Law School Admissions


Defining Access: How Test-Optional Works

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



legal education, admissions, diversity, financial aid, scholarships, LSAT


The number of colleges using Test Optional Policies (TOPs) in higher education admissions has dramatically expanded in recent years. And these colleges have avoided “one-size-fits-all,” finding varied ways to administer TOPs and experiencing varied outcomes. Much of the momentum around Test-Optional admission is focused on whether the use of standardized tests (specifically SAT and ACT) unnecessarily truncates the admission of otherwise well-qualified students. In particular, there is concern about whether widespread reliance on the use of these tests in the admission process tends to replicate the status quo in social class and opportunity in our American society.