The weather is getting gloomier, the days are getting shorter, and summer is clearly in the rearview. I, for one, am gearing up for a hearty helping of seasonal affective disorder. And for those of you thinking about taking the LSAT, I have one more bit of cheery news: the deadline to sign up for the November LSAT is tonight at 11:59 pm Eastern.
If you’re still hoping to apply for this admissions cycle, this is a deadline you cannot afford to miss. We here at Blueprint cannot emphasize enough the importance of avoiding a late application. The November LSAT will give you the chance to sneak in under the wire before your prospects take a hit.
Since I’m feeling particularly bleak, there’s one other potential disappointment we should discuss — getting waitlisted because there are no LSAT test centers left. Since this is literally the last day to sign up, odds are the vast majority of test-takers have already signed up. Consequently, you may find yourself in a position where there are no open test centers remaining and you’re placed on a waitlist. And, as the cherry on top, there’s also the possibility that you’ll be taken off the waitlist and placed in a test center that is right on the edge of the 100-mile radius that applies to potential locations.
These scenarios are pretty unsettling. But don’t despair. If you’re put in an inconvenient test center, you have the option to change your test location … for a fee of $125 (assuming something else opens up). By the way, if you’re unhappy about the costs already, let me tell you, there’s a host of application-related fees you’re going to incur before you get the privilege of paying six figures to attend a school. So, think of this as (barely) a drop in the bucket if it comes down to it.
Back to the matter at hand, there are some important things to remember if you are put on the waitlist.
1. Do Your Homework Before Moving Test Locations
Assuming you’ve been put on the waitlist, taken off, and placed in an inconvenient test center, you should carefully research before paying to transfer locations. Some test centers have full desks, while others have those weird half desks (you know, the ones that are impossible to get in an out of without contorting your body and looking silly — those ones). Some test centers have a reputation for being noisy, while others are quiet as the grave. I, for one, would rather stay in an inconvenient test center than pay to move to a disruptive, uncomfortable one. Do your research.
2. Prepare for Everything
Let’s say you can’t transfer locations or you find out that the test center you were considering transferring to is terrible, what should you do? If you’re asking that question the day of the LSAT, you’re probably in trouble. You should have a plan for getting to the test center — whether it is going up the night before, or something else — so that it doesn’t throw off your game. This could end up being good practice for the bar exam. There are far fewer testing locations, so you’ll probably have to make travel arrangements to take the exam (some of my NYC friends had to take the bar exam all the way in Albany, so you’ll never have it that bad). It happens. If things don’t work out for a more convenient test center, be prepared for that eventuality.
3. Hit Refresh
When you’re going through the process of trying to corral a test center, no one is going to help you out. Sure, LSAC will eventually assign you a location, but as we’ve discussed, it might not be the one you want. You’ll have to check the website frequently to figure out whether a better spot has opened up. Get ready to refresh that site at least once every day to stay on top of any availability.
At the end of the day, don’t stress too much if you get waitlisted. You’ll get a test center, it might just involve a little more planning than you’d anticipated. It won’t help you to sweat the administrative issues too much. Instead, stay focused on preparing for the LSAT and adapt to whatever LSAC throws your way. A good score on the exam is worth these headaches.