Finally, there's something free for prospective law students. Well, it should be free next year anyway.
Khan Academy, an online provider of interactive educational materials, announced it will post free practice materials for students to prepare for the Law School Admission Test in 2018. The non-profit organization said it will work with the Law School Admissions Council, which administers the test.
"We're always looking for ways to help get information out there to test takers so they can prepare on their own, and they don't need to invest a lot of money to do this," Lily Knezevich, the LSAC's senior director of test development, told the ABA Journal. "We wanted to level the playing field and make law school accessible to all who are interested in pursuing law."
Leveled Playing Field
The announcement comes as good news to cash-strapped students at a time when economic conditions have pushed down law school enrollments by 30 percent in recent years. Last year, new applications for juris doctorates hit a 42-year low.
Free LSAT courses may not be such good news for companies that sell test-prep materials. Kaplan, one of the largest, says that it built its reputation on quality. It charges $1,199 for its online program and up to $2,599 for private tutoring.
"Pre-law students put significant value on having a personalized prep approach that will give them a competitive edge over their peers," said Jeff Thomas, Kaplan Test Prep's executive director of pre-law programs. "For these students, quality and effectiveness matter."
Focus on Access
Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, said the LSAT prep course is designed to help open the door to law schools for many people who otherwise could not afford it.
"Over 100,000 people who are aspiring lawyers take the LSAT every year, many of them paying for test prep that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars," he said. "You can imagine that hits a lot of young people's pocketbooks, or even is inaccessible to many people."
During the downturn in law school enrollments, educators have focused on ways to attract more students to the law. Some lowered admission standards. Others looked for economic solutions, including reforms in merit scholarships.
Some LSAT prep materials are already available for free at libraries and online. The LSAT Center, for example, provides a free 300-page practice test online as a part of its introduction live courses.