Over on LSL, I was asked to comment on LSAC's newly stated promise to release scores earlier and on the official date. This came up because for years LSAC has given themselves weeks and weeks to release scores, and then they almost always released them earlier than scheduled. This situation created a tremendous amount of anxiety for students waiting on scores, and LSAC seemed to recognize that earlier this year. So let's look at what they did, and see if they will meet their promise.
Back in December, LSAC released scores 12 days early (earlier by 5 days than for any other test in a decade) and posted a statement on Twitter indicating they "heard our candidates’ requests for earlier scores at this time in the admission cycle." Then, in March, as the February 2018 LSAT score release date was approaching, they posted a second statement on their website from LSAC President and CEO Kellye Testy that said:
Taken at face value, that sounded pretty good! Not only did they promise faster releases in general but also to release on the date stated (which would eliminate the guessing game which was increasing anxiety). That statement satisfied a lot of people, until LSAC released all the info for the June and July tests this year. Instantly obvious was that the promise of "an aggressive timeline" wasn't what we had all hoped it would be. For example:"...we are making changes to permit quicker score releases in the future, while also maintaining our commitment to accuracy and fairness. We will have additional information on specifics later this spring.
In the meanwhile, for the rest of 2018 we will set the release dates on the scores on an aggressive timeline to minimize your wait time, and stick to that schedule to minimize any anxiety about those release dates." (Italics added for emphasis)
- June 2017 published release timeline: 24 days from test (actual release: 1 day early)
June 2018 published release timeline: 18 days from test (but changed from originally being 25 days from the test)
- July 2018 published release timeline: 23 days from test
- September 2017 published release timeline: 26 days from test (actual release: 1 day early)
September 2018 published release timeline: Release date not set
Data from LSAT Score Release Dates - Scheduled vs. Actual Comparison 2004 - 2018 and LSAT Dates & Deadlines.
As you can see, the June 2018 LSAT release timeline was initially 1 day later (what the...?) than the prior June test, but was then moved up to ultimately be 6 days earlier. For the July test, we don't have a direct analogue since this is the first July test ever, but a timeline of 23 days isn't all that great compared to the June 2017 (24 days) and September 2017 (26 days) horizons. Maybe that's a result of the added July test date being hurried out the door, but given that we know LSAC can score an LSAT in as little as 2 days for individuals, and as little as 5 days for whole centers, I wouldn't call the new dates all that aggressive even with the recent June adjustment. Verdict: slightly better timelines, but certainly not aggressive based on their capabilities.
Knowing that the new dates aren't overly aggressive opens the door as to whether they will release scores early like always. It sure seems possible to me, which would be a nightmare for everyone. The most obvious evidence comes from this past February exam, wherein LSAC stated unequivocally that scores would be released on March 7th, and then switched things up and suddenly announced scores would be released on March 6th, just an hour before they began releasing them. Why is that concerning? Because it shows that they usually have the scores early, and if conditions suit them (and there was a winter storm approaching their headquarters), they will change their schedule to fit their needs.
I've said for a long time that I wish they'd pick a date and keep to it, and it looked like we finally had that promise from LSAC, but I'm less sure now. For the time being I'm taking them at their word, but I'll be very interested to see the release dates they post for the exams after July. Verdict: Chances seem reasonably high that they won't stick to their official dates, but let's give them a chance with the June 2018 LSAT and see what they do.
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Image: "Window reflection of the Old City Hall Clock in Salzburg Austria" courtesy of Arjan Richter.