Credential Assembly Service (LSDAS)
In order to centralize and standardize objective application information (GPAs and LSAT scores), ABA-approved law schools require applicants to subscribe to the Credential Assembly Service (LSDAS). The Service organizes and analyzes applicant information in a way that allows law schools to compare academic records from undergraduate schools that use different grading systems.
First, create a free online account at www.lsac.org. Then, register for the Credential Assembly Service online. It is not necessary to register for the LSAT and the Credential Assembly Service at the same time. The Credential Assembly Service subscription continues for five years. Once you have registered, request an official transcript from each college or university from which you have earned academic credit. Be sure to verify the accuracy of your Dickinson transcript. Official transcripts will be sent to the Credential Assembly Service for analysis; therefore, do not send transcripts directly to law schools. Once your LSAT score is available, the Credential Assembly Service prepares a Master Law School Report that will be requested by law schools upon receipt of your application.
The report will include the following:
- A year-by-year grade and credit summary
- Photocopies of all your transcripts
- Your GPA for each academic year, your degree GPA, and your cumulative GPA reflecting work at other
institutions you have attended
- A description of your overall grade distribution
- The mean LSAT score and GPA of students at your undergraduate school who have subscribed to the Credential
Assembly Service and your percentile graduation rank among those students
- Up to 12 LSAT scores, including cancellations and absences
- An average LSAT score, if you have more than one score on file
- Copies of your LSAT writing sample
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The Credential Assembly Service report may also include an applicant index described in the previous section. LSAT scores are reported by LSAC for approximately five years following test administrations. Some law schools, however, will require that a score be obtained within a few years prior to applying; information about requirements is available in law school catalogs.
The $124 fee for the Credential Assembly Service includes access to electronic applications for nearly all ABA-approved and participating law schools. This service enables you to first complete a common application, which is then automatically populated into applications for the schools you select. This makes it easy to begin the application process even if you haven't made final decisions on which schools to select.
Completing application forms is a fairly straightforward process. Schools will be seeking basic information about you, including your academic background, extracurricular activities, and employment history. Many schools will also ask for the names of your recommenders, the date(s) on which you took (or plan to take) the LSAT, your intention to apply for financial aid, and any criminal convictions on your record. You may be asked to list other schools to which you are applying; responding to this question and/or indicating an interest in financial aid will not affect your chances for admission. Be truthful and forthright as you complete the applications. It is a good idea to enclose a resume with your application, but do not use it as a substitute for responding to questions on the applications.
You should begin the complete applications approximately a year before you intend to begin law school; so, the summer immediately before you submit your applications is an ideal time to begin. The Credential Assembly Service makes it easy for you to work on your applications and save them, but not submit them. The end of November is a good time to submit your final applications.