• Ben Olson

Ep. 290: Ethics and Law School Admissions with Sydney Montgomery

Since the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, college admissions professionals have been under a new level of scrutiny. On today’s show, Ben and Nathan talk to Harvard Law grad and college admissions consultant, Sydney Montgomery, about ethics and law school admissions. They also talk to Sydney about how equity-seeking groups can find community and support as they are preparing for law school and when they get to campus. Plus, the guys answer another LR question from prep test 65, they answer a question about scholarships for older candidates, check-in on changes to the U.S. News rankings, and hear a story of an LSAC fee waiver denial that got reversed.

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

04.10.2021 – The April LSAT Flex testing week begins!

06.12.2021 – Break out the short sleeves, registration for the June LSAT is open!


1:32 - Interview with Admissions Consultant and Lawyer, Sydney Montgomery

Nathan and Ben sit down with a real lawyer and college admissions consultant, Sydney Montgomery to discuss law school admissions. Sydney is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law, she is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association where she sits on the Ethics Committee, and she is on the board of the Institute for Anti-Racist Education. Pretty sweet resume. Sydney works with students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, but proudly notes that more than half of her clients are minority students and are the first college or law school graduates in their families. The guys talk to Sydney about ethics in law school counseling and admissions, diversity equity and inclusion in law school, what to consider when crafting your personal statement, and how to find community when you arrive on campus.


Check our Sydney's consulting firm here. And check out her free guide on applying to law schools here. She's also on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Sydney referenced this TED talk when she was talking about personal statements.


34:05 - Logical Reasoning Question 25 from LSAT Prep Test 65

Ben and Nathan continue to machete chop their way through section four of prep test 65. In today’s question, two folks (in the argument) discuss whether science fiction or conventional fiction is a superior form of social criticism. The argument includes one of the LSAT’s biggest flaws, breaking one of Nathan and Ben’s LSAT commandments: thou shalt not bring up new shit in your conclusion. The guys work their way through the argument and answer choices and bring you behind the scenes of their approach to the question every step of the way. Plus, they tout the benefits of getting yourself a library card and reading some shit.


1:22:06 - U.S. News Makes Changes To Law School Rankings

It’s mailbag time! The guys get some news from F that U.S. News is changing their law school rankings to include student debt. F wants to know if this change will dramatically change the law school admissions process. The guys agree that this is really a minor change and is unlikely to make a huge difference when it comes to the rankings or how colleges think about you as a candidate. The advice remains the same, as always: get the highest LSAT score you can. Go to law school for free.


1:25:57 - LSAT Fee Waiver Denial Reversal!

Will found himself without a job during the pandemic, which put him in an unexpectedly tight financial situation. He wrote LSAC to apply for a fee waiver, explaining why he could use the $$$ break. But when it comes to fee waivers, LSAC’s a bit of a chop shop—they ask for documentation and make sweeping decisions based on a few variables. It’s easy to get denied, even if you feel like you’re deserving of the waiver. Will describes his back and forth with LSAC, why he was initially denied, and how he got his appeal sustained.


1:29:26 - Scholarships for Older Students?

Michael’s in his mid-fifties and is considering a career change. After decades of ministry service work, he wants to practice criminal law. But he’s worried that his scholarship opportunities will be in short supply due to his age. Nathan and Ben make quick work of answering his question: your GPA and LSAT score are the primary drivers of scholarship decisions at law schools. If you show up with good numbers, the law school is going to want to trade you money for those stats, regardless of your age.