LSAC unveiled a new proposal at the 2010 Annual Meeting and Educational Conference this past June—the creation of a "flexible" law school application, dubbed the "flex-app." There was overwhelming acceptance of the idea at the town hall meeting where it was discussed. Of those schools who used "clickers" to vote on this matter, 93 percent indicated that they would probably use such a flexible application. With that kind of support and enthusiasm, and with a myriad of details yet to be resolved, LSAC will begin immediately on a fast track to complete this project for the 2012–2013 application cycle. Our goal is to have the tools in place for schools to develop their applications starting in April 2011.
When LSAC first launched the electronic applications service, it was important to both admission professionals and applicants that the electronic application look as much like the school's paper application as possible. That way, all applicants could be assured that they were treated the same way, no matter which of the two methods they used to apply. In addition, application reviewers would be able to read applications consistently. Over the years, applicants have become more comfortable applying to law schools through LSAC's online services; in the 2009–2010 application cycle, 98 percent of all law school applications were processed through LSAC's e-apps service. For the last several years, there has been some talk about creating a "common" law school application for every law school. The Services and Programs Committee discussed the concept of a common application at its spring meeting and charged LSAC staff with looking into the idea further.
After conversations with a number of admission professionals and further consideration of the topic, it became clear that a truly common application would not work for schools because of the many instances where questions must be unique to the institution. Therefore, LSAC has moved away from the idea of a common application, but presented the concept of a flexible application instead.
In a so-called "flex-app," a great deal of the applicant's information would be common, but the school could define their own questions and other components to form its own unique application. This application would also be accessible by those who need to use screen-reader technology.
Further information on this project will be provided during the summer and early fall. The PowerPoint presentation given at the town meeting can be found in the annual meeting pages on LSACnet.org. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, please contact your Regional Team Leader.
Law School Support Services (LSSS) will launch two key initiatives in July as a part of our Voice of the Customer and Information Services Division (ISD) Platinum Customer Service programs.
LSAC has partnered with the New Jersey-based firm, The Center for Client Retention (TCFCR) to conduct customer satisfaction surveys for all LSAC-member schools. From its base in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, TCFCR provides customer satisfaction research studies for a number of Fortune 100 companies across varied industries. The customer satisfaction survey—or CSAT—is an integral part of the LSSS Voice of the Customer initiative. It is a powerful tool for customer service improvement.
LSSS will also pilot an Admission Professional Lecture Series as part of our ISD Platinum Customer Service program. This initiative is aimed at specifically addressing the law schools' concerns and improving ISD's level of knowledge and understanding of the admission process. In customer service, you're only as good as your next call, and we strive to make every call our best.
Look for further updates on these (and other) customer service improvement initiatives.
Tom Stettner is a principal engineer in LSAC's Information Services Division. Tom is primarily responsible for all phases of development of the interactive portion of the LSAC website. This online services site lets law school applicants register for LSAC's services, maintain account profiles, purchase test materials, view file activity and status, and apply to law schools. Tom's many years of experience at LSAC also include the development and support of software that staff use to assist our candidates, including software used for answer sheet processing. He has a BS in computer science from the College of New Jersey. When not in front of his computer, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife, Doreen, and his daughters, Kacie and Kristin. He also looks for any opportunity to be on the golf course.
Last month marked the beginning of the electronic applications process for the 2011–2012 school year. It is time to mark up the previous year's application with your revisions, or—if you are redesigning your entire application—to submit your new form to LSAC. This year, your application preferences are in ACES² (rather than on LSACnet.org), a change that signals better functionality for users.
A significant addition to the electronic applications service this year is the new LSAC Evaluation Service. If your school is thinking about using this service, you need to note this change on your checklist, instructions, application form, marketing materials, and even your admission website. Contact your Regional Support Team with any questions regarding the evaluation service.
The electronic applications service operates on a first-come-first-served basis. Accordingly, we offer some helpful hints to guide you through this year's process:
After the initial submission of documents, any further requests for changes will delay your go-live date.
LSAC has created a chart to assist you in the timeline for submitting documentation. Please use the following link to view dates for submission: https://lsacnet.org/lawschoolservices/news.asp#news. Keep in mind that LSAC cannot begin work on your application until you have selected and submitted your options in ACES² and you have sent all application document revisions to your Regional Support Team—including instructions, any supplemental forms, and so on. If you have any questions about the process, or if you need assistance setting up your preferences in ACES², do not hesitate to contact your Regional Support Team.
June release. The most recent ACES² release—on June 13—included several changes that support the needs of our schools in Canada and Australia. Canadian schools will note the addition of an export in the LSATY2K format, as well as minor adjustments to the Application and Report Settings functionality. Melbourne Law School will see that the CRS search functionality can now search for applicants who specifically express interest in attending a school in Australia.
The June release also affected API functionality: schools can now track applicants that have been processed using this feature, allowing schools to limit data retrieval to applicants whose data has been updated since it was last accessed.
August release. A mid-August ACES² release will include new sections within the applicant record where evaluator-related data will be stored. The evaluator information will be similar to the recommender information. Applicant Status Online (ASO) will also be enhanced to list the evaluations that have been received for each applicant, again very similar to how the recommender data is currently displayed. The viewable law school report will also include the evaluation summary document.
The August release will also include improvements to CRS processing. After evaluating a variety of potential improvements, we ultimately identified a list of the most valuable changes. Details of those changes will be outlined in the ACES² Release Notes. We also will improve the ACES² infrastructure to minimize the amount of information passed between the user and the system, which will reduce potential impact on performance.
Spring 2011 release. Various aspects of the user interface will enable ACES² to accommodate the expansion of LLM services, including new options in CRS as well as an ability to store information unique to LLM applicants. The spring 2011 release will also include changes to support the new flexible application, including additional information collection within the Application and Report Settings and the ability to track which components of an application have been included in the packet.
There are many other new features being considered for future releases. Look for more details in upcoming newsletters.