’ve been waiting on a letter of recommendation from a teacher and a mentor for some time—and she wants to submit her applications, like, yesterday. Ann and the guys agree that Anon should send an email to the professor and ask for the letter of recommendation by the end of next week. Providing a deadline can be a helpful catalyst to get someone to put pen to paper. But they also say that if the professor doesn’t respond in that timeline, that Anon should cut her losses and apply ASAP.

32:37 – Sub-headings in a Personal Statement?

O received some rather questionable advice from a book by a Harvard Law grad. In the book—Law School Lowdown—the author recommends that law school applicants add paragraph section headers to their personal statements. Ann and the guys guffaw at this advice and lay down the law when it comes to the substance and formatting of your personal essay. They also discuss whether you should include a “why this school” sentiment in your statement.

41:14 – Reading the LSAT Aloud

M has been studying for the LSAT for a bit and he’s just discovered Thinking LSAT to his delight! You’re welcome for all the advice, M! While prepping for the test, M has discovered that if he reads the questions aloud, he is generally more accurate. Now he wants to know if he’ll be able to read the questions aloud—or something like it—while taking the test. The guys burst M’s bubble and let him know that he definitely won’t be able to read out loud during a real test. The crew posits that M is benefitting from the fact that reading out loud causes you to slowwww down. They all agree that if M simply slows down, shoots for deep understanding of the problems, and aims for accuracy, he’ll see improvement on the test over time.

54:17 – LSAT Writing Review

During the pandemic, L’s been stuck overseas in Italy. He was planning to come to the states to take the LSAT over the summer, but as you might guess, COVID put the kibosh on THAT. But there are some silver linings. Due to the introduction of the LSAT Flex, L will be able to sit for the test while in Italy. L is also getting ahead of the game and he already took LSAT Writing. He sends word from overseas that…hey…LSAT Writing isn’t so bad, and he had a pretty good experience with ProctorU. Ben and Nathan discuss some of the positive (and not so positive) anecdotes they’ve heard about the LSAT this year.

1:07:22 – Fee Waiver Woes

Anon is pissed. As a freelancer, they’ve been on a rough financial roller coaster over the past two years—and the pandemic has been extremely difficult. They’re on unemployment. They’re on Medicaid. It sucks. And when they appealed to LSAC for an LSAT fee waiver? They were denied! Anon offers up a big WTF and asks the guys what will qualify for an LSAT Fee Waiver. The guys take a moment to pick their jaws up off the floor and then consider how someone might clear LSAC’s rather high bar for low-income test-takers.

1:13:56 – LSAT-Flex Extended Thru This Testing Cycle

During the show, Nathan receives an email from LSAC that announces—shocker—the remainder of this test cycle (that’s January, February, and April) will be administered remotely as LSAT-Flex.


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